Have you ever seen those birthday reflection posts? Like, 30 things I learned in 30 years? I honestly LOVE posts like that. But, there are so many of them that I figured I would do something slightly different. An end of the year reflection. 22 things I learned in 2022.

In other words, the biggest lessons I’m bringing into 2023.

22 things I learned in 2022

22 Things I Learned in 2022

1. It’s OK to care about what other people think

I feel like we’re constantly being told not to worry about what others think of us, but the truth is, so many of us do actually care. We want to be liked and admired and respected and appreciated. When we put on makeup or a cute outfit, we want to be seen as attractive. And that’s totally OK! You’re allowed to care about what other people think.

2. But care more about what you think

Caring about what others think becomes problematic when we let it color our view of ourselves. Don’t let someone else’s opinion change or influence your self-worth.

Sure, care about what people think. But care way more about what you think.

3. Spend more time with people you love

Honestly, life is way too short to waste with people who make you feel bad about yourself. Make it a priority to spend more time with your loved ones, people who make you feel happier, safer, and more loved.

4. Say Thank You more often

When was the last time you thanked someone for something small? We’re usually pretty good about expressing our appreciation for the big stuff, but the little stuff matters too.

Thank your partner when they do the dishes. Or when they bring you a cup of coffee in the morning. Say “thank you” to the stranger who holds the door open for you. And to the waiter for refilling your water.

There are a million things people do for you everyday that you can show your gratitude for.

5. Stay persistent

This year, I really started pouring myself into the whole freelance writing thing. Which meant sending pitch after pitch to various editors. I got a lot—and I mean A LOT—of rejection. But I kept at it, and every now and then it really paid off.

6. Give yourself a break

Persistence means not giving up. It doesn’t mean pushing yourself to the point of burnout.

Blogging can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s downright disappointing. It’s also not my primary source of income. Every so often, I need to take a step back from it all and give myself a break. And honestly, it helps immensely.

7. Fake it ’til you make it

When it comes to confidence, I’ve learned that people can’t always tell when it’s fake and when it’s real. So even if you’re not feeling 100%, pretend like you are.  

8. Treat yourself

Because, yeah, you deserve it.

9. Improvement is always a work in progress

There are things I want to get better at—both in my personal life and in my professional one. Some days, I work really hard at improving. Other times, I kind of slack off a bit.

If you asked me about my progress on any given day, I’d probably demure. Not out of humility, but because I genuinely have a hard time seeing it. But if I take a step back, I can see it much more clearly.

10. Not all ideas are good ideas

I’ve had quite a few failed projects this year. There were some (a few of my blog posts or newsletters, for example) that the audience just didn’t respond well to. Others were projects that I started and, for whatever reason, eventually abandoned. Almost all of them left me really disappointed and dejected.

But in the end, it’s a good lesson to remember: not all ideas are good ideas. Not everything will be worth pursuing.

11. Focus on the work, not the result

I’m not going to lie, when I publish a new blog post and it doesn’t get a lot of views, it bums me out. But this year, something unexpected happened.

I got a new job and way more freelancing work than I have in the past, and I simply couldn’t spend as much time on my blog. I still wrote new posts, but I wasn’t able to promote it as much. And yet, my views have never been higher.

It’s almost as if once I let myself stop worrying about the numbers and only worry about the writing, the numbers increased on their own.

There are a million things people do for you everyday that you can show your gratitude for.

12. Go ahead and let yourself feel sad sometimes

I went into this year with a few ambitious goals for myself. And I didn’t achieve them all. Thinking about it, I feel really sad. It doesn’t feel good, but neither does trying to repress my emotions.

So, go ahead. Feel sad sometimes.

13. Forgive yourself

For your past mistakes, your imperfections, your failures. And everything in between.

14. Get off social media once in a while

I’ve talked about the negative impact of social media on here plenty of times before. Because, as much as I love it, there are times when it’s incredibly damaging to my own self-esteem.

Now, when I feel those insecurities and comparisons creeping up, I try and make it a point to stay off my socials for a day or two.

15. Self-care is good. Self-kindness is better

Everywhere you look, when we talk about wellness, “self-care” is always mentioned. Which is totally fine! It’s important to take care of yourself—to give yourself a break, an indulgence, or a kind word. But we rarely talk about something even more important to your mental health: self-kindness.

With self-care, the focus is on action. You’re doing something nice for yourself. Self-kindness, on the other hand, is focused on being. It’s about being kind, compassionate, and understanding towards yourself.

16. Relationships aren’t always 50/50

Relationships require give and take, yes, but that doesn’t mean there needs to be a perfectly equal amount of give and take.

17. Pay attention to how people treat you

The way someone treats you tells you everything you need to know. While it’s one thing if you have a friend who consistently takes more than they give, it’s a totally separate thing if that same friend only ever comes to you when they need something. That’s not an imbalance, that’s someone who quite simply does not give a shit about you.

18. Be aware of your own shortcomings

Be honest, though—have you ever been that friend? The person who talks more than they listen? Or who can be impatient, judgmental, moody?

We all have our flaws, but it’s important to be aware of what your faults are and to continuously try and improve.

19. Complacency is the enemy of progress

The overturning of Roe v. Wade really drove this point home for me this year.

20. You’ll always be your own worst critic

There are things about my body that I just absolutely hate. Things I focus on every single time I look in the mirror. I’ll bet you have those too. But I can guarantee that other people don’t notice them nearly as much as you think they do.

21. Rejection isn’t always a reflection of you

Scenario: I think I have a great idea for an article. I pitch my brilliant idea to an editor. They reply with a curt, “No thanks.” I’m crushed. I think, I’m a terrible writer. Why even bother?

But in reality, there are a million reasons they said no. There’s a similar piece coming up soon, they’ve got an in-house staffer for that kind of project, they simply don’t have the freelance budget at the moment. As painful as being rejected is, it’s not always about you.

22. Instead of a resolution, choose a guiding word

New Years Resolutions can be fun, sure. But they almost always fail. A better idea is to create a word of the year. That single word will be your guide for the new year. What you want to focus on, what you want to accomplish, what you want to improve.

Self-Kindness is the act of being kind, compassionate, and understanding towards yourself.

I shared what I learned in 2022, now it’s your turn! What lessons are you going to carry forward into the New Year?


  1. avatar
    Inspired By Kel says:

    Number 1 this resonated with me soo much because I’m one of those people who care what people think. It’s great that you learnt all those things I’ve learnt quite a lot too. Funny coincidence I just did a post like this today.

    1. avatar

      I love these kinds of posts! I think so many people can relate to them.

  2. avatar

    Wonderful reflections post! There are so many important lessons here and I’m looking forward to practicing and mastering more of these in 2023! Wishing you a very happy, healthy, and successful 2023!

    1. avatar

      Thank you and ditto, of course! 🙂

  3. avatar
    According to Chren says:

    This is such a great reflection post and you’ve inspired us to write what we’ve learned this year too. It’s interesting to choose a guiding word for 2023. Honestly, this year has been so stressful that maybe our guiding word should be fun.

    1. avatar

      That’s a good guiding word! Something you’re working towards, something you want more of – anything that feels inspiring to you!

Let me know your thoughts!

About Author

30ish Lifestyle blogger, relationship "expert," and modern-day agony aunt.
Sometimes humorous, always honest.