Self-Discipline

Societal Pressure Does Not Exist … 🤔

“Society pressures us to go to university.”

“Society pressures us to buy name brand clothes we can’t afford.”

It’s crazy to think I’ve been telling myself those lies until just recently.

What’s even crazier is that those statements only become true if you allow them to be.

I understand that mainstream media portrays a certain way of life which seems ideal. And I understand that impressionable children and young adults can be feel swayed toward living their lives a certain way.

But what I don’t understand is why people equate being pressured, with pressuring themselves.

The truth is, we create pressure. It is something which manifests as a result of fear. Fear that we won’t find friends, fear that we won’t make an income, or fear that we’ll lose a relationship most commonly including the love of our parents.

A young adult feeling pressure about which major decisions to make in life.

Unless you are under some sort of duress, you probably aren’t being forced to make major life decisions. [Note: This article assumes “decisions” are ones that do not cause harm to you or others]

And I know you’re probably pissed because you don’t want me to tell you to be responsible for your own decisions. And you’re probably thinking about all those times society or your parents pressured you into doing something… Well I’m here to prove you wrong.

False Assumption #1 Other People Care About Your Decisions

They don’t care. In fact, nobody cares more about you, than you.

I’ve personally made major life decisions thinking they would satisfy other people, and then as a result, I would be satisfied. Guess what happened?…no one ended up satisfied! So the reality is, unless you make decisions to satisfy YOURSELF FIRST, you’ll never be satisfied.

Nobody cares if the logo on your shirt says “Old Navy” or “True Religion”. And if someone does make a snarky comment about it, they themselves falsely believe people care about material items. In addition, nobody cares if you’re a plumber, or a professor, or a YouTuber. People just ask each other about that shit because it’s a great way to make conversation. Your career and your life are you business. And if somebody else wants to make those things their business, then you need to ignore their opinions.

“But Ella, I’m 17 and I feel so much pressure from my parents. And I KNOW they care about me!”

That is a tough situation, especially since your parents probably do have your best interest at heart. I know lots of you have probably felt pressure and a result of your parents’ words or actions.

But, at the end of the day, just remember that you are your own worst enemy.

YOU put pressure on yourself as a result of not wanting to lose your parents’ approval. And although your parents probably have your best interest at heart, when you hit 18 and have to make major life decisions, you need to make them on your own. And if your parents don’t agree with your decision, move out, start your own life, and stop relying on them.

Harsh I know. But if you want to make independent decisions, you need to be an independent person. Eventually, either your parents will realize they were trying to micro manage you OR you will realize you made a bad decision.

Oh and if you’re a parent reading this, please realize your kid does not have to be the next Elon Musk or does not have to make $100 000 a year for him/her to be worth your love … So don’t make them feel like that is the case.

And if you still think people give a serious f*** about your life decisions, flip the situation around and think about all the people YOU don’t give a f*** about. Think about it, you must have heard at least one person in your life say something you disagree with. Whether it was on the internet, in a presentation, or in a large group setting, you heard someone say something you didn’t agree with and you probably didn’t care. You didn’t care because you didn’t / don’t have a vested interested in that person.

In those scenarios, you either exited out of the disagreeable website, didn’t bother responding to the disagreeable YouTube comment, or you didn’t say a word in the large group setting and instead thought “what an idiot for saying that.”

So just like you didn’t care about that other person, other people dont really care about you. That said, make decisions that satisfy you first and don’t worry about judgment from others.

False Assumption #2 You Need Approval from Others

Not only do you think people care, but you want them to care.

Well the fact is, you don’t need them to care. Nobody else knows your life like you do, so it makes zero sense for them to approve or validate YOUR LIFE DECISIONS.

Someone feeling like they are being told how to live their life.

Be confident in your decisions and learn to say “yes” to yourself. You don’t need to have the support of everyone around you before making a decision, and you don’t need other people to tell you your decisions are good ones.

“But Ella, I want to have friends in my life. Having people around me who like me, makes me happy.”

Listen kid, fake friends don’t make you happy. You’ll be happier with just 1 or 2 true friends than you ever will be with 10 fake friends. And if somebody is a true friend, they’ll like you regardless of your decision to take a fifth year of high school or go to post-secondary school immediately.

When you are reliant on the “blessing” of other people, you often forget to acknowledge your own wants. And when your actions in life do not line-up with your wants in life, I guarantee you won’t be at peace and you won’t be happy.

False Assumption #3 It is Easy for the Media to Brain-Wash People

This assumption is interesting because I actually agree with it! For sure it is easy for people to be brain washed…heck we can even brain wash ourselves!

The problem I have with that assumption is that we are perfectly capable of choosing our media sources and challenging our own beliefs. So if you feel pressure to live your live in accordance with media source x, then start listening to media source y!

A person making a decision about which media outlet to read

In fact, you should make it a habit of switching up your media sources as soon as you notice you are completely ingrained in a particular line of thought. Think about like this: (1) you believe x, (2) you recognize that x is the best solution, (3) you recognize that you probably don’t know enough about x because you think it is the best solution, (4) research information about y and z to challenge or confirm your beliefs about x.

Don’t Socialize Your Beliefs

Be an independent thinker. If you come to conclusions based on your own research, the only pressure you’ll feel is the kind that motivates you to live a better life.

Diamonds

I like to think about it like this, “No pressure, no diamonds. No pressure, no diamonds.”

So if you feel pressure, make sure it’s as a result of your wants and no one elses. And once you start riding that good pressure wave, the momentum will leave you unstoppable.

As always, have a 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 advice.*

Selfcare Tips

You’re Missing Something Vital (Mental Health vs. Mental Illness)

“You’re fine”, says the inner tough-guy.

Habit coach smiling in the face of adversity

…but maybe you’re not fine. Maybe you feel sad, lonely, anxious, and upset. But maybe that’s okay…

Sad and Anxious are Normal Emotions

Do you know what mental health is? I know the subject is heavily talked about nowadays, but do you fully comprehend what it means to have “mental health”?

Answer: It is literally the health of your mind. The good and poor health of all minds!

If you are a human with a mind, you have mental health. Just like if you are a human with a body, you have physical health.

And then we can go a bit deeper and ask, “what is a healthy mind?”

A healthy mind is one which enjoys life and living, is realistic and at peace, and is resilient after undergoing a difficult situation. A healthy mind properly balances the 3 parts of the personal development loop: self-care, self-development, self-discipline.

This seems pretty straight forward, right?

So then why does it also seem that the normal feelings of occasionally unhealthy minds (such as sadness and anxiousness) are quickly being labelled as feelings which require medication?

I think the push on mental health awareness has exploded since the recent BOOM of social media and campaigns like #BellLetsTalk. And as a result, mental health echo-chambers have been created online, opinions on such matters have been instensified in the hope mental health will improve, and poor mental health has been conflated with mental illness.

“Wait Ella…what is the difference between mental health and mental illness anyways?”

I’m glad you asked!

According to the DSM-5 (the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5 Ed.), mental illness is, “… a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behaviour that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. An expected or culturally approved response to a common stressors or loss […] is not a mental disorder. […]”

Interesting definition. There’s 1 sentence in there that catches my attention, and that is what I want to talk about today (I’d also love to know your opinion in the comment section below).

The eye catching sentence is…

“an expected or culturally approved response to a common stressor or loss […] is not a mental disorder.”

This statement is pretty easy to understand – normal negative emotions are not mental illnesses.

So what is normal?

In my opinion, normal is stress, anxiousness, and burnout after hustling hard through 4 years of university. It is not wanting to eat or get out bed after the loss of a loved one. And it is feelings of being incredibly sad and distraught after having a limb amputated.

As you can see above, there are feelings / responses which can be expected from people after experiencing something negative. And most people (maybe other than those with sociopathic tendencies… which can be attributed to a mental illness) would experience poor mental health in these circumstances.

So here’s where my issue comes in…and I’ll tell you about it using my personal circumstances for “credibility”

I believe that the push for raising awareness about mental health and mental illness has become so loud yet very unclear. I see individuals, business, and media outlets discussing poor mental health as one-in-the-same with mental illness. I see (although I whole-heartedly believe this comes from the right place) young people being told that feelings of sadness COULD be depression, which I believe is a problematic statement for one major reason:

It is correct! (Yes, you heard me right! The statement can be problematic for, in particular, young and impressionable people, because it legit makes complete sense

“Wait ..what?? Ella … what the heck are you talking about?”

Yes, I understand you’re probably confused, so please let me explain.

The Negative Feedback Loop of Mental Health

You see, by using the word “could” in a statement, the statement assumes that x (ex. sadness) might OR might not be y (ex. depression). The use of the word “could” leads to the acceptance of 2 assumptions, polar opposite of each other.

Now, the possibility that somebody may or may not have y (depression in this case), in combination with that person feeling like they’ve hit rock bottom, will tend to put them on the side of caution (…the same side I was on in 2017 when I thought I had depression).

Now, when someone sides with caution they take on a “just in case” mentality. This means, “just in case I have depression, I should take the necessary precautions such as get on medication and stay home when I feel like I am so sad that I can’t get out of bed.”

[which is exactly what I did]

Now fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with the “just in case mentally” because it is completely natural; it is essentially a flight or fright response to a dangerous situation.

And although the “just in case” mentality is natural, it still leads to an acceptance of a detrimental assumption (ex. the assumption, “I have depression”). And honing in on this negative thought can take someone to a dark place and leave them stuck in a negative feedback loop.

[Which is where I was stuck in 2017]

The negative feedback loop of mental health

Here’s the explanation for the logic model you see above:

Statement: I could have depression (remember that there is nothing wrong with this statement in and of itself)

HOWEVER, this statement then leads to an acceptance of two polar opposite assumptions: (1) I do not have depression and (2) I have depression

And because 1 of the assumptions is detrimental, you side with caution and the “just in case” mentality kicks in.

Since you are now preparing for the detrimental scenario, you have to adopt the idea that the detrimental assumption is true. That said, since the two polar opposite assumptions cannot both be held at the same time, you drop the assumption of the best case scenario in order to prepare for the worst one.

So back in 2017 when I fell into this negative feedback loop, I began to adopt bad behaviour that I subconsciously thought someone with depression would carry-out i.e. my mind behaved like a depressed mind, because I believed I had depression.

And once the negative behaviour started, my mind honed in on it and I started digging my rock-bottom hole even deeper. And once that happened, I started connecting the “depressed” dots of my life in hindsight; I thought, “all those times I was sad in my life make sense now. I must have depression.”

The mind is so incredibly powerful, it’s almost unbelievable how it can take hold of a thought and hone in on it. That’s why the power of self-talk is so incredibly important.

So as you can see, if a young, impressionable teenager hears a statement like, “if you’re sad you COULD have depression,” they might associate their rock bottom experience with actually having depression. AND THEN they might get stuck in a negative feedback loop.

“I can see how the power of thought is important Ella, but how does one get out of that negative feedback loop? How does one turn their rock bottom experience into their breakthrough moment?!”

Well here is how I did it, and maybe this can help you too:

1) I accepted the fact that I am more emotional than other people (at least it seems that way to me, and I’m totally cool with that). I realized that my über emotional state is actually an advantage, and if you think you’re emotional too, you can read about the benefits here.

2) I realized I needed to practice good self-care. (Even if you don’t have a mental illness, YOU HAVE MENTAL HEALTH so you need to take care of it. Don’t wait until you hit your rock bottom to start cultivating your self care tools.)

3) I simply decided that my mind’s focus must be on improving my life. And I accepted the fact that trying to improve it will be difficult at times.

I hit my version of rock bottom, so I needed to work hard to get out.

Let go or be dragged. - Zen Proverb

Do NOT be ashamed of hitting your rock bottom

Remember that suffering is relative, which means rock bottom is relative…

So maybe that means depression is relative too??? And if it is relative, maybe that’s ok… But since medication probably shouldn’t be used as a blanket cure-all for a relative and subjective human experiences, I think medical doctors and psychiatrists should be putting more emphasis on things like mediTation instead of mediCation. After all, any circumstances of sadness, suicidal thoughts, anxiousness, and overwhelm NEED to dealt with by the patient him or herself so that those feelings can be managed in the future.

In my experience, I can confidently say my weekly visits to the psychologist were what truly helped me end the downward spiral of my poor mental health, NOT the SSRIs my doctor prescribed me.

It was by learning to fill up my mental health toolbox that built my resilience and prepared me for the normal yet unfortunate challenges in life.

So even if you don’t have a mental illness, you have mental health… and in either circumstance you need to cultivate self-care practices. Don’t get caught in the “just in case” mentality, hone in on positive thoughts, and focus on making this the #YearOfYou

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

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

Self-development, Self-Discipline

You’re Doing the Math Wrong! (Why You Need to be Ambitious in 2019)

Habit coach selfie with flowers.

“Ambition”

That’s a good word, right? I mean, I’ve never met anyone who said ambition was a bad quality.

Think about it, to have ambition is to have “a desire to achieve something, or succeed, accompanied with motivation, determination, and an internal drive.”

Sounds like a pretty sweet quality, eh? I’d say so!

Tell me something: Would you consider the following 5 people ambitious?

(1) Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon

(2) Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft

(3) Warren Buffett – master investor

(4) Mark Zuckerberg – founder of Facebook

(5) Larry Page – founder of Google.

I certainly would! And funny enough, those are also some of the wealthiest people in the world. Ambition is a quality of a high-achiever. And for that reason, I personally try hard to embody ambition.

Now here’s the interesting part…

… If it seems that ambition is such a great quality, why does it also seem that so many people are quick to shoot down and dismiss the ambitions of others?

Question mark

So to all those who knock down people’s ambitions (and maybe that’s you) I’m here to change your mind on the subject…

So what is ambition anyways?

You see, the etymology of the word ambition comes from the Latin word ambitionem which literally means “to go about” to either solicit votes, strive for flattery, honour, or popularity. So to be ambitious is to attempt to reach a uniquely high status.

So to say “I want to be the next Bill Gates”, or “I want to be the next YouTube sensation” are unique goals and therefore ambitious goals to set. To reach either of those 2 goals requires an immense amount of hard work and strategy. And because the paths to reach those 2 goals also require tenacity, smarts, and consistency, people often equate ambitious goals with impossible goals.

A person taking a literal leap of faith.

You’re Doing Your Math Wrong

My advice is to always be realistic.

Is it mathematically less probable for you to achieve an ambitious goal as opposed to a more “normal” goal? …YES…BUT that depends on your variables.

Usually people think about the probabaility of achieving a goal by using the number of applicants and the number of job opportunities as variables. For example:

If there are 100 mechanical engineers and 500 job opportunities for mechanical engineers in for world, the probability of getting a mechanical engineering job is pretty f***ing high.

In fact, the probability is 1 for 1 PLUS room for error.

Now let’s look at another example:

If there are 20 people who want to be a motivational speaker, the probability of achieving that goal seems low; it seems low because there are NO employers looking to hire motivational speakers at their businesses. Instead, motivational speaking – along with all other entrepreneurial pursuits – don’t have job openings waiting to be filled. Ambitious entrepreneurial jobs have to be created from the ground-up. Therefore, if you have 20 potential motivational speakers compared to a seemingly non-existent number of job opportunities, the likelihood of you becoming a motivational speaker based on those variables alone, is ZERO.

Now here’s my argument…

Change Your Variables

If there is 1 of you, and 1 type of job you want, and you have all the qualities necessary to do that job… you have a high probability of achieving.

In fact, your probability is 1 for 1.

If you employ what it actually takes to be the next Bill Gates or the next YouTube sensation, you will achieve your goal.

And if you’re the type of person who tells people to “stop being so ambitious” and “more realistic”, you might need a reality check yourself. And hey, so what if Person X never ends up achieving his/her ambitious goal. If he/she tried their best and is living a happy life, you should not put him/her down or discourage him/her.

Person walk up stairs that say

Lastly, and to further prove my point, there are intelligent and affluent people in the world who both trust and provide money to those who are realistically ambitious. Those intelligent people are angel investors.

Pragmatic Optimism Pays

An angel investor “is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.”

Angel investors have faith in ambitious people, and realize that innovation and therefore ambition can lead to large profits.

Dollar sign

Don’t Shoot Down Ambitions

If you are in fact an ambitious person, meaning you have smarts, tenacity, patience, and persistence, the probability of you achieving an ambitious goal is a lot higher than someone without those 4 qualities.

So as much as it sucks to start working toward a goal from the bottom, achieving your ambitious goal will make the view from the top worth it. Be realistic, use the proper variables, and trust your ambitions!

And as always, Happy Monday ❤✌

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

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

Self-development

I discovered the meaning of life – it’s less complicated than you think

“What is the meaning of my life?”

… That may be the most-asked question of our generation. Maybe even more-asked than previous generations.

…What do you think?

Haven’t you noticed the influx of YouTube videos, Instagram influencers, and bloggers heavily discussing the meaning of life? Why do you think it has become SUCH a prominent topic?

What is the meaning of life? Man searching with a magnifying glass.

Well, that question has been brought up to me a few times now, so I figured I’d finally answer it.

So why do you want to find meaning?

Reason 1)

This generation is exposed to an incredibly vast amount of media… ALL. THE. TIME. (not to say parents aren’t the ones permitting this exposure to their kids under 18).

Anyways, this addiction to vanity which is encouraged through likes, comments, comparisons, and not to mention the general idea of the Social Media Façade, has created a generation of depressed, anxious, and unconfident people.

So for example, when young Sally feels fat, unpopular, and ugly because of her thirst for positive comments on her IG selfies, it is no wonder she wants to know the meaning of her being on planet Earth.

And since this vanity addiction has been noticed by many intelligent people of our time, the message of “find meaning in life” is being throttled toward us left, right, and centre.

Reason 2)

The time period we are living in is by far one of the best (if not the best) times to be alive.

Jump for joy because 2019 is an amazing time to be alive.

At least in Western culture, this generation does not know what it is like to live through war, suffrage, segregation and Jim Crow laws, nuclear threats, a Great Depression, or a dictatorship … so yes, it is a pretty damn good time to be alive.

And because we are so lucky (again, I am generalizing Western culture), we have no idea what horrible experiences of suffering are like. So the negative experiences of young people nowadays might be minor, but since we don’t have worse lived-experiences to compare to, minor problems become “like the worst ever” and we “just can’t even”.

So with all this lack of actual danger, but all this presence of actual heartache, I think this generation has lost value for the good things in life. We just don’t realize how good we actually have it. Marriage, sex, religion, and science are major parts of existence that I’ve seen taken for granted in media and public spaces time and time again. And without life values, young people don’t know what to live for anymore. So if we feel we have little to value, how can we feel fulfilled?

Reason 3)

We’ve lost a sense of community – a sense of something that unites us.

Community holding hands

Do you attend a Church or are you part of a social group?

Do you feel oneness with your fellow Canadians, Americans, etc.?

Do you stand for anything?

I find people are becoming more agnostic when it comes to choosing values and opinions in life.

So when you have no in-group, no uniting ideas, and no sense of shared culture, then you feel like an outsider. And even worse, you feel like an outsider on the inside.

And when you’re lonely and without anyone to go to, it is no surprise that you feel your life is meaningless.

Choose what you stand for, research it, stick with it, but be willing to accept other points of view. Find a group that believes in the same thing you do and you’ll begin to feel belonging.

Now here’s the interesting part:

Humanity has always will continue to always search for meaning. It might just seem more prominent nowadays because of social media.

About 2 months ago, I read the most amazing book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Frankl used his experience in Auschwitz and other concentration camps to discover the meaning of life. He discovered that meaning is the tension between who you are now and what you can become.

Man's search for meaning, book written by Viktor E. Frankl. As a habit coach, I use the teachings of this book to help my clients improve their life.

Remember that your meaning to live comes from your capabilities and potentialities. So if you’re feeling lost, think about what you represent and what you can be if you work hard. And as always, have a Happy Monday ❤✌.

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

*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.*

Self-development, Self-Discipline, Selfcare Tips

I’ve been dying to ask you this! 💬

Habit coaching session. Coach asking student an important question for personal development.

So. I see you made it to my post. Well thank you for supporting me 🙏❤

But most importantly, CONGRATULATIONS! Seriously, congrats for taking the first step in your personal development journey.

“Uhm Ella… what do you mean ‘first step’? What other steps are there to take?”

Well I’m glad you asked! Generally speaking there are only two steps: (1) figure out what to do (2) do it.

That leads me to a question I’ve been dying to ask you:

Are you an anchor or an engine?

Have you actually been implementing these motivation Monday tips I dish-out in my posts? Or, have you been reading them, saying “seems cool”, and then going back to your daily routines?

Dude, you gotta be an engine!

Be an engine!

You have to take action when you think it might be helpful. If you have a problem – any problem at all – it will persist UNTIL you actually do something to solve it.

Inaction = stagnation
Action = progress

Don’t create a habit of inaction when you could spend your moments pursuing answers to your questions and solutions to your problems.

Don’t be an anchor. Don’t hold yourself down when you need to move up in the world.

Don't be an anchor. Boat anchor.

START YOUR ENGINE TODAY… AND HERE’S HOW TO DO THAT:

Fuel Up.

You need to put yourself (your mind and your body) in a position where you are able to take action.

1) Fuel-up using your mind

Belief, gratitude, discipline. Those are three things necessary for your mental development. Belief in a goal, being grateful for your opportunities to reach that goal, and being disciplined in your positive thoughts will you help create that “moving up in the world” type of mindset.

Affirmations, happy thoughts, I am kind, worthy, and hard working.

2) Fuel-up using your body

Nutrition, fitness, intuition. Those are three things that will improve your physical health that will in turn improve your improve your brain health. Your brain is connected to your physical wellbeing in more ways than you think.

Proper diet and exercise prevent inflammation in your gut. In fact, recent studies show that “microbiome [(the good bacteria that live in your gut)] may influence cognition and behaviour by altering the functioning of the immune system.” So your ability to have a healthy mindset depends largely on whether you have a healthy body.

By giving your body the vitamins and nutrients necessary to thrive, you will be in a better position to push to new limits. You will be less fatigued, stronger, and more importantly you will learn to intuit what type of food and exercise works best for your body.

Healthy and nutritious fruit bowl

… And just when you thought I wasn’t going to include a nifty analogy to explain why you need to FUEL UP … BOOM here is it:

You’re at home Saturday morning and you want to make a nice meal. …but you have NO FOOD in your house. So you decide to TAKE ACTION.

You get in your car and put the key in the ignition so you can go to the grocery store for food. But wait … YOU HAVE NO GAS IN YOUR CAR!

That’s a problem because no gas means you can’t start your engine, and that means you can’t get food at the grocery store.

You need to fuel up. And in order to be in the proper position to fuel-up, you need to (1) locate the nearest gas station on a map, and (2) have your driver’s license.

If you’d like to wake up every morning motivated to reach your goals and thankful for your opportunities, you have to fill up your gas tank.

Fuel up so you can reach your goals. Fill up your gas tank

In conclusion …

… it’s not just about taking action, it’s about being it the right physical and mental space so that you can take action efficiently and strategically.

So pick a problem in your life. Start small and start with you. Don’t be concerned with rearranging the world around you until you address your personal short-comings. And if you want to start today, make sure you check out this blog post where I show you how to identify areas of your life to work on.

I hope you have an amazingly productive day and as always, have a very Happy Monday ❤✌

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

*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.

Selfcare Tips

🤔 How to be Happy On a Monday

Happy Monday! … Right?

*insert awkward silence*

… What?

You mean you’re not happy? You’re telling me you’re miserable because you have 5 days left of work before you can relax again?

Damn…

Ok, well I really want you to be happy! And before you start questioning whether I’m oblivious to life’s problems, I’ll straight-up tell you I DO NOT THINK happiness is a 24/7 state of mind. I think happiness is something we choose to feel or find so that we can more easily be resilient in the face of adversity. This means you can be sad, anxious, stressed, or have any other negative reaction but you still decide to learn from experience, find positive aspects of your experience, and figure out how the hell you can keep moving forward.

You can find the key to happiness. I think I found it. Finding it was incredibly hard, but so incredibly worth it. Remember inner peace, positive mind.

That said, I need you to learn the key to happiness for the betterment of your health, your relationships, and your productivity. And as you may have guessed, I am going to tell you that key using this nifty analogy:

Think about the lightbulb in your kitchen. You know, the one you turned on this morning to make a cup of coffee before heading out the door.

That light works because a small wire inside the lightbulb creates a circuit of electricity, and that electricity is drawn-in from whatever source the lightbulb is plugged in to. So when you turn the light on…BOOM, HAPPINESS…wait no, I mean LIGHT! Hmmm… they are quite similar, don’t you think?

A lightbulb shines from within. Just like the lightbulb, you can find true happiness and shine from within.

Imagine yourself as that lightbulb.

If you want to shine, the little wire circuit inside of you has to (1) create a closed circuit, and (2) be plugged into a source of electricity.

So just like the light, happiness comes from within you; it is a decision you make to regard at least some part of an experience as positive (even if that just means learning from something shitty). HOWEVER you can’t forget about “plugging-in” to good sources of electricity like family, friends, content such as books and films, work, hobbies, etc.

But… remember that even if you’re plugged-in to the right things, you can’t find true happiness unless the wire circuit inside you is complete.

To find true happiness, you have to follow the personal development loop. What this means, is you have to give yourself the right doses of self-care, self-development, and self-discipline in order to live a balanced life.

Stressed from work? Use your lunch break to assess why that is.

Concerned about money? Take 2 hours on a weekend to set-up a budget.

Want to wake up earlier? Work on getting more restful sleeps then accept that you need to wake up when your alarm goes off EVEN THOUGH that will be hard.

You can do it. But that “it” you’re looking for can only come from you.

And to clarify again, I am NOT telling you to become happy 24/7 and therefore oblivious to the challenges of life. I AM telling you it is possible to learn how to manage shitty circumstances. Because the quicker you can bounce back from a tough time or pull through a struggle, the quicker you will get back to happiness.

So why is happiness important?

1) Your relationships will improve because others will enjoy being around you.

2) Your outlook on life will improve, therefore bettering your mental health.

3) Most importantly, happiness will motivate you to continue developing yourself.

And speaking from personal experience, my focus on happiness has VASTLY reduced my stress, improved my patience, and even improved my general attitude towards life.

Because I’ve trained myself to see the positive aspects of life while also learning from the negative aspects, there’s nothing that can stop me from moving forward.

So in conclusion…

… remember to be like that lightbulb in your kitchen. Because once you are, you’ll shine bright for everyone around you….once you are, you’ll be happy.

Shine bright like a lightbulb, bright with happiness.

So as always, I hope you have a very happy Monday ❤✌

“Outside, winter’s darkness closes in. Inside, you have found your own Light.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

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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.

Self-development, Selfcare Tips

So You Want to Better Yourself… But You Don’t Know Where the F*** to Start – READ THIS

Last week, one of my buddies asked me a fantastic question, what is the first step to re-training your brain?

I thought it was an easy answer. And then I realized I was incredibly wrong. DAMNNNN. How have I not written a blog post about this yet!?

So here I am about 10 days later, sharing the very first step you need to take to re-train your brain.

– LIFE AUDIT –

Retrain your brain through the power of habit. Self-care, self-development, self-discipline.

Have you ever done an audit? Not the kind you do at work which looks at policies or finances etc… For this audit, I want you to look at 6 main categories within your life. I want you to assess your daily routines so that you can make necessary changes for success.

HOW TO:

Step 1 –

Grab a pen+paper, then divide the page into 6 sections. Each section gets 1 of the following headings: Family/Relationships, Work/Business, Health, Personal Development, Spiritual, Finances.

(If you want to add or replace a section that fits your life better, feel free to do so.)

Step 1 of life audit. Family/relationships, work/business, health, personal development, spiritual, finances.

Step 2 –

In each section, write down 1-3 goals that you’d like to achieve. They can be big or small; anything from mid-afternoon goals to goals that could take 1,5, or 15 years to accomplish.

Don’t worry about the details of the goal yet… just write down what the goal actually is. Go with your gut. If what comes out seems unrealistic, the next part of the audit will dissect the concrete from the exaggerated.

Add 1 to 3 goals under each section of life audit. Goals for success.

Step 3 –

Picture your life.

Visualize your in your mind, then scroll out like you would in google maps so you can take a look at your life through a giant objective lens.

Think about what do you from AM to PM 7 days a week. What routines do you take part in? What things should you stop or change-up?

Based on what you analyzed, write down 1-3 new routines that you need to implement ASAP in order to reach the goals you just set-out for yourself.

Make sure these new routines are realistic and practical, but also make sure they are challenging. Because no pressure means no diamonds…right?

Write down 1 to 3 routines/habits you need to implement in order to reach your goals.

Now start making changes. And because your changes and goals will continue to evolve, I recommend coming back to this audit every 6 – 18 months.

Keep in mind, you will have to work hard.

And if you aren’t prepared to work hard, then you aren’t prepared to change.

And that’s it! That is the first step to retraining your brain. If you’ve completed this audit, but you need help implementing your changes, let’s work together! I want to help you be successful. And SWEET BONUS: I am offering the first coaching session FREE to anyone who reads this blog post. Just make sure you send me a picture of your audit!

Alright, I hope you kick butt this week! And as always, have a productive and 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.

Selfcare Tips

How to Finally Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin (Learn to Be Yourself in 3 Steps)

Be comfortable in your own skin

Socialization has a funny way of eating away your self-confidence.

… Don’t you agree?

Think about it, you were born a happy little baby, but as soon as you were exposed to society – whether that was through school, social media, or recreational activities – the self-judgment began.

“I want those new Jordans because they are the fly-est shoe.”
“I want a thinner waist so I can look hot on the gram.”
“I need bigger lips to make me feel pretty.”
“I need to do squats everyday so my ass can look bomb.”

Stop. You don’t need to punish yourself like that.

You want to feel good about yourself – I get it. Who the hell doesn’t want that? But (and here comes the shocker) did you know you can legitimately feel good about yourself just by owning the body and the personality you were born with??

I know that may sound crazy (especially if you’re under 20), but if you read this post til the end, I’ll teach you 3 things you can start implementing in order to become comfortable in your own skin.

1) Physically remove the nonsense.

Yes I said “physically”. There is no way I’d sit here and tell you to start by mentally ignoring things and people that don’t serve you because that requires a lot of willpower. And let’s not kid ourselves, very few people in the world have that kind of willpower, and they are probably not reading this post.

So if you’re starting from square one like most of us are, please go ahead and start the implementing the following: unfollow, block, mute, unfriend, and delete. Do whatever it physically takes to cut out the things and people breaking-down your self-confidence.

Delete fake friends

With that will come the end of comparisons.

Keep in mind, unless you can magically become another person like some “Freaky Friday” shit, you have approximately 0 reasons to compare yourself to others. You would not compare apples to oranges so why in the hell would you compare your life to the life of another person?!?! The fact is, you don’t know what’s going on inside anyone’s head, anyone’s home, or anyone’s life. So please stop wishing you were people you don’t know anything about.

2) Realize that other people want what you have.

There are literally 7 billion people in this world. The chances that at least one of them wants hair like yours or a personality like yours or a nose like yours etc., is f***ing high! We all want what we don’t have. Well the tough news is, you only have what you have!

I think it is f***ing sick that there is nobody else in the world exactly like you. Even identical twins have differences in personality and behaviour!! BABE, you are LITERALLY 1 in 7 000 000 000 000! That in and of itself is a lovely freaking miracle!

Unique and lovely

Please understand that no matter how hard you try to not be you, your true self will always shine through. Always and forever, you will be lucky enough to be yourself, and that my friends is a beautiful thing.

3) If you want to succeed at anything (…and yes, I said anything) you HAVE TO work at it.

And, believe it or not, that includes being comfortable in your own skin! I know it may seem shocking that you have to practice such a thing. But being comfortable with yourself in a socialized world does not come naturally.

Have you ever realized that adults get embarrassed less often than kids and teenagers? That is because they’ve been being themselves for a longer time!

So the good news is, you’ll get there too. And you can get there quicker if you start to do little things every day that will make you feel confident. Start by doing your hair the way you want, then wearing the clothes you want, then working the job you want … then one day, a few years from now, you’ll wake up and realize you are absolutely full of happiness because you fully embraced the real you!

Decide right now how you are going to practice self-confidence over the next 7 days. Write down the way(s) in your calendar or agenda or on a random scrap of paper, then COMMIT to doing those things. 7 consecutive days is all you need to get the “confidence ball” rolling.

In conclusion, I need you to start being brave enough to feel vulnerable. Confidence can become a habit just like anything else can. It won’t happen overnight, and it will be hard as f***, but I swear the day you realize you love who you are, you’ll realize it was worth it.

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

Love yourself

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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.

Self-development, Self-Discipline, Selfcare Tips

The Horror of Habit: Why Too Much of a Good Thing Can Seriously Break You

It’s easy to get stuck …

… in your daily routine, in your job, in your relationship.

The explanation for this? … Habit.

My Monday morning habits!

Since starting this blog, I’ve talked a lot about how staying disciplined to good routines can help you create good habits – therefore making the challenging things in life easier.

And if you haven’t guessed yet, my advice for sticking with a good routine is to practice self-care, self-development, and self-discipline, in that order.

(Side note: If you haven’t read my three-part series on self-care, self-development, and self-discipline be sure to check it out by clicking link 1, link 2, and link 3 which will open in a new pages.)

But did you know those three phases occur in a loop?

Let’s call it the “personal-development loop”.

The Personal Development Loop: self care to self development to self discipline.

My goal for you is to make moving through the personal-development loop a continuous habit. However, just like moving through the loop can become a habit, staying in one phase too long can become a habit as well … a bad habit that is.

Now why can habit be a bad thing?

Because it makes you reach for ice cream when you feel sad, and it causes you to change lanes without checking your blind spot. And believe it or not, it can also lead to laziness as an excuse for self-care, unorganized activity as an excuse for self-development, and over-working yourself as an excuse for self-discipline.

And now I’ll admit something embarrassing:

Not too long ago, I realized I was stuck in a bad habit of self-care. I needed to un-f*** … ugh sorry, autocorrect … I meant to say I needed to un-stuck myself.

This all started when I was caught in an equally bad habit of self-discipline. I worked my brains out, and because I stopped moving through the personal-development loop, I burnt out. I sought help and learned how to implement self-care to get back into the swing of things.

So I started practicing gratitude and meditation. I started sleeping-in when I woke up tired after a crappy sleep. And I started drawing when I had spare time after work. I pressed pause on my competitive edge and learned how to take care of myself first.

Here’s where the problem started…

Once I was ready to take the next step in the personal-development loop (i.e. self-development), I couldn’t break my self-care routine. I became too cozy in my self-care lifestyle that I let it turn into a bad habit.

So instead of waking up to my alarm each morning, I started sleeping-in because I thought I was “doing my body good”. And instead of doing my regular high-intensity interval training, I drew pictures because I didn’t want to “over-work” myself. What I was really doing, was justifying laziness by calling it self-care; I got so used to my former self-care lifestyle that I was inhibiting myself from personal development.

Now let’s look a little deeper at how habits form.

I am currently reading a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (and I freaking love it). The book explains that habits are formed in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia (see the figure below).

Your brain on habit - the basal ganglia.

The book states, “Habits never really disappear. They’re encoded into the structures of our brain […]. The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits […].”

The good news is, “once someone creates a new pattern, studies have demonstrated, going for a job or ignoring the doughnuts becomes as automatic as any other habit” (page 20).

If we want to form good habits, we need to start very clearly laying out our goals. We need to be self-aware and recognize when we are stuck in a bad habit. And to break a bad habit, we need to start implementing new cues.

Want to wake up on time? Write out your daily schedule down to the minute. Want to work-out in the morning? Sleep in your workout clothes. Want to stop with the ice cream? Stock up on frozen fruit.

So don’t fall into the same trap I did. Personal development is a loop and a balancing act. Create good habits, even though it will be hard.

But I promise once you create good habits, your routines will rock and you’ll truly begin to understand the power of habit!

If you want more information on habits, I highly recommend The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Click here to get yourself a copy.

Have a happy and productive Monday! ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: Please note that some links may be affiliate links which means I will make a small commission of each purchase. Any commission I make will help me to continue creating free content.

Self-development

How to Seriously Advance Any Career

Pressure

Societal, family, peer … I guarantee we’ve all felt it from one source or another.

As a “millenial“, I’d say one common pressure felt by a lot of Gen Ys and Zs is that university degrees allow you to achieve your dreams.

*insert eye roll*

For the record, I am not saying university is a bad place to be, especially if you need and / or want a particular degree (says the chick with 2 degrees herself). BUT, what I am saying is presenting university as the best place to be is misleading people whose wants lie elsewhere.

Alternatively, in the past year or so, I’ve noticed a huge push on social media for entrepreneurship.

Similar to the idea of attending university, entrepreneurship itself is not a bad thing (and I personally think it is a great alternative or complement to university based on the way the education system seems to be headed). BUT entrepreneurship should also not be presented as the best option for young people.

Let me provide some examples to better explain why.

Example 1) The other day I saw an Instagram post that said something like “most of us serve a life sentence in a 9-5 job.” … this person actually compared a life prison sentence to legitimate work. Seriously!? I can see what they might’ve meant but I think that comparison is both dramatic and unfair.

Example 2) The same night I saw a Facebook post where someone mentioned that “entrepreneurship is the most courageous thing to do on this planet”. Yes, that was the exact quote. The most courageous thing!? What about firefighters who often literally risk their physical wellbeing just by doing their job? Or those who go to the police after being raped? Or those who realize that they hurt someone in the past and need to apologize? Or neurosurgeons? Or people just trying to live in war torn countries!?!

Simply put, I do not recommend we push people in the wrong direction by telling them university is the best place to be, but it is equally as dangerous to push people into entrepreneurship. Instead, I think we should encourage people to be problem solvers and teach them how to grow within the career of their choosing.

If you want to promote entrepreneurship because you think it is amazing and we need more entrepreneurs in the world, go for it. I might actually agree with you. But to tell people that having a 9-5 job working for an employer is a bad decision!? Stop. And then to say entrepreneurship is the most courageous thing to do on the planet!?…..that is just wrong.

A 9-5 can provide you with benefits, a good wage, minimal stress compared to entrepreneurship, and work-life balance. That sounds freaking awesome to me. In fact, I lived that life for 3 years and I have no complaints about it.

Telling a mass number of people that working a 9-5 is like going to prison, is a very bad idea (if you ask me) and you’re probably not doing the world any favours. Imagine we lived in a world where we had more entrepreneurs than employees. How would any business survive? The entrepreneurs wouldn’t have anyone to work at their companies! The world needs journalists and sales associates and dental assistants just like it needs people like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. And people who choose to work as employees instead of employers are hopefully doing it because they want to and because they are capable of that style of work.

Instead of making entrepreneurship the end-all be-all, I think we should advertise creativity.

We should tell people, that no matter what their job is, they should read books and problem solve on a daily basis so that they can make their place of work (where ever that may be) operate more efficiently. That might mean inventing an electric car, proposing a new curriculum for primary school students, or having the courage to propose a new working style to your manager.

So before you hop on social media to bash or promote a certain lifestyle, please consider something the world may actually need more of: creativity, analytical thinking, courage, and logic.

Work hard, be smart, and remember what’s right for you might not be right for the person next to you.

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

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