At the beginning of the year many people make resolutions to do something differently in the coming year. Often these are made with good intentions but are not followed through upon. Another thing that often accompanies the change over of the year is looking at what has occurred during the past year and the marking of milestones.
Identifying and marking milestones is something that can be very important in the recovery process. It helps you to identify that you have made steps forward toward healing and away from unhealthy actions or thoughts. It does not matter if they are big milestones or small, but identifying them can help find a sense of accomplishment, success, and hope.
How you mark milestones is up to you. You may want to keep a list of them, celebrate them, record them in a journal, share them with close friends, reinforce them through some reward, or something even more creative. The important thing is to notice them! On my journey it has not always been a milestone of doing something, often it has been marking a milestone of the absence of something such as no more nightmares, no more fear of being in a church, and making it 4 hours/24 hours/2 weeks without crying. Sometimes when the negative aspects of our grief, sorrow, and journey go away, when the temptations to drink, sleep, or cry disappear, or when our anger, bitterness, hurt, and broken-heart begin to heal we feel better and do not even realize it. Take the time and make the effort to recognize those milestones. They truly are important so that you can see how far you have come, and you can stop looking at how far you still have to go.
In the Old Testament it was common to bring together a pile of stones to mark a spot of rememberance and to identify the location of something important. It was a symbol of what had occurred. You also might want to create a ritual of something like this. Place a stone in a dish or jar every time you can mark a milestone. You might want to use money instead so you can purchase something or do something to reward yourself. Even keeping a tally on the wall or in a journal can give a physical action to marking the milestone which then gives it more significance and helps lend itself to a feeling of success.
You are on a journey, but there a journey has many things to see, do, visit, accomplish, and note along the way. Don’t pass by all the scenic overlooks and picturesque spots. Take a moment to celebrate you have made it this far and all you have to do it make it to the next milestone before you get to celebrate again!