16 Things I Learned In 2016


By Jillian Stacia

Oh 2016, you were a hard one. I achieved some important goals, failed at others, and suffered through one too many anxiety attacks. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I ruminated. There were times when I felt like the happiest woman in the world, and times when I felt like the world was about to disintegrate. But through it all, I never stopped learning. Here are some of the biggest lessons and bits of wisdom I learned from 2016:

1. When you set my mind to something, there is nothing you can’t do. So often we think we struggle with willpower, when really, we struggle with making and committing to a decision that feels right to us. The key to success isn’t willpower; it’s finding the thing that makes you motivated to work your ass off.

2. Sometimes, you want something badly and it just doesn’t happen. You have two choices: be bitter or be better. Choose to be better. Choose to let this be your personal catalyst. Choose to be the bigger person. This isn’t a choice you make once and then forget about. This is a choice you make every. single. day.

3. Stop. Right here and right now and look around you. This moment, this day, this life? It’s pretty freaking amazing. Breathe in the gratitude. Hold it in your chest. Remember who you are.

4. Celebrate the victories. Throw a party. Pop champagne. Stop being modest and start being grateful. And celebrate the failures, too. At least you learned something.

5. Find the things you love to do, and then go out and joyfully do them. For me, that thing is writing and sharing my work with the public. This is weird and scary and vulnerable, but it elicits that little voice in my head that says yes, this. This feels right.

6. The things you feel the most fear around? That causes the most anxiety? They are the things you absolutely, positively must do. That unique flavor of resistance is your personal guarantee that you’re on the right path. Growth is uncomfortable. Keep going.

7. No one has any idea what they’re doing. You’re not behind. You are not less than. Your feet are right where they need to be.

8. You don’t have to know the plan. I repeat, you do not have to know the plan. The force that holds the universe together is guiding you, too. Show up. Do your best. Repeat.

9. You cannot criticize others into growth. People need to be heard and valued and loved if they are going to truly listen to your point of view. Stop criticizing and start loving.

10. You know what to do. You just have to get quiet enough to listen and then brave enough to actually do it.

11. You know how your mom makes soup and she never measures the ingredients, she just kinda throws in a little of this and a little of that and it somehow tastes amazing? That’s kind of how balance works. There’s not a set recipe. You’ve just gotta see what it needs.

12. There are seasons for things. Just because you are not actively working on something right now does not mean that it will never happen. There is a season for hustle, and a season for rejuvenation, and a season for contemplation. Be where you are. There is a purpose in everything.

13. Social media should inspire you and make you laugh and make you grateful. Social media should not make you jealous or resentful or doubtful or cause you to flip out about baby nurseries for your unborn child. If any of these things occur, it’s time to take a step back.

14. You get to decide how you will live your life. You write the rules. You flip the script. Your external circumstances do not determine your internal happiness. As Jack Sparrow once said, the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.

15. Take care of your people. Go to the party. Pick up the phone. Schedule a coffee date. Put yourself out there. You need them. They need you. We belong to each other.

16. Have fun. Life is better when you are silly. Go to Zumba and dance like a crazy person. Rollerblade. Giggle. Stop taking everything so seriously. Breathe. You’re doing just fine.

Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.

{featured image via unsplash}

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