Is it a bad thing if, in the course of your life, you don’t “accomplish” anything?

I know what some of you are thinking: Don’t we all accomplish things just by existing every day? We go to elementary and high school. 35% graduate college. We hold jobs and buy houses and cars. We raise families. We have jobs. We all have a laundry list of things that we start and complete- which we do and we should give ourselves lots of credit for these daily and lifelong wins. But what about those slightly out of reach things? Is it bad if we never reach for something that is sort of out of our league?

The other day, I wrote about how I decided, after years of filling up Google Docs, that I wanted to send some of my writing off to contests. I wanted to try to “do” something so I would feel like a writer. Some people reminded me that if you write, you’re a writer- a sentiment which I wholly believe- this is a very true statement that I have told legions of people I know who write. Right now though, at this stage of my life, I guess I feel I need to accomplish something- namely, have someone other than myself say that my writing is OK: have someone other than myself choose to publish it. Would it be a bad this if I didn’t try to do anything else with my writing?

How do we feel about accomplishments?

Does everyone need to have something to strive for?

Have you ever set a goal, like cooking all the recipes from a cookbook, or winning a local darts trophy?

Tell me about something you accomplished, a goal you set and met- OR- tell me why you don’t think it’s important to set a goal.

Discuss:

83 thoughts on “Accomplish That…

  1. For me, my personal goals are one of the spices of life, they enrich my day to day experience. I have set and accomplished lots and lots of big and small goals..honesty, none of them were for anyone else but me. Say what you want about the “bucket list fad” way before that was a thing, I was actively working on a “25 things to do before I die” list. Had to revisit that list again a few years ago, because I’d checked most of the original items off my list. I highly recommend setting goals. Even taught several workshops @ our local community college on this topic. Fun post LA!

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  2. Yes, I set goals for myself. I’m a list maker and a goal-setter. My most satisfying goal-setting was signing up for the NYC marathon in 2011. For someone who has never been an “athlete” it was a staggering challenge, but to complete it at age 65 was right up there as a personal accomplishment. I learned that if I put in the (very) hard (and time-consuming) work, I can do something I never thought I could do. I happen to respond well to personal challenges, like, say, NaNoWriMo. Some people don’t. I don’t think one approach is necessarily better than the other.

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  3. I’ve been thinking about this but in relation to missed opportunities, regret, that sort of thing. Have I done what I wanted regardless of what others thought? Did I let limiting beliefs, negative self-talk, fear or worry about judgement prevent me from doing something? If I say no to any of that then that’s an accomplished, regardless whether the so-called accomplishment earned me something tangible (a prize, monetary value, acceptance into an organization etc).

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    1. I had this conversation with my mother. She doesn’t like something my daughter will be doing, e cause of risk, and I told ,y mother that because if her fears I have fears and didn’t do things I would have liked to do, and I don’t want to do that to my daughter

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  4. I don’t know about you, but me, as a person born way before computers were a common household item, I still find myself thinking that to be a writer that I have to be published by one of the big publishing houses. But then I catch myself and give myself a talking to and say “Hey! What year is it?!” We ARE writers!

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  5. I don’t have any lofty goals per se. Although in the back of my mind is the image of me standing in front of an auditorium of tons of people and speaking to them. However, I have done this already twice in my life so I’m not sure why there’s still an image in my head of doing it again.
    I would like to leave my little part of the world better because I was here. I like to connect with people, lead with kindness and be helpful along the way. Perhaps when it’s my time, nobody but my kids will remember Janie and that’s ok. But if I made a small difference here, I’d really like it.

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  6. I just sent one of my stories to a writing contest for the first time. I say, why not? If you do no other writing than your blog, it is a real accomplishment. You encourage readers to engage and think and you have a great following. That’s amazing! Anything more is icing on the cake.

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    1. They call me tater, There are NO small accomplishments. Anything you accomplish is great. I have learned over the decades that each individual has challenges and accomplishing even one small thing is huge. It’s all relative. In the last two years fighting cancer I was proud of myself on days I could eat something. Or days I was strong enough to walk to the mailbox. There is no scale or chart to measure an accomplishment. Any goal you achieve is being a success!

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  7. I’m all for setting personal goals if that seems important to an individual. I’ve had many and still have some in progress. However, I don’t think anyone outside the person needs to judge what individual accomplishment means or is for anyone but themselves. Getting out of bed may be a huge deal for someone, literally. Like so many other aspects surrounding perceptions of others and their actions I think it’s too easy to begin judging what we feel others do or don’t do and why based on our own values and ideals.

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    1. Excellent point.we should stay in our lane and not comment on what others have accomplished. Everything we do can be considered a big deal to the person doing it

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  8. I like the idea of striving to accomplish something. I think this helps you grow as a person. But what’s considered an accomplishment to one person may be different to another. Even parenting a child well could be considered an accomplishment for someone who was raised in an abusive environment and then turned it around and changed the next generation. Accomplishments are valuable to that individual, no matter how “big” or “small” it appears to be.

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    1. Perfectly stated, Stephanie. Accomplishments don’t have to mean you became President of a country. They can be as simple as cooking a chicken dinner. It’s all relative. This blog had me thinking back on my entire life and realizing I had indeed accomplished many things. Who knew? I never realized. I think we all need to assess ourselves as we start each new decade. Perhaps we will be kinder to ourselves when we realize just how much each of us have accomplished each and every day.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. LA, I love your topics! I need a minute to think about how to answer this …If I reflect on my goals and accomplishments, I believe now, looking back at my life, that each decade and age I was, my goals and accomplishments vastly differed.

    As a child I loved art and expressed myself through crayons and colored pencils. I drew everything and wrote little stories to accompany my drawings . I drew pictures of my classroom, my field trips, My teachers…I colored detailed images of all the students and even the clothing everyone wore. I sketched ladies in high heels, current hair styles and I was very precise. My mother saved my drawings in a folder and when I moved into an over 55 community I unpacked those drawings, I realized ( looking now through the eyes of a retired educator, that although my talent wasn’t fostered by my parents. It was however, appreciated. I knew my mother framed several of my pieces and hung them in the living room so she had to have liked my creations. But I was never encouraged to take classes outside of school.A shame because I might have used art as a career. I did use those skills however, as a single parent to make extra money and went to art shows I coconut grove and sold my wares. I sold art to go in children’s or babies rooms and made extra money to help pay my bills and support my son by doing children’s art and calligraphy for weddings and bar mitzvahs. So I suppose I accomplished something with those skills. Mostly, my 3-D bulletin boards in the classroom and hallways (which I drew or painted by hand) were standouts in a school setting. But art wasn’t my real goal. I think if you have a talent that comes naturally you don’t necessarily strive to make it a goal..perhaps because you don’t really work at it. It’s just there so you don’t think it’s anything special.

    As a teenager I learned guitar and played music at old folks homes to entertain them to get service points for middle and high school and then I joined with a few of my gal pals to play music. In 1966 we formed the first all girl’s rock band in South Florida. We were a huge local hit, the local papers wrote about us, we played rock music locally and had a real following. Girls had never done anything like that before. So yeah, that was an accomplishment for the times! And years later a blog was written about on line and then our little group became known worldwide years later. Life is funny. Being a teenage rocker chick wasn’t a goal but it WAS an accomplishment for the times.

    In college, 1967-68, I protested for Women’s rights because girls had to wear dresses to class and to go into the library. So I made picket signs to let us wear jeans or slacks. I gathered up friends and the local paper did a story. We changed the dress code policies for the University of Miami, so I suppose that was an accomplishment too. Only, when you are a teenager, you just view it as living your life. Fighting for what’s right. I never thought of it as an accomplishment back then, just something I needed to do!

    As a teacher I realized early on there wasn’t enough funding and so after investigating, I discovered I could get money for my classroom by writing educational grants. And so I did. I learned how to make more detailed grants into lessons that other teachers could adapt and so I was given money for my grants AND was paid for lecturing at a local college to inlist teachers from Miami, Broward, and the Palm Beach area on how they could adapt my creative lessons for their classrooms. My grants were published, put on line, and used as creative curriculum choices in the school system. I wrote my grants to get money for classroom supplies, books, computers, etc. never realizing until years later that what I did was indeed an accomplishment. And I was a published educational author.

    Oh…I forgot…In the late 1960’s I wrote articles for a few local papers about “teen” stuff and got published. I even had bylines and that was pretty cool. I guess that was an accomplishment too. In the 1990’s I joined Florida Romance writers and published articles and short stories for FRW. It was more for fun than anything else. But perhaps that was an accomplishment too. Who knows.

    As a retired educator, the fact that so many of my students and former parents of students friended me on social media I feel is one of my greatest accomplishments. I have been told by students that I was the first woman who made them aware of women in history and that I taught them to think for themselves. A recent former student ( now in her 40’s) and who is an attorney, found me and said because of me she’s became a feminist.And that I had given her the courage to go to law school. She came from lovely parents who were Cuban immigrants and when I told her that she was bright and could become anything she wanted to be, it allowed her to expand her world. Comments like that Are truly special. Students remembering something I taught or said that inspired them to achieve their goals. That to me is one of the best accomplishments ever!
    Perhaps my greatest accomplishments though, are my two sons. They are both amazing men. Successful in their fields, and kind hearted as well. And my oldest son, who has children is a phenomenal father. For a divorced single woman who raised him on her own to have taught him how to be a great parent? Now THAT is my greatest accomplishment.
    Thank you LA for allowing me to think back on my life and realize I have accomplished many things in this crazy life of mine. I hadn’t realized that I did so much…. I know I wrote a novel… but you made me think. Bless you! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. And LA, Thanks for having me reflect and realize that!
        Since I’m now back in chemo every 21 days, reflecting on accomplishments gives me a more positive attitude about going through all this again. . I figure if I accomplished all that in the past, then it means I can continue to do even more and still achieve some goals even while fighting ovarian cancer.. So I really appreciate this exercise. We, as women, don’t always treat ourselves as kindly as we should and appreciate all that we do. We take ourselves for granted.This exercise you gave us was therapeutic for me! So thank you! ❤️I’m just sorry I got so wordy. Lol

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  10. We discussed this in book club last night. The book was “Old Man and the Sea.” One woman asked what was the point of Santiago trying for the big fish. Was it to make money? Was it to feel important? Was it for glory? One of my lifetime goals is to have a book published and not be self-published. I entered a Writer’s Digest Contest 20 years ago and won first place for children’s fiction. I’ve had stories published in magazines, websites and newspapers but not a book. I actually turned down an offer to publish a book because it was a very small publisher and they’d only print 500 books at a time. I was sure I’d get a better offer and that was more than 15 years ago! I wish. I had accepted it!

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      1. Thank you! But not achieving my goal of a published book makes me feel like I haven’t. I haven’t sent anything to an agent or publisher in several years. I need to get back to submitting or nothing will come of my dream!

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  11. Great topic, as usual. 🙂
    I think setting goals and a bucket list are wonderful things to do, but I also don’t want to get so caught up in wanting to scratch things off my bucket list that I race through life. Know what I mean. I would love to publish more books, that is a dream of mine . To have a beach house and write by the sea. Ahh! I also want to travel, so many places I want to see!

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  12. My late father was an A Grade sportsperson, successful in his career and was awarded medals for bravery during the War. On his death bed he accused me of “lacking ambition”. I stood up proudly, without any fear whatsoever, and responded with ” I have always strived to be the best person I can be”. To achieve this does not require a litany of accomplishments. Accomplishments do not determine whether you go north or south following death, if that’s your particular belief system.
    Any decisions or tasks I have undertaken to achieve this are not because I was task orientated but because things had to be done. In my working life I was never goal focused – there were things that just needed to be done and I did them. It’s what you do. Retired at 58, do I have big dreams? No, life is good,and my mantra of putting one foot in front of the other finds a high level of contentment – and busier than most!

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  13. Excellent question! I went back to school to get my bachelors degree in accounting at the age of 47. It felt awkward to be going back to school at that age – I felt that I was too old. But everyone kept telling me that I was just going to get older anyway, and why not do something with that time? I’m glad that I did it!

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  14. Some really wonderful answers here! I like the idea of assessing every decade. I’m now 60 and I feel I have accomplished so many things, big and small. I’m not at all disappointed, and I continue to meet new goals all the time. My first book is getting published, I sent in an article I published last year to a contest, I’ll be giving my first presentation at a national conference next month. I’d say my new “career” (the one that doesn’t pay!) is well off the ground. The last one was going back to college for a second bachelor’s degree and spending a decade as a field biologist, which I absolutely loved doing. That started in my 40s! I wonder what I’ll be accomplishing in my 70s?

    And this is all just personal. I am not comparing myself to anyone or what accomplishment means to them.

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  15. I am a goal setter in just about everything. It was an important part of my career life as was assessing and planning. And journaling. It enriches my life.

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  16. In 2013, Tara and I decided to tackle one food challenge every day for an entire year and blog about it. The goal was to consume whatever that day’s official food holiday celebrated (e.g., National Pancake Day). Not only is there a specific food holiday for every day of the year; some days have several, so we had choices! We completed that challenge though it very nearly killed us. The blog’s still active on WP, by the way.

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  17. Accomplishment is important in life for elevating your self esteem and confidence. But accomplishment need not mean quantum leaps. Sometimes baby steps are good enough. I believe in the principle of CANI – Constant And Never-ending Improvement which gives lesser heart aches and a positive approach towards life.

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  18. I think we all have things that we want to accomplish that proves fill-in-the-blank thing to ourselves 9or others). One of the questions in The Artist’s Way was what is one thing that you could do/accomplish that would prove to you that you’re an artist (or something like that). Even though I’m published, for some reason (at that time), I still didn’t feel like the type of writer I wanted to be. Doing a writer’s residency was one of those accomplishments for me. I saw it as something “real” writers did.

    I think it’s okay to want to accomplish something, even if it just proves something to yourself.

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  19. I set a new goal when I’ve accomplished one previously set. For some reason I feel the need to constantly be working towards something that’s seems a bit challenging. There is an amazing feeling when its accomplished. It gives you the courage to set another just a little more out of reach…and the cycle continues. They give me the strength to keep going on days when I don’t feel like it. Sometimes my goals are all I feel like I have. They keep me sane.

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  20. I’m a Life Coach, so yeah, goals are my thing 🙂 But I’ve long overvalued the opinions of other people, and it’s taken me until working with my own coach, to give no value to criticism and unasked for opinions from people who aren’t down there in the trenches with me. It’s been transformative.

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  21. I’m very achievement oriented and I love learning, so im always trying to take courses online, do new things, and venture into new territory. I think striving to achieve more is thriving, because you can do all the other things you mentioned like get married and have kids and hold a job and still feel complacent.

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