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3 Lessons I Learned That You Can Apply Now

Have you ever had the thought like, “Damn, it’s already March.”, or “Omg, my birthday is coming up again.”? 

Well, I sure have those moments frequently, and here we are in 2023 (and heck, the first quarter just went by!). 

How did your 2022 go? What are some of the happy moments that first popped into your head that you would like to cherish them? Let’s take a minute to recall them and let it sink in.

Did you have things that you wanted to do? Did you do them? Why or why not? 

I like reflecting on my past years as a form of personal development so that I continue to grow. 

What is Personal Development? 

Personal development is a life-long self-improvement process that helps develop a person’s potential and increases one’s capabilities in all aspects of life. It includes improving the skills needed to ultimately live a meaningful and happy life. 

Personal Development can be an abstract concept that comes in many forms.

Exercising, meditating, doing that thing that you love, improving your relationship with your family, and offering help when someone is in need, are all forms of personal development.

Reflecting on what has happened not just at the end of the year, but daily, or after a situation has happened, is by far one of the most effective personal development practices because these reflections will be unique to your own experiences.

Reflect on the lessons learned that improve your life
Image by iqbal nuril anwar from Pixabay

My Top 3 Lessons Learned in 2022

So many things happened in 2022. It is hard to consolidate lessons learned in one post. But here are my top 3 of the things that I’ve learned over the past year that I believe help improve your life: 

  1. Be intentional about how you want to show up at work or outside of work
  2. Establish a good system and set goals. Distraction is evil that kills motivation over time.
  3. Start doing, less thinking or talking. 

Lesson #1: Be intentional about how you want to show up at work or outside of work

I started a new job and was super excited to make an impression. I was ready to take on new challenges to prove they did not make a mistake by hiring me. 

Soon enough, I was overwhelmed by the scale of the company, the amount of knowledge I had to absorb, and the entirely different culture I had to learn.

I was so caught up in my day-to-day task and didn’t have the time and mindset to evaluate how I was doing and showing up at work. 

I took a pause to reinforce my personal brand:

  1. Write down some principles of how you want to show up, such as:
    • Hold yourself accountable by always doing what you said you would do
    • Take ownership whenever you can by volunteering on unassigned tasks
    • Say yes to new opportunities by being courageous in raising your hands when a new assignment comes up
    • Engage fully in conversations by listening intently and responding deliberately
    • Be curious by asking questions
    • Make a connection by proactively reaching out for 1:1 conversations with colleagues from other teams
    • Have a learning mindset by having an open mind to different ideas
  2. Revisit these principles daily or weekly, at the beginning of the workday or workweek.
    • Doing this repeatedly helps enhance the personal brand you want to create so that your brain always looks for opportunities to take the action needed. 
  3. Take 5 minutes at the end of the day or week to evaluate.
    • If one of your principles is to be curious, ask yourself whether you’re exhibiting behaviors of curiosity like, did you ask questions when you wanted to find out more about something? Did you proactively try to look for answers?
    • Write a short journal about how things went and if you didn’t do the things you’d like, examine why.
  4. Repeat until these actions are instilled in your brain as your second nature.
    • For example, you’ve asked so many questions that asking questions comes naturally to you whenever your curiosity is piqued. 

We can also set similar intentions when hanging out with friends outside of work; networking, being curious to learn about other people, being intrigued by different schools of thought, and so on. 

Lesson #2: Establish a good system and set goals. Distraction is evil that kills motivation over time.

The year 2022 was a big change for me. New job, new city, new mindset, new life goals. I wanted to try many new things and blogging was one of them. I set weekly and monthly goals to work on my blog/website and I was always on track.

It went well in the beginning until my new social circle grew larger and larger. I quickly fell out of my habit, and my system of getting work done broke down. My laziness and comfortableness also kicked in as I started prioritizing more on hanging out and meeting new people over achieving my goals. 

As a result of that, my progress stalled for almost 6 months. I pushed the Stop button on myself to re-evaluate my priorities and the things I want to do in my life. 

I’ll be sharing a complete guide on building an effective and productive system for getting work done in my future post, but here’s the short version: 

Establishing a good system:

  1. List the 2 most important things you want to get done for the day.
    • #1 is what you MUST complete. 
    • #2 is what you OUGHT to complete. 
    • Do not expand your list if you finish all your tasks early because this gives your brain the impression “Since the list is never going to end, I don’t need to complete them today.” 
  2. Set intentions and plan for the next day before ending the day.
    • Write down in your calendar (or set an alarm) what, when, and where you will get the work done. For example, I will complete at least 50% of my blog draft from 5 to 6 PM in my Google Docs. 
    • Setting an intention and planning your schedule allows your brain to anticipate the activity that is going to happen, and any distraction is less likely to get in your way. 
    • Do not over-allocate time on your task because we will naturally fill up the time allocated for the task, even if it doesn’t need to take that long. Read more on Parkinson’s Law.
  3. Reward yourself when achieved the daily goals and have consequences if failed.
    • Reward yourself! After you’ve completed the 2 things on your list, reward yourself by doing the things you enjoy such as going on social media or watching Netflix, eating your favorite snacks, playing video games, or doing anything that gives the feeling that “I deserve this”. The good part is, the faster you complete your work, the more time you will have to do the things you enjoy. 
    • On the other hand, if you don’t achieve your goal for the day, ask yourself why it happened. If there was a distraction, try to figure out how to eliminate it. 

Now you have a good system, pair it with goals: 

Setting goals: 

  1. Set your 3 to 5-year goal and success indicators.
    • What is it that you want to get done? How do you know when it is “done”? Be specific.
    • How do you know if it is successful? I encourage you to set result-based performance indicators instead of task-based ones.
    • For example, I want to build a blog with at least 200 high-quality personal development articles with at least 100,000 monthly visitors (success indicators) in 3 years. 
  2. Break it down into monthly (or quarterly), weekly, and daily goals, working backward.
    • To get to 200 articles in 3 years, I would have to write 5.5 articles each month.
    • Doing the math, I know that at the end of the week, I would have to publish at least 1 article and have started a draft for the next one. 
  3. Evaluate your goal on a cadence.
    • Track against your goal weekly or monthly to see if you’re on track. Make sure to course-correct along the way if you aren’t. 
    • How do you make more time to get them done? What do you need to sacrifice? 
  4. Measure your performance against success indicators.
    • Instead of looking at the tasks you’ve completed (publishing 200 blog posts), look at the outcomes you’ve produced as a result of the tasks you completed (100,000 monthly visitors, 1000 subscribers, etc.).

There is much more to this complex system and goal setting. There will be a dedicated article on it some other time.  

Lesson #3: Start doing, less thinking or talking. 

I wanted to start a business. So I tried eCommerce, specifically dropshipping (More details on this are in another blog post). 

After spending a month on it, the site went live. I was learning about digital marketing, doing a bunch of product shooting myself, running some advertisements, reaching out to people about my product, and tweaking my strategies. 

After almost 2 months, I failed miserably with 0 sales. I wanted to keep going but decided that this is not something I wanted to do. So I shut down my site. 

I was disappointed, but I was proud that I did it. It was a great experience for me and I learned so much about eCommerce in just 2 months, though I barely scratched the surface. 

Oftentimes, we have an idea or things we wanted to do but all we ended up just thinking or talking about it. Months or years have gone by, yet we never started anything. 


Because thinking or talking is easier than doing. 

Our brains tend to pull us back to our comfort zone. We, humans, are just naturally lazy. We often internalize a million excuses for why we shouldn’t do that thing. 

“It’s too risky.”, “I’m not good at it.”, “I don’t know shit about this.”, “People will judge me.”. 

And none of this is true. Our brains like to make faulty conclusions to stop us from doing uncomfortable things. 

You might also think that the reason why you never get started is that you lack motivation, but the truth is you lack clarity about your goal or vision. 

I planned out each day for 2 months when I was trying to launch my dropshipping business. 

People don’t usually start driving until they know where they’re heading (well unless they want to intentionally drive without a destination). If you don’t know where you’re heading, how are you going to take action? 

But once you figured that out, you will naturally find a path (the how) to get there. Having clarity and vision reduces the resistance between your starting point and your destination

All you need to do next is establish a good system and set goals, as mentioned above. 

So, what’s the plan for 2023?

The year 2022 was a year of exploration for me, both physically and mentally. 

I was trying to understand myself deeper and find the purpose of my life. And frankly, I am still on that journey, but with more clarity. 

I was trying out different businesses like blogging, print-on-demand, and dropshipping to see which one speaks to me. 

This is what I know about myself so far: 

  • I love thinking about ways to improve myself or a system.
  • I love being able to give others practical advice that can help them navigate through life challenges and problems. 
  • I love having profound conversations with others. 

And I believe I’m on the right path to do the things I love – blogging. 

I want to share things that I found have worked and yielded good outcomes in my personal life. 

In 2023, my goal is to build this blog that hopefully provides value to others that will improve their lifestyles mentally, financially, and physically in their career and personal life. More on this in the next article. 

I plan to publish a blog post each week, and I invite you to join me on this ride.  


These are the top 3 lessons that I learned in 2022 that you can apply now:

  1. Be intentional about how I want to show up at work or outside of work
  2. Establish a good system and set goals. Distraction is evil that kills motivation over time.
  3. Start doing, less thinking or talking. 

So, what is one thing that you’ve learned in 2022 or in the past that you’ll always remember?

Share your thoughts!