3 Lessons I Learned in 2016

During the last days of 2016, I set aside time to read and reread my journals, look at all of my photos on social media and think about what my life looked like in 2016. As I clicked through countless photos and was pleasantly surprised by all of the cool experiences I had in 2016, I decided to journal and debrief the year by writing down everything that I had either learned, loved or hated in 2016. Fortunately, the columns for what I loved and learned were WAY longer than the column for what I hated. I was so inspired by this, that I decided to share a few thoughts on my newly learned ideas. 

One lesson I learned was that I can actually finish what I say I am going to finish, even if it is something that I do not like doing. As I sat down last January, I came up with a long list of things that I wanted to see myself achieve in 2016. One of those things was to complete Moorea Seal’s 52 List Project book. I chose this book because there was quite a buzz about how it was helpful in developing a habit of mindfulness and because I had never successfully finished a weekly devotional type book before. 

Week after week, I had a reminder set on my phone to take the time to do the activations in my book. I would go to my home office, shut the door, sit down and complete the activations. Ultimately, in the larger scheme of life, it does not matter if I did this book or even if I completed it. However, through finishing it the very last week of December, I felt SO accomplished and inspired by the exercises that helped me figure out what I like in life. Completing this book is just one of many things that I finished this year. Some other things that I finished include reading the complete Bible in 5 months, journaling daily, exercising multiple times a week, saying daily affirmations and much more. Through learning the lesson that I am actually able to finish things that I put my mind to, I am inspired to start 2017 off with even more things that I actually want to see myself doing! I have inspired myself, through making simple habits, to dominate and kick butt this year!

Another lesson I learned in 2016 was that it is okay to dream big! At the beginning of last year, I sat down and wrote out all the dreams that I had for the year. This included starting a business, traveling for free, traveling to new places, having better jobs and much, much more. Literally, 90% of the things on my 'dream big' list came true this year! Out of all of my dreams, I really wanted all the ones about travel to come true! I love seeing and experiencing new places and, weirdly enough, I love living out of a bag. Seriously guys, I had the opportunity to go on SO many trips this year and a lot of the places that I traveled to were new to me! 

I started the year off by traveling to Australia…for free! Going to Australia was a dream come true on so many levels! In 2015 I dreamt for a free trip to Australia and a couple months later, my hubs received a free trip to Australia through his work. Instead of being resentful about this, I chose to be excited for him and kept declaring that I too would get to go to Australia for free! Fast forward a few months, I was at work and I was told that I got to lead an outreach team to Australia in 2016. I was THRILLED! All that to say, I got to travel to Australia and see that dreaming big leads to amazing things! 

Not only did I get to go to Australia this year, I had the opportunity to travel to New York City four times, Chicago, Colorado, Seattle, Portland, the California coast, Yosemite National Park and Miami. I have seen the most beautiful natural spaces in the United States and I have been so inspired by it all! I am going to definitely keep up the habit of dreaming big throughout the year because it has been incredible to see what happens when I choose to set my sights on awesome things!

The final lesson of 2016 is that I have learned to be okay with being me. I had a goal this past year to be okay with being me and I feel like I made great strides in this area. I have not arrived, but I am way better off than where I was at the beginning of 2016. 

In the process of being okay with being me, I have learned to walk in confidence and be okay with my choices. I may not have accomplished every single goal that I had set out to, but I am not beating myself up. I am loving myself on my own journey. I am okay that I love my friends but may not love dance parties. I am okay that I may not have lost the amount of weight that I wanted to. I am okay that I did not finish writing my book this year. The reason that I am okay is because I love who I am and I love who I have become. 

Through all of the life lessons learned in this past year, the last lesson of being okay to be me is the one I would love my readers to take away from this post. Be yourself and be okay with being yourself. Take time to figure out who you are. Through that, you will be able to accomplish so much! Take some time at the start of this new year to figure out what you want from 2017. Whether it is dreaming bigger, knowing who you are or learning the concept of follow through, you do you. 

Danielle Helson