Look Back and Use Your Eraser, Pencil and Pen
By: Peggy Willms

(5 min read)

“We’ve come a long way, baby.”

Experts say one of the best ways to improve health, wellness, wealth, and happiness is to approach every day with a sense of gratitude. In addition, a gratitude practice has been shown to enhance mental health, relationships and shifts old habits and even belief systems. So whether I start my day with gratitude journaling, take a walk and pause at nature’s wonder, talk to animals, or end the day with a prayer, I can tell you the days I practice gratitude are better than the ones I do not.

Many things happened this past year, and as I reflected on 2022, the metaphor of an eraser, pencil, and pen came to mind. What would I erase (choose to forget)? What might I rewrite and do differently? What did I intend to accomplish and didn’t? And what has been written in stone and will forever be a part of who I am? To reiterate, how successful was I in setting and achieving goals? How emotionally resilient was I throughout the whole process? Did I succeed in pivoting and shape-shifting when necessary? And what did I nail?

For me, this past year was about storytelling via many mechanisms. I have chosen to dedicate the remaining portion of my life to creating different platforms for people to share their stories. And to get the ones I have had piled up for twenty years out there. Stories are how we connect. Sharing our stories increases empathy, causes change and improves love and acceptance. Stories are how we can change the world. Gone are the days of “Do This” or “Do That” steps. They aren’t working. Humans are sick of being told what to do and when. We have enough knowledge on how to change and save the world. Now we need to become “real” by sharing real problems and finding real solutions by going deep, being authentic, and being transparent. Medical conditions, politics, spirituality, culture, and more connect us. How did you survive brain cancer? How did the small-town cop treat your father? What was it like seeing your mother’s spirit? What was your experience getting a green card? Why do you hate chores, or do you suck at saving money? This is the real shit. Our stories bring us together. Whining, moaning, and talking in generalities do not.

It has been a blessing this past year to share my stories with you and to share the stories of others with you. I have written nearly 70 blogs for All Things wellness and BizCatalyst 360, collectively covering topics from work-life-play balance, painting all the damn doors in our new home, living through Hurricane Ian, and trying to figure out if I am a cockatoo or a sloth. (https://peggywillms.com/all-things-wellness-blog/). I also have several guest bloggers (https://peggywillms.com/author-guest-bloggers/) and columnists (https://peggywillms.com/columnists/) who share their heartfelt and brilliant stories with you weekly. I published a book with my Co-Author, Markus Wettstein, MD., The Four-Fold Formula for All Things Wellness with 40 contributing authors, and we are writing another, Win the Wellness W.A.R., which will come out in 2023. I just completed a project with Teresa Velardi publishing her book, Daily Gift of Gratitude, with nearly 100 contributing authors, which, within 48 hours, reached #3 as a new release on Amazon (you can purchase both books below). I hosted and produced over 60 videos and was interviewed a dozen times.

What do all of those things have in common? STORYTELLING. 

Sharing my stories with you kept my head above water, and in many cases, not joking, writing saved my life this year.

I ask you to reflect on 2022 by using your eraser, pencil, and pen.

Your Eraser. We cannot “go back” and literally erase experiences or events from our life. They mold us. However, we can improve our physical, mental, spiritual, and financial future by accepting them and improving how we cope with those experiences or events.

For example, maybe you lost a job, had surgery, or became single. Reflect on your coping skills. Did you run the situation or ignore it altogether by burying your head in the sand? Did it spiral you for months? Or did you pick up the pieces and move on? We are born – we die, and shit happens in between. Facts. How do you respond to situations; how do you recover?

Your Pencil: What was your 2022 New Year’s Resolution? Did it come to fruition? For example, did you lose that 10 lbs., write a book, or save $5,000 for a trip? If you did accomplish your intended goals – they are in pen…not pencil. We are talking “pencil” for now. What did you plan to accomplish, and, for whatever reason, whether you could control it or not, you came up shy?

You can improve your goal-setting and goal-achieving abilities by analyzing what went well and what didn’t. Were your goals too steep? Were they not a priority? You can write the next chapter of your book by learning from the last chapter. If your 2023 resolution looks similar to your 2022 or even 2021, you need to review what works for you or against you. Analyzing and accepting the way things went down improves emotional resiliency, creates opportunities for future success, and should shine a light on gratefulness. The “is what it is, and what did I learn from it” reflection will allow your heart and mind to face the facts yet find the beauty in the learnings.

Your Pen: You did it. Pat yourself on the back for anything you did well and even for those things that didn’t go so well. We do not take the time to give ourselves credit for our accomplishments. I began this blog with a pat on the back to Peggy. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable and acknowledge my success, AND not beat myself up for my failures (areas of improvement). Living behind the Perfection Mirror makes you unhealthy and unhappy. Did you plant your garden? You did it – THE PEN. Did you survive breast cancer? You did it – THE PEN. Did you quit your job to stay at home and raise the kids? You did it – THE PEN. Did you live through bankruptcy? You did it – THE PEN.

Most of us want to get over the tough shit and fast without addressing our thoughts and emotions in real time. We just want to get through the muck and race to the other side. #getoverit. Trust me, brushing it under the rug does not mean it won’t eventually be pulled out from underneath you.

When you are done reviewing your 2022 eraser, pencil, and pen, say a little thank you to your eraser, pencil, and pen. You are smarter, braver, and stronger by doing this exercise. This is where gratitude can save the day. Embracing the breakdowns causes breakthroughs. Breakthroughs cause growth. Growth presents more breakdowns and, in turn, more breakthroughs. The cycle continues.

If you do not change today, expect tomorrow to look just like yesterday. So what will you use your pencil and pen for in 2023? Be sure to share them by storytelling.

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Reserve your spot to be a Contributing Author in book two of the All Things Wellness series, Win the Wellness W.A.R. https://peggywillms.com/win-the-wellness-war/

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC
                                                                  peggy@allthingswellness.com

The information provided is the opinion of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice: diagnosis or treatment. The author, the business, All Things Wellness, LLC, and its owner Peggy Willms, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this article or website. We assume no responsibility for tangible and intangible damages such as physical harm caused by using a product, loss of profits or loss of data, and defamatory comments. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.