Taking Stock – 5 Things I’ve Learned This Past Year

Taking Stock – 5 Things I’ve Learned This Past Year

It’s time to take stock of my life. I’m nearing my birthday, and as usual, it has me thinking about the end of this year and the one ahead. I like to treat my birthdays like others treat New Years Day and so for me it’s a new beginning and a time to reflect. It is now when I like to make resolutions and to plan ahead for the next twelve months because I want each year in my life to be like its own separate chapter, and not run together in some blur that passes too quickly before my eyes. Because it’s this time of year again, I thought I’d share five things I’ve learned this past year and have really taken to heart.

1. Gratitude is the best attitude

Whenever I’m feeling stressed out or frustrated about life, I just practice some quick and easy gratitude. I say thanks for things, even little things. I remind myself how lucky I am to take a hot shower in the morning and put on clean clothes. When I lay down at night I make sure to note that I get to lay in a nice, clean bed. All of these sound trivial, but there are people in this world who dream of having these simple luxuries in life and I try to remind myself how lucky I am to have them. This simple practice can really change your mood and I plan on doing it even more next year.

2. Take care of your health

Walking down railroad tracks in West Chester, Ohio

Over this last year I have done a lot to change the quality of my health. I was reminded by a really nice lady I used to work with that through her observations, friends of hers who have lost their health have not been able to get it back so she is very careful about hers and I should be too. I also had an older friend who had a stroke, and now he can’t do the things he wants to do. I also watched someone on an operating table have open heart surgery, and I swore I wouldn’t end up like him. Luckily, I have always been in good health but now am trying very hard to improve it even better. I want my blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight all within proper limits. I have been weight training a lot so I have a head start, but it’s time to get my eating right and that’s what I’ll be focusing on over the next twelve months. By the time I sit down to write this post over again next year, I plan on being totally ripped.

3. Create your own opportunities

Unfortunately, life just isn’t going to walk up to you and give you opportunity. You really need to position yourself for it. I have spent the last year reading, studying, networking, listening, and researching what I want to do and to find ways to give myself as many options as possible. Options give you leverage, and leverage gives you bargaining power. Some say keep your head down and wait your turn, but I have learned in the past that this is not the way to go and only sets you up for disappointment. All it takes is a change in market conditions or corporate strategy and boom, you’re back at square one at no fault of your own. However, if you’re always learning and challenging yourself, you can hopefully get back on your feet as quickly as possible. I take nothing for granted now and I plan on getting even more knowledge and and just as ripped mentally as I am going to be physically.

4. Mentoring others is rewarding

A common piece of career advice is to find a mentor to help you in navigating difficult decisions. Another one should be that acting as a mentor can be just as rewarding as well. I have been lucky to have come into contact with a few younger people and I have tried working with them and acting in an advisorial role. This has been enriching for me in that I have had the chance to see the way they approach things and what they prioritize. I plan on spending the next year enriching these relationships. I would encourage others to stop paying attention to the negative pieces about Millenials and instead try understanding their perspective instead. This generation is seeing things in a different way and deserves a little better than the constant tongue lashing, mostly undeserved, that they get across social media.

5. Nourish your relationships

I am lucky to have made so many good relationships this last year and I have done some work to strengthen preexisting ones. This was made possible due to my complete change in attitude as it relates to others. I really had to step back this past year and look at the way I was approaching people. I decided to take a much more positive and supportive approach to it and it’s been very rewarding. I have made friends with some terrific people and have learned a lot from them. Many of them probably don’t know it, but they have enriched my life tremendously. I am looking forward to reaching out to even more people next year as well through different channels so that I can meet others and get to learn from them as well.

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