After a crazy 2018 full of travel and fun, I was too pumped up to rock 2019. Long story short, 2019 turned out to be a crappy year! But like the miserable years of doing nothing so great, I realized that most of it was my fault (of course there were the circumstances as well). So, here are the 5 life lessons that I learned from 2019:
#1 Set Plausible Goals
I know this is a very obvious one! But hear me out. I did not set goals like, become a ‘millionaire in a year’ and fail at it. The goals I set were more like ‘earn myself a solo backpacking trip to Nepal’. Where I went wrong was that I actually did not have any income, to begin with. I was just starting out as a freelancer and found that there is great potential there. This is just one example though.
When you have had a crazy year or some amazing success in something, we make the mistake of assuming that it is going to be only an upward graph from that. That is not true! The most probable thing is for the graph is to dip down and come closer to average. This is called ‘Regression to the mean’ effect. So, if you had an exceptionally good year or month chances are it is not going to be as good the next time.
Life Lesson Learnt: Be extra cautious while you are setting goals after a very successful year. Save yourself the pain of failing to achieve the not-so-plausible goals.
#2 Search happiness within
I am usually a very happy person, but I had serious trouble keeping my spirit up in 2019. Why do you ask? Firstly, chasing my goals weren’t going so well. Then I was not traveling even half as much as I did the previous year. My friend-circle took a hit too. I can keep going!
But what I realized by the end of the year was that my life seemed miserable because I was putting way too much weight on external things. We should not be doing that. Of course, they bring a lot of joy. But it either requires money or is dependent on things that are out of our hands. Instead, we have to focus on what we can do in our everyday life. Get out and breathe fresh air every morning, cook yourself a nice healthy meal or read an intriguing book. These small everyday things can improve the quality of your life and make you happier.
Life Lesson Learnt: Have a bunch of things that you can do to make your everyday life happier. It should not involve external factors.
#3 Have something to look forward to
The reason why most working people make it through the workweek is that they are looking forward to the weekend. Even with a weekend coming every five to six days our life can still feel dull and meaningless if there is nothing interesting to look forward to. I was way happier and more productive in 2018 than in 2019. The reason- I was looking forward to my travels (once every 2 months).
Since I barely had travel plans to look forward to in 2019, I was completely demotivated, disinterested and began procrastinating a lot. We cannot always have a big trip at the end of every two months (if you can afford it, do so by all means!). But we can have other things to look forward to like completing a 30-day challenge, having a binge week after a month of hard work and so on.
Life Lesson Learnt: Anticipation of fun itself makes us happier. Always have something to look forward to.
#4 Don’t Rush
With big goals and eagerness to see the world, the fact that I was getting nowhere kept nagging me. Have you felt it too? That impatient and restless feeling of being stagnant or not making enough progress? That frustration of not being where you expected to be?
We all live in such a fast-phased world, driven by stupid definitions of success. Some way or the other we fall into that trap and you are a failure until you achieve that. It is not a good feeling. I always knew this on some level but 2019 made sure that it got nailed into my stupid brain. It is true that I did not achieve much of my goals and could not be as disciplined as I wanted to, but I have gotten better. Appreciating the growth has helped me start 2020 on the right foot.
Life Lesson Learnt: The goals and achievements aren’t going anywhere. Do not rush yourself so much that you cannot enjoy the journey.
#5 Self-discipline does not come in a day
Are you a habitual procrastinator like was? If yes, then you might have been through this. I set some serious self-discipline goals for 2019 like waking up at 5.30 am every day, working out every day, eating healthy every day. And every time I could not keep it up, I used to beat myself up so hard. Very hard that a broken streak would last from a week to a month! Sometimes I never got back on.
Now, I can proudly say that I have found the solution! Cut yourself some slack! If you do something regularly for 4-5 days out of 7 days of the week, you are still better off than not doing it at all. I am not really convinced by the whole ‘21-day habit’ thing. But from my own experience, giving yourself enough time to gain discipline really works.
Life Lesson Learnt: Do not beat yourself up if you cannot be disciplined enough to do something daily. It is okay to skip it now and then. What matters is that you get back on track.
There you have it! I hope you liked it and could relate at least to some of this. If you have more life lessons to add to the list, please let me know in the comments. I would like to learn it without having to realize it the hard way ❤