What I learned from 2017

I really can’t believe that it’s already 2018, it feels like 2017 was just yesterday (I had to). But seriously, I know people say this every year, but it really felt like it was just January 1, 2017. 2017 brought a lot of things I would have never expected going into the new year–both challenges and blessings–and I learned a lot reflecting back over the year. I originally wasn’t planning to make a post like this. But after realizing how much I actually enjoyed writing my post last year about what I learned from 2016, I decided to do one for 2017 as well. My goal with these reflections is to take what I learned from the previous year into the new year so that I can constantly grow and improve. So, Happy New Year, Happy 2018 and without further ado, here’s what I will be taking with me as 2018 continues.

1. You don’t have to follow the trend

This year, especially in the fitness industry, trends were flying left and right. Everyone’s gluten-free and going vegan; cutting out dairy, nope, now dairy is important. Follow IIFYM, now that’s wrong and you should eat intuitively, oh now here comes intermittent fasting. You get the idea. At first, I thought I needed to follow everyone else, but in reality, just because something worked for others does not mean it will work for you too. And that’s okay! Don’t eat (or not eat) a certain food, do (or not do) certain exercises, or live life in a certain way just because it’s “trendy”. The best thing you can do is find your balance and what works for you, and do just that. You can respect others’ way of life and encourage/support them while still doing your own thing.

2. Have a vision for your life

Life can be difficult, it doesn’t come with a road map or instructions –> so create your own! For a while, I was just living, going through the motions of life with no clear picture of my destination. But towards the end of the year, I realized the importance of having a vision for your life. A vision of what you want to do, where you want to go, and who you want to be. It doesn’t have to be very clear, just have an end goal that you’re constantly working towards. I know I have plenty of those for 2018.

3. Life won’t always go as planned….

Now with what I said about having a vision for your life, understand that just because you have a specific goal doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or turn out how you envisioned it. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t even try, but it’s important to understand that life won’t always go as planned. Sometimes it’ll take you on a detour, simply one exit down; and sometimes it will take you on a whole new highway to a whole new city you never planned for–let it happen. Learn to find the positives in everything and work in whatever circumstance is given; try to be flexible and go with the flow sometimes because honestly you never know where it (or life) will take you!

4. …And God’s plans won’t always make sense

At the time. When life doesn’t go as planned, it’s because God has bigger and better plans for you already–we just can’t see or understand them because we were made to walk with Him one step at a time, not 100 yards ahead. My senior year of volleyball was going great until two weeks in when I broke my rib. Think that was part of the plan? Yeah, no. I didn’t understand it at the time, and honestly, I still don’t know what God’s plan for that was. But I do know that God is in control, and if I keep trusting in him, He will be faithful.

5. Rest is important

Physical, mental, emotional. As much as we would like, we can’t continuously go-go-go 24/7, 365 days a year.We often try to push ourselves harder and farther than the time before, and it leads us to be worn out, burnt out, and just plain tired of life. I learned that rest is important to make progress in the gym, that I can’t push my body to its max day-after-day without rest. I learned that it’s okay to be emotional, that sometimes I need to rest from the “trying to be happy”facade I sometimes put on and let it out. My mind needs breaks from always studying, I need time to relax and enjoy myself. Rest is not selfish, it’s essential for living a healthy life.

6. Be confident

This time last year, I can safely say I wasn’t too confident in myself. I was annoyed at myself for clinging to “clean eating”, and I felt small and weak. I was not confident in my physical appearance/my body, in my inner being of who I was, in my character, in my identity in Christ. It’s a scary feeling to feel like this, but it was true. Now today I can’t say that I am always 100% confident in everything about myself, but honestly, that’s normal! Everyone has good days and bad days. But standing here today, I did learn that I can choose to be confident in myself and to do something about it. Believing in and loving yourself right where you’re at–imperfections and all–is such an amazingly strong feeling that will take you so far no matter where life takes you.

7. You’re in charge of your own happiness

Last, but certainly not least, this was probably the hardest thing for me to learn and accept. When you are unhappy, it’s not the world’s fault, or your significant other’s, or that boss who chose someone else to promote, or your professor who gave you a bad grade, or your parents who won’t let you do “x”. No, it is your own fault. Happiness is a choice, something that we get to decide to choose every day, every situation that comes our way. It’s not always easy to choose the positive way, but if you can learn to choose happiness despite your situation or your circumstances, despite your looks, your job, or your family issues, you’ll live a much more joyful life.If you’re not happy with where you are, decide today to make a change to get to where you want to be. Decide today to be in charge of your own happiness.

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