In looking back over the course of the last year, how would you view your life? Did you achieve the goals that you had originally set for yourself at the beginning of 2019? Did you make yourself a priority and start living your life to the absolute fullest? Did you become the individual that you had the desire of becoming?
In reflecting back on the past year, 2019 has been my most memorable year yet! I got a new job that I thoroughly enjoy. I traveled more in one year than I ever have before (and that’s with having moved cross country a few years back). And overall, I grew closer to achieving my goals and becoming the person that I want to become.
But alongside all of these successes, I also failed… a lot. There were times where I fell flat on my face (both figuratively and metaphorically), times where I allowed my emotions to get the best of me, and times where I had to take a step back and really focus on who I was trying to become as a person.
Through it all, though, I learned. And the best part about learning is that there is always room to learn more.
That’s why, in reflecting on the last year of my life, I wanted to share with you the top 5 life lessons from 2019 that I am going to be carrying over into the new year, and lessons that I think you should consider carrying over as well.
I want to be better. I want to grow. And mainly, I want to achieve more of the goals that I have set for myself. And I believe that these # lessons will help.
1. Stop hiding and love yourself for who you are.
For the longest time, I was so self-conscious of what people thought about me that I would do anything and everything in my power simply to fit in. If somebody would say to jump, I would ask how high. If somebody told me that I needed to dress a certain way, I would show up the next day looking for their approval. Basically, I was allowing others to determine the life that I was living.
I would try my best to fit in only because I didn’t want others to see how truly broken I felt on the inside. The only thing that this did, was it made the pain all that much worse.
It wasn’t until I finally started focusing on myself that I began to find happiness and joy in life. I don’t need somebody else’s approval to tell me how to live my life. They have their life to live, and I have mine.
I think the biggest thing that helped me to shift my mindset, was just looking at all of the opportunities that I had wasted over the years because I was worried about pleasing others. I am me and that is my greatest power. Plus, can you imagine living in a world where everybody looks the same, acts the same, has the same hobbies, etc.? How boring would that be?
The point is, learn to love your differences and learn to love yourself. Everybody is different in their own ways, so accept your differences for what they are, and just let them shine.
2. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
Often times we wait for “the right time” or until things in life are “perfect” before we start pursuing our goals. The truth is, nothing is ever perfect and there is never going to be a right time. There are always going to be obstacles and stressors that are going to stand in your way, and unless you learn to overcome them, you aren’t going to get any closer towards achieving the goals that you have set for yourself.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
I have wanted to start a YouTube channel for the longest time – one that focuses on self-improvement and personal development. And for the longest time, I was pushing the idea of starting one.
I thought that I needed to have the right equipment, the right voice, and I thought that my video needed to be perfect in order to go up. Well, guess what never happened? I never took action. Why? Because nothing is ever going to be perfect.
There are always going to be things that you can improve on, things that you are going to want to tweak, and things that just don’t feel right. Aside from that, what looks perfect to you definitely isn’t going to look perfect to everybody else.
It doesn’t need to be perfect, though. Whatever you want to do, whatever goal you want to pursue, just get started. Once you get started, everything else will become figureoutable.
3. Know what you want – envision and plan.
How are you ever going to get to where you want to go if you don’t even know which direction to head in?
Another lesson that I have really emphasized in my life over the course of the last year was having a plan and a vision of what exactly it is that I wanted to achieve. I got really specific with this as well.
Every morning, I would wake up, plan my day out, journal my thoughts, and read a chapter in whatever book I was reading at the time. I did this for nine months straight. And because I did this, I was able to focus more on what I wanted to achieve and spent less time procrastinating.
The reason why this works, is because if you don’t know exactly what it is that you want to achieve, what goals you want to accomplish, or the person that you want to become, how are you going to be able to progress towards fulfilling those desires? You can’t. Finding every buried treasure starts by first looking at a map. If you want to find your treasure and achieve the life that you desire to live, then you need to map out how you are going to get there.
I know it may not sound all too enjoyable to everybody, but take some time out of your day to really focus on what you want to achieve. Even just by writing it down, you are already putting that desire at the front of your mind and will now be more inclined to subconsciously pursue it.
Don’t over plan and not take action though, because that isn’t going to get you any closer towards achieving your goals either. Planning and acting – those are how you are going to achieve more.
4. Focus on your ONE Thing.
Focusing on one thing at a time is really going to help you to focus on your goals and get them done in a timely manner. Often times, we try to do too much that we never give our full attention to one single task. This either causes us to do something half-asked, or we get so overwhelmed that give up, or worse, never even start.
This year was one where I had to take a step back and focus on my goals one by one. It all came to me after reading The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. Each morning, wake up and ask yourself one simple question: what’s one thing that you can do today, such by that doing it, everything else will become easier or unnecessary?
From there, focus on your one thing and only on that one thing until you have accomplished it. Only once you have accomplished what is going to set you up for success should you then consider taking on another task.
5. Think about the big picture.
There’s a saying that goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” What does this mean for you? It means that you probably aren’t going to achieve your goals over the course of a day. And if you do, then I dare say that you aren’t challenging yourself as much as you probably should be.
I have always been the kind of person who loves seeing immediate change. I want to achieve all of my goals in a day, have everything that I want in life immediately, and feel only happiness for the rest of my days. The truth is, though, none of these things are going to happen. It would be unrealistic to expect that they would.
There are going to be times on your journey where you are going to feel like a failure, times where you are going to second-guess your goals, times where you are going to want to give up, and times where you may even have to take a step backward in order to move forward again.
All of that is normal to experience, but no matter what you do, never give up. Life is about continuing to learn and grow on a daily basis for the rest of your life, not just overnight. Think about the big picture. If you fail, what can you learn from that failure and how can you apply it to your life to prevent yourself from making the same mistake over and over again?
You shouldn’t have the expectation of becoming an overnight success. You should have the expectation of becoming just 1% of a better person than you were the day before. If you can do that, you will achieve far more success and happiness than you could have ever imaged.
If you haven’t taken some time to reflect on this past year quite yet, I strongly recommend you take the time to do so. Recognize your strengths so that you can build off of them, and don’t forget to acknowledge your weaknesses so that you can learn from them.
It’s time that we both take control of our lives, take the life lessons that we learned in 2019, and use them to make 2020 the best year of our lives. Remember, it’s not about being perfect, but rather, it’s about becoming the best that we can be.