It's Helpful To Look Back And See What You Learned Last Year

Terri Kozlowski
Are you reflecting on the lessons you learned last year? Do you even know what you've learned? It's time to look back and review them.Photo by~Terri Kozlowski

As a life coach, I frequently ask my clients what they have learned from an experience. And the only answer I find as incorrect is when they say they didn’t learn and start blaming others or making excuses. Every experience you have in your life teaches you something which you are to learn.

Part of the awakening of consciousness is the ability to recognize the lessons you have learned from the encounters you have. The ability to learn from what happens in your life is fascinating and transformational, and it’s supposed to happen. That’s why you had the experience.

So as you reflect on the past year, what lessons have you learned about yourself, your goals, your cherished connections, your accomplishments, your missteps, etc? You might journal about the knowledge you gained to add more depth, richness, and creativity to the authentic person you're creating.

Some lessons you gain are profound and transform your life, but the majority are minor and simple to miss. There’s always something new to learn, which is one of life's greatest pleasures. There is rarely an impossible or unfixable situation since there is always something new to learn.

Change and learning frequently go hand in hand. Your life changes because of fresh information, shifting perspectives, and new technological advancements. Learning and change go hand in hand. People are peculiar in that they paradoxically reject change while still wanting it to happen. You grow accustomed to the current state of affairs and resist change.

Life is a succession of lessons that must be lived to be understood. ~ Helen Keller

Planned vs. Unexpected Lessons

Change typically takes place in one of these two ways, albeit this is not a binary, either/or idea. Controlled change occurs when you decide to change things like your career, diet, relationships, etc. Natural disasters, a partner leaving, being laid off from a job, being unable to exercise because of illness, and other uncontrollable events are examples of unexpected change.

Most people want to change something in their lives. Some enormous, some little, some subdued, and some drastic. Usually, you need to learn something new to change, whether it’s a lesson or information. Examples of this include learning new food habits, professional abilities, fitness regimens, etc.

Change can be so frightening, and learning life lessons is a necessary component of progress. You and I now have access to a wealth of fresh concepts, and those who fear change fight it. This helps to understand science doubters in part because learning is at the heart of science, and learning results in a change. The choice is crucial in this situation. You gain more information and experience when you decide to change. You still learn something when you oppose it, but it might not be the lesson you expect.

Learning is unifying seemingly divergent ideas and data. ~ Terry Heick

Knowledge Is Powerful

You have more tools at your disposal the more you know. I have a lot of knowledge, yet the majority, if not all, is open to reinterpretation. What I know today probably won't be the same as what I know tomorrow, because there are new things to learn as you stretch yourself. Learning includes realizing that knowledge is constantly developing. Recognizing this allows you to decide to learn new information and control change.

The phrase "I know" frequently makes you resistant to change. Especially when you accept them as fact without giving them a careful analysis because they come from outside forces. Even when you gain knowledge and experience, you may still learn new things and develop as long as you keep an open mind. Knowing there is much you don't know is wisdom.

But with self-actualization, saying "I know" with total confidence can be empowering. For example, I know I'm amazing, I know I'm the one who consciously creates my world, I know I'm worthy just as I am, I know I'm lovable, and so on. This is self-awareness, not vanity. Saying "I know" in this situation requires defining oneself positively and productively.

It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning. ~ Claude Bernard

What Did You Learn?

I've received a range of responses to this question from various people. Realizing the value of their health, choosing to work less and enjoy life more, recognizing the value of balance, and even admitting they had no new insights were among them. No one wants to believe they wasted 365 days by not learning even one valuable life lesson in the past year.

Here are thirty-five questions to ask yourself to help you evaluate the transformational lessons you learned in the past year.

1. What do you now feel most passionate about?

2. What have been the highlights of the last year of your life?

3. How have your life objectives changed?

4. Who in the world do you most admire?

5. What do you no longer enjoy doing?

6. How did you pivot because of a lesson learned?

7. What fundamental ideas about leading a successful life do you now hold?

8. Have you recently had any epiphanies regarding living a fulfilling life?

9. What is the biggest regret of the past year and how has that changed you?

10. How have your attempts to bring happiness to yourself developed and changed?

11. What is your biggest weakness?

12. Have you had to set a personal boundary as a part of your self-care?

13. What methods did you discover to ground yourself this year?

14. What small or seemingly trivial aspect of your life has a large positive impact on your happiness?

15. Have you recently done something for the first time and what did it teach you?

16. What comes to mind when you consider a loss you had this year?

17. Did your cherished connections teach you anything?

18. What is the finest present you’ve received this year and why?

19. Do you have any new rituals or habits that were beneficial?

20. How did you improve your productivity?

21. What bad habit or trait have you overcome?

22. Which of your travel experiences taught you something?

23. What is the most stunning location you visited last year?

24. What suggestions would you provide to help folks make the most of their time?

25. Have your opinions on anything important altered this year?

26. What has your trusted tribe taught you?

27. Describe the book that had a significant influence on your growth.

28. What aspect of your work gives you the most satisfaction?

29. What connection is there between wealth and personal contentment in your life?

30. What opportunities are you now looking for?

31. How has your self-confidence grown?

32. Did you trust your instincts and what was the outcome?

33. What qualities do you want to bloom this year?

34. What did you run away from?

35. Do you need to alter your goals and aim higher for the coming year?

Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

My Lessons For Last Year

In reviewing the past year, here are the four lessons I’ve learned that I wanted to share with you.

1. Slow Down To Reflect Regularly

Aim to slow down in this age of acceleration and speed. When you live slowly, you start to take care of your body, mind, and soul so that they can take care of you. You also become more conscious and intentional about how you live your life. The seeds of self-acceptance and self-awareness become self-love. Because you can't make room to see inside yourself any other way, isolation is the only way to achieve all three.

2. I Learned To Befriend Fear

Fear is there to show you that you are interested and caring, not to stop you. Befriend your fear instead of fighting it because when you do something frightening, the first time, it becomes less fearful and you become more courageous. You will live a life free from fear and regret if you keep an open mind, behave creatively, think scientifically, make mistakes, and learn from them.

3. Stay Open-Minded

Keep an open mind, ask questions about everything, and make requests for what you desire. When you live with such a mentality, you understand that doors always open after they close. The ability to think clearly changes the game. You create it by deliberately concentrating on the things you have control over and disregarding the things you don't.

4. I Learned To Be Grateful For Authentic Connections

The people you share your life with are what makes it meaningful to live. Make time for the people you love and surround yourself with positive individuals who inspire you. You will notice more beauty around you, perceive life as being more generous and feel better if you are more appreciative. Since the quality of your thoughts directly affects the reality you experience, life is what you make of it.

The biggest lesson I learned this year is to not force anything; conversations, friendships, relationships, attention, or love. Anything forced is just not worth fighting for, whatever flows, flows, what crashes, crashes. ~ Amanda Rose

Taking The Lessons Learned While Moving Forward

One more thing about discovering life lessons. If you can't understand what life attempted to teach you today, don't worry. It's okay if the answers to the questions above don't lead to a revelation that will change the way you live every day. However, asking them frequently can ensure that you don't miss a message when it comes. And It will if you're open to hearing the whispers of your heart.

In a split second, your entire life can change. Be thankful for what you have and use it to your advantage rather than passively take it for granted. You can't think your way into a new life this year. You have to take bold action to do so because action produces more clarity of vision than just thinking about it.

It’s possible to create a meaningful life you enjoy. You are a lifelong student of life. Your only goal is to continue learning, growing, and broadening your mind. Reflect on the lessons learned and apply them as you move forward this year.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. ~ Alvin Toffler

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Native American Terri Kozlowski has a BS in social science, certified life coach, blogger, author of "Raven Transcending Fear," & host of the Soul Solutions podcast. She specializes in empowering people to overcome their fears and limiting beliefs.

Woodstock, GA

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