Last week was all about 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing. If I left it at that, it would feel like doing bicep curls on just my left arm, or throwing out the trash without putting a new bag in the trash can. Things, big and small, need to be balanced: so if you stop doing some things, you should also start doing other things.
Just like last week, these are lifestyle areas to draw out your inner happiness and confidence, as well as spread some positivity around for others. You will have to work at it and it won’t happen over night, but one day you’ll catch yourself doing one of these things naturally and that little lightbulb in your head will go off, likely accompanied with the realization that you’ve achieved some growth.
#1 Start Speaking Up
We live in a time and age when people are being encouraged to find their voice. Some are doing this well, like Emma Watson and Halsey, and others are…well, not so great. There is still a time and place to shut your trap and nod your head while blending in with the wall paper, but those instances are falling into the majority. It’s time to start taking small and big steps towards having your voice heard.
Let’s start little. The next time you’re with a group of friends or coworkers and everyone is asking “where do you want to go for lunch?” but no one is coming up with an answer, speak up! Even if you truly don’t care if your get salads or pizza or just raid the vending machines, you’ll be the hero for giving a definite answer, rather than just keeping the question game alive. It’s so simple, but it will give you a bit of a confidence boost and people will start to pay attention to your existence.
How about a medium step? The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, say so. Tell your BFF “I’m having a rough week and need a girl’s night”. Go to your boss and say “this project is bigger than I anticipated and I could use more resources to make sure it’s done on time and done well”. Feeling underwhelmed? It’s okay to say “no hard feelings, but this date isn’t going very well. Why don’t we just get the check now, shake hands, and call it a night?” rather than suffering through another hour and then pretending like you had a good time and should do it again sometime.
Now we’re ready for a big step, and it’s going to be uncomfortable. But necessary. And worth it. This is the step where you start speaking up when things are uncomfortable, rather than gritting your teeth and bearing with it because for some terrible reason, you think that’s how it should be. This is where you start challenging voices of authority that aren’t keeping up with the times, that are delivering false information, that can’t defend or rationalize their actions. It’s time to start calling out instances of mansplaining and hepeating and sexism and racism. I won’t lie, it will be hella awkward in the moment. But later, when you’re driving home and reviewing your day, you’ll feel a lot better knowing that you stood up and made a stand.
#2 Start Thinking with Confidence and Love
The saying “beauty comes from within” refers to kindness and a good personality. Wanna know where those things come from? Confidence and self love. I’ll wait for you to pick of the pieces of your blown mind at this realization.
But seriously, we’ve got to start learning to love ourselves, and that starts with the way we talk to and about ourselves. Every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep (or as often as you can), tell yourself that you are great, you are worthy, everything if fine. It’s cheesy and you’ll feel silly, but it will make such a difference in how you present and carry yourself.
The best part? You can totally fake it, and it still counts. In the beginning, you might not believe yourself when you think “I am beautiful” or “I am worthy of love”, but you need to say it anyway, and with as much conviction as you can muster. The saying is “fake it until you make it”. And there’s science behind it to prove it works.
I’ll leave on this note: how you treat yourself sets the standard for how other people can treat you.
Related Reading: 6 Mantras To Live By In 2018
#3 Start Challenging Your Conditioning
It’s like Ms. Norbury said, “You’ve got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.” We need to start examining our behavior, language, reactions, ideas, roles, and everything and figure out if it’s something we do because we like it and it feel right, or if it’s something we’ve been secretly trained to do. Our words and actions reinforce other words and actions, like the idea that sexual activity it okay for guys but not for girls, because that’s just wrong.
There’s this idea that the first thought through your head is what you’ve been conditioned to think. Things like “ew, that girl is so fat” or “I have a flat tire so I should call my boyfriend to fix it”. But it’s your second thought that defines you: “that girl is rocking her skin; good for her” or “I should call my boyfriend to teach me to fix my flat tire so I can do it myself next time.” It’s time to start rethinking and going with that second thought. That also means thinking about yourself differently (see #2 above!).
#4 Start Half-Assing Things
In the wise words of Amy Phoeler, “The doing is the thing.” It’s not going to be perfect the first time you do it, so you have to start somewhere. So it’s just about the doing, not the result.
I am not a fitness person. I do not love the gym or have a clue about what to do when I’m there. But it’s important to be active and healthy, so I go. In the beginning, I went for the minimum twenty minutes, did a little of this, barely touched that, and then went home. And I celebrated! It was an absolutely terrible workout, but it was more of a workout than I had done before. I congratulate myself on going, on just showing up and doing the bare minimum, because I was focusing on building the habit, of just getting out of my shell and doing it. Bit by bit, my workouts started to increase in length and purpose and I’ve improved. If I had tried to be perfect on day one, it would have been too much pressure and I wouldn’t have even started.
So really, this is about “starting to start”.
#5 Start Going For What you Want
Sitting around wishing for something isn’t going to get you anywhere except Sadville. Want a better job? Start applying. Want love? Stop wondering why you can’t meet anyone when all you do is sit in the dark watching Netflix; go out and make the first move! Or adopt a puppy. Either works.
You can start small (see #4), but you have to start. Saying “maybe next year” is just another way of saying “I want it, but not badly enough to do anything about it, so it will never happen.” Get out of that cycle, grab life for the reigns, and start taking control! Because you can do it, you do deserve it, and it is worth it.
When you’re ready to start, I’d love to hear from you! Let’s help each other stay on course towards growth, so don’t be afraid to reach out.