27 lessons from 27 years
1. SHARING YOUR STORY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO
Why is this my first big takeaway? Because this was arguably the greatest lesson I've had this year.
The first time I shared a tiny slice of my story, I was terrified. I was sharing something SO vulnerable, and I was scared that I would be judged. That people wouldn't understand.
But what I found on the other side was the complete opposite -- I found relief. I found community. I found common ground. I found gratitude.
By having the courage to share my heart, I gave space for others to do the same. To say "me too". And to realize that they are not alone in the journey.
My journey to believing I'm enough? To embracing my body the way it is? To breaking free of my binge eating and orthorexia? It's because another woman had the courage to share her story.
So share your story. Share the mess. The fears. The doubts. The insecurities. (and check out this podcast episode for more on this!)
You never know who's life you could change.
2. EMBRACE YOUR GOOF
Something I was really struggling.
But uh...newsflash Amanda. Just because you aren't a kid anymore doesn't mean you can't have PLAY in your life.
It's so funny the stories we tell ourselves -- and 2017 was the year of me breaking free of that story and embracing the quirky, goofy, playful aspects of who I am.
Dance parties, weird AF noises, bear hugs & baby grandma nights with cuddle and tickle fights with the hubs are officially happening on the daily now, and it makes me so dang happy.
3. WHAT YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS
Are you always complaining, frustrated about this that and the other and overall a negative nancy? Or do you do your best to show up every single day with positivity?
I'm all for acknowledging that sometimes, life sucks. But I for one don't want to live in a world that sucks all the freaking time. So I focus on the things that light me up. And I encourage you to do the same. It's a way better way to live.
4. MESSY AND DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
I stood in my own way for so long because I was so worried about something being perfect. I would overthink it and end up not getting anywhere ... My instagram captions. My accountability groups. My podcast. My blog posts for god's sake!
But when I adopted the fail forward approach, I realized there was so much beauty in the mess. In figuring it out as you go. And just freaking getting started already.
Don't let your dreams pass you by because you're worried you won't be perfect at something right away. Guess what? You won't be. And that's OK. You'll learn. You'll grow. And you'll take action on your dreams in the process.
5. SO MANY THINGS THAT FEEL WRONG IN YOUR BODY ARE LARGELY LINKED TO THE FOODS YOU'RE EATING
I've known this for years -- processed foods and sugar? Acne, IBS and lethargy inducing. But I had a major aha moment this past year that I never expected.
My entire life, I've majorly struggled with eczema. There was a point in college where it got so bad that my hands were literally pussing and cracking -- I know, gross. And painful. And I had SO much shame around it.
It's been an endless battle of dermatologists, creams, eliminating dairy -- ALL THE THINGS and nothing worked until this summer when I completed a program workout program that had a grain free meal plan and for 2 months. And guess what happened for the first time in my life?
My eczema went away.
And when I went to reintroduce grains (largely gluten) into my diet, it came back in full force.
The past 6 months, I've been playing around with eating grains and completely eliminating gluten from my daily eats and I am SO thrilled to say that it has been gone for 3 months and counting.
It's amazing how food can impact you in so many ways below the surface.
6. I'M MY HEALTHIEST AND HAPPIEST ON A STRUCTURED MEAL PLAN AND EXERCISE PROGRAM
My type A competitive nature loves the structure. The not having to “think” about which workout to rock or what I need to eat when.
As a recovering binge eater (I say recovering ‘cause while I haven’t had a binge in a year and a half, I don’t think we ever fully recover from disordered eating), I tried the whole “intuitive eating” approach, and I intuitively ATE MY FEELINGS.
It’s TOUGH to get to a place with our bodies where we can actually trust that the signals it’s giving us are true signals from our bodies, and not just false paths from the preservatives/sugar/whatever the fuck in our foods.
And while I truly do feel that I’ve gotten there, for me, structure & planning is what helps FUEL me best & keeps me feeling STRONG.
7. THE SHINY PENNIES ARE JUST SHINY PENNIES
I used to be the straight A teachers pet in school. The shiny penny of an A, 1st place trophy at a volleyball meet or positive recognition was was I worked my butt off for because I thought that those things validated my worth.
And while I totally believe in working for your goals, I also know that those shinny pennies? They don't represent your worth.
Be grateful for the little things, follow your heart & your dreams, do the work and if the shiny pennies come? Embrace them. And when they don't, celebrate the life you ARE leading.
8. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT ALLOW YOU TO RISE UP INTO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL
When you look at the people around you, do they drag you down and bring more negativity to your life? Or do they constantly empower you to raise your vibe?
You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose wisely, lady love.
9. LET IT BE EASY
The beginning of 2017, so many things happened that made me feel like life was hard. My husband unexpectedly quit his job and was unemployed for 6 months. We were dealing with some serious vet bills and my business was plateau-ing.
And I could focus on how hard everything was. And because I was focusing on how hard it was, guess what happened? More hard shit just kept piling up.
But the second I decided enough was enough and adopted the "let it be easy" mantra, the simplest shift of mindset changed everything. Things started falling into place -- my business took off, our credit cards got completely paid off and Kev found a job within a month.
It's amazing what happens when you simply shift where your energy goes. Try it, I dare ya.
10. HAVE A DREAM? IT'S UP TO YOU TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Stop waiting. Take messy action.
That job you've always wanted but been too scared to pursue? Find someone who's already doing it, talk to them and see if it really does resonate.
That trip you have always wanted to take? Look at your budget and put money aside so you can take it.
That podcast you wanna start? Stop just putting it on your bucket list and just freaking make it happen. *mission accomplished*
11. IT'S OK TO SAY NO
This one was HUGE for me because I am SUCH a people pleaser by nature. But I saw this quote a couple of years ago and it hit me hard: "By saying YES to something, you're saying no to something else."
Make sure the things you're saying yes to are a HELL YES, and that you're holding space for your best self every day.
12. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SPECIAL. YOU JUST HAVE TO SHOW UP AND DO THE WORK.
I am just a normal girl with big ass dreams. And I used to think those people that had the amazing life? You know, the ones with all the travel adventures who actually LOVED their jobs and had amazing girlfriends/marriages/the works? I never thought I could have a life like that because I just didn't think I was special enough.
Turns out when you make a decision to go for it, show up every damn day and do the work, you can create whatever life you crave. So do the damn thing. And never settle for less than the life you want.
13. JUST FREAKING DO IT
It can be SO easy to claim you wanna do all the things (you know those bucket lists you’ve made a million times and never completed) and then years go by and you still haven’t done them.
There’s never going to be the “right time” so just freaking do the thing. Complete the workout program. Take the trip. Start that side hustle. Take the class.
You’ll be so glad you did.
14. GUT HEALTH IS QUEEN
If you can do one thing for your health, get your gut health on point. Making sure my microbiome is working at its peak (google that shit, it’s fascinating AF) has been such a game changer for my health.
Pro tip? Any old pro and pre biotic is not gonna cut it (most of them aren’t made to pass through our stomach acid and actually GET to the small intestine to do WERK) and kombucha? Don’t get me wrong, I freaking love that shit but same goes for that (and most kombucha brands are crazy high in sugar). So do your research // and message me if you want my fave go to that’s helped me heal my gut!
Life is never going to go according to plan
Going into my 26th year, I expected a lot to happen and to be honest? Very few of those things actually did.
And the old me would have viewed that as a total failure, but today, I see it a little differently and I wanna empower you to do the same.
Instead of looking back at all the things you didn’t accomplish, make a list of all of the things you DID.
Here are a few of mine that were not on my radar at the beginning of my 26th birthday:
- Launch a freaking podcast
- A year of absolutely no binges
- Support our family on my income alone for 4 months
- Hosted my first wellness workshop
15. I'M OFFICIALLY A BABY GRANDMA
It’s real. I would take a night at home snuggling with my pup Toby, drinking a cup of tea, journaling, reading and an Epsom salts bath and being in bed by 9:30 PM any day of the week.
16. RELATIONSHIPS TAKE WORK
This is something I’ve intimately known for a few years now but this year has been really interesting when it comes to my close relationships.
I used to spread myself so thin with the people in my life because I wanted to be the BEST friend I could possibly be (I’m a perma people pleaser by nature) and in the process of doing that all, I stopped taking care of myself.
The past 2 years have been a journey of self discovery and learning what actually putting myself first looks like. You’ve gotta work on YOUR self care (aka your relationship with YO SELF) and then you can pour into a few people in your life with INTENTION (aka WERK into relationships with your soulmate humans).
And that’s what I’ve aimed to do this past year and it’s been a HUGE game changer. And such a beautiful reminder that any relationship (romantic, friendship, with yourself) takes WORK but it’s so freaking worth it if you show up for it.
I’m FAR from perfect with all of this but it’s something I’m actively working on every dang day.
14. I'M MORE OF AN INTROVERT THAN I THOUGHT
According to my Meyers Briggs (ENFJ) I am definitely an extrovert at heart, but I've been finding that my recharge me time has been more and more necessary for my wellbeing.
15. DO THE SHIT THAT SCARES YOU
Take that class. Sing in front of strangers. Speak in public. Swim under a waterfall. Skydive.
Feel the fear and do it anyways. That's how you grow. That's how you LIVE.
16. COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING
You know that saying "Find Your Tribe, Love them Hard"?
Well, there's a reason it's in the universe because it is SO key. Because the second you surround yourself with women who are just like you -- who you don't have to explain yourself to because they get it -- who will dance with you in the aisles of a conference centre because that's just how you do -- who you can spend HOURS laughing with -- gals who RAISE YOU UP and constantly inspire you to be the BEST & BRIGHTEST version of you?
There is nothing better in this world.
17. GRATITUDE IS THE BEST SELF CARE TOOL
Obviously I'm a huge self care nut. Just take a peek at this post all about it. But my one go-to tool that can always turn any shitty day around is my gratitude practice.
Whether you wake up and start your day with writing down 3 things you're grateful for or catch yourself having a frustrating moment and shifting your thoughts to something you're grateful for, it can be such a powerful tool and one I use on the reg.
18. YOU DON'T NEED SIX PACK ABS TO BE BEAUTIFUL
I'm never going to be the girl with 6 pack abs, and I'm A OK with that. 👌🏻
I used to think I needed to have a magazine cover Barbie body to be beautiful. That 6 pack abs meant SUCCESS.
But I say EFF THAT.
Those magazine covers? Most of them eat nothing but kale and have hours of time in their day that they dedicate to working out.
The way I see it, as a woman I have 2 choices:
1. Accept my body as is (STRONG, CAPABLE and FIERCE AF -- rolls, stretch marks and all) and workout and eat well because it makes me into the happiest & healthiest version of me
2. Go on crazy diets and workout for hours every day in order to "fix" a body that isn't broken, just for some ridiculous notion that having six pack abs means being sexy and enough.
I chose the later for too many goddamn years. Don't make the same mistakes I did, babe. You are worth more than that
19. EMBRACE THE JOURNEY
If there's one thing I've learned in my journey to healthy living, it's that it's just that, a JOURNEY.
Be gentle with yourself.
Remember that the "all or nothing" way of living doesn't work.
And that just because you aren't SEEING the results you want today, doesn't mean you aren't on the path to achieving them.
Keep doing YOU.
And I promise you, JOY will follow
20. VULNERABILITY IS BEAUTIFUL. EMBRACE IT. IT'LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
If you're not familiar with Brene Browns work on vulnerability, do yourself a favor and google her ted talk. Familiarizing myself with her work has been such a game changer for me and is a huge part of what helped me build up the courage to share this.
Vulnerability is a beautiful thing and it's what makes us HUMAN. Embrace it, don't run from it.
21. MARRIAGE SHOULDN'T CHANGE A THING
I've been married for 4 years now and the first thing people always ask me is "what's different about being married?" and I always say "nothing!"
I knew well before I got married to Kev that our relationships was a forever thing. He's my person. And while I'm so glad I married it, ultimately, the only thing marriage changed was that, legally, we are bound, and our finances are in the same bank account.
Have things changed in our relationship in the last 7 years of being together? Hell yes. WE have changed and grown in the last 7 years, so that's kind of a given. But we endlessly make it a point to grow together & communicate as we go.
22. MOTIVATION IS BS
Waiting to feel motivated to do your workout? Learn to cook? Go for that walk? Try that yoga class? It turns out, motivation is BS.
You are ONE decision away from a 100% different life.
A different job. A different relationship. A different life. A different outlook.
It may not feel that easy, but it IS. You literally have that power because YOU are in control of your life -- and as Mel so poignantly says: “If you change your decisions, you change everything.”
23. THE DIET CULTURE IS TOXIC AF
Obviously I'm all about that anti diet life -- I mean, my monthly challenges are called the Ditch the Diet challenge for gods sake -- but for 5 years of my life, I was alllll about that diet life.
Juice cleanses, food trends, calorie counting, crazy ass workouts that made my body wanna die -- I lived and breathed the dieting life -- and let me tell ya, it was not pretty and it took YEARS of work to undo all the damage I did.
Don't diet. Eat food that fuels you and makes you feel amazing. Do workouts that genuinely light you up (and that CAN mean it pushes you too). And if you don't know where to start, I'm always a message away.
24. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO REALLY GET TO KNOW YOURSELF
Something I neglected to do for so long was taking time every day to get to know myself -- dig deep, ask myself questions that really make me think about what I want out of life.
A fun place to start? Take your Meyers briggs or Eneagram test. And better yet, read and take action on some of these personal development books!
25. YOU BECOME THE SUM OF THE 5 PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH
You know that saying choose your friendships wisely? It's so freaking true.
I have had my fair share of failed friendships. As a perma people pleaser and an eternal optimist, all I ever wanted to do was to be there for the people in my life. And for a lot of years, that also meant that I allowed people to walk all over me (and attract friendships into my life that weren't super positive).
The past few years, I've really worked on fostering my friendships only with the people in my life that LIGHT ME UP and it's been a total game changer. I encourage you to do the same.
26. CELEBRATE THE LITTLE THINGS
It's so easy in life to celebrate the big wins, but what about the little things?
Every week in my Ditch the diet challenge, we celebrate our little wins and non scale victories, and I make an effort to do the same in my daily life. It's so easy to focus on the bad but when we put our energy and attention onto the good moments throughout the day, it becomes so much easier to see the magic.
27. BE YOURSELF UNAPOLOGETICALLY
The best you you can be is 100% yourself, unapologetically. If you're a weirdo dancer on the dancer, dance your face off. If you're a baby grandma and hate going to parties, don't go to the damn party. If your laugh is loud and weird AF, LAUGH YOUR FREAKING ASS OFF WITH CONFIDENCE.
Don't let anyone else dim your life. You are BEAUTIFUL just the way you are.