Accountability

My last post I talked about setting goals in a way that allows for the best chance for success.  Having a strategy when it comes to goals and little steppingstones along the way to the overall goal helps keep motivation high.  Knowing that each successful step you take and each mini goal you hit allows you to reach your overarching goal keeps your ‘eyes on the prize’.

What I didn’t mention in the last post was somedays that intrinsic motivation will be low and your desire to even knock off a mini goal could be at a 2 on a scale from 1-10.  That’s okay, because we are humans and not robots.  We don’t wake up every day and have the option to turn our motivation knob up to 10.  So many factors can play into why you just don’t have the motivation to get stuff done like you usually do, and this is when accountability steps in.  Yes, intrinsically motivated accountability is something we all should have when it comes to reaching our goals, but somedays you need a little bit more than your self-talk.  This is where having someone you know will tell you to get up and get whatever needs to be done, done (in the most supportive way possible) is super important.  Yeah sure I have heard the sayings.. “work hard in silence”… “let your success be the noise”… “not all hustle is out loud”… “be quiet about your plans” .. the list goes on.  There is some stock in those statements, one shouldn’t be boastful and put everything on display for the world to see, but you don’t have to keep your life a secret from those closest to you.  Find someone that will remind you to get the little things done and give you that extra push on the days you are dragging your feet.  You can also set reminders on your phone and alarms if you really want to make sure you get things done when they should be done.  But those are easy to ignore and snooze when no one else knows what should have been done.  It is a lot harder to look someone in the eyes (or through a screen due to our virtual living these days) and justify why you didn’t get something done, than it is to justify it to yourself.

I challenged you guys in my last post to create mini goals as checkpoints along the journey to your overall goal; I now challenge you to find an accountability partner(s) to help keep you on track, both on the good and not so good days.  It will be good for all parties involved.  You will be proud of yourself when you make your dream a reality and proud watching your partner(s) make their dreams a reality as well.  When you pick this person you are going to want someone who will be honest with you, this isn’t the time to recruit your friend who is always telling you what you want to hear.  This person should be driven as well, have goals they are working to achieve, and must believe in your ability to reach your goals and be unwilling to let you settle for anything less than you achieving them.

I understand that everyone may not have positive and motivated people surrounding them and pushing them to be their best selves; no worries because Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition offers a built-in accountability partner when you sign up for either nutrition or fitness or a combination coaching plan.  Your coach will design a program that is personalized to your goals and be there for you each week to make sure you are supported on your journey.  If this is what you are looking for reach out via email to paigedavis.wellness@gmail.com to learn more.

Relationships and Accountability - Jason Lauritsen

Goal Setting

Setting goals is fun, the work along the way can be not so fun at times.  Setting a goal is like signing up for a race.  You are super excited when you sign up and have this vision of what it will look and feel like when you cross that finish line; then you start the race.  The first bit isn’t so bad, all the good vibes you had when you singed up are still there and keeping you focused.  Then about halfway you start to get tired, people are passing you, and you can’t see that finish line anywhere.  Now you are tired and frustrated because the finish line is farther than you anticipated when you signed up and you didn’t think it would be this hard and you start wondering if you should just stop the race because no one will care whether you finish or not.   How does this analogy of signing up for a race relate to setting a goal you ask?  Think of it like this, most people set a goal when they are happy, have very little daily life stressors on their mind, and they are feeling super motivated.  And when they start working toward this goal the initial excitement one had when setting this goal is still present.  Then life gets in the way.  When you decide on a goal you are excited and motivated but then all the other life duties get in the way and bog you down.  A work project gets thrown in your lap, something comes up in your family, or better yet a pandemic happens.  You put your goal on pause or just toss it completely.  No one will know you say, it won’t matter if I don’t reach it, it was silly of me to make that a goal anyway, unrealistic.  NOPE!  If that is a goal of yours it isn’t silly and you know who will notice if you don’t reach it?  You will, and that is the only person you should be worried about impressing.

So, this is what you are going to do.  Write down your goal, and then bullet below it all the things that need to happen in order for that goal to be accomplished.  Next you are going to set a date for when you want the goal to be accomplished.  Because a goal without a date is just a wish.  Once the date is set, you look at the bulleted list and break the time between now and the date you set up into 4ths.  Put bullet items together if they are related and put them into one of the quarter time dates between now and your overall goal.  These are now your mini goal check points.  Each time you reach one it will serve as a reminder that you are one step closer to your overall goal and will be a rewarding feeling to cross it off the list.  You can even give yourself a list of things you want to do daily, weekly, and monthly as they help you take steps toward your overall goal.  Whatever works for you is what works.

My challenge for you all is to sit down right now and create your goal and the mini goals that are necessary along the way to ensure success.  And if any of those goals are fitness or nutrition related Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition is the place to be to help you reach those goals.  When you sign-up to work with Smarter Athlete your coach will design a program that is personalized to your goals and be there for you each week to make sure you are supported on your journey.  If this is what you are looking for reach out via email to paigedavis.wellness@gmail.com to learn more.

bigstock-Dream-Big-Set-Goals-Take-Actio-295821529-min.jpg

Let’s Talk About Alcohol

Picture1

I am going to assume that the title of this post is about to draw a good bit of people in, because who doesn’t love a good adult beverage??  I definitely enjoy a glass (or 3..) of wine, a nice cold beer, and a perfectly mixed cocktail; and there are times when enjoying these in moderation may not always occur(cue hangover).  The purpose of this post is to talk about alcohol and your goals.

To keep this as simple as possible I am going to talk about 3 possible goals someone may have. Goal #1 fat/weight loss, Goals #2 muscle building, Goal #3 top athletic/sport performance.  Now you may be reading these goals and be saying to yourself that these goals don’t apply to you.  Maybe these 3 aren’t your number one goal, but one of these 3 are very likely closely related to your main goal, which in most cases may be improved health and better relationship with food.  Whether these 3 goals directly or indirectly apply to you, please continue to read because you might just learn something or may know someone who would benefit from reading this.  So please stick with me.

Goal #1: Fat/weight Loss-

If your goal is to lose some fat and lower your weight alcohol can be a speed bump in this process.  All of those beverages advertised as “low carb” or “low calorie”, while on the nutrition label may show that there are less carbs than the comparable drink, the ABV content is not being considered.  Macronutrients are the foods we take in that supply a caloric value to our diets; and believe it or not alcohol is our 4th macronutrient.  Just so happens that alcohol supplies calories to our diets without supplying any nutrients, so the ultimate empty calorie item.  There are 7 calories/gram of alcohol consumed.  This does not mean carbs in the drink, but solely how much alcohol is in the beverage (enter ABV).  This means that when you are monitoring your calories while trying to lose weight and are accounting for the nutrition label calories you might be underestimating how many calories you are taking in per beverage.  Another pesky detail is that your body will place metabolizing alcohol in your system first and the food consumed during this time may not be metabolized fully and thus end up being stored as fat when there is excess.

Goal #2: Gain/build Muscle-

Two main issues when it comes to alcohol and muscle building is: 1. Alcohol dehydrates you and this directly impacts your muscles, 2. Alcohol messes with protein synthesis and thus inhibits muscle growth.  When something is dehydrated it shrinks, so when you consume alcohol and are dehydrated your muscles become less stretchy and a bit ‘dried out’.  This can lead to higher susceptibility to injury of muscles, which would then lead to the dreaded rest/rehab period.  Protein synthesis is a process in your body that involves the breakdown and rebuilding of muscle in your body.  If this process is impacted your body will not create new protein and thus not be able to build larger, stronger muscles.

Goal #3: Top Athletic/sport performance-

Like I said before alcohol dehydrates you and I am sure you have all heard that athletics and dehydration are not a good combo.  Dehydration like I said above can lead to possible injury, it also impacts the nervous system, and studies have shown marked performance decreases in individuals participating in their sport compared to their hydrated counterpart.  Beyond dehydration (I hate to break it to you) alcohol stays in your system longer than you think.  Unfortunately for females, we have a smaller amount of the alcohol metabolizing enzyme compared to men, so we don’t metabolize alcohol as quickly.  This means we will feel the effects of alcohol longer than a male of the same height and weight as ourselves.  Head on over to this link from the NCAA to read some other impacts of alcohol on performance.  And yes, it is true, and not just the NCAA scare tactic to keep college kids from partying all the time.  In addition to all of the above said effects of alcohol on fat loss, metabolism, and protein synthesis, alcohol will also impact hormones, sleep, and decision making.  All of these things can impact sports/athletic performance.

Now don’t take this as me telling you to cut out alcohol, because I am surely not going to stop drinking my wine and mules after saying this. I am simply sharing some knowledge I have so that you all can make more informed and conscious decisions the next time you head to happy hour with some friends or open that bottle of wine or beer as you sit down to dinner.  Planning ahead, moderation, and consideration of where you are at in regard to your goals are all important when it comes to any decision you make with your health.

Comparison

I was listening to a podcast the other day during my nice long journey from CT back down to SC and Kevin Hart was a guest for the particular episode to which I was listening.  During the podcast he said something that got me thinking, he said that life is a game.  He is right, life is a game, and in order to succeed we need to play the game right.  This is where the title of this post starts to make sense.  Whether you are playing a sport, a card game, a video game, or a board game you will always have to be aware and mindful of your opponents in order to set yourself up to win.  The issue is when you become overly concerned with each and every move your opponent makes that you begin to forget about what you are doing.  You can’t control other people’s actions and or how they play the game, but you can control what you do and how you play and potentially get them to react to what you are doing.  This is much like life, if you spend all of your time trying to look like someone else, talk like someone else, dress like someone else, you will eventually lose.  You can’t make anyone do something, but you can potentially influence them.  This desire to compare ourselves to others and try to be someone we are not is detrimental to your physical and mental health.  We are all very different and the amazing thing is there will never be someone that looks, walks, talks, and thinks exactly like you ever in this world.  Social media is a big issue when it comes to comparison, it is so easy to open a website or an app and in seconds be flooded with images of ‘the ideal person’.  There is never going to be another you in this world, so embrace that and live every day to be fully, entirely, unapologetically you.  If there is ever someone you should look to be better than it is the you of yesterday.  Wake up each day with the goal to be better than the day before, whether that is in your diet, your fitness, your mental health, your relationship with family and friends, or in your education.  When you become your main competition, you will be setting yourself up for success each and every day, and you will inspire others to live to their full potential as well.  When you strive for your best and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing you will be happy with yourself and give off an energy that draws people to you and radiates positivity out into the world.

Check out my website and get in contact with me to learn how you can work with a personal nutrition and/or fitness coach.

To Lift or Not to Lift?

The answer to that question is yes.  There are many benefits that come from resistance training.  The type of training you do depends on what you are looking to get out of the workout regimen you are doing.  Are you looking to improve your mile time or are you looking to put on muscle mass and see some muscular definition?

Endurance type athlete:

Lifting weights is still something that should be done.  The type of resistance training you do here should be muscular endurance training.  By strengthening your muscles so that you are able to perform multiple reps with little rest allows for lowered fatigability of your muscles.  Increasing time to fatigue will make running easier because your muscles will be able to perform at a desired intensity for a longer period of time.  It is also another way to add stress to your muscles and thus your bones without putting your joints through the same ranges of motions that you go through when running.  This can help alleviate some stress added to joints and allow for proper rest at these joints.

Looking to build muscle:

Yes, this is the perfect scenario to follow a resistance training program.  Depending on your training age and history with lifting weights, along with your goal will determine what training program you should follow.  If you are a novice resistance trained individual than you will see results quickly upon following just about any training program.  This is due to neurological adaptations that are occurring.  The more advanced you are in resistance training the more thought out the program you follow needs to be.  There needs to be progressive overload, programmed weight percentages of maximum and the proper rep scheme to allow you to reach your goal.

Outside of helping you reach your desired sport performance goals; resistance training can help you improve quality of life as you age.  Sarcopenia is a typical ‘side effect’ of aging, and results in muscle loss.  By performing resistance training exercises throughout the lifetime, you will slow the muscle loss due to aging.  Another ‘side effect’ of aging is decreased bone mineral density.  Once again resistance training to the rescue. Muscles originate and attach along various bones throughout the body.  By training muscles and putting stress on muscles through resistance training you are putting stress on your bones.  The added stress to bones, when done properly and with a knowledgeable strength coach/trainer, will make bones stronger and thus maintain a healthy bone mineral density.  Another benefit of resistance training is the metabolic cost associated with it.  When looking to lose weight, in particular burn fat, running is typically the first thought.  This thought is true, running allows for fat to be ‘burned’ during the run itself, but once the run is over that ‘fat burn session’ ends as well.  Resistance training on the other hand allows for ‘fat burn’ to occur well after the resistance training session has ended.  When lifting weights, you are breaking down muscle tissue in order to build it back up into a larger and/or stronger tissue.  This process is protein re-synthesis and can last up to 48 hours post resistance training bout (enter DOMS).  The re-synthesis is intensity dependent.  While your body is resynthesizing, it requires energy and thus has a metabolic cost, which in turn allows for ‘fat burn’ and consequently weight loss.

Basically, no matter what you want to do or what life-stage you are in, lifting weights is probably a good idea.  Improve your runs= lift some weights.  Grow muscles = lift weights.  Slow some down side effects of aging= lift weights.  Lose some weight/fat= lift weights.  When done properly and following a well-designed program, lifting weights is always a good choice.  Another thing to consider when lifting weights and seeing desired results is proper fueling, but that is a story for another time.  So get out there and pick up some heavy(-ish) stuff : )

Failure

Often when people hear the word failure the immediate thought is to the definition of “lack of success”, and to be honest I fall into this category.  What we all forget is that failure also means “the action or state of not functioning”.  This second definition is why I am writing this post.  Today’s society puts so much emphasis on being “successful” that people feel inadequate and like “failures” for not meeting expectations laid out by societal norms, but what is success?  How one person measures success is not going to be identical to how someone else measures success.  Is success the size of your house? Or how expensive your car was? Or the number of commas in your bank account?  Is it the brand on the tags of your clothing? Or is it the amount of meaningful relationships in your life?  Is it that you wake up every day excited to go to your job? Or is it that you wake up with a sense of purpose and belonging?

No matter how you define success, there will be ways in which you do not to meet that standard throughout your day or week or month etc.  What I am sharing with you all is that as a human being you are allowed to have off days and not be “perfect” every day.  This innate human characteristic of imperfection does not mean you are a failure.  Failure comes when you choose to not to do something that you are uncomfortable with or not as skilled at, for the sole reason you are scared to “fail”.  Omittance of action or being in a “state of not functioning” is failure.  Choosing to not take a risk, is choosing failure; and you only truly fail if you learned nothing from your experience.  Malcolm Forbes says “failure is success if we learn from it”; and I would have to agree.

So, the next time you think to yourself that you aren’t going to do something because you don’t want to “fail”, just remember you have failed through your refusal to give it a shot.  You will never be successful with something if you do not give it a go. In the wise words of the great Michael Scott [ 😉 ] “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  Believe in yourself and remember that every time you “fail”, you are merely learning what doesn’t work and getting closer to discovering what needs to be done to reach your goals.

I will leave you with this thought from Vernon Howard:

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need”

“An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest”

I am a super nerd, so I love learning.  Whether it is through formal education, conversations with friends, picking up a new hobby, or enrolling in an online course.  I have found that I have learned the most from talking to my friends about different topics, because it has allowed me to approach these topics with a new perspective.  It is one thing to have knowledge, it is another to admit when you are wrong or less versed in an area than another person.  Some of the smartest people I know are the most willing to admit when they are unsure about something and offer their best answer while leaving their minds open to further explanation and a differing perspective.  The best way to continue learning is to surround yourself with people who see all of the amazing things you have to offer, and then push you to maximize your potential.  It is always great to surround yourself with like-minded people, in that you all have some shared interest and the same desire to maximize your potentials.  Surrounding yourself with like-minded people doesn’t mean to only interact with people who have the exact same opinions and thoughts as you do.  Doing that is how you get stuck and never truly reach your full potential because you don’t have people who challenge you.  Some of my best conversations have happened with friends and family who share the same fundamental view on life but approach this view in different ways because they challenge me to think a little differently on various topics and I love that from them.  I am beyond grateful to have the people I do in my life because they support me whole-heartedly while still challenging me to grow each day and to never settle.  They are also the people that inspire me to put my whole self into learning new things because I want to show them that I appreciate their support and by being my best I hope to show them they can also be their best.

With that said it is never too late to learn something new.  You can in fact teach an old dog new tricks.  It may not be picked up as quickly, but you will nonetheless learn something new.  There have been studies that also show learning something new throughout your lifetime will help slow cognitive aging and help exercise your brain.  Just like it is important to exercise your skeletal muscles and your heart muscle (which comes with skeletal muscle exercise), you need to exercise your muscle in your skull.

So, what I would like you to take away from this post:

  1. It is never too late to learn something new.
  2. Exercising your brain through continued learning is just as important as exercising the body.
  3. Knowledge is the greatest tool you can have.
  4. It is good to admit when you are wrong and be willing to listen to/ see something from a different perspective.

Get out there and pick up a new hobby, learn that language you’ve said you’ve been wanting to learn, join that group class that you have been interested in, and have deeper, more challenging conversations with your friends and family.  You will be surprised what you learn about the people around you and about yourself.

What COVID-19 Has Taught Me Expanded Edition

Some of you may have seen my short post from about a month ago about COVID-19 and things it taught me. When I posted that social distancing and school closures had just occurred, so it was pretty early on in this crazy “new normal”.  Now fast forward from that post to today, almost an entire month has passed, and I still stand by the things I said in that post, but I now have a little more to say.  I will repost below what I said in my previous post as a refresher for y’all and for those that didn’t see my post to get a chance to see what I had to say.

  1. I don’t appreciate the beautiful place I live nearly enough. Charleston is an amazing place to live and has some pretty great options to be outside and I don’t take advantage of that nearly enough.
  2. Supporting local businesses is so important. I love my coffee shops and local restaurants but didn’t even think how something like this would affect their livelihood.
  3. While I joke that I live most of my life like I’m in quarantine I’ve realized that a lot of the things I enjoy doing involves me being around other people. (going to the gym, sitting by my pool, sitting at a coffee shop, laying at the beach, etc)
  4. People can be selfish, and the internet/social media can be a toxic place, but I’ve seen a lot of people offering to help others in various ways which is an awesome thing to see. Overall things are getting pretty crazy, but it is nice to see people are trying to help one another through this, showing that there is still good out there.
  5. Now that we are quickly approaching a month of living our lives in isolation and quarantine, with an end not in sight I have begun to think about how I intend to live once life goes back to normal. This thought actually stems from a conversation some of my friends and I had after a very thought-provoking question was posed.  Individually we all had little things we brought up about how life was going and what we have been doing and are looking forward to when life returns to normal, but there was common theme we all seemed to share.  We all said we want to be present in the moment when we are with friends and enjoy the little things more now that we have seen what life looks like without them.  Just going out to dinner or sitting at the beach or in a coffee shop are things we missed being able to do and never realized how much we took for granted the ability to do that.
  6. Personally, I am going to work on making plans with friends more often and not saying no to going out and being with people as often as I did before COVID hit. I am doing my best to stay sane through exercise, getting some fresh air, and being in virtual contact with friends and family and these are things I want to carry over into my life when the quarantine lifts.
  7. I also found this has been a great time to do some personal reflection and figure out life (as best as I can because do you really ever truly get it all perfectly figured out). I’ve been doing some future planning, lots of reading, and some life hacking (basically trying to implement concepts from books I have been reading to live out my best life/self).

Yes, living life in quarantine has been and is still pretty wild/strange/annoying, but there have been some positive take-aways, and I am sure more to come being the end doesn’t seem to be insight.  I would just love to see a continued sense of community and willingness to lend a helping hand once life goes back to normal and people become “too busy” with their own lives to concern themselves with everyone else’s.  Stay safe everyone!

Life

Hello, hello, hello!!

Haven’t posted anything in a while, but I am just sitting at a Starbucks(that I walked to from my lovely apartment) trying to do some school work but I keep finding myself drifting focus from my school work.  I keep looking out the window and just thinking about life.  I know I talk about finding what sets your soul on fire and determining your purpose in life, and honestly every time I think I have that figured out something changes.  This is the one reason I don’t like school, and if you know me you know how much I love school and continuing to learn and gain knowledge.  The more I further my education the more people I meet and the more life doors are opened to me.  At the heart and center of what I want to do with my future I know I want to help people and make a difference in the lives of others, but each semester there are more avenues presented to me through which I can achieve that goal.

What has remained the same though, is that I know I want to do something with nutrition and do something with a gym, but recently other thoughts have come to my head about what I could do beyond that.  Another thing that gets me is the idea of having to start over in a completely new place, if and when I get accepted to a PhD program.  This idea scares me a little, unlike going off and starting college and graduate school away from my family, this time I don’t have the safety net of knowing I will have people who are there to support me.  Whether that was my teammates during undergrad or my friends that remained in the area when I started grad school.  Pursuing my PhD means leaving my comfort zone and potentially starting out somewhere where I would have no one I knew, in a place far away from those I love.  That is a really scary thought to me and sometimes makes me question whether this is something I want to do.  But those thoughts don’t last long because, in my gut, I know my purpose is to use the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to experience to help others who may or may not have been afforded the bountiful luxuries I have had in my life.  The way in which I do use these opportunities may change in my mind from day to day, but the core purpose has remained the same for as long as I can remember.

I guess I’ll never really figure out this life thing, but its nice to think I’m doing what I can do it to the best of my abilities.  So I leave you all with this; trust your gut and keep seeking out what sets your soul on fire.  Even if you never really figure it out, you can get very close, and hey you may even do something amazing during the process.

<3PD

Life Lessons

My undergraduate years have come to an end.  I am sad and still in disbelief that I have finished 4 years of college already.  I have learned many things during my time in undergrad, both in and out of the classroom.  So instead of boring you all with the academic things I have learned over 4 years I have decided to share some of the life lessons I have learned.

  1. It is okay to not know what you are doing with your life
    • It is unfair to place that kind of stress on yourself upon entering college.  How can someone expect you to have everything figured out the minute you walk onto your college campus, if for the past 18 or so years of your life you have been told what to do and have been treated like a kid?  You do not need to map out your life just because you are now a freshmen in college.  Which leads me to my second lesson
  2. It is okay have a plan for your life, and then change that plan
    • So if you are like me, and you like to make plans and set goals and check off boxes from to-do lists, then you may have a plan for your life well before entering college.  I had been telling people my grand plan for my life since my freshmen year of high school and was positive(or I thought I was) that this plan was all I ever wanted in life.  That is until I changed my mind.  It took me until the spring semester of my junior year (yes, my junior year) to realize the path I had chosen for myself did not light a fire inside of me.  I was so worried to tell people that what I once wanted I no longer did because I thought changing my mind (about my own life mind you) would look like I was quitting and that this change would mess everything up.  None of these thoughts were true, and in the end who cares what everyone else thinks.  The only person’s opinion on this that matters is your own.  You have every right leave something if it isn’t what truly makes you happy.  Which leads to my third lesson
  3. It is okay to say no
    • Plain and simple, if you don’t want to do something you can say so.  You don’t owe anyone anything and if you want to stay home and binge watch Netflix instead of going out on the weekends, then do it.  Don’t let people make you feel like you have to do something that you don’t want to do, and if there are people like that in your life you have every right to remove them from your life.  Saying no can mean saying no to anything from friendships to parties to dinner plans.  This isn’t a justification to never have fun or to always be studying.  Saying no is finding the balance between enjoying being young and starting to grow up.  As strange as that sounds, saying no is you learning what is important to you and prioritizing the important things.
  4. It is okay to do things alone
    • I said above that it is okay to say no, so that means there will be times people say no to you.  That is okay.  If you ask someone to go get dinner with you or go to the beach or go shopping or whatever, and their response is no, that doesn’t mean you should not do what you wanted to do.  Go get dinner by yourself or go shopping or go to the beach.  You will be surprised that you are actually awesome company and these moments alone are perfect opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and learn a little more about yourself.  I love alone time, it allows me to unplug and just think about different things, and recharges me for when I am around my friends.
  5. Do something to give back
    • You have something that makes you special and makes you unique.  Whatever that something is, share that quality with someone who might not have that in their life.  Some of my favorite memories from college are the days in which I spent time volunteering.  The past 3 years I volunteered with an after school program that was run through my college for elementary through high school aged students.  There were some challenging days, as is expected when working with middle school students in particular, but the kids I met through this program are all so amazing.  They made me want to pull my hair out and hug them and joke around with them all at the same time.  I will definitely miss them now that I have graduated, but I wouldn’t trade the memories and moments with them for anything.
  6. There is a difference between hearing and listening
    • This is something I learned as I began to figure out who my true friends were and who I was as a person.  Listening involves begin actively engaged in conversation with someone.  The best example I can give of this is when you are driving with the radio on.  You are 100% hearing whatever song is playing on the radio, but listening involves hearing the song and processing the lyrics and the instrumental accompaniment.  I learned that if you want to be a better friend you need to listen to and not just hear what people are saying to you.  Listening lets you ‘hear between the lines’.  You never know how much this could mean to someone.
  7. Let people know what they mean to you
    • I know for me personally it can sometimes feel like you are not appreciated or that you are an after thought.  So it is nice to hear that you mean something to someone.  You really never know what someone is going through and just reminding them that you care about them and that they make your life better by being in it can change their day or even their life.  Life is too short anyway to keep your feelings locked inside.  Share what is on your mind and in your heart any and every chance you get.  You never know when the next opportunity to tell someone what they mean to you will be.  Live in the moment, say I love you when you hang up the phone and when you say goodbye(only if you mean it though.  Don’t dilute the word love by saying it to everyone).  This is something I can do more of, because I know there are people that I should be reminding and telling how much they mean to me.
  8. Dwelling on the negative casts a shadow on the positive
    • First hand experience here when I say this.  There was a good month/month and a half of my sophomore year where I was just a Negative Nelly.  This little period made me realize while I was busy complaining and looking at the negatives I was missing out on the positives in my life.  I couldn’t see the silver lining in anything and I wasn’t taking in good times.  I finally got tired of being negative( I was annoying myself).  I made the choice to stop complaining and start being grateful for things.  This lead me to journaling and to becoming more mindful of when I complained.  This change was one of the best changes I made.  I am so much happier and really don’t complain all that often, if at all.  Someone actually told me the other day that I don’t complain and that made me really happy because it was proof that I was accomplishing what I said I wanted to accomplish.  This is kind of like the Law of Attraction.  What you think is what you manifest and if you don’t want negative things to happen in your life, then stop thinking negative thoughts. Simple as that, lol, but actually of all the changes you need to make in your life, start with cutting out negativity.  It is amazing how much better you will feel when you don’t have negative energy surrounding you.

Anyway, my list could probably go on forever, there is no shortage of things I learned these past 4 years.  My favorite thing (outside of my major) that I learned these past years was who I am as a person.  Not to sound full of myself or anything like that, but I am one of my favorite people I met at college.  I really learned a lot about myself and what I want from life and what my strengths and weaknesses are.  I am proud of how far I have come since my freshmen year and I am ready to embrace whatever comes next for me.