New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

How to make this the #YearOfYou 😃

“Capitalize on your experiences to optimize your life.” Ella Sofia

What do you think that quote means? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read that quote?

Are you thinking about money? Opportunity? Spiritual growth? Health and fitness?

Well if that’s what you’re thinking about…don’t stop! Those things, plus all the other facets of your life are what should come to mind after reading that quote.

“But why is that Ella?”

It is because the focus of the quote is on the experiences that make up your life…ALL OF THE EXPERIENCES. And if you can use each and every one of your life experiences in the best way possible, you will optimize the total outcome of your experiences i.e. you will live a good life.

I know that’s a lot to take in, so let me break down the process of capitalizing on life experiences into 3 steps.

1) Remember Your Life Can’t Be Exclusively Good, But it Can Be “Good Too”

“Ella, you have no idea what I’ve been through. How can you say I will have a good life?”

I can tell you that because YOU have the power to judge your own experiences. And although you will live through objectively bad experiences, if you can make those experiences “good too”, you will give yourself an advantage. Remeber, if you want to capitalize on anything, you want to “gain by turning something into an advantage.”

Here’s why that’s easy:

I’m not even asking you to 180° flip the way you perceive the experience.

Flipped image

I mean, if you want to continue seeing something negatively, be my guest. HOWEVER, what you do need to do is ask yourself additional questions so you can start seeing at least some positive as well.

Here’s a classic example (it’s actually one that I saw in a Tony Robbins live event):

Woman to Tony Robbins:

My father passed away when I was young and I feel like I’ve never been able to get over it. I feel like I missed something in life because he unfortunately wasn’t around. My own children can’t even meet their grandfather.

Tony Robbins’ response to woman:

You may be sad because your father was not around while you grew up and cannot be around for your children now. That feeling is both natural and normal.

BUT, what have you learned from your father passing early? Maybe the value of being a present mother for your children. Also how to love and appreciate your children. As well as how to be a present and supportive partner for your husband.

Maybe you also learned the importance of providing for your children in case something horrible ever happened to your husband.

All valid points right?

Well the woman sure thought so.

In summary, you have to remember that shitty stuff is going to happen in your life. You can totally view it as shitty, BUT if you can ADDITIONALLY find a way to view the situation positively, then you will ultimately make a gain.

Picture it like this:

Life Optimization Chart

Let’s say experience 1 was: you passed an exam with flying colours. You will likely view that experience as purely positive.

Now say for experience 2: you failed an exam. And now you have to retake the entire course!! That is definitely a negative experience… Now you have to spend more time and money learning the same material! BUT, where can you find positivity in the shitty experience?? Well let’s see… you are going to have the opportunity to learn the material a second time. That means you will be able to dive deeper on certain subjects and see things you didn’t see the first time around. And because you will review the material for a second time, you will retain the course material better i.e. you will be able to recall it quicker and remember it for a longer period of time. That knowledge retention will come in really handy when you have to apply it in real-life scenarios.

So although experience 2 is mostly shitty, you are capitalizing on the scenario in order to optimize your life in the future.

…which leads us to step #2

2) Optimize Don’t Fantasize

You don’t need to falsify positivity to impress others with your life. You don’t need to fake it ’til you make it. All you need to do is be grateful for the little things in front of you.

When you falsify positivity instead of just appreciating the positivity you already have in your life (even if that’s just a little), you become future-focused. By being future-focused, you do not optimize your life with what you currently have, but instead, you think about how your life could be optimized in the future.

My favourite tool you can use to help optimize your present life, is practicing gratitudehttps://gratefulness.org/resource/what-is-gratitude/.

When you practice gratitude you focus on appreciating and being thankful for the valuable things in your life, no matter how big or small, how significant or insignificant. A true mark of conscious gratitude is when you recognize and appreciate what is ordinary in their life; being consciously and outright thankful for experiences in your life which are a daily occurrence and not “out of the ordinary” for you, will allow you to be happy with what is in the present instead of what could be in the future.

Alternatively, living in fantasy land and pretending your life is full of positivity and sunshine, will remove your focus from the present and cause it to be on the unknown future. You will miss out on what life has offered you.

Remember to take life for what it is: multiple experiences that just happen. You can either stack your experiences like building blocks, or stagger them like lily pads. And if you choose to hop along the lily pad route, you choose to stand on false positivity (the kind of positivity that could enter your life). The lily pads – like your future-focused positivity – are not stable so you will never find yourself moving quickly or far across the pond.

However, if you choose the building blocks route, you will climb higher in your life using what you’ve learned from your past experiences. Each block stack represents deep-rooted gratitude for what you have in your life. That type of strong appreciation will allow you to optimize your way of living.

3) Do it Through Habit

I know what you’re thinking… “Jeez Ella. I’m not generally a positive person. I don’t think I can work to find positivity in everything like you mentioned.”

Well then let me ask you, do you enjoy being negative? Perhaps you had parents / role models growing up who were negative and thus you picked up that quality. If that is the case, please know it is 100% (yes i did say 100%) possible for you to change your mindset.

The easiest way to change your mindset is to create habits out of things like gratitude and asking questions that focus on positivity. Once these practices become habitual, it will be much less difficult for you to optimize your life. You will be happier, feel more successful, have an easier time being resilient to negative experiences, and of course, you will be able to climb out of your rock bottom.

Most importantly…

If you want to learn the step-by-step guide to creating new habits, make sure you sign up for my FREE #YearOfYou course by clicking here!

In the course you will learn

1) How to identify good and bad habits in your life.

2) Areas in your life where habits are missing.

3) The habit formula to help you create success habits and break habits that are hindering your personal development.

So don’t wait on this opportunity! Click here to enroll now.

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 advice.*

New Beginnings, Self-development

Does the Limit Really Exist? (How to Realize your Endless Potential)

I’m sure we all recognize a Mean Girls GIF when we see one. What an awesome part in the movie, right? Cady answers the final question correctly in the math competition, and her high school mathlete team takes home the title!

But that’s not the important part. What’s important is what comes right before she answers the question. Cady approaches her competitor, Ms. Caroline Kraft, who “seriously needed to pluck her eyebrows” and wipe the cheap lip gloss off her front tooth.

Mean girl's character, Ms. Caroline Kraft

But then Cady immediately recognizes, making fun of Caroline Kraft wouldn’t stop Ms. Kraft from answering the math question correctly. And it was at that moment that Cady realized, “all you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

Then that’s when she says it… “The limit does not exist!”

No Limits, No Worries

Hiker achieves her goal by climbing to the top of a mountain.

Think about your goals. Maybe one of them is to run a 5 km race in a time of 20 minutes. The “problem” you now need to solve is “how do I run 5 km in 20 minutes?” And the obvious answer: train.

So you train hard for 3 months and end up reaching your goal – woohoo! But then what…? Well, option (1) you maintain the same training methods to maintain a 20 minute time for next race; or option (2) you give yourself another problem to solve – you decide to crank your training up a notch and shoot to make a time of 19 minutes and 55 seconds for the next race.

Long distance runners in a track event.

That’s what I love about being limitless – once you reach a goal, you can push harder to reach a more difficult goal. You are completely capable of getting out of your own way, and working to solve the new problem in front of you.

And if you are ever doubting yourself, remember this phrase:

“You can do anything!”

…wait, what!? You think that’s a cheesy and unrealistic statement?! Hmmm… I think not.

Maybe that statement is just a fact. Maybe the problem is you don’t believe in yourself enough to understand that fact as true.

Well I think it is true. What’s more, I think that if you are a human being, the improvements you can make everyday and the problems you can solve everyday are limitless.

Your Limit Does Not Exist

What do you think it means to be limitless? And in what sense can a human being truly be limitless?

Let’s break down the answers to those questions:

To be limitless is to recognize who you are today, and then recognize that you can be so much more tomorrow (and more the day after that, and more after that … you get the picture).

Now in what sense can you be limitless? Well that answer is interesting for the following reason. You see, most people immediately answer the question with “we have limits because we are human”. Most people think, because we are human, we just can’t do certain things (for example, flapping our arms so hard that we fly, or growing a fury coat to keep us warm in the winter). However, an answer like that tells me you don’t truly understand the power of being limitless; because an answer like that simply focuses on physical abilities.

So to answer my earlier question: we are limitless in the sense of our mental capabilities, not our physical abilities.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Think about every time you trained or studied for something. If it was a race, maybe you achieved a personal best time. If it was a test, maybe you got a 90% and scored the highest in the class.

Whatever it was, you were successful because you worked hard.

Now here’s something to think about: what if you worked harder? What if you used your capabilities to take you further next time around?

Let’s start with the example of writing a test. “Hold on Ella! I have no plans on taking the EXACT SAME test twice. So then how can I tell if I’ve pushed myself to new limits the second time around?”

That is a valid question.

But you have to remember, your limitless potential has nothing to do with answering a multiple choice question correctly, and EVERYTHING to do with HOW you go about answering that question.

Think about it, even standardized tests like the MCAT, LSAT, and SAT use a variety of questions across each individual test. But what is similar for each test is 1) knowledge testing 2) analytical testing 3) and communication testing. So if you focus your studying to improve those 3 areas, it is likely you will improve your test scores regardless of the questions being asked.

So let’s say you want to read test questions quicker. If you simply physically try to read as fast as you can, you probably won’t see much improvement. Alternatively, if you use your mental capacity to research ways to read faster and implement them on a daily basis (ex. using your finger to guide you as you read), you will start to notice improvements.

Think about the hundreds of thousands of people who, over history have said, “I have no idea how to do this”… and then thought and thought and until they figured that sh*t out!

Think about all the athletes in history who have set world record after world record. It seems there is always a new and better way to train.

Whether it was Einstein, Napoleon, Federer, or Musk all those people had to use their mental capacity to solve their problems.

So if you want to take advantage of your limitless potential, you need to be able to think your way out of difficult situations.

Defy the Odds

Can you picture your limit? Can you aactually visualize a moment where you are working hard but cannot work any harder?

If you just said “yes”, you are limiting yourself! Here’s the thing about being limitless: potential exists in the future and limits exist in the past.

If you can visualize your highest potential, you believe there is an end point. You believe there is a point you will reach and never be able to move past.

So if you want to visualize your highest potential without turning it into an end point destination, here’s one of my absolute favourite tips:

Your highest potential is just a dust door.

So if you hit that 20 minute record in the 5 km race, in that moment you might believe you reached your highest potential. But as soon as you knock on that door, POOF it disappears!

And once you have no door in your way, you continue to set more difficult goals. You continue push yourself to a new level because you are thinking smarter not harder.

That’s why the #YearofYou mantra is so powerful. Because it truly embraces the power of being limitless. Each day, you can truly take another step toward making the next 365 days the best you’ve ever experienced.

So as always, I hope you have a happy Monday, and don’t forget to make this the #YearOfYou!

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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.*

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 ❤✌

[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 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.*

Selfcare Tips

Why You Should 🛑Stop🛑 Concerning Yourself with Self-Esteem

Give me ’til the end of of this 5 minute read to get you thinking differently about self-esteem.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of esteem:

Esteem ➡️ v. regard highly or favourably; regard with respect or admiration

Now hold that thought. And let’s look at the history of the word esteem:

“Esteem” comes from the Latin word aestimare and the Old French word estimer, meaning to estimate value or appraise (1) (2).

Now take the meaning of “esteem” and apply it to the way YOU perceive YOURSELF. Do you admire yourself? What sort of value you do you place on yourself?

High self-esteem; esteemed King.

If you value yourself highly, why is that? Do you have certain qualities that rank higher on the “esteem scale” than, say, your good friend?

And how about your friend … would you esteem the qualities of your good friend in the same way they would esteem them?

If you’re seriously thinking about those questions but not sure how to answer them, we are starting to get somewhere.

Do you esteem yourself?

Think about the intrinsic value of a human being (and yes, I said “intrinsic”). The intrinsic value of a human being (A.K.A. YOUR VALUE) is infinite.

So if the value of your being – your existence – is infinite, then why bother dissecting your being into qualities that you do or do not esteem?

When you describe the way you think about yourself, instead of saying “high or low self-esteem”, just use the term “self-worth”. Accepting the existence of your human-ness is preferable to a self-diagnosis of high or low self-esteem.

“But Ella, you’re over-thinking this. I am SUPPOSED to have high self-esteem! Having high self-esteem is good for my mental health!”

I SOOOO disagree.

First, I’m not over-thinking, I just like to use words properly. If words didn’t matter, I would start calling an apple and orange, and a house a car.

On that note, if you believe your humanness has value or purpose, then why use the word “esteem”? If you aren’t appraising yourself based on anything but your existence, then there’s nothing to appraise. You simply have worth as a human because you exist. Which leads me to my second point …

Neither appraising your qualities and placing yourself higher along the esteem scale NOR regarding yourself with esteem for no apparent reason are beneficial to your mental health. As I explained earlier, you have nothing to appraise – there is no scale of intrinsic human worth. And to the second point, your humanness alone leaves you capable of personal development and therefore capable of improving your life. You should not esteem yourself for no reason, but instead give your intrinsic worth meaning by improving your extrinsic qualities. It is always better to try to improving extrinsic qualities instead of lowering the value you place on yourself because of them.

Stacks of money represents not lowering your instrinsic value based on your extrinsic qualities

But most importantly, recognizing your worth does not mean you get life a participation trophy. Thinking you’re the bomb.com for no apparent reason is called narcissism. So instead, give yourself a reason to be confident in life. As a human you are COMPLETELY CAPABLE of giving yourself a good life by working hard for something that gives your worth, meaning. Take advantage of your humanness and give yourself a reason to keep living.

For example, both the alcoholic and brain surgeon have infinite worth. But only the brain surgeon has taken advantage of his humanness to give his worth, meaning.

And as you were probably expecting, here’s a nifty analogy to help you understand:

Let’s say you’re a soccer player. Your team never practices so they come in last place in the league. Your team should not get a trophy for simply participating. BUT just because you came in last place, that DOES NOT mean you or anyone on your team are no longer soccer players.

What your team decides to do is take advantage of their “soccer player-ness” and hold weekly practices. The more your team practices, the more your team gives itself a reason to keep competing.

So no matter your race, ability or disability, career, social economic status, etc., your existence as a human being has infinite worth.

You have self-worth because you are human.

Next time you say you have high or low self-esteem, remember that esteem doesn’t actually matter; what matters is the fact you exist and you can make your existence more meaningful everyday, and that alone is enough ❤

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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, 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.

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 ❤✌

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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 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 ❤✌

[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.