2015: Learning from “failures”

As befits this time of year there have been many blog posts and tweets about New Year Resolutions. However one of the most interesting tweets I saw was asking about our own failures from 2015, and what we have learned from them.

As I’m not a big fan of making resolutions on 1st January I thought I would look back to see what I could learn from goals that weren’t achieved, and challenges that weren’t met last year (NB this isn’t supposed to be a morose, ‘glass half empty’ post; I just find the concept of becoming successful through learning from failures a genuinely interesting idea).

1) Not Moving House

This time last year we had put our house up for sale and had great plans of relocating to a larger property within the village. However this didn’t work out. BUT it was with great relief that we decided last summer to take our house off the market and stay where we are. We realised that we really love the location of our small cottage. We have plans to extend a little in the next couple of years to provide another bedroom. In the meantime we have made a few alterations (see below) and fallen back in love with our home.

new look lounge with renovated fireplace

2) Not securing a job

Despite many job applications and a few interviews I have failed to get a weekday job. My aim is to return to marketing but in a part time capacity. At times I have felt disheartened that my painstakingly filled applications haven’t even secured a job interview but I have learned many things along the way: I need more digital marketing experience; I need to write my CV in a different way; I need to make more personal contacts. To this end I have become more digitally literate and have started voluntary work providing marketing support. I have also changed my  hours at the Arts Centre cafe where I work, ensuring I have my weekends free with my family once more.

I have a few ideas for generating some income for 2016 and have faith that the right job is out there for me.

On a smaller scale I didn’t succeed at:

3) Project 333

If you’ve read any of my previous posts on the subject you will know that I have dabbled with Project 333 – the capsule wardrobe programme – for the past year. The idea is that you reduce your clothing, shoes and accessories to just 33 items. and rotate these every three months. While I really like the idea of a small, but perfectly matched, closet I have come to the conclusion that this just isn’t my style. Sometimes I like to wear, and buy, clothes that just don’t match with anything else in my wardrobe. While I still aim to have a small selection of outfits and, as always, buy them second-hand, I have realised that Project 333 just isn’t for me.

Project 333: Winter/Spring 2015

4) Plastic Free, Zero Waste

While these are two causes I feel very strongly about my commitment to them towards the end of 2015 has wavered. While I’m proud that our attempts at a zero waste holiday were fairly successful I have continued to fail at refusing plastic straws. Knowing that these items don’t decompose and seeing the terrible damage they do to marine life this is something I must try harder at in 2016. I realise that there are many plastic-free/waste-free habits I have acquired over the past couple of years that have become so automatic I don’t even think about them (using cloth bags, using my onya grocery bags for loose veg, taking reusable drinks bottle with me), but there are many more that I can adopt for 2016.

waste free festival kit

I’m sure if I think about it, there are many more ‘failures’ from 2015 from which I could learn. However if I could take two things with me into 2016 it would be to 1) continue to live small and accept what I have, and 2) to continue to strive to reduce my impact on the planet. Maybe these are New Year’s resolutions after all…

8 thoughts on “2015: Learning from “failures”

  1. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking.

    We went through the whole ‘lets move somewhere bigger’ thing some years ago when our sons were in their teenage years and we had them and their girlfriends with us much of the time. Fortunately we didn’t find anywhere, and a sensible friend pointed out that this was just a brief period and the boys would be soon in a few short years. Sure enough they were, and in the meantime we acquired a wooden garden room to give us more space to work from home, and learnt to adjust to 6 adults being in the house instead of 2 adults and 2 young children. Like you, we put a lot more effort into making our house more of a place we wanted to be, and fell back in love with it.

    I hope that 2016 proves to be the year you find the work you want to do.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your efforts to live more lightly on the planet, a journey I also want to be taking further this year.

    • A smaller house will also have a smaller impact on the environment (eg less space to heat). I couldn’t afford to move, even though I would love a bigger kitchen. But of course there are ways of adapting what we have and being creative feels good.

      • Definitely easier to keep clean, furnish, decorate….. And you’re less tempted to keep buying as there’s nowhere to put it 😉

        I think you’ve hit the nail in the head re job-hunting. If a priority is not to buy a car, then it’s not you or your CV but circumstances.

        I wish I didn’t have to drive to work (childcare makes it impossible for me to use public transport at the moment). Apart from the environmental impact, commuter driving is very stressful and costly. It’s also such a waste of time – up to three hours sitting in traffic. At least I’m making use of the podcast app on my phone.

  2. Failures are the best way to learn! It doesn’t sound like you have failed though – it sounds like you have made some really good decisions that are right for you and that you have been doing the best you can.

  3. Best of luck with job hunting this year. Sometimes it’s not you (eg the format of your CV), just chance, but it never a harms to revisit these things.

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