Sometimes one year is difficult to distinguish from another, they just merge into one another. 2018, however, has not been like that. This has been a big year for me, one I won’t forget. So, I thought I’d share the major things I learned in 2018 that I’ll use in 2019.
1. Tell those you love how you feel.
My Mum died last year and I’m glad she lived close by and that I spent time with her regularly. Don’t put off spending time with your loved ones, because they won’t be here forever. Life’s too short to hold grudges. Swallow your pride and make the first move – you’ll be happier in the long run.
2. Say ‘yes’ more often.
It’s often easier to say no to opportunity – it feels safer and takes less effort. 2018 has been a year that I’ve opened up to more experiences, tried more things that I’ve been a bit scared of doing. I’ve found that these things are not as difficult as I imagined they’d be. In fact, the people that do them are just like me and not especially brave or talented. Just go for it – at worst you’ll have an entertaining story to tell about an awful experience. At best you’ll have a memory of a lifetime.
3. Get rid of clutter.
There is so much ‘stuff’ in my house it sometimes feels claustrophobic. I don’t even use the majority of it! Most of it seems to be in the ‘just in case I need it’ category. When will I learn to just let it go?
In 2019 I will declutter my home and therefore my life. Clutter causes stress and complicates our lives. Therefore, less clutter means less stress. I hope you join me in this.
4. Sort out your finances.
You might wonder why I’ve put this in. After all, I run budgeting workshops, I manage my money well. Very true, but you should regularly look at your finances. One of the most common mistakes we make with money is being complacent. Automatic renewal of subscriptions or insurance are prime examples of this.
5. Learn to relax.
Relaxation is one of the hardest things to do. I know that might sound strange. You would think anyone could relax, wouldn’t you? But, in general, people need drink or drugs to help them relax. They seem to be incapable of doing it without these external aids.
I wonder if it’s because relaxation has baggage? People seem to equate it with laziness, so it’s not something to encourage or learn. Relaxation is necessary for maximum creativity and should be taught. That way we can all reap its benefits without becoming dependent on alcohol to do it. I enjoy Yoga Nidra and intend to do this more often in 2019.
6. Talk to people face to face.
We are all social animals and conversation is great fun. It is also something we can study and improve on. Ditch the phone and try some face time without an electronic interface. I need to practise this more myself. Small talk is boring, I want to discover the interesting bits about all the people I talk to.
7. Employ the 80/20 rule.
Reading was a large part of 2018 for me – some fiction, but the majority were lifestyle self-help books. I got some great advice from them that I plan to use from now on. The 80/20 rule was one of them. It basically says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. It can be applied in a variety of situations. For example, you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Or, 80% of your stress comes from only 20% of what you’re dealing with.
2018 was definitely a year where I saw this. The secret is to focus on the 20% to produce that 80%, while getting rid of the rest. So, more results from less effort. I’ll let you know how I get on.
8. Don’t be afraid to fail.
I’m a product of my upbringing. My parents came from a time when it was very important to have a steady job and minimise risk. This makes us all rather wary of anything that doesn’t fit that model. Unfortunately it also seems to encourage an unhappy, but too scared to move, workforce.
Leaving my paid employment to set up on my own has been a sometimes scary decision. However, when I see the enthusiasm and excitement in other self-employed workers, I look forward to being my own boss and the challenges that will bring.
Risks are there to be taken, to challenge and stretch us – to help us grow. Now, I’m not advocating foolish risk-taking for the sake of it. No, I mean calculated risks, where the worst case scenarios have been considered and could be reversed.
As I said before, life’s too short – and it’s for living. Mistakes are how we learn, so don’t be put off trying just because you’re scared to fail.
If 2018 has taught me anything, it’s that. As said by Samuel Beckett, I want to learn to fail better:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Have a wonderful New Year. You’ve seen my list of things I learned in 2018. Next year will be here shortly and I can’t wait to see what new lessons it will bring. Even if it’s scary, I want to feel the fear but go for it anyway.
As my Mum liked to say, ‘The world’s your oyster’.
What pearls will you discover in 2019?