It’s that time of the year, when I like to reflect on the past year, take a deep breath and see what I’ve learnt and where I want to go in 2019.

2018 was one of the most challenging and fulfilling years.

First and foremost: last year was tough.

Towards the beginning of the year the Appadoo clan found out that my mum had cancer. And with that came a barrage of emotions. But what I learnt was how to find strength when you don’t feel like there’s anything there. I learnt how to look after myself when times are the toughest. Most importantly, I recognised how important family and friends are when times are tough. I couldn’t have done it without you.

2018 saw the start of my new adventure with FutureGov. And what an adventure it’s been! Transforming the public sector is everything I could want it to be. I’m continually being pushed to challenge the status quo, rethink the norm and better the public sector. I really feel like I’ve found my tribe and cannot wait to see what 2019 brings.

I also made my first TV appearance on BBC Breakfast, shaved my head for charity, ran my first half marathon and won an award! I spoke at A LOT of events, near and far and met some incredible people along the way. But what have I learnt and what does that mean for 2019?

I learnt to let go 

Letting go is something I’ve always struggled with. I get the greatest sense of FOMO every time I step away from something or have to say no and all those little moments that you wish you could change, they stick around with me. But in 2018 I took a huge step away from that feeling. I stopped co-organising DrinkaboutMCR, an event I’d been organising for about 5 years. I stopped going to networking events for the sake of it and I put my energy and effort into things that I needed to (like SheSaysMCR and seeing friends and family). I didn’t have time to focus on the past without it being a positive experience. I didn’t want to hold on to negativity anymore so I made a conscious effort to let go when I felt like I was ready to.

I learnt that it’s okay to not be okay 

You can’t do things on your own. Recognising that I wasn’t on my own was huge for me. I didn’t realise that my friends and family, the people closest to me, aren’t just my support network but that they’re my team and letting them know when I wasn’t okay was important so that the team could work together to pull through. I’ve got their back and they’ve got mine. As soon as I started accepting that you can’t be the best you 100% of the time and being honest with myself and the people around me about it, things instantly became a little bit easier. Knowing that, accepting it and turning it into something very real helps more than I can tell you.

I learnt how to keep going 

Letting go and feeling more confident about about how I was feeling helped me to keep going. I learnt that no matter what happens, taking a step back, taking a deep breath and getting some clear thoughts into your day is crucial to keep going. It’s more important now than ever before, to recognise what you need as an individual to keep you going when things are going well and when things are going not so well. I learnt the things that push me forward and the things that zap my energy. I learnt that there’s not a single formula that works for everyone and that keeping going can mean slowing down as well as speeding up.

I learnt how to value my time 

I’ve never prioritised my time properly and I still have a long way to go but 2018 taught my how important it is to put yourself first. I learnt how to make sure you’re doing the things that will make you happiest, that are important for your personal wellbeing and health. I learnt how to make the most of the time I have, I learnt to switch off when I need to and how to use my time to get the things done that I need to. Because, if you don’t value your time, no one else will.

I learnt more about myself 

2018 was a massive year of learning for me. I learnt more about myself than I ever thought I could. I learnt more about when I’m the most productive (evenings in case you were wondering). I learnt that trying to cram in too much doing time, without enough reflection time burns me out. I learnt that writing before I sleep makes the biggest difference to how my sleep quality over anything else. I learnt that seeing live music is one of the most simple things I can do to make me my happiest. And dancing, I learnt to fall back in love with dancing.

What does this mean for 2019?

Quite frankly, it means more of the same. I want 2019 to be a year where I am conscious of every decision I make, of the people I’m spending my time with and the things I chose to do. I want to look back at 2019 and think of all of the smiles, laughter and time that I’ve spent with the people I love the most. Simple really.

Want to chat? I’ll be at the next SheSaysMCR on Thursday 24th January, you can book your tickets here.

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