Looking Back to Look Ahead
10 Things I Learned in 2022
With every drop of the ball, hope, plans, and excitement ring in with the new year. We get filled with hope for the future and crazy ideas that “this will be the year” we finally tackle those goals and to-do list! I’m an avid goal planner and 2022 was no different for me, but I didn’t expect that 2022 would be the year I learned how to tackle goals by not trying to tackle them at all. That’s right, my type-A, overachiever self, needed to learn to stop trying and start creating new lifestyle habits instead. Here are the top ten things I learned in 2022:
Do the next thing. Rather than attacking goals, I learned to “do the next thing”. Nearly ten years ago, my father passed away, probably one of the hardest seasons of my life was walking through the grief of losing him. Because I’m an overachiever, I attempted to tackle and “achieve” my grief, rather than walk through it. During a grief class, they taught one simple lesson: do the next thing. The concept taught that grief is so overwhelming, you can’t get through it or tackle it at once. When you’re grieving, sometimes, it takes all you have just to take a shower or eat a meal. So they teach: do the next thing. In 2022, I applied this concept to my goals. During the year, I juggled working full-time, completing my graduate studies, running an online business, publishing a quarterly magazine, and life in general. My goals and to-do list were big and at times overwhelming. So I just did the next thing. Instead of focusing on completing my graduate degree, I just completed my next assignment. Instead of trying to lose weight, I focused on eating my next healthy meal. Instead of trying to reach xxx amount of people in my online business, I simply facilitated my next class. And I continued to rinse and repeat, to do the next thing over and over until I finished the year with a masters degree, 10+ pounds dropped, and thousands more reached online. Takeaway: Do the next thing. Stop worrying about all the big goals and dreams, just do the next thing to walk in that direction.
Create habits, not goals. Goals are good and have a place, but what happens when the year comes to a close and you still haven’t reached your goal? Likely, you end the year feeling like a failure, and who likes that? In 2022, I put my goals on the shelf and looked at the outcomes I wanted. Rather than creating a goal of “losing twenty pounds”, I decided I wanted to eat primarily plant-based foods and transform the way I think about food. I took classes, read books, and slowly began to eat differently. I stopped thinking about losing weight and started thinking about what I was putting into my body. By the end of the year, I cut out fast food, sweets, and most meats, and now eat mostly plant-based. Oh yeah, and I also dropped more than ten pounds. The most significant thing about this is that I changed the way I saw food and my goals. Takeaway: Ditch the goals and think about what outcome you want to achieve instead. Then start adopting new habits and lifestyle changes that will help you to achieve that lifestyle.
Adapt and adapt quickly. As we all know, travel has been out of whack for some time and this year seemed to be the worse for price increases and flight cancellations. As someone who loves to travel, and doesn’t quite feel that travel-high by staying local, I wasn’t thrilled this year with my options. But I adapted. I ventured to new places in my hometown and state and found new places to enjoy. I saved a ton of money and energy doing this as well. Takeaway: Adapt to changes and find new ways to do the things you love. Otherwise, you might find yourself bored or miserable.
Structure holds things in place. You can do all things with Christ…and structure. I attribute any of my success to the power of Christ in me…and the structure I create in my life to harness that power. We can have all of the gifts, talents, or resources imaginable, but without proper structure and application to use those things, it will be wasted. If I wrote all of these same words without the structure that holds it together, you probably would not have read this far because it would be hard to read. We need structure to hold things together. Takeaway: Create daily, monthly, and yearly structure in your life to hold your dreams, visions, talents, and gifts.
Lean in. This year, I was consumed by completing my graduate studies in leadership. Throughout the first part of the year, I struggled with enjoying any books or podcasts that were not leadership oriented. This was challenging because I genuinely wanted to read and take in certain devotionals or bible plans. Halfway through the year, I realized that if leadership was the only thing of interest, I needed to lean in. I understood that this season was to learn, glean, collect, and soak up all the lessons I needed to. Often, the non-school information I would take in lent to a future assignment I completed in school. If I didn’t lean in, I wouldn’t have had the information or understanding I needed for those assignments. Takeaway: Lean in. If you are being pulled to a certain job, book, ministry, or group of people, lean in and gather, collect, and glean the information in front of you. You may need it at a later time.
Write, write, write. This year I learned that if I want to write, I need to write, write, and write more. In the past, I would get stuck on “what to write” or all the “what if’s”, but this year, I just wrote, and wrote, and wrote. The outcome was publishing 4 magazines, 4 reflection/devotionals, and SO many school papers. My year-end word count total was over 1 million words! Takeaway: Move away from the internal thoughts that keep you from writing and just sit down and start typing.
Grab the magic. DisneyWorld really is the most magical place on earth. I finally made it to Disneyworld after living right next door for two years. Despite the many people who say it’s lost its magic or the prices will steal your joy, I disagree. Disney is where your creativity and imagination come to life. Your childhood dreams come true. And you really do get to be a kid again. Takeaway: Dream, play, and be a kid! There’s magic out there, you just have to go play with it.
Do the right thing, even if it’s not popular. This year, I made some changes in my life and business that others did not agree with or understand. While some quietly watched, others loudly voiced their disapproval. This isn’t easy to go through but when you make decisions with honor, integrity, and grace, you can move forward with peace. Takeway: Live your life with integrity so that when people come against you, you will not fall.
Give it time. Sometimes, it takes years to see things come to fruition. About ten years ago, I wrote my first book. Okay, it was just 8-10 pages of a book, but I did write it. Only to be stopped by fears and thoughts that said “I wasn’t qualified to write this book.” Instead, I began journaling and writing down all of the things I wanted to accomplish in my life. For years, nothing happened…on the outside. For years, I underwent an internal process of healing and sanctification. But this year, I saw all of those years come to fruition and I saw the fruit of my years of waiting, praying, hoping, healing, and believing come to life. Takeaway: Trust the process. Not everything (or many things) will happen overnight. Keep building and one day you will see the fruit of your efforts.
Try again. About ten years ago (are you noticing a theme here), I started my masters degree in business. I dropped out after the first class. I would repeat this process for the next ten years, always dropping out before I even got my feet wet. I never understood why but I seemed to freak out every time I started my classes. Throughout this time I felt embarrassed and like people were losing hope in my ability to graduate. I questioned myself and wondered if I should give up on this path altogether. In late 2021, I decided to “try again” only this time a friend and my husband spoke words of wisdom that shook me to my core. Their words of truth were a catalyst for me to move forward and never look back. Here I am exactly 1 year later with my diploma in my hand (metaphorically, the diploma is actually being mailed right now). For all of those years of trying and failing, I look back now, not with regret or shame, but with the pride of accomplishment. I realize that all of those years of trying were training for me to complete my degree during what was undoubtedly the hardest year of my life. Takeaway: What is the thing you have been waiting or trying to do for so long? It doesn’t matter how many times you tried or failed, get up, wipe your face, and try again. Then keep trying until you get it done. Your future self will thank you. Oh yeah, and surround yourself with people who will speak truth to you when you need it most.
Rosie Rochelle is the founder and director of Heartstance LLC. She is the writer and publisher of 7 devotional books, including How to Find Your Dream Job and Rise, Sparkle, and Live Loved. She is the creator of His Story Magazine online and print. Her heart is to encourage women through real stories of God's love and truth, to live out their authentic identity in Christ.