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Each year brings new experiences and opportunities for growth and change. Here are 8 life lessons I learned in 2019.

A girl leaning against a rail, staring off to the side.

2019 was a year of learning and growth for me–as I think most years are. So much happens in a year that changes our perspective, our focus, our attitudes, and our opinions. And all of that causes us to learn and grow in the process.

The funny thing I’ve noticed about learning lessons is that sometimes you have to learn a lesson over and over and over again before it finally sticks. And I think there are some lessons I’ll keep learning again and again until I die.

But even if I have to keep relearning them doesn’t mean that they didn’t matter or mean something or change me. It’s all part of the process of growing into who we’re meant to become.

Here are a list of some of my favorite lessons I learned in 2019–even if I’m still working on fully applying them:

Lesson #1: Face Your Fears

I faced quite a few fears in 2019, and the main thing I learned from this was confidence. Every single time I faced a fear–whether it was intentional or forced–I came out the other side stronger and more sure of myself. And it made me want to start facing my fears over and over and over again.

I’m stronger than I realize. We all are! And facing our fears is one way we can prove it to ourselves.

Plus, it made my fears weaker. Sure, maybe it didn’t take the fear completely away, but it lessened the hold that fear had on me. It wasn’t as strong or scary in my eyes, and that’s a pretty cool feeling.

Lesson #2: It’s Okay to Take Breaks

I’m a go-go-go type person, and that often leads to burnout and forced breaks, which aren’t fun at all. In 2019, I learned to better recognize when I’m headed toward burnout and to take a break BEFORE it happens.

This gave me control. Rather than taking a break because I was sick or so stressed out I couldn’t think straight, I got to choose. I chose when to take the break, what to take a break from, how long to take it for, what to do while I stepped away, and more. And instead of these breaks feeling forced, unpleasant, and a waste of time, they felt intentional, meaningful, and necessary. I started to LOVE my breaks!

Lesson #3: Miracles Happen Every Day

If you missed the story of our miracle–when my daughter fell headfirst out of a second-story window and was 100% fine–you can read the details (along with the four lessons I learned from that experience) HERE.

After sharing that experience, I had so many people reach out to me and share with me stories of their miracles. And it occurred to me that miracles really do happen today, all the time.

I’ve always believed in miracles, but it wasn’t until that June evening (and the weeks that followed) that I truly felt their power in our world today.

Lesson #4: I’m Happier When I Read

This one took me until the end of the year to really sink in, but I’m so much happier when I read. In 2013-2016, I read a ton of books each year. Since then, the number has gone down. And in its place, I found myself watching more tv or mindlessly scrolling Instagram or pressuring myself to DO more.

And here’s what I learned: watching tv and scrolling IG for no reason and overworking don’t make me happy. They don’t leave me feeling fulfilled or excited about life. They just make me feel sort of BLAH.

When I read, I walk away feeling refreshed and fulfilled and happy–a totally different experience than those other things.

And that’s what I want more of. So as easy as it is to watch tv or browse IG, I learned to grab a book instead–at least most of the time.

Now, this lesson might not apply to everyone. Not everyone is happier when they read. But the basic lesson is universally applicable. Is there something you do that doesn’t make you as happy as you think it does?

Lesson #5: Take Action

This is definitely one I’m still learning, bit by bit by bit, but 2019 gave me a lot of insight to this.

How many times do I think of doing something, then don’t do it?

Maybe it’s because of fear. Maybe I’m “too busy.” Maybe I don’t know how. Maybe I’m worried I’ll fail. Maybe I want to do it perfectly, so I want to wait until I’m “ready”. Maybe I just don’t prioritize it. Maybe I forget.

But whatever the case, I all too often don’t take action when I probably should have.

When I have that prompting to drop cookies by someone’s house I barely know, I should do it RIGHT THEN, not worry about it being weird or awkward and put it off until I finally forget about it. That person probably really needed someone that day, and because I didn’t follow through, they maybe didn’t get the love they needed.

When I have something I want to share with someone, I should stop and tell them RIGHT AWAY.

When I have an idea that inspires me, I should start working on it as soon as possible!

I need to stop letting insecurity and worry and perfectionism and anything else get in the way of doing the things my heart tells me to do–especially because I believe a lot of those things come from God, not from me.

Lesson #6: Social Media Breaks are Awesome

I love social media. I love the people I’ve met through it. I love the information and inspiration I glean from it. I love being able to stay in touch with old friends and family members who live far away.

I’ve spent a lot of time weeding out who I follow to include only those people who uplift me so that I’m able to feel this way about social media.

But social media can still be a drag. It can be overwhelming and pull me away from what truly matters.

2019 taught me the importance of regular social media breaks. It also taught me to listen to myself. I know when I need a break, I just have to listen. And sometimes that means taking an impromptu two-week break halfway through typing an Instagram caption. And that’s okay!

Lesson #7: My Value Never Changes

Oh, this one is so important! My value, my worth, was something I was born with. It’s not determined by how productive I am or how many things I do or how well I do them. It just is!

I’m no MORE valuable if I volunteer at my kid’s school and I’m no LESS valuable if I take a nap.

And the same is true for YOU.

So when you’re having a hard day, when you don’t have the energy to tackle your to-do list, when your body or your health won’t allow you to do what you so desperately want to do, take heart! Whether you’re sitting on the couch resting or taking a meal to someone who just had a baby, your value is the same!

That’s something I know to be true. And even though it’s sometimes hard to believe about myself, I know it. And I want everyone else to know it too.

Lesson #8: Prioritize FUN

Why is it so hard for me to have fun? I’m not exactly sure, but I do know that I struggle with it. A lot.

But I’m learning more and more just how important it really is. The big fun, like vacations and once in a lifetime experiences. The medium fun, like trips to the zoo and date night and Mom’s Night Out. And even the little pockets of fun, like a spur of the moment dance party after dinner, playing a quick five-minute game before the kids go to bed, having a tickle fight, or catching up on a Marco Polo thread with friends.

It’s so important to have fun and to take that time to pause and connect with those you love!

Lessons Learned in 2019

Those are some of my favorite lessons from 2019, though I learned about a million more. I’m so grateful for the growth I experienced and the insight I gained. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things I learn in 2020!

What were your lessons learned in 2019?

A woman staring into the distance while leaning against a rail.

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