Reflect on your gains, not your gaps

Have you noticed that the reality of where you are seldom matches where you want to be?

This is especially true for type-A goal-oriented people.

There always seems to be a gap between how you imagined things to unfold and what actually happened.

What’s worse is that most of us have an inner critic that constantly moves the goalposts even when everything happens exactly like we imagined.

What we’ve got is never enough. We are never enough!

This happens because our natural proclivity is to focus on the gap and ignore the gains.

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the incredible power of gratitude. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably decided not to "celebrate mediocrity."

Well, I have good news!

But first, I want to be clear: I’m not saying never to look forward and strive for more. What I am saying is also to celebrate the gains along the way.

If you’re feeling like you’re not measuring up to your dream, remind your inner critic that the dreams are imaginary, while the gains are very real.

At first, if you’re not adept at practicing gratitude, you might find it difficult to spot and celebrate your gains—it’s okay!

You wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon if you’ve never even finished a 5K. You’d start with a lap around the block without stopping. And then slowly build from there.

Start small.

Start by looking at the past week and asking yourself, “If I wanted to remember one good thing about this week, what might that be?

Give yourself permission to find joy in little things.

You might have to wait for your inner critic to quiet down if it’s used to having center stage in your head. But when it pauses for a second, and you start to notice little sparks of joy here and there—fix that feeling in your memory to return to when your critic pipes up again.

Finish the metaphorical lap, even if you have to stop for your critic every 30 seconds. It will get easier with practice, faster than you can imagine.