I got inspired to make this post by a YouTube video from Yana Banana. I also made a video which you can find at the end of this post.
Well, here are 16 things that I learned in 2016..
1. I learned to love myself.
I always found it important to love yourself. I just never could figure out how to do it myself. But after all these years, finally, 2016 is when I really learned how to love myself. Unconditionally.
I accepted who I am in the present moment, what I have been through and the way time shaped me. I accepted my strengths, my weaknesses, my thought process and the way I handle things.
That does not mean I will forever stay the same. I want to grown, develop and experience more. Yet in order to grow I need to love and accept who I am. I can not improve without having that base.
Also repeating the words “I love myself” over and over and over again until I started believing it helped too. Negative thoughts about myself are almost non existent!
2. I learned that traveling is not scary.
In 2016 I went to Portugal and to Greece. Never before had I traveled without the guidance of one of my parents (I don’t really want to count the week I went to Barcelona with High School, it was a crap week anyways haha. And I did went to Japan twice without my parents, but I stayed at my boyfriend’s parent’s place).
It made me slightly anxious. The rest of what I felt was pure excitement though. I think that is only natural. I went to countries where I have never been before, I couldn’t speak the language and I had poor knowledge about the culture.
Sometimes questions like “What if my laptop gets stolen out my apartment?” and “What if I get kidnapped?!” came to mind. But soon enough my anxiety vanished. Most of the time the worst case scenarios created in your head never comes true in real life. I am glad my positive thoughts outweighed my negative ones.
It is important and clever to be prepared for whatever may happen, but also know it isn’t the end of the world when you loose control over a situation and it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to be.
3. I learned how to boulder.
Around the beginning of 2016 I started bouldering! It is a type of rock climbing, but then indoors. You climb up a wall of three to four meters tall without being wired to a rope. For safety there are huge cushions surrounding the climbing walls in case you fall. And falling happens pretty frequently when you are challenged with a difficult route.
I love it because it’s a mixture of using your strength and puzzle solving abilities at the same time. I also met a lot of fun people through practicing in various boulder gyms.
4. I learned that the amount of subscribers I have don’t matter.
There was a period of time where I was a little fixated on the amount of subscribers I had on my YouTube channel. I would look at my subscriber count everyday in the hope the number had grown. It made me feel sad sometimes if nothing changed or if I lost some subscribers.
Luckily I managed to stop being so fixated on it. I care way less about it, because it is just a number. I stopped checking my subscriber count everyday. Days go by without me taking a look on my channel.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every single subscriber and every single view that I get. I am grateful for it! But it won’t make me sad anymore when I see a that my numbers didn’t grew.
I just love making videos. Next to that I want to help and inspire people to live a happier life. Those reasons are so much more important to me than getting a huge number of subscribers or views.
5. I learned how to be kinder to myself.
I realized how I was repeating negative thoughts over and over in my head. Negative thoughts came out in front of the mirror when I had a couple of zits on my face, when I couldn’t button up my pants or when I was having a bad hair day. I also told myself I was lazy whenever I had an unproductive day. I told myself I was too fat, too ugly and that I had horrible skin.
Repeating such destructive things in my head made me ultimately believe them. It was like a broken record playing. Those awful thoughts just got stuck in my head.
Now I repeat positive affirmations to myself in the mirror or during a meditation session. I forgive myself when I can’t cross off all the things on my to do list. I learned how to be kinder to myself whenever I look into the mirror or when my day isn’t going as planned.
Just know that not everything goes the way you want sometimes, and that’s okay. It helps me a lot when I accept the present moment and let go. If I am not happy with something I will change it. If I can’t change it then I leave it alone.
6. I learned to accept others.
Accepting and loving myself came hand in hand with accepting and loving others. It was pretty tough, especially accepting my loved ones for who they are.
Every time I saw a self-destructive behavior executed by one of my parents or partner I would try and prevent it from happening. So I’d tell them about the consequences and what they rather could do instead. This always comes from a good place. I never want to hurt someones feelings or be harsh to them. Although my intentions are right, there is a chance it might not come across that way.
In the end it is up to them to make their own choices. People are experiencing life in their own way and follow their own journey in life. It makes them who they are in the moment. I can’t change anybody, they can only do that themselves if they want.
I’ll be there whenever someone needs me to be. I can show them what I learned through my experiences in life, but other than that people have to face their own problems in their own time.
7. I learned to become even less attached to material things, and even to people.
Since I became a Vegan for ethical and health reasons I discovered minimalism. Minimalism is a way of living which endorses owning less. I began living a simpler lifestyle, I consumed less and got rid of a lot of my belongings. The clothing in my closet shrunk drastically and my shelves are emptier. I stopped shopping and rarely buy things impulsively. It helped me discover what is really important in my life.
Now that I own a lot less, I feel lighter and happier. I feel less attached to material things. What I want in my life are things that I love and need.
Same goes for family, friends and acquaintances and my relationships with them. I started leaving behind what doesn’t serve me, what doesn’t bring me joy or positiveness. I have no time for games, no time for people who aren’t up straight with me or direct, people who are not honest or willing to make things work.
I do not hate anyone, have bad intentions or wish ill upon anyone. I have never been like that. I just became more conscious about investing my time and energy into the right people. Not everybody will stay in your life forever and I have found peace with that.
Like I said earlier, everybody is on their own journey in life. People do what they need to do. They come into your life just as easy as they leave. This way of thinking made me less (emotionally) attached to people.
8. I learned that fats aren’t that bad.
I know fats in excess can do more bad than good, but in adequate amounts they are an essential part of your diet. More important is the source of your dietary fat. An avocado will be a lot better for your health than fried chicken.
My Vegan journey started off with eating high amounts of fruit. The only cooked foods I ate where at dinner time, high in carbohydrates. A lot of rice, beans and greens. I avoided all refined oils and barely ate any processed foods. I also avoided foods with a high fat content. Not because of a restricted mindset, but I just ate majority of my calories from fruits, rice, beans and vegetable that I didn’t even crave any other types of (fatty) foods.
I got used to eating this way and kept eating high carbohydrate foods out of habit. I felt amazing and still do because my diet is still pretty much high in carbs and low in fat. Although in 2016 I have been adding more avocados, seeds and sometimes even a little oil into my foods. Just out of curiosity, to see how I would feel. Also to see how it would taste like, because I rarely ate differently.
Did it make me feel better? Maybe. Is adding more fats a therapeutic thing to me? Yes, it might.
In the end I do feel that fats are good for me. After all I am a woman who cares about her hormone balance. I also don’t want to get super lean. I welcome fats now, healthy unrefined plant based fats.
It can have something to do with the texture it gives to my food. Like adding some seeds on my oatmeal and an avocado into my salad, it makes a totally different experience in my mouth. Next to that it can make meals extra delicious.
Yeah, if you are following a high carb low fat diet, don’t be too strict on yourself with it. Fats are alright if you eat them from the right source and don’t binge out on them.
9. I learned to love my body.
With loving myself came loving my body as well. I am so happy to say that I feel completely comfortable in my (naked) skin. I love every inch of my body together with all its imperfections. Even my imperfections don’t seem that imperfect to my anymore.
This body is mine, this is how I look like and I love it! I want to become the best version of myself from the inside and outside so I take care of my body the best way I can. I believe that is only possible if I have a solid foundation of love for myself, no matter what.
I was sick and tired of looking in the mirror and only noticing things I didn’t like of myself. Glad that all changed and I can say that I truly unconditionally love my body.
10. I learned so much about health, my body and food.
As the health geek that I am never a day goes by without learning a little something about nutrition and wellness. Anything food or health related makes me prick up my ears. Especially when I turned my diet around into a 100% plant based one. I strife to become as healthy as I can, because well, I do want to live a healthy and long life. I want to be able to walk without a stick when I am over 80, heck, maybe even hike mountains!
The year 2016 was full of experimenting with my lifestyle and food choices. I came from a diet similar to Raw Till 4 and it evolved into a more random whole food plant based diet. I still tried to eat lots of fruits in the morning, but I occasionally ate cereals and oatmeal from time to time as well.
In the second half of 2016 I began to learn about a macrobiotic diet and how it improved people their health. I started learning about a raw vegan diet, I dove into the world of fruitarians and now I am researching all about herbs. Just to let you know I read a lot about these diets and watched videos. I did not practice all of them.
Towards the end of the year I tried eating gluten free and that actually helped me so much with not being bloated anymore. My belly is flatter than ever. I will continue on eating as gluten free as possible.
I love to learn as much as possible about foods, diets and health and incorporate whatever sounds and feels good to me. I still eat a vegan whole foods plant based diet and avoid processed foods.
Lately, for the first time in all my vegan years (which are now more than two years), I am contemplating to go raw vegan for a while. I might even want to do a juice fast. But before I do I will keep on researching and learning until I am fully confident to do it!
11. I learned that if I really want something I need to go after it and work hard for it.
In my younger years it felt like I got handed a lot of things in life without doing much of an effort for it. If I wanted something I eventually got it. That went on until I encountered some rejections later in life. They did not upset me that much, because I have always been very optimistic and still am. Though I have realized now that in order for me to get something or achieve something I really want, I have to give it my all and do my best.
When you work hard you will reap the benefits sooner or later. I visualize and write down things I want in life, but I also create a plan to make it happen. Because the only way to make it happen is to take action!
12. I learned not to listen to the storyteller in my head.
Whenever I am super motivated to do something and plan it in advance, like going for a run in the morning, I usually come up with all kinds of excuses not to do it.
A voice in my head tells me to rather do something else or do it another time. Only when I let that voice speak, I come up with all kinds of reasons not to stick to what I had planned. I call the voice “The storyteller”, she lives in my head and is always interrupting my plans!
Now I found a way to shut her up. I just don’t listen.
Once I realize she is taking over my thoughts I stop her and think about the positive things that come from when I execute whatever I had planned to do. It takes some willpower in the beginning, but once I kept doing that I became way more productive. The things on my to do lists have never been crossed out as quick as after I started muting the storyteller in my head.
Now guys, I am not crazy lol. The voice talking to me in my head is my own voice of course. I’m just trying to make it understandable for you.
13. I learned to educate people about Veganism in my own way.
In October 2014 I made the decision to go Vegan. My paradigm shifted and I couldn’t look at the world the same way as I did before. Even though I initially became Vegan because of health reasons I now stay Vegan because of ethical reasons (health is still very important to me though).
I researched so much about the horrible things done to animals, the state the world is in with all the pollution going on, about all kinds of sicknesses related to poor lifestyle choices and how a Vegan lifestyle can help solve them.
Consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and leaving out all the animal products made me a lot healthier and happier. Experiencing this amazing feeling after changing my diet and lifestyle made me wonder why on earth nobody around me was eating this way?! I wanted to share it with everybody in the hope to make them feel the same way. All with good intentions and never in a forceful way.
Of course there will be people who rather feel offended and do not want to hear about the word Vegan.
Which I am now totally fine with.
It made me realize that those are not the people I should inform about Veganism or a plant based diet in order to help them make better choices in life. It makes me not have to waste my energy anymore. Instead, I know focus my attention on the people who want to listen, are curious or can just have a normal conversation about it.
People that feel offended by the word Vegan have some deep inner work to do on themselves as they might not see that they are confronted with their daily habits and choices they make in life.
No, Vegans are not better than anyone else, but they do make a conscious effort in causing as less harm as possible. That shouldn’t be something to look down upon, but should rather be encouraged.
14. I learned that I am an ESTP-A personality.
In 2016 I took the 16personalities test on www.16personalities.com. It takes a while to finish, but you won’t be disappointed. I had so much fun reading my results and they are actually pretty accurate. My results said I am an ESTP-A personality.
15. I learned that I can be my best friend.
I always been pretty attracted to spirituality. Not in the sense of organized religion, but more in a way of getting in touch with myself.
Since I started questioning my habits and the things that I do in life I began digging deeper and deeper into my soul. I discovered so many things about myself that I didn’t even knew where a part of me. Also through yoga I got to know my body a lot better and what my body it is actually capable of.
From my toes to the back of my ears. From the inside and out. I discovered so much about myself. It paved a way to improve myself on any aspect that I wanted.
The process of discovering who I am and accepting, loving and improving myself have made me become someone I would like to be friends with. That is very important to me.
Ask yourself the question: “Would I like to be friends with a person like me?” If the answer is “no” then you know you have some work to do on yourself. Also question the need to be constantly surrounded by people if you have that.
I love spending time by myself listening to music, writing, reading, doing yoga, working out, going for a drink or watching a documentary. For me it can be tiring to constantly be surrounded by people.
In the end of the day you are stuck with yourself, if you like it or not. So rather make the best out of it, get to know yourself and become your own best friend. You will never be bored again!
16. I learned that life is short.
You hear this all the time, but I have really come to understand this fact in 2016. Life is way too short. Too short to please everybody, too short to limit yourself, too short to not be doing what you love.
Knowing that life is short can be saddening, but then again, life is also too short to dwell in that sadness.
Ultimately everybody wants to be happy. I do to. So I started taking responsibility of my own happiness. I choose to be happy right now.
Did you know you can choose to be happy too?
All is in your hands. Make your dreams come true. Set goals, make plans and take action. You don’t want to look back and regret your past. Wishing you said “yes” a lot more, wishing you dared to be the person you always were. Don’t let anybody talk down on you or tell you that you aren’t capable of doing something. Life is too short for that.