Oh, 2015. I've toiled over my business and watched it thrive and flourish this year, and I'm beyond proud of the #eatliftthrive community that I - and the rest of my teammates - have built.
Here are some career highlights from Sohee Lee the fitness professional:
January: Finalized the SoheeFit official logo and slogan; created first #eatliftthrive t-shirts and tanks
April: Became a Certified Sports Nutritionist under the International Society of Sports Nutrition (CISSN)
May: Trained for and obtained my Strong First Girya (SFG) Level I kettlebell certification; trained for and competed in my first powerlifting meet - hit 165lb squat, 105lb bench, 226lb deadlift in the 105lb weight class.
June: Spoke at my first ever national conference at the ISSN National Conference in Austin, TX.
July: Launched my next e-product, The Beginner's Guide to Macros.
August: Hired my second assistant, Jenni Belser, to keep up with the growing demands of my brand.
October: Competed at OCB nationals and won my IFPA bikini pro card after eating a Snickers bar for 70 consecutive days.
December: Applied to graduate school for my master's in psychology; hosted my first ever webinar on entrepreneurship in the fitness industry.
As well, I launched my group training only service and one-time macro calculation service and got the ball rolling on building my own custom dedicated fitness forum. I added more merchandise to my store (hats, hoodies, training journals, and Blender bottles, to name a few!), which was a fun side project for me. And perhaps most importantly, I became more serious about thinking like a scientist - a little more skeptical, a lot more curious.
This year has been at once beautiful and heartbreaking and ironic in so many ways. Over the past twelve months, I've felt the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I'm simultaneously grateful for this past year and ready for it to be over.
It's certainly been one of the more eventful times of my life, I'll tell you that much.
Here are some lessons that I've learned in 2016:
1. Always bring a sweater.
This one doesn't change from last year's 25 lessons. I'm still just as much of a weenie when it comes to cold, and I'll probably stay that way for a long time. (Side note: the temperature in my home is set to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Love it!) In the car, at a friend's house, at a restaurant - a sweater will always come in handy.
2. Always carry a pen.
This second lesson still holds true as well. Is it nerdy of me that I'm actually proud of the fact that I never had to mooch a pen off of anyone this year? Oh, which reminds me: If someone borrows a pen from you, make sure you get it back. Especially if it's one that you really like.
3. Blackout curtains are a sleep game changer.
I didn't get blackout curtains until just recently, and it's enhanced my snoozing experience in a big way. There's something incredibly peaceful and relaxing about not having any lights distracting you in your bedroom. And if you want to take a nap in the middle of the day, no big deal. The sun's got nothin' on you!
4. Netflix is worth the monthly subscription fee.
Boy oh boy, do I love me my shows. I'm a movie- and show-junkie; vegging on the couch is one of my favorite pastimes, and I have no qualms about spending my Saturday evening drooling in front of the TV. Some solid shows that I've stumbled upon over the years include: Jane the Virgin, Parenthood, Parks and Recreation, Grey's Anatomy, 30 Rock, The Following, How to Get Away with Murder, Scrubs, Psych, and Arrested Development. Of course, there's a respectable movie selection as well. I'd say paying $8.99 a month to have access to all of these and more is an absolute steal.
5. Flowers are a nice touch to any home.
There's no place like home, right? I'm a big believer that your home should be your haven. I invest in high quality furniture that I absolutely love - that way, I feel good about where I spend most of my time, and my heart is at peace. Flowers are a great way to make your condo, apartment, or house feel more personable. If you don't have a special someone in your life, then why not purchase them for yourself?
6. Pay off your credit card bill in full every month.
This is one of those things that should simply be a no-brainer. Avoid racking up unnecessary interest. If you simply pay off the minimum balance due every month, you’ll actually end up paying way more for a given purchase than if you’d paid it all off in the first place. Oh yeah, and don't spend beyond your means.
7. Always wear your seatbelt.
Need I say more?
8. Sometimes, "healthified" recipes just don't cut it.
Sorry, but I'd much rather enjoy a big fat slice of my mother's homemade pecan pie than choke down a half-fat imitation on a random Tuesday afternoon. And I know that for me, a mediocre cookie that saves me 50 calories is just not going to hit the spot and satiate my craving like a succulent, oozing white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. Pass me the real deal, please.
9. Be super picky about your treats.
I don't hesitate to splurge on the good stuff that I thoroughly enjoy. This goes for not only desserts and other junk food, but also high quality clothes and other luxuries. Not everything has to be off the sale rack from Ross. I always liken spending money like consuming calories – if you’re smart about your checks and balances, you can afford a splurge every now and then.
10. Social media is a double-edged sword; don't let it consume you.
When I first got an Instagram account back in 2012 (very reluctantly, might I add), I hardly ever posted pictures. Interestingly, I consider myself a wallflower when it comes to everyday life – I don’t like being the center of attention (in fact, it makes me shudder), and I’m the kind of gal who doesn’t mind quietly slipping out of a party just as stealthily as I came in. How curious then, that I chose a career for myself that is so heavily dependent upon my active social media presence! Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have been good for my brand development – there’s no doubt about that – but at the same time, I’ve had to take painstaking measures to ensure that it doesn’t become the bane of my existence. It’s a slippery slope, and I see social media eat other people whole all the time. I’d like to still have a life outside of my iPhone.
11. Don't regret delicious food.
Macros be damned, sometimes the late night gelato is totally worth it. And splitting pancakes with a loved one at the diner at 2.am.? Also worth it.
12. Show up on time.
There’s really not a valid excuse for running late to a commitment. If you anticipate traffic, leave your home earlier. If you do happen to be behind on schedule, own up to it and apologize.
13. You can almost always work around an injury.
If I were to break my leg tomorrow (knock on wood), I don’t think I’d be terribly upset about it. Yes, I’m sure it would hurt, and it would make my life a tad inconvenient for a number of months, but there are worse things. On the physique front, no big deal – there’s still a lot you can do to get ample training effect. Having your lower body sidelined is prime time for you to maybe work on your pullups or hammer out your upper body as a whole. Broken arm? Leg extensions, leg curls, hip thrusts, walking lunges, back extensions… the list goes on. Whatever training limitations you have, there’s likely still plenty for you to do. You just have to get creative.
14. Nothing with nutrition is ever unfixable.
Seriously, nothing. One gluttonous meal does not a failure make. You’re always just one meal away from moving back in the right direction, and extra bodyfat that comes on can come back off.
15. Sleep makes everything better.
For me, getting sufficient quality sleep is the difference between being the goofiest, most chipper chick on the block who feels invincible and being a nasty, horrific monster of a witch who finds a reason to snap at everyone around her. Not only that, but studies have consistently shown that we’re more creative, more productive, and generally better at life when we get enough sleep.
16. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
More hours spent “working” does not always translate into more work actually being done. In other words, there comes a point – believed to be at about the 50 hour-a-week mark – at which productivity drops significantly. Gone are the days of bragging about working 100 hours a week. What good is that if I can actually get the exact same amount of work done in half the time? Not only that, but if you can have a life outside of your job and spend time pursuing hobbies and making memories with loved ones, it seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
17. Don’t make rash decisions when emotions are high.
Oh, it’s so tempting sometimes to air your dirty laundry and cause a big scene, doesn’t it? It’s easier to be immature, extreme, and rash when you’re seeing red – and in a way, there’s some sick gratification that comes from it. I get that. But just sleep on it for one night and see how you’re feeling tomorrow. You’ll likely be glad you didn’t do something you’d later regret.
18. Don’t ever feel guilty about taking care of yourself.
Are you feeling a pang of guilt any time you try to slip away to the gym for an hour? Or worse, is someone close to you trying to make you feel bad and calling you selfish for taking care of your health? Get the hell outta town! We all have a right to eat well, exercise regularly, and get our rest. You have to take care of yourself first and foremost if you want to be the best person you can be for others. No apologies.
19. Being a victim is a choice.
The glass actually is half full, if you let it be. And no matter what circumstances you’re dealt with in your life, you have the power to take ownership and make the most of your situation.
20. We could all use a little more Brené Brown in our lives.
I’ve read Daring Greatly twice now and just finished Rising Strong. Brown is a social worker/researcher best known for her work on shame and vulnerability. I’ve learned so much from her about being comfortable in the skin you’re in and not hiding who you are, and I believe that we could all experience more loving, compassionate, close relationships if we shed our rock hard exteriors every now and then.
21. Education is an ongoing, lifelong journey.
It doesn’t stop once you receive your bachelor’s degree or once you’re outside the formal confines of an academic setting. Read books. Subscribe to journals. Attend seminars. Never stop learning.
22. Life isn’t fair, and it never will be – but that’s okay.
Ah, probably one of the hardest lessons for me as of late. Coming to grips with the fact that some people will never have financial struggles or relationship turmoil to the extent that you do, or they’ve always had and will always have a close, loving relationship with their siblings – man, this is a tough one. But when it all comes down to it, we are all fighting our own battles, and it’s futile to compare our lives to those of others.
23. Not every battle is worth fighting.
I’ve had to put my ego aside more times than I care to count this past year for the sake of putting a relationship first. Sometimes, even if you know you’re right, it’s better not to hash something out or let it escalate into a nightlong fight. Pick and choose your battles.
24. Forgive everyone for everything.
Part of me can’t believe that I’m actually writing this. I’m the queen of holding grudges! And maybe I’m being overly generous here, but I’m beginning to think that we’re all better off not harboring any hatred or anger toward anyone. Compassion wins the day.
25. Change is the only constant.
People will change. Those who thought were your closest, most trusted confidantes may end up betraying you in the worst way possible. Relationships will fade away and new ones will form. In 2010, I never would have thought that this would be the kind of life and career I’d have, yet here I am.
26. The best is yet to come.
This one I believe down in my heart of hearts. I feel it deep in my soul. Wherever you are in your life, you may feel like there’s no possible way for you to live the life that you truly want, but you have to know it. You have to believe it. Your behaviors fall in line with your beliefs. It may get worse before it gets better, but I’m telling you: the best is yet to come.