2017 was a year of adventure, spontaneity, professional and personal growth, and “oh-shit” moments.
I called out fitness celebrities. I wrote 37 articles on soccer performance training. I got 8 chin ups as a new PR. I wrote my 300th blog post. I grew 1/2 an inch. And I got married to 0 people.
Now that I’m 28, I’m beginning to feel solace in myself, unconditional love for the people around me, and peace and surrender in the Universe’s plan. So yeah. Getting older is awesome. And even when I’m 30, 40, or 50, never will I utter the phrase, “Wait ’til you’re my age.”
It paints a negative picture aging and ignores the magic of gaining wisdom and evolving as a human.
With that said, I’m excited to be late into my 20s and thrilled I’m almost 30. Who I was YEARS ago, was certainly not as exciting and colorful and dynamic as I am now.
So cheers to a new age, new growth, and a new year.
Here are 17 lessons I learned in 2017. Enjoy.
1.) Make health a priority.
Not to come off as a braggart, but I’ve received more compliments on my skin, body, and radiance at age 28 than when I was 18. And I credit this all to making my health a priority.
Eating well, consuming less alcohol, and exercising consistently has gone a long way in slowing the aging process and boosting my energy, mood, and confidence. Gone are the reckless college days of drinking a fifth of vodka to the face and eating 24-hour Subway at 5am. I’ll happily substitute those days for training for strength, reading books, and going snowboarding with friends.
2.) Do exercise that you enjoy.
I’ve said this repeatedly: doing exercise that you enjoy is the secret recipe for long-term adherence.
Too often, I’ve heard clients tell me they trudge along on the elliptical even though they hate it. How about cardio that you like? Newsflash: it burns fat too. And it’s sustainable.
Never will I step foot on a treadmill again. But I will strap myself onto a snowboard.
3.) You don’t need to fit in.
It’s okay to be weird, eccentric, different, outlandish.
Because more often than not, these are the EXACT traits that make you a badass.
4.) Read this mind fuck of a tweet:
Sure, we all want to “fit in” but if that becomes the main priority when formulating friendships, are they really that genuine and fulfilling? Do you have to prove to your friends how smart you are, how successful you are, how much money you make, what your job title is, or how much you know about shit? That’s unfortunate.
Drop the ego and foster connections where you can be your authentic self and live in your heart space.
5.) Speaking of fitting in…
Have you read Brene Brown’s new book Braving the Wilderness?
The main message: have the courage to stand alone and lean into uncertainty. It’s a stellar book if you suffer from the need to constantly fit in and prove yourself.
6.) Forgive people.
Human beings will fail you. Your best friend will forget your birthday. Your boyfriend will piss you off. Your colleague will forget to send an email. Your wife will not make you sandwich.
The more we can accept people’s mistakes and see the human part of them, the less we will hold onto resentment and pain.
7.) Athletic stance is everything.
The athletic stance or “power position” or “hip hinge” is the #1 thing athletes should learn right off the bat.
It allows us to own movements like the deadlift. It allows us to change direction quicker. It allows us to perform power exercises like jumps and Olympic lifts.
I wrote an extensive article on this here.
8.) Core stability training does not need to be boring.
Bird dogs, planks, dead bugs…most athletes roll their eyes when they hear me say they’re on the workout menu.
Yes, these have their time and place to help beginners, but it’s possible to up the ante on the most basic core stability exercises. Here is an article I wrote on the topic.
9.) Make time to see your loved ones.
2017 was the year of reunions. After seeing two of my best girlfriends I hadn’t seen in 3 years, I awakened to the importance of making time to see my loved ones. Friendship is certainly something I value in the grand scheme of life.
Yes, work, stress, and other factors get in the way, but there is ALWAYS time to see people. I truly believe we are on planet Earth to connect, love, and share space with others. My friends tell me I’m a badass at reaching out and staying in touch with people, and I truly pride myself in this.
Maybe I’m not as recluse and introverted as I thought. ;-O
10.) Alert to new strength coaches: don’t expect to make a lot of money.
This isn’t a profession tantamount to Wolf On Wall Street. You won’t own a yacht. You won’t get the new iPhone X without a huge hit to your bank account. You won’t get paid time off when you start out.
You’re in this career to help others, which brings me to…
11.) Get into the coaching and training because you love what you do.
Almost 6 years into my career, and I’ve spent more money on bettering my craft through conferences, graduate degrees, coaching licenses, and experience-based projects, than what I’ve actually brought in.
To that end, coaching isn’t about making thousands. It’s about mastering your craft and helping to build athletes. End of story.
12.) Find out your “why.”
If you’re passionate about coaching and training, ask yourself “why?” Does it make you want to take over the world? Do you want to influence someone’s life for the better? Did you suffer a devastating injury yourself and want to help heal others?
Once you know the answer to this, you’re able to serve others better and be reminded of your purpose even on your most trying days.
13.) Leading by example is the best way to inspire change in others.
This much I know: you can’t tell others what to do. Sure, I can preach health living and strength training for soccer on this blog, but people will not follow suit unless I’m a living example, both with myself and my clients.
14.) My female friends are still the most enlightened, baddest chicks around.
As a 28 year old woman, it’s hard to meet enlightened women, especially ones who challenge me to level up emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
To that end, I’m grateful to have the women in the life that I do – from entrepreneurs, to fitness professionals, to moms and business owners, to accountants, to nurses, to wholehearted beings.
All of them inspire me to be better and I plan to keep them around for a lifetime. Choose your friends wisely. You’re the sum of the 5 people you spend your most time with.
15.) Soccer players need upper body strength.
I would argue that they need it as much as lower body strength, if not more.
Upper body strength = improved posture, stronger core, better running mechanics, and increased confidence.
16.) Writing tip: drink coffee and wing it.
17.) Be grateful.
There’s a lot to be mad about, but there’s a lot more to be happy about. And I get we’re human and have stress and bills and obligations and health issues and rent and oil changes to take care of daily.
Can you list 10 things you’re grateful for that will shift the mood of your day to positivity and awareness? Absolutely.
Each morning, I wake up and list what I’m grateful for – breakfast, coffee, healthy family and friends, amazing clients/athletes, etc.
And each night, I reflect on the awesome things that happened throughout my day – a client making a soccer team, a colleague helping me out, an old friend reaching out, or being able to breathe. Talk about game changers.
So be thankful.
It does wonders.