#11: Be yourself. This seems pretty straight forward but I’ve seen people change they way they talk or act when they’re with others. It’s extremely frustrating when dealing with someone with a double-sided personality. The best thing to do for personal growth and life enjoyment is to just be yourself. If someone doesn’t like who you are then so be it. And if you don’t like how someone else is behaving or treating you, you have no reason to feel ashamed to cut them out of your life. Cut out the negative people in your life and I guarantee your state of happiness will increase tenfold. When you cut out negative attitudes in your life you’ll find yourself drifting more towards people who are like-minded. These people are similar to yourself in work ethic, motivation levels, and approach to life. When you embrace your own individual personality you’ll be happier and more truthful to those around you. Don’t hide who you are because most likely you’re limiting your friendships and relationships with others. Be yourself – you have nothing to lose!
#12: Trail running is my favorite: I think I’ve known this for awhile but this year I’ve become even more appreciative of the trails. There’s something about being outside, breathing in fresh clean air, and getting lost in the woods that is mentally refreshing. I’ve found it easy to lose myself while trail running. I’m not sure what I’m thinking about during a trail run but when I’m done running I feel instantly less stressed and less anxious. Perhaps I’ve become more appreciative of the trails this year because at college 90% of my runs were on the roads. There’s something special about the dirt shifting beneath your running shoes and leaping over roots and fallen trees. I may not be a strong climber (and several of my trail running companions will probably agree with that) but I just love being outside surrounded by trees. Here’s to hoping both me and whomever if reading this blog right now will find new trails in 2016 and that we’ll follow the trail where ever it might lead us.
#13: I don’t like gambling. This year I turned 21. For my 21st birthday, I opted to visit Atlantic City’s casinos. The appeal of possibly winning money seemed great! Two of my guy friends and, unstereotypically, my parents came to AC with me to celebrate. After dinner and some wine, we went to Tropicana to play the slots. (I know nothing about table etiquette in casinos so we avoided the tables). I didn’t win any money that night – I walked out with less money than I walked in with. Granted, I don’t like spending money anyways so I really didn’t even lose that much money, but I was still unhappy that the casino “stole” my money. That’s when I knew I would never have a gambling problem. My brother and I also visited family in California this summer and one night we decided to go to a casino. My brother is only 18 but we went to a casino on an indian reservation where the legal gambling age is indeed 18. I don’t even think I spent any money that night because I knew that I would probably walk out with less money than I went in with. On the other hand, I think my brother gambled $5 and walked out with like $30. Just my luck. He gambles for the first time in his life, at age 18, and instantly earns money. This was the second occasion where I realized I would never have a gambling problem. Casinos and betting of any sort does not appeal to me. I can at least say I went to a casino to celebrate being 21 but I probably won’t be returning to the slots any time soon.
#14: Make new friends and keep good friends: This year, with so many new adventures, I got to meet a lot of new (and awesome) people. A lot of new friends came from the running community. As I’ve mentioned before, people from the running community instantly earn my stamp of approval because 99% of runners have the same work ethic and approach to life. Runners are also extremely easy to get along with. (That’s why I swear if I ever get married, I’ll probably be marrying a runner.) There’s some special bond that runners instantly share whether you’ve ran with them once or twice or countless amounts of time. I probably sound like a broken record, but I am extremely grateful for all my friends who I’ve met through running – you all have a special place in my life and I look forward to the miles that lie ahead of us. Likewise, I’ve come to learn this year to keep my good friends. These are the people that look out for each other, give you advice when you need it, and check up on you at random. These are the people that made this year survivable because without them I would probably be mentally lost. These are the people that I was excited to share good news with. There comes a time in your life when friends you thought would be by your side for eternity are no longer there for you. Or maybe these people were poor influences on your behaviors and actions. It’s ok to say goodbye to these people. You deserve the best life possible – after all, you only get one lifetime. I’ll say it over and over again, I’m the kind of person that would rather have four quarters than 100 pennies. Choose your friends wisely.
#15: Be a goal-setter and a goal-achiever: Thanks to my Believe journal (which I encourage all (female) runners to buy), I set and achieved all the goals I established for 2015. I had a life-changing year of running that will be hard to beat in 2016. After running the Broad Street 10 Miler, completing 73 miles on the Appalachian Trail in three days, and completing my first marathon in under 4 hours, I realize the importance of goal-setting. It’s easy to say “oh I want to run a 10 mile race” or “I want to go on a hike this summer” or “I want to run a marathon one day”. By writing it down, making a plan, and then actually doing it you’ll feel an irreplaceable sense of accomplishment the day you reach your goal. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into achieving a goal but it’s the feeling of accomplishment that occurs in the days following a completed goal that make you realize how powerful goal-setting is. A lot of people will start 2016 with New Year’s resolutions (me included), but by writing it down and putting it somewhere where you see it every day you’ll having a greater chance of sticking to that resolution. Find someone to hold you accountable for your actions (or lack there of). Find a new workout buddy or drag your family members into your goal to keep you in check. And it’s equally important to remember that you can be flexible with your goals. If an injury comes along, you can alter your goals and then come back to your ultimate goal when you recover. Set goals. Work towards your goal. And achieve your goal. Let’s make 2016 another great year of goal setting and achieving!
I hope you learned a lot about yourself and your life this year. Don’t lose sight of your dreams and aspirations. Love your friends and family and, most importantly, yourself.
Wishing you a very happy new year with many blessings and good health in 2016.