As the sun sets on another year, time to reflect on what's happened to me during 2011. It's been a challenging year, one where my financial problems have continued to drag me down and hold me back. A year when family relationships have continued to deteriorate and I'm being pushed into making some decisions that will make me very unpopular. But it's also a year where I've made lots of new friends, been charmed by some very positive people and finally been handed the chance to get off unemployment benefit and into self employment.
So here are just 5 important lessons I've learned over the past 12 months which I'll take with me into 2012 and beyond.
1) You might see something as your destination but it turns out to be a stepping stone. You'll meet someone or do something and you'll feel it's the most important thing that's ever happened to you. Then it turns out not to be as good as you thought it was going to be. But on the way you've made new friends, done something you never imagined you would do, or set yourself up to take on an even bigger challenge. So don't feel bad if the thing you originally thought you wanted didn't turn out to be so good. Look at the positive outcomes you got from it and be happy for those who got what they wanted too.
2) Take baby steps towards your goals. If there's something you really want to do but it seems too daunting and massive, just do one little thing towards it every day. Even if it's just a couple of minutes, if you're consistent in doing these things they'll soon add up. Before too long, living the dream could become a reality!
3) Respect yourself, don't wait for others to respect you. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much you do, you can't make people think better of you if they really don't want to. So don't worry what they think, just always ensure your own conscience is clear.
4) Positivity is contagious. Get to know people with a can-do attitude to life instead of those who just want you to know your place (even if relentless positivity can come across as naive!) A little gesture of encouragement is better than a thousand put-downs. Make the most of that energy boost like a surfer rides a wave.
5) It's better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Life is far too short, will you honestly be able to look back on your time and say you had a go at everything you wanted to? That you used your talents to the fullest? That you lived to work instead of worked to live? Not all of us want to do the same things and we should never give in to peer pressure because we want to live our lives in different ways. Be yourself, not a sheep!
Whether you look back on 2011 as one of your favourite years or one you'll be glad to get rid of, I wish you all a very happy, successful and fulfilling New Year. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you'll join me on my big creative adventure in 2012!