Lessons from 2021 🍋

Lola Oguntokun
4 min readJan 5, 2022

Can you believe it? Those 2 weeks of March 2020 are fast becoming 2 years. We’ve all experienced moments where we felt things were starting to move in the right direction. Schools reopened, then offices and restaurants, nightclubs, borders… but when you see borders closing again, and the tough restrictions being applied in some countries, you can’t help but feel the walls are closing in… again… Yes, we’re side-eyeing 2022.

It feels like it’s just a matter of time before our lives are stripped down to the bare bones again. We’re still on this theme park ride we did not choose, but we’re paying for, and we don’t know which way this thing will turn or when. So how do we live a fulfilled life in this half-baked limbo?

Last January, I shared my first article, Lessons from 2020. I planned to write an updated version regarding 2021 learnings but much of what I previously wrote still rings true. I would just add a couple of points for this next phase.

Know Your Priorities

In times like these, we find ourselves simply living day to day, and in the Lessons from 2020 article, I wrap up by encouraging people to take one day at a time. I still agree with this, but we’re now in a phase where we cannot afford to just see what happens. We must be clear about our goals and priorities and we must be intentional.

When we feel restricted, it can feel like our options are limited or we have none at all. The truth is, we are constantly making decisions throughout our day. Even with limited choices, we still always have a choice. Becoming more conscious of this also forces us to become more thoughtful and intentional about the choices we make, even the minute ones. This means, rather than feeling like we’re being dragged along gravel by a wild horse, we’re experiencing life in a much more present, accountable and comfortable way.

Here are some steps to help bring focus to your priorities:

  1. Take some time out to think about what matters most to you, particularly for 2022.
  2. Write down 1 or 2 goals or priorities for 2022. Keep it short and simple. Long lists are hard to follow-up and remember.
  3. Flesh out the goal(s) with a reverse engineering exercise. What does the end goal look like? What would that require of you? How will you get there?
  4. Plan how can you slowly build up to this goal over the course of the year.

Goals, priorities, resolutions — whatever you want to call them — tend to fail hard and quickly, often because we tend to go at them too hard too quickly. It takes time to build up lifestyle habits, so start off simple and easy, then slowly build up from there.

Prioritise Your Priorities

…Ok, that’s nice, but knowing your priorities is not enough. Once you’re clear on your priorities, you then need to actually prioritise your priorities.

Give your priorities prime position in your life. When deciding how to spend your day, week or month, you should first consider how your priorities will embed into your daily routine and become a fundamental part of your life.

Please don’t be afraid to make yourself your number 1 or only priority. In order to experience life in a full and present way, we must put ourselves first. Take time for yourself at the start of every day to read, meditate, exercise. If you’ve been thinking of going to therapy — do it. Love yourself by investing in yourself. Make sure your cup is full, so you can be what you need to for yourself first, and then others without taking away from yourself.


I personally got distracted from some personal goals, and I blamed the stagnation on the pandemic. However, as I look back, I realise though the pandemic has been distracting, this is only because I have allowed it to be, it became my excuse. Stop waiting for the pandemic to be over to live your life. What can you do now to make the most of your time now?

What are your priorities? What are your goals? What steps do you need to take to align your life with your priorities and goals? How can you make this period of time work best for you?

This 2022, no more crossing our fingers or waiting for this elusive end date. Let’s go make the most delicious lemonade out of these bloody lemons! 🍋🍋🍋



Lola Oguntokun

I help build, shape and champion innovative companies and culture.