What do you do when you get the end of another year and have so many things you wish you could have accomplished?

First of all, you most likely berate yourself. This is what I typically start with. Let your inner voice rip you to shreds. After all, you are the only person who could’ve done your life differently to achieve more of what you wanted. If you really wanted to, or simply cared enough, you could have done more.

All the voices of motivated movers and shakers in real life and online resonate in your head as they convince you THEY know the secret of how you could have achieved your goals. After all, they are professionals and certainly know what they are talking about. If you would just follow their advice!

Second, let the sinking feeling of regret move in to your chest cavity. As you beat yourself up internally, the regret will expand to fill every crevice to be sure you never forget all the things you wanted to get done this past year.

As regret lodges itself firmly, pressing into your lung capacity, note the shallow breathing. Taking in smaller doses of oxygen is surely appropriate penance for not having gotten up earlier, studied more, wasted less, run farther, or whatever last year’s resolution was about.



I’ve spent way too many December/Januarys enduring this self mis-treatment.

What if I had gotten ________ done? What would I have had to trade in order for it to happen?

A lot of my struggle is with having lofty expectations and aspirations, but not being aggressive or motivated enough to accomplish them.

Certainly, I would not berate someone for having the willpower to follow through with goals, but maybe there’s another way to look at it as well. For someone {like me} who has a tad bit different wiring. Less energy to work with or smaller margins in which to live and move.

See, I know myself and that when I push hard, I get stressed, and tense, and stop being loving to the people I love. Particularly the ones in my home. And myself. A long season of unidentified stress took quite a toll on me physically.

But its SO HARD to not fall into the trap of rushing to keep up with all those people who are cranking out results!

But its just not me.

So instead this year, every time one of those thoughts of “You should have gotten more done” launch an attack on me, I have been answering with what I have gotten done.

  • I’ve spent more time healing from years of being over stressed (carried over from 2016).
  • I’ve raised 5 chicks to laying hens.
  • I’ve driven to pick up kids from various after school activities.
  • I’ve grieved the loss of a kitten
  • I’ve had several meals with girl friends, talking for hours.
  • I’ve taken a few over-night trips with my husband.
  • I’ve finished reading 3 non-fiction books. (Let’s not dwell on the fact that 3 is such a small number and to make it more so, I started two of the books in a previous year).
  • I’ve also had many meetings about a business idea, written a large chunk of a business plan, and spent many hours hashing out details of the operation.
  • I worked to keep the pool clean and supervised to keep the children safe in it.
  • I have lovingly made meals, and then been gracious with myself when I needed to say “tonight is fend for yourself night”.
  • I have remembered to take my daily supplements and vitamins (for the most part, anyway).
  • Sent birthday cards to family.
  • Participated with the band at church, even stepping into the role of band leader once a month.
  • I’ve scheduled and remembered to show up for dentist appointments and well checks.
  • Fetched groceries each week along with other errands.
  • We’ve hosted dinners with friends, and attended parties we’ve been invited to.
  • Spent large chunks of time with extended family.

So what would I have traded to have been able to do something that remains on my “to-do” list?

And my answer is resoundingly “nothing”. I wouldn’t trade any of it. Human limitations are simply an unfortunate symptom of being finite. Its been a long road for me to be able to say that, but its so true. I can only be in one place at a time. There’s only so much I can do or reasonably expect.

Therefore, regret can’t live here.

Not when I own the fact that I did all I could. Not that I worked like a dog around the clock but it means I grew. I didn’t do ~nothing~. I’m not the same I was at the beginning of the year. I’m not perfect, and I may not be very much further down the path, but I’m definitely NOT in the exact same spot I was a year ago.

And that thought is the balm that soothes the anxious regret of a year-end review.

Thank you Jesus.