Tuesday, February 02, 2010

What Have You Accomplished Today?


A few weeks ago, I entertained myself during some long driving trips by catching up on a few of Annie Smith's "Quilting Stash" podcasts. Listening to Annie is like listening to a dear friend (well, she IS a friend in real life now, but even before I knew her I felt that way) and it's fun to hear what quilty sorts of things she's been up to.

I listened to a not-very-recent podcast in which Annie interviewed a really interesting quilter named Gyleen Fitzgerald. I'd not encountered Gyleen before, but I was fascinated hearing about how her work as a defense department engineer informs the quilts she makes. But among the many interesting things Gyleen said in that interview, one particular point resonated with me. She mentioned that she always journals and writes poetry, and that her journals always include a list of what she has accomplished on any given day, no matter how small. She even added that she numbers her accomplishments (if I understood her correctly, starting at one when the new year starts and then numbering in sequence to the end of the calendar year) so she has an increasing sense of her accomplishments.

This resonated with something I saw on a PBS show recently, about the concept of positive psychology to focus in on doing work to learn to be happy and optimistic. Noticing the things that make you feel good, or that made you happy, is a big part of that.

So Gyleen's thought about noting accomplishments really struck me. I know I am not alone when I say that I have so many days where I was busy all day long and the day flew by but by the end, I can't really say what it was I was doing. (And I know I'm not alone because you all comment and tell me so when I post about days like that!) I also know that events in our family have put me in a funny phase right now, when my days are unpredictable and often feel like they are affected minute to minute by things I just can't control.

So, I've started a small journal and use it to list my accomplishments each day. I don't take "accomplishment" as a big thing -- I'm focusing on the small stuff because heck, those ARE the accomplishments I have.  Sometimes I can note pretty visible accompliments, large stuff like "cleaned the closet" (which, if you saw my closets, you'd know was a HUGE accomplishment.) Sometimes it's a minor moment, like "I didn't get upset when the dog tracked mud up the stairs." I'm taking my accomplishments were I can find them. Lately, on my new healthy eating plan, I consider what I DON'T put in my mouth to be some of my most significant accomplishments, too.  Hardly earth-shattering stuff, but it gives me a sense of peace and satisfaction at the end of the day to notice the things I did that I felt good about. 

And, just so you know, writing a blog entry counts as an accomplishment too, so score one for me already.


  1. This is a wonderful idea. In the past I've kept a gratitude journal, noting five things I'm thankful for each day. I also keep a journal of compliments about my artwork for the days I'm convinced I should give up art altogether and get a job at Burger King. But this seems like a lovely combination, I can list compliments, great ideas and personal victories in one journal.

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  3. oh that is brilliant. I am definitely gonna use my day runner to do number my accomplishments. I will feel better and better as the number grows.