I have to say that sharing 20 life lessons I learned in 2020 is a no brainer way to embrace the new one. Why? Because I think it’s essential that no matter how hard, you reflect on your past to make a better future for yourself.
As I began reflecting on the past year, I almost instantly felt discouraged, realizing that I’d accomplished not one item on my vision board. So, I allowed myself to feel that emotion; disappointment, but only for a minute. Because I know that while I may not have accomplished everything I planned, there is so much that I did accomplish, which was unplanned. This thought leads me to the first of 20 life lessons I learned in 2020 and would like to share now.
1. Give yourself grace if things don’t go according to plan; instead, review, adjust, and reattack, which is what I’ll be doing in 2021. I’ve completed my vision board, I’ve written my goals, I’ve planned my January. I’m as ready as I’ll get to tackle a new year successfully!
2. Live and soak up every moment! One of our last trips before the pandemic was to Los Angeles, where my husband competed as a contestant on Holey Moley, ABC. I spent so much time worrying about the flight (fear of flying), then stressing over the trip’s organizational details, then nervous being out and about away from Atlanta (anxiety, panic attacks) that I didn’t enjoy myself nearly as much as I should have. I ended up with a migraine for two out of the four days I was there. Oh, how I wish I could turn back the hands of time and enjoyingly soak up every bit of California sun. But I can’t, which is why it is so vital we enjoy experiences as they come. Put the phone down, relax, live in the moment!
3. Whether you are renting or owning your home, take the time to make sure it’s your haven. You should feel instant calm and peace when you walk through your door. If you don’t, don’t complain about it, do something about it.
4. Self-care is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be expensive! I spent a lot of time this year walking my neighborhood or going to the park, reading books but also browsing magazines, soaking in my jetted bathtub with candlelight and music playing, and so many more things that I rarely make time to do. Now self-care is added to my calendar right along with other responsibilities and appointments.
5. Work less. Seriously, when was the last time you took an extended vacation? Do you use all or any of your paid time off? If the answer is you can’t remember or not really, then now is the time to change that. I’ve worked thousands of hours of overtime over the past ten years. Before then, when I was in the military, I would always be one of the last people in the office. A hard worker has always been a trait that I took pride in touting. I still do, but hard work doesn’t mean overworked and moving forward, I’m committed to enjoying my earned days off.
6. Your tribe is essential, and you have to nurture it! Even though I didn’t physically see my best friends this year, I instantly felt lighter, more cheerful, and more determined after getting off a three-way phone or video call with my besties, and I’m so thankful for their almost 20 years of friendship. If you don’t feel the same with the friends in your life, it’s time for better ones.
7. and 8. After living through a recession and a pandemic, it now seems like a good time to create additional income streams and pay off all consumer debt!
9. If you live away from home, make time to fly or drive back to spend quality time with your family as often as you can. I didn’t do this enough, and now that I haven’t been able to, I miss my family so much. I never want to say again that it’s been over two years since I’ve been home.
10. I prefer Blogging over creating Youtube content! You could probably care less about this particular personal lesson, but the takeaway I want to pass on to you is that as you navigate life, do more of what you WANT to do, not what others think or say you should.
11. You’ve consumed enough content, whether that be a video or written; now’s the time to put what you know into action. You’ll make some mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. As I stated before, you learn, readjust, and reattack.
12. Write things down! Life gets busier and more complex the older you get; don’t merely rely on your brain to remember every thought; give it a backup system. You’ll feel much more organized and, overall, less stressed.
13. Now’s an excellent time to purge the items you don’t need and never use in your home. Start now!
14. You’re capable of more than you want to admit and or give yourself credit for!
15. Running is still the best medicine for a bad mood. If you’re not a runner or a walker, for that matter, you should try it, especially when the lovely spring weather returns.
16. Outsourcing household responsibilities does not make you less than. This year I’m looking to hire a cleaning service twice a month, freeing up so much of my weekend time. I also have continued to use Instacart. I know I have to pay fees but the 2 hours it frees up per week is well worth it.
17. One all-day movie marathon per month is a must! My husband and I did that last weekend and enjoyed it so much! We rarely have that much time to sit around, but we’ve decided we should make it a regular part of our routine.
18. You don’t need a membership to a pricey gym membership to stay in shape. While I enjoyed going to Orange Theory, it’s expensive. Instead, I’ve found a fantastic trainer on YouTube, who posts new workouts every day. These workouts, along with my running, are what I’ve used to keep me physically moving at a time when there are not many safe places to go.
19. Tiny disciplined steps will get you so much further than waiting for the perfect time that may never come!
20. No matter how bad things may seem, there’s someone out there who unfortunately has it worse. Be grateful for everything you have, and trust that things will get better!
I hope that the 20 life lessons I learned in 2020 encourage you along your journey in 2021. Until next time!