I spent a whole day at the end of December planning my goals for 2016, but instead of being asked about this, I had 3 separate friends ask me about what I'd learnt or achieved in 2015 instead - so I took it as a sign and decided I would answer their question.
1. I learnt that being in an relationship does not guarantee happiness nor is it essential for it. I vowed that any future relationship I embark on will only be an added bonus to my life and not a piece of the puzzle.
2. I learnt that vulnerability is strength. In July I published a very personal account of my heartache which brought more positive reviews than I could have ever expected. An approach that is at the core of the way I run my own business today.
3. I became vegan, after I learnt what effect eating meat and animal based produce has on the body when consumed on a daily basis, but that is hidden from the public by profit-protecting corporations. Nutritionfacts.org is a good starting point for anyone who is interested to learn more.
4. I learnt/remembered what a great group of supportive, fun, and interesting friends I have.
5. I started to learn the importance of patience, slowing down, and enjoying the ride. Being ambitious and goal-orientated I struggle with this, but I realised that whilst I may not yet have achieved all my goals, I am living life on my own terms on a journey towards those goals. So in effect, I am already successful.
6. I've learnt to shift my focus from 'what can I get' to 'what can I give'. I used to dislike going to places where I wouldn't know anyone (like networking events for example) but as soon as I made my aim to serve the people I meet, recommend a book, introduce to a contact, share my knowledge etc., I find myself no longer avoiding such events but eager for more.
7. I've learnt to be myself. I worry less about trying to make friends or fit in. And subsequently I've made more friends than ever before, and more importantly, friends with some really good people.
8. And finally, the importance of believing in yourself - search for the Ted video by Carol Dweck. You can't achieve anything if you think you can't do it! So turn your mind to 'can' and let your brain start working on the solutions. In addition, having others believe in you is equally important. I've been helped so much this year by people around me who have absolutely no doubt in me. It really helps - whenever you can, praise somebody, genuinely. It will go a very long way.
Remember that reflecting on your success is equally as important as goal-setting, and it will actually help towards making sure those future goals are realised. When we approach things with more confidence and more certainty in our capabilities it attracts the results we are looking for, and it also helps us to take stock of everything we have learnt. Just like your latest smartphone app - feedback gets sent, it's analysed, and the app gets upgraded.
What did you learn over the last year? What were your key successes? When you think you've written them all, write 10 more. Take a moment to reflect on all that you have, and most likely, you'll start to have more.