One Saturday a few weeks ago, I found myself in need of a major attitude adjustment.
My Bad Attitude
When we moved into our new-to-us home in West Virginia this summer, we noticed the beauty of the mature trees on the property. My excitement built when temperatures cooled and the leaves began taking on the vibrant hues of fall. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the raking of all those leaves. We haven’t lived anywhere where we needed to rake since our oldest was a toddler.
With a chip on my shoulder and a snarl in my lip, I grabbed the rake from my dear hubby’s hand and set to work on the front yard.
My rake brushed through the yard separating the dry and brittle remains of our brilliant fall from the green grass we hope will return lush next spring. I started at the side closest to the driveway and moved methodically along in three foot swaths, perpendicular to the road. I kept my head down, focused on the movement of the rake back and forth in front of my brown winter boots (another necessity I’m still trying to wrap my brain around).
After some time, my attitude became unbearable. I didn’t know how much I disliked raking. I began thinking maybe we should cut down some of these oaks and maples and dogwoods so we don’t have to bother with the monotonous chore next year. My mind wandered to all the more productive things I could have been doing. My gloved hands hurt and my arms were starting to tighten up. When I realized this was less that a quarter of our property, I heaved the rake down on top of my leaf pile and stomped through our red front door pretending I needed a glass of water.
Focus Effects Feelings
All I could think of was how far I still had to go. I stared blindly into the fridge unable to focus on what I’d come to fetch. I slammed the doors and as the condiments rattled, I let out a half-sigh, half-groan, realizing the leaves weren’t going to rake themselves. So I crammed my feet in my boots as I fantasized about an outdoor roomba and stepped back out on to the porch. As I shoved my hands into my cheetah print gloves, I looked up.
I hadn’t even realized how far I had come. I had been so focused on the task and how far I had to go, I forgot to look back and see how much I’d already accomplished. When I picked the rake back up my whole attitude was different. Seeing how far I’d come motivated me to keep going.
Acknowledging my accomplishments adjusted my attitude.
And, I’ve noticed it works in other areas of my life, too.
I know this may sound a little hypocritical from the girl who said tracking progress can impede productivity last summer, but I’m learning the importance of looking back, remembering how far I’ve come. I had some lofty goals and dreams on my vision board this year. But as the calendar pages flipped closer to 2018, some of my dreams seemed only to slip further out of my reach, causing me to question my purpose here and creating frustration.
I didn’t get my Marriage Maintenance workbooks published and I can’t even complete them on my own at this point. I wasn’t able to keep up with my Masterpiece Monday series and monthly craft tutorials fell by the wayside long before our summer move. And, I haven’t even started gathering women around My Messy Desk here in West Virginia yet. We didn’t manage to have date night consistently and I didn’t “date” my boys individually like I’d hoped. I still don’t have the perfect pair of red shoes to inspire me to be more like my friend Grey. I didn’t complete the 100 mile swim challenge or book a single speaking engagement all year. My gallery wall hasn’t hung itself and there’s a room in our new-to-us home to which we don’t dare open the door.
Focusing on my failures made me feel defeated.Focusing on failures makes me feel defeated, but acknowledging accomplishments adjusts my attitude. Click To Tweet
But… But God. He accomplished things I didn’t even dare imagine back in January.
I collaborated with the author of Move Toward the Mess for a challenging summer series and study group that miraculously managed to thrive despite my move.
God inspired ideas for three more book titles and enough content to keep this blog going for the foreseeable future.
My Etsy shop has been reenergized and my craft sales covered the design costs for my marriage workbooks.
I was interviewed in my very first podcast.
I have prayed like never before, including 72 consecutive prayers for marraige.
I discovered that I really enjoy my children more than I expected to at this stage in life.
My marriage is moving toward more masterpiece than mess because of the series I didn’t want to write and I’ve got women lined up to take on another 12 week challenge in January! Join the Facebook community HERE to transform your own marriage.
I served 4 editing clients, helping them improve their writing skills.
I know my worth isn’t defined by this label, but I became an “author” without even knowing it was happening. Thanks to my friend Jana Kennedy-Spicer of Sweet to the Soul who took some devotions I sent her expecting them to be used for a blog series and turned them in to a beautiful devotional booklet and Bible Art Journalling kit titled I Am Not Alone.
And I learned to make my own butter and kombucha and my car fits in the garage.
Focusing on my accomplishments flooded me with encouragment.
Your Turn to Acknowledge Accomplishments
Now, it’s your turn! Take a look back at 2017 and do a mental inventory. If you made a Motivational Masterpiece board this year, dust it off and see what you notice. Contemplate the changes that happened in the important areas of your life. Remember, your focus effects your feelings, so be sure it’s aimed in the right direction.
What did you hope to accomplish in 2017? Did you reach your goals? What have you accomplished instead of those dreams? How does acknowledging those accomplishments encourage you as you set your sights on 2018?
Be sure to swing by next week, when I take you back even further to see how My Messy Desk began.
2017 Reader Survey
Help me to better serve you. I don’t believe in coincidences, so if you’re here today, even if it’s your first time visiting, I want you to take my reader survey. Let your voice be heard and help me plan content to best support your 2018 goals! Take the 10 question survey HERE.
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light.