This month is all about acceptance. Accepting other people the way they are. Accepting there is no right or wrong way to live your life. Accepting that it is ok to have different opinions, different beliefs, different lifestyles and still all be able to peacefully cohabitate on this big round spinning rock we call home.  

All too often, though, I think we forget to accept ourselves. I know I am especially hard on myself. I am very critical if I don’t live up to my own standards. I set the bar very high for myself time and time again and just the mere thought that I may not achieve one of my goals or I might fail at something I set my mind to is enough to keep me up at night. And forget about it if someone else criticizes me. I tend to dwell on those perceived slights far longer than I should.  

Most recently I had what I can only call a failure in my personal life. This event brought up feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and even a little bit of sadness because I had invested so much time and effort into something that turned out not to be for me. Probably the most painful part of this particular failure though was not the failure itself but the reasons that were pointed out as to why it occurred. Parts of my personality were criticized and while there is always far more to a story than what is spoken on the surface, the experience prompted me to really think about how I can accept who I am today but make changes to be better tomorrow.

That being said, we all have flaws. Some I think we are born with, like my overly active Type A personality and some I think we pick up along the way. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes the things we go through change us. If we are lucky, we go through something and come out the other side a stronger, better version of ourselves. But sometimes we go through things that leave us with scars. These very often are scars other people can’t see. And sometimes they are even scars that we ourselves can’t see or fully understand until much further down the road. These scars can then manifest themselves as personality flaws, especially to others who are looking at us from the outside.

What I realized after this past failure, is you never really know why someone is the way they are. Even sometimes the closest people to you don’t know why you think and act the way you do in certain situations. Even if someone knows your history, your stories, your triumphs and struggles, without having actually walked in your shoes it is oftentimes hard to fully comprehend the ramifications of those events. What to the outside world might seem like a character defect, might actually be a scar that is much more deeply rooted than what just appears to be a shortcoming in one’s personality.  

While I strongly encourage everyone, myself included, to continuously do some type of self-reflection on a regular basis, the first step in my opinion to becoming better human beings is to accept ourselves the way we are right now at this very moment. I am not saying there is no room for growth and meaningful change, but in order to bring about that change, you need to understand and accept where you are currently.  

So how do we begin to unconditionally accept ourselves, move forward, and bring about the change we may be needing to live a happier, healthier life? Here are a few things I think need to happen to get that ball rolling:

Be brutally honest with yourself.

Ask yourself, “What is holding you back from the person you want to be?” “What are the things you are in control of that you can directly influence to take your life in the right direction?” “What may have happened to you in that past that is dictating your current and future path in life?” You cannot lie to yourself about the state you are in now and expect to find yourself in a better one tomorrow. The first step to real self-acceptance is to take an honest inventory of everything that makes you you, the good and the bad alike. As much as sometimes it is easier not to deal with the bad, that stuff isn’t going away without a bit of work. Put the time into exploring all sides of yourself so you have a true understanding of what is working for your currently and where there might be room for improvement.

Be patient and kind to yourself along the way.  

While you are definitely going to encounter people in life that will criticize you and maybe even put you down, I think it is human nature to be your own worst critic. Chances are, when the dust settles, you judge yourself way more harshly than the rest of the world judges you. Keep this in mind and be very thoughtful about the way you speak to yourself. Try changing the verbiage from “I hate this about myself” to “that is something I would like to improve upon”. Just the same way we are told to be kind to others, being kind to ourselves is of utmost importance when on a journey of self-acceptance and ultimate growth.  Also keep in mind that it most likely it took years of life happening to you to make you the way you are today. Be kind and patient with yourself in trying unravel and possibly undo some of that experience and possible hurt. It may not happen quickly or easily but with the right amount of effort it will happen.

Admit when you are wrong.  

This is such a hard one to do sometimes but such a critical step to acceptance and change. Change is usually uncomfortable. We almost always have to through some period of discomfort before we get to the good stuff and there are very few things in life more uncomfortable than admitting when we are wrong. It seems like it is human nature to immediately blame someone or something else first when a failure occurs. After all, it is much easier to be critical of another person than it is of ourselves. Being critical of ourselves requires us to accept we aren’t in fact perfect individuals and that there may be things we need to work on to avoid failing again. But isn’t that the goal? To stop failing? Admit mistakes. Take the time to really think about why they may have happened and then finally learn from them and move on as an improved, better version of yourself. 

Learn forgiveness.  

Learning to forgive others when they hurt you by pointing out your flaws is just as important as is forgiving yourself for having them in the first place. We are all human.  Wonderfully, imperfect humans. Not one of us is without shortcomings or our own unique stories about how those shortcomings came about. In my experience, oftentimes when people point out your flaws it is really as a defense against dealing with their own. Keeping that in mind, forgive those people, focus on your own journey, and if you stumble or fail a few times, forgive yourself enough to get right back up and try again. Carrying around animosity and resentment whether it be directed at others or yourself is a sure-fire way to prevent positive change from occurring.  

Take control of your life.  

It is yours after all. No one else’s. At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your own happiness, growth, and success. Be gentle enough with yourself to accept where you are currently and what may have gotten you there but firm enough with yourself to bring about the change that will get you where you want to be. Nobody is going to do this work for you and if you need to be your own cheerleader along the way, cheer your little heart out. Not everyone will understand the journey you are on or support you as you navigate it and that is ok. Decide what is best for you and your life, make the appropriate changes, and the right people will find you in the end.  

The bottom line here is you cannot hate yourself and become a better version of yourself at the same time. Let me repeat that, you cannot hate yourself and become a better version of yourself at the same time. Things happen. People happen. Life happens. And because we do not live in a bubble all those things affect and shape who we have become today. I truly do not believe that we can punish ourselves into a better place. The same kindness we should extend to other people because we never know what battles they may have fought or are currently fighting is the kindness we need to extend to ourselves before we can make improvements in our own lives. Besides that, I would be willing to bet there is so much good in you that whatever you want to change is only a small fragment of what makes you, you. So, take some time, focus on what you can do to improve the parts of you that you feel might need some work, and then go show the world what an incredible little human being you are because you were willing to put in the effort. 



Be Scared and Do It Anyway….

Be Scared and Do It Anyway….

“Why am I doing this??” 

That is a literal question I ask myself at least once, if not several times, during each ride I set out on. Mountain biking for me is challenging, like really challenging. It pushes my body and mind to extremes that I haven’t experienced in any other sport or endeavor I have taken on before or since. There are points during each ride that I feel like quitting. The route gets tough. My lungs start screaming for air. My legs begin to feel like they are on fire or I am just faced with terrain that challenges all the skills I thought I had picked up along the way.

In addition to all of that, to say I have a healthy fear of falling and really doing damage to myself might be an understatement. But the flip side is, I have become addicted to not only the adrenaline rush that comes with this type of sport but possibly even more to the feeling of continually looking this particular type of fear in the eye and not backing down from the challenge.     

I got into mountain biking almost two decades ago. Back then I was semi-serious about it, but it was more of a hobby than a sport I was trying to master. I rode for a few years and well then life happened. I moved around a bit, left my bike behind, and never really picked it back up. That is until COVID hit.  

At the start of the pandemic last year I was itching, like a lot of folks, to get outside more. A good friend of mine who happened to have held onto my bike for me all these years asked if I wanted to go for a ride on one, particularly beautiful spring day. I immediately jumped at the chance thinking it would just be nice to go on a casual ride and get out of the house for a bit.  

I pulled all my old biking gear out of a storage box that had been long since covered up with a ton of other things I no longer used but of course, couldn’t bear to part with and suited up. We started off just hitting some paved trails right by my house but pretty soon stumbled upon some paths that led off into the woods with much more rugged and challenging terrain and jumped at the chance to really let the bikes loose.

Almost immediately I had a huge smile plastered on my face and was attacking those roots and rocks with a kind of reckless abandon I really only get when I am in the middle of the woods speeding down a steep incline with countless numbers of obstacles trying to buck me off my bike. I had so much fun being “back in the saddle” that day that I knew this was not going to be a one-time thing. I was hooked. I was hooked more than I think I ever was the first time I tried the sport and from that day forward have been borderline obsessed about getting on my bike every chance I get.  See below for some pics from a mountain biking trip we took over the weekend…

So, what is about mountain biking that has me so completely determined to do everything I can to get better and better at the sport? Well for starters, my friend is an absolutely amazing rider. He has been riding for about 30 years and is faster and more agile on his bike than I will probably ever be on mine. That being said, riding with him gives me so much motivation to keep improving my skills because I see how far there is to go. And by the way, I use the phrase “riding with him” loosely because he absolutely smokes me most of the time and it is everything I can do to just keep him somewhat in my sights.  

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, mountain biking is hard for me. It hasn’t been something I have picked up and excelled at right from the start. It is challenging physically of course but probably even more so mentally and even emotionally. During each ride I truly at times think to myself this is crazy, it is too hard, why am I doing this to myself, and usually there is an omg I might die thrown in there as well. Inevitably though, as soon as the ride is over, and I get off my bike I am already looking forward to doing it all again! In really thinking about why all those things go through my mind each time I ride, it dawned on me how many lessons mountain biking can teach me about life in general. Namely,

Patience is a Virtue 

I have a hard time not immediately being good at something. A really hard time. I want right from the start to be the best at everything I try no matter how difficult, complex, or challenging the task ahead of me is. It makes no logical sense that I would pick up my bike after years and years of not riding and be able to attack double black diamond trails with the ease of a seasoned professional, yet to me, that is what I expect of myself. A year into being back on my bike and while I know I have gotten stronger and made a lot of progress in certain areas I am very far from where I still want to be. I need to learn to balance, however, being motivated to keep improving and realizing it won’t happen overnight. Focusing too much on what I have not accomplished yet instead of being proud of myself for being out there, trying and not giving up robs me of fully enjoying everything I love about the sport, to begin with.   

“Comparison is the thief of joy”.

That wise statement attributed to Theodore Roosevelt rings especially true for me when it comes to mountain biking. Riding with someone who is so much better than me in just about every way, while motivational and educational tends to also be frustrating at times. I like to win. I like to come in first place. As bad as this sounds, I like to beat the rest of the pack. When I can’t and I am not the best at something, I am very hard on myself. Always riding with people who are so much better than I am is a truly humbling experience and one that is a bit hard for my ego to take at times. My friend always tells me to stop comparing myself to him or anyone else, be proud of the progress I am making and just enjoy being out on the bike. While of course, he is right, the stubborn, perfectionist part of me has trouble accepting my second-place position. Focusing so much on what someone else is doing whether on a bike or just in life, robs you of energy you could be putting into improving yourself.  Just for the record, this is one is still very hard for me. I am working on it though, I promise!

Progress doesn’t happen in your comfort zone.

A large part of mountain biking, or at least getting better at mountain biking is continually pushing yourself to go bigger. If I never tried harder features or let up off the brakes more going down a steep embankment or forced myself to keep pedaling up a gnarly hill when my legs were screaming for me to quit, I would never get any better. And I so badly want to be better, faster and stronger and honestly less afraid. The only way to accomplish all those things is to face the fear, get uncomfortable and do it all anyway. Whether it is mountain biking, or taking a chance on a new job, or getting the courage to leave a relationship that no longer is working for you, real meaningful change only happens when you get uncomfortable. We are all going to be faced with hills in life, with choices that involve staying where we are or pushing ourselves more than we thought possible because something better might be on the other side of the climb. In my experience, you will only be disappointed if you choose not to tackle that mountain in front of you. The fear will diminish, the pain will subside and what you will be left with is a stronger more confident version of yourself which for me is worth all the struggles.  

Fall 7 times, get back up 8!  

One of the motto’s that mountain bikers say a lot is “if you aren’t falling, you aren’t trying”. Well at the beginning of last year I must have been trying a whole heck of a lot because I took a few good spills right in a row and let me tell you even with pads on it hurts quite a bit! After about my third good fall, I found my confidence to be shaken. I could sense myself pulling back on the trails, taking fewer chances and in turn plateauing because I was afraid of taking another tumble. Pretty soon though, the disappointment of not making any real strides became worse for me than accepting the reality and honestly the fear that I might come off my bike a time or two again. Falling is part of life y’all. Not just in mountain biking but in all aspects of life. What really matters is not how many falls you take or how often you try something that doesn’t work but that you never stop trying. Never stop dedicating yourself to getting better at whatever it is you have set your mind to. Fall, fall, and then fall once more. Just don’t give up on yourself…ever!

Learn from each and every mistake.  

Every time I have fallen off my bike it was because I did something wrong. I either didn’t hit a feature with enough speed or I got a little scared and grabbed too much brake, or my position on the bike was wrong going into a particular section of the trail. Each time I found myself picking my bike up and dusting myself off, I immediately thought ok, why did that happen and how can I avoid it happening in the future because ouch! What mountain biking, in particular, has taught me more than probably any other sport I have ever participated in, is that there is no shame at all in falling down, and in fact, each fall is an opportunity to improve. Mistakes are inevitable in all aspects of life. We will make countless mistakes throughout a lifetime, some over and over again, but framing those mistakes as a learning opportunity is truly how we grow, get better and continue to make progress. While they can be frustrating and sometimes even downright painful, take the opportunity to reflect on the mistakes we all are bound to make and do just a little better the next time!

In mountain biking, I have truly found a worthy opponent. While it sometimes feels like it is me against the mountain, in reality, it is me against me. Like so many other scenarios in life, the only thing that will dictate how much I am able to improve, and progress is how motivated I am to continue to get uncomfortable, face my fears and meet each new challenge head-on. I want nothing more than to prove to myself that even in the face of something so challenging I am able to ignore that inner voice inside my head telling me it is too hard, and I should quit, and accomplish what I have set my mind to doing. After all, what better feeling is there than being able to look in the mirror and be proud of the person staring back at you?!? So my challenge for you today guys, is to go out and do one thing that scares you! And of course, report back and let me know what it was and how you did!!



Getting To Know Thyself…

Getting To Know Thyself…

I have always been interested in human nature. Why people do the things they do. How much our upbringing plays a role in the person we become versus how genetics affect who we end up being. And lately, I have been wondering these very things about myself…more than I usually do anyway. Why have I made the choices I have? Why do I think the way I do? Why am I wired the way I am? While we often don’t have any control over the environment we are raised in and we surely don’t have control over our genetic makeup, I do think the better we understand ourselves the more control we have over directing our lives toward the things that are really going to make us feel happy and fulfilled.    

After making some difficult life choices recently, I found myself sitting back and wondering why I seem to make some of the same mistakes over and over again. I know enough to know there are parts of my personality that have helped me thrive in some aspects of my life and other parts that seem to be almost self-destructive. I figured it was time to explore both these sides of me a little bit more in hopes that I can lessen the self-destructive parts and enhance the parts that have served me well over the years.  

So, I took a test. An Enneagram test to be exact. If you are not familiar with the concept of an Enneagram, it is basically a system of personality typing that describes how people deal with their emotions and interpret the world. Its origins go way back to ancient Egypt and Greece, early Buddhism, writings of the early Christian mystics and can even be found in the Kabbalah in Judaism. The Enneagram system, at its core, seeks to describe the chief features of a person and can help with things like building relationships, career choices, and even personal development. There are nine Enneagram types (I will go into more detail about them below) and the main goal in finding out which Type you is to become the best version of yourself….and that is exactly what I am after!

The 9 Enneagram Types & The Test

It is generally believed you are born as one of the nine types, (Ennea meaning nine in Greek) and that type is referred to as your Dominant Type. No one type is better or worse than the next and they are used universally meaning they apply equally to all genders. Each type is unique and contains characteristics that can be seen as both assets and liabilities.  

 Again, while it is widely believed you are born with a dominant type, you can often see a little of yourself in each of the nine types. In fact, in addition to your dominant type, you also have what are called your “Wing” types. These are a couple of the types closest or adjacent to your dominant type. These wing types can influence your personality, but they never change your dominant type.  

The Test Itself

Now there are a lot of Enneagram tests out there you can take to determine your Type, some are free, some cost a few bucks. The one I chose after doing a bit of research was given by the Enneagram Institute and is called the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI v2.5). 

It consisted of 144 questions that have you choosing between one of two statements that best reflect your general behavior throughout your life. I tried very hard not to over-analyze the two choices and just went with my first initial reaction to each scenario. There is obviously no right or wrong answer but the more honest you are with your choices the more accurate your results will be.  

After about 40 minutes I had completed the test and up popped my results! Turns out that I am a Dominant Type 6, which is The Loyalist, and my two wing types were Type 1, The Reformer, and Type 3, The Achiever.

The particular test I took actually broke down how much I scored on all Nine Types (which you can see below) and also went into a lot more detail about my Dominant Type, how I form and behave in relationships, what other types I am compatible with, and even how I behave under stress.  

For me, these results were pretty spot on! I find myself to be reliable and hard-working, but I can also be very suspicious and anxious. Feeling secure is very important for me and there is no doubt in mind that I am a perfectionist!

While my results validated much of what I already knew about my personality, it was the suggestions about how to improve upon my shortcomings, or what the Enneagram Institute calls “The Personal Grow Recommendations”, that I found really interesting and the most helpful! See below for four Personal Growth Recommendations that really struck me the most….

My Personal Growth Recommendations

  1. Deal with Anxiety – A big part of the Loyalist personality, like I mentioned above, is we tend to be anxious. Oh boy, if you have been around my blog for a little while you know that anxiety has been a big part of my life. One of the most interesting pieces of advice for a Type 6 when it comes to dealing with anxiety is to learn to come to terms with it. Embrace it. Learn to use it as an energizing tool. I never thought about anxiety in this way. It was always something I thought of as purely negative and had to be avoided at all costs. Maybe instead of fighting so hard against it, learning to harness the energy and use it for positive results is something I need to explore more.
  2. Learn to Trust – Another big one for me. I could dedicate a whole separate post to this topic but for the purposes of the here and now let’s just say I have some definite trust issues. I am self-admittedly overly skeptical of people and fear rejection so much so that I would rather push people away to beat them the punch, even if that punch never would have happened. I know, I know…I told you I have self-destructive tendencies! So, part of what I need to work on is allowing myself to trust even if it means rejection in the end. Facing that fear to have more meaningful, longer-lasting relationships is a risk I am willing to start taking!
  3. Learn to Relax – Whew another big one for me. I have a really tough time shutting off. I often feel like if I am not doing something productive every second of the day I am not doing enough. While I know it is not logical or even feasible to be “on” 24/7, this is an area I still need to work on. I need to take more time to read, to think, to meditate even. Rushing around from one activity or assignment to the next, sometimes just for the sake of being busy is not a healthy or even productive way to live. Often, I think I get less done or at least what I get done isn’t as good quality as it could be because I am always in a rush to get to the next things on my to-do list. Reading my Personal Growth Recommendations is a great reminder that the world will not fall apart if I take a break every now and then!
  4. Find Security from Within – This might be the biggest one of all for me. I have a very strong need to feel secure and tend to look outward to find it. Apparently, that is a classic Loyalist trait. In really thinking about it, I feel as if I have been chasing security my whole life. After all, my parents have been happily married for 51 years. Who wouldn’t want that for themselves!? Unfortunately for me, I think I have been placing too much stock in finding a relationship like the ones my parents have in order to fill some insecurity within myself. I do know that I am a strong, capable person and after reading over my test results and all the explanations of my personality type I believe I need to focus more on looking inward for a true sense of security. After all, things change. People come and go. But knowing that I am enough and can deal with anything that might come my way is a priceless gift I can know I can give myself! 

After taking this test and spending some time reading over and absorbing all the information about my Dominant and Wing personality types, I truly feel like I have a more focused idea of some of the areas I need to work on within myself. While I wholeheartedly agree with and immediately recognized a lot of the characteristics explained as part of my Type 6 personality, the deeper dive into how those traits were affecting all parts of my life was extremely interesting and even eye-opening for me. Knowing something about yourself but then seeing it spelled out in black and white with it is positives and negatives turned out to be a very humbling experience. Self-reflection is something I have now vowed to do much more of because, in the end, I want to be the best version of myself to give to the world, but I also want to be the best version of me for me.  



10 Ways to Embrace the Beauty of a Fresh Start….

10 Ways to Embrace the Beauty of a Fresh Start….

I honestly believe the old saying is true, “sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”. If you have been around long enough, I am sure you can think of at least one time in your life when something that at one point seemed right and good, suddenly or maybe not so suddenly came to an end only for something even better to begin. I myself can think of several times this has happened to me throughout my own life and while sometimes endings can be difficult and even sad, they almost always come with the promise of a fresh start and that all-important feeling of hope that something even better is right around the corner.

What is so great about life is that each and every morning that we are lucky enough to open our eyes we are given the chance to start over. Every single one of us is given a clean slate every day to do with it what we will and in my experience even when we decide to change up even one little thing in our lives that may not be working so well for us anymore or that just may have run its course, a chain reaction often happens. For example, almost three years ago I decided to start taking better care of myself. I didn’t go crazy and buy every diet pill out there or join the most expensive gym I could find and spend hours a day there but I did commit to eating out less and working out for 30 minutes a day to get myself on the right track.

That one pretty small decision snowballed into so many positive things happening in my life such as getting off the anxiety medication I had been on for years, starting this blog, reconnecting with old friends, and even getting a promotion at work and buying my first house! I had gotten sick and tired of the way I looked and felt and just decided it was time to start fresh.

That is how it usually happens though, right? We get sick and tired of the current situation we are in and finally decide to do something about it. And while sometimes the universe does it for us, we always at least have the power to control how we react to it being time to start over. By this point in my life I have of course realized that change is inevitable, so why not embrace it, make the best of it and come out the other side of it a better, stronger, smarter, and more badass version of you?! Below are some ways that we can shift our mindset from being tentative and maybe even afraid of change to being excited about the possibilities it might bring:

Accept that is it indeed time to make that fresh start. Make peace with the fact that a new chapter is necessary and begin to think of all the possibilities that lay in front of you as opposed to dwelling on what you are leaving behind in the past Take an honest account of your life and hold on to the things that make you happy and put behind you the things that don’t. Life is moving forward one way or the other after all, so why not live for what could be instead of what was.

Pull off the proverbial band-aid. If you have been thinking about it for a while, feeling the change coming, or just been hesitant to make that jump, my advice is just JUMP! Life is too short people! That little 6th sense that we all have telling us something is over, something is not right anymore, or something has run its course is very rarely, if ever wrong. Listen to your intuition and just go for it.

Work on changing old habits and forming new ones. So often in life we get into ruts because we just accept that the way things have been is the way it has to be. It is never too late to start over you guys. It is never too late to learn something new, to meet new people, to take up a new hobby or even just to alter a routine you have been in or a mindset you have had forever. Make conscious decisions to change what is isn’t working until you find what does.

Talk to someone.  Reach out to a friend or family member who knows you well and have an honest discussion about what is going on. Very often I find it is invaluable to get an outsider’s opinion as they may see things much more objectively than we are able to. We have the tendency to wear blinders when it comes to our own lives so talking through a situation with someone who is not directly involved in it may just provide us the right amount of clarity we need to finally make that fresh start.

Don’t wait for the “right time”. You will probably find yourself waiting a long time because there very rarely is a right time to do something that we might, at least at first, find scary. Don’t wait for a new year or a new month or even next Monday.  Decide, commit, and do everything in your power to get yourself where you truly want to be the instant you feel like a fresh start is necessary.

Don’t worry about what other people will think. This isn’t their life after all. You need to do what is right for you without fear of judgment or disapproval because you are the one who has to live with the decisions you make, not them. If you decide to stay in a situation that is not making you happy then you decided to live with it. If you decide to do something about it and are brave enough to take that leap, tune out any negativity that may come your way and celebrate the fact that you were strong enough to do what is best for you. But either way, do it for you. Not for anyone else. You have one life. Live it exactly how you want.

Get out of your comfort zone. Just because something is familiar and “normal” to you does not necessarily make it right. The normal reaction to pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones is to just not do it. Our comfort zones are warm and inviting, and well comfortable for a reason. But no real meaningful change happens there. We often have to get uncomfortable for a little bit to find something even better on the other side of the temporary struggle it will take to get there.

Try something new. Maybe you know it’s time for a change but you just don’t exactly know what that should look like. That’s ok! There are so many things out there that you can start doing or try for the first time to get yourself at least moving forward. Sign up for a race. Go skydiving. Join a book club. Take a class on something you have always been interested in. Like I mentioned above, oftentimes taking one step forward, making one small adjustment or baby step in the right direction can lead to much larger, more meaningful changes happening down the road.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of life y’all. I have failed so many times I have lost count but what I haven’t done is quit. Every time I have fallen flat on my face, I have picked myself up and started anew. Failure offers us a wonderful chance to take stock of ourselves, our actions, and our behavior so that we can avoid making the same mistakes again. I have come to the point in my life where I truly believe if you haven’t fallen you haven’t tried hard enough. Fail a hundred times if you have to because when that one time comes that you succeed all those failures will have been more than worth it.

Believe that you are worth it. Don’t settle you guys. You deserve all the happiness in the world, but guess what the world is probably not going to hand it to you. Love yourself enough to let go of things that are not truly making you happy so you can pursue what does. And don’t be reactive about it. Be proactive. Make that change. Go ahead and jump. Take it upon yourself to better a bad situation. Shed what is holding you back and find what makes every day a day you look forward to waking up and embracing life to the fullest.

Fresh starts come in all shapes in sizes. Sometimes they are major events like ending a long-term relationship you thought would last forever, or finally leaving that job you have been talking about leaving for years, or picking up and moving across the country just because you have always wanted to live somewhere else. They also might be smaller events like dyeing your hair pink just because you have always wanted to do so or adding to your family by adopting a new pet, or maybe it’s just waking up one morning and deciding to start eating healthier and exercising a bit because it is finally time to take better care of yourself. Whatever change you feel you may be needing, just go for it! I am not saying it is going to be easy or quick or painless but sometimes you don’t even know how badly you need it until you start moving in the right direction.

Stay safe and healthy out there you guys…and don’t forget to be kind to each other!!