10 Important Lessons I Learned In 2021

2021 has been another crazy year. Somehow the longest but shortest year of all time. Between the pandemic, going back to work, and just navigating day to day life with all the constant changes… I’ll be the first to say that this year has been exhausting!! One major positive 2021 has brought though (at least for me) was the time for learning. 

When I say learning I don’t necessarily mean learning in the traditional sense. I didn’t take any classes or anything like that. But I did a lot of life learning, personal learning, and feel like I’ve grown massively in who I am as a person. 

Personal development has been really important to me since 2020. I made some initial discoveries about myself early during the pandemic that pushed my personal development journey forward. The biggest discovery being, I am not happy working my 9-5 job. Maybe you can relate… 2020 showed me there was more to life and 2021 showed me the start of the path! 

The 10 biggest lessons I learned on 2021:

It’s okay to feel not great all the time

Mental health has been talked about time and time again, especially during the last couple years! I realized that I have been dealing with some of my own mental health challenges… and honestly, I was just sweeping them under the rug. For how long? I’m not even sure. 

I found out that sometimes you just feel like shit. Some days you feel sad. Some days you feel unsure, confused, like you’ve lost your path. Those days are okay. Embrace them. Learn from them. Just don’t let them control you. Having off days or weeks is NORMAL and it’s okay to feel the feels!

My anxiety is not who I am 

Anxiety has kind of taken control of me this past year. It’s something I’ve been trying to be more open about because a) it’s totally common and b) it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I have done some personal development around anxiety and my anxious ways and something that really stuck with me is that I AM anxious but my anxiety is not me. It doesn’t have to be a personality trait, it’s just something I deal with. It’s helped changing my wording around it. Of course, it’s still there but sometimes when I’m really struggling, it helps! 

One good friend is better than many surface level friends 

Gosh, friendships have been hard for me since I was young. I’ve always been a little awkward and figured that was why lol. But as I’m getting older I’m *finally* realizing that friendship is a two way street.

Over this last year I have developed very few friendships. However, these new friendships are different. I don’t think I was ever that awkward now that I look back. I think I was surrounding myself with people who would rather have many surface level friends instead of real, true friends.

If you find yourself in a season of finding new friends, it’s okay to have 1 friend. It’s okay to be in between friends. Most importantly, friendships are reciprocal relationships… It takes two to tango. I’m glad I’ve finally figured that out. 

People will do what they want to do. Actions are louder than words

This goes back to the friendships. I learned during 2021 that when times are tough, busy, scary, and downright exhausting, you really learn who your friends are.

Those who don’t respond, can never make time, don’t check in… they aren’t really the best friends. I used to make excuses for people who didn’t put in the effort. I’d say they are just busy or they forgot. In reality, even when life is off the rails, it’s not hard to send a quick text.

Being alone does not need to be lonely

I have learned to enjoy my own company like I never had before. I am an only child so I’m no stranger to being alone. I actually love having my alone time! But there have been tim3s this year where I was realllyyy challenged. I felt so freaking alone.

It took some time to realize that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. And that, just because you are alone and feel alone sometimes doesn’t mean it has to be lonely. I figured out new things I love. I learned a lot about myself! Slowing down and sitting with myself taught me to appreciate my down time more and to appreciate my friends and family more.

Everyone starts somewhere. You can’t just jump to the top

Starting a small business in 2021 has been both exciting and disappointing. I am loving everything to do with my biz but I also struggled with comparison. I was looking at these successful small businesses and getting upset that I wasn’t successful like them.

Girl, you literally JUST started. These other people have been doing this for years. I came to the conclusion that I cannot compare. I can look for inspiration and motivation but that’s all. Everyone has a day one. Maybe one day someone will be looking at my small business wondering why they aren’t where I am. Everything takes time and that’s okay!!! It’s part of the journey.

You need to find what makes you happy and then go after it 

As I mentioned above – I learned that working a 9-5 is not for me. I have never been so unhappy in my working life. Seeing what *could have* been when I was working from home and then having that taken away… it’s been freaking hard but also extremely motivating!

Whether it’s big or small, you need to find what makes you happy in life. If it’s work related, family related, money related… it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you strive for what makes you happy and do not settle for less. If 2021 has taught us anything, it’s that life is freaking short!!! Go for your dreams! 

You really need to take control of your own personal development, no one else will

This one was an easy lesson! No one else cares about your personal development. In all honesty, many people hope you will never take the steps to improve yourself because they don’t want anything to change.

You are in control of your own life. No one else is going to make you read the books, stick to the routines, and make the hard changes.

Making healthy changes does not change who you are 

One thing I struggled with this year was making healthy changes in my lifestyle without “losing” who I am. My mindset was just wrong. Who you are is not your morning routine or your healthy food choices.

I learned that being healthy and making changes just improve who I already am. It adds to my life, it doesn’t take away! If anyone makes you think otherwise, they are the problem NOT you!

It’s never too late to start something and you never need to wait for a “fresh start”

I have always been a “wait for Monday” or wait for a new month kind of person. I have come to realize that waiting for those times are just an illusion of a fresh start. You can start something new literally any day. And it’s better that you do because every day you waste waiting for the “fresh start” just puts you backwards in development!

I’m no longer waiting for Monday or waiting for January. I can start anything at any time and I will! Every day is a fresh start and if you can change your mindset on that then you will have 365 fresh starts instead of 52 (Mondays) or 12 (months)! 

Related read: One book that changed my life

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What have you learned this year?

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