I've been thinking a lot about the idea of "goals" and success, and how the whole January-1st-on-a-Monday situation has propelled us into this strange, whimsical start-of-the-year optimism. 

And the race to fulfill all the New Year's Resolutions begins.

Maybe you met with some people over the holidays and hey, someone just got engaged! Or a quick scroll through Instagram tells you about that promotion your friend just received. Not to mention the overly concerned relatives who are always a little too curious about your love life; as if we'd all die without a relationship status.

Be it comparison, peer/parental pressure, or by any other reason, everyone's been at that point in their lives where they feel like they haven't really achieved anything, have they? It's only natural, and I get it. Some 20-year-olds are still in uni, trying their best to make ends meet. But some 20-year-olds are married. Some other 20-year-olds own Google. (Probably.)

A lot can be said about "goals" and success, but the pattern is that it's always rather distant. Never quite within our reach yet. Consequently, we find ourselves stuck, thinking, I should've made it by now.


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However, despite all that, I think we owe it to ourselves to take a short pause. As humans, we tend to become so focused on the areas of our lives where we lack, that we forget to reflect upon the progress that we've made.

Alright, so maybe we're not Superman-ing our way through life. Maybe we don't have our lives figured out at an age where we thought we would've. Jobs get boring, chores pile up, and we grow tired of chasing unfulfilled dreams. But sometimes, though, it's the smaller accomplishments that keep us going. However tiny or insignificant, there is joy in taking note of the little things that make us say, "hey, I did that!". It eventually helps us to be more appreciative and grateful for our lives right now. Below is an example of a list that helped me get started.

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  1. Learning how to properly hold a baby. // You know those people who would see a newborn baby, then gladly reach their arms out 'cause they want to hold it? I am not one of those people. Where does the head go? Is this even right? Are my arms comfortable? It sends me into lowkey panic mode. Being the smallest child in the family, I never got to learn. Recently, though, I finally did! That is, learning how to hold my 2-month-old baby niece several times. It took a little practice (and some motherly tutorials from my sister), but I finally got the hang of it. I even successfully cradled her to sleep two different times. Not gonna brag, but watching her drift into sleep in my arms did make me feel like I deserve a gold medal. Because our house has been pretty hectic and some babysitting skills could really come in handy, it's moments like these that make me think hey, I might not be so bad of a babysitter after all. (Just kidding. Please don't start handing me your babies.)
  2. Learning new songs on the ukulele. // And my love for the ukulele prospers on. (I've found that some classics from Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley suit it pretty well.) Anyone who's tried learning a new instrument can relate to that utter happiness when you can feel your fingers getting used to playing the chords and becoming more fluent, and my new tiny renditions of Fly Me to the Moon have given me just that.
  3. Getting a start on my packing // I know I'm a person who likes to organize and stay on top of things, but people would be surprised to find out just how badly I can procrastinate. Packing is messy and tiring. In traveling, it's my least favorite part. But considering I'm about to not only travel, but move to another city, I had to start taking it a little more seriously this time. So I set a commitment to start last Thursday, and I did! And there are stacks of clothes laid out in my bedroom to serve as solid proof. 
  4. Allowing myself to have feelings. // Last but not least, sometimes our small achievements are ones that we experience on our own. How we've grown as human beings. Look back on the past 6-12 months, and you might find the little changes in yourself that have shaped you for the better into the person you are today; changes that may have gone unnoticed. Is it better anger management skills? Have you become more motivated? For me, it was the fact that I stopped my habit of supressing my emotions into a glass case. Now I've learned to sort of accept and navigate through the intensity of my feelings, instead of neglecting them.
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True, we musn't become complacent when revelling in these small victories – this message isn't intended to give us allowance to let our dreams loose, give up, and succumb to being a lazy couch potato either – but I think that sometimes, we need to give ourselves a little more credit. If not for running a marathon or being a perfect mother or acing an international scholarship, then simply for trying. You can be kind to yourself without deflating yourself.

Let the gap between where you are and where you want to be to encourage you, and not intimidate you. Let's continually make sure that we're not just standing still, and embrace how we are constantly growing and pressing onward. And on that journey, let's not forget to rejoice in our small minutes of triumph, the signals of progress we were too busy to realize, and in the many tiny milestones we've reached along the way. 

On that note, I hereby declare 2018 as a year of celebrating life's little achievements. I highly suggest you try and start a list of your own. You can even keep and write into it all throughout the year, and read it to yourself once the next December ends. You might be surprised at how much you've done. We might not be "there" yet, but be glad;

we are no longer where we once were.

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To little achievements,