Goodbye 2021 - The top 3 lessons I've learned this year

by - December 30, 2021

As we prepare to wave goodbye to another challenging year there's no doubt many of us will be rushing to usher 2021 out the door. But while it's been another difficult 12 months, it's from tough times that some of the most valuable lessons can be learned. Here are the top three life lessons I've learned in 2021.

Do what's best for you - NO exceptions

This might sound like a given to some people but it's so, so easy to put other people's needs and expectations above your own - especially for a people pleaser like me. But in 2021 I've learned that it’s up to each individual to be in charge of their own emotions - and yes, that includes me. Your health and wellbeing should be your number one priority and I'm not just talking about physical health. After the last two years we've all had, mental health is more important than ever. Sometimes it’s okay to not be at your very best, and you need to take care of yourself.

It's OK to say no to things that don't work for you

In the same vein, don't feel bad about saying no to anything that doesn't serve you, you'll only be making yourself miserable. No doubt a lot of you have seen author Sally Hepworth's brilliant 'no' list. Her list includes taking part in school fundraisers, entertaining at home, and socialising mid-week. She says this helps her to stay clear on her values, and helps to diffuse the guilt about saying no. My husband is good at this one - on our second date he told me quite clearly "I don't do massages". At the time I remember thinking it was a weird statement to make (I still think that actually!) but I do admire his ability to set a boundary, stick to it and be 100% clear about it. I have to admit I don't have a 'no list' of my own just yet but it's something I know, in my mid 40s, I should seriously consider. I recently underwent a major life change selling my business in order to do .... well, I'm not quite sure yet, so I think now is as good a time as any for me to get a start. In fact saying no to the perceived expectations I thought my family and friends had about me and the path my life would take ended up being the catalyst for the sale of my business sale so maybe I've already started.

The slow lane is a perfectly fine place to be

I think I'm pretty typical of other women my age who are the children of second wave feminists - I went straight to uni from school and then immediately into the early stages of my career after that. In fact I was just 17 when I started work at Australia's largest media organisation and 20 when I graduated from uni and was awarded a journalism cadetship. The truth is I have worked non-stop on my career for almost 30 years and while I'm lucky enough to have always worked in roles I feel particularly passionate about that also means that my work became my life and vice versa. But what's become clear to me in the past 12 months is that it's OK to slow down every now and then to get clarity on where it is you're going. "The antidote to the always hustling mindset is slowness," writes entrepreneur Andrew Thomas for Inc. "It sounds crazy, but slowing down can be the difference between success or failure, or between thriving and burning out." In 2022, I've resolved to honour what my mind, body, and spirit need to stay healthy. "When every day provides 24 hours, there's really no excuse not to meditate, exercise, cook a healthy meal, or journal," says Thomas.

I'd love to hear what life lessons 2021 has taught you. Feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below.

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