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motivation

5 Things You Need to Start Doing

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Pink and red flowers--roses and peonies--are laid out on a concrete floor. Overlaid is the title "5 Things You Need To Start Doing"

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

A bike basket is filled with bright pink flowers to symbolize the love of self. Give yourself a gift of happiness and flowers.

 

#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”.

A woman sits on a stump by the beach, the wind blowing her blonde hair.

 

#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.

March 15, 2018
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When It’s Been a Long Week, and It’s Only Monday…

Posted in Lifestyle by

Monday

It’s really hard for me to get motivated sometimes. I start thinking about things I should do, like clean my bathroom, dust my room and write “thank you” cards from Christmas, but I don’t do them. I have a lot of doubts about myself and my decisions, even if I don’t show or say anything. This weekend got me on a pretty low level. Let me reiterate this first weekend in March for you and tell you how I was built up, torn down, but still standing.

Thursday

I recently joined a company that is essentially a Costco for travelling. If you know what I’m talking about, you already know what it is, and for those of you who don’t, I’m sorry but I can’t explain it here. It’s kind of like me explaining how I liked a movie, but you have to see it to know what I’m talking about. So I joined  a few weeks ago and had invited my friends to check it out. I took one friend who is incredibly smart in business. He owns his own business and has built it all pretty much by himself. He asked a lot of questions, and by the time we were heading back home, he had me thinking a lot about my life; especially my financial decisions. Yes, this group has potential to make residual income, but you have to work hard at it and I think it’s easier to explain to strangers than people who know me well. It really took its toll on me when NONE of my friends were as excited about it as I was.

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So I found myself freaking out, trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. I have been a temp employee at my 9-5 job for 7 months with an hourly rate that isn’t enough to pay my necessary bills each month. I work some weekends with high school kids for hours and make less money in two days than I make in one day at my weekly job. I’ll take babysitting, house-sitting and pet-sitting jobs for extra income. I’ve been looking at different jobs, but with all the debt I have, I don’t have a lot of flexibility to relocate. I have four credit cards I need to pay off on top of my other debt and my car is barely halfway through the lease period. It seems like I have more than I can financially handle. As the saying goes, “I’ve bit off more than I can chew”.

Related Reading: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Budget, The Two Step: A Bilateral Move

Friday

I decided to do some work for the blog during my lunch period at work (posting on social media (if Belle hadn’t already) and trying to figure out IFTTT (IF This Than That), an app that I was recommended but am still figuring out the ins and outs of). I was also trying to budget because I knew my payment dates were coming up soon, because February is really the worst month. First it’s too short, then it makes you realize how single and lonely you are. I’m not a fan of February.

After I got off work, Belle and I headed down to Highlands Ranch to judge a high school speech and debate tournament. We’re paid by round, and each round has 5-6 kids and lasts about an hour usually. I enjoy doing this, but it is exhausting and my hand cramps up after a couple of rounds from writing critiques, but the kids make it worth it.

Instead of driving all the way back home, we stayed with my parents, who live twenty minutes away from the school. It was 8:30 p.m. when we left and I had made $27.

 

Saturday

Belle and I got up at 6:00 a.m. to arrive at the high school at 7:30. From there, we stayed until about 2 p.m (which is a SHORT day, usually we are there to well after 8 p.m.). By the time we were done with that I had earned $54 in total (almost enough to cover my utility bill for the month).

Since we had an early day, I decided to message my ex that lives in Denver (let’s call him Peter). Okay, I know what you’re thinking- but we had barely dated, then were Friends with Benefits, then decided to hang out and grab a drink casually. It’s fine. As much as Belle would disagree… Anyways, Peter wanted to go to REI and get new hiking boots and wanted me to come with. I told him when I could be there, and then he told me he had plans in an hour to meet up with a friend of his that I didn’t like. And Peter knew I didn’t like him and I avoid seeing him because he’s an a**hole. So I texted back saying I’d changed my mind and would just go home.

The reason why Peter and I never dated was because he was so hot and cold. He’d want me to hang out with his friends, but tell me he didn’t want to when I invited him to hang out with mine. He’d spent the night at my house ONCE during the 2 years we’d been doing whatever it is we’re doing, and has given me one compliment to which I cried because it was so unexpected.

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The way he reacted to me backing out was incredibly frustrating. He told me that it was f***ed up I made him wait on me and that I was being dramatic- “typical Elena”. I couldn’t understand why he would still want to be friends with me after saying all these horrible things that I’d done to him. He had bailed on my birthday because he had “s*** going on” that I wouldn’t understand, he told me he liked having sex with me and he missed me, but not like that- as a friend hanging out, and claimed that I always thought people (meaning him) are screwing me over, when it’s probably me that’s to blame… So I told him it’d be better if we weren’t friends. He took that well by telling me to “stop being so dramatic and you may find someone who you can have a relationship with” and unfriending me from Facebook. Really regretting my decision on breaking ties with this guy…

Related Reading: My Toxic Relationship, The Things He Said, Dating 101: 7 Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore 

Sunday

I made plans to meet up with one of my closest friends. I expected it to have the same kind of conversation we usually have: how the guy she’d been off and on for for years was still treating her like s***, how we wished we could vacation and had loads of money to spend, etc. But this time was different. I told her about what had happened the day before with Peter. She then proceeded to tell me how Peter had reached out to her begging her to go on a date with him and he would talk to me about it to make sure it was okay… So not only had he EVER asked me if he could date one of my best friends, he was just going for it, meanwhile texting me to come over at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night and calling me a “dramatic” person. “I’ll buy your Uber, just come over.” Sweet bro.

 

By the time Monday rolled around…

So here I was completely humiliated and disappointed in myself and my poor decisions. I was struggling financially and felt like I was back to square one. I had gone back to the same guy who treated me like garbage, and my friend had to awkwardly tell me how he had been pushy with her and that she had felt awkward and never replied. I felt like a complete failure. A part of me thought Peter was right, that maybe I was a s*** friend and that’s why so many of my “friends” had run away when I told them about an idea I was really excited about. I felt inconsiderate, not good enough, not successful and not pretty.

So I sat on my floor and cried.

Then I got a message from my friend with a motivational video saying how I was good enough. Peter had unfriended me on social media, so I wouldn’t be able to see what he was up to anymore, which was good for me. I went to a wedding shower and won a contest matching Disney songs to the movies (obviously with 100%). I went to dinner with my friend, who I hadn’t seen in years, and his fiance and had a really good time. My parents called me to see how I was doing and my sister had bought the K-Cups I liked for the Kureg for the morning. There were good things happening, I just needed to acknowledge the worst, react to it and get past it.

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No matter how low you may feel in this life, there will always be more good than bad. Don’t let the turkeys get ya down, because you are beautiful and good enough, no matter what anybody says.

 

Related Reading: Cherish: A Story of Silver Linings, Share the Love, 6 Mantras to Live by in 2018

March 5, 2018
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