Reflecting on 2022: 22 Important Life Lessons

After celebrating the new year, it’s important to reflect on the previous one. We took the time to think about 2022 and the life lessons that we learned. We’re coining 2022 as the year of transition for us. So much happened in our lives that we knew we had to write about what we took from the past 12 months.

These life lessons are going to guide us throughout 2023. If there are things you want to change about your life and haven’t had the courage yet, here’s your sign to do something about it. Reflect on 2022 and use your notes as a guide for what you want in 2023.

1. Take Risks

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky, former NHL player. This quote resonates with us, especially as we make decisions about our life. Taking risks makes life more interesting and opens your eyes to new possibilities.

Most people have a lot of excuses for never taking a risk and trying something new. From “I’m too old” to “I have plenty of time.” Both of those statements prevent people from going after what they want and living their life to their fullest potential. The people who don’t take risks at all are the type of people who let life happen to them, not the type of people who make things happen.

We get it, people have responsibilities in life and might bring up the fact that they have children to support, etc. However, you can take calculated risks and make small steps toward your goals. A little bit of progress is better than standing still in life.

2. Prioritize Fun

Fun is not just for children. Adults need to have fun, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed at work or at home. You should allow yourself to do something that lets you enjoy your time and stop watching the clock wondering when the workday is over.

As we mentioned above, people make excuses in life. Some of that has to do with having fun. People say that they are too busy or they can prioritize fun when they’re older. Start living right now. Plan something fun to do each week and make your life more interesting.

Fun activities differ depending on the person. Fun might be about a solitary activity like finding the time to hike more or it could be something more adventurous, leading the person to try things like skydiving or a polar bear plunge. Reflect on what fun looks like to you and make it happen more this year.

3. Make Changes

Whether it’s a dietary change or a time management change, if there’s something in your life that you’ve been wanting to change, start now. This is personal for Ben, who decided to make a big change last year and move. It also falls into the category of taking a risk, because he hadn’t lined up his new job yet, but everything worked out for the best. His new life is exciting and he’s able to prioritize his life goals more.

Everybody has something in their life that they would change. The best advice we can give is decide what you want to do, craft a course of action and then just do it! This is your sign to stop procrastinating on what you want.

4. Set Goals

It’s impossible to work toward something I’d you don’t know what it is that you’re working toward. Having goals in mind can help provide a direction for your efforts as well as keep you motivated. We recently wrote a post titled: Setting Realistic New Year’s Resolutions. In that post, we discuss how to stick with your goals to make sure you accomplish them.

Start by writing out your goals and then sperate them in three categories: short, medium and long-term. Thing of short-term as the next two years, categorize medium as in the next three to five years and have long-term goals be within six to ten years. Then, start thinking about how you can get these done. We’ve learned over the past year that setting goals and sticking to them can be so rewarding.

5. Focus on Yourself

It is nice to be helpful and feel wanted. And, oftentimes, you can feel that you owe the ones you love your time and attention. This is true in some circumstances, but it is not true that you owe them all your time and attention. Remember to set aside time each day to make sure that you’re doing stuff for yourself.

Focus what you want out of life. Last spring, we spent a weekend with friends in Boston. While it was fun and exciting, it actually led to some deep conversations about what we all wanted out of life. Prioritize what you want and need, whether it’s as simple as having time to read a new book or starting a huge individual project, like becoming an entrepreneur.

6. You Can’t Please Everyone

You can’t please everyone, but you can piss everyone off. Harsh statement, but it’s very true. The fact is that not everyone is going to like you. You’re not going to like everyone you work with, go to school with or have to deal with. That’s okay! If you don’t get along with someone, be cordial, but don’t change anything to please them. They don’t have to like you.

It’s nice to try keeping as many people in your life happy as you can. But you can’t keep everyone happy all the time and it’s not your responsibility. Keeping this in mind is a good way to prevent yourself from stressing about it. Falling into this trap can lead you to becoming a people pleaser, which leads to people not prioritizing their own needs.

7. Experiences Matter

When we wrote about travel earlier this year in the post: How Traveling Can Change Your Worldview, we discuss prioritizing experiences over material goods. We stand by this and we use some of our experiences this past year to back it up. Sure, we go to the mall like everyone else and see pretty things to add to our homes or closet. But do we really need them? Most of the time no.

Besides buying books, we’re fairly deliberate with our purchases and highlight what we need. Instead, we want to focus more on using our resources for experience and it’s something we need to prioritize for the future. This includes going on more trips and finding unique things to do closer to home. We still need to plan a day to go axe throwing and find an awesome escape room to complete with friends.

Whatever it is that you want to try, make it happen this year. We guarantee you’re going to be happier with amazing memories than another shirt that sits in the back of your dresser drawer most of the year.

8. Think Before You Act

This may sound like it works against the “take risks” resolution. But when taking a risk, it’s always important to think about both the good and the bad things that can come out of the actions you are about to take. Thinking before you act is important in circumstances where you could hurt someone. It could be biting your tongue or it could be just not doing something stupid without thinking it all the way through.

We encourage you to take risks, especially when they align with your life goals. But don’t do something crazy without understanding consequences. For example, we had a friend who decided to take a risk and move across the country for six months. However, we think it was a bad choice because he left his girlfriend back home, the move probably won’t help his career and he doesn’t have any direction for what he wants to do in life. His choice was based on postponing major life decisions, like applying for a new job or deciding whether he could see a future with his girlfriend. Don’t make quick decisions based on fear.

9. Be Honest (with Yourself and with Others)

If someone is being a problem for you, let them know that. There is no way that they are going to be able to stop their problematic behavior if they aren’t aware of it. The same goes for yourself. If you are the problematic one, try to recognize that so you can change your behavior.

But honesty isn’t just about problematic people. Be honest with yourself about what you want and your version of happiness. Also, be honest with your friends if you feel they aren’t happy in life. It doesn’t have to be brutal honesty, but left people know you are there and can be there for them.

Being honest can be about many different things, but whatever you need to be honest about, whether it’s to yourself or to someone else, just do it. There’s no reason to be fake.

10. Set Boundaries

This goes for both your family and friends. Boundaries can look different for everyone, whether you need to get your family to stop asking about your love life or if your friends don’t respect your choices and feelings. Let people know when they are overwhelming you or not giving you enough space. Let people know if they are interfering with your personal matters too much. Also, don’t let people make you feel guilty about setting and sticking to your boundaries.

Boundaries don’t have to exist only in your personal life. Set professional boundaries as well. Leave work at your set time, don’t say yes to every assignment if you’re burnt out and take your deserved time off. For some reason, younger generations, like us, are made to feel guilty for taking a vacation. Use the time to rest and rejuvenate. Everybody needs to relax in order to function.

11. Learn from Johan’s Mistakes

If you’ve read our blog before, you know that we’re writing a series called The Misadventures of Johan O’Malley. Read about Johan’s antics and learn from his screwups. Definitely don’t follow his advice regarding dating and friendship. While the story is funny and mostly a comedy of errors, there are some lessons in the story as well. Johan isn’t self-aware, which could be a big game changer for his happiness.

12. Surrounded Yourself with Supportive People

When it comes to friendships, quality matters more than quantity. However, we still see adults brag about how many friends they have, when a lot of those relationships are surface level. Having a few great people in your life who make you happy is a lot more important than being surrounded by a lot of people.

Everyone needs people who are going to build them up, but also be honest with them. We’re not talking about the friends who tell you look amazing on social media but aren’t there for you when you need them. Invest in people who you want to be in your life for the long haul.

13. Be Resourceful

Use all the resources available to you in life. There’s no clear definition about what being resourceful looks like because it’s different for everyone. But one way is to network with people. Use your social and professional circle to meet people who can further your goals in life.

But resources don’t have to be about your career. Utilize the people around you and the materials available to you for fun activities as well. Just be ready to give in return. After all, this should be quid pro quo. Resourceful people tend to be creative go-getters who always want to find solutions to problems. Help people in life and surround yourself with people who want to help you as well.

14. Prioritize Sustainability

Let Greta Thunberg inspire you to develop more sustainable habits. We only have one planet so let’s take care of it. While it’s true large corporations are the biggest problem, not people, we can still do our parts.

The biggest habit is to never throw anything away that can be donated or recycled. Another habit is to research sustainable companies and support them. Our favorite is Lush, which either uses zero packaging or recycled packaging. Another way to declutter without throwing things away is to swap goods with friends. Exchange clothing or other home goods. You get new stuff, without spending money or tossing anything. Lastly, don’t be afraid to upcycle, even if you’re not a DIY fanatic. Try to save or repurpose things before getting rid of them.

15. Go Someplace New Every Year

Okay, so this does come with a bit of privilege, we recognize that. At the end of the day, traveling is a privilege. However, focusing on going somewhere new once a year is great for our worldview. It doesn’t even have to be someplace far away. Even if it’s just a one-night trip to a city in driving distance, just try to make it something different.

We feel like we learn the most about ourselves when we have new experiences and get to see new places. It makes you notice who the world is so much bigger than yourself. Whether you learn that in a country thousands of miles away or in a city close to home.

16. Be Kind to Yourself

Guess what? You’re your biggest critic. Repeat that out loud. People aren’t nearly as judgmental as you are. Think back to the last time that you criticized yourself. Think about why you felt that way. Then, think about how you would react if someone else did the same thing. Would you be as critical? Probably not.

Be kind to yourself and give yourself a pass. For some reason it’s easier to be kind to other than to yourself, but that can mess with self-esteem. You deserve better.

17. Destress

Sometimes it feels like destressing is something that has to be saved for later. You tell yourself you can destress once you finish all the tasks you have ahead of you. But you won’t perform those tasks to the best of your ability if your anxiety is through the roof. Taking breaks before finishing a task can allow you to re-energize so you’ll be able to come back later and finish it.

Find what destresses you and turn it into a habit. Maybe exercising every day helps or maybe journaling lets you release all the pent-up frustration. Find what works for you and make it a priority. People who destress and get plenty of sleep or more likely to be successful in life.

18. Invest in Yourself

Invest in your future. For example, we decided we wanted to build up this blog. However, we weren’t sure how to do it. We found a great bundle which is SEO for blogging and Pinterest strategy. However, it’s quite expensive. But in the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t for what it can do for our blog and it has great reviews.

Why do we feel more comfortable dropping money on useless stuff than we do for things that can help us succeed? Let’s try to stop that this year. Investing on yourself can be about education in the form of courses or books. It could also be investing in your mental health, whether that’s see a therapist or doing an activity for relaxation. Save money by spending less on material goods and put the money toward what can make you happier and healthier.

19. The Best Revenge is Success

There are going to be people in your life that hurt you. Being angry is a normal human emotion but don’t let it define you. The best way to get revenge on those who wronged you is to be successful. Don’t let them live rent free in your mind. Find a way to cope and move on.

An example we have is about a friend of ours who was treated poorly by a group of people in his major back in college. However, he accomplished way more than everyone who made him feel bad about himself. If he ever ran into those people again, he could talk about his achievements, while none of them even took a step in that direction. That’s more satisfying then going Blair Waldorf on them.

20. Knowledge is Power

The more you know about a subject, the more power you have. Learning doesn’t end when your formal education does. Seek out opportunities to learn constantly. There are abundant of resources available to you. Learn from friends, family members or mentors. Learn from courses online. Learn by reading every book at the local library. Successful people in life never stop learning and recognize that there’s always more to learn. Also, surround yourself with curious people who also want to pursue knowledge.

21. Take the Time to Reflect

It doesn’t have to be only once a year. Reflection can happen anytime and anywhere. But make it a priority. Reflection helps us figure out what we want and need. It also helps us learn what isn’t working right now. A few guiding questions are:

  1. What have I learned about myself in the past year?
  2. What are three things I want to prioritize?
  3. How can I cut back on stress?
  4. What advice would I give my younger self?
  5. What does my dream life look like and how can I make it happen?

22. Mistakes Are Part of Life

Channel Hannah Montana and shout that “nobody’s perfect.” Seriously, when you’re type A admitting to not being perfect sucks. But it’s a fact of life. The best thing you can do is to learn and move forward. Every person in the world has made a mistake, so don’t let it get you down. Mistakes lead to self-improvement.

19 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2022: 22 Important Life Lessons”

  1. What a fabulous post filled with well-learned wisdom! I love that taking the time to reflect made this list of life lessons, as it truly is eye-opening to look back on a year and realize how much we have grown and changed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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