At the end of each year, I usually try to do a post about all the lessons I have learned over the year. I was looking over the blog for the past year and decided to post some of the links that share things I have learned this year and also share with you the most important lesson that I have learned in 2011.

And yes, I do write about food. LOL.

First, some of the posts:

  1. How I stay passionate: It is so critical to surround yourself with books, images, people, sounds, everything that feeds the positive part of your spirit. I had to cut a few ties this year for this very reason. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Another critical lesson I learned is to stay away from naysayers. People constantly tell me how some things cannot be done and there is no way I can do them. My response is to generally work harder. Sometimes, I take their advice to heart and then I live to regret it.
  2. “The Someday Speech” – I have been the queen of this speech and I am now very careful not to give it.
  3. “Creative Rebirth” ––  This has been one of the most important things I have learned this year. Never, ever, ever stop learning and growing. Ever.
  4. “In Conversation with Exceptional Women” — We are surrounded by abundance, all the time. We just have to reach out and grab it! I am so grateful to all the women who participated in this book and taught me so much.
  5. “Dare to be different” – Possibly the most read post on my site.. I am learning to be myself and that my quirks do not lessen me in any way.
  6. “Life and soccer lessons” – I love watching my son play soccer and learned so much from his games.
  7. “Tenacity Trumps Talent” – Every single damn time.
  8. “Luck, the crutch” – I have used “luck” as a crutch many times. I learned this year not to do that. This is a hard one for me but I am going to keep at it.
  9. “Shoot the critic, save the dream” – We all have demons in our head that tell us how we cannot do something. I tried this year to deal with mine.

And the, tenth, and most important lesson I learned this year is about letting go. There are things that I cannot change, there are things that I cannot control and I had to learn to let go. This was one of the hardest things to do. I kept associating “letting go” with “giving up.” I learned that there is a big difference. If I let go, I am not giving up my goal, I am just giving up controlling every single minute of how I get there. In 2012, I am determined to enjoy my journey of writing, share as much abundance as I can with everyone and try to be a good mother and wife.

What are your goals for 2012?

(If you are still reading: Lessons from 2010)

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  1. Monica, Lovely and insightful post. I too have worked on staying close to my passions this year and on letting go. I agree with you: Letting go is not giving up. What I know now is that when I do let go, give up the control, release the story around whatever it is, I, in a very real way, am making room for something better, or the thing I need right then, to enter my life. When we are busy holding tight, we diminish our own possibility. Letting go not only makes me feel better in a very practical way, but it leaves space for other things to come in. Thank you so much for this post.

  2. Love this list Monica, and shooting the critic is at the top of my list next year as I hope to undertake a large (and rather scary) project. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself” right? Thank you FDR

    Happy Holidays!

  3. This is a wonderful round up of your posts.
    I heard about you & have started following you since just recently, and I love your writing, especially the inspirational ones.
    Reading stories and write ups like these cheer me up.
    Hopping over to your other posts that I’ve missed reading.

    1. Nisha – if you post your own 2012 goals here, I will send you a free copy of my ebook — In Conversation with Exceptional women. Post the goals and email me.

      1. For someone who makes a new resolution each day to follow the next 364 days & implements none, this is tough, because if I form some goals & share with you, then I must keep my word : )
        Here’s what I’ve thought so far –
        * Deep inside, I know I’m the most negative person one can find. I hope to change that. What is a person who always finds faults in herself called? I’m that, and I hope to change that. My goal is to be a positive, a better, person.
        * I want to be more organized instead of leaving mess around & saying “that’s how I like it”, I want to be an early-riser instead of the usual 10 am, I want to be more decisive instead of confused & unsure, I want to be confident. My goal is to change some of my habits.
        * I want to stop giving the ‘someday’ speech, stop saying “it’s boring, I’m lazy, I don’t feel like it” and seriously start studying for GMAT & apply to universities. My goal is to take my life and career seriously, for real now.

  4. This post was great! I started a food/cooking blog two months ago after lots of mulling, procrastinating and worrying. My goal in 2012, is to write more and to get to know online and IRL the people in the food world who inspire me…like you.

    My husband gave me your book Modern Spice a few years ago. I love that you left engineering to follow your passion!

  5. Thanks for another great year Monica.

    I’m still working on how exactly I can quantify this goal, but one of my top goals for 2012 is to write with less attachment to outcomes. It’s not all that different from your concept of letting go. I intend to focus less about my readership stats, pageviews and other external sources of writing validation, and just write.

    Finally, a quick word about your “Someday Speech” post: that was truly a great, inspiring post and it impacted a lot of readers over at Casual Kitchen. Thanks for writing it.


  6. Though I resist from making too many ambitious plans for the new year, I have decided on the following for 2012:

    1) Never say never
    2) Be open to crazy challenges
    3) Take extra good care of those I love
    4) Practice mindfulness
    5) Practice gratefulness every day, every moment

  7. Yes, yes, and yes (to 1-10! 2012—be bold, fearless, and honest in life and in work. To finish projects I’ve been working on and to be generous with my time and knowledge. To grow.

    As always, thank you for the inspiration. Here’s to a prosperous new year—can’t wait to see what you accomplish!



  8. Ohhh, that tenth goal is a tough one – that’s what I’m striving toward in 2012 as well. (That, and to learn to play the guitar. And maybe to learn CSS!)

  9. Perfect read on the eve of a new year. Thanks, Monica.

  10. Monica, I normally associate “letting go” with giving up also but this year has been the year where I let go of the 2nd PhD I started in my life (and thus, the 2nd one I did not finish) and had to learn to be ok with it. I struggled for many months with this, feeling like I was letting people down and most importantly, myself. But life is too short to hold onto things because it’s the “right thing to do” – it must be “the right thing for YOU”. Letting go of my PhD was hard. I am still coming to terms with it. But it was definitely the right decision.

    2012 will be the year of embracing my passion for food writing and seeing if I can’t go somwhere with it. My first published article came out recently. I am aiming for more in 2012. You are part of the reason I believe I can do this Monica so thanks.

    Wishing you health, happiness and much success in 2012.


  11. Women need to remind themselves, as you have here, to know what to embrace and what to let go of. I think we all have such a tendency to want to ‘fix’ that we can get stuck in the fixing.

    Great article and so heartfelt;thank you.

  12. I feel very reflective this time of year as well. I really relate to a lot of your points, especially about having to “break up” with certain people who are not helping to improve your life. Happy Holidays and Cheers to 2012 being our best year yet!

  13. My biggest lesson in 2011 has been to not undervalue my worth. I am a tutor and have always felt badly about charging money for something that is essentially saving someone who is drowning. But, it seems that I was the only one who didn’t see my own value. The parents who pay me are always so appreciative.

  14. Such inspiring post Monika…happy to come across such positive thoughts and people.
    1. Next year for me is to stay passionate and work harder for my goals.
    2. Stay away from energy vampires aka naysayer.. I have so many things to look forward to.

  15. Almost all the point apply to me too. its been a whirlwind year and theres still the christmas weekend.. and i will end up in the thinking mode only around 31st:)
    but i know that i need to definitely work on letting go… letting go of the useless competitive streak..
    and of course not fall in the someday pit.. gotta pick it up in 2012, figure out my niche and work towards all the small things i have been adding to several lists!

  16. Monica, Such a wonderful reminder of staying focused and strong! Thank you!

    This also reminded me of some things my dad always said: If you get the answer of no, you didn’t ask the question properly, reword and try again. He also always said if you don’t learn something new each day it is a wasted day. Dad was right and so are you! I often repeated these to myself on the many trips to China and India over the years when I was feeling frustrated by language differences.

    Another thing that sometimes I forget and you just reminded me is to be true to myself. That was the advice of my freshman high school English teacher, Mr. Pierstorff.

    Thanks again for the reminders!

  17. As Abba sings….
    I have a dream
    a song to sing
    to help me cope
    with anything
    if you see the wonder
    of a fairy tale
    you can take the future
    even if you fail
    I believe in angels
    something good in
    everything I see
    I believe in angels
    when I know the time
    is right for me
    I’ll cross the stream
    I have a dream

    I have a dream
    a fantasy
    to help me through
    and my destination
    makes it worth the while
    pushing through the darkness
    still another mile
    I believe in angels
    when I know the time
    is right for me
    I’ll cross the stream
    I have a dream

    Thank you so much Monica for all your inspiration, motivation, humour, and the ideas of 2011,for all your efforts to share with us, and of course the beautiful gifted smile, which I feel, comes from a loving and humble heart…!

    My best wishes to all your readers & well-wishers for this beautiful season and the Year 2012 !

  18. Loved this post, Monica!

    What I’ve learned in 2011:
    -The present moment is really all I have.
    -Making time for myself makes me a better mom.

    My goal for 2012: to be more comfortable in my own skin.

    Seasons Greetings!

  19. Amazing post, Monica. Thanks for the inspiration!
    My goals:
    1.Give more.
    2. Love more.
    3. Learn more.
    4.Forgive more.

    Happy Holidays to you & your precious family!
    Peace, prosperity & much happiness, my friend! Hugs!

  20. So glad I read this today, Monica! I’m on board with being tenacious. I also learned from a lot from food writer friends about placing less importance on “stuff.” Decluttering your mind, personal space and finances are paramount for me in 2012.

  21. Dear Monica,

    As advisor to my son whose website us mentioned above, I would appreciate to hear your views on pairing Indian cuisine with Wines. Akshay is keen to get his subscribers to enjoy home cooked food with wine rather than follow more conventional foods.

    Do hope you will find time to reply.

    Meantime wishing you A Very Happy New Year!

  22. Thank you for this Monica. I enjoy your writing, and everything you share, so very much. Don’t ever stop 🙂 Happy New Year!

  23. I tweeted about giveaway

  24. Dear Monica,

    So excited by your offer of sharing “In Conversation” that I actually fleshed out my own set of goals –

    At the threshold of a brand New Year I always send out a special message to my friends and family, a message that reflects my mood-of-the-moment and encapsulates some of the lessons I have learned in that year and before and that I wish to share with my immediate, larger and virtual family. The message goes out as New Year greetings and to my mind serves to fill the time slot and opportunity that ending of one year and beginning of another present.

    Here are the lessons, in no particular order, flowing out just as the reflections reappear on the horizon of my mind and the thoughts take form. I may have learned much more, either consciously or subliminally; so why just 31 lessons? I did the simple math of adding 20 and 11 together. Perhaps I could do a part 2 to the ongoing process. But here are my 31 cents worth whatever they may be in the lanes of life, aspiring to be important milestones on its meandering roads –

    Lesson 1 – The most important guest that you should usher in is Opportunity. Opportunity, nay, opportunities knock on the mind’s door – loud and clear. You must be ready in your Sunday best to greet them and be hospitable towards them. You must always be fitted out in branded clothes to welcome this VIP guest and the brand must always be of hard work, calibre and perspicacity.

    Read all the lessons here –

    All the very best for a wonderful 2012!

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