On Monday night, I noticed I hadn’t crossed off two things from my to-do list. Immediately, the guilty and judging feelings for being unproductive rushed in, ready to feed me their negative words.
However, before a sentence that started with “Goddamnit!” could expand, I stopped it in its track by conjuring a phrase with a strong positive impact.
“Be proud of yourself for what you did do.”
Rather than focus on what I hadn’t finished — one item that I could do tomorrow and the other, before next Monday — I thought about what I had accomplished.
The result was freeing because I didn’t feel like shit before I went to bed. I felt proud.
What I didn’t do on Monday:
- Write an article for Medium that I’d upload on Tuesday
- Create a journal aesthetic featured image for my blog (which takes about an hour and a half)
What I did do on Monday:
1. I started a publication (The Brave Writer)
In the morning, I read about Medium publications and figured I could start one during the week.
Instead, the same day, I came up with what I wanted the publication to cover, asked for name ideas, and got one, asked my dad to create the logo, and got that too. Then, I designed the publication, added some articles. The publication was ready to go the next day.
Just one year ago, I wouldn’t have started that publication until the next month. I would have had to gather the courage and push my fears away, but this time was different.
I didn’t stop to think about it. I just did it before any doubt could take over my mind.
That was something to be proud of too.
2. I wrote a different article for my blog
I challenged myself to pull a Seth Godin with a spin. Instead of writing my usual blog post, I sat down and decided I would write a one-hundred-word article. Nothing more, nothing less.
I rewrote the story about six or seven times before I got it right. It needed to be succinct and to the point but still hold a strong message.
I’d reread the words over and over again, erasing what I thought I could do without until I got it down to a hundred words. That shit was hard, but I felt surprisingly satisfied afterward.
3. I published an article I was terrified of sharing
During the weekend, I wrote a story called, “I Was Forced to Come Out of the Closet When I Was 16.”
I finished editing it Sunday night, so the plan was to upload it on Monday. Well, Monday came, but I was petrified of sharing my essay because it’s so fucking personal.
I had to think back to moments I don’t like to think about and reveal them. I didn’t want to upload it because the last thing I wanted to do was expose myself or my parents to the world.
I debated for about forty minutes whether or not I was going to click Ready to publish?.
The fear I felt only told me one thing: I had to share it.
It was important, and it might help someone.
So, I clicked publish, and I’m still proud of myself for it because even though it’s been two days, there’s still a small part of me that’s telling me to take it down.
(There were other things I achieved that day, but I don’t want to bore you with everything.)
Why did I tell you all of that?
I want you to see what I’m proud of myself for not because I want to show off my work, but because I may have written something you won’t take the time to be proud of.
Say you write an article every day. Maybe you’re so damn good at sitting down at the same time every morning and producing a thousand words in under an hour, that you’ve forgotten it wasn’t always so simple.
You’re accustomed to that schedule, so you don’t take the time to feel pride over what you’ve managed to do.
Let this sink in every night: You are one step closer to your goal than you were in the morning.
Even if you only did two things today because they ended up taking hours longer than you anticipated, and there are three things you didn’t get to, you’re still closer to your goals.
This isn’t an excuse for you to work less or to take baby steps because you’ll be “one step closer.” I’m talking about real work that has a genuine impact on your journey.
(Actually, Michal Bernolak recently published an article talking about the harm of doing the bare minimum because we believe it’ll take us closer to our goals, and it’s a must-read.)
I want you — us — to learn that what we did counts.
What you managed to kick ass in today, matters — even if you didn’t get everything done.
How to feel proud of what you accomplished today
Tonight, when you’re about to head to bed, take a moment to think about everything you completed today. Take a couple of minutes to revel over the fact that you’re one step closer to your goal than you were this morning.
Imagine everything in detail. What you did, how you felt tired but pushed through, or how you loved every moment of it. Feel joy over what you accomplished.
Focus on what you did, not what you didn’t.
If you focus on what you didn’t finish today or on all the steps you have left, you’re going to feel like crap every night. Is that how you want to feel at the end of what you thought was a good day?
You’re going to ruin the love and passion you have for what you do if you keep feeling disappointed in yourself.
The lack and that hole you feel will push you to quit and to try something “more fulfilling.” There’s one thing you need to realize:
You are fulfilled — you just don’t let yourself feel it.
Take time to feel proud of yourself. You’ll feel happy, relieved, and more importantly, you’ll feel excited to do it again tomorrow.
Join my email list, The Badass B.I.S.H. Club, to get my free mini eBook, An Unapologetic Woman’s Manifesto.