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5 Surprising Things I Learned in 2016

surprising discoveries

My surprising discoveries from 2016…

The end of the year is a time of reflection. Did I reach my goals? Did I stretch myself? Did my relationships grow? As I have been reflecting on 2016, I realized that I learned 5 surprising things about myself, my business, and the world around me.

Here are my surprising discoveries:

1. We are capable of so much more than we think we are.

We shortchange ourselves all the time. So often, we hold limiting beliefs about ourselves that simply are not true. Here are just a few of my limiting beliefs that I’ve held over the years:

  1. I can’t run more than a couple miles.
  2. I have no control over my weight. Genetics are at play.
  3. I’ll never be able to afford to travel.
  4. I will always struggle financially.
  5. We’ll never be able to afford a home with acreage in the country.

While my self-limiting beliefs may be obvious falsehoods to you, I have had to learn and internalize new truths about myself and my world over the years.

  1. Through physical training, I can do much more than I think I can.
  2. While the blame game is easy, no one chooses what I eat except me.
  3. Through diligent saving, research, and planning, I can go pretty much wherever I want (I’ve been able to travel overseas twice and a third trip is in the works for 2017).
  4. While we are not considered wealthy by American standards, we’re not poor either. We have never gone without our basic needs and we are rich in the things that matter. A proper perspective is necessary on this one.
  5. As of three years ago, we own a home on ten acres of land.
2. Being thankful makes you a happier person.

relationships matter - surprising

It’s not the happy person that is thankful. It’s the thankful person who experiences more joy and satisfaction each day. Starting in January of 2016, I decided to spend a few minutes each morning quietly considering 9 things, and these are:

  • Three “wins” from the day before. In other words, three things that I particularly enjoyed or that I felt went well. These can be anything from sweet conversations with my kids, to a nice dinner I made, to staying faithful to my exercise routine. Our maybe a “win” would be a project I finished, a blog post written, or a marketing campaign mapped out. Reflecting on the “wins” of your previous day sets you up for more wins today!
  • Three tasks or projects I would like to accomplish today. I never pile on more than 3 things for my day’s to-do list. Does that mean I’m lazy or don’t expect much from myself? No, I wouldn’t say that is true. But three tasks is extremely doable. When they are finished, I can pat myself on the back. If I get more done, I might think about that as a “win” the next morning. If I don’t get the three things accomplished, I’ll just push them out to the next day. No big deal. I don’t beat myself up over it.
  • Three things I am thankful for. Sometimes I am thankful for basic things such as a warm and dry house on a cold winter morning, a pantry stocked with healthy food, good neighbors. More often, I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my church. And sometimes, I weep as I consider how thankful I am for salvation, for prayer, for joy in the midst of deep sorrow.

I have noticed a change in myself since I started pondering these nine things every single morning. I am a more positive person. I smile more. I am more likely to shrug off things that don’t matter. And I look for the things I can be thankful for in the hardest, most painful situations that come my way.

Brain dump notebook style

3. 100% is easy; 99% is hard.

What does that mean? Well, setting out to do something most of the time is way more difficult than just doing it all of the time. For example, my morning meditation (above), my exercise and stretching routine, my healthy eating plan all go much better when I do them every single day. When I decide to exercise 3 times a week, I will probably only do it twice. If I decide to exercise every single day, I probably will. 100% is easy because it becomes a habit. 99% is hard because you leave yourself an out.

4. Multi-tasking is another word for attention deficit.

I’ve never actually been a good multi-tasker, but when I find myself multi-tasking, it is usually because I am avoiding focus. Focus does not come naturally for most of us. And so we multi-task. However, focus is much more effective. Multi-task on 3 things over the course of an hour and you probably won’t get any one of them done. Focus on one thing for 15 minutes and you’ll get more than 3 things done in that same hour.

The biggest intruder into our focus is probably social media. Surprising. 😉

5. Perfectionism is another word for procrastination.

And finally, the last surprising thing I learned about myself this year is that perfectionism is just another word for procrastination. I won’t do something, or release something, or give something away because it is not perfect yet. And so I procrastinate and keep it to myself. I’ve learned to allow things to not be perfect so that I can get it out there and off my plate. It’s freeing. Give it a try. As Seth Godin says, “Just ship.” If you are working on a project, just finish it up, and ship it out.

You can bless the world and those around you so much more if you “just ship.” Don’t let perfectionism cause you to procrastinate anymore. Do good work, but give up on perfect.

My favorite mantra is “progress not perfection.” Thank you, Marie Forleo for that one. I love it.

What is stopping you from blessing your world this year?

Welcome 2017. Let’s do this!

great 2017

2 Comments, RSS

  1. RachelH December 30, 2016 @ 6:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Teri! I’ve been learning some of the same things and struggling with a couple of them, so this was encouraging to read. Blessings on your new year!

    • Terri Johnson December 31, 2016 @ 11:03 am

      Hey Rachel, I pray that 2017 is a great year for you. May we both live in the moment, enjoy the people around us, make new friends, and appreciate this life we’ve been given. I’m glad to have met you in 2016. 🙂