We are officially in another year. WOW! It’s incredible to think that we are starting a new chapter in our lives. While I set goals, make resolutions, and plan for this new year, I also reflect on the past year, and all the amazing experiences it has brought me.
Last year, like all of them, had good, great, and not-so-great times. I loved many things about 2016. My sister and I had many amazing experiences, like going to BlogHer, WeAllGrow, and other conferences, and speaking at Blogalicious. There were some obstacles and problems at times, but it was an amazing year, in my opinion, and I hope the next is even better!
On social media, I have noticed that many people are talking (or tweeting) about how horrible it has been, and all the bad things that have happened. I believe that we could be grateful for what last year gave us, the experience and wisdom we have gained from it.
I believe we could take into consideration what Mehmet Murat Ildan said about this: “In the New Year, never forget to thank to your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!”
So instead of joining in with everyone else and talking badly about 2016, I’ve decided to list 21 things I have learned in the last year, 2016:
1. Life is just life. It isn’t good or bad.
2. When hard times come, remember the good times.
3. Don’t avoid mistakes. Each one is one step closer to a masterpiece.
4. Don’t shut down your creativity, but find ways to stimulate and encourage it.
5. If you wait for the “perfect time”, there never will be the perfect time.
6. It isn’t worth it to remember the mistakes of the past unless you learn something from them.
7. Achievement doesn’t come all at once, but step by step.
8. Begin with the end in mind, but enjoy the journey while you get there.
9. When you’re in the moment, disappointment will seem like a tragedy, but later, you’ll realize it wasn’t so bad.
10. In the end, the only choices in the world that you control are your own, so make good ones and don’t focus on what everyone else is doing.
11. People will either like you, or they won’t. Your job is to be a likeable person, and the rest is up to them.
12. In helping others, you help yourself.
13. Pay attention to own life instead of criticizing someone else’s.
14. What you put into something is what you’ll get out of it.
15. After removing something negative, replace it with something positive.
16. Make a plan, do what you need to do, and then let life take its course.
17. Your own happiness and well-being depends on you, and you only.
18. Gratitude is key in everything that we do, and it fixes everything.
19. Life is for you to figure out as you go on, not all at once.
20. Nobody is perfect. We’re all a little bit broken, and if you aren’t, you haven’t lived.
21. We never know what is going to happen in our lives, but as long as our outlook is positive, we’ll make the best of it.
I’ve learned all these lessons from trial and error because just like you, I make mistakes (and, of course, I learned all these things from my incredible, wise, and amazingly patient and loving mother Elayna. I just had to relearn them because of my hard-headedness.) BIG mistakes. But every day, I make mistakes, learn from them, and keep on moving, looking towards the future. This is a happy way of living, and I encourage you to adopt it if you haven’t already.
One of my favorite scripture stories is that of Lot and his wife in Genesis 19:
“And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed….But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Of course, if you look back in your life, you won’t become a pillar of salt, but if you are looking back in regret on past choices, and not to see how far you’ve come or what you’ve learned, then it certainly will not be good for progress. In life, make your mistakes, improve from those experiences, and don’t dwell on the past.
To that end, the new year won’t be all we hope it will be. In some aspects, it might be more, and in others, it may be less. As Vern McLellan said, “What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”
For example, last year, though I set many goals, I wasn’t very successful in achieving them, because I wasn’t consistent in reviewing them and taking action to achieve what I wanted. I got out of it what I put in, and with some goals, I didn’t get anything, while with others, I got OUTSTANDING results I haven’t even imagined! So ask yourself, ‘What will I bring to the New Year?’ Make sure you bring a positive attitude and a desire to improve!
When all is said and done, you get to choose if this will be just another year, or the best year of your life! This quote by Edith Lovejoy Pierce puts the new year into greater perspective: “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
What have you learned from last year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!