This month, I turned the big 2-8. Every year I take some time to reflect on how my life has changed, how I’ve grown, and what I’ve learned. This year, I decided to document it! So, without further ado, 28 things I learned by age 28.

  1. Stop waiting until you’re “ready”. You’re never “ready”, and you won’t ever truly know what to do until you DO THE THING! You can read all the books you want and spend endless hours researching with little to no impact. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, do what you want to do before you’re ready.
  2. You already know enough to impact someone else. Picture it like this: you’re only at step 2 of a 10-step journey, so you think what you’ve got to say isn’t worth sharing. But for someone at step 1, you have exactly the message they need to hear. What someone is saying at step 10 is too far ahead to resonate with that person–so by holding yourself back, you’re also doing someone else a disservice. Stop waiting–GO FOR IT!
  3. Take care of your skin. When I was in college, my skincare routine included going out then falling asleep with my makeup on, and never wearing sunscreen. You’re not invincible, wash your face, invest in a good daytime moisturizer and a night cream, and wear sunscreen!
  4. Do things with intention. If you don’t, you’ll find your life flying by you and have no idea where the time went. Think about what you want to do, and pursue it.
  5. Drink water. LOTS of water. It keeps away the brain fog, helps with gym performance, and I don’t suffer from debilitating hangovers.
  6. Find a routine that works for you. Get on a schedule of going to the gym and preparing/packing your food in advance. Your health will thank you. So will your wallet when you don’t have to order all of your food out.
  7. But also, break that routine to try new things. Don’t set foot in one gym and never leave it. Expand your community by trying new workouts. Sleep in sometimes when you need the rest.
  8. Manifestation is real. What you think about, you bring about. Remember that next time you start stressing and feel negatively about your life.
  9. Life is one big energy exchange. To make things happen in your life, you have to direct energy into them. Want to get fit? You have to put energy into working out and planning/preparing your meals. Want to get a new job? You have to put energy into applying places, or networking, or learning what you need to know. You can dream about it all you want: but you have to put time and energy into it to make it happen.
  10. Expressing gratitude can change your life. It can pull you out of a negative headspace, improve your interactions with those around you, and bring good energy your way. I spend less than 5 minutes a day gratitude journaling, but it adds so much power and value to my morning!
  11. More is not always better. We often think that if some is good, more is better. I fell into this trap with exercise. There is a point of diminishing returns, where you become susceptible to injury, or suffer hormonal damage, or your metabolism slows down. Don’t let the good things in your life try to pull you out of balance.
  12. Set boundaries. I’m big on workplace boundaries: you get me for 40 hours every week, don’t reach out to me on nights and weekends and expect me to answer. That is not your time. Without those boundaries, everything else in my life suffers. If I let work creep into my evenings on a regular basis, I don’t get to work on any of my own personal growth or spend time enjoying myself or connecting with my husband and friends.
  13. Get back to your roots and spend time doing things you enjoyed as a child. The quote “we don’t stop playing because we grow up, we grow up because we stop playing” really hit me. Think back to how you spent your time as a child. If you loved playing sports, join an adult league. If you loved to read, make time for it. Because of this quote, I now play more board games, ride my bike, and read simply for pleasure on a regular basis, and I’m happier for it!
  14. Your brain requires working out just like your body does. Meditation, reading, and brain games are all ways to work out your mind and keep it sharp!
  15. Do things that scare you. I used to hate doing things I wasn’t good at because I was scared of failing, and scared that I’d be embarrassed. Then I realized I was missing out on so many opportunities for growth and shutting myself out of things that I could fall in love with.
  16. Being defensive and taking everything personally gets you nowhere. To be fair, this is a lesson I’m still constantly learning–I struggle hard with this, but over time, I’ve recognized that I’m not actually helping my case by immediately becoming defensive.
  17. In order to be heard, you have to meet people where they’re at. Pushing your agenda on someone is not an effective communication strategy in the long term: you have to put yourself in their shoes and level with them. If you can master this, you’ll accomplish so much more than you ever could by trying to go it alone.
  18. Get to know yourself. Take personality tests, hang out by yourself, be introspective. Learn exactly who you are and what you want, or you’ll spend your life getting sucked into someone else’s current.
  19. Imposter Syndrome is real, and some days it’s hard to put it to rest. I am years into my career and I still find myself thinking: when is everyone going to figure out that I shouldn’t be here and I don’t know as much as they think I do? Even when there is no evidence to show that I am not doing as well as I should be, my mind interrupts me with thoughts like this. I’ve also learned that this happens to SO MANY PEOPLE. You’re not alone, the voice is lying, and you have to push through.
  20. When you are leading a meeting or a fitness class or anything, really, be confident in what you say. Don’t be deferential: take charge. When you’re in a position of leadership, people want you to take charge. So stop being scared and just do it.
  21. Social media is not reality. I’ve met some people in real life who have huge instagram followings and loads of beautiful pictures and they’re not at all what they portray on the internet. Stop comparing yourself to someone’s posed, filtered, and completely curated life. Enjoy and appreciate the messiness you bring to the table.
  22. Travel as much as you can. A few years ago, I made an agreement with myself that if I can get the time off of work and the trip is less than $1000, I’m going. Because of this, I’ve been on amazing trips that I would’ve talked myself out of otherwise to “save money” or some other lame excuse. I’m a better, more whole version of myself because of the places I’ve been and things I’ve seen and I wouldn’t take any of it back if you could offer me a refund of my time and money.
  23. Get outside in the sun as much as possible. It’ll energize you and bring you joy. You can afford a 10-minute break from your work to go for a walk and you’ll actually perform better when you come back from it.
  24. Certain habits make every day better. Eating vegetables, getting enough movement in, and taking time to meditate, read or journal are non-negotiables. Even on vacation, I find I enjoy myself more when I stick to these simple habits.
  25. Shake up your identity from time to time. For the past few years, I’ve considered “coffee drinker” and “crossfitter” parts of my identity (there’s even a sign on my desk that says crossfit and coffee). I thought I could not live without either of those things–that I wouldn’t be myself. Then I took a break from Crossfit and seriously reduced my caffeine consumption, and I learned a LOT about myself in that time. I’m now back to about 2 cups of cold brew per day and crossfitting 4x per week, but I wouldn’t take back the time I spent questioning myself and my beliefs and all that I learned in that process.
  26. You can’t impact everything, but you can impact something. There are so many causes out there it can feel overwhelming to give back. But you don’t have to pursue every cause: pick one or two that resonate with you and do what you can. I love to run charity races and do charity workouts to give back, but I’ve also found that anything environmental strongly resonates with me, so I’m now on a mission to get others involved keeping our planet thriving.
  27. The faster you consume content, the easier it is to retain. That sounds counterintuitive, but when you read fast or speed up your audiobooks/podcasts, it forces you to focus and you actually retain more. Added bonus: it also gives you more time to consume even more content. If you don’t believe me, listen to Jim Kwik.
  28. Love is everything. Love yourself, love your partner, love your friends, even show love to strangers. And most of all, live a life you love.

There you have it! What life lessons would you add to this list?

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