“2016 was a roller coaster ride.”

“Was it? Last time I checked rollercoasters were fun, especially when speeding downward.”

In January, that second comment was something I would’ve said and meant. Which really quickly leads me to my first of eight lessons learned:


You learn more from failing, mistakes, and shitty situations than you do from the good and easy parts of life. When I felt down, throughout the year, I realized that I could find a lesson among the darkness.

It’s admittedly difficult and may seem impossible, but…

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela

Realize that it may seem like the Universe is trying it’s hardest to make your life a living hell but she’s doing it because the lesson you’ll learn will benefit you, maybe in the long run too. Sometimes, the Universe will send something your way that’ll force you to look inward because it’s what you need to get back on your path.

I learned that I shouldn’t curl up in a blanket and watch movies to escape the shitty times, but face them directly and find a lesson to remember and pass down to others.

Challenge #1: Write down 3 hard situations you had this year and find a lesson that it taught you.


Life Lessons: Happiness is an inside job

Image Source: The Alisha Nicole

Don’t worry lots of us are guilty of when it comes to this, including me. We search for happiness through a person or thing. Yes, people and objects can bring you joy, but it won’t fill the hole you feel inside and it’s not everlasting.

The only person that can make you genuinely happy is you. Just to clarify, I’m talking about the sadness that makes you feel worthless, empty, and lost. When you’re having a random sucky day, it’s possible to feel better by hanging out with your best friend and having a Harry Potter marathon.

What I want you to understand, that actually took me a while get, is that no one can “heal” or “fix” you. Only you can do that. You need to be willing to change, though! You have to take a day to figure out what the problem is and deal with it. People can push and motivate you, but only you can make yourself feel whole again.

How do you fix yourself?

  • through meditations and affirmations
  • by learning to fall in love with you
  • by hiring a life coach or therapist (they are not your solution, they help you heal yourself. Remember, you need to willing to change)

Challenge #2: I believe that baby steps are so important, so start off small. Write down 6 reasons you appreciate yourself.


Yeah, I know. Friends and family drive you insane sometimes, right? All though you can’t always count on yourself, there are times where you will need others.

It’s okay to let others in and haven them help you. Whether it be for emotional support, motivational speeches, or to edit your blog posts, they’ll always have your back. Keep them around.

Challenge #3: If you’re feeling like you’re on the verge of losing your mind, ask someone for help!


Getting a hobby, finding and doing something you love for at least half an hour a day will keep you sane, too. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE! Now, by “hobby” I don’t mean I don’t mean taking a break to watch Supergirl or scrolling through Tumblr reblogging GIFS of your #1 ship.

Emma & Hook - Life Lessons

Find something to prevent you from going crazy, something that’ll keep your grounded. Working hard and hustling is great, but me-time, I think, is good for your soul and it’ll help you tremendously if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Some hobbies you can pick up:

  • cooking or baking (who cares if you suck, I never said you had to eat your food!)
  • build puzzles with cool pictures on them
  • learn an instrument, ukuleles are pretty cheap (or hit different objects around your house that make a sound)
  • ride your bike!
  • start collecting stuff like coins or rocks
  • if none of these appeals to you, Google some. Or you can try these too.

Challenge #4: Find something you love the second you finish reading this or right now and then come back on to continue! Don’t give it too much thought, just choose something you’ll enjoy. Set a time (20 min-1 hour a day)


Whether life’s the greatest or life is shit, you must always have faith in yourself. This is one of the lessons that I will keep with me until the day the die. This is your life and you won’t make it unless you believe in yourself and your actions.

Like I said, you will always be able to depend on yourself. Your “gut feeling” will always be the right feeling. But that doesn’t matter unless you trust that you will make to the end by trusting yourself (how?). Even if people are putting your down left and right, you have enough faith in yourself to continue with what you need to do.

Your thoughts, feelings, and actions should be made through love. Let love guide you and you will make it to where you need to be. Believe that somehow you will make it to the end.

Challenge #5: Starting today, follow your gut and go with your instincts. Develop trust for yourself.


Even when you think you know it all, search for something new. Educate yourself constantly!! I may think that the education system is shit and I despise school, but education is crucial.


Image Source: G Kale-Pinterest

Learn more about what you’re already doing or pick up something new, random, and interesting like…

You have absolutely no goddamn excuse for this one because of information everywhere. Besides books and online courses you gotta pay for, there are FREE ebooks, podcasts, videos, courses, and blog posts like this one that gives you plenty of information.

*Remember: If you’re learning about something you want to do, you can’t just read about it and suck up a lot of information, you actually have to do it.

Challenge #6: Go out and search online for something you’ve always had an interest in learning more about.


Stop caring about what people have to say about you. Them judging you is simply because they’re looking what they wish they could see as their reflection. They may not even realize it, though. So, don’t have to be mean to them back.

Do you like what you wear or listen to, what you stand for? Then don’t be afraid of showing it freely, most importantly, don’t be afraid of showing it proudly. 

If you believe that becoming and entrepreneur but not going to business school is right for you, the do it!

*Remember: People will do anything to discourage you. When that happens, don’t hesitate to stand up for yourself. By this I mean, tell them that you’ll make it because you believe in yourself and their words don’t affect you. I don’t mean, yell at them furiously or cuss them out.

Show people that you’re not afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Challenge #7: Make and write down this promise to yourself right now: “My opinions are valid and I will always defend myself and stand up for what I believe in.”


Though all the lessons here are significant and knowing them will have a major impact in your life, to me, this one is my favorite lessons. I love this lesson.

I love knowing that there isn’t just one way to do things, to get through a tough situation, or to get to your journey’s end. There are so many different paths that you can look for and take. If somebody’s bullying you, you can choose to talk back or hit them, or you can choose to defend yourself, or walk away. There are an infinite amount of options.

If you don’t like something you don’t have to choose to go that way, you can choose or create a different path for yourself.

For a while, I wanted a job, but I didn’t want to work at a fast food restaurant or in retail because they’re not for me. So, I searched and searched I realized that I could be a freelancer. I can do what I love, write, and get paid. At first, I was going to give up and just get a job I knew I would dislike, but this lesson is what prevented me from doing so.

You’re not limited to one thing. You’re surrounded my opportunities and possibilities. There’s always another way.

Challenge #8: Let the Universe help guide your way. Say this affirmation throughout the day, every day “Thank you, Universe, for transforming limitation and doubt into creative possibilities.” (Credit to Gabby Bernstein for this one)

Well, there you have it. 8 lessons you should always remember that I learned in 2016.

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