Another birthday, another year of life has passed. But what’s another 365 days without acquiring some wisdom? Whether it be undoing bad habits, learning more about yourself, or mastering a new skill or two- I made a commitment to not be the same person I was the year before. I made a list of 15 things I’ve learned in the past year that I wanna share with you all.

1) If you want change, you’re better off doing slow/steady *consistent changes instead of abrupt ones.

My example: my diet. Instead of cutting things cold turkey, I slowly weaned myself off them. Like sugary drinks. Cut it from all the time to only every other day- then only on the weekends- then never.

2) Some people are stuck in their ways- and there’s nothing your big heart can do about it.

I read a lot of books, so I’m able to read people and their behaviors a lot more easily than the average person can. So with that, and my big heart, I often try to help people learn about themselves. For example, if I see someone I know do self-destructive behaviors, I’ll try so hard to help them. But what I’ve found out is that people don’t come to terms with themselves and are blind to those behaviors will never change… no matter who’s helping them. You just have to let them be and let them realize on their own. Because as they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Then the fixing will follow. You’ll waste your energy trying to help someone who doesn’t think they have a problem.

3) Life is tough.. And unfortunately doesn’t get easier. Get a destressor.

This past year I caught myself always venting to my boyfriend, mainly cuz he’s my best friend and I tell him everything. But I learned I need another destressor separate from him. Not that he minds, but you always have to have a way to destress by yourself. It’s also important to make it a *healthy distressor (not drinking away the stress). So what I found that was perfect for me was running!

4) Pay close attention to who you call a “friend”.

This past year has really opened my eyes to one-sided friendships (this can apply to relationships too). I always give with the intent of not getting anything back- but if you find yourself giving giving giving to someone, and they don’t reciprocate it then guess what? You’re in a one-sided friendship/relationship. You’re just gonna get even more exhausted. If they wouldn’t do the things you’ve been doing for them- cut it off. They are leeches!

5) Don’t be afraid to say no. 

Sadly I can admit that I used to be a “yes-man”. If you’re not familiar with that term, urbandictionary defines it as “1) a person that’s attempting to get 100% acceptance 2) they do not like hurting people’s feelings by saying no”. I was a yes-man because when my bosses asked me if I can stay later or come in for more work (when I work 7 days already as it is), when coworkers ask me to cover their shifts, when people ask of crazy favors that require a lot of extra time I don’t have- I was always afraid to say no. I was a people-pleaser. But I started practicing saying no because it was cutting into “me-time” and everyone needs “me-time” often, otherwise you’ll tire yourself out.

If you find yourself in the same position I was, start being more selective of what you say yes to. You don’t have to say yes to everything. It’s okay to be selfish with your time and energy. At the end of the day- you know you’re a good person, you just need to rest sometimes and if that means not picking up that extra shift because your coworker is hungover, by all means say you can’t.

6) Don’t vent or argue when you’re drunk.

Alcohol is a depressant and amplifies your emotions. Get stuff out when you’re calm & collective so you can control your emotions better.

7) You can ALWAYS compromise more.

A relationship example: I actually don’t mind cleaning the bathroom. It’s kinda therapeutic for me as weird as it sounds. But for me as a woman, I like having things 50/50 with my man. If I’m cleaning the bathroom- do your part too cuz you use it. Right? Well… I corrected myself and reminded myself that not everyone is like me. My bf may not enjoy the chores that I do, just like I hate ironing. So what we did was met in the middle that way. He doesn’t mind taking the trash out so he does that every time, and in return I do the bathroom. That’s still 50/50. Problem solved.

8) Being high maintenance is expensive.

Ok ladies don’t be triggered with this one, but let’s face it: getting your hair, nails, eyebrows, vajajay done adds up and is expensive af. And I do get it- we wanna pamper ourselves for working hard, but after this past year and learning how to budget, the numbers had me shook and I cut all those things out. The end result: saving a TON. Let me do the math breakdown for yall.

Monthly cost:

Nails: $45-50 (biweekly)                             $100

          $30 (toes/biweekly)                             $60

Waxing: $50 (bikini/month)                         $50

          $10 (eyebrows/biweekly)                     $20

total/month:    $230

Total per year: $2,760

Of course to each its own, but I know that I was never aware of these numbers until I wrote it all down and calculated it. And because of it I’ve changed a bunch of things to save more money (For example: doing my nails at home with my gel/UV light kit that I got at Ulta: Click here)

This is an example of my at-home nails… not bad right?

10) Stretching is important.

This year I had random back problems, so I thought to myself- this is it. This is what being old feels like. Should I start looking at walkers?! Ok, dramatic. But I found that stretches everyday: in the morning to start your day off and then at night, dramatically improves your back and everything else so you’re not as tense- try it out!

11) Reading saves lives.

Opens new perspectives. Gives you insight etc etc. If you need extra motivation (gym, life, whatever), or if you wanna undo bad habits, if you wanna ditch a crappy friend or boyfriend- read some books. I guarantee that everything you’ve been through in life, someone has been through as well, if not the exact same thing or similar. Reading helps and isn’t as boring as you think it is- if you choose the right books.

These were my faves this past year:

  • Grit The Power of passion and Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth
  •  Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
  • Anxious in Love by Carolyn Daitch PhD
  • How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff in love By Richard Carlson
  • Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray Phd
  • Fashion 2.0 Blogging Your Way to the Front Row by Yuli Ziv

12) Make/drink your coffee from home.

Again, here are the numbers:

On average coffee is $4 a cup. $4 x 7 (days) x 4.3 (average weeks in a year) x 12 (months)

= $1,444.80 ← per year. You spend this much per year on coffee dude.

13) Follow your dreams, do what excites you, surround yourself with people who support your dream.

Life is short. Even if your dream isn’t traditional and seems silly to others (like blogging, or making a YouTube channel, being an online workout guru), pursue it if it makes you happy! Honestly who cares what people think? If it brings you joy- do a lot of it.

14) Learn about stocks.

Unfortunately the economy sucks right now. And there’s no telling that it’ll get better. Investing is an important element of personal finance. Yes, stocks seem intimidating, but there are so many resources (Youtube, blogs, articles, books) to learn about them. Learn about them asap and continue to learn them if you wanna invest in your future. The earlier you contribute (even if they’re little amounts), the bigger the impact those small sums will grow down the road. 37% of millenials don’t invest at all. Start now and get ahead.

15) Find a partner you can grow with.

Just like learning about stocks, my boyfriend and I have really grown as a couple and individually. We’ve been saving so much, reading more books, investing, eating better, and working out more (mainly referring to myself cuz my boyfriend has a permanent 8-pack lol). Finding a partner you can grow with is essential to your life because you’re constantly pushing each other to be better versions of yourself. Don’t settle for a stagnant partner who doesn’t see the necessity to grow. You’ll be stuck in complacency with them.

So those are my 15 lessons I learned throughout the year! Although I had so many more, those were the ones that stuck out to me and I felt was necessary to share.

*updated* I think this is a perfect time to say thank you to everyone who participated in my birthday giveaway/fundraiser for Charity: Water. This birthday, I raised $1,275 for Mozambique, Africa (he info on how I raised the money can be found here. I am SO overwhelmed with joy that I was able to pull this off. And I’m still in shock over how much we’ve raised. Thank you all for making my birthday a special one. Together we’re saving lives and making a change in the world. This means more than you guy know ❤️

So thankful for another year of life. I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for me!

Here are more pics of my birthday outfit. Details are also below!

Processed with VSCO with a7 preset
Processed with VSCO with a7 preset

Outfit details:

Dress Forever21 || Earrings Target || Shoes Amazon

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