6 young adult realizations you need to know

Wow, where does time go? I’m 26 now? Nope, not old. Only getting more youthful. The only aging I want is wisdom and experience. I’ve gone from the past few years after college graduation and thinking I know EXACTLY what I need to do, when I need to do it and why I need to do it. Last year, I made some big changes. I chose to leave the agriculture industry, move from Ohio to Atlanta, and pursue something complete new.

This year alone, I have learned a ton. Life, love, business. Friendships have come and gone; so has my sanity at times. Sleep lost, gains made. Anxiety took hold and then I found peace of mind.

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know

My birthday wish was simple: spend time simple time with my boyfriend and that he cook us dinner. I had a lifestyle photoshoot, ate some delicious burritos (pictured above), went grocery shopping, did some reading and writing, made a protein carrot cake dessert and enjoyed a patio dining experience with Greek lamb, rice and veggies.

It tasted just as good as it looked! I was feeling a little tired and decided instead of trying out a brand new carrot cake recipe, I’d use resources at hand. Thankfully I bought Bake to Be Fit Healthy Brownie Cookbook a while back and tried her recipe. Placed in the fridge and it tasted divine!

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

After a filling dinner and some wine, I completed my reflection. It’s been hard to fall asleep lately. Many thoughts run through my head as I wind down. This year, I had some large takeaways. These six realizations are important, no matter your age. But as a young adult, I think they are vital to understand and incorporate into your life.

 

Strong Sweet Caroline’s 6 young adult realizations you need to know

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • You can only control your response. The first reaction is what matters most for you and others involved. Control how you react. Keep emotions in check and then ACT. Too many times this year, I hesitated. I let the cause affect my outcome. It affected me severely with anxiety, depression and hopeless thoughts. Business was lost from it. Friendships were hurt. No more of that. Keep in mind, it is not all about you when you respond. It can affect so many others, whether you realize it at the time or not. This method of self control will help you personally and professionally. It comes with heightened maturity. And it will bring more peace of mind. Make a choice and stick to it.

    6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Be a woman and man up. David has taught me more than anyone to not be timid in my thoughts and actions. “MAN UP” as some might say. If you think about the business world, it is dog eat dog. And the more hungry the dog, the faster they are to fill their food bowl. At the end of the day, I am the only one responsible for my results. And if I do not stand up for myself, why would anyone else, even if they do love me? Whether man or woman, it is up to you to do your due diligence for yourself. Have courage and believe that every step and action you take is leading to your results.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • Even when you feel like you are working, work harder. The grind as an entrepreneur is severely underrated. I definitely have not worked as hard as I could be. Part of that is because my focus has not been there. I was not accountable to myself and my dreams. It’s not about the number of hours, but the amount of concentrated WORK put into whatever I’m trying to accomplish. It will not be easy. And life balance is hard to come by. But it can be created. Stay organized and diligent. Sometimes, you end up taking a step backward to take two forward. As long as those steps you are putting your greatest efforts in place, it will yield results.

    6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Priorities will shift. For me this past year, it went like this: first it was personal freedom – second was financial stability – third was business/career success – and most recently it’s been relationships. I’ve realized that in life, you have career, relationships and self care. At one time, you can pretty much only master two of those. This year, I had a big shift between career and relationships. I quit a career for a relationship. I then started up a career again to focus on the relationship. The cycle continues as I look to better balance. My health has stayed steady most of the year. The priorities change with seasons of life. Don’t get too caught up in one over another or they all could suffer.

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Never stop learning. This has always been important for me and was reiterated this year. Not having a mentor after leaving Syngenta has been tough. I’m working through it each day. Podcasts, reading books, scanning online articles and exerting myself daily. I’m also trying to build new friendships. It’s a never-ending system. I realized I am not involved in the community yet. And I won’t be exposed to the amazing people in Atlanta until I step foot into it! I can learn on my own, but I love learning with and through others. As long as you never stop learning, you can stay young in heart and mind.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • Be grateful for everything. Every hard point, every positive experience, be humble and grateful. God has given me so much to love and be blessed. I should never take it for granted. Sure, it can always be better. But I will continue to be grateful for the simple, little things too.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
At the end of the day, if we can lay down our heads and know we are doing our best, that’s all that matters. And learn from the rest. Take these six and implement them. May they help you be strong and live a sweet life!
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How to choose and live your theme

It’s a new year and I have been extremely busy. My priorities are focused on my goals. I’ve laid out daily action plans and tactics. And I get done what I can.

Last year, you might remember I chose my word/theme for the year as moxie. And I certainly lived it out! The decision was not taken lightly but just came to me.

This year, I took time to analyze myself as a person, what I’ve learned, what I strive to accomplish this year and how I can do that.

You may or may not have done this yourself. Here is the process for how I choose my theme for the year and live it out DAILY.

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Step 1: Review last year

I take at least one full hour before year end to evaluate my year. Whether you have a paper or electronic calendar, go through each month and see what happened. It’s funny, sometimes we forget about the little things that happened unless we write them down! For example, I forgot I completed two new books the month of March and that was while traveling to Texas for a fitness camp!

While reviewing, take in some key mental (or written) notes of happy, exciting experiences, experiences that were difficult or sad, things you learned, things you maybe did not grow as much as you wanted and any additional indicators of success or weaknesses.

Last year, I had a lot of change because I followed through and lived my word of the year, moxie. I described it as having vigor, courage and determination. And that seems to be what I did. In difficult times and amazing, wonderful successes, I had moxie. I sat down in Miami Beach, FL and reviewed the year and what things happened as planned, what did and looked at the why behind everything.

Step 2: Identify your vision for the new year

After you have reviewed the previous year, you can step forward into the new one. Identify a vision for the year. What are your big goals? What do you want to learn? Where do you want to travel? How can all of these pieces fit together?

Sometimes, I get too many thoughts into my vision. Therefore, I break it down into distinct categories:

  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Emotional/Intellectual
  • Financial
  • Social/Family
  • Career

If I pick three to six vision points underneath each category, I can stay better focused throughout the year and not feel overwhelmed. Some are large goals and some are small. Nonetheless, I write down options and select only a handful for the one year. Save the others in your notebook for later down the road or to review and possibly add in next year.

Step 3:  Select your theme

When you know where you were last year and identify where you want to go for the new year, options for your theme will become more clear. Think about who you are.

What are some common characteristics of you? What words would your best friends use to describe you?

Now, take it one step further.

If you can live out who you are through thoughts and actions, how would you do it? What words might describe that? Maybe you are not quite to the level you want to be yet. That’s OK. This is the process to help you see yourself in the future.

Close your eyes and see yourself achieving this year’s goals. You see yourself successful, happy and amazing.

Open your eyes. Choose the word that if you wrote it down or saw it daily, it would take you back to that vision and motivate you to act towards your new goals.

This led me to choose my theme of vitality. To me (and the dictionary), this means

  • physical strength
  • mental vigor
  • continuation of meaningful, purposeful existence

This was a great over-arching theme for the goals I had in mind with my current meal prep company and new business ventures I’m planning for the new year. So now what?

Step 4: Live it

It’s easy to write down a word or theme. The real challenge is execution. What will you do daily to live it?

vitality

I have a daily mantra I read aloud to remind me of specific things I want to do or do not want to do that align with my theme. Then, I take time weekly and daily to review things each day, make top three items to complete in one day.

Only choose three!

We always have to-do lists. But what three items will progress you towards your bigger theme and yearly goals?

Set time in your day to work on those. Fill in the rest with errands, other action items, family time and more. This balance and accomplishing three main things will take stress off your back and help you stay focused on what you can truly do within 24 hours.

What is the theme you choose and how will you live it? Would love to hear how you are doing it in the comments or send me an email (strongsweetcaroline@gmail.com). Look forward to helping more people with my businesses this year.

 

Four things to do when you move to a new city

I have moved four times since graduating from The Ohio State University in May 2014. Each time, I have gone to a new city. Three of the four I never actually visited before moving there! A while back, I blogged about my largest move to Nebraska. Now that I have moved again (this time in Atlanta, Georgia), I’ve done some thinking on the trials and tribulations relocating can create. I think it can often be easier to do than we think.
Below are four things I recommend doing when you move to a new city. BONUS: I discuss one of my favorite healthier alternative ingredients to use when creating baked goods.
  1. Get acclimated with the area
When moving to a new place, especially a large city, it can be very intimidating. The first thing I like to do is pull up Google maps and see what the surround area, towns and roads look like. Then, hit the road. It serves you well to drive around, take in the local businesses and get a feel for your surrounds and directions. I even allow myself to get lost. Usually, that’s how I find new coffee shops, backroads and fun places to explore. When I lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for my first job territory, I found a neat coffee shop called Firefly Coffeehouse. The more comfortable you can become, the more quickly the “new” factor will wear off and you can normalize your area.

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Become the strong woman you admire

There are many people who never share their true feelings towards others they admire. There are many people who do not know how much they impact others. Most times, these are one type of person. They are strong women.
I’ve evolved as a strong woman myself. It’s taken time to come out. But, deep down, I’ve always been strong. At a young age, I would come up with these big goals for awards, accomplishments and contribution. Then, I would execute. I would not really promote it much. I kept to myself. I focus so hard on my goals, build myself from the inside out, and share my growth with close friends and family. I have always given my whole heart to anything and anyone I support and believe in. I also had a few weaknesses.
I wanted to please others. I wanted to be liked by others. I wanted to make people feel like I cared.
For me, this was making me feel good. But only for so long. I did this through four years of college and even into the first year in a full-time career. It started to make me steer away from my true self. It was shifting me away from my natural abilities as a strong woman. I desire to impact others without sacrificing my personal beliefs and values.

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Happy birthday, 1/4 century young and full of life ahead!

You heard right. I recently celebrated my 25th birthday! What’d I do? Simple things: work, play, goals and family. As I think about the past 24 years of my life, it’s not about getting old. I’m not turning 25 years old. It’s 25 years of life, of age, of vibrancy. I’m 25 years YOUNG! Ask anyone over the age of 21, being referred to as “young” is a compliment! It’s not just a compliment but something I plan to embrace.

Interpretation in language adds positive or negative emphasis to everything. For most of my life, there has been a mix of both. However, my most beneficial life experiences have come from positive influencers, role models, supporters and friends. When we focus to positive energy, even the tough times can be overcome with less stress, grief and fortitude. That’s why I choose to not use the word “old”. It’s perceived in a negative way. You can flip it to wisdom with age but let’s face it, people still perceive your body wearing down and not being “in tune” with the up and up as aging. That’s why I think eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising are key to preventative, long term health. And celebrating with birthday carrot cake with my boyfriend and later burger and fries with family are good balance.

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Things that can happen to anyone will happen to you.

It won’t happen to me. I won’t ever be in that situation. I’m in control. 

All lies. Things that can happen to anyone will happen to you. They did to me today.

This week was one I prepared to be a full schedule, a lot of travel and a lot to accomplish. I planned accordingly. I would go the gym earlier than normal, complete a tough workout routine, this morning just happened to be a rigorous leg day, head home, eat, pack up remaining meals for the day and leave to meet customers, my line manager and a mentee.

It went as planned. My boyfriend sent me an inspirational, motivating YouTube video on waking up in the morning and embracing it. So I did. Protein coffee and cream of rice digested and I was out the door. For 5:45 am, it was a little foggy. I didn’t think much of it. I worked out hard. As you can tell in this image, I was exhausted.

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When I carefully climbed into my truck again at 7:15 am, the fog had not lifted. It was probably more dense than before. However, I turned on my Symphonic radio station on Pandora and basically zoned out. Going down the road felt like a dream. I go this way every day and know the path like clockwork. But, for some reason, I forgot about that stop sign.

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