5 things I have learnt in 2016

by Pauline on December 22nd 2016

With 2016 quickly coming to an end, I wanted to share five life lessons I learnt in 2016.

An evening in London (April ’16)

1. My free time is worth a lot more than a purposeless feed

As a student, I often had (a lot more than I’d like to admit) lazy days where I’d just aimlessly waste my time away on social media or the internet. This would often be a few days in a week or even late hours at night. Doing what, you ask? Absolutely nothing.

Ever since I started working full time I realised how valuable my time really is. After a long 8 hours at work, I didn’t want to just lay in bed aimlessly scrolling through social media. For a while now, I’ve managed to grow out of this habit and start actually doing things that add value to my life. Right now, it’s either working out, reading a new book, meeting with friends or writing a new blog post.

Admitting that this is a problem was difficult for me personally, but I am now investing my time more effectively by spending more attention on things (and people) that I love. Ultimately leading to a happier version of myself 🙂

2. Self-worth

Related to the point above, I’ve learnt this year that because my free time is worth a lot, I will spend my time with people who make me feel happy, positive and bring value into my life.

What I won’t do – which is a bad trait I’ve had for years – is continue to hang on to people who do not find value in me or my time. For years I’ve given my 100% effort to relationships and despite the constant love and support I give, sometimes people aren’t willing to invest as much effort or worse – ignore it and disregard everything.

Do I need that in my extremely short Homosapien life span? No. My understanding of self-worth has been a looooonnnng journey and is something that I still struggle with. But through some of the worse experience I’ve faced this year, I feel like I understand it a lot more (and it’s made me stronger!)

3. Rejection is growth

One of my 2016 goals was to gain professional experience in a form of a placement short or long term. I was so determined on getting one and started applying to millions of different places across the UK.

At times it got difficult to keep my motivation high especially with my second-year university priorities, part time job responsibilities (as at the time I was one of the most experienced members of staff and had to deliver training sessions to new members), family commitments and of course, the long application processes. And when the rejections started pouring in, it was a real overwhelming kick down to the ground.

Yeah, rejections suck but if I had allowed myself to stay down and give up, I don’t think would’ve been given the opportunities that were given to me shortly after.

For example, because of the rejections, I wouldn’t:

Needless to say, the “failures” in life aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, these rejections have helped me grow!

4. Unconditional love is the best love there is

This year I had the chance to re-connect with some old friends and spend more time with my family. Sometimes when you’re so focused and totally in love with one person (i.e in a long term relationship), you may start to forget others who love you just as much you love this one person.

I know this has been the case for me.

During possibly the worse time of my life to date, I was overwhelmed when I phoned friends who I hadn’t spoken to in months or were miles away at the time but still listened, cried with me and made sure that at night I wasn’t up alone.

I KNOW this is cheesy (you know who you are) but because of these amazing people I finally know what unconditional love means and it puts a smile on my face.

The same goes with my family – sure, we fight, we argue but at the end of the day, my parents are the only ones who love me without boundaries. Thank you for letting me come home to cry and cooking me healthy food!

(Also more:? but those significant people I mentioned above feel like family. I am so thankful. *tears up* Ok, ok, I’ll stop.)

5. Strive for Progress, Not Perfection

This year I decided to face my anxieties and solve it through ways that didn’t require me to take some strange pill which would have probably done more harm than good.

Discovering meditation in the summer has helped me with my mental health, stress and additionally taught me a lot about myself as I practise. I am no way perfect at keeping a more spacious mind at all but I’m proud of myself for taking the steps to be more in control of my reactions, emotions and thoughts.

This also applies to my current fitness journey. Getting the body and fitness level I want is a hard work and at times, I want to give up when I don’t see significant results. I’ve come to learn that no one has a “perfect” body (our bodies change 24/7) and no one walks around flexed all day (hopefully) so there is no point comparing myself to the people on Instagram who look amazing (because hey, sometimes the lighting hits our abs at the best spot possible and flex game is strong)

Always strive for progress, not perfection.


What are the 5 things you’ve learnt this year? Comment below or link me to your blog post!

I wish all you a wonderful Christmas!


Posted under: Health & Well-Being, Life, Meditation, PawGainz, Personal


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13 comments

  1. Sakura says:

    “Always strike for progress, not perfection” is a good advice for me. I can be a hard-core perfectionist at times and sometimes when things go bad, I Get a but too disappointed…

  2. Anca says:

    Aww, I love how focused you are. It’s easy to look on social media instead of adding value to your life, as you said and it’s a really important lesson to learn. Social media can be a wonderful thing, but it can take too much time too.
    Happy Holidays! xx

  3. Kemi says:

    I definitely do think working gets you to appreciate your full time more – because there’s now so little of it but still so many things we want to do! It’s also easy when you’re in a relationship to just forget everyone else exists, I agree, I used to do that perhaps in the first 6 months of being with my boyf but defo snapped out of it – need a balance in life!

    Enjoyed reading this post and hearing about what you’ve learned. Looking forward to reading more of the blog in 2017 🙂

  4. Claudine says:

    I really enjoyed this post and I loved reading about all the things you have learned this year. I can definitely relate with number 3 because I have experienced so many rejections and failures when I was in college. Being rejected hurts, and it can really get you down, but when other opportunities come later in your life you will realize that these opportunities wouldn’t have come if you never experienced those rejections. Plus, success tastes so much sweeter when you know you’ve worked hard and been through a lot to get it 🙂

  5. Nancy says:

    It’s good that you realized how valuable your free time is! So happy to see a lot of character growth coming out of this year! You’ve evolved in a way that you become someone who wants to inspire others to become awesome people ;). Yes!! Spending time with people who makes you feel happy takes you further in life. You experience more and held back less.

    I’m happy to hear that you’ve reconnected with friends and made your bond stronger than ever :). It’s amazing to see how much you’re hustling at the gym!

    I can’t think of 5 ~important~ things I’ve learned this year but for sure, one of the things is to never give in. Don’t let any insignificant people influence you in any way!

  6. Liv says:

    These are wonderful lessons and I feel like I learned very similar stuff! 🙂 I also spend too much time on social media and though many times I’m trying to make an outreach, I have decided I will detox and go on vacation without touching Facebook or any form of social media, other than updating my friends through posting on Instagram (without scrolling through it). My self worth is also worth more than the free time I am willing to give to people who may bring me down, and that’s just not necessary! I think being rejected has done the best for me in the past few years! I have never felt a rejection has not benefited me, because obviously I wasn’t meant to go in that direction! XD

    I also struggle with unconditional love and there have been times a person has managed to convince me he is the only person who will always be there for me while everybody else I was angry at. Turns out, he is the only person who left the moment I changed and everybody else came back once I let them back into my life. 🙂

    Lastly, I think perfection prevents us from striving if we place too much value on the result rather than the progress! I’m going to try to get fit now that I have so much time, but I’m not going to blame myself for not being healthy in the last two years! 😛

    Merry Christmas Pauline!

  7. Tara says:

    Your #1 is something I need to better myself with. Like you, I’m working full-time, and I’m so tired that I just scroll online endlessly, and it’s something I used to be really bad with. Now, I don’t do it every day, but maybe like twice a week, especially after those super long days. I need to stop that and do something more productive . . .

    Your #2 and #5 also hit me personally. Seeing my self-worth isn’t always an easy task for me, but I think my new job has shown me what I’m capable of compared to my previous job. One of my friends was actually more confident about my abilities than I was myself, and I hope to be more confident in the new year. And I’ve also learnt that what I’m doing this year with my new job is to gain new skills and make progress with my own self. I do strive for perfection, but I’ve told myself that it’s okay to make mistakes and that as long as I strive for it but don’t give myself a hard time, then that’s what it all matters.

    You’ve really come through this year, Pauline. I’m so proud of you and happy for all that you’ve done this year. Keep it up and do even better in 2017! <3

  8. Cassidy says:

    I’m definitely guilty of the habit you mentioned in number 1. I’ve been heavily influenced by my dad who would always slug around after getting home from work and so I decided that it was ok if I did the same. But I’m realizing that I’m young and so I’m able to handle a lot more than a 40-50 year old and so one of my goals for the upcoming year is to lay around less and spend my spare time working on myself.

    But I am so proud and happy that you’ve learned something from your struggles and I really believe that your future is bright. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in 2017 ?

  9. Kya says:

    You have had a really big year, and I think it’s fantastic that you have listed all of these great things. You should be so proud of yourself. I know I am proud of you! 😀

  10. Georgie says:

    I have to agree with your point about social media. I think it was just the fact that I found other things I enjoyed or that kept me busy, that made me move away from just looking at social media all the time. I still tweet when I’m bored but I don’t keep up to date with my Instagram feed like I used to. It’s funny because I open the app sometimes now and find that people I follow have become boring so I unfollow them. 😛 If I want to look at specific friends (which I sometimes do), I just visit their profile. ? My friend wrote a blog post recently about being more intentional with her social media consumption, which is what I’m doing. ?

    With regards to fitness I am always wary that some angles are better than others. My abs look better at some angles than others. LOL. And honestly it doesn’t take a set of abs for someone to look fit. ? I saw a friend last week whom I hadn’t seen in a while and she was so shocked when she hugged me and exclaimed that I was so skinny. My mum has noticed but I don’t know if that is her just getting a little jealous that I’m bulking up. HAHAHA. Anyway, you get me. ;D You, however, lady, are looking haūt ??

    I kinda laughed at this bit!

    through ways that didn’t require me to take some strange pill

    I’m glad your family and friends could be there for you during a tough time! I have read your blog consistently this year and I’ve sensed so much growth and achievement, you should definitely be proud of that. Those kinds of things can’t get you down, and you’ve only come out of it much stronger 🙂

  11. Thao says:

    Those are such valuable life lessons and I’m glad you’ve learned them so early on in life. For some of them, if not all of them, I feel like I’m still struggling with. Pauline, you are definitely a strong person and an inspiration. Each time I read your blog, it’s like a source of positive energy.

  12. Beverley says:

    Hi Pauline! Just came across your blog and really enjoyed reading this post. I found myself relating to a lot of your points.
    Unfortunately, I’m a student who wastes a lot of her time scrolling mindlessly through social media. I’m trying to wean myself off looking at my feeds all the time. I think having started a blog this year I’ll be less inclined to check social media all the time so fingers crossed.
    Self-worth is also something I struggle with a lot. I’ve had to face up and realise that some friendships I had were toxic. Friends aren’t supposed to drain you, make you feel beneath them or talk behind your back. It has been difficult letting go but at the end of the day I can see it was for the best. On the flip side, it has revealed who my true friends are and now I can focus on strengthening these bonds.
    Rejection is really great for growth, I agree. At the time, it feels like the worst thing in the world but when you look back, you can see how it motivates you to work even harder. Congratulations on all that you’ve achieved! And unconditional love really is the best – 2016 has made me so grateful for the loving support network I have around me.
    Striving for progress and not perfection… I need to understand this as a perfectionist. There are so many times where my perfectionism has got in the way and I’d love to change this. I’m also quite an anxious person and I’ve learnt more about controlling my emotions but there’s still room for improvement. You’ve rekindled my interest in meditation/mindfulness – I think it’s something I’ll definitely have to try out this year.
    Thanks for writing such a great post! Look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂