12 Things I Learned in 2016

2016 might be over, but I still found myself writing 2013 on my paper the other day. I’m clearly struggling to keep up with the times.

I know you’ve probably read a million posts with this same exact title already, but I still want to write mine. Personally, I love reading these kinds of posts. It’s so interesting and enlightening to see what others have been through in the past year and how it changed them. These posts are also a great source of inspo for new perspectives to take and new things to think about in the upcoming year. Maybe you didn’t learn something on this list this year, but maybe you want to explore it in 2017.

lot happened in 2016. A lot a lot. So much that I can hardly remember it all. What I do know, however, is that I learned more this year and grew more as a person than I ever have before. That’s very exciting. I think the point of life is to keep progressing as a person every single year. Never be stagnant.

Although I learned a lot of major lessons this year, I’m still learning them every single day. Maybe I’ll learn the exact same things again in 2017. Who knows? Of course, these are not the only lessons I learned in 2016. I’ve learned too much to write in one post, and we all know I already have a problem with writing too much, so I’m sticking with the first 12 that come to mind.

  1. My health comes first. Always. Mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Without my health, this life is no life at all. I have a new gratitude for what my body and my brain are able to do every single day. This year I had to set aside things I previously never imagined having to set aside for the sake of my health. I learned that at the end of the day, making a decision for my health is the most important thing I can ever do. This includes both the little and big decisions. It meant that instead of pulling an all-nighter to get through all of my notes and readings to study for my final, I went to sleep instead. It meant that instead of working out, I sat on my bed and meditated. It meant that instead of going out with friends, I stayed at home to rest (although let’s be real…I like being a grandma, anyways.) It meant that instead of pushing through college and forcing myself to endure the stress, I took a quarter off to focus on visiting doctors and getting tests run. It meant choosing doctor appointments over social outings and events. It meant spending my first Thanksgiving without my family so that I could, in the end, minimize my stress levels. I’ve always been the type of person who just follows the plan, no matter what. Sick? Push through it. Tired? Drink caffeine and keep going. This year, I learned that pushing my health to its limits for the sake of sticking to the plan is not okay. My health comes first, no matter what.
  2. Don’t put effort into a relationship if the other person is not reciprocating. I have done this with so many relationship for so many years. Honestly, the majority of the relationships in my life prior to this year felt very one-sided. I don’t like to give up on friendships. Instead, I convince myself that if I just try harder, the other person will eventually come around. This year, I finally realized that’s not always true. I feel incredibly guilty when I stop putting effort into things, but now I’m realizing that I can’t waste energy on somebody who is not going to invest their energy into me as well. I want my friends to be as invested in me as I am in them. Period. I lost a few very close relationships this year because of this principle, but I am so much happier because of it. I felt a huge sense of a relief, and I was finally able to dedicate more time to the relationships that deserved it, like my close friends who care about me like their own family, as well as give more time to myself. A guilty conscience can bite you in the butt sometimes, and in the end it’s always important to do what’s best for you. You deserve the same amount of love and respect that you show to others. Always.
  3. Being skinny is not the same as being healthy. And being skinny is not the goal. 2016 taught me to see weight in a completely different light than I used to. Before I really understood health, I used to equate healthy with skinny. Now, I realize that’s not the case at all. People who are extremely skinny are often very unhealthy. From experience, I can tell you that the times when I was at my lowest weight were the times when I felt worse than ever before. I had no energy, I was freezing, I was in pain, I had brain fog…the list goes on. I had to gain weight to gain my health back, and putting on weight gave me an inexplicable sense of freedom. Sadly, it took a near-death experience for me to realize that I truly don’t give a shit about being “skinny.” I want to be healthy, no matter what weight correlates with that. I’ve gained almost 40 pounds in the last year, and I’m still trying to gain more. Learning this lesson is one of the things I’m most proud of, because we live in a world that really does glorify the wrong things. True health is wealth.
  4. If you want to do something, just do it. Stop waiting around. For most of my life, I held myself back from pursuing my creative ideas because I was scared. I’m still not totally sure of what. I would overthink everything, though, and think about all the ways it could go wrong. I would think that I shouldn’t do it because someone else could do it better. I was worried that I might fail and waste money and time, so what would be the point? Sometimes I was nervous that people would judge me. Sometimes I literally didn’t pursue things because I was scared someone would copy me after I did them. Thinking about it now, that doesn’t even make sense. I didn’t want someone to steal my idea, so I thought it was better to keep it to myself until I could execute it perfectly, when I had “more time.” I was always waiting for the right time. This year, I finally decided to just do it. I realized I was sick of waiting around for my life to start or for things to change. There is no right time. You have to make changes to see changes. You have to just go for it. Launch it. Adjust as you go. But if you wait around, then it might be too late. Launching the Actually Adultish podcast was one of the things I decided to go for, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I’m so proud of the podcast, and I absolutely love creating it. I can’t tell you how many people told me it was a waste of time and that no one would listen to it. I didn’t care, and I did it anyways. Guess what? They were wrong. 🙂
  5. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. This goes hand in hand with #4, but it’s definitely a principle I have learned to live by. First and foremost, it’s what I pride myself on when it comes to my blog. Addicted to Lovely is a place where I put myself out there completely. I do the same on social media and on the podcast. I spent a long time just writing surface-level posts, and that made me not want to post very often at all. As soon as I said, Screw it, I’m just gonna put myself out there, I felt so much better. My content finally felt worthwhile. We don’t need more fluff on the Internet. I started to really connect with people, and I learned that I wasn’t alone in how I felt or what I went through. Similarly, I learned that I could be a source of support for others, and vice versa. People might think I put too much on the Internet, but I really could care less. I want to talk about things most other people don’t want to talk about. I want to help others feel less alone. I want to end the health lies. I’m tired of everyone hiding behind topics that don’t really matter. Realness. That’s the gold. Taking it a step back, I learned to put myself out there in smaller ways, socially. Don’t be afraid to message someone, email them, or go up to them and talk to them. If you have a question for someone, just ask! If you think someone is interesting, just tell them! Stop worrying about what anyone else will think. The worst thing that could ever happen is a no, and at the end of the day, who cares if you get one?
  6. Don’t give up on finding your tribe. I’ve pretty much been a lone wolf for as long as I can remember. I like to be alone, but I also have always felt like I just don’t connect well with other people. I never had the same interests as the people around me. I didn’t want to talk about or do the same things as the people who surrounded me. I like health, beauty, sitting at home and being a grandma, baking, eating, watching movies all day long, Disneyland….all of that. In college, I always felt like an outsider, which is why I turned to the Internet to find a community. Honestly, I had given up on finding my “people.” I felt like if I couldn’t find them by now, then I probably wouldn’t ever. I was so wrong. I have met so many incredible humans this year who have truly changed my life. I met my best friends. I never thought that I would finally meet my college “group” in my last year, but I’m so glad I did. Similarly, I never could’ve imagined how many close friends I have made through blogging and Instagram. I’m much closer to these people than almost everyone else, and I finally found people who truly understand me. My point is, don’t give up. If you’re feeling alone, you will find your tribe. Even if it takes longer than you expected.
  7. It’s okay to ask for help. I’m sure I will forever be learning this lesson over and over again. I have always hated asking for help. I like to do everything myself. I like to be independent, and I don’t trust other people to do things the way I want them done. This year I finally realized that sometimes I do need help, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for it. Instead, I’ve found that the more help I ask for, the more opportunities I have to learn from other people. Sure, sometimes it doesn’t always work out, but you can recover. At the end of the day, I can’t be everyone at once. I can’t do everything at once. I can’t help everyone else at once. I can’t know everything there is to know. I’ve always liked to be the helper, but never the helped. This year, I discovered that it’s more than okay for me to get help sometimes, too. We all deserve a little help.
  8. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. The fact that I love to help others and have an annoyingly strong work ethic, sense of compassion, and guilty conscience has led me into some trouble. To be specific, I was definitely taken advantage of this year by a few people. In most cases, I allowed it to happen because I thought I was powerless. I felt like I couldn’t say no. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. F THAT. When I finally realized that I was taken advantage of, it was much too late in the game. Although I can’t change it, I can certainly learn from it. I’ve vowed to myself to be wary of people trying to take advantage of me. If I ever find myself in a situation where I feel like someone is using me, I’m getting out of that situation, no matter what that means. I don’t care if I lose a connection or some other kind of opportunity. I am valuable, and my time is worth something. I deserve to be appreciated, just like everyone else does.
  9. Give people a second chance. Ask anyone who grew up with me… I’ve never been one to give second chances. I’ve always been a one and done kinda girl. Sounds harsh, but that’s just the way I always approached things. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. This year, I learned to give people second chances, and it ended up being really rewarding in the end. Sometimes that meant that I had to change my expectations of people, but sometimes it just meant that I was flat out wrong about things. My change in mindset has allowed me to find new friends, reconnect with old ones, and repair other relationships in my life that were previously broken. Now, I truly cannot imagine my life without some of these relationships. It’s easy to make judgments and write people off, but it’s not always smart to do so. Does this mean that I’m willing to give every single person a second chance? No, definitely not. Some things warrant an end to a relationship or opportunity. However, I have learned to really evaluate every situation individually and not to be so quick to write someone or something off.
  10. Even if you feel like no one has your back, someone does. Don’t give up on yourself. I wrote about this in my post about support, but you really cannot give up even when you feel like no one around you is supporting you. Even if you feel like they are actively doing things to try to push you down, do not give up. First of all, people might have your back without you even realizing it. This is something I learned in a big way this year. For example, after being disappointed when family and friends didn’t support me when it came to my plans for the future and the projects I am currently working on, I happened to discover that many people who were either acquaintances or people I’ve never even met were showing me a lot of support. I was so blinded by the people right in front of me that I didn’t push to see beyond them. More than that, though, I learned more than ever before to be my own biggest supporter. During my health crisis, I felt extremely alone, and I realized that if I wanted to get through it I was going to have to feel supported. The problem was, I felt like there was no one I could really lean on. I saw my choices as the following: A) stop fighting and leave it up to chance to see if I made it through, or B) buck up, be my own biggest supporter, and learn to only need my own strength. B it was, and B taught me a lot about myself. Even when everyone around you is telling you no, tell yourself yes.
  11. Authenticity is everything. The longer I’m a part of the blogosphere, the more I come to understand how many people are not being authentic. I made an entire podcast episode about Instagram lies, which you should listen to if you haven’t already. (But don’t listen if you don’t like curse words.) Unfortunately, this fact broke my heart multiple times when I discovered that people I truly admired were being fake in some way. People promote things they would never use, they lie about where they are, they pretend to eat food but don’t, they lie about workout routines, they publish things that they themselves did not create, and so on. The truth hurts, but it only further inspired me to stay as authentic and true to myself as I can. Hold me accountable to this. At the end of the day, I’m not going to do something just for popularity or money. If that means less people pay attention to me and I don’t make a dime, I really could care less. Integrity is everything. I have to believe and hope that in the end, people will figure out who is authentic and who is not. In the meantime, Ima do me.
  12. I figured out what I want to do with my life… My experiences in the healthcare system, my struggles with my own health, and hearing other people’s stories made me finally realize what I am most passionate about. I want to help other people heal through food. That’s what I believe in. I could practically write a book about this topic, but I’m so excited to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and help as many people heal through food and lifestyle choices as I can. I want to give people real health information and end the lies. I want to support people and help them become their happiest, healthiest selves, corny as it sounds. I have zero doubt this is what I’m meant to do. So I’m doing it.

It’s crazy how much has happened in the last year, and I am beyond grateful for every lesson I have learned. More than that, I’m excited for what I will continue to learn in the future. What was the most important lesson you learned in 2016? Please share!

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