Small victories

Do you ever feel like you aren't enough? Here is one easy way to celebrate the small things you do each day.

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  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Sarah Westover McKenna's blog, Bombshell Bling. It has been modified and republished here with permission.

  • Earlier this year, I was all jazzed up about my New Year's Resolutions. I had some pretty lofty goals, as I am sure that many of you did as well. They are all goals worth making and striving toward, but they are also goals that seem rather daunting. Here is the list that I made during our New Year's Eve Family Night: Be better with budgeting and saving money. Find a better work/family balance. Improve my attitude about my trials. Continued blog growth. Spend more time with friends and less time at the computer. Teach my boy to read. Go to bed earlier. Find more mental health stability. Make God a priority. Get healthier physically and lose 50 pounds.

  • Now that I read the list, maybe it doesn't SOUND as daunting as it feels. But, the thing is, I know in my head all of the layers and details of those fairly straight forward goals. For instance: "Be better with budgeting and saving money." Pretty straightforward, right? Or maybe not. In my head that means spreadsheets and calculations, piles of receipts, eating out less, no impulse buys for the kids or splurges for myself, etc. It is VERY overwhelming. And don't even get me started on the weight loss goal. I'm working on it slowly but surely but I hate carefully monitoring what I eat. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. But I need to return to a healthier BMI, so it is time to buckle down.

  • Anyway, mid-January I was feeling hopelessly overwhelmed by these goals and like a big, fat failure. And then I remembered something that I had seen my sister doing in her apartment long ago. She had a poster board on her wall labeled "Small Victories" (or something akin to that), and all over it were post-it notes with her small victories on them. I asked her about it and she told me that whenever she felt like she wasn't accomplishing anything in her life she tried to think of the small victories that she had recently accomplished, and then she started writing them down and slapping them onto her poster board every night. By the time I saw that poster board it was COVERED with small yellow post-it notes. COVERED. Which didn't surprise me a bit, because I think of her as one of the most remarkable and accomplished people that I know.

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  • I don't think we ever see ourselves and our accomplishments the way that others do. I am far, FAR too hard on myself, and I would bet money that most of you are as well. I just never think that I am enough. In my head I am not doing enough with my life, not doing enough for my kids, not doing enough to be a great friend, not doing enough to support and love my husband, not doing enough in my relationship with God, not thin enough or fashionable enough or glamorous enough. Just … not enough. But, you know what? I'm doing my best and striving to be better, and that's good enough. Good enough for my kids, my husband, my friends, and even God. Every person on that list knows my heart and sees my efforts. So I have started tracking my small victories in order to attempt to see those efforts and appreciate my growth within myself. It's not fail proof, but it is working.

  • Some of the "victories" that I write down are silly, some of them are very small, some of them are actually quite significant, and some of them are hard but important. I would love to share some of them with you now, just to keep it real.

  • {Chic-Fil-A #1}

  • I must say, these may have been the hardest-to-accomplish victories of the week: No Chic-Fil-A breakfasts (why does it have to be RIGHT by the preschool?) and no buying Dr. Pepper for the house (where I guzzle it like it's my job).

  • {Prayed #2}

  • You may notice praying on my knees being a victory. The problem is the house is so chilly at night, so I always hop into my bed and get warm in a hurry and then remember that I haven't said my nightly prayers. Far too often I decide to pray lying there in bed, which wouldn't be a big deal if I didn't ALWAYS fall asleep in the middle of them. It doesn't help that it's usually 1 or 2 in the morning … which leads to the next picture.

  • {Bedtime #3}

  • That's right, going to bed by midnight three times in a week is a victory. A rather big one actually. I have always been a night owl, but I think it's time to face the fact that I'm not in college anymore and go to bed at a reasonable hour!

  • {Made Appt. #4}

  • This one was the most important: made an appointment to talk about my meds. I have made it no secret on my blog that I struggle with major depression, especially after my babies are born. I have even mentioned seeing a psychiatrist in the past. I think there is a stigma around psychiatrists, but the truth is that lots of people see therapists and get a depression med from their doctor. This is just killing two birds with one stone. I used to do it separately, but I am so glad that I see a straight up psychiatrist now because she is so much more expert on the medications that I need.

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  • As you may have noticed, many of the victory post-it notes that I didn't point out mentioned blog stuff. Even the ones that didn't specify blog work had it dancing around behind them, believe me. Choosing to play with the kids or snuggle instead of blog work. Going to bed early (instead of blog work). Spending time with friend (instead of blog work). Going to a yoga class (instead of blog work). On and on it goes. I love having a creative outlet, a community of support from my readers and fellow bloggers, and I love being able to contribute a bit of revenue to our family's finances, but I was doing too much. I posted an average of five to six times a week during the holiday months, especially December. Lots of coordinating with brands, lots of projects, just … LOTS. I felt like I couldn't sleep, relax or enjoy my family. I was one big ball of stress.

  • When January came I promised myself that I would cut back. But then I didn't right away. I had a hard time letting go. But finally I jumped on the "one little word" bandwagon and decided on my word for the year: BALANCE. I desperately need more of it in my life. More time to spend with my children, more time to read a good book, more time to snuggle my husband while we watch shows instead of having a computer in my lap at all times, more time to cook healthy meals, more time to be active, more time to spend with friends, more time to SLEEP.

  • Please take the time to celebrate your small victories. Goals and resolutions are no reason to allow yourself to get discouraged and depressed. Just keep trying your best and you will make a little bit of progress each day. We can do it together!

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Sarah Westover McKenna is the creative mind behind the blog Bombshell Bling and Bombshell Bling Jewelry. A former elementary school teacher and current stay-at-home-mom, Sarah spends her time snuggling her kids, enjoying great food with her husband, gabbing with friends, belting out songs in her kitchen, and working on her creative endeavors. Sarah is a great lover of holidays, bling, and s'mores. Sarah received a Bachelor's Degree in elementary education with a minor in music from Brigham Young University.

Website: http://www.bombshellbling.com

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