What I Learned in 2017: Reflecting and Making Positive Change in 2018

2018 can be your year – no matter what happened in 2017. At first I thought 2017 was a failure, till I realized all the growth it brought me.

 

Reflecting on 2017 it was a beautiful year.

 

At first, I didn’t think so. It was so full of hardships and growing pains. 2016 was a year so full of success and accomplishment, self growth through achievement and reaching new levels. At first, I thought 2017 didn’t measure up to the year I had before. To be honest with you I kind of thought 2017 was a failure for me. Not that I should compare, but that was what I thought.

Bikini Competition
Bikini Competition, Provincially Qualified – London, Ontario, Canada. May 2016

In 2016 I got my drivers license, which may not be a huge deal for you but as someone who had retinoblastoma and was always told they would never drive – that’s a big deal. I competed in my first bikini competition and qualified at a provincial level – also huge. I moved to a new city, made new friends, started my career in the health and fitness industry as Personal Trainer. I got into the best shape of my life, travelled, earned confidence I never thought I would have. There was so much growth and positive encouragement from the universe in 2016. I was unstoppable.

2017 didn’t compare. I Graduated University without debt, but learned the hardships of money anyway. I tried to go to provincials to compete in bikini, but my body rejected it. The drivers licence I got? Well the iritis (an eye condition effecting the iris) I had just a few weeks ago made me think twice about driving. I found myself depressed, feeling I was on the wrong path, missing something.

I could go on. I could rant. I spent the last month of this year at home unable to work, realizing I had been living with a disability, as if it was the first time I was hearing this. It seemed every positive was balanced with a negative, or completely thrown off it’s tilt.

 

Poor me right? That’s how I felt. I sound mad, don’t I? And I WAS. I was angry. 2016 I was calculated. I worked hard, tracked everything, planned, AND IT PAID OFF. I applied the same approach to 2017, and what did I get? Whatever intentions I set out to the universe came flying right back at me like a boomerang, hitting me smack in the face every time.

I could have written the book – Counter Balance of the Universe: How Getting What You Want Isn’t Nearly As Powerful As Having It Taken Away.

I could go on. I won’t. But I hope you get the point.

 

Learning Lessons

 

With all that resentment. All the negative energy. All the growing pains and frustration. Why did I love 2017?

Because I actually learned lessons this year, and it wasn’t that “hard work pays off.”

No. I learned real things this year. Not the fairy tale lessons with the happy ending.

I learned that things can be taken away. Nothing is permanent. You do not always get what you want. Hard work does not always pay off. People say no. People leave. You can cry, try to turn it around, do everything in your God Damn power to make it better – and it still won’t happen for you.

I am learning about life’s process. Things take time. Finding inner peace. Patience with myself. Imperfection’s perfection. Learning about things that do not have a direct “result,” or a quantifiable success rate.

For example, I became immersed meditation. It’s the perfect example of all this. Success isn’t being able to meditate for 30 minutes, there isn’t a high score, you get no award for doing it. Yet it is so rewarding. Nobody can tell you you’re doing it wrong. Much of life is like this.

I didn’t find God or anything crazy this year. I didn’t even find myself – which I thought was something I should do, but quickly learned wasn’t something you achieve over night.

Yoga Outdoors
Yoga – Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Fall 2017

Importantly, I learned not to calculate, quantify, or compare. Even if it’s just with myself. I’ve counted calories, measured my heart rate, recorded my workouts, counted steps, money spent and earned, planned to the minute… all that shit. But you know what? It doesn’t matter.

It’s like physics. We understand it, we know it exists, we can calculate it and make projections with it. But to the people who understand it – do you calculate every moment in life? No. I bet you just walk around through life moving and don’t think twice about the speed, angle, heat, or structural integrity of whatever.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Just because life is calculated perfectly in ways we still don’t understand – it doesn’t mean we should try to figure it out, and calculate our way to happiness.

We CAN calculate our goals and get a specific outcome. It has it’s time and place. It’s not wrong! But that doesn’t mean we need to track, record, plan, strategize, every moment we live.

 

Life is kind of perfect, but also very imperfect at the exact same time. I’m just trying to accept that.

 

So what am I trying to take away from all this?

Well, in the past few days I was thinking about my New Years Resolutions, goals, habits – it all required such calculation.

I want to get back to a weight I’m comfortable at so I’ll workout X hours a week, eat X calories.

I want to grow my business so I need to do X posts, plan X, do X.

I want to be a better person so I’m going to do XYZ.

And that’s all great, but it’s not what I’m looking for.

Instead, here are my intentions for 2018:

To practice non-attachment

To see the world

To impact others

To grow as an individual

To grow my business

To respect my body

To improve my physical capabilities

To be more present

To be positive

To write

To open up to others

To share my story

To practice abundance

To try new things

To forgive

To love

To breathe

Will I make a plan? Yes. Will I set goals? Of course.

But I’m not diving into the New Year head first expecting everything to change just because we’re marking an 8 on the date instead of a 7. We change the date every day, it’s not revolutionary, but it is special.

 

Make 2018 Yours

 

Set your intentions and goals for 2018 – I think it’s so important. Practice growth and opportunity.

But be patient with yourself. Try not to compare yourself. What makes one year better than the other, it’s not like that. One year is not better, they’re different. And if you do find yourself in a rut, comparing, even if it’s just with yourself, it’s ok.

Change your attitude when you’re setting intentions and goals. Forgive yourself if you fall off track a little. Don’t give up.

Instead of flipping the switch on New Years Day – no more sugar, no more alcohol, not more procrastination. Workout X, Eat X, Work X hours, **insert rules for 2018 here**

Think – How do I want to grow this year? What do I want to experience? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to be?

It’s open ended, sure. Set some projections and goals for yourself, numbers aren’t bad. But if you’re going to live 2018 by a code and run your life as one big To Do list – Good Luck. (Seriously, good luck and please email me how it goes, how you did it, etc.)

We see the end of 2018; the success, weight loss, growth, money – and we want it now. But we don’t get it now. We forget that 2018 is a process, goals take time, and you don’t get it January 1st just because you asked.

 

Beach Kauai, Hawaii, USA November, 2017
Beach – Kauai, Hawaii, USA November, 2017

To sum it up.

 

I won’t do it anymore. Expectations? Buh-Bye!!

I said way too many No’s to myself this year.

Too much I can’t.

I held myself back.

Clung to things I should have let go.

Gave up too easily on what wanted.

Tried too hard to achieve things that don’t truly matter to me.

 

 

 

 

Here’s the deal.

 

This last year was a very huge learning experience for me. Not all positive rainbows and stuff either. I hardly wrote, or anything to fill my own cup. When I tried, the cup spilled, or broke, or told me I owed it money. I had to be an adult. I thought I could just plan things, set goals, and things would just happen. They don’t. But I also learned that bad things are only bad if we let them be.

I want to show you what I mean, and maybe I an help you too. I am tired of being scared, nervous, holding myself back, thinking too hard, calculating everything. Seriously, the lack of respect and acknowledgement I showed for myself this year is crazy. I don’t regret it, but it happened.

There is so much to learn in this world, but never a right answer. You can follow society’s steps to success, plan your life, track your progress. Or you can quit your job, find God, do hallucinogenic drugs down south to find yourself. It doesn’t matter.

 

I wan to provide something concrete. Maybe that’s health and fitness knowledge, empowering you to be a better person, helping you lead a more fulfilling life. Or maybe it’s just giving you comfort in knowing I’ve had my fair share of meltdowns and have no idea what I’m doing.

 

So if you read through this whole thing THANK YOU.

You’re very special and I appreciate you ?

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