For some reason, my younger self has been on my mind this week, and it makes me simultaneously sad and grateful. The older I get, the more I look back on those first few years out on my own (college mostly) with a sadness that makes me that much more thankful that I'm not that girl anymore. Saying "I was lost," doesn't even begin to cover it. If things didn't come easily, I was frustrated. I would go to the gym once or twice a month and not know why it didn't help. I would eat veggies (covered in cheese) for days straight and not understand why I didn't feel thinner or healthier. I was tired all the time. My friends did not lift me up and I didn't lift them up. You get the idea.
It is only having come so far from that time in my life, having taken the reins and done the work to change things, that I'm able to see what I was doing wrong. These are the five decisions I made over the years, pretty much by accident, that have completely changed my life into one I'm excited to live every day.
1. Work B****.
Nothing comes easily. I'll say it again. Nothing comes easily. If it does, you're doing it wrong. You deserve nothing. You can earn anything. Success in your work or a fulfilling career, relationships, health and fitness, self-happiness, exciting hobbies, getting out of bed in the morning. It all takes more effort than is comfortable to give. Develop an attitude that "comfortable" breeds disappointment and facing challenges breeds reward. And this one comes along with each of the other four...
2. Choose Your Friends Carefully.
Holy moly this is a big one. It's my friends who hold me accountable for giving my best to every day, and the foundation that accountability is built on - belief - makes a difference too. Knowing they believe the things I hope to accomplish are possible is so powerful to me. That they hold me accountable for the promises I make to myself is even more so. The men and women in my life, from best friends to acquaintances, from mentors to my boyfriend, all inspire me and challenge me and love me, and I them. Join a tribe, build an army, create a family.
3. Love your body from the inside.
Sure, self confidence matters, but I'm not talking about loving your body in the "yeah, I'm hot. I'm beautiful," way. I'm talking about loving your body by treating it well. Learn what it means to eat good things and then eat good things. Veggies smothered in cheese are not good things, but I didn't know that when I was off chasing fad diets and "easy" ways to get skinny fast. Don't buy a juicer if you don't yet know how to make a week's worth of natural healthy meals. Start with the basics. Drink more water than you can handle. Be active because your body was made to be active. Become strong. Sweat. I don't care how. Push yourself to your limits (or say, "what limits!?") because physical accomplishment will remind you of the possibility of accomplishment in other aspects of your life.
4. Have patience with yourself.
Much of the frustrations of my youth came from my need to have everything I wanted right when I wanted it. It's a blessing that things don't work that way, or we would throw away those things shortly after their genie-lamp-wish style appearance. It takes time for anything worthwhile to come to pass. If you are working to become more fit, you will. Not next week or maybe not next month, but if you remain consistent and put in the work, the results will come to show. If you want to land your dream job upon college graduation, you might miss out on some important career foundations. If you do land your dream job upon college graduation, you aren't dreaming big enough. Everything good takes time, within yourself and outside of yourself. I like to say it like this: Think further ahead. Know that the decisions you make today are building the woman you'll be in 5 years, 10 years. Prepare to be her.
No one should be Forever 21. We cannot remain the same. The ways in which you express yourself will change. I stopped wearing pink years ago once I finally realized it didn't suit me. Being a girl doesn't mean you have to like pink. Please stop wearing denim skirts after 22. Your hobbies may change. I'm still baffled at my lack of obsession with music after years of living and breathing music, lyrics, voices, videos and everything related to the music industry. Now I listen to just a few select artists and the pure excitement I used to feel eludes me now. But there are other things that make me ecstatic. Your job or career goals will change. Music business turned to styling turned to branding turned to entrepreneurship and self-development writing for me. There's a common thread of creative leadership in everything I do, but there is evolution. Your friends will change. Not all of them will once you have some truly amazing friends, but many of them. Let the wheel turn. Let things go. Let new things in. It's evolving that has slowly brought these changes into action in my life.
My self-development workshops guide you to examine specific categories of your life, take your temperature, determine what rules you want to play by, define what your goals are and plan how to reach them. Contact me if you'd like more info!
What's one major change you've made in your life over the last 5 or 10 years? Share your own life lessons in the comments below!