Make the Most of Your Day Off! Checklist Included

In this video I talk about 8 things you can do, on your days off, to make sure you feel like you’ve accomplished something! I also made a checklist, if you like ticking those good ol’ fashioned boxes. Check it out below.

PS. I haven’t been able to make this into a downloadable PDF just yet, but I’m workin’ on it! For now you can use it as a template to make your own or click on it, copy it, and paste it into a word document if you’d like to print it!

Make the Most of Your Day Off Jess Bodrug

Thanks for watching!

♥ Jess

 

How to Make a “Reset List”

In this video I talk about how to make a Reset List, which is a document you can create for yourself to refer to whenever you need to reset, recharge, and re-energize! Use it in times of laziness, low mood, or lack of motivation for a push in the right direction! I’ve included some examples from my own Reset List at the end as well.

It’s an activity I’m featuring from a lil’ online course I made, called Reset Rituals, which you can access for free here! It’s all about giving yourself a reset when you feel you’re not making the kind of progress you’d like to on your goals.

I hope you like the video, let me know what you think 🙂

♥ Jess

Let Yourself Feel Good

Let Yourself Feel Good

I once asked a friend how they coped with their symptoms of depression and they gave me this advice: focus on the things you like to do.

At the time, I didn’t think much of it because it seemed impossible that by doing things I liked I could feel better when I was already feeling so bad. Reflecting on this advice now, I realize there’s more to it. For me, it’s not just about doing things you enjoy, it’s about acknowledging and appreciating that you’re experiencing positive emotions as a result of doing those things. I think it’s important to take time to notice when you’re feeling good. We so often find ourselves wallowing in negative emotions, so why can’t we “wallow” in positive emotions too?

Sometimes, we feel almost guilty for feeling good. It could be because we’re not used to it and it feels foreign, or maybe we’re uncomfortable with the fact that we feel so good when there are things to worry about and so much suffering in the world. However, only when we really notice that we’re feeling good can we really be in the right mindset to make positive contributions to the world and help lessen that suffering (for others and ourselves).

For example, I feel more engaged, capable of helping others, and confident at my job when I’ve let myself enjoy a walk outside while listening to a podcast or music I love before work. There’s value in doing little things that make you feel good, like going into nature, writing, gaming, making or listening to music, creating something, or spending time with like-minded people and saying “Fuck, I feel good! And I’m giving myself permission to fully enjoy it!” The more those little moments of joy are fully appreciated, the less room there is for the negative emotions.

If you’re wondering what I mean by “allowing” yourself to feel good or “acknowledging” when you feel good, I’ll state the following. Sometimes when I’m struggling or feeling negative, especially if it carries on for lengthy periods of time, I become less able to acknowledge when I’m actually experiencing something I enjoy, which would generally bring me positive emotions. In these times, I tend to subconsciously suppress those good feelings because they either don’t seem purposeful at the moment or they die away on their own when I remember how bad I feel about other things. By recognizing when the positive feelings are trying to come out, even if they’re rare, we get to experience them and take more actions that produce such feelings.

We humans seem to have a bias towards focusing on the negative about a situation. This has evolutionary purposes in keeping us alive but also causes us great worry. I’ve walked away from a great conversation with someone and kept reflecting on the fact that I thought they perceived me as too weak. We can receive many positive comments on our work but somehow manage to focus on the one negative comment. Well, there is hope: we are capable of rewiring the negative pathways in our brains (Schwartz, 2011). By giving as much attention to our positive thoughts and emotions as we do to our negative ones (if not more), we can restructure the pathways we’ve created in our brain structure from thought patterns that default to the negative into one’s that are more keen to notice the positive.

Sometimes it feels wrong for me to say “I’m happy right now” because I always think there has to be an exception or a reason why I shouldn’t feel that way. That negative bias (and my perfectionism) makes me think I should be focusing on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. It’s as though I could feel happy, but… there’s always a “but”. However, you can still feel happy with an imperfect life. You can fully enjoy a moment and still feel you have room to grow or that parts of your life are not where you’d like them to be. In fact, doing so will likely help you gain enough perspective and strength to improve those other areas of your life. You can experience joy in the same month, week, day, or moment as you feel dissatisfaction. You’re allowed to feel happy, even if you feel incomplete.

Lately, my mood and outlook have improved, though no external changes have occurred. I attribute this increased positivity and satisfaction in life to this change in my mindset towards viewing my life in terms of what I already have and what I can do daily that makes me feel good. I tend to go through periods of more-positive or more-negative moods, as I’m sure many of us do, but the act of really letting myself feel my positive emotions has been consistently making me feel capable of combatting negativity when it does arise. For me, this looks like giving myself extra time to really take in a beautiful view, being fully present and engaged in a deep and meaningful conversation, and journaling, either what I love about a moment or the positive emotions I’m experiencing. Also, strangely enough, smiling seems to help. When I’m on a walk, the sun is out, and the scenery is beautiful, just smiling (which, if anyone is around you, feels absolutely mental) just really sends home those positive vibes.

There are also periods in all our lives when positive feelings seem few and far between. Perhaps this is when we need to practice appreciating the positive the most. There is always something to appreciate, even if it’s a moment where we act in a way that makes us proud of ourselves, or we find a fictional character in a book or series who we admire or relate to. It could be connecting with someone, even if it’s about your negative emotions, or getting a task done. Try to notice any little feeling you can enjoy that, even temporarily, helps you feel at-ease or worry less about your past or future.

By noticing what we love about different moments in our lives, we become aware of how much abundance we already have, in terms of belongings, relationships, character traits, or positive emotions. This is also a great way to really engrain positive memories; by really taking note of all those good moments, you may have stronger, more positive memories attached to them. Even if you try to notice the tiniest thing that you feel good about, like your walk to work, practice really enjoying it. Give yourself full permission to feel happy or calm or excited when these emotions try to creep through. If we really focus on fully experiencing and appreciating those positive moments when they do occur, we become abler to work more of them into our lives, little by little.

 


Schwartz, J. (2011). You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life. [Kindle DX Version]. Retrieved from Amazon.ca.

Authenticity or Archetype

Authenticity or Archetypes?

For some time, I’ve thought of authenticity as the sort of end-all-be-all of self-improvement. As if, somehow, becoming truly authentic is the ultimate goal in terms of knowing, being, and expressing oneself.

For me, authenticity meant expressing outwardly (through behaviours, how you speak, how you dress, etc.) the person you truly are on the inside. I thought that by expressing your “true self” across all situations and environments, you could be consistently, and respectably, you. For me, authenticity never meant being brutally honest to the point of being an ass, it meant not changing who you are to please others.

I think authenticity has been such a juicy idea to me because (a) I used to work at a job that didn’t feel like it matched my values, goals, or the type of environment I wanted to be in, (b) I’m someone who tends to be a people pleaser and have made the mistake of saying what I thought people wanted hear, and (c) I’ve always admired people I consider to be authentic; people who don’t put on a certain “face” just to be liked.

I’ve wanted to promote authenticity as a kind-of protective factor against caring what other people think or letting them get in the way of accomplishing your goals. I wanted to write about authenticity, praising it and provoking thought on the subject by asking people if they’ve ever felt like they were lying about who they were or felt like the person they were on the inside didn’t match the person the rest of the world saw. I used to think being authentic meant presenting yourself the same way in every situation; as you.

Recently, my thoughts on authenticity have shifted, in part due to a piece of writing by blogger and Rookie Mag editor, Tavi Gevison (who I will quote throughout this post). I can’t say I don’t still admire authentic people and think authenticity is an honourable goal, but Tavi reminded me that by thinking of authenticity as a need to be consistent, I may be restricting myself from considering another perspective.

“It breaks my heart how often we stop ourselves from knowing an unexplored facet of who we already are—it’s there whether you acknowledge it or not—because ‘that’s not who I am.’ Or when a friend keeps herself from trying something new, not because it’s mean or unethical or dangerous, but because it strays from the narrative of who she’s been thus far.”

I’m not saying that feeling authentic isn’t amazing. Only you have the combination of genes, experiences, characteristics, interests, and habits that you do, and thus being yourself should be highly valued. However, I now acknowledge the existence of multiple sides, or archetypes, in everyone. It’s okay to express all the different, and seemingly incongruent, sides of who you are.

“It’s not “fake” to behave differently with an old relative than you would with a new friend, than you would with a teacher, than you would with a classmate. If anything, it’s an act of courtesy to acknowledge that these are separate people, with whole subjective realities that differ from one another, and whom you might connect with more effectively if you are not concerned with using them as an audience for the consistency of your personality.”

I love that last bit! By being adaptable and responsive to situations, people, and environments, you’re not being inauthentic or inconsistent, you’re expressing different aspects of your personality and connecting on different levels! It’s not about being ashamed of a part of yourself and hiding it from particular people, it’s about understanding that different people bring out different, and equally wonderful, sides of who you are (PS, if the people around you aren’t bringing out sides of you that you respect, make a change, either to yourself or your friend group).

Now, there may be certain sides of yourself that you’re not a fan of, but you can still work them into your identity in a positive way. For example, if you experience anxiety, you have the ability  to work on lessening its negative effects on your life while still sharing this side of yourself when it can help others who struggle with anxiety. Don’t spend too much time hiding these bits of yourself, they are usually the ones that make you relatable, real, and able to help others feel less alone.

To find the balance between being authentic and expressing your different archetypes, get to know yourself! Let the necessary sides of you rise to the surface when life calls them! It’s one thing to express your professionalism at work and your playfulness with friends, but feeling like you have to suppress who you really are to succeed at work is not expressing a side of yourself (nor is it authentic), it’s harmful to you. Put yourself in environments that appreciate your strengths and make you feel excited and confident about who you are. Focus on what you like and how you feel and forget the ‘shoulds’  and the desire to be perceived as consistent. Be you, however that manifests!

“There’s so much to be said for following your instincts, not needing to put words to everything you do, not trying to choose one identity or decide how you ‘should’ feel.”

I haven’t dropped the desire to be authentic, I think I’ve just changed my definition of what it means to be authentic. I now acknowledge the importance of giving yourself permission to change over time, to express different aspects of your personality at different times, and to be okay with exploring these different archetypes of who you are. Even in regards to who I am online, I’d rather look back and feel nostalgia because I captured moments of joy and wrote about what interested me rather than having tried to create a persona that I will probably later feel disconnected from.

“Recently I was telling a friend that I felt like an impostor when people would say they connected with something I wrote ages ago but which I no longer agree with, because I’m not any of those people anymore. And he was like, ‘You’re right, you’re not. You’re better. But you had to be all of them first.’ ”

In Bronnie Ware’s 5 Regrets of the Dying, she says that a common regret people have near the end of there lives (she worked in palliative care) is wishing they “had the courage to live a life true to [themselves], not the life others expected of [them]”. I want to look back on life and appreciate how wonderful it was that I was uniquely myself, rather than merely wishing  I’d fully expressed everything I was and had to offer. Don’t try to cultivate the ‘perfect’ version of yourself, just live in accordance with your values and do what you love and know is right!

“There is nothing catastrophic about switching out one plate for another. None of them are ever too far away, and living with the mindfuck of their coexistence instead of scrambling to somehow resolve it can feel really good. It’s one of the gifts of being alive. Getting to take yourself seriously enough to examine what’s wrong and celebrate what’s working, but not taking yourself so seriously that any of these moments define you or make any of us all that special.”


All un-cited quotes are from this aforementioned article by Tavi Gevinson.

Grey Area

It’s Okay to Be In the Grey Area

Grey-area:

“An area intermediate between two mutually exclusive states or categories, where the border between the two is fuzzy.”

Fuzzy. Wishy-washy. Unable to pick a side. There can be a negative connotation to this phrase. It might be associated with lacking passion. To me, being in the grey doesn’t mean that you aren’t passionate, that you don’t have strong beliefs, or that you can’t make up your mind. It means you understand the need for balance in life and don’t run straight to extremes. It means you are reasonable, thoughtful, and able to consider both sides of a situation or multiple perspectives at once.

Sometimes, choosing one side over another isn’t the answer. Instead, finding balance between two things can make you the most well-rounded version of yourself. Many behaviours, thought patterns, or perspectives exist along a continuum or spectrum. You may find that sitting in the middle of that spectrum can provide you with the most clarity and functionality in life.

Here are some examples of generally opposite ideas, thought processes, or actions and how balancing both of them can help us grow.

  • PS I’d like to say that not all of the pairs listed below are straight-up opposites or “extremes”. Some are more like different ideas within a category, but I thought it would be helpful to draw attention to how using them in combination can be beneficial.

Open mindedness and critical thinking.

Both of these practices are intelligent and expand our minds. Open mindedness allows us to learn new things and hear new perspectives, but on it’s own, can cause us to blindly believe whatever we hear. Critical thinking allows us to question what we learn based on our previous knowledge, but alone can cause us to become unable to believe or consider another person’s perspective.

We aren’t contradicting ourselves if we choose to use both of these tools. By balancing critical thinking and open mindedness, we can respect and learn from another person’s perspective without letting it replace the information we’ve already learned. Instead, we can add to our bank of knowledge where we see fit.

Practicality and dreaming big.

When I get going on the topic of making your wildest dreams come true, I can sometimes forget about real life obstacles that get in people’s way. My writing can come off as unrealistic or inconsiderate of those who are struggling too much to simply “make it happen”. However, I still believe that no one should settle and everyone should dream big, otherwise they may sell themselves short.

Dream outrageously big and then tame it back, making reasonable steps towards your bigger goals. Be idealistic when thinking about your dream life but be practical when you plan out how to make it happen.

Empathizing and motivating.

I greatly value empathy in people. Being empathetic means you can understand where someone’s coming from and almost share their feelings with them. However, when you over-empathize, you may contribute to someone wallowing in negative emotion, or you may even become victim to being manipulated or taken advantage of. On the other hand, you could be more of a motivator. At their extreme, motivators come across as the person who only listens to give advice/share their experiences or even as a pusher of their ideals.

Sometimes people want advice, sometimes they just want you to listen and empathize with them. A good balance between empathizing and motivating is having the ability to understand where someone is coming from and how they’re feeling while also avoiding contributing to their own victimization (which can lead to them feeling that “life has done them wrong”). You can show your support and acceptance while not subscribing to their negative choices or thoughts by inspiring them and focusing on their strengths. Help them find the qualities they possess that will help them overcome their obstacles.

Listening to your emotions and analyzing your emotions.

It is good to listen to you heart/gut/emotions when making tough decisions. When I was working a job I hated that gave me good money and status, I listened to my emotions (sadness, stress, lack of fulfillment) in order to finally make the tough decision to leave it. If I had only followed my logic, I would have stayed at this job for way too long, burning myself out and becoming depressed. However, sometimes we need to challenge our feelings to make sure they’re not coming from a place of fear.

For example, if you have a feeling that you want to leave your job because it’s difficulty stresses you out, consider the following: is this a job you want to succeed at? Do you know that doing the difficult things involved in this job will grow you and eventually reduce your stress? Or is this job never going to fulfill you and therefore causing you unneeded stress? If it’s a job that is hard in the right way (pushing you to grow and making you learn skills you actually desire), then you may need to find the balance between listening to your emotions and analyzing which ones are coming from fear. Don’t act upon fear, or you may end up leaving a job that could eventually fulfill you.

Being self-confident and being self-critical.

When you are only self-confident without critically analyzing yourself, you can inflate your ego. However, if you are only self-critical, you may tear yourself down over and over again. Being self-confident and critical, in conjunction, means loving yourself while constantly growing. It means knowing your strengths and how to use them to better yourself and the world, and knowing your shortcomings, to improve upon them in order to experience personal challenge and growth!

Thank you for reading, please let me know if you can think of any other spectrums where balancing the extremes can be helpful!

– Jess

12 Reasons Why Making Positive Change is So Hard

12 Reasons Why Making Positive Change is So Hard

We want to change ourselves for the better and we know we’ll be healthier and happier for it, so why is it so hard to make positive change stick? Why do we do things that aren’t healthy and avoid things that are? Why do we eat crap food, avoid exercise, drink too much, hang out with toxic people, overwork ourselves, or worry non-stop? Why do we feel sad about our inability to stick to positive habits and tell ourselves we lack determination, we’re lazy, or incapable of change?!

Maybe it’s how we’re wired as humans, or maybe it’s because we live in a world that isn’t exactly conducive to positive change. For example, I think it can be very easy to be unhealthy (physically and mentally) in our world. Sometimes we work long hours and have no time, energy, or mental clarity to exercise, work on our goals, or make healthy food for ourselves at the end of the day. Plus, all the easy, ready-to-eat food is widely accessible, cheaper, and generally not great for our bodies. It’s also easier to watch Netflix for hours than it is to exercise or work on improving our mental health 😉

We might create expectations for ourselves of changes we want to make and when we don’t meet them, we start telling ourselves we’re incapable of changing or we’re different from those people who have made positive changes in their life. However, I think anyone who has gone from just existing to changing their life for the better probably started from that same place of laziness and self-wallowing. What made them able to turn their life around and stick with it? I think being aware of reasons why we have such a hard time making positive change in the first place may be part of the reason. By knowing what holds us back, we’re more likely to expect these obstacles and continue moving forward when we come across them! Below, I’ve outlined what I think are the 12 biggest obstacles to making lasting, positive change.

(1) Not having strong enough motivation
In order to make a new habit stick, you need a really strong motivator that drives you to make the effort every single day. Find something that motivates you so strongly that you can bring it to mind whenever you fail, face temptation, or question why you’re making this change. If you forget the reason why you want to change, it will be all too easy to just give up when it gets too hard.

You have to find what motivates you specifically. What is such a strong motivator that every time you think about it, you get fired up and excited about making your goal happen?! Make it concrete. Write it down, tell it to yourself daily, whatever works for you, just don’t forget it.

(2) Self-doubt
In the past, I’ve told myself “well, I’ve failed before so why would this time be any different?” I think sometimes we believe that our past behaviours determine our current or future behaviours. When we doubt our ability to achieve things we’ve failed at before, we’re placing ourselves in a cycle of failure and negative emotions. Being more realistic with ourselves and reminding ourselves that we may need to face many failures before success, can increase our self-confidence.

(3) Being uncomfortable
Making change is going to be uncomfortable. This could be in the form of physical exercise, confronting aspects of our character we want to change, or doing things that scare us. You’re going to face fear, temptation, judgement, laziness, bad days, and self-doubt. By expecting these feelings and embracing them, you’ll be able to push through rather than give up when things feel uncomfortable.

(4) Distraction
For me, one of the main reasons why I don’t write as much as I’d like to, even though I know it’s good for my mental health, is all of the distractions in my life. These include social media, TV, movies, games, and even sleeping too much. Focus on where your time is going and make a plan for how to dedicate less time to the distractions and more time to the habits that move you forward.

(5) Extreme expectations
We often expect perfection from ourselves, so it’s no wonder we f*** up so much! We might say we’re going to cut out all bad foods, exercise an hour a day, write 3,000 words a day, or not drink for a month. None of these lifestyle choices are bad, but when you go from not working out at all to an hour a day, your life is going to be thrown way off balance! Start small and ease yourself into things. You’ll feel like you’re accomplishing more by actually exercising for 15 minutes 3x per week then trying to work out an hour every day and failing because you expected too much from yourself right off the bat.

(6) Expecting change too soon
Be realistic with your timeline for change. Don’t expect to be anxiety free after meditating for a month. Change comes slower and takes more effort to sustain. Expect to map your progress out over the long term in order to avoid discouragement when you don’t see change quickly.

(7) Lack of social acceptance
Sometimes the change you want to make isn’t parallel to society’s goals. Eating vegan, not drinking alcohol, or not eating sugar can be hard to do when the large majority of people around you are either doing the opposite or don’t understand why you’re doing it at all. They may even judge you negatively for trying to make the change. Find like minded people who are making similar changes and can be your accountability partners.

(8) You don’t plan ahead for failure or temptation
We tend to fall off the horse because there are so many temptations we didn’t plan for in life. By anticipating events or mental states we may experience, we are better equipped to succeed when those moments do arise. Expect that you will have mornings when you’re absolutly not motivated to get up early and go for a walk. You will want to eat junk, sit on social media all day, or do whatever your unhealthy habit is. Expect the temptation and make a plan of action for when it shows up. Expect to fail at your habit and have kind, motivating words ready to tell yourself when you do. Be realistic and forgiving with yourself.

(9) Lack of balance
No junk food is great for your body but if you need some every once and a while for the sake of your mental health, then do it! Have rest days where you lounge around and do nothing, just don’t let these days become your lifestyle. Balance the hard work with the relaxation and you’ll likely appreciate both more.

(10) You don’t acknowledge your feelings
Have you addressed why you want to make positive change in the first place? For example, make sure your desire to lose weight isn’t because of societal pressure or to distract yourself from how you feel on the inside. Making change for others doesn’t provide lasting motivation nor does changing your body always lead to increased self-confidence. Take care of your mental health first. Be real with yourself about what you’re feeling so that you know you’re making changes for the right reasons. Incorporate multiple positive habits that work together, like working on your physical health and finding something that improves your mental health at the same time.

(11) You can’t delay gratification
This is a necessary skill in order to make positive change last. Sometimes, we get in a mood where we don’t want to do something because we want to be comfortable in the moment, or we crave something we feel we must have now. We tend to give in to these temptations. However, a combination of many instances of delayed gratification can add up to a changed life (and longer-term gratification in the end)! Choose your form of gratification.

(12) You look at change as taking away from your life rather than adding to it
Change how you think about change! Make it something you want to do, not something you have to do. For example, consider that when eating healthy, you’re adding food to your life that is benefiting your body rather than taking away unhealthy food you desire. We tend to make change unsustainable and un-enjoyable when we associate it with restriction and rules. Instead, make positive change fun and enjoyable! Don’t be too strict with your regime. Create a positive association in your brain between healthy change and joy.

I hope you find that being aware of these obstacles helps you feel knowledgeable and empowered to make positive change happen in your life! Thank you for reading.

-Jess

Dream Big First Figure Out the Details Later Part 2

Dream Big First, Figure Out the Details Later (Pt. 2)

See part 1 here. This post will make a lot more sense if you do 🙂

EXTERNAL VS. PERSONAL SUCCESS

If the work you’re doing is not fulfilling to you, even if you’re good at it, you may start telling yourself that you’re incapable of accomplishing things. This can happen because the success you experience at work doesn’t really mean anything to you. I once got a position as a department manager and some people in my life congratulated me for my success. However, this position wasn’t meaningful to me. I was proud of myself for getting it but I felt that I was letting the external validation blind me into thinking that I felt personally successful. I didn’t enjoy the job and it didn’t feel authentic to succeed in that field. For me, becoming a manager is an accomplishment but it didn’t feel as real or fulfilling as writing a blog post about something important to me!

Sometimes we get caught up trying to make our lives appear successful to others. This type of success can be defined as having an important career or money or even a significant other or children. We think it’s okay to suffer in order to obtain these things because it comes across as strong, determined, or successful. We might think we need to act a certain way, be “respectable adults” or stop experiencing child-like excitement. We might think we have to pick one of the careers that’s been laid out in front of us and try to make ourselves happy with it, even though we know that it will only be tolerable. I acknowledge that there are some great jobs out there and people who love doing them but, it’s important to me that people know that they don’t have to experience life as just tolerable. You don’t exist for the purpose of appearing successful in the eyes of others. I really think life can be great if you put in the effort to make it that way and focus on what feels personally successful to you.

I feel personally successful when I do work that’s inspiring, creative, and fun and I reduce the importance of other people’s opinions of me.

DON’T GET TRAPPED IN YOUR “FIELD OF INTEREST”

Sometimes we can get caught thinking that we’re doing what we want to be doing because we’re in our “field of interest”. You don’t have to convince yourself that you’re happy working in Chapters because you secretly desire to be a writer. I love Psychology, but that doesn’t mean I need to be a psychiatrist. Doing so would only take me farther away from what I dream of doing. Don’t get caught in a job that’s in your field but not exactly it (or at least a step in the right direction). Again, this relates to personal vs. external success. Make your success personal and remember that you don’t have to make it to the “top” of your field because it is seen as the highest accomplishment to society.

You can also try multiple things! You can change directions half way through, evolve, and have multiple careers in your lifetime. It’s true that we need money to survive, so we kind of have to make it a goal to make money, but make sure you’re doing this in the best way for you. It doesn’t have to be one, straightforward path and it’s never too late to change things up.

Another way you could get trapped is by feeling pressured to figure out what you want to do with your life. You might feel like you need to have a career picked out in order to tell people (especially your parents) what you’re working towards. Don’t settle by picking something just because you feel pressured to do so. Accept that you might not know and focus on eliminating what you don’t like and gravitating towards what you do like.

THE PATH TO FULFILLMENT

In the process of making your ultimate career happen, you shouldn’t have to suffer. You’re allowed to have fun! You should enjoy the process itself, otherwise it might not be the right path for you. Of course there will be struggle, you need to make sacrifices and put in hard work, but if you’re moving towards your dream life, it shouldn’t feel too stressful, painful, or overwhelming. If it’s all contributing to you expressing who you really are and doing work that makes you feel great, it should all feel worth it and excite you to take part in.

Along your way, make sure you don’t let the side stuff masquerade as the main stuff. By this I mean don’t focus your energy on gaining external success, being respected, getting a promotion, getting a degree, or meeting others’ expectations if those things aren’t part of your path to happiness. If the job you’re currently working isn’t what lights you up, then it’s also not your main concern. This doesn’t mean you should perform terribly and get fired. It does mean that you should make sure it doesn’t take away from you working on what you love by causing you stress or slowly crushing your soul 😉 If you work a day job to do your craft of the side, make sure it inspires you and puts you in an environment where  your values are valued.

HOW TO GET THERE

I want you to get really inspired. Find inspiration of how dreaming big and focusing on something you love, even if it might not be immediately profitable, can make for an amazing and personally successful life. Any topic that’s meaningful to you can now be presented to the world through YouTube, blogging, streaming, podcasting, teaching, etc. with the use of the internet. You can make things and sell them, you can provide a service, you can start any kind of business you want with enough effort. You may not be able to make a living from it right away, but it can get you in front of audiences you want to inspire and the groups of people you want to collaborate with. I think if you’re doing the work you love, things are more likely to work out in the end. You’ll likely attract the kinds of people and job opportunities that you really desire when you’re just being yourself and doing what you love.

You might also need to address the hard stuff. Stop shying away from things that feel uncomfortable, sad, or scary to think about. Face these things in order to move through them. Get comfortable with your thoughts, who you are, what you want, and what you absolutely hate so that you can start making great things happen for yourself. Don’t shy away from thinking about the things you know are holding you back. If you do, you might end up settling for less. You can always take the safe route in terms of money and security but don’t forget that this route may be extremely dangerous in terms of emotional well-being.

TAKE ACTION

I want to give you a bit of a takeaway from this post to get you thinking in new ways about what your life could look like if you let yourself go for your dreams. If you want to figure out what is going to fulfill you (or at least make your life a little more enjoyable) and what’s stopping you from getting there, ask yourself these questions. Bonus points if you write down your answers 😉

Who inspires you? Think of people whose lifestyles or careers make you really excited and want to make things happen like they have!

What gets you giddy?! What could you spend hours working on/creating/learning about/doing? This doesn’t have to be a specific career and there can be more than one thing.

What obstacles are you creating for yourself? aka what excuses are you making for not doing the thing you want to be doing? Are they legitimate or based in fear? If someone looked at your “obstacles” objectively, would they still exist?

What are your fears? Judgement? Failure? Dissatisfaction? Not being perfect, ready, or good enough? Are these fears real or have you created them in your head?

Which fears are stopping you from succeeding in which areas of your life? How will you overcome them?

Is it more important to be comfortable and risk-free or to have what’s on the other side of your fears?

“But here’s the thing: having the fear is natural. Letting it stop you from going after your dreams is a tragedy.” – Zen Habits

This activity should give you more clarity on what lifestyle would make you feel personally successful and thus what you should focus on obtaining! Use your answers to remind yourself of how sometimes we stand in our own way. As a final action step, I want you to go do something you know you want to do but aren’t doing because you’re afraid! If you have something you’ve been putting off, do it. If you can’t do it right now, figure out all the steps it takes to be able to do it and do the first one this week. If you’re already doing it, congrats! Keep doing it!

Finally, ask yourself if you’re actually doing or just fooling yourself into thinking you’re making progress by learning about the subject, planning, making vision boards, manifesting, or whatever! I used to read about blogging and writing all the time and would feel like I was getting somewhere but I wasn’t publishing any blog posts! I was avoiding the thing that would ultimately move me forward. Figure out what helps you get stuff done and what is just a distraction.

For more reading material about creativity, self-development, and creating your dream life, check out my new resource page.