I feel like I’ve learned a lot in my 30 years on this planet, and more in the last couple of years than any of the others. So, I figured it would be fun to share with you guys the lessons that I have learned so far.
1 – You have control over more than you know
I think we can all be guilty of occasionally moaning and whining when things aren’t going well in our lives, however, most of us fail to realise that we do have some control over it. Sure, we can’t change some things, like other people’s behaviour and the weather, but we can control our reaction to it.
A very, very, simple example of this is taking an umbrella and plastic bags with you when it might rain. Sure, it’s still raining, and you still might be moody about it, but your clothes are relatively dry and the important items in your bag are protected by the plastic bags. See, control.
2 – Breaking goals into tiny baby steps really does work
I’ve heard this lesson a thousand times before and “tried” to implement it, and failed. Mainly because my broken down goals were still pretty big. Also, I had a habit of setting unrealistic deadlines, then when I didn’t meet them, I would feel deflated.
This year though, I have been not only breaking down my goals into actionable steps, but I’ve gone even further to break it down to the next baby step I need to take .
For example: do a couch to 5k, can be broken down into, do week 1 of couch to 5k (then 2, 3, 4, and so on), and then that can be broken down further to the first baby step, do week 1 run 1.
3 – It’s easier to keep moving than to keep starting over
OK, to be fair, as long as you made some progress and didn’t undo it all, you’re not really “starting over” anyways. However, what I’ve realised is that there will be days when you don’t feel like doing the tasks. It’s normal. Problem is, sometimes taking time away from your goals makes it hard to get back into it. What I’ve learned is that if you just do a little bit, even if it’s just reading 1 paragraph, doing 10 minutes of exercise, studying or writing for just 15 minutes, it’s so much less difficult to “get back into it” when you’ve not been focused for a while. I think this is mainly due to developing and maintaining habits, but also in part because you know you have still done something towards whatever your goals are.
4 – The KonMari method really is life-changing
If you haven’t read my KonMari Series go check it out. Now, I’ll admit, I have done the KonMari method twice because my life was so different each time that I was basically a different person. Both times though I have noticed the change not only in my space but also in my motivation to improve other aspects of my life. Both times I have later gone on to do things that I may not have done or found the time to do before.
5 – Challenges makes us grow
We all experience challenges in our lives, some worse than others, but challenges none-the-less.
If you look back on a challenge you faced years ago, you can probably see that you grew an awful lot during and after that time. The experience taught you lessons and shaped a new version of you.
You are you because of your experiences, good and bad, and also how you responded to them.
6 – Those who truly love you, always love you
When you are facing your darkest hour, they are there for you. When you have made a big mistake, they are there for you. When something or someone hurts you, they are there for you. Sure, you may have your ups and downs, but the love is always there and nothing can break it. Hang on to these people, appreciate them.
7 – As you change so do your goals, and that’s fine
If July comes along and you no longer want to fulfil your new year’s resolution because it no longer resonates with you, cast it aside. Don’t spend your precious time and energy on something that doesn’t serve you in the way you want it to.
8 – Learn to say “no”, even to yourself
There are many ways in which this can be interpreted. For me personally, it’s not automatically saying yes to every person who asks me for something, but instead, thinking whether it’s something that I have the time, energy and willingness to do first.
9 – Stop waiting for the “right time”
HINT: there is no right time. Instead of thinking “I’ll start on Monday” ask yourself “why not today?”
If you’re waiting for “the right time” to have a baby, buy a house, get a new car, learn a new skill, I’ve got news for you. Now is the right time. If you keep putting things off till later, how could you know that you’ll actually get round to it when later happens?
Even if you do have to wait for something, like having enough money before buying a house, you can still take action right now by saving.
This is a hard lesson to learn but it goes back to those baby steps. You might not be able to climb the whole mountain right now, but you can take the first step.
10 – There is nothing wrong with you
This was a big lesson for me, so I’m assuming it will be for other people too.
When you don’t get the job, or you get dumped, or somebody doesn’t like you in some way, many of us instantly ask ourselves “what’s wrong with me?”.
Well, what if I told you, “nothing”.
Whatever the situation is, the only issue is that it’s not quite the right fit. Whether that’s a job, a relationship, friends etc. Sure, it hurts, you feel rejected, of course it hurts, but the reality of it is that it just wasn’t quite right, and that’s why it didn’t happen.
Maybe there’s a better job for you, maybe you and that person wouldn’t have had a very good or long relationship, maybe that friend would have ended up being a toxic drain of your joy.
What I’m basically saying is, what if it’s not you?
11 – If you don’t take the risk you won’t fail, but you also won’t succeed
I’m 30 now, I’ve wanted to live in a house instead of a flat for quite some time now. I haven’t yet reached out to estate agents though, because of the risks involved with private renting. Now, those risks are very real, and they could possibly happen, but all the while I’m not taking the leap, I’m staying where I am with no hope of moving.
12 – Your identity and happiness does not depend on others
I’ve been single now for over a year, and while at first it was deeply upsetting, I’ve grown so much in the last year that I am almost unrecognisable. It all comes from realising that I am perfectly fine on my own. I can handle my own finances, I can raise my children, I can look after my body. I can laugh, smile, dance and enjoy my life without needing a partner to share it with. That’s not to say I wouldn’t want a partner, I’m just saying that I know I don’t need one to be happy and myself.
13 – Change happens, and you can adapt
This is an extension from lesson 12 about being single for over a year. It had been a long-term relationship and very serious, in fact it was the longest and most serious relationship I’ve had. So of course when it ended it was going to be devastating, and the way in which it ended was actually pretty traumatic. At the time I remember thinking “I’m never going to be happy again”, “I’m going to feel numb forever”, “this is the end of all good things in my life, I won’t experience any more.”
Boy, would I like to shake that girl and tell her to stop talking BS to herself!
Change is hard. There is no denying that, and sometimes it’s so hard you don’t think you’ll make it through. However, the days start passing by, you start going back to work and seeing friends, you catch yourself laughing at a joke and notice you didn’t talk yourself into calling in sick today. You start having fun with your friends and family without faking a smile, you start making plans for your future and then take action on it. Until one day, you look back at where you came from, and you know that you got/are getting through it.
14 – Your gut knows things your brain doesn’t
If something doesn’t feel quite right, there’s probably a reason. Enough said.
15 – Feel all the feels, and don’t let anyone tell you they’re invalid
You can’t control your feelings, and nor should you try to. Your feelings are natural, it’s your reactions to them that you have control over.
16 – Progress is far better than perfection
Again, we’re going back to those baby steps on lesson 2. I’ve found that in most aspects of life, aiming for good progress is more effective and rewarding than aiming for perfection.
17 – You’re like a plant, you need both the sun and the rain
The good days are great, but you need the bad days too. The bad days are where you learn lessons, that’s where you grow. It’s uncomfortable sure but necessary.
18 – It’s not too late to learn
19 – Be empathetic
I’ve found that being empathetic towards somebody who I disagree with makes the conversations go a lot smoother. I don’t have to agree with them, I just need to respect that that’s how they feel.
20 – Learn to love yourself
You are your own life partner, literally. You should learn to love yourself in order to be happy. Now, I’m still working on the whole self-love thing, but I am improving. I don’t talk negatively to myself as much as I used to and I let myself feel good about my accomplishments. This is a big lesson to learn and I’m not there yet, but I like myself so much more than I used to.
21 – The right path is rarely the easy one
Sometimes you have to do what’s uncomfortable because it’s the best or right thing to do.
22 – The power of accountability
This is more aimed at health in my case, but I bet it could be extended to other aspects of life too. Since I started sharing my workouts and food to an online group of people on the same plan as me, I found that I stuck to it more than before. I know people had said it to me before, but I was too shy to try. I wish I’d tried sooner.
23 – Your past does not define your present or future
Just because that’s who you were, or the situation you were in, does not mean it’s still true now, and it doesn’t mean that’s where you’ll be. Sure, your experiences help shape the future version of you, but you will still be a different person. Leave the past behind you if you no longer connect with it.
24 – You’re worth more than you give yourself credit for
Again, this comes back to the lessons of self-love and not being dependent on others for my happiness. It’s taken some time, and I’m still working on it, but I know I did not deserve the bad things that have happened to me. I know that I deserved better than what I got. I know that those experiences do not define my worth, how I overcame them is where my identity comes from.
25 – Have your eye on the prize, but celebrate the little wins
I have a jar in my room. Every time I have a little win, like going for a run when I didn’t feel like it, finishing a project, reading a book, writing a blog post, I take some time to write it down on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in the jar. As I’m doing that I feel proud of the progress I’m making. I know what my main goals are, but I make sure to appreciate how far I’ve come and the effort I’m putting in now.
26 – You’re stronger than you think
Sometimes, you never know what you’re capable of until you have no choice.
27 – Every failure brings you closer to success
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
– Thomas Edison
28 – This too shall pass
Everything is temporary. The bad times will end so hold on to hope. The good times will end, so cherish them while you can.
29 – Stand up for yourself
You are worth standing up for, and people should know that.
30 – Give less ****s (check out this book collection by Sarah Knight)
Sarah said it far better than I could, so I’ll leave you with the caption on the cover of one of her books.
“Stop spending time you don’t have
with people you don’t like
doing things you don’t want to do”
– Sarah Knight
Seriously, go check out her books in the link above
What lessons has life taught you? Comment below.