2022 has been a rollercoaster of a year, personally and professionally. Many of y’all don’t know this, but I started this year started with a cancer diagnosis. On January 3, I was literally in the middle of working on my goals for the year when my plastic surgeon called and said the cyst they removed from my neck wasn’t actually a cyst but head and neck cancer. Long story short, that initial diagnosis was wrong and what I actually had was a rare type of benign tumor, but I spent the first week of January thinking my year was going to look VERY different from the goals I’d been in the middle of writing.

The silver lining of that experience (other than the fact that I didn’t actually have cancer) is that it really put some things in perspective for me. If I had to put a fine point on it, I’d define 2022 as the year of quitting: leaving a job that offered security but didn’t serve my long-term goals, no longer defining my next moves by what everyone around me was doing, stepping away from drawing confidence from external sources and learning how to build it from within, and letting go of the fear of not being “the most”. Here are my biggest takeaways from a crazy year:

Put your blinders on more often.

When I first started MB Wellness, I spent a lot of time looking to others to shape my coaching style: how did they frame questions, what worked best for them, who was their target market, what were they charging. While all of that is important and valid information to have as you build a business, I was letting it get too inside my head. I felt like if I didn’t do things the way my colleagues in the industry were, I was doing something wrong. But I saw holes in the process that didn’t address some key things I was hearing from the clients I was coaching: the impact of negative self-talk, perfectionism, embracing “selfish”, and learning to change from a place of self-love. So, I decided I was going to stop paying attention to what everyone else was doing and start shaping a coaching practice and style that was more attuned to what I felt as a professional was right. As soon as I made this shift, I immediately felt more comfortable and confident as a coach. Being truer to myself made me a much better coach to my clients. I still check in with my colleagues and update myself on industry standards, but I also have a much better sense of when to put my blinders on and worry less about what everyone else is doing.

Setting Boundaries and Saying No Does Not Make You a Bad Person.

It will surprise no one when I say I’m a people pleaser. I’ve said this before, but I have always derived a lot of satisfaction from helping people. I’ve spent most of my career in service-related fields. Working jobs that require me to give a lot of emotional energy to others means I also need more down time than I’ve allotted myself in the past. I used to feel like I needed to say yes to everything: helping a coworker with a project even if it meant putting my work on the back burner, being a listening ear even when I needed to spend that time doing something else, going to dinner on Friday night even when I’m completely exhausted. I’m slowly learning that there has to be a balance – sometimes I should say yes to these things, but there are also times when I should say no. I also am still working on not feeling guilt over it, but the more I practice this, the easier it gets. It certainly feels easier to let ourselves down in the moment, but we generally pay more for it in the long run. Finding ways to gently enforce my boundaries and protect my time has been a tricky lesson, but it’s one I’m looking forward to continuing in 2023.

You Don’t Have to Know Everything to Be Great.

Oh, perfectionism! Quite possibly my greatest enemy and the thing that holds me back the most. I have worked VERY hard to back away from my perfectionist tendencies this year. I also came to the realization that my perfectionistic tendencies show up in feeling like I am never qualified enough to do what I do (group fitness/training, coaching, you name it). I am great at what I do – something I would literally have cringed to say/write out loud a year ago – but I’m ok saying that now because I know it to be true. I know where I excel, and I also know where I don’t. I am always learning and as a former supervisor put it, I am a “prolific consumer of professional development” because I never want to plateau. Sometimes that drive makes me feel like I shouldn’t be doing something until I’m an expert, but the reality is I already know everything I need to know to be great at what I do. Will I always keep learning and evolving – yes! But being great while still continuing to learn and growth can co-exist.

Ditching the Scale is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done for My Mindset (and My Fitness Routine)!

This one is a little different from the others but its impact has been no less significant. On December 31, 2020, I decided 2021 would be the year I said goodbye to my at-home scale. Not weighing myself regularly did wonders for my mindset throughout 2021 and that continued in 2022. Now almost two years later I can say I will never go back to having a scale in my house. I don’t check my weight at the doctor’s office. Walking away from the scale helped me shift my mindset away from listening to a number instead of listening to my body. I stopped worrying about exercise as a way to burn calories and instead I do the workouts and exercises I love. I take rest days when I need to and I don’t worry about it when I miss a workout. It has taken so much pressure off and helped me realize I don’t need to weigh myself to stay healthy.

 Confidence and Self-Love Don’t Come from External Changes.

Of all the things that have come into focus for me in 2022, this is the most important one. Like many of us, I’ve spent most of my life seeking confidence from external validation – accomplishments in sports, academia, or my career, new PRs in races or on the weight rack, looking a certain way. For years, no matter how many goals I hit that I thought would make me more confident, they never did. This year I have focused a lot more on what makes me feel good, and what surprised me is how much this has translated into a lot more confidence. Now that I type that out, I realize how obvious it sounds, but it wasn’t obvious to me before. Tuning external data points out and really zeroing in on what makes me feel like my most authentic, energized, happy, fulfilled self has resulted in naturally boosting my confidence. And those things that make me feel good have nothing to do with my appearance or accomplishments. I’ve been focusing on the things I mentioned in the previous paragraphs: putting my blinders on and worrying less about what others are doing, setting boundaries and protecting my time, working through my perfectionist tendencies, and removing things from my life that cost me peace (looking at you, bathroom scale). I’m going to continue focusing on confidence in 2023, and I can’t wait to see what else I learn.

2022 was a year full of change and challenge for me, but I think it’s also been my biggest year of personal growth in a long time. I am so excited to see what 2023 brings!

What are your biggest take-aways from 2022? Take a minute to reflect on them and how you can carry them forward into 2023!

Rooting for you!