At just two months from the start of my Jordan Year, I'm reflecting on some things I've come to accept thus far in life. Some of it seems pretty obvious but bears repeating, and some things were learned through tough some times and being honest with myself.

I'm realizing a lot of the popular, cliche quotes that we see are so widely-circulated because they're actually true. They resonate with me no matter how many times I see them, and they resonate with lots of other people, too. That being said, if these particular lessons don't quite hit home, that's okay! This is just my personal list that I felt moved to share.

1. Don't let anyone tell you how to live your life.

You are here for YOU, and the moment you let someone else's thoughts or opinions change your mind on something important to you, you lose sight of what you wanted for yourself and throw it all off balance. Listen to yourself, not others. You know what's best for you.

2. Gratitude is everything.

Think of how much more you'd smile if you walked around with the feeling you get when you are SO thankful for getting something you wanted so bad. That gratitude, whether it be for a person or some circumstance, only draws even more good back to you. Act like every day is Thanksgiving just for that feeling.

3. You really are what you eat.

It's amazing how what we ingest really does determine the performance of our bodies, not just the look of them. How are you feeling? What are you feeding yours? Every bite, sip, (and inhalation) has an effect.

Pay attention to how your body reacts to what you give it. Do some research, and you'll see how much nutrition affects the entirety of you.

4. Know it's okay to not know.

We don't have to know what we're doing with the rest of our life. We don't have to know the answer to every question possible. (Even with Google, how could we?) Not everyone knows everything and no matter how bad you want to act as you do, it's okay to just not know sometimes. Let go, live through the process and the knowledge will come.

5. Money comes and goes.

If you are without, you can acquire. If you have wealth, it can leave you. Money is energy and energy is always in flux. Be grateful for its presence, but don't obsess over it. You can always make more.

Side note: I'm not encouraging a YOLO lifestyle. Be careful and smart with your money. I'm just saying don't stress yourself sick about it and approach it from strong energy of lack. That will only keep it from you even more.

6. ​ You can't make anyone like you or love you.

This is a tough one for a lot of us. And it's natural, we want to feel accepted. But you will not be everyone's favorite person, just like there are people you can think of who you'd never choose to spend your free time with.

And that's okay. You also cannot force anyone to see your worth and give you the love you deserve. No matter how great you are, some people may never get it. Keep it pushing and find those who can't imagine a world where they didn't love all of you.

7. Be yourself and no one else.

So repetitive these days, but that's it. If you try to be someone else, you will feel miserable and empty, and will always come off disingenuous. Think of how much work it would be to not act like you...

Pass. You do you best. Sure, we all have our flaws, but being your most authentic self is something brave. I promise you'll be relieved you stayed true to who you are when you look back.

8. Most religions teach the same thing.

I grew up with absolutely zero religious affiliation, and in turn, I've studied religious traditions from afar and constantly notice their similarities. Shoutout to my minor in Religious Studies! Comparing the good in all of them puts a major spotlight on love and trust.

Loving God(s)/the Great Spirit/the Universe/etc and trusting in that force, is what gets everyone through it all. They are underlying universal truths that ring true; they are simply communicated in different ways. Also, please don't use your religion to be a jerk to people. Remember the part about love.

9. Exercise is not the enemy. Quite the opposite, actually. 

I know we're preached to all the time about the importance of exercise and eating healthy, but think about it this way: if you want a family, do you want to be able to be around to take care of them?

Do you want the freedom to do things like travel in your retirement? Do you want to live independently and not rely on others, machines, and medications to help you function daily? No? Take care of your body now. Use it!

10. ​Your peace matters more than anything.

If choosing your peace means hurting someone's feelings, making big changes, or anything else a little sucky, so be it. Nothing is worth losing your peace over. Not a job, not a friend, a situation, money, or a partner. Keep your peace at all costs, and it will keep you healthy and happy in the end.

11.  All we have is now.

Take a note from author Eckhart Tolle, and realize that what's past is the past and the future hasn't even happened yet. So instead of living in one of those two worlds, choose this moment.

How you feel in this moment determines how you'll feel in moments to come - AKA the foreseeable outcomes you're stressing. So if you're having trouble agonizing over your future, or dwelling over the past, try focusing on what's happening now- and see the good in it.

12. ​Sunscreen is key.

The best thing you can do for your largest organ is protect it. Wear at least SPF 15 every day, stay AWAY from tanning beds. Protect yourself from those aging UVA rays, and never think that just because you tan easily or have dark skin that you don't need sun protection- everyone does!

13. ​Focus on what you're good at, grow from what you're not.

Think about your strengths. Whatever they are, build on them. Don't act like you don't have weaknesses - those can help you be better- but don't dwell on them either. There is nothing wrong with making gains off of your greatest gifts. That's why you were born with them.

14. ​Comparison truly is the thief of all joy. 

Although I now know this is true, I still struggle with it from time to time. I have to remind myself that the grass is green where I water it, and that what matters is MY version of success.

Not someone else's and not society's. I determine what I should be doing, and I decide if I should be happy with where I am. Someone else's success is not the benchmark for my own.

15. ​Meditation has the potential to solve any problem.

There is sweet relief found in the stillness of the mind. Whether you're a meditative wizard or someone who can only handle three minutes of silence a day, those quiet moments can do wonders.

Try sitting calmly and quietly at least once a day and see what problems you can solve just by listening to the thoughts that come to you in moments of quiet and solitude.

16. ​No one cares, and if they do, it's their problem, not yours.

Okay, maybe I'm still trying to accept this one...but no one really cares what you do at the gym, or if you just tripped, or if you talk to yourself, or if your name tag is on upside down (just happened to me yesterday).

As someone who can get easily embarrassed and self-conscious, I often stop and ask myself, "So what if they saw that? So what if they don't approve of something about me? Am I going to die?" Nah. I'm projecting my thoughts onto others. If someone is really judging you that much, they have some issues of their own to work through. (See #19) Just do your thing.

17. ​Listen to your own advice.

Have you ever noticed what good advice you give your friends and wish someone would do the same for you? Tell yourself those same things. Boom. Your intuition is always right, and you know it.

18.  Be kind, for everyone is going through something.

An oldie, but a goodie. We are all out here leading very different lives and experiencing different things every day, so always be nice, because you never know who's going through what. (Looking at you, people who are rude to customer service workers.)

19. ​Judgment is a mirror.

What we judge in others we see in ourselves. It's taken me many tries to grasp this one. Unless you're, like, Gordon Ramsey or Tyra Banks and you're a real judge because you've earned that title, judgment can be an ugly thing.

Why are you judging that person's outfit? Is it because it's really that wild or can you admit deep down somewhere that you're a little bit jealous of the fact that they had the confidence or carefree attitude to leave the house looking like that?

Why do you think that just because someone goes to church, they're a self-righteous prude? Is it because you've met people like that and assume that of all church folk now? Take a step back from your judgments of others and think about how they might be a reflection of yourself and your thinking.

20. People will differ from you and that's okay.

I used to waste a lot of thoughts over why people are the way they are and why I didn't always click with everybody. I want to click 100% with everyone, but that would mean I have no stable identity because there's no way I could be the same as everyone 100% of the time.

Diversity and difference mix things up. Why would I want everyone to be the exact same as me? I love myself, but variety is the spice of life, and I love spicy.

21. Protect your energy.

This I can't stress enough. Set boundaries. Say no to things you don't want to do. Don't fake feelings about people or things. Know your limits. Notice what you give your energy to and if it's serving you. If it's not, say goodbye. Save that energy for the people and activities that light you up inside instead of making you feel dim.

22. ​Be nice to yourself.

Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to your bestie, your parent, or a small child. Or your dog. Positive self-talk is self-care. Be gentle with you, you're doing the best you can.

23. Be the light.

I wear this phrase engraved on a necklace almost every day. I'd say it's the culmination of a lot of things on this list. It's my daily reminder to find the good in every situation and brightly influence every soul I come in contact with.

You never know whose day you can make or whose mindset you change just by shining your own unique light on them. I strive to do it every day and let me tell you, the payoff never gets old.



I encourage anyone who took the time to read this to make a list of their own. If you could share your best advice or experiences so far, what would you say? Maybe it's you who needs to hear it most.