Wisdom//

Small Things We’re Proud of From the Last Year

Taking a moment to celebrate our small wins can help us build self-confidence, stay consistent, and reach our goals.

Fizkes/ Shutterstock
Fizkes/ Shutterstock

If you’ve read Your Time to Thrive, you know it’s all about the power of celebrating small wins. So many of us shy away from acknowledging when we accomplish something great, but taking a moment to truly be proud of ourselves can help us build self-confidence, stay consistent in our habits, and continue to unlock our potential. 

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the small habits, moments, and accomplishments they feel proud of from the last year. Which of these wins resonates with you?

Starting a new career from home

“After freelancing for 17 years and being CEO of my three kids, I re-entered the corporate world in 2020.  I had eight weeks of meeting new people, running events, and communicating organizational messaging before COVID-19 sent us all home to find our way virtually. As frightening as it was to take that leap initially, I have grown exponentially as a person and even earned a ‘Rookie of the Year’ award at our staff appreciation event in February. I’m so thankful that I took a chance on myself and was open to a new chapter.”

—Siobhan Kukolic, author, inspirational speaker and life coach, Toronto, ON, Canada

Learning a new skill set 

“Had there been no pandemic, I would have never learned to record, produce, and edit The Discovery Orchestra’s radio bi-weekly show, ‘Inside Music’ here in my home music studio.  What a wonderful sense of accomplishment to have learned this new skill set at age 73!”

—George Marriner Maull, artistic director at The Discovery Orchestra, Bedminster, N.J.

Finishing a forgotten project

“I published my first book, Everyday Self-Care and Your High-Needs Child! My husband asked for a divorce at the beginning of the pandemic and I lost my motivation to finish it. I used the self-care ideas in my book and my motivation came back. I’m proud of myself for completing what I started.”

—Natalie Brobin, writer, Oceanside, CA

Teaching an online course

“Because of the lockdown, I was able to take a training course online instead of traveling to another country. Since that training, I have found the confidence to teach it to others online and even publish a book. I would not have been able to take that training course if it wasn’t switched to a virtual course, and it has become a turning point in my career.”

—Laurie Jonas, blogger and author, Red Wing, MN

Connecting with like-minded people

“The pandemic made me aware that technology can allow us to connect with like-minded people. This year, I created an online mental health campaign called ‘Just Another Illness.’ Since May 2020, it has grown from just an Instagram page to a full blown website with numerous collaborations including people all over the globe. I have been able to campaign against stigma associated with mental illnesses through the art of storytelling, online zoom sessions, and dance workshops. It is a huge honor to have made the little contribution that I have been able to make. I’ll always remember 2020 as the year I realized my own strength and saw that I could inspire others.”

—Ridhima Bhasin, chartered accountant, London, U.K.

Starting therapy

“I’m proud of myself for taking the time to reset my body and my mind during the pandemic by going to therapy. I found a therapist that would work with me several times a week to help me grieve and heal. As a busy mom and entrepreneur, I’d only spend half the time that was needed to heal my body and mind up until COVID. I was exhausted from burning the candle at both ends for 15 years. Though this pandemic has been difficult and challenging, it also was a gift for me to really cope and heal at a deeper level. As I raise my teenage daughter, I want to show her that it’s OK to take care of yourself without burning out.”

—Lisa Hawkins, dating and relationship coach, Asheville, N.C.

Teaching our kids to cook

“My small win from this past year has been showing my kids how to cook. Taking time away from schoolwork to teach them has been mind-blowing. Some dishes have been successful, and others not so much. Going through cookbooks to find and cook recipes from scratch opened a whole new world for them. Not only can they prepare simple meals, but they have also learned to enjoy eating more exotic foods than our regular pasta with tomato sauce dishes. Teaching them how to navigate the kitchen is a small accomplishment I probably would not have attempted without the pandemic.”

—Christine Vann, freelance writer and founder of a parenting website, Ireland

Reaching our movement goals

“I received an Apple Watch as a gift in December, and my movement Microstep was to close my three activity rings (exercise, movement and stand) each day. My goal is to ensure I’m not sitting for long periods of time so I ensure I stand and move every hour. I use a watch face that shows how far along I am on my daily goal, and this motivates me to keep moving so I can reach my movement goal each day. I try to exercise for half an hour, so I either walk, run, or do strength training. I’m happy to say I’ve met all of my monthly activity challenges since I’ve received the watch. It’s been the best gift for my movement goals.”

—Radhika Cruz, master trainer, Edmond, OK

Keeping up with our writing

“I’m proud of myself for keeping up with my writing and practicing mindfulness. Some of the pieces I wrote offering tips for practicing mindfulness were picked up by major media outlets, and the comments I received made me feel a sense of gratitude. I was able to help others feel a bit less alone.”

—Kristin Meekhof, author and wellness expert, Royal Oak, MI 

Starting a podcast

“This last year has been trying for all of us. I had been working on a project about travel and healing, seen through the eyes of seven people putting their lives back together after cancer treatment. But with Covid, travel was on hold, and so was this film series. After three weeks, I brushed myself off and decided to start a podcast, called, ‘Bump In The Road,’ where we explore how people experience, manage and navigate the ups and downs of life, using our hard times as a way to pivot into a more conscious and meaningful path. I love the podcast and am incredibly proud of it. It’s allowed me to use Covid as a means of connecting with incredibly inspiring people all over the world, and sharing their stories.”

—Pat Wetzel, podcaster, Santa Fe, N.M.

Staying optimistic

“I’m proud of myself for sailing through last year with a sense of maturity that I never thought existed in me. I accepted the challenges and changes brought on by the pandemic, and did not get upset about staying home and focusing on myself and my family. It was a surprise for me, as I always believed I had to step out every once in a while to function normally. I would give myself a pat on the back for being an optimist throughout these challenging times.”

—Aakriti Agarwal, coach and organizational psychologist, Hyderabad, India

Taking time to look inward

“One of the most valuable lessons that this pandemic taught me is about being a good and intuitive listener. Listening to my own intuition, showing up for myself, and tapping into an ongoing dialogue of awareness has supported my own growth and happiness. I realized that it was more important than ever to set boundaries and to make daily decisions in my business and in my life that reflected self-love, kindness, and personal respect. This deeper connection to honoring my self-judgment and decision-making has been game-changing.”

—Randi Levin, transitional life strategist, N.Y./N.J.

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