Like most people, I love the fresh slate a new year offers. The chance to start new, to set new intentions, to wipe away the struggles of the previous year. It’s like the first penmark on a fresh page of a brand new notebook. The beginning of something new excites me, and not knowing what’s to come makes it that much more enthralling.
So as we are already nine days into this new year, this fresh start, I’m finally taking the time to sit down and reflect on what 2018 taught me, and my hopes for what 2019 has in store.
Lessons Learned in 2018:
Confidence goes a long way
As an introverted person who would rather take the back seat and be “the brains behind the operation” as opposed to sit at the front of the table and be the star of the show, I really challenged myself this year to push myself out of my comfort zone and break down my fear of standing out. This manifested itself in many ways, mostly professionally. I was able to secure a new job in a completely different career field, and speak with confidence about my ability to learn fast and adapt to new environments. This new role allowed me to lead meetings on topics I had no expertise in, with confidence that I did my research well and knew enough to speak the language of the situation.
Good things are sometimes the hardest things
I faced some challenges this year, and some of the things I thought I was most grateful for in life brought on many of these challenges. But pnce again, I was reminded that we cannot have the good without the bad. If we didn’t know what bad or challenging was, how would we measure “good” anyway? Fighting through those tough times always makes those good things that much sweeter, that much more worth it.
Who you surround yourself with is up to you
We all have that obligation to spend time with people that don’t really bring us joy, or contribute to our lives in a positive way. This past year I challenged myself to really evaluate to whom I was giving my time and energy. I think this made me, for some time at least, a bit reserved in my friendships and relationships. But toward the end of the year I was really able to see, from those in my circle, who was contributing positively to me, making me a better version of myself, and who I wanted to make that same impact on.
Reading is good for the soul
One of my big goals for 2018 was to read 12 books, or one book a month. As someone who grew up reading late into the night when she should have already been asleep, reading has long been an escape for me. However, as I grew older, went to college, and began my professional career, reading (for leisure) was one of those things that got pushed to the side. So taking back that hobby this year was amazing for my mental health & clarity, and overall a positive escape from daily life. It’s amazing the perspective you gain from immersing yourself in a different world. And, I ended up reading 21 books! It was a proud moment.
Too much of anything is too much
So this is something that I’ve known for a while, but has taken me longer than I’d like to admit to practice. But this year, I really challenged myself to commit to less. Less consumption of material goods, less consumption of social media, less commitment to extracurricular activities, less social commitments, less time wasted doing things I don’t enjoy, less time on social media. Just overall, removing excess from my life. It’s worked wonders and is something I plan to bring with me in 2019.
So, what’s in store for 2019?
2019 remains a book unwritten. And instead of planning lofty goals for the year that will give me anxiety if I don’t accomplish them, I’ve decided on one goal: continue to develop the person I am.
I say “new year, same me” because the truth is, I am happy with me. And it’s taken me some time to get to that point of true happiness with myself. So why change something that’s truly not broken? We are all perfect as we are. We don’t need to change ourselves in any major ways in order to become more worthy of the happiness we seek.
Sure, there are some small, measurable intentions I have set for myself. Such as practice yoga at least once a week, pursue some professional certifications, travel to a few specific spots, save a certain amount of money, etc. These are all relatively small and achievable intentions.
But the Evan that conquered 2018 is rolling into 2019 as the same bundle of mind, body & soul.