13 Reasons Why 2013 Was the Best Year of My Life and the Lessons It Taught Me

1.  I married my best friend and the woman of my dreams.  Jordan and I have been inseparable since our first date.  Even during our times of struggle, she was always there and my life would not be complete without her.  Without her love and support, I truly believe we would not have been able to grow to where we are now.

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2.     With the above said, love and passion might be two of the most important words that shaped 2013.  Everything that I have ever done has been out of true love and enjoyment.  If I’m not passionate about something, it’s not important.  Each and every day I’m able to wake up and without fail, feel like I get to make a difference.  My passion drives my decisions.

3.     Trying to find a balance in your life might be one of most talked about yet difficult things to try and achieve.  For the last year I have completed my 8 Forms of Wealth sheet and when one section is thriving something else is slipping.  Prioritizing and goal setting must be a staple in your daily life in order to create happiness.

4.     Happiness is about living in the moment and enjoying what you have.  The balance may never be right where you want it, but THAT’S OKAY!  Understanding that everything might not be perfect and being okay with that, I think, is the root to happiness.  As long as you are okay with the EFFORT you are putting forth, you should never be mad.

5.     Cherish every moment that you get because they come and go faster than you know.  In one year where I got married, bought my first home, went on our honeymoon, got to spend time in Boston, New York and Las Vegas all within the same month, and so much more.  All of that is over now and they are all just memories.  Truly amazing memories.

6.     Reading and writing may be the most valuable ways to spend your time.  I’ve always known this and attempted to do it, but somehow other things were a priority.  As I do it more and look back on these things, especially my past writing, to see the progress I have made may be the most motivational way to continue striving for more.  The other day a reporter was interviewing Jordan and I and she asked me about a 2 year old blog and said, “Have you achieved all of those goals you set forth when you begun this journey?”  In the moment I was taken back, not only because I had to think about what I wrote, but as the fact that someone took the time to read it.  It was truly humbling. 

7.     As I grow as a fitness professional and become more experienced, the way I understand material and content is changing.  One of the most important values I’ve learned, and hope to instill, is that being smart and knowing your stuff is important, but it isn’t everything.  My love and passion continue to shape what I do.  It doesn’t matter if I teach someone how to squat one way and you do it a little different.  As long as my members are happy and we are keeping them moving well, getting stronger and healthier, and having fun while doing it, the rest is just semantics.  Train for Life has grown and continues to thrive based on our community.  Yes, I truly believe we are setting the tone for large group training in the fitness industry and are always trying to improve, but none of that would matter if we couldn’t keep people in our building.  Rephrasing our tagline for this, “Study Hard, Show You Care Harder!”  

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8.     Stick to your guns!  Set your beliefs and values in stone; constantly check your actions against them.  If you don’t know whom you are and what you want to achieve, anything can change your mind.  People have asked ‘why we don’t do this’ and ‘how come your program includes this.’  We always have a reason for what we do and why we do it.  Doing the sexy and cool thing may be what many think they want, but when someone gets hurt doing it, it’s not so cool anymore.  

9.     Take a second to breathe.  Life flies by and before you know it, it will all be over.  At Train for Life, we force people to meditate and lie still during our recovery weeks.  Less people may come for these workouts or not want to take time to understand why we aren’t always trying to kill them, but I will never change it.  Why?  Because I truly believe that if you’re not capable of slowing down and focusing on something so basic, what else are you missing out of life?  In 2014, I will spend more time doing this myself and expanding my knowledge on the power of breathing. 

10. Be yourself.  Never let anyone change that.  If you want to wear a polka dot t-shirt, scream through a megaphone and dance on top of your desk, do it and be proud of it. Period. – Yes, this happened today.

11. Be the change you wish to see in the world.  This sign hangs by the door at Train for Life.  Every time I leave I see it and it’s an everyday reminder to look for ways to improve.  2013 saw lots of improvements.  2014 will be even better! 

12. Know that it’s okay to be wrong.  Growing up as an only child with a single mom, there wasn’t much that I didn’t get to do.  I’m not saying I was spoiled rotten, but it allowed me the opportunity to do things the way I wanted them.  Now that I have a beautiful, yet stubborn, wife, a staff of employees and hundreds of voices at Train for Life around me, I will continue to work on listening and learning.

13. One of the most memorable moments of 2013 may have only lasted a few minutes, but I hope that it continues to shape the rest of my life.  Before Jordan’s grandpa died, he sat with us and said, “There is no better feeling in life than waking up every day knowing that you are loved unconditionally.”  I will never forget that moment. Even during the hardest days and loudest arguments (yes, Jordan and I fight from time to time…), I remind myself that I am truly lucky to have this person in my life. 

I let these ideas just flow from my heart and mind as I wrote this evening in no particular order.  Being able to sit down and reflect brings peace to my mind.  If any of this helps you this year, I am humbled that you’ve taken the time to read this.  At only 28, this is only just the beginning and it’s been one hell of a beginning so far!