New Beginnings, Self-Discipline

Why Willpower is simple… but also hard🤔?

“Just do it.” Seems simple enough, right?

…Wrong! …but also, right!

Okay okay, you’re confused – I get it! But I am being serious when I say that “just do it” attitude is both simple yet not easy to master.

First I’ll tell you why it is simple:

Because there is one step to follow. Yup, that’s it. All you I have to do is “just work out everyday”, or “just not eat cookies”, or “just write a page everyday”. It’s as simple as frying an egg…you just do it.

And after you do whatever “it” is for a certain amount of time, the willpower you originally needed will lessen as your actions become habit. So sooner or later, all the effort it took to motivate you to hit the gym turns into no effort at all – going to the gym will become an automatic routine.

“But Ella, you don’t understand…. willpower isn’t as easy as you make it seem.”

Well wait a minute! I never said it was easy. In fact, what I said was, willpower is “not easy to master”.

You see, the word simple means “basic or uncomplicated.”

Whereas the word easy means “achieved without great effort”. So although willpower is uncomplicated, it requires a lot of effort to employ.

And the reason for this effort is…. THE FEELS, HABIT, and ADDICTION.

Let’s start with THE FEELS:

Feelings try to govern your decisions

So you say you want to lose weight and be more productive on weekends, but you continuously find yourself saying the following statements: “I should probabaly wake up and start my day, but I’m going to keep sleeping because my bed is so warm and comfy.”

“I should probably stop eating now, but this meal is so delicious that I have to finish it.”

You say these things because you want to do things that make you feel good. And more importantly, you want to do things that provide immediate gratification. So when you have to make a simple “do or don’t” decision, it is likely you will choose the action that makes you FEEL GOOD immediately.

Now let’s look at the same scenarios, but this time as driven by HABIT:

(1) “I don’t need an alarm to wake up! I am awake at 8 AM daily but I definitely need to be in bed by 10 PM the night before.”

(2) “I always find myself going for an afternoon cookie at work”

Bad habits like cookies everyday

Your brain wants to be efficient. And what better way to be efficient than to complete routines without thinking about them.

However there are problems with your routines: (1) you probably don’t need 10 hours of sleep every night, and (2) the daily afternoon cookie is not a benefit to your health.

So the downside is, you created habits out of those problems. And by consistently implementing these particular actions/problems, you have created automatic routines that will be difficult to break.

Now let’s touch on ADDICTION… which is a whole other ball game:

It is hard to break an addiction, but still possible. Don't be trapped by addiction.

Addiction involves a release of chemicals in your brain when you engage in a certain activity. This chemical factor, which can often lead to withdrawal and tolerance, make breaking an addiction much more difficult than breaking a habit. However, there are programs (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) and professionals who specialize in helping people break their addictions. So breaking an addiction is possible!

You can see that THE FEELS, HABIT, AND ADDICTION all create what I call the ambivalence of willpower. “Just do it” and “it feels good to NOT do it” create an unfortunate simultaneous dichotomy which makes the simple act of willpower an incredibly difficult task.

Ambivalence of willpower

BUT THE IMPORTANT PART IS…

It is completely possible to retrain your brain in order to create habits that work AGAINST the ambivalence of willpower. By analyzing the action you want to enact willpower against, you will be able to note whether that action is satisfying the feels, a habit, or an addiction. And once you know what is making willpower difficult, you will better understand what will make willpower easier for you.

Don’t take your human-ness for granted – you are completely capable of doing things that are hard. So remember to work smart, work strategically, and work for long-term success.

Don’t let the ambivalence of willpower slow you down, and make this the #YearOfYou

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

Why I Don’t Want You to Kill Yourself … and Neither Should You 🙏❤

“It gets better,” they say.

And if you think they are lying, I will tell you first hand, they aren’t.

I’ll tell you it get’s better. From the absolute bottom of my heart I will tell you it gets better. But most importantly, I need you to believe that’s true.

You need to hear the whole truth:

For the rest of your life, you will continue to experience hard times, people will continue to hurt you, and you will occasionally fail. But the game changer is, YOU ARE going to learn how to deal with it all. So if you hang in there and put in a good fight, it WILL get better.

The whole truth is, you are going to learn how to find good friends. You are going to find and practice something you are good at. You are going to learn how to love yourself for who you are.

So maybe the whole truth is not that it gets better, but that YOU get a hell of a lot better at dealing with it. 💪🧠

You might need help to get your feet off the ground – that’s ok. Help comes in many different forms: from reading to journalling, social workers to doctors, from family to friends, from yoga to prayer, and even from medicine to weekly counseling. You might need to take a weekend off and spend it with yourself. And you might need to learn how to say “no” to people you love. But I promise, the small sacrifices you make will be worth it in the end. Because in the end you’ll be happy to be alive.

And if you still aren’t buying my plead for your life, let me tell you my “life got better” story:

Every single night for as long as I can remember, I’ve said my prayers before bed. And every single night for as long as I can remember, I asked God to “please bless every person around the world with a long, happy, and healthy life.” And then the kicker — after asking for the best for others, I’d always ask him to let me fall asleep and never wake up. [FYI, I still say my prayers every night. And FYI I dropped the second part from my nightly prayers last year.]

Sad (and slightly embarrassing) to say, I spent a lot of years hoping the worst for myself. And after 23 years of life, I’d still wake up in the morning and ask myself why I was still f***ing living. I started to think, what the hell was so wrong with me that (1) I didn’t know how to live happily and (2) I was still living …?

It took me until age 23 to finally ask somebody for some help. And even though most of me was miserable, a tiny incremental part of me was saying “YOU CAN DO IT”.

I had lots of friends, a great education, a superb family, a sick job, and basically a sweet friggin life. I recognized all of that! So why the hell was I still unhappy?

It was only when I started researching about the brain that I realized I was missing a major ingredient: I never believed it could get better.

I never believed it. Yes, I put in the work to have a sweet life…that helped. But I didn’t believe it was reality. I always thought, “well it’s been a great week. That means a bad day is right around the corner.”

I was not doing myself any favours.

It was like this:

Imagine you have a delicious plate of food in front of you. You have not taken a bite yet, but the food was prepared by a famous chef. Everyone knows it will taste good, including the chef. But you tell yourself it will taste horrible, so you refuse to eat it.

Why? … It’s because you primed your brain with negativity which stopped you from trying the food with an open and objective mind.

How many times have you primed your brain with something negative, which in turn altered your behaviour? You know, like if your friend tells you, “I don’t like that person”. Then you meet the person for the first time and you already dislike them. Or you read a bad review on a movie, so you go into the theatre already assuming you won’t like the movie.

Or in my case, I assumed I life was never going to get better so my attitude towards my life never changed.

Habits often begin with a simple belief – a simple daily prime of your brain to help you believe life will get better. If you believe it will never get better, it will never get better. But if you believe it will get better because you will try to make it better, you’re golden.

Now, when I look back at my sad years, I’m not sure what to make of them. Maybe I’m just an extra sensitive or emotional person. Maybe I have issues with serotonin and other hormones. But regardless, I’ve come to learn that my über emotional personality is not a bad thing.

Just like I did and many others have, you will have to work hard to be happy. But one day you’ll realize the hard work paid off.

I want you to live, work hard, find meaning, and learn to love existence. I want you to do all those things. And I want you to want all those things too.

After years upon years of not thinking I could do it, I actually did it. And you can do it too. I swear on my life that i love so much, YOU CAN F***ING DO IT.

I don’t want you to kill yourself. And neither should you❤.

[If you like this post and know someone who needs this message, please share it with them. And if you need to talk, I am only a message away! All my social accounts are listed at the bottom of this page if you want to get in contact. And my email is ellasssofia@gmail.com]

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

6 Ways to Reclaim Your Identity

Lost.

… Does that resonate with you?

I’ll let you in on a secret: it resonates with me. Because that is how I felt, day after day, for a very long time.

Until recently.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days (which is actually great because that means I am human). But along my way I’ve learned 6 helpful tips that helped me reclaim my identity. And now I’d like to share them with you:

1. Your purpose changes as you change.

You do different things every day, right? Maybe you enjoy knitting, but after a few months you decide to find a new hobby. Maybe you went to school to be an engineer but changed programs and graduated as a physicist. So if our lives change on a micro scale so often, don’t you also think they can change on a macro scale?

2. You are limitless.

As a human being, there are a million and one things you have a chance at being good at. And if you don’t succeed at one thing, you can most definitely succeed at something else. Here is an example from my life: I always wanted to play soccer professionally and go to university for math and law. But, when I was 14 I had a brain injury. After that, playing soccer and solving math equations didn’t happen as quickly as they used to. This crushed me, and to be honest it still crushes me some days. But the fact of the matter is, my circumstances changed and I changed with them. Now, I understand that I am not a soccer player, but I am a woman who plays soccer, writes, speaks, and does a sh** ton of other things. What do you do?

3. You have an opportunity to be good at something that does not yet exist.

There are jobs that exist now that didn’t exist 5 years ago or 20 years ago. People invent shit all the time so maybe you’re dream job is on it’s way. Or maybe what you’re good at doesn’t exist in your world yet. Don’t forget that opportunities exist in the present as well as the future. Here’s another example, I signed up for Irish Dancing classes today. I am not Irish, and I don’t dance. But I am obsessed with Michael Flatley and wanted to try it out! Who knows, maybe I will surprise myself and be great!

4. You are not meant to be a single-use organism.

You were born to live. Not just sit on your couch and do nothing. As an intelligent being, you have the ability to do and experience multitudes of things! Don’t just “be”, “do”! Do anything. This is life – it is supposed to be meaningful. And furthermore, this life belongs to you! It is your heart and your soul that need to nourished, so nourish them with something that gives you meaning. You are supposed to be trying and failing and winning and losing. That is what makes the world go round!

5. You are required to know yourself on a deeper level.

If you feel like you lost yourself, maybe you are being tested. Maybe what you think is a horrible circumstance is actually something that will help you find fulfillment.

I listened to a talk by Jordan Peterson the other day where he briefly discussed forest fires. He mentioned that small fires are good because they get rid of dry kindling sitting on the forest floor. “A little bit of fire at the right time can stop everything from burning down,” he said. He went on to compare this statement to life. They say things always get worse before they get better, and I will say with experience that is 100% true.

6. You are limitless.

You are limitless in your potential. A friend once told me that when he was younger, he said to an older colleague, “I wish there was 1 book with all the information a person could ever know.” The colleague responded by saying, “There is. It’s called the internet.” Was he ever right! Depending on where you live, you can go to the library, get a free card, and use their internet for free! Imagine all the things you could learn for free if you did this for a few hours each week. We live in an era of globalization and technology, so take advantage of that!

Unfortunately we can’t all be professional soccer players or engineers or lawyers, but we can f***ing try. So go out into the world, learn new sh**, find out what your good at and stick with it.

The next time you feel lost, remember that you are not actually lost but rather moving toward the answer. You know where you’re going. And I want to help you get there.

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New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

How to Release Meaningless and Underlying Anger


Are you angry?

Here’s a better question: Are you happy, until without warning, a small occurrence causes you to become bitter and lash-out for what seems like no reason? Maybe this reaction has a negative effect on the people around you. Or worse, maybe this reaction has a negative effect on the way you view yourself.

Why do you think these reactions happen?

It is likely because “something” is bothering you, and it will continue to bother you until you find out concisely what the cause is.

So how do we address this “something”?

Well below is an exercise that helps me do just that. To complete it yourself just click the hyperlink (a new tab will open with a printable PDF of my exercise). Or simply grab a pen and paper to copy what is written on my PDF. I’ll wait here until you are ready. (note: you can not do this exercise on your phone or on your computer).

Ok, you ready?

Now write down the following commitment at the top of the page.

My Committment: “Today I am going to release the meaningless anger I am holding on to.  I am going to write down every situation that is currently making me angry, regardless of whether I have control over the situation. I recognize this anger does not serve me. Today I leave my anger on this paper because I do not deserve to be weighed down by it. My relationships do not deserve to be affected by my anger. I am going to release myself from my anger today.”

Don’t over think what comes next. Just write down the angering situations that come to your mind. Remember, we are writing down angering situations that do not serve us. These are situations that you have zero control over or situations where you are enacting some type of control but you cannot do anything more to change the outcome. 

Now here’s the best part: reflect on each item to determine
(1) whether you can take action,
(2) whether there is a deeper / root cause to your anger, and
(3) whether you have any type of control over the situation.
These instructions are in my PDF.

Now that everything is written down, reflect on your action items. Are they going to change the outcome of the situation? If so, take them. If not, forget about them; sometimes there is nothing you can do. Now focus on any deeper meaning causing your anger. If a deeper meaning exists, think about how you can address it.

Give all of this some good thought. We are trying to dig deep inside ourselves here.

If necessary, discuss what you’ve written with somebody who is being affected by your anger.

Once all is said and done, pick up the piece of paper, look at it, hold it tightly, and recognize that you just transferred all your meaningless negative anger onto the paper. 

Now, rip the paper in half. Pause.

Then rip it again, and again, and again until you can’t rip it anymore. Pause. Then take those pieces of paper and throw them in the garbage where they belong.

Leave it there. Leave your paper and leave your anger. They are gone. And you should feel lighter.

 Maybe you just realized you aren’t angry, but fearful (as I did). Maybe you fixed a troubled relationship. Maybe that relationship was with yourself.

Keep in mind you might have to complete this exercise more than once. The moment you complete it with all your soul is the moment you will feel so much relief.

I hope this helps.

As always, Happy Monday 🙂

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New Beginnings

This is my “Why”

Are you feeling discouraged today? Well secret’s out – I am! And I was a little discouraged yesterday, and last week, and even last month…and maybe you were too.

For me, feeling discouraged definitely comes and goes. Especially since I am trying to do something a little out of the ordinary: I don’t have a 9-5 job, I am trying to get a blog off the ground, and I am trying to make motivational speaking my full time job. From the outside looking in, I’d say those goals are a bit daunting (and then from the inside looking in, I’d say “YUP. THEY ARE DAUNTING”).

I’ve seen people and blog posts and vloggers go viral in the span of a few days — it sucks to compare yourself to those people. There are days when I think it might not be worth the effort…And that’s when I have to remember why I started.

I am doing this (literally ALL of this) for YOU.

Not for me, not for 100,000 people, and not for $100,000. Every blog post, instagram photo, tweet, and facebook post is a message directly from me to YOU. In the past year or so, I’ve gained an amazing and wonderful outlook on life. And all I want is to help YOU find that exact same outlook. The love I have for existence is so real, so I made it my mission to help YOU feel that same love.

Sometimes you have to give without expecting anything in return. Sometimes you have to turn the other cheek to accept negative and unnecessary comments. Sometimes the things we are called to do in life are hard as f***, even if that just means living. But those are all the reasons we have to get things done. Once you start living for the good in life, it gives you momentum to keep going.

At the end of every day I don’t remember the negativety. I remember the friend, or family member, or person I barely know who told me my content inspires them. And right now that is only a handful of people. Maybe their will be more one day. Regardless of the number, I hope my message helps you love life, love living, and love existence.

That, my friends, is my “why”.

And as always, Happy Monday 🙂

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New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

Passion >>> Complacency

!PSA! Take this 3-question quiz that will guarantee 1 of 4 possibilities: (1) you have an a-ha moment, (2) you give yourself a pat on the back (3) you have an oh-s***-what-am-I-doing moment, or (4) some combination of 1 & 3!

Question 1- How old are you?

Question 2a – What are you doing in this chapter of your life?

Question 2b – Is what you’re doing considered “normal” for your age?

……If yes, say “yes it is but who really cares if my life is normal” and move to question 3.

……If no, say “no it is not but who really cares if my life is normal” and move to question 3.

Question 3-Is what you’re doing making you truly happy?

…..If yes, then please accept this emoji high-five *insert emoji high-five*.

…..If no, why are you doing it? (And accept an emoji high-five anyways because you’re probably the bomb).

watermark_2018-10-22-09-08-235837382685631810341.jpg

Two weeks ago I posted a blog about “investing in yourself” and in it I mentioned I wanted to draw out that belief. I wanted to hold on to that belief with both my hands!

Recently I decided to take that belief and crank it up a notch — I wanted to live and breathe that belief so I could hold onto it with my WHOLE HEART!

So how did I do this?…I stopped my normal life, decided to follow my passion, and started this blog. And now I am dedicating the rest of my life to helping others realize they should follow their passions too. Super exciting, right!?!?! …Wrong…(ish).

It’s actually a bit nerve-wracking. And sometimes I feel like the picture below:

It is definitely not easy to take a huge risk without being certain you’ll be re-paid. So why take such a risk???…PASSION! Seriously, that’s it. Sure I have the support of my immediate family and closest friends, but even if I didn’t, I swear passion alone would keep me going.

If you are complacent with your life and that is the way you want to keep it, that is totally fine – no hard feelings. But I am telling you with 100% certainty that pushing past complacency to complete fulfillment will bring you joy like nothing else will.

Whether it’s starting a blog, writing a book, or spending more time with family, follow your passion and you WILL find true happiness. Whether you’re 14, or 20, or 56 years old, do what brings you fulfillment and I promise you WILL find a passion for life itself 🙂

New Beginnings

The Adventure Begins…

“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly.”

​This past year I’ve arrived at a peaceful place.  At 24 years old, my soul is at ease and my heart is full of joy.  I have learned that taking care of my body and my mind is not a chore; I have learned that I do not have to make extra time in my day to practice self-care.

Self-care has become my lifestyle, and I am dedicating the rest of my life to help others realize the same.

butterfly