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Grateful for the Wins (Or, How To Stop Being So Hard On Yourself)

My sweet friend Kyla and one lucky hedgehog.

You never have to tell me what I didn’t accomplish.

Manuscripts left unfinished, closets unorganized, kickboxing classes skipped…I swear there’s a constant tally of my failures running through my brain.
This can make it hard to appreciate what I did accomplish during the year. And what’s more motivating–thinking about how you made a positive difference, either in your own life or someone else’s, or beating yourself up about all the stuff you didn’t get around to?
About halfway through the year, I decided to keep a list of “wins.” Wins could be anything I was proud of–I kept the criteria pretty open. This was a lot easier than keeping a daily gratitude journal. No matter how busy you are, you probably have time to jot down a few wins each month as they happen. (I find Mac’s Notes program perfect for this. It’s like Post-It Notes that you’ll never lose.)
As the New Year approaches, I thought I’d share my Top Ten Wins of 2014 with you. I’d love to hear yours too. Please share as many as you feel comfortable with in the comments.
And Happy New Year!
Top Ten Wins of 2014 
1) I celebrated three years of being completely debt-free in July. This was a huge accomplishment for me.
2) I submitted my work to agents and publishers for the first time in five years. To do so, I had to overcome the fear and wariness I’d felt since leaving my former agent.
3) A blind man discovered an incredible eye doctor through an article I wrote, and now he can see again. This may have been the highlight of my entire year.
4) I let a good friend know about a homeless hedgehog. In less than 24 hours, she was homeless no more!
5) A blog post I wrote about how a deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to depression changed the life of one of my readers.
6) In January of this year, I visited a wonderful English school in Bali. In November, I sponsored one of its students, a lovely girl named Ros.
7) After planning to submit story ideas to national and international magazines for years, I finally did. My article on Curacao was published in Up! Magazine this month.
8) Samhain Publishing chose my novella to appear in their Childhood Fears anthology next October. My story will appear on its own in ebook form next May.
9) Even though I was scared as hell, I signed up for a trip to China with fifteen strangers. It was one of the best things I’d ever done.
10) A pitch letter I helped an editing client with got a request from a publisher!
What was your best win of the year? Please share! How do you keep the focus on your accomplishments instead of your failings?
Photo credit: Kyla Roma
Thanks for reading!
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  1. Carrie-Anne

    Congratulations on all your successes and accomplishments! I released three books this year, seriously got back into my artwork (colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and pastels), wrote over 200,000 words on my massive WIP and brought it almost to the finish line (I started it in November 2012), won my first official NaNo at just shy of 75,000 words during November, and made a commitment to increase my observance of kosher.

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Wow, those are some amazing accomplishments, Carrie-Anne! Congratulations, and thanks so much for sharing them.

      It sounds like you had a really creative, productive year. And to overshoot NaNo? Way to go! I find it a struggle to hit my 50K.

      All the best in 2015!

  2. VYC

    Though maybe not as impactful as yours here’s my list in chronological order (more or less):

    1)Learning a new position in football mid way through the season

    2) Travelling to Thailand

    3)Listening to my body during pregnancy while continuing to workout

    4) Learning to acknowledge my strengths at work

    5) Having my beautiful baby boy

    6) Travelling to San Francisco, Calgary, and Waterloo with our 4 month old

    7) Supporting my husband and his goal of competing at a high level sport during the first 4 months after our son was born.

    8) Carving time out for myself post pregnancyby getting back to the gym

    9) Realizing that when it comes to parenting, you have to trust your instincts and you have to do what is right for your family

    10) Learning to ask for help (still not great at this one but improving)

    11) Becoming a better cook by trying more recipes

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Welcome back, Vanessa! It’s always nice to hear from you. And not as impactful? It’s not a competition, but you had a CHILD! Pretty hard to beat that for impact.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your wins. I loved reading them, and I am, as always, one of your biggest fans.

      Which high-level sport did Jason compete in? I’d love to see both of you at KWest again.

      Happy New Year!

    • VYC

      Jason played Ultimate at the National Championships. I am very proud of him.

      Maybe one day we ‘ll get back to kickboxing, right now it’s pretty difficult to schedule it in.

      Happy New Year too!

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      I hope so, Vanessa. It’s not the same without you guys!

      Of course, this also means that it won’t be YOU hitting me during the green prajioud test, so I’ll take comfort in that small silver lining. 😉

      Please tell Jason congrats for me. Ultimate’s a tough sport–good for him!

  3. Kyla Roma

    Your wins are so fabulous! I love that Ramona is on there too, thank you for being our match maker 🙂

    I love having lists like this, I try to check in every week and write out my challenges & celebrations and I find it really helpful.

    My biggest wins this year have been:

    1. Ending my business partnership & going solo. It was scary, but so positive.

    2. Making plans with my husband to have kids (so I can bring a whole crew to visit you when you move to the island! Mwahaha)

    3. Being invited to become a certified business coach!

    The biggest difference I’ve found on keeping track of my wins is that I’m always proving what I’m capable of to myself, and I’ve become much more certain of my abilities – and more willing to ask for what I need and take action. Which just brings more goodness into my life

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks for the positive reinforcement, Kyla! And of course Ramona is on the list–I’ve tried many times to match homeless animals with new owners, but this is the first time it’s been a success. It was a great and happy moment for you, for Ramona, and for me. 🙂

      I had no idea about #2. Wow, that’s a big step. You’ve definitely had a life-changing year. I am very proud of you for taking such huge leaps in your professional and personal lives.

  4. nicola bennett

    Love this! It’s that time of year when everyone gets busy looking forward and making resolutions and, speaking for myself at least, it can be all too easy to forget to glance back and remember what was so very good about the year and what you have achieved. Thanks for making me stop and think. Here’s a few of my wins from the year….
    1) Remembering what’s important – family, friends, family, friends, family, friends
    2) Fulfilling a lifelong ambition and standing on the Great Wall of China
    3) Braving the unknown and travelling solo
    4) Exploring new countries and cultures – Latvia, China, HK, Bali and Burma
    5) Getting the work/life balance tipped more towards Life

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Hello, Nicola! I’ve missed you.

      I, for one, am so glad you accomplished number two, because if you hadn’t, I would have never met you, and you’re amazing. That trip would have suffered without your kindness, your wit, and your smile. I felt comfortable with you right away.

      I always struggle with balance as well. I’m glad you got things tipped in the right direction.

      Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing your wins.

  5. Holly

    I love this! I don’t know why it’s so much easier to keep track of failures than wins, but I’m definitely going to try to change that nasty habit in myself by keeping track of my wins in the coming year, whether they’re big or small. Some of my wins from 2014:
    – Getting back into riding after almost 4 years out of the saddle
    – Starting a home business and making more than my goal every single month
    – Writing, writing, writing!

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Welcome to my blog, Holly, and thanks so much for commenting and sharing your wins! I’m glad this post resonated with you.

      I love your wins. I’m so grateful that I’m able to work from home again, and it’s always nice to hear of others who are successful. I’ll have a post about that up on Wednesday morning (Dec 31) if you’re interested.

      Love horses too. Happy New Year, and congrats! Hope to see you here again.

  6. Donelle Lacy

    You have some amazing wins, Holli. It isn’t always easy to focus on the wins and not the fails, so it’s a great idea to write them down. I put mine in a journal, but some stand out to me beyond that. A few of my wins this year were:

    1. had a private meeting with and got advice from two big agency lit agents

    2. made a professional and personal connection with a fellow illustrator in my area.

    3. had thousands of dollars’ worth of renovation done on my house, covered by insurance. (due to hailstorm)

    4. created a new illustration portfolio that’s suitable to query

    5. developed a deeper passion for my spiritual walk and greater enthusiasm for what God will do through me.

    Here’s wishing you more happiness and success in the coming year!

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Welcome back, Donelle! Glad to hear you’re doing well.

      It sounds like you accomplished a lot in 2014, and some really amazing things too! Congrats. It’s so important to make connections and to keep marketing, even as we create, but it’s not an easy thing to do.

      I’m very proud of you, and am so glad you took the time to share.

      Happy New Year! I’ll be rooting for you in 2015.

    • Donelle Lacy

      Thanks, Holli! Sharing is going to be part of my goals for 2015 – to bring the social back to my blogging. I just need to learn to keep momentum. I’m looking forward to a great year in 2015. Happy New Year!

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Strange…I was just this second thinking of you. (Going through my Feedly list of blogs to read.)

      Let’s have an awesome year! We deserve it.

    • Donelle Lacy

      hehe, that’s awesome! I’m going to read your latest post now and comment on that one too. 😉 Gearing up to write my own!

      (new posts of yours don’t show up on my blogroll for some reason, but I’ve started going straight to the blog to check instead.)

  7. Sarah Zama

    I love this idea! I always think that I didn’t do much over any year, but actually if I think about it, there are things I’m happy about

    1. I finally have the first novel in my trilogy ready for submission (well, it will be very soon. I revised it three times this years)

    2. Started a small activity as jewellery maker and hope it will become something more important in the future

    3. Started my own blog. I’m enjoying it beyond I’ve ever expected to do

    Not many wins, but I expect more to come from these. Let’s hope that.

    Thanks for coming up with this idea. 2014 looked like a very dull year on the whole, but really it wasn’t 🙂

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Hello Sarah, and welcome to my blog! It sounds like you accomplished a lot in 2014, and just think of all the things you can’t recall, that you didn’t have a chance to write down.

      If this post inspired you to celebrate yourself a bit, I’ll take that as a win!


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