photo by stock.xchng / harrykeely

by Debbie Hodge

consider yourself: personal milestones & accomplishments

A part of personal growth is passing milestones and accomplishing goals. Milestones are markers of growth and development that are to be expected (i.e., losing a tooth, getting to vote, turning 30 . . .) while accomplishments are related to achieving a goal through effort or talent or shear perseverance (i.e., learning to ride a bike, earning a sports trophy, getting a desired job, building a house . . .).

recalling milestones & accomplishments

  • If you have photos albums from throughout your life, look through them.
  • Documents, albums, and memorabilia from your past are another good source: yearbooks will remind you of organized activities you participated in; report cards performance appraisals from work, and old resumes are also great memory joggers.
  • Ask family, friends, and partners who have lived with you, worked beside you, and played beside you at different periods in your life what they remember you achieving, what they have admired about you through the years, what about you has surprised them.
  • Make a time line with every five years of your life marked. First fill in expected milestones, then jot in whatever comes to mind at approximately the right spot on the time line. Precision isn’t required. The chart on page 3 of this class is another good framework for recalling your growth and accomplishments over time.

scrapbooking milestones & accomplishments

Don’t let the lack of photos keep you from scrapbooking what you’ve accomplished. Scrap with no photos or use a photo representative of the accomplishment. This could be something from the era, the place associated with what you’ve done, an item that represents the work, or something else relevant.

You can scrap a collection of your accomplishments or you can focus on one subject.

Be sure to include important details that only you know:

  • how did the pursuit of the accomplishment come about?
  • what were the challenges and barriers to your success?
  • who was beside you?
  • what were the joys of the work and the final result?
  • how was your accomplishment marked or celebrated?

priming the engine: ask yourself this

Here’s a chart of things you record about yourself at different ages to get ideas for milestones and accomplishments to scrapbook. You can open a pdf to print by clicking here: Scrap Your Story Priming Your Engine Chart.

think about it: quotations on milestones, growth, & achievement

  • You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.” – Irish Saying
  • George Washington as a boy was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth – he could not even lie. -Mark Twain
  • To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.  – Anatole France
  • The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall. -Vince  Lombardi
  • A person needs at intervals to separate from family and companions and go to new places. One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change. – Katharine Butler Hathaway
  • Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration and expectation. -Jack Nicklaus
  • Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.” – Pearl S Buck
  • Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. – C. S. Lewis
  • Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future – John F. Kennedy
  • It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often. -Brian Tracy
  • The future has a way of arriving unannounced. – George Will
  • “If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.” – Maurice Chevalier
  • Just Do It. – Nike
  • Persistence is to the character of man what carbon is to steel.
  • -Napoleon Hill-
  • The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. – Arnold Toynbee
  • The intelligent man is one who has successfully fulfilled many accomplishments, and is yet willing to learn more. -Ed Parker
  • I’m very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me. ‘Don’t complain about growing old – many, people do not have that privilege.’ – Chief Justice Earl Warren

After years of being a successful, highly-praised student & employee, I decided to take on the challenge of writing fiction. I’d moved to NH with a boyfriend getting his MBA. I had a job in Information Technology at the electric utility, but still I had no friends or other activities. With time on my hands, I took a variety of adult-ed classes. This one clicked. More than clicked. • I loved learning about writing and working on my stories. I made my first friends in NH -friends I still have 20 years later. We immersed ourselves. I immersed myself. I mean: how hard could this be? I was smart. I could do anything I tried and do it better than many. • Throughout my two years as an MBA student, I still wrote. I was the valedictorian of my MBA class -- but I couldn‘t get a short story published--until that day, while I was at the Bennington Writers’ Workshop for two weeks in the summer--when I called Neil and he told me I had an envelope from the literary journal Amelia -- not one of those envelopes that I’d addressed to myself, but one *they’d* addressed to me. The story was “Your First Persian,” a funny-sad short-short written in 2nd person. I published a few more stories in small literary journals over the years. I studied with C Michael Curtis in a workshop out of his Mass. home. I went away with friends on writing weeks. • When Joshua was born I started writing a novel which I worked on for several years. Neighbors would say: “Did you ever finish that novel?” I wrote 4/5ths of the 1st draft & have the whole thing outlined. It’s “under my bed” right now. Really it’s in a box in my office, but under my bed sounds more romantic. • Succeeding at this creative endeavor was out of my reach in a way logical, objective work had never been. I was missing some spark, some ability (or even willingness) to do the “inner clenching” (that’s from Doris Lessing) it took. That’s my explanation anyway. Really I don’t totally understand it. Or maybe I don’t want to, because I do think there will come a day that I will open that box with my novel-in-progress and just maybe give it another go.