Could writing a victory list help you prioritize, focus, and celebrate your accomplishments? Let me explain what I mean by ‘victory list’ and why I started writing one.
As I wrote previously, my son’s father passed away unexpectedly in February. The first couple of weeks after Jose’s death, I was in a fog of grief and trying to manage what felt like a hundred moving parts. Comforting my children. Making funeral plans. Embracing visitors. Writing thank you notes. Integrating a new dog into our family. Helping sort and move things from Jose’s apartment. Going to counseling appointments. Figuring out new routines. Adjusting to 24/7 life as a single parent.
If you’ve ever experienced a difficult loss, you’ll understand my realization that it didn’t matter if I woke up feeling blue or overwhelmed — life relentlessly insisted that we go on.
That can sometimes be a good thing. It’s just not always an easy thing.
The counselor told me that I had to make time to care for myself, and while I knew she was right the practical application of how to do that was less clear. In those early, foggy days, I began writing a list of small accomplishments.
“Had a nice bath.”
“Went to church.”
“Enjoyed adult conversation and watched the sun set with Leslie.”
“Turned in my article on time.”
“Finished the taxes.”
“Got my hair cut.”
“Took a walk around the neighborhood.”
The list was a touchstone, a way to record the small, simple things that were challenging and important at the time.
At the end of the month, I reviewed the list and felt good and hopeful. So I started a new list the following month, and felt similarly satisfied 30 days later. Now I’m on Victory List #3.
Keeping a list of victories is a way for me to quiet the little voice (the one I try to ignore) that says I don’t do enough.
My list is proof that we’re making progress, and it helps me stay hopeful about the days to come.
How about you?
I know you’re dealing with your own challenges. Could jotting down your small victories help you recognize and celebrate your accomplishments?
Aside from the typical ‘to do’ tasks we all have, what would you like to see on your victory list? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Hugs and happy weekend,
Photo: Zoë Biggs