Posts tagged development
How to Let Go of Shame and Bring In Success
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Shame 101

The simple definition of shame is a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of embarrassment, failure, worthlessness, and/or disgrace.

Shame follows people with addiction, hurting families and unhealthy relationships. Others can shame us and we can shame ourselves with some version of "who you are isn't okay, and nothing you do will change that. Shame on you."

Characteristics of shame

Unhealthy shame is the most detrimental human emotion. It is based on the different expectations that are placed on us by ourselves and by others. This results in the want to hide or cover up or escape. On the flip side, healthy shame leads to the blessings of humility and spirituality. 

Defenses against shame: 

addiction, anger, rage, perfectionism, etc

Descriptive shame words:

shy, embarrassed, inferior, stupid, dumb, inadequate, failure, guilty, humiliated, disgusted, worthless, mortified, a monster

Rules that follow shame

  • control
  • no talking
  • denial
  • incompleteness
  • perfectionism
  • blame
  • unreliability
  • disqualification

Symptoms of unhealthy shame

Shame is difficult to diagnose on others because most of the time it is something we're hiding from the outside world. Like when you hear people talk about someone who committed suicide and they say "they showed no signs that they were going to do that". Well yes, they actually probably did show signs, but they might not have been as obvious to observers because the person was TRYING to hide it. We try to hide what we're embarrassed of. I'm going to list out how to self-diagnose yourself though, and honestly I would argue that everyone has some level of unhealthy shame in their life and I would blame it on the cultures we grow up in. And you do not need to check ALL of these to have unhealthy shame as they are all evidence of it on their own. 

- You can't bring yourself to do things, go places, or be around people because you feel intimidated

- You experience recurrent bouts of depression

- You are in self-isolation: physically or emotionally distancing yourself from others; especially those you care about the most

- You pretend to be someone you are not

- You rely on bad habits or substances to medicate inner pain and self-loathing

- You exaggerate and or lie about yourself, your accomplishments, and your lifestyle; you brag or name drop

- Your public identity and your private self are markedly different

- You have had suicidal thoughts

- You assume the blame when someone treats you poorly or hurts you

- You make excuses for people who abuse you or treat you with disrespect

- You are unable to accept yourself as only human; instead you see yourself as subhuman or superhuman. You are unable to accept that there is both good and bad within you; you cling to a view of yourself that is all bad or all good or you alternate between the two

- You keep secrets about yourself, and you feel bound to carry them with you to the grave

- You keep a shameful part of your life separate from the rest of your life, even in your own mind; so that your behavior in one area is markedly different from the rest of your life

- You deny the nature and severity of your addictions

- You lose yourself in the needs of others: busying yourself by taking care of others; rescuing them; trying to control, fix or change them; and trying to solve their problems while neglecting your life (also known as codependency)

- You feel driven to achieve, overachieve, and excel to feel okay about yourself; you try to prove your worth by what you do (my number 1 problem in case you were wondering)

- You focus on the flaws and failings of others; being judgmental and critical draws attention away from you or consoles you that you aren't as bad as the object of your criticism 

Shame, Guilt and Toxic Shame

So now we now what shame is and looks like. Guilt is associated with shame because it is believing what we did is not okay, however, it can be beneficial when it affirms our values and motivates us to change like feeling bad that we hurt someone's feelings so we don't say that again next time. Shame can also be healthy when it causes humility so it's believing that we are limited and make mistakes. Like when we get into a car accident and realize we're not perfect. Toxic shame however is where the danger lurks because it is the belief that who we are is not okay, that we are worthless. 

How to address your unhealthy shame 

Unhealthy shame is only going to hold you back from your success, whether that be in your career, your relationships or your happiness. Releasing unhealthy shame takes time, but once you do it you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders, you're going to be motivated to change your life, and you'll grow so much spiritually. 

1. Switch from shame-based systems to self-love systems

Accepting who you are and that who you are is okay is a HUGE undertaking. And taking baby steps, in my opinion, is the best way to handle this. When you feel the shame creeping in just recognize it, stop, and change the station so the voice in your head now tells you that you are worth it. Remind yourself that this is cultural and not a fact and that you're a badass until you believe it. And again really try to fall in love with who you are. All of my posts are so woven together with this concept because it is the ultimate life lesson in my opinion. 

2. Expose shame and treat it like a feeling

Call that shit out. Go and see a therapist and talk about it. It grows so much stronger when it's hidden. The second you put the spotlight on it you'll be more in control of it. Calling it what it is is almost always the first step when dealing with feelings and emotions as I wrote about in my other post about feelings

3. Track it to its roots

Here is definitely where I would recommend therapy. If you're like me then you bury that shit deep down inside and lock the door so I honestly don't even know where to start when it comes to tracing my roots. Therapist studied how to do this so let them help you. 

4. Change what's needed

Once you start doing all of these things you'll realize what's causing you shame. Is it perfectionism? Change what you need to. If your job is forcing you to be perfect try to find a new one or change the environment. Is it your relationship? Change it. Perfection doesn't exist so if your world is asking you for it... move. 

5. Release the shame

And once you've got what's causing the shame in the palm of your hand, open it and let it go. 

 

And if you need to be reminded that you're a badass... read this post :) 

 

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The Other F Word: Feelings
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Just in case nobody in your life has told you this... IT IS OKAY TO HAVE FEELINGS. Even better yet... YOU NEED TO HAVE FEELINGS because if you don't that makes you a sociopath. 

And just in case you haven't been told this either... IT IS OKAY TO FEEL YOUR FEELINGS. There you now have permission to be a human. 

I understand that this is MUCH easier said than done as a lot if not most of us have been raised to believe that showing emotion is showing weakness and that if you feel sad or hurt you need to just bury that deep down in and move on. Well this is SUPER unhealthy and it leads to negative consequences and behaviors later on. Your feelings will manifest later on, but stronger and more powerful if you immediately resist your feelings when they're brought up. 

What you resist persists

Let's talk about core feelings

What I'm realizing more and more (including in myself) is that society doesn't really ever talk about feelings, like what they are and how it feels to feel them. You can't talk about how you feel shame if you don't even know that shame is a feeling, right? So I'm going to list out core feelings so when you feel something and you can't identify exactly what you're feeling and you want shove it under the figurative rug in your head you can refer to this this and distinguish it. 

ANGER

FEAR

SAD

HURT/PAIN

LONELY

GUILT

SHAME

LOVE

HAPPY

JOY

GRATITUDE

WILLING

HOPEFUL

PEACE

And just as a reminder: all feelings are okay

The way out is always through

I can verify first hand that shoving your feelings deep down inside is super unhealthy. Personally, I did it because I thought it made me independent. If nobody knew that they could make me feel an emotion that meant I had complete autonomy of my emotions and that made me stronger and invincible. 

No, no, no. It made me weaker, apathetic, and I was called a robot multiple times. I thought it was endearing at the time, but looking back it was naive and childish and I'm paying for it now by having to sort through the emotions I didn't deal with back then. 

Our emotions and feelings control us if we resist them and until we allow ourselves to really feel the emotion they'll incubate and grow stronger. Anger is a huge one for this. I know that if I am truly angry at someone and I don't talk about that anger, I just shut my mouth until I'm "over it" that I'm going to end up exploding at them for the stupidest thing. 

Talking through your emotions is essential for healthy relationships, too. I really mean this. Not talking about your feelings can lead to codependency and depression and weaker relationships. If you directly state what you want and what you're feeling you'll create an environment where clear and MEANINGFUL communication can occur. Whether your relationship is romantic or platonic it is important to remember that talking about your feelings should strengthen the relationship and if it weakens it you should rethink who you're spending time with. It is important for your growth and sanity that you're in an environment where feelings are okay to be discussed. 

HOW to talk about your feelings

If you're at all like me THIS is where you struggle. I know I need to feel my feelings, I know I need to talk about my feelings, but for some reason knowing I need to do it didn't motivate me enough to actually do it because I didn't know HOW to talk about them. So don't worry, I got your back. 

First thing you need to do is resort to the list of core emotions. You need to identify which feelings you're feeling and use the words. Don't use a weaker synonym version of the word to shake it off. You're entitled to feel that emotion and synonyms will often times have skewed meaning and the goal here is for clear, meaningful communication. 

Next see if you can figure out why you're feeling that way. If you know a person is causing you to feel that way use the "I feel ____ when you ____" set up. So "I feel hurt, sad, and lonely when you make plans with me and cancel last minute" and an example is also necessary so "like that time when we planned to go to the concert together and the day of you called and told me you couldn't make it". This is healthy communication. The other person can't say "oh I don't do that" because you gave them a concrete example. And you're feelings have been stated and now they know that they caused you to feel those negative feelings. 

If you don't know why you're feeling a certain way just start talking about your feelings. Find a trusted friend and say "I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling sad right now" and allow yourself to feel sad. If it's consistent you should seek therapy (or really just seek therapy anyway because every single person should be in therapy) and maybe see if you can talk through why. Personally my go-to is my mom because I can literally be like "ugh I feel so sad today for no reason" and she'll point blank tell me "there's definitely a reason" and list to me alllllll the things in my life that could be making me sad and once I identify it I can feel it and let it go. 

And then allow yourself time to feel it. Rushing this is counterproductive. Take the time to heal. You wouldn't take your cast off of your leg after 2 days and say "well I need to get over this and walk because I have stuff to do" because you would re break it right? Same thing with your feelings. You need to treat your emotions as REAL and don't push them aside too early. Everyone is different and you're allotted as much time as you need to heal. 

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20 Tips to Prevent Burnout

1. Stop people pleasing!

This is absolutely number one just in case you think this is too long to read because this is most important! Stop living your day for everyone else. Don't go to law school to impress your parents if you want to be a photographer. Don't plan your coworkers baby shower if you won't love every part of the experience. Don't make plans with people who don't take your thoughts and feelings into account. There are three easy steps to accomplish this:

1. Think about what is being offered for a moment. For example: your coworker asks you to plan their retirement party. Tell them you'll think about it and get back to them in a timely manner. Then think about it.

2. Weigh the outcomes. There are two in this instance. 1- I plan the retirement party and waste my time and energy doing so. 2- I don't plan the retirement party and waste no time or energy on this. Are you close with this coworker? Then maybe you're not wasting anything. Do you dislike this coworker? You're probably wasting valuable resources planning it, then. Weigh the costs and benefits of the decision.

3. Decide. And this is the hard part for most people, but it doesn't have to be. You either say "I'd love to" or "I appreciate you trusting me with this task, but I don't have the time". Short and simple. Don't make your decision based on the happiness it would bring them, but on the happiness it would bring you. If making them happy TRULY makes you happy - then do it. If not, spend your time on better things.

2. Change your diet

All I'm going to say on this since people HATE being told to change their diet is if you eat better you feel better. If you feel better you won't get burnt out so quickly. That is all.

3. Make sure you're getting enough sleep

I'm dead serious about this one. I hate that our culture praises those who sleep less as if that shows what a strong work ethic you have. No no no... without your 8 hours you are working less efficiently and if you know me you know that my number one concern is efficiency. I can get so much more done in one hour of time if I'm well rested than if I'm tired. PLUS fatigue is the reason why most car accidents happen on Fridays - people haven't been sleeping all week. Do us and yourself a favor and sleep! If you're not convinced I wrote a whole post on why badass bitches sleep A LOT!

4. Ask for help

Share carpool responsibilities for your kids, make sure you're splitting up group work, make sure your partner and you are sharing home responsibilities, and if you need help with a task ask someone for help knowing you'll return the favor when they need help. If you're not surrounded by people willing to help you then you need to rethink your relationships.

5. Time block

Don't work on writing your 25 page paper all in one sitting, do it in 5 page increments and take a break every 5 pages where you meditate or take a short walk, etc. This is super important for big goals. Just spend an hour every day on your goal and chip away at it until you reach it. If you're trying to build your business overnight you're going to get burnt out and quit really fast. Life's a marathon and you need to pace yourself. Which leads me to my next point...

6. Stop procrastinating

You're burnt out because you waited until 12pm to finish your report that's due the next day at 6am and not only are you stressed about the time crunch, but you're going to be running all day on no sleep making you less sharp - which leads to a less efficient day meaning you have to stay up late again to get all of your work done because it's taking you longer to complete. Schedule your responsibilities and stick to them so you can be at your most efficient and still have time for self-care and sleep and joy.

7. Make time for joy

And no this is not making time for self-care, that'll be another point. Joy is simply joy. Making time for what makes you laugh and what gives your life purpose. This is essential. I recommend making a list of the things that bring you the kind of joy that fills your soul and incorporate something from that list into each day. All day your draining your life source battery and joy is how you recharge it.

8. Stay off of social media

You've got to trust me on this one. People on social media are either complaining or bragging. You only see the BEST parts of peoples lives and then you end up comparing yourself to them. They're using filters, only showing the glamorous part of their day, and it's all for show. Studies have proven that people who use social media are left feeling more depressed than before they logged on. You need to lessen the amount of distractions in your life and keep your focus on your goal without comparing where you are in life to other people.

9. Make sure you're taking time for self-care

I really don't feel like I need to write a lot for this one... self-care is easy. Make sure your basic needs are met and you're taking time for YOU. Personally my self-care is done when I'm alone so I wrote a post that's 100 things to do alone if you're looking for some ideas.

10. Take time to be creative

This is so important. This isn't just a taking a break or letting your mind wander. Creating makes you feel important, it gets your using your right brain, and it's how you stay motivated. The less creative your responsibilities are (i.e. work, your major, running kids to soccer practice, etc) the more time you need to be creative to make sure you have that balance. Creating inspires and inspiration keeps you motivated and happy -- you'll be depressed and burnout super quick if you only focus on the boring stuff.  I wrote a post on how to become inspired and find your passion if you're more interested in how to do this.

11. Stay hydrated

Just do it... if you're not drinking your weight in ounces of water every day you're not hydrated your body isn't at it's peak. Hydration = burnout prevention. Write it down.

12. Plan your goals

I mean sit down and plan out your next week, month, year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, etc. Where are you headed in your life? Where do you want to go? I recommend starting at 20 years and working backwards. This doesn't have to be set in stone, you can always change your mind, but it's much less of a mental strain if I know that by working on my business 1 hour a day I'll get to my 20 year goal then if I'm stressing out over how I'm going to be the person I want to be. Sit down, write it out, and calm down. I use the bullet journal method and wrote a post about that as well if you're interested.

13. Spend time in nature

The most important reminder spending time in nature gives me is that there is more than my tiny little perspective of the world. If I don't turn in my paper by midnight the sun will still rise, the Earth will still turn, and the little things I do every day are really not that important. Just go and take a walk outside of the city and remember that.

14. Ground yourself

This needs to be done every day. The busier you are the more grounding you need. I already wrote a whole post about how to ground yourself so check that out!

15. Keep your energy levels high

If you're struggling just to get out of bed in the morning you're probably already burnt out. You need to follow the other steps on this list, but I also wrote a post on how I got through this. I was sleeping 12 hours and would wake up feeling like I didn't sleep at all and couldn't get out of bed and so I wrote a post on how I got my energy back so you can implement some of the things that helped me in your own life.

16. Cut the bad fruit off of the tree

This goes along with the first point of not pleasing people... but really you NEED to remove toxicity from your life at all costs. Cut off toxic relationships, toxic friends, toxic family members, toxic responsibilities, etc. This is crucial. All of those things are draining your energy and you're going to get burnt out so much faster. If a person or a task isn't making you feel healthier or good about yourself or helping you achieve your goal you're wasting your time and energy. Again, I'm all about efficiency so trim up your life.

17. Get rid of stuff

Burnt out? TIME TO PURGE. You're wasting time and energy organizing your crap, cleaning your crap, looking for your crap, moving your crap to make room for other crap and it's exhausting. Believe me I know how you feel... I grew up with a type A mom who needed everything organized with labels BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH STUFF. It was just organized clutter. If you don't NEED it or LOVE it toss it. Byeeeeeeee. I also wrote a whole post on how to minimalize your entire life - not just your stuff. Read that one too. :)

18. Stop feeling guilty

Guilt burns me out faster than any other emotion. It takes about 3 seconds of a guilt trip for me to need a nap. This is so hard for people and I get it... but it's really something to work on. Be yourself unapologetically. If you fuck up then apologize and move on. You've learned from your mistake, be grateful for the lesson, and don't dwell on it. Stop feeling guilty that you're not around enough for someone, that you can't afford a birthday present, etc. If you're doing the best you can then the people in your life should respect that. If they make you feel guilty then resort back to point number 16 because you don't have time for that kind of negativity in your life. You have shit to do.

19. Be patient

You're not going to be a millionaire at 25. You're not going to live in a fully renovated penthouse at 26. Even if you know 20 year olds who are - you're probably not because most are living in shit holes and that is 100% OKAY. Even if you're 40 and you feel like you don't have your life together yet it is okay. Make a plan and chip away at it and be happy that you have a purpose. You're burnt out because you're impatient and you think having the penthouse is what will make you happy, but you're wrong. Working towards the penthouse is what will make you happy.

20. Believe you can do it

Otherwise known as your self-efficacy - this is psych 101. If you truly believe you CAN accomplish it then you will. That way a 25 page paper goes from this huge monster you have to slay with a toothpick to just "oh yeah that'll be nothing I can totally do that". You raise your self-efficacy by remembering all the times you have accomplished a similar task in the past... "Remember last semester when you wrote that 20 page paper? This is only 5 more pages". It might suck to accomplish it... but just reminding yourself that it's totally doable makes all the difference.

Gratitude : The real secret to happiness, success and healthy relationships

Get ready for the best piece of advice I could give to anyone. The most important lesson I've ever learned is that gratitude should always be your number 1 focus. Here's why...

You'll be happier

Newsflash... happiness is not a destination. You can't book a flight to happiness and spend the weekend. If you want to be happy you need to be happy that you even get to focus on your happiness. You need to be GRATEFUL that you get to work towards a goal. You need to be GRATEFUL for all of the experiences, materialistic things, and lessons you have had throughout your life because they were blessings. Whenever I get pissed about something not going my way I look back to who I was in 4th grade... if I had no experiences I would still be that person and there is no way in hell I would rather hang out with my 4th grade self than the woman I am now. I'm thankful that I've had and will have the opportunity to grow. So now when something shitty happens in my life I can look at it as a lesson and say thank you to the universe for helping me grow. I have nothing to be sad about when I look at life that way leaving only room for happiness.

You'll be more successful

Because guess what? You're going to be grateful for your day and actually use all of it to its full potential. You're going to be grateful for any handouts, advice, help, or advantages that come your way and you're going to use them to help yourself be more successful. You're also going to be grateful that you received so much help and give back when you have the means, which builds you an army of loyal followers instead of enemies you stomped on to get where you are. You're going to be grateful for your success, you're going to thank the universe (or God or whatever you want to call it) and in return for your gratitude it'll supply you with more (I mean look at Oprah she can't give money away as fast as she earns it, but the flow of energy keeps in coming in).

You'll have healthier relationships

I'm not a relationship expert, but I do know that if someone does something for you and you don't say thank you, resentment will build and it'll leave a crack in your foundation. I literally say thank you for every single thing like letting me eat your leftovers or even just hanging out with me. I've never met anyone who ever said "I don't want to hang out with so-and-so because they're just so grateful for everything I do for them". I have, on the other hand, heard the opposite on multiple occasions. The more gratitude I get for doing things for other people the more things I want to do for them. I mean just be grateful that they're even in your life and watch how the relationship builds. BTW this includes romantic, familial, and platonic relationships.

Oh and...

you should be grateful regardless because if you're not you look like an asshole to anyone who has less than you do. Go stand in front of the kids living in landfills in Brazil and talk to them about how rough your life is because you got a speeding ticket WHILE SPEEDING. You're problems are only problems because that's what you've labeled them. I call them lessons or maybe even inconveniences, but my problems are not problems compared to 99% of the problems everyone else in the world has. Show some respect.  

 

 

 

Why Having Weaknesses Is A Good Thing

Self-esteem is a tricky thing. Something that I've noticed recently, though, is that everyone is so obsessed with focusing on their weaknesses because they see someone else who is better at it and they covet. I'm going to explain why you need to see having weaknesses as a GOOD thing.

Self Awareness

Most importantly... be grateful you can even see your own weaknesses. This means you have some level of self awareness. If you think you don't have any weaknesses you're delusional and it's going to stunt your growth. For those of you who know what your weaknesses are, great, good for you. I'm proud of you for internalizing your talents and realizing what you're not so good at. Keep doing this your whole life. Think of what comes easy to you and what you have to really force yourself to try to do.

Narrow Your Focus

Weakness help you to narrow your focus. You know that you're following your life's path when everything seems to come easy to you. For example... it is really difficult for me to be around dark, negative energy for long periods of time, so being a social worker probably isn't the best career choice for me. I know that taking on people's problems as my own is a weakness, and therefore I never pursued a career that would make me do that.

If you're starting a business you can recognize your weaknesses to outsource and do your strengths yourself. If you're great at design, but you're lost with programming, hire an IT person and stick to the design. Focus on your strengths and allow others to come in and beef up the weaknesses.

Stay Humble

Knowing your weaknesses is going to make you stay humble. Humility is such an underrated attribute. Not only are you going to be able to focus on your strengths to be more successful, but while you're doing it you're going to appreciate other people who's strengths are your weaknesses and nothing makes a person like you more than when you appreciate them. This isn't always everyone's biggest concern, but when I look around at the successful people who stayed humble, they're the ones who are not only successful materialistically, but they're leaving a legacy.

5 Steps To Dealing With Negative People

All of us either have to deal with negative people all the time, or we are a negative person. One of the aspects of being the best version of yourself is knowing how to behave in every situation in order to reap maximum benefit from that situation. Most of these lessons I've learned the hard way, though, so I thought they'd be helpful to others.

Photo source:  here

Photo source: here

Cut the energy off as soon as you leave

This is super important for the rest of your day. It doesn't matter if I'm spending 5 minutes or 5 hours with this person, as soon as I leave them I say to myself "I give your energy back to you with peace and love" and push it off of my body. If you don't need the visualization then you can just take a deep breath or whatever. I, however, do need to visualize that negative energy leaving or I carry it with me all day.

Try to stop them from complaining

This is where knowing the difference between complaining and venting really comes in handy. Venting, in my opinion, is when a person is telling a story about something bad that happened to get it out of their system so they can move on, like mini therapy. Complaining is talking about bad things that they either can't change or are unwilling to change. I'll listen to anyone vent, granted I might cut them off if turns into rambling, but everyone has to do it and it doesn't make them a negative person. Complaining is something negative people do, and I do not have the time for that. When I notice complaining I just simply say "what are you going to do about it?". If they say "I don't know", I say "well I can either give you advice or we're moving on to talk about something else". They usually get the point. Since I've set boundaries with the people in my life, including coworkers, they know I don't take bullshit and I won't sit through it, it's just my personality. If you need to set your own boundaries I wrote a post that will walk you through it here.

Be an adult

As an adult you don't HAVE to take anyone's BS. You also cannot be an asshole about it. Finding the sweet spot in the middle takes practice, but you can do it. Adults don't let negative people walk all over them, but they don't just stop doing business with them either. There's a way to talk to them that might not turn them into positive people, but it will at least shut them up. You can tell them to stop complaining as I mentioned above, you can be overly positive when you're around them because attitudes are contagious (although this can be exhausting), you can motivate them to be positive, such as, "that comment isn't going to help us move forward in an efficient way, I'd like to keep comments as positive as possible" for business environments at least. You can use similar language for personal environments. The point is... you're an adult, so act like it. Stop acting like a child who needs to conform and let people walk all over them.

Adapt

This is slowly becoming my favorite word. When I'm with a negative person I try one of these tactics and make note of the result. Did it work? Great, use it again. Did it not work? Okay, tweak it and try something different. Negative people are seriously my least favorite to be around. I'd rather be with someone who fundamentally disagrees with me on every platform than one who complains and is negative, but agrees with me. However, every person is going to be different, meaning, there is no catch-all for negative people. You gotta use different formulas for each one.

Make sure you're not a negative person

If you're surrounded by negative people, chances are you are one. Misery loves company and I'll say it again, your vibe attracts your tribe. Have a good, positive attitude and you'll be surprised how much good karma is going to come back to you, how many people are going to be more positive around you, and how much happier you'll be in general.

How To Change Your Life By Starting A Bullet Journal

I know the title of this post seems pretty dramatic, but starting a bullet journal changed my life for the better. I've been talking about bullet journals in my posts and podcasts so I feel like it's really only fair if I explain how to start one, why you need to start one, and give you a peek at mine for an example (examples always help me visualize the point of things).

My bullet journal looks like it's been beaten up pretty badly because it has... I bring it with me everywhere.

My bullet journal looks like it's been beaten up pretty badly because it has... I bring it with me everywhere.

What is a bullet journal?

After I graduated college my dad bought me a journal as a graduation present to write down the next stage of my life. I didn't know I was going to turn it into a bullet journal at the time, I just knew that I had a lot of planning to do so I started to use it for that. I was looking for ideas on pintrest and found out what I was doing was called bullet journaling. I'm not entirely sure what the proper definition of one would be, I would describe it as a customized life planner. The overall purpose of one is to plan your life, your entire life, or at least whatever portions of it you feel you need to write down.

Why start one?

If you're anything like me you have all of these ideas that you want to accomplish, but you're not really sure how to. Bullet journals are the vehicle to help you actually achieve your goals and become more productive. I'll list out my different pages later, but anything you want to learn, or accomplish, or track, you can keep it all in your bullet journal. PLUS if you're a creative, like me, outlining the different pages are my version of those adult coloring books that everyone is obsessing over right now.

A peek at my bullet journal

I think it'll be more clear if I show you pages from mine. You can click through a few of them below. I'm not going to show every page because that would be like taking pictures of a private journal and I'm just not ready for that yet.

I'm working on my 2017 bullet journal now and I decided I wanted grid lines to make charts easier. Here is a list of pages that my 2017 bullet journal will incorporate:

2017 goals, Places I Want To Go, Reading List, Spiritual Goals, Workout Tracker, Yoga Tracker, Meditation Tracker, Packing List, Gratitude Tracker, Savings Tracker, Daily Routine, Weekly Routine, Monthly Routine, Daily Goals, Weekly Goals, Monthly Goals, Blood Type Diet Foods (look into this if you haven't!), Gardening Planner, Trip Planner, Level 10 Life, Monthly Tasks, Budget, Bill Tracker, Non Profit Planner, Brain Dump, Dog Tricks, Self Care Ideas, Spiritual Journal, Podcast Ideas, Blog Post Ideas, Blog Goals, Challenges

Those are what I have so far at least, I'm constantly adding pages whenever I need to plan things.

Explanation of some pages

Level 10 Life: This page is honestly where you should start. You come up with 10 categories (you can see mine listed above) and then you write down your 10 goals for each category. I have at least one daily goal, one weekly goal, one monthly goal, one yearly goal, one 5-year goal and one 10 year goal for each category and the other three are fluid. The reason why this is crucial is because it is going to help you prioritize your goal so when you go to make daily, weekly, monthly, yearly tasks you can refer back to this page. For example, if your goal is to read one book per month then when you're writing your monthly goals you add "read one book" and since you know you're going to have to read every day for your daily goals you write "read 30 minutes". It takes your larger goals and forces you to narrow them down into daily tasks. Another example would be for one of my spiritual goals I have "become a yoga instructor in 5 years" so I will need to construct a timeline that breaks down what I have to do every year, every month, every week and every day to reach this goal in time.

Savings: To track my savings I make a rectangle with what I'm saving for written above it. I then calculate how much I am going to need and divide that amount by how many months are between now and the due date. I make a box for each month with the accumulated amount written in each box and when I go to do my budget for the month I know how much to extract. For example, If I need $500 in 5 months for a trip I'm planning, I make a rectangle with 5 boxes and "$100, $200, $300, etc" marked in each box. When I've saved the amount in the box I color it in.

Brain Dump: This page I use for all of the ideas that run through my head no matter how crazy. They go here if I'm not sure if I want to dedicate a whole planning page to them, but I don't want to forget about them either. A lot of the time they're just notes to myself like "do a photoshoot with grandma soon and write a post about her"... stuff like that.

Trackers: These pages are what keep me motivated. You can see my workout tracker in the slideshow above. In each square I marked A, B, C, or D and these correspond with a youtube playlist of workout videos (because for those of you who don't know I hate gyms and the commute to one and back is a waste of precious time). I like to work out at home or run, hike, etc. I just go to my tracker and look at the day I'm on, go to the corresponding youtube playlist, and click shuffle so I get a random workout. After I complete the workout I color in the square. When all the squares are colored in I get a massage. Easy peasy and I'm motivated to do it.

Trip Planner: I use this page to calculate every single detail of a trip I'm planning. I mostly do this so I know EXACTLY how much to save for. I plan for gas by mileage, hotel, meals, everything. It also helps the other people I'm traveling with so they know how much to save for as well and what we're doing, etc.

Index: It is super important to keep an index because you're going to have a lot of different pages and looking for each page is going to be a waste of time.

These are just a few of my pages... if you have any questions or want any explanation of the other pages comment below or message me on Snapchat, whatever works! I'd be happy to explain or send you a snap of my page.  I will also be writing future posts about bullet journaling because I really believe it is what ambitious, but overwhelmed people need to be successful.

 

4 Reasons Why You Need To Check Your Attitude

1. Your vibe attracts your tribe

If you want to be surrounded by positive go-getters you need to be a positive go-getter. The vibe that you put out into the universe is the vibe that you're going to get back. My favorite quote is "you can't change the people around you, but you can change the people around you". If people around you are super negative and enjoy having pity parties every night you need to cut the chord and surround yourself with more positive people. And positive people generally only want to be around other positive people.

2. You'll be more productive

If you want to know the real secret behind being productive, here it is. You have to WANT to be productive. Your attitude needs to be in a place where you actually want to do the things you're thinking about doing. If your attitude is checked you'll love learning, working out, reading, and crossing off whatever is on your to-do list because you know it's making you a better version of yourself.

3. More opportunities will be available to you

This one is huge. I don't believe in luck. I didn't receive any of the opportunities in my life because I sat around and waited for them to happen. My attitude was checked. I was open to new experiences, I wanted to be better, I wanted to further my education, I wanted to be successful, and I was excited about any opportunity that came my way, no matter how small. Nobody had to beat me to go to class when I was in college because I WANTED to go. Nobody had to force me to apply for internships, I WANTED to learn and when I got there I took advantage of every learning experience. The people who are giving out opportunities can see the glimmer in the eye of the person with a good attitude. And since good attitudes are few and far between, having one automatically gives you an advantage.

4. You'll be happier

Warning: don't go trying to chase happiness. Like I explained in my post about resolutions it's not going to make you happier, however, not being excited about life is sure not going to help either. If you work on trying to be more grateful, more humble, and more helpful, you're going to be happier. You can take my word on this one. We've all met someone with a positive attitude and we've all met someone with a negative attitude. Which one seems happier? Which one would YOU rather hang out with? With one is going to get farther in life? Check your attitude and be the positive person. No excuses. :)

10 Resolutions That Aren't Resolutions

These resolutions aren't resolutions at all... but rather they're steps we can all take to be the best version of ourselves. They're realistic, easy, and take little motivation to accomplish.

10. Eat Out Less

I actually feel like this is a pretty common resolution and we all know why. 2017 has to be the year we all get our shit together and stop spending money on useless stuff... including eating out. Limit yourself to twice a week and every time you feel like going out to eat take that $15 you would've spent and put it in your travel fund.

9. No Spend Month

Speaking of saving money... as a minimalist this is easier for me... but limit yourself to only buying groceries and absolute necessities just for one month. Once you realize how easy the minimalism lifestyle is you'll be ready to at the very least spend less than you currently are.

8. Purge

All. The. Time. Keep a box in your hallway and whenever you come across an item that hasn't been used in 6 months, put it in the donate box. When the box is full donate it and put out another box. Easy peasy. For clothes... turn all your hangers backwards and when you wear an item put it back the right way. In 6 months anything hanging backwards gets donated. It's time to rid of the excess. 2017 will not be the year we spend organizing all our crap.

7. Read

Duh... I know I'm a broken record always telling people to read... but that's because I want to live in a society where small talk no longer exists because everyone actually has something interesting to say. Reading will make you more interesting, strengthen your vocabulary, open your mind to new experiences, and make you a better version of yourself. This doesn't mean you need to only read business books, or non-fiction books, by all means read as much fiction as you want, but just freakin read.

6. Focus on self-awareness

This is something I'm ALWAYS doing. I want to know myself better than anyone else and I want to know everything there is to know. How do I feel about different circumstances, what are my strengths, weaknesses, how do I feel about the people in my life, what are my goals, etc. Take personality tests, get readings done (palm, future, whatever), spend time alone, and analyze yourself. This doesn't make you self-centered... it makes you smart. I know what I bring to the table when I know my strengths and I know what I need in someone else to fill my weaknesses. Again I'm not totally there yet, but it's something I'm always working on.

5. PLAN

It doesn't matter what resolution you choose for next year, if you don't plan it won't happen. Plan HOW you're going to travel. Plan WHEN you're going to exercise. Plan how you're going to achieve every goal down to how you're going to work on it each day. If you don't you're not going to reach it. I wrote a post on how to plan a productive day here.

4. Find inspiration

Instead of beating a dead horse I'm just going to link the posts I've already written about why you need inspiration and how to find it.

6 Reasons Why We Need To Be Inspired

7 Ways to Become Inspired and Find Your Passion

3. Let's get healthy

This one is huge for me this year. I spent so much of last year sick because of various health problems... but I'm feeling better and I can finally whip my butt back into shape. I'm not going to a gym on Monday to buy a membership that I'm only going to use once a week... but I am planning (again down to the day) how I'm going to get back in shape. The thing about getting healthy is that everyone is different and this is where self-awareness really comes into play. My recommendation is not to start a fad diet (paleo, weight-watchers, etc), but just really be mindful of what you're eating and how it makes you feel. Your body will tell you everything you need to know if you just take the time to listen to it.

I'm also a healer so if you're feeling overwhelmed and would like a reading you can learn more about how I heal here.

2. Focus on trimming your relationships

If there are people in your life bringing unnecessary negativity trim them out. Focus on the people who bring a positive light to your life. Use the precious time you have to build relationships and network with people. Again.. 2017 needs to be about ridding yourself of excess... including excess people... to only leave room for the absolute best (because we deserve the best and only the best). 

1. Stop trying to be happy

It's sickening how focused our culture is on finding happiness. It's the most depressing journey tbh. If you're not content with your life you probably have too much excess, not enough inspiration, or are surrounded by negativity. Stop trying to buy things you think are going to make you happy, stop trying to compare yourself to others because you only see the most polished versions of everyone else (ESPECIALLY on social media), and stop telling yourself "you're not happy but one day you will be". If you're not happy right now you're trying too hard. Just relax dude... be mindful and enjoy the moment.

6 Reasons Why We Need To Be Inspired

One of the most tragic things to hear, in my opinion, is when I ask someone "what do you do for fun" and their response is something along the lines of "oh I don't really know, whatever". It makes me want to shake them, but then I have to take a step back and remember that most people not only don't spend time working on what they're passionate about, but that they don't even know what lights the fire in their soul. Again, the only word I can use to describe this is tragic.

The first step towards finding your passion is finding inspiration. Here are 6 reasons why we need to stay inspired.

 

1. It will give your life purpose

We all know that feeling when we don't have a purpose. The best way I can describe it is depression (not clinical obv.), although that could just be because of my ambitious personality, so without purpose I feel utterly useless. It's easy to tell when I'm lost, I stop caring about everything and sleep even more than I already do (which is a lot).

When I'm inspired, however, it's the exact opposite. I can cross 50 things off of my to-do list, go for a run, and come home and write an inspiring post because my life blood is back. When I feel like I have a purpose then there's a reason to get out of bed before the sun (my least favorite thing to do ever btw). There's a reason to run 3 miles before dinner. There's a reason to stop binge watching Netflix and read 200 pages a day. There's a purpose for me to be alive.

2. Your relationships will be healthier

Again, when I'm on a date and I ask someone what they do for fun and they respond with "whatever" I scream internally. That means they have no passions of their own and they're probably going to focus on me in all of their free time and that's the perfect breeding ground for a toxic relationship. If you're free time is filled with your projects and passions then you won't have time to sit around and think of all the negative stuff about your partner. PLUS there's the added bonus that if you both have your own passions and projects then at the end of the day you get to come home and talk about them, and be excited about them. Personally, the most attractive thing on someone is watching them talk about what they're passionate about.

3. Your attitude will be better

Which means your life will be better. You'll start to realize people will want to hang out with you more because you have so much more to talk about and what you do talk about is all positive. When you see hope in your future it affects your attitude and when you have a positive attitude you manifest positive things. I mean think about it. You know when you meet someone and they just have so much light in their eyes? And when they talk you actually want to listen, you're not forcing yourself to? These are inspired people. Contrast them with the ones with empty eyes, who spend the whole conversations complaining because they have nothing of their own to talk about. It's brutal to listen to them right? Be the inspired person.

4. You'll grow your network

The more projects you do and the more experiences you try the more people you meet, simple as that. You have to go out into the world (even the internet world) and do things and talk to people. The benefit is that you're going to meet people with similar interests. The larger your network the more successful you will be and the less hard you will have to work to be successful. You never know who you're going to meet and when you meet them doing what you're passionate about you already have something in common.

5. You'll be emotionally stable

The best part about having my own projects, my own passions, and finding my own inspiration is that none of those things have to be given to me by someone else. That is giving someone else way too much power. My happiness needs to be controlled by ME. I mean other people can come into my life and bring added joy, but my purpose for waking up in the morning cannot and will not be decided by any body other than me. And again, if I'm immersed in my projects then there are other thoughts to fill my time. And this is especially helpful after a breakup, if you're main purpose in life isn't your partner, then if they leave they didn't leave with your passion. Your ego won't be hurt because you're in charge of it. If someone tries to take away the light in your eyes they won't be able to because you control the flame.

6. You can make a difference

The best part about having your own projects is that you can likely make a difference through them. Love sewing? Donate blankets and clothes. Love painting? Donate artwork for charity auctions and such. Love working out? Train others and motivate them to get healthy. Love gardening? Teach children in your community, or even your own children, how to (this is what my non-profit is going to do btw ;)) All of these things bring communities together. Your passion, while it may be exactly what you need, is not about you because your life is not about you. When you're using it to make a difference you're going to have your sense of purpose filled, you're going to feel great about yourself, and people are going to admire you.

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire - Ferdinand Foch

I'm going to write a post shortly about how to stay inspired so stay tuned!

Update 12/19/2016

The follow up post can be found here: 7 Ways To Become Inspired and Find Your Passion

How Badass Bitches Plan Their Super Productive Days in 3 Steps

After reading multiple articles such as "the morning routine of 10 successful women" and the like, I realized that the key to a super productive day is PLANNING. Also this is sort of a part 2 to a previous post I wrote "How to Be a Badass Bitch Who Gets Shit Done" so read that post too!

Step 1: Write Down Your Goals

I highly recommend starting a bullet journal. I wrote a post about how starting a bullet journal can change your life because of how much I believe in it. They are basically just super flexible planners that allow you to organize your thoughts.

But until then just grab a sheet of lined paper and write down all of your goals. I suggest using three pages, have the first page be this month, the next page be this year, and the next page be the next 5-10 years. This is going to help you prioritize how you spend your day.

To give you some examples... written down for my goals for this month are to pay off debt, read 4 books, and exercise every single day. My goals for this year (which will now be 2017) are to write a book, start graduate school and my non profit, and to become fluent in Spanish (I'm already proficient, but I want to be totally FLUENT). And my 5-10 year goals are to flip a house, start 2 more businesses, and run for office.

Everyone is obviously going to have much different goals, but I always find examples to be super helpful when trying something for the first time. So once you have all of your goals written down, you move to step 2.

Step 2: Plan Your Day

Plan your day DOWN TO THE HOUR. Do this however you have to, again I use a bullet journal. I literally list out 12am, 1am, 2am, etc. I mark exactly what I will be doing each hour of the day. Obviously for 12am-5:30am I write that I'm sleeping, but even my morning routine is planned out (although it only takes me an hour so I just write "morning routine").

Scheduling out every hour is where your list of goals comes into play. Do you really think my non-profit is going to build itself? No. I dedicate an hour to it every day. I want to read 4 books a month so I calculate how much time that will take (about 2 hours per day) so I read during my lunch break at work and an hour before I go to sleep. I want to be fluent in Spanish so I dedicate 30 minutes of my day to Duolingo and an hour each weekend to watching Telenovelas.

This is how you accomplish your goals. If you're anything like me, you have all of these ideas of things you want to do, but it makes your brain want to explode when you think about actually accomplishing them. That's because "starting a non-profit" is a HUGE task, but researching similar organizations for an hour as one of the steps to building it is totally doable. By planning out each hour of your day you're making your goals achievable. PLUS you know you have time during your day to it because you have a schedule you can stick to. If you hate routine, then switch up the routine and make a new daily hour schedule every month or so, or make daily variations, whatever you have to do to stay motivated!

Step 3: Make Trackers for your Goals

So you've written down your goals and made a detailed schedule of when you're going to do all of these things, but let's face it... you need actual motivation to do it. This is where trackers come in! There are lots of apps you can use to do this for you, but I'm a creative and I need to write things down for my brain to process what is happening, so again I use my bullet journal.

There are thousands of ideas for trackers on pintrest or with a quick web search. I do my trackers by month. So, for example, I make a tracker that looks like a board game with 30/31 squares for the month to keep me motivated to exercise. Every day that I work out I color in one of the squares. When I reach the end of the month I get a massage or some sort of reward if all of the squares are colored. This actually really works! Especially because there is nobody telling me to work out like if I joined a program or something... I HATE when people tell me what to do. It's just me and my tracker to keep me motivated.

I have trackers for all of my goals, for reading, for learning Spanish, for teaching tricks to my dog, etc. So during my day I'm never just sitting doing something unproductive (and R&R time is productive so don't think I don't relax). I just always know that if I have energy then I have a project that needs my attention.

People always tell me "I love how you just want to do something and you do it". THIS is how I do it. I plan out exactly how I'm going to do it into doable steps, and I plan out my day, and I just freaking do it (insert Nike symbol here).

How to Win an Argument and Stay Friends

I would like to first make the disclaimer that I learned most of these the hard way. I have been in numerous arguments with family members and friends who disagreed with my fundamental values and therefore fell victim to many of the heated screaming fights we all wish to avoid. After the results of the election came in however, it was disheartening to see that I could probably count on one hand how many people were having effective debates about policy. To help the flow of ideas travel throughout society I'm going to break down how to argue effectively and stay friends afterward.

Stop having value arguments

One of the things I learned in Speech and Debate was that there are two kinds of debates, value and policy. Value debates revolve around a persons fundamental belief system. An example of a value debate would consist of things like protecting human life is more important than protecting individual freedom or pizza the best food on the planet. These are dangerous debates to have and you need to stay away from them because there is never a "winner". You are never ever going to convince me that pizza is the best food on the planet so do not even try. You can talk to me about how the combination of sauce, cheese, crust, and customizable toppings make pizza untouchable by other dishes and I will scream at you that actually sushi is the best food on the planet and we will go around and around. Obviously this applies to more serious value debates. A Christian and an Atheist will never convince the other that they're right, but that does not mean they can't discuss policy or maintain a friendship.

Start having policy arguments

Policy debates are arguments over what approach to use to solve a problem. THESE are the types of arguments TO have. A Christian and an Atheist may not agree on why the human race exists, but they can come to an agreement or at least have an educated discussion on if prisons should or should not be privatized. These aren't arguments over the "best" type of prison system, the two would never agree. But by picking one type of prison system and discussing the pros and cons a healthy, effective debate about not only if they're effective, but what could done to decrease the amount of items on the cons list, is actually possible. Plus the two can likely stay friends afterward.

Etiquette

Keep in mind though, you cannot be a close minded, uneducated advocate of your side of the debate and expect to win and stay friends. If you haven't read up on the policy you're debating about, it's probably best to just listen because you'll have no choice except to resort to a value debate since your opinion is all you will be able to go off of. And if you are educated you are not an all knowing, all seeing, higher being that can solve all of the world's problems. You need to listen and engage even if you do not agree. Listening does not mean you agree with them, it means you have respect for the discussion.

Also remember to never yell (the first one who does loses), and to never interrupt. Keep in mind the more the other person says, the more fuel you have to cut down and oppose. I'll get into how keeping the other person talking is an effective strategy later. You have a duty as a productive and decent member of society to talk about the issues that are plaguing society with a polite and inclusive tone. If you alienate your "opponent" by calling them names, making them feel belittled, and turning against your cause then YOU JUST LOST. Remember why you're having these debates. It's not simply to spew off how knowledgeable and woke you are to the world so they bow down and do whatever you say. And it definitely is not to divide the country between us vs. them. If you sincerely want change to happen and a discourse to be open, you ALSO need to be open minded, educated, and a decent human being.

P.S. remember that this is much easier to accomplish when you have policy debates because value debates get really heated really fast because someone's fundamental identity is being attacked.

Tips for when you know you're right

This takes some maturity. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. I for one will not ever try to debate anything sports related because I know virtually nothing about sports despite having been a cheerleader for 14 years. If I ever find myself in a discussion about sports I politely listen to it without offering my analysis because quite frankly I would sound stupid if I spoke up. Keep this in mind when you're debating. If you know virtually nothing about the crisis in Syria then when you find yourself in the midst of an argument you need to turn it into an educational, expository learning experience instead because without having first been educated on a topic you cannot then offer your opinion of it. And you will sound stupid to the other person because uneducated opinions are super easy to identify to a person who is educated on the issue.

With that being said, if you are educated on a topic and believe yourself fit to offer your opinion of it then that's awesome, but you're not entitled to have your opinions listened to and let alone adopted by anyone. Therefore it is MUCH more effective, at least in my experience, to have other people think your opinions are their opinions. The best way to do this is to ask questions as responses. Yes.. I'm telling you to use the Socratic Method to manipulate the person you're talking to into disproving their own argument, but there's a reason why this is so effective... it is non-threatening. "The Socratic method can be used to show someone that they are wrong, or at least imprecise, by getting them to agree with statements that contradict their original assertion". You will likely need to practice this to really get it down, but I promise once you do you will slay. It would take me a whole entire post to explain how to use this to you, and since there are plenty out there that have already done so I'm going to skip over it. A quick guide can be found here.

Also, do not be afraid to stop an argument that turns into one of value. For example, I am a hardcore environmentalist (not a purist though) and I believe that protecting the environment and ecosystems needs to be in the top 3 priories of every single person on the planet. So whenever someone tries to say "Global warming isn't real" or "there are more pressing issues than water pollution" I just politely say "I'm not interesting in discussing if these problems are problems, I believe that they are, I am interested in discussing their solutions so if you're not here to offer your input on policy solutions we can talk about the puppy bowl or Joe Biden memes instead". Nobody will ever convince me that pizza is better than sushi or that we do not have an obligation to protect the environment so why would I let them try and risk losing a friendship over it?

P.S. The deciding factor of if you stay friends or not after an argument is going to depend on your attitude during the argument.

If you want to change values you need to stay friends

Just because I value the environment and my family member doesn't does not mean I need to cut them out of my life. That's immature and irresponsible because then that's one less person in their life who does care. If you really want to change the way society behaves (I listed my 7 sins of society in this post) then you need to show them that they themselves are not society, they are a member in society. When your community and your circle cares a lot about an issue you begin to care a lot about it. If you cut yourself out of their world you have just cut out possibly the only advocate for your values in their community.

With that being said you need to make sure that if you're going to be the advocate for a cause you're doing so in an inclusive way. If you go on a hateful rant that separates you from those who disagree with you you've just now left no opening for them to come over to your side or to adopt your values. Change is really hard and you cannot change someone by trying to first hurt their ego, you need to be inclusive about it. To put it in perspective, it's really difficult to want to join a club when all of the members of the club are giving you dirty looks, calling you names, and think they're better than you. Keep this in mind.

Why I care

The reason why I care so much about how you're arguing is because I really, truly want solutions to start being discussed and dissected. I don't believe the solutions have been thought of yet and with the way I've been seeing people talk to each other after the election results, it doesn't look like any are in the near future. I do have faith though that if we shift the conversation to what we're going to do about the problems that are facing each and every community instead of who to blame for the problems then we will see real and positive change.

 

 

Minimizing Your Life - Not Just Your Closet
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But start with your closet...

Of course purging all of your crap is important and in fact you should start with your closet. You should donate everything you do not absolutely need for survival or for inspiration. My best friend pointed out to me that your closet represents your life, and she's right. If you want a life that is filled with only your priorities and no excess that will waste your time then you need to make sure your closet represents that. Mine is a little extreme and represents my perfectionist personality since all of my clothes are color coordinated, and then further coordinated by style of clothing. This is not difficult for me to organize though, because I only have the clothes that I wear every day in my closet. My friend's closet on the other hand is the exact opposite where clothes are just lucky to be hung up in the first place and it is full of things she never wears, but won't donate. If you start your minimalist experiment with your closet then you can set up the rest of your life to follow suit.

Organized clutter is still clutter, so get rid of it.

Now move onto the important things...

Most likely once you have started with your closet you have probably found that now your whole house has been purged because it's so addicting to watch negative space in your house emerge. I do not want this entire post to revolve around how to minimize your stuff. Like I said, if you do not find inspiration or need it to survive, donate it. Use this as your first step to taking control of your life and being a badass. With that out of the way we can move onto the important things... minimizing your life.

Minimalism is not about having less, it's about making room for more of what matters

Start with your email...

This is a giant task for many people, especially those who constantly have 1,000 unread messages. This might take you an entire day, and that's totally fine, I promise you it will be worth it. You need to move every single email that is junk into your junk folder so you stop getting emails from them. This will cut the amount of emails you get by at least half.

Next you need to make folders to organize your email. Again, organizing clutter still means you have clutter in your life, so junk as much as you can. My labels are receipts, subscriptions, student loans, other bills, and graduate school. If I get an email that does not fit my 5 labels then I have to deal with it as soon as it comes into my inbox. To create a label simply click on your labels tab - and create new. P.S. If you already have a bunch out out dated labels, delete them and all the emails they have in them!

Next, create filters for your labels. Every single receipt I get goes directly into my receipt folder and is there for when I need it and when I'm ready to look at it. Same for all of the other emails that have a label assigned. To create a filter select the mail from your inbox that you want filtered to that label and go to More - Filter messages like these - and it will prompt you through the set up.

Move onto your social media...

Unfollow and unfriend everyone you don't know or are sick of in each of your social media outlets. The less people you follow or friend the less noisy your social media will be and the happier you will become. This does not include linkedin, you need as big of a network there as possible. This can also be a daunting task, but if you take it one outlet at a time I promise it isn't that crazy and quite frankly it feels good to prioritize people. AND TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS! You do not need to look at Facebook every time someone likes your post. I do not even have Facebook as an app on my phone because it's a waste of precious time. I also do not have twitter for the same reason.

Also go through your Facebook posts, twitter posts, etc, and rid yourself of anything you have said that does not aid you in the creation of the image you want to be attached to you. You have to always be thinking about your brand and each and every social media post is apart of that brand so go through them with that in mind. One of my vices was Pintrest, I pinned anything I found remotely useful and it was getting out of control, I went and deleted all of my boards and recreated ones that fit my brand. This is super important!

Your computer...

This actually took me a long time. I had to go through old assignments from school and see what papers I wanted to keep or get rid of. Going through pictures took me almost a whole day in itself. Everything I absolutely felt I needed I put in Google Drive so I can never lose it even if something happens to my computer. There is virtually nothing on my computer now and it feels so great! This is an important feat once you complete it. Plus your computer will run so much faster because of all of the new added memory.

The hard part - your schedule...

My motto works for your schedule too. If it isn't going to provide you with inspiration or aid in your survival (such as your job that is paying for your food), or make you a better person then stop allowing it to use precious time. For example, once I cut out watching competitive cooking shows out of my life I suddenly had time to meal prep. Obviously this does not mean cut out all TV, but you definitely need to prioritize your life this way. Say no to people who are asking too much of you and begin to live mindfully.

Make a daily routine to start. Once you have it down you can stray from it, but start out planning your whole day down to the hour. Budgeting your time is extremely important and will help you to be more productive so long as you only spend time on the important things.

Spring clean your schedule, not your stuff.

The happy part - your budget

I'm not a psychopath I understand that budgets aren't usually happy. This one will be different however, I can promise you that. Guess what is about to happen with your budget? It's about to get BIGGER. Want to know why? Because you're about to stop buying crap! Yay! More money in your savings! You just purged your whole house, why would you go out and start buying more stuff to fill it with? That's regression. You're only buying survival items or items you absolutely love and will inspire you.

Really though, you need to sit down and see what you can cut out of your budget. If you're not prioritizing TV then you probably don't need that Hulu subscription and you definitely do not need cable television (although I keep Netflix for sick days when I want to binge watch shows and they have great documentaries). You will listen to more podcasts (that are free) instead of music because that's less time you will have to spend reading about that topic, so you probably don't need Spotify either. Once you realize you do not need so many luxuries you're going to have more money to spend on important things and it'll make you happier!

Other ways to save money and have less stuff: get a library card and check out books (since you should be reading every single day) or movies, they're free and you give them back when you're done, meal prep so you're not eating out and wasting food you let go bad because you didn't prepare it, start a worm composting bin so you don't have to buy fertilizer or waste uneaten food, switch all of your accounts to paperless to save trees and have less mail and while you're doing this you'll see what accounts you can close, and stop going to sale sections of the store unless it's on something you absolutely need to survive (like food).

Side note: Excel has budget templates, you just fill in your amounts and labels and it'll calculate your spending for you!

He who buys what he does not need steals from himself - Swedish Proverb

Tend to your mind like you tend to a garden

Push out the negative vibes from your life like weeds. Are there negative people in your life? Quiet them or push them out. Practice mindfulness. Keep your mind clear of distraction and free from anxiety. If you only allow the good in and push out the bad your mind will be as beautiful as a manicured garden (and I promise you'll sleep more efficiently as well). Read books that will fill you with inspiration and positivity. Practice the art of being content. Yes, our aim is to be happy, but that's not stable and it fluctuates too much to rely on it. Be content with having less stuff and your life in general and it'll keep you from worrying, which means more positivity.

Now bring in the positive vibes

When your house is only full of things you absolutely love, and you're only spending time on things that bring you inspiration, and your not stressed out about money, and your social media life becomes quieter, I promise you the good vibes are going to flow. Your priorities are going to become clear to you because your mind is going to have room to think, plan, and categorize what is important and what is not.

To close...

Minimalism is a lifestyle so you need to make sure you're ready for it before you begin this challenge. It will be very overwhelming for you if you keep buying stuff and you keep purging, plus it's a waste of your time. If you're sentimental to your stuff then you need to seek therapy and see why that is because it has been proven to be unhealthy and a side effect of serious trauma. Minimalism is a lifestyle shared by those who have their priorities in check and are usually more successful and happier than their peers living in giant houses full of stuff.