The end of a year is always a good time to reflect on what’s passed. But this year it seems more poignant than ever. I’ve been looking at 10 things I’ve learned (or probably reconfirmed in all honesty) this year.

10 things I’ve learned

10 things I’ve learned (or reconfirmed) in 2020

By the way, many of these have kept me sane (or san-ish) along the way and I’ll certainly be taking them with me into 2021.

  1. Regular exercise is critical

OK, so I’ve known this one for a while (see my recent article on why I love exercise). It’s great for our mental and physical health. It can help our immunity levels and boost circulation. It can be done alone or with others, including friends and family. It can be done indoors and outdoors. There are so many varieties to choose from including walking, running, cycling, kickboxing, yoga, swimming, scooting etc.

There really is no excuse not to take the time to do something – anything – and you might even enjoy it too!

  1. Being resourceful can be fun

As a poor student in the 90s, I was pretty good at being resourceful. But as time went by and we became more cash rich and time poor, we became less resourceful, as priorities changed. There have been times this year when we’ve felt more challenged in terms of access to resources. We live in a small village with no shop. Things have not been immediately available and we’ve had to make choices, from what to include in our shopping, how best to use our cupboard ingredients, toiletries etc.

And overall it’s made us more resourceful, in a good way. Long may these habits last!

  1. I can be creative

For many decades I believed that I was not creative. Thank you school! Thank you Art and Textiles GCSEs. Sadly, small things can have long lasting impacts.

The good news is that I’ve now shed this limiting belief. Over the last 4 years, I’ve been using my creativity in different ways, including my writing, my workshops and using metaphors to explain things. Using my creativity is now something that I actually enjoy using and I’ve experienced this more this year than ever.

Looking back, I realise that I have probably been more creative than I gave myself credit for, for a long time, through cooking and taking photos, for example. But the difference now is that I feel unleashed.

  1. I quite like my family

Like most families, we’ve probably ended up spending more time than ever this year with our nearest and dearest, whether we like it or not. We’ve consistently had more meals together than ever before. We’ve walked somewhere almost every day since February – in every different weather possible. We’ve all improved our cooking skills. And most recently we’ve been playing family games together – including some nice short ones – as a way to bond more during the Christmas period.

Luckily, we’re also fairly independent in nature and also enjoy time apart.

  1. Having ‘me time’ is crucial

I like to describe myself as a ‘sociable’ introvert. I am friendly and sociable yet I really appreciate time alone. Whether this is to work, read, exercise, walk or just be, this can be crucial for keeping me sane, recharging my batteries etc. I like to get up early to give me that time and space.

I feel very lucky to be able to do this, due to the age and independent nature of my kids, but I actually see this as a necessity, rather than a luxury, at this point.

  1. I love working online

I was already doing about half of my coaching work online prior to the initial lockdown. Since then it’s been pretty much all online with the exception of a couple of local clients who I’ve seen a few times when permitted.

I love the fact that I can reach clients all over the country / world and in different time zones. I don’t have to spend time, energy and money driving here, there and everywhere. We’ve even gone down to one car for the time being.

It’s also encouraged me to explore and use technology in different ways.

  1. I am more technical than I give myself credit for

I often tell myself that I’m not very technical, that I’m a bit of a laggard in terms of technology. However, I’m regularly using apps and pieces of kit that I’d never have dreamed of at the start of the year. I’m actually quite chuffed at what I’ve adopted and how much of it has now become second nature.

  1. Sleep is important

For a long time, I’ve prided myself on not needing much sleep. I used to have insomnia as a young adult which I fortunately outgrew. I’ve always been an early bird (and that definitely is still my favourite part of the day) but I also realise that sleep is important and if I go to bed later than planned, then I can’t necessarily get up at the same time. It will catch up on me in different ways. My aim these days is to get at least 7 hours each night, 8 if possible.

  1. Being surrounded by the right crowd is critical

However much I appreciate my own time and like working alone, I am still a sociable creature at heart. What’s more, we all need to interact with others to a greater or lesser extent to get things done. Our crowds, or tribes, may come in the form of family, friends, work colleagues, clients, suppliers, networking groups etc. You may find there are multiple right crowds for different reasons and that’s quite normal.

If you don’t feel like you’re in the right crowd for any reason, you can leave and find another one – or at least distance yourself from them. And if you can’t find one, consider creating your own!

  1. Gratitude

I’ve been a huge fan of gratitude since I started a gratitude diary in January 2017. For four years I’ve been reflecting and noting down 3 things I’m grateful for each day. It’s such a simple exercise yet such a powerful one. I’ve got a lovely new diary ready to go from today for 2021.

If you don’t already do this, give it a go. It may just change your life for the better!


The end of a year is always a great time to reflect on what’s passed and this year it seems more poignant than ever. These are the 10 things I’ve learned (reconfirmed) this year. I am truly grateful for all of these things and I’ll certainly be taking them with me into 2021.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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