This has been…quite a year.
From wedding planning, to traveling to new places, to therapy sessions, to extensive growth both mentally and in my career…there’s so much that I learned throughout 2022. So much so, that this month’s blog is dedicated to a handful of the lessons that I learned through all of my experiences this year.
There’s plenty to talk about, so I won’t waste any more time with the introduction. Here are seven life lessons that I learned in 2022!
Truly, Listen to Yourself
This year was the year of getting out of autopilot and listening to what I actually wanted in my life. This is going to be a big theme throughout all of these lessons you’ll read about, which is why it’s been such a big year of self-discovery. Nothing says self-discovery like listening to your values, and what YOU want, and making scary but good decisions as you move forward.
My Anxiety is Rooted in Comparison Traps
This was a tough year dealing with anxiety. An old version of intrusive thoughts I used to experience started to come back, in ways I never expected. Trying to tell me things I knew weren’t true, and my brain grew addicted to ruminating on these thoughts to a point where I hit some very mental low points. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends, family, an understanding and supportive fiancé, and a therapist who truly gets me. My therapist helped me discover that 90% of the time when my anxiety was running rampant, it was because I was subconsciously comparing myself to others. Because if I wasn’t doing what everyone else was doing (as a simple way to put it), I was wrong.
When I finally stopped chronically researching other peoples’ opinions and experiences online, I was able to break through the noise in my head, listen to what I knew was right for myself, and find peace again.
I’ve dealt with anxiety for a very long time, but understanding that thoughts are just thoughts, and you don’t have to listen to every single thought that goes through your head, truly makes a difference.
I Needed to Drop the “Coach” Title
One common pattern I’ve been experiencing the last few years is an ongoing burnout cycle when it came to my coaching business. I’d launch courses or products, do all the marketing, create it, connect with potential students, hit goals (or many times, don’t hit goals), and get exhausted and need to take a break.
It wasn’t sustainable.
Was I exhausted? Absolutely.
Was this new for me? Unfortunately….no.
For a while, I embraced the fact that I could do so many things at the same time. Specifically, achieve so many things at the same time. But I was finally at a point where I knew I couldn’t keep going like that anymore.
After I finished promoting my book launch, my fiancé and I took our first trip to New York. My goal was to take a break from everything involving coaching and content creation for the rest of the month of May once I returned from the trip. However…that month turned into two…then three. Pretty soon, we were nearly done with summer and I didn’t have much interest in going back to what I was doing previously for coaching at all.
After a lot of debating and discussions with my friends, I decided I needed to get back to my roots of writing and content creation and drop the Self-Discovery Coach title I’ve had for the last few years.
It was tough, but also freeing. (In fact, I’m considering writing an entire article about my reasoning behind this in more detail, and my experience overall. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in reading!)
I’m still not creating as much as I’d like, but once I’m done wedding planning my goal is to have more time and energy to dedicate to creating more consistently again!
My Inner Critic is STRONG
2022 was my first full year in therapy, and boy…SO much of it was unpacking my perfectionism and high standards I set for myself.
My inner critic wasn’t your typical voice that told you that you suck or aren’t worthy of something. Mine was constantly pressuring me to DO more ALL THE TIME.
If I wasn’t achieving or being productive, I was failing.
And I hated failing.
It’s been an active effort to force myself to slow down and unlearn these patterns, and stepping back from content creation and coaching was a big part of that. But really embracing the “work to live, not live to work” mindset as a driving force behind not needing to be so high achieving all of the time has really helped.
My goal is to take this more relaxed approach towards my goals into 2023, and see how I can strike a sustainable balance that allows me more consistency when it comes to pursuing my creative hobbies and passions, rather than the sporadic on again off again habits I’ve been going through lately.
Busy Seasons ARE Manageable
When we were in New York, we did SO much each day. Much more than I usually do during vacations. I’m usually too worried about taking on or planning too many activities in a short period of time because of potential burnout. But this trip proved to me that I could handle busy seasons without experiencing pure exhaustion afterward.
After 2020, my fiancé and I both started working from home, as well as cutting back on social activities because we were used to social distancing, and honestly because we’re rather introverted people. Since then, I’ve been hesitant to make a bunch of plans with friends regularly because I’m so used to preserving my energy in such an extreme way. Thankfully, going to New York helped remind us how worthwhile it is to leave the house and try more experiences.
Now that we’re in December, this is usually the busiest and most stressful season of the year. End of year chaos from work, holiday shopping, holiday plans…add on wedding planning this year for our wedding in just three months…it’s a lot! Thankfully, I’ve been able to learn how to take care of my energy and mental health overall, and can listen to when I need to take a break.
The more you take care of yourself both physically and mentally, and understand what it is you need in order to do so, the more you can handle these busy seasons in your life.
Planning a Wedding is Both Fun and Exhausting
As of this month, we’ve been planning our upcoming March 2023 wedding for a little over a year. We got engaged in October 2021, and didn’t book a venue until earlier this year in February. But honestly, that’s worked out great for us!
While I knew that wedding planning was going to take a lot of work, I’m not sure I fully anticipated how much of my emotional energy it was going to take.
I’m very much a planner, and I was so excited to start creating the wedding I’ve had in my head for as long as I could remember. But wow, doing this at the same time as balancing life and a full-time job, and needing to keep track of expenses is…a lot.
If you’re a bride planning a wedding, and you’re feeling exhausted and drained, please know that you’re not alone. Yes, of course the process should overall be fun and exciting, but you’re allowed to feel fed up with it every once in a while. It’s a LOT of work!
I’m very excited about our wedding, don’t get me wrong. However, I’m also excited to have my regular life back without wedding planning looming in the back of my head at all times.
Your Brain is Likely Holding You Back
Adding more movement throughout my day is something I’m still working on, for various reasons. While I was listening to a podcast a couple of months ago about eating healthier, one part the host said really struck a chord for me:
You KNOW how to live a healthier life. Now you need to change your mindset and get out of your own way to actually live it.
Lord…was she right. I grew up learning about healthy choices from my parents, I know exactly how to work out regularly, and how to move more often throughout my day. The only thing keeping me back?
I was ALWAYS thinking of ways I couldn’t do what I needed to do to reach my health goals.
I didn’t want to have to wash my hair the same day I was working out. Setting up the treadmill under the desk was too much of a hassle. My energy was too low (on days it actually wasn’t).
While I can’t say I’ve perfected getting out of my own way in ways like this, I’ve definitely experienced times this year where I was able to push past those limiting beliefs and work towards my goals!
Next time you catch yourself feeling stuck about something, feeling like you somehow can’t progress no matter how much you want to, take a look at how you’re thinking about the actions you need to take in order to achieve your goals. What stories are you repeatedly telling yourself? How can you rewrite these stories to help you start creating the change you want to see for yourself?
Monthly Reading Nook
A summary of all of the books I’m currently reading, recently finished, or unfortunately couldn’t finish. Plus, my general opinion about each to help you decide if you want to add it to your own reading list!
- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – I’m officially a sucker for this series. This is the third book, and I’m not disappointed in the slightest. I’d say so far the second book has been the best (and I believe I’ve seen that as a popular opinion from other readers), but I do really enjoy the action, buildup, and interactions between characters as well. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and romance.
- Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It by April Dunford – For those who don’t know, I’m a marketing director full-time at my day job. Our company has gone into more of a startup mode this year, which means testing and honing our messaging and marketing methods that drive growth for the company. I found this book on a recommended reading list in a LinkedIn post, and so far it’s been helpful!
- Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness – JVN is a ray of sunshine. You would have never known that they came from such a rocky past unless you’ve read about their story in this book. If you’re a fan of “Queer Eye” or JVN in general, I highly recommend this book. I’m not much of an audiobook listener myself, but borrowing the audio version from the library has definitely been worth it to hear them narrate their story themselves!
Journal Prompt of the Month
Featured from my latest book, Your Self-Discovery Journal:
Are you someone who holds on to regret? Have you been feeling guilty for a while about something that you’re struggling to release? While many times you’ll hear that you should live your life without regrets, you’ll likely experience guilt for something you did in the past at some point in your life. However, there are ways you can for- give yourself and let these regrets go.
What is one regret you’ve been holding on to? What is some- thing you’ve learned from this regretful experience?
Want more journal prompts like this? You can find over 100 more in Your Self-Discovery Journal.