5 Lessons I Learned In the First 5 Days of 2017

So. You’ve rung in the new year, and it’s time to make those 2017 Resolutions, right? Wrong! It’s time to gain knowledge and learn lessons!

I rejected the idea of resolutions a couple of years ago, and have been focusing on living more intentionally. In the past year I’ve learned a lot about myself so I decided this year I’m going to learn about the world around me. Listening to new podcasts, giving myself a reading challenge, and being more politically and socially aware are just some of the ways I’m trying to be a better human in 2017.

I am learning SO MUCH already. It never ceases to amaze me what experiences find you when you open yourself up to them. Here are five lessons I learned between January 1-5.

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Lesson One: Sometimes you have to do a bad job before you can do a good job.

Who did I learn this lesson from? Liz Gilbert and Rayya Elias, Magic Lessons Podcast

I’ve been aware of Elizabeth Gilbert for some time, but have yet to read any of her books. However, I recently finished binge listening to her creativity podcast, Magic Lessons, and I am 500% on board the Gilbert train. In Season 1, Episode 8, she speaks with her dear friend (and now partner) Rayya Elias about the struggles of creating art. I haven’t written anything decent in over a year so I resonated with their assertion that sometimes you have to let yourself create bad things so you can get to the good things. It makes me feel a lot better that two brilliant women I admire struggle with this as well.

Lesson Two: You can’t get distracted from your journey.

Who did I learn this lesson from? Mark Nepo, in his poem “Breaking Surface.”

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Life is so full of distractions, it’s easy to get caught up in the noise. I’m guilty of it more often than I care to admit, and despite my best attempts to live more mindfully. This beautiful poem reminds me that I shouldn’t let anyone or anything distract me from living my best life. Because, at the end of the day, I’m the one who’s got to live in it.

Lesson Three: You need to give yourself room to evolve.

Who did I learn this lesson from? Brit + Co x Caroline Winegeart, Build Your Digital Brand Online Class

Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m a perfectionist. Whew, I’m glad I got that off my chest! My mother probably should have named me Goldilocks because I’m always trying to get everything juuuuuuust right – and on the first try too. While I was taking this online branding class, Caroline Winegeart, founder of the amazing Made Vibrant community, reminded me that nothing worth doing stays the same forever. You have to allow projects, and yourself, to change as time goes on.

Lesson Four: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a healthier lifestyle.

Who did I learn this lesson from? John Heywood and myself

Okay, so maybe I already knew Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I definitely know from several attempts that doing one set of 15 squats does not a fit body make. However, reminding myself of this when I’m panting after just five of those squats (seriously, I am SO out of shape) is really difficult. I also know these feelings of inadequacy won’t last forever if I stick to it. With my best friend’s wedding just over the horizon, I can’t afford to give up now. I WILL rock that Maid of Honor dress!

Lesson Five: We need to have agency over what we’re good at.

Who did I learn this lesson from? Casper ter Kuile, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text Podcast (Excellence: The Dueling Club, Book 2, Chapter 11)

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I often feel like I haven’t lived up to my potential. Good grades were certainly a priority in school, but not to the point that I did exceedingly well. My career goals change monthly so it’s difficult for me to decide what I’ll be when I finally “grow up.” Then I was reminded that there are people in the world who are excellent at what they do, but they hate it. I’m excited to continue my learning journey because I know the knowledge I acquire will make me a happier, better human. Misery won’t be an option because I’m choosing what I learn, and that’s really exciting!

What lessons have you learned in the early days of the new year? What knowledge are you hoping to gain? Let me know in the comments!

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