The Utility of Marking Time (Even Cheesy Anniversaries)

I’m not generally into anniversaries and birthdays. I’m pretty bad at celebrating my own; they always felt over-indulgent or kind of meaningless to me (I know this isn’t totally rational and maybe a little weird).

 Photo by  Adi Goldstein  on  Unsplash .

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash.

But, in the past few years, I’ve become a big proponent of marking time in terms of our accomplishments. To me, it’s a way of resisting the temptation or tendency for us to always focus on what more we want, what more we wish we’d have accomplished by now – the never-ending, insatiable wish for MORE. NEXT. FASTER.

The reason I’m thinking about this now is because November 10 marks the third anniversary of Embrace Change🎉 Previously, my natural tendency would’ve been to say, “Wow, three years, I should’ve accomplished so much more by this point.” 

Pretty negative, huh? 

But, current me is going to say this instead: “Wow, look at everything I’ve done in the past three years!”

I’m not lying when I say that choosing the second option…feels better inside!

 Photo by  Marion Michele  on  Unsplash .

And you can do this for yourself, too! Take your work, a passion project, being a member of a particular community, a hobby or side interest, your relationships, your relationship with yourself. Think about how long you have been investing your time and energy into that. It doesn’t have to be a round number of years or months. Of course, you can make this a regular practice to mark round anniversaries, but I also want you to just try this out now – regardless of the amount of time that’s passed.

Make a list of what you have accomplished in that area of your life since you started investing your time and energy into it. Don’t worry too much about making it chronological. It’s more of a brain dump. But memorializing this on paper or electronically is critical. And don’t worry, this should only take you 5 to 10 minutes :)

 Photo by  Aron  on  Unsplash .

Photo by Aron on Unsplash.

Here’s my selected list as a guide:

  1. I started a business.

  2. I figured out what my mission and services would be. 

  3. I made a website. 

  4. I put myself out there and pounded the pavement looking for work and potential clients I could help. 

  5. I pivoted my business. 

  6. I got more traction in each successive iteration. 

  7. I pivoted and narrowed my services even more, refining everything about the work that I was doing.

  8. I started to feel a lot more comfortable, “at home,” with – and proud of – the whole Embrace Change thing ;-)

Having lists like these makes it so that now, at the three-year mark, I can look back and recognize that, you know what, I have done a f^&*ing lot in the last three years! In the last year alone, I’ve worked with well over a dozen clients individually, I’ve group coached about 100 women, I created my first online workshop (learning video and audio editing myself as I went) and debuted my third in-person workshop. I’ve hired 3 women of color to help me with various pieces of my business at various times.

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash .

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

And metrics are all well and good, but there are also the intangible accomplishments. Like #8, above. And feeling excited to tell people about what I offer, what I can do for people, and why it’s important. And liking, or even loving, my work. Those are accomplishments too.

They might actually be the most important accomplishments.

If you decide to start marking time in this way, you might just find that it’s easier to motivate yourself on those days when it feels like you’re spinning your wheels and you want to quit.

Happy anniversary, everyone! You are doing GREAT.