I have learned a lot about myself and life this year.  Some from books, some from goals, but mostly from life.  I’ve learned that life just happens and we have to make the best of it whether it’s good or bad.  I’ve learned that I need to serve others, but I also need my friends.  I’ve learned how lucky I am to have my husband and the goodness of my children and their ongoing need for help and attention from me.

Question:  What have you learned this year?

Besides the above mentioned, I’ve learned the 2 following lessons.

Lesson 1:  Reading is helpful.

I read over 52 books.  Some books, I enjoyed very much, some I hated and some were sort of painful to read, I learned something from every single book.  I learned that I enjoy reading well-written children’s literature.  They are short, have powerful themes and beautiful imagery.  I also, learned to skim non-fiction better and to throw out all-together any books that have smut in them.  Life is too short to read a smutty book.

Want to know more about the books I read this year, skim to the bottom and find out my favorites or become my Goodreads friend.

Lesson 2:  It’s okay to have help in reaching your goals, you can be happy by doing things you don’t want to do and although happiness is a choice it is also okay not to be happy at times.

I set 2 goals in the beginning of the year: act like an adult and be happy.

My first and only goal in trying to be more adult like was cleaning up after dinner, something I haven’t been doing previously.  I do clean up after dinner a lot more, but mostly because my husband and kids now help me.  The kids have after dinner chores and my hubby usually helps me load the dishwasher, probably something a lot of people already do, but it has been helpful for us.  It’s funny, but I used to not clean up after dinner because I thought it would make me grumpy, but I found the opposite to be true.  I found more happiness in forcing myself to do something I didn’t really want to do than in putting it off until I was in a better mood.

I’m not sure what I meant by be happier and if I am or not.  Happiness is a choice, but it is also, affected greatly by life circumstances.  I did more consistently choose to do those things that would bring me joy including: reading, working on this blog, interacting with real people, singing, serving more simply and painting.  But I also had times when I fell off the wagon so to speak and was not happy and I learned to just accept that a little bit.  Not every day is going to be a winner, some days will be hard, some will make you cry, some will break you, but when I had those happiness habits in place it was easier to get back to happy.

I’m glad I set these goals and learned a lot from them, but I will be a little more purposeful next year.

To learn more about how I’m changing my goal setting habits in the new year sign up for my free goal-setting workbook.


Here are a few more things I learned from the books I read:

Quiet by Susan Cain:  I learned to listen, to ask questions and to have respect for my own unique identity as a quiet person, including my need to recharge.

Unselfie by Dr Michele Borba:  Empathy is one of the biggest predictors for success in a child’s life and something I need to help my children work on more purposefully.  I learned to call my kids helpers to increase their identity to being helpful, to role play to help them see things from a different perspective and to use rock, paper, scissors to settle disputes.

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman:  Sometimes the accepted understanding of the best practices in child rearing are wrong.  I learned that sleep and talking about race in an open and kind way matters, that teen rebellion starts closer to 11 and that a parent’s influence and time is more helpful than educational shows or products.

How Will You Measure Your Life?  by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon:  Even really successful people aren’t sure what they will do with their lives.  The key is to show up, work hard, stick to your values and adjust as needed.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer:  In our day  people are still being affected by lack of electricity, famine and the inability to get an education.  We can help.  What might seem little to us, could be life changing for others.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse:  Sometimes hard times keep getting harder, but you grow stronger by going through them.

Gossamer by Lois Lowry:  Our little part can make a difference and we don’t always know the story behind other people’s behavior.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:  The time we spend with someone we love is important and we can get distracted by little things that seem big, but in the end don’t really matter.

Esparanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan:  It’s important to adapt to our circumstances and not feel that we are better than others.

What did you learn this year from the books you read, the goals you set or life?

Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment on Facebook.