The summit at Temescal Canyon Trail
I have been training in martial arts for eight years and every year at this time, Master Turnhout exhorts us to make a Victory List and a Vision List. The Victory List is everything we accomplished last year. The Vision List is everything we want for next year. It’s a great goal-setting tool. For me, knowing what I want to accomplish in the future is rarely the hard part. I am ambitious by nature and I tend to always be striving. I look forward all the time, no matter what. “What’s next?” is the question that’s always on my lips. It’s one of the things that has been hardest about this time. Forward momentum is pretty tough to cultivate during a global pandemic! I’m a planner. I love to come up with a vision for the future- a plan. I have lived enough to know it will change and it must be flexible. But my little type A personality is always happiest when there’s some kind of plan in place. So I’ll make that Vision List like I do every year…actually, I may save myself some time and just print out my list for 2020 and change the number at the top!!!
For me, looking back is harder. I sit and scratch my head for the longest time trying to come up with anything I accomplished last year. My list usually starts by lamely co opting things I didn’t really do but rather kind of witnessed- like victories my kids had. Gradually, I warm up to things I actually did. It’s usually kind of surprising. I think I am resistant because I feel like I shouldn’t look back. It’s like if I shift my focus from the future for one second, I’ll lose sight of my goal. I get so stuck in my rut of striving, I feel like I can’t allow myself a moment of recognition.
But here’s the thing: giving myself that little pat on the back actually spurs me on. It’s like being on a hike and focusing on the summit. It’s easy to keep saying “Ugh, I’m not there yet!” But if you turn around and look down the mountain you see how far you’ve come. It gives you perspective. Goals aren’t really destinations. They are markers on your journey. The fact is, as soon as you achieve a goal, you inherently set another one. There isn’t any intrinsic value in the goal itself, it’s how you got there. That’s why it’s important to look behind you and honor that journey.
So today, as we head into 2021 (thank GOD!), I will be doing both. I will be creating my Vision for the next year. Where do I see myself in all areas of my life? Where do I want to be? And I will look at this difficult year as it moves into my rearview mirror and ask myself “What were my Victories?” Both tasks are equally important to moving ahead in the New Year and I definitely plan on that!