Happy New Year y’all!!!
We are just a few days into 2021 and it’s my usual habit at the start of each year to spend some time reflecting on the previous year. I do this so that I can start the new year in the right frame of mind. I believe there is always something to learn from the ups and the downs of life and if we don’t take time to learn from these lessons, we run the risk of walking around in circles, not making any real progress. So, I decided to write down what 2020 taught me and share these lessons with you. I hope that they inspire you to keep on going this year.
• • •
Don’t forget to Subscribe!
Lesson 1: It’s happening FOR you, not TO you
Last year I discovered a podcast on Spotify called ‘The Mindset Mentor’ by Rob Dial and it’s excellent! In one episode Rob spoke of viewing everything that occurs in your life as happening FOR you and not TO you. This mindset helps you to see that each scenario in your life, whether good or bad, is leading you to become a better version of yourself. So instead of falling into a victim mentality where you ask, “Why is this happening to me?”, you develop a winning attitude where you ask “What is this situation trying to teach me.” So, I chose to view the COVID pandemic and all my other challenges in 2020 as happing for me and not to me, and as a result I could see the positives in all situations. So here are some examples: COVID gave me time to get consistent in creating content for this blog; COVID helped me to set boundaries on toxic relationships and to focus on my good relationships; COVID gave me time to reflect on certain things that I was too busy to deal with, and by doing so I made better decisions; finally, by removing all my distractions COVID helped me to reaffirm the direction of my life. So, 2020 has really been a set up and not a set back!
“I never lose. I either win or learn.” – Nelson Mandela
Lesson 2: Set goals otherwise you’ll drift
At the start of 2020 I wrote down a list of goals that I wanted to achieve, then every Sunday I would review my progress and create a to-do list, based on these goals, for the week ahead. These goals gave my life structure and purpose which were grounding considering the uncertainty and confusion caused by COVID. No, I didn’t achieve every single goal on my list, but I did make some valuable progress in the right direction and I count this as a great success! Without having these goals I would have drifted and made erratic decisions based on my emotions which ebb and flow. But as I review 2020, I can see my accomplishments clearly and I can use the wisdom I’ve gained to set better goals for 2021.
Seriously, I cannot encourage you guys enough to set some goals so that you stay focused and so that you achieve your dreams. By the way I found a great video that teaches you how to achieve any goal that you set, click here to watch it.
“A Goal Is A Dream With A Deadline” – Napoleon Hill.
Lesson 3: Reward yourself along the way
I had four invaluable sessions with a life coach in 2020. My life coach helped me to see that I was only rewarding myself when I accomplished major goals, and since some of my goals may take me years to achieve, I was denying myself encouragement during the journey. She suggested that I reward myself whenever I reached small milestones. This seemed like a strange concept at first because I was raised in a home where I received praise at the end of an accomplishment, e.g., at the end of school term only if I got good grades or when I completely finished household chore; I wasn’t praised regularly, so my view of rewards was that I only deserved them after I had finished something. This is not to shame my parents who did the best that they could, it’s simply just an observation. I’ve now realised that rewarding myself along the way as I work towards achieving my goals actually motivates me to do better. It’s as though I’m cheering myself on continuously.
Let me emphasise the point I’m trying to make by sharing this story: There was a man walking outside one day and the Sun and the Wind decided to have a competition. They wanted to see who could get the man to take off his coat in the shortest amount of time. The Wind tried first; it blew as hard as possible but the man only clutched his coat tighter and wrapped it closer to his body. After trying for a long time the Wind finally gave up. The Sun tried next; it shone brighter and brighter and the temperature outside grew warmer and warmer. The man quickly took off his coat, thus the Sun won the competition. The moral of this story is that encouragement does more than harshness when dealing with ourselves. So, I rewarded myself along the way in 2020 and I felt happier as a result. I enjoyed my life more and it made achieving my goals much more pleasurable.
“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.”
Lesson 4: You learn as you go
Last year I decided to focus on creating one YouTube video each week. I had to teach myself how to use a computer programme called Final Cut Pro in a short space of time. I was very stressed at the beginning especially when I compared my videos with established YouTubers. Sometimes I would spend 4 hours shooting a video only to discover afterwards that the video was a complete failure and I would have to start all over again; I would stay up past midnight some days just to meet my creative deadlines and I still had to keep up with the demands of my job.
However, I didn’t give up and in the past few months my skills have steadily improved. I’m not ‘there’ yet, but as I look back on my earlier videos I can see how far I’ve come and I’m so proud of my efforts. I realised that there was no way to gain all the knowledge I needed at the start of my YouTube journey. But by trying, failing, crying, having a meltdown, trying again, and failing again, I got better! And this is why so many people never start anything: we are scared to fail. We keep waiting until we’re ready or until we’re perfect. If I had put off creating YouTube videos until I was ready, then I would not be where I am today. I simply would have delayed the timeline of achieving my goals. You see skill is something that is developed over time. There are no shortcuts. You simply learn as you go. So, don’t wait until you feel ready to start that business, to take that course, or to take that risk. Just do it afraid and trust the process.
“You always pass failure on your way to success.” – Mickey Rooney
Lesson 5: Believe for better
I had to face some tough challenges in 2020 that I can’t really share on this blog. But I will be honest and share that there were some days where I simply cried and struggled to find the motivation to continue. There were times where it felt like I had nothing at all to look forward to. I was tempted to give up on some things. But my faith in God was what sustained me through those dark patches. Whether you believe in God, the universe, the power of positive thinking, or the law of attraction, I’ve observed that your core beliefs about life determine your experience of life. If you believe that you’re going to have a lousy day, then you usually will. If you believe that life is full of bad people, then you will probably meet them everywhere you go. But if you believe for the good in every scenario then you will most likely find it.
Over the years I’ve disciplined myself to believe that good things are coming my way. I often declare at the start of each day that, “Something good is happening to me today.” And I try to make this declaration even on my bad days. I do this to create an atmosphere of faith and I believe that this makes room for good things to happen in my life. Here’s some of the good things that happened to me over the past year:
- A makeup company reached out to me on Instagram and offered me my first collaboration!!! After years of developing my skills it was so nice to see a positive result.
- In November I got an unexpected tax refund! It put a huge smile on my face and helped me to continue being optimistic.
- I had a very difficult situation at work which appeared to be leading towards a court case. But after many months of waiting the case was finally closed, and in the end I didn’t have to attend court.
- Just a few days ago I got a random cheque from my bank; they decided to compensate me for their poor service many years ago which I hadn’t even noticed.
So, if I had given up at some point in 2020 and maintained a negative attitude, I may have never seen the good things that were in my future. Therefore, I’m choosing to believe that the best is yet to come in 2021 instead of the worst.
“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Victor Hugo
• • •
Yes, 2020 was a challenging year but I’m so grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned. I encourage you to reflect on last year, draw up a list of your own life-lesson’s, and then use them to guide your perspective on 2021.
Here’s to an amazing new year! May it exceed your expectations in every possible way.
• • •
Don’t forget to Subscribe!