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10 Powerful Lessons I Learned This Year

10 Powerful Lessons I Learned This Year

Hey achiever! Happy almost New Year! 

As an end-of-year tradition, I like to look back and reflect on my year and the lessons I could extract from it. 

2021 has been one of the best years of my life! 

Here's what I learned:

1. Happiness is a choice. Happiness isn't the absence of heartache. Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect in your life. Being happy is a state of being you choose to feel and be in no matter what external circumstances surround you. You could be happy in both happy times and sad times. 

2. Do everything with love. Put yourself in a position where you enjoy what you're doing when you do it. This relates to every choice you make in life. If you must do something you don't initially enjoy, or don't enjoy at all, change your mind and heart towards it. Identify why you don't like it, and decide to change your attitude towards it. This makes doing something you otherwise wouldn't like, a lot easier. 

3. Be positive always. Choose to think positively every day, and catch yourself if negative thoughts start to creep in. Negative thoughts won't serve you but only drag you down, whereas positive thoughts can change a situation and help you see things in a different light. Simply being alive is a blessing! How can you be more positive today?

3. Be grateful every single day.  Be grateful for all and who you have. It's easy to get caught up with the hustle and bustle of our daily busy and maybe stressful lives, but it's important to practice gratitude every day so you don't lose track of what truly matters to you. It's easy to fall into the trap of overlooking the value of something or someone when it's such a big part of our life and day.

4. LIVE! Truly live. Life isn't meant to be passed by, working 24/7, neglecting spirituality, neglecting personal growth and development, neglecting our goals, dreams, desires, overall wellbeing and PURPOSE. Reflect on and write down what makes you happy, and DO IT! Every day/week/month/year, carve out time do doing things that bring you the utmost joy! For some, like me, it's to travel. I take any opportunity I can to travel, and when I do, it's like I'm in a new world. Man, do even mini-vacations make me thrive! Vacations don't even have to be far away. You can take smaller day trips a lot more often than one big vacation. Commit to doing something exciting that brings you joy on a consistent basis, and do it as often as possible!

5. Keep your integrity. When you make a commitment, stick to it. Not only will others know you stick to your word, YOU will know that you stick to your word. A lot of things happen psychologically behind the scenes. If you often say what you don't mean, your body won't be able to recognize when you do say what you mean. If you are always late (something I have a problem with sometimes), your body won't take you seriously when you make a time commitment. Your being knows it can't count on your word. But words are powerful. As Scripture says, "the power of death and life is in the tongue", so be intentional with what you say and make sure you're able to commit to your choice before you voice your decision. 

6. Your only competition should be yourself. Don't look at other people. Make yourself a winner. Keep outgrowing and outdoing yourself. Don't strive for perfection, that's unattainable. Strive for excellence instead. Aim to outdo yourself, not others. Be focused and dedicated your personal and professional growth. Constantly grow and evolve. You're unique and your potential is unlimited. Don't try to be like everyone else and fit in the status quo. Be you and be better today than who you were yesterday. 

7. Don't stop learning. Piggying back on the last lesson I learned, the way to constantly grow and evolve is by learning. The Bible has numerous verses that say to "renew your mind" and to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind". Intuitively, we know this is important, but do we do it? In the last 6 months, and especially the last 6 weeks, I have been so hungry to renew my mind. I spend hours a day renewing my mind and meditating on God's Word. That's led to lots of new understanding and breakthroughs for me. Lots of WOW! moments. I'm not who I was 6 months ago, 6 weeks ago, or even yesterday. As I learn and grow daily, I surpass who I was and grow more and more into who I can be. How can you grow today?

8. Never stop believing in yourself. There will always be people that doubt you and your capabilities. Sometimes it's your own loved ones. And it hurts. But don't be discouraged because people don't see what you see, and they don't know all that you know. And they don't have to. If you believe in something badly enough, and if you believe in yourself badly enough, write down your biggest dreams and goals and make a plan on how you're going to make it happen. Then take action, persevere, and never give up! It won't always be easy, but it'll be worth it. I always like to say: choose your hard. 

9. Be kind and compassionate. It's easy to get upset at something someone said or did, especially if we didn't deserve it. Getting angry won't serve you. Instead, try to look past someone's actions and look at their heart. As the saying goes, "hurt people hurt people." This doesn't excuse someone's actions, but it gives some insight as to the driving force behind someone's outer appearance of their actions. We all have a deep desire to be heard, understood, and valued and sometimes, when we feel an absence of those desires, we lash out at the wrong people out of frustration (which is not ok). We've all been on both ends: lashing out at someone or being lashed out by someone. Let's make a commitment to be kinder, more understanding and compassionate. This actually can even disarm someone from being mean and defensive, simply by being understanding and meeting them where they are.

10. Forgive. Forgiveness isn't about others, it's actually about ourselves. When we choose not to forgive, we stay bitter and and angry towards people, which only affects ourselves and disrupts our peace and wellbeing. When we choose to forgive (not necessarily to forget), WE get healed. We don't carry a heavy burden in our hearts and minds. Forgiving someone isn't only when they ask for forgiveness. Sometimes we must forgive even when someone doesn't apologize. This is key to moving past heartache and moving forward with peace and positivity. 

I'd love to hear your biggest lessons of the year! Comment below and share what you learned, in hopes of helping someone else. 

Cheers to an incredible 2022!, 

Athena 

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