Why Appreciating Your Past Matters

I’m getting all philosophical and whatnot lately, and I apologize and promise I will share a great recipe post soon. However, I was thinking today about comparisons. How often do you compare yourself to someone else? (I’m completely guilty). Whether you’d trade a kidney for Carrie Underwood’s legs or you’re jealous over your friend’s big new promotion, comparison is an unfortunate part of our daily lives.

However, it’s ironic and kind of sad that most people rarely stop to compare their current selves to their past selves. We spend all day thinking about ourselves in relation to others, but we rarely stop to take a minute and appreciate how far we’ve come. You can probably list off ten things that you still have yet to accomplish, but it will take you longer to rattle off just as many things that you’ve managed to do over the past year. It doesn’t matter how much progress you’ve made, the natural instinct is to think, “Okay, next I want to do _____, so I need to do ___  to get there. Ugh. This seems nearly impossible.”

While having goals is completely necessary and you should always push yourself to the next level, it’s also important to give yourself some credit once in a while. Today I was thinking about my magazine writing career, and getting frustrated that I haven’t achieved everything I hope to do yet. Then I thought to myself, “Self, compared to where you were two years ago when you started writing, you’ve made huge progress. You’ve accomplished things that you had only hoped for when you began. Time to chill a little bit.”

There’s a fine line between pushing yourself forward and refusing to take time to feel good about the things you’ve already achieved. Yes, I want to move out of my hometown, but I should also acknowledge the fact that in the past year I was able to find a job that I love. I have plenty of things left on my “to do” list, but there are also several checked boxes on that same list.

The next time you’re thinking about how far you have to go on a goal, also take some time to consider the progress you’ve made already. Look forward to your future, but don’t forget to take some time to appreciate your past.


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  1. It sounds tacky but every year I make a google doc with my goals for the year, but also made a point to write down the things I have accomplished since the last year, too. Makes me feel better. I am totally hard on myself about where I am in my career, but I try to remember that a lot of successful magazine writers I admire are like ten years older than me, so we still have time 🙂

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