What I Wish I had Done Differently This Year

Each day this month I will be answering one question from these December Journal Prompts.

Day 2: What do you wish you had done differently this year?

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I have had an amazing year with a lot of positive things to say about it! Truthfully, today’s question was hard to answer because I am just so pleased with how this year went. There are so many things that I chose to do that I absolutely would not change if given the chance. I’m sure there were plenty of moments that I could have handled better, but when I look back at my year in general, those moments do not stick out in my mind.

The one thing that does stick out in my mind, however, is that I wish I had spent more time writing. If given the chance to do one thing differently, I think that would be it.

I came into this year as a new mom with absolutely no idea of what to expect. I crashed headfirst into a whole new stage of life, frantically trying to adjust to a vastly different pace than what I had grown very accustomed to. I had hopes, and ideas, and plans, but no real concept for how they would play out. Writing was on the agenda—in fact, I anticipated doing a lot of it this year. Looking back, I think it would have been super helpful for me to process my new experiences this year through writing. But it just didn’t really happen, and I think it’s important for me to consider why. Thinking about it now, I can identify three contributing factors:

1. Perfectionism & Productivity

It is easy for me to fall into a rabbit hole when it comes to these two p-words. My general way of looking at things in life is that if I’m going spend time and energy on something, it must be productive, and it must be done perfectly. So, if I’m going to spend time writing, then I should make sure it is productive by writing a blog that other people can read too. And if I’m going to write a blog, then it’s going to have to be an award-winning blog that receives lots of positive responses. But if my standards of productivity and perfection cannot be met by a single task, then I struggle to apply myself to that task at all.

This was a big problem for me this year. I have been through so much and experienced a myriad of emotions over the past twelve months. I wish that I could have taken down the walls of perfectionism and productivity, and allowed myself to just write—not for the purpose of penning a great masterpiece, or for the purpose of accomplishing a task, but just for the sake of processing my experience and recording my thoughts and emotions as I journeyed through this brand new adventure as a mom.

2. Insecurity

One big reason why I rarely blogged this year was because I felt like I would just be talking about my baby over and over and over, and I didn’t want to do that. Frankly, I felt insecure about doing that. I think I felt that readers would get bored (and maybe they would have) if all I did was talk about mom stuff. But the reality is that my life this year WAS consumed by my baby. All day, every day (and night), life was about one thing—figuring out how to parent this tiny (and beautiful) lump of flesh that I had brought into the world.

But I never wanted to have a “mom blog”. That wasn’t what this was supposed to be about. It’s not a niche that I really felt like I identified with. So instead of blogging about my real world, real life experiences, I just didn’t blog. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten over myself and written what I needed to write, when I needed to write it. Braver Than Before is all about sharing the ins and outs, ups and downs, of my experience with anxiety and fear with the world… and I don’t think I did a very honest job of that this year.

I did have a wonderful year. Overall, I have been in a very healthy mental space. But I have also faced plenty of challenges. I have struggled with fear and anxiety. I have struggled with feeling not good enough. And I think I did an alright job of processing those feelings, but I do wish that I had processed them here in this community, rather than on my own.

3. Laziness

While I would not categorize myself as a lazy person in general, I do really fall into a rut of laziness from time to time. One night this fall, I remember sitting down and thinking, “I have to write a blog tonight.” But instead, I ended up staring at a blank screen for a very long time. Frustrated and overwhelmed, I started to pray and ask God why I felt so “stuck”.

That night I realized that the problem wasn’t actually writer’s block. It was laziness. I was out of practice, and I just didn’t feel like doing the work involved in writing a blog. I was more interested in empty distraction—like social media or Netflix—than in processing my feelings or writing them down. I wish that I had pushed through those lazy moments this year instead of letting them hold me back.

All in all, my year was amazing. And this post is not about regrets—because seriously, I don’t really feel like I have any. But I do think it’s healthy to reflect on what you could have done differently because it can help you prepare for a better future. And that’s my takeaway today!

So what about you? What do you wish you would have done differently this year?

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