The end of 2013 means a time to reflect upon the year—both the good and the bad. Reflection is an important part of life—it’s a way to learn from mistakes, find ways to improve and set new goals. This past year, I personally went through a lot of changes, and I’m here to share some of the things I learned over the course of the past 12 months.

1. Never stop learning
I started this year as a college student, and I ended it as a PR professional with a full-time job. Throughout the entire year, though, I was always trying to learn. Sometimes this meant actually learning material in the classroom, or discovering it on my own. Learning can be done a lot of ways, and no matter how old you are, the learning should never stop. This doesn’t mean reading textbooks day in and day out. Talk to someone new, read a book, watch the news or try something you’ve never done before.

2. Quality > quantity
I’ve found this to be true in many aspects of life, and more so as the years continue on. Not only does this apply to your wardrobe and electronics, it also applies to our industry. Did you see this New York Times article? It’s important to remember not to be “spammy,” especially when representing a client. If you want to be noticed, you must focus on the quality of your marketing pushes versus how many there are.

3. Social media is changing the game
It’s been around for a few years, but this year was a year of change. Vine was introduced this year and made a big splash, which led to Instagram ramping up its video efforts. Companies of all types (especially consumer-facing) need to find a voice in the social media world. Although this happened earlier this year, who could forget Oreo’s quick thinking during the Super Bowl blackout? This is just one of the many examples of how companies took advantage of social media this year.

4. Setting goals is important
This is one you’ve heard time and time again. But there’s a reason why setting goals is so crucial. Cliché aside, understanding the importance of goal setting is crucial to accomplishing great things in your life. If you have a goal written down with a set date, it gives you something to plan and work toward. Setting goals is a way to fuel your ambition, and by asking ourselves what we really want, we gain the benefit of achieving some pretty great things.

5. A lot can change in one year
Change happens all around us. Understanding how much can change in one year has helped me to truly appreciate living in the moment. In the blink of an eye, you can find yourself forging a new path you never thought you’d go down. The important part is to embrace change and realize it drives us to adapt and move forward.

With the new year upon us, I encourage us all to take a few moments and reflect on what we’ve learned this past year. See what you come up with, and how this might mold your take on how to approach 2014.