At the start of this year, I declared that “grace” would be my word for 2017.  Many people who know me well were surprised, assuming I’d pick a word like “hustle” instead.

But “grace” was my word for the year because I needed a reminder to be gentle with myself, to give myself a break and others the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes gumption and grit aren’t enough. Sometimes you need grace.

And as I take a moment to look back at 2017 I need grace, indeed.

I need to be gentle with myself as I face the fact that I didn’t completely accomplish any of my major goals for the year.

I didn’t grow See Jane Write to 500 dues-paying members. I didn’t grow my blog traffic to an average of 100,000 monthly pageviews. I didn’t self-publish a book. I didn’t see my byline in one of my favorite national magazines. I didn’t participate in a women’s small group at church all year. In fact, I barely went to church at all. I didn’t take a real vacation with my husband. I didn’t lose 30 pounds.

But here’s what I did do:

I took a solo writing retreat to a gorgeous bed and breakfast, free of charge.

I hosted my first virtual summit.

The See Jane Write blog was selected as one of the 100 best websites for writers by The Write Life.

I was selected as one of the 50 top tastemakers of the South by Black Southern Belle.

I more than doubled my number of one-on-one long-term coaching clients. I helped one of those clients write and self-publish a book, helped one launch her blog and get published on one of her favorite websites, and helped another quit her day job.

I lost 20 pounds but gained the confidence to do a photo shoot before losing the weight.

I started running again.

I spoke at WordCamp Birmingham and was selected to speak at TEDxBirmingham 2018.

As you look back over 2017 give yourself a break. Don’t get angry with yourself about the writing, blogging, business and personal goals you didn’t accomplish. Celebrate yourself for the things that you did achieve.

But the things I didn’t accomplish must be addressed, nonetheless. Why didn’t I achieve any of my major goals this year?

There’s the practical answer: I tried to do too much. You know the saying: You can do it all but not all at once. That’s why in 2018 I plan to focus on one major goal each quarter.

But there’s more to it. I not only lacked focus, I also lacked faith. I lacked faith in myself. I lacked faith in my God.

In her 2017 recap post, Maya Elious writes, “They say faith without works is dead but work without faith is dead, too. Too often we WORK for love and WORK for success and WORK WORK WORK. But unless we BELIEVE and have FAITH that God truly wants to see us win, we will always lose.”

As soon as I read those words I knew what my word for 2018 would be: FAITH.

What’s your word for 2018? What did you accomplish in 2017? What lessons have you learned from the things you did not achieve?