Posts tagged to
How to be a Practical & Socially Conscious Minimalist
IMG_1482.png

 

One of the popular criticisms against minimalism that I actually love is how elitist it is. The common saying minimalists use is "to only buy what you need", but that implies that everyone has the privilege of being able to afford to buy more than they need. I know this was not the intention of the movement, but it does exclude a large portion of the population. 

Since those phrases are geared towards those with privilege it is important to point out that most of the problems that are caused by overconsumption are from people of privilege over-consuming, so yes... they should buy less. The problem is stating that this lifestyle that underprivileged don't get to be apart of will lead to happiness. 

I do see the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle, since I try to adhere to it as well. I follow a different set of rules than the extreme minimalists do... such as only owning 500 items. I can't afford to only own 500 items because I need to keep, for example, extra parts from an old computer in case I need them for my new one or for another project. So... here are some practical rules to follow if you want to basically just stop buying so much crap and get your life organized while also being socially conscious about it. 

1. Donate

The only thing you should be throwing away when you're purging all of your crap is garbage. Like on hoarders when they do not even throw away their trash. Or if your furniture or clothes are beyond the point of being useable. If it is useable, donate it. Like I said... there are many people in underprivileged communities that you can help by giving them what you don't want instead of a landfill. 

2. Remember that Your house doesn't need to look like this 

87a26e7e879c33dd16c1892138a5c65d.jpg

This is minimalist decor. There is also minimalist art. You don't need to strive for this. I think this is impractical. I want to see pictures of my family on my wall, I want to be inspired by artwork, and I love lots of pillows and throw blankets and I'm still a minimalist. The main point of minimalism is that you rid of the excess, not that you rid of everything. For me, excess is cable television and bulky exercise equipment because I don't use or love either of those things, but there is still some stuff in my house. 

3. When you buy, make it matter

I honestly hate the "vote with your dollar" mindset... that you can just buy eco-friendly clothes and save the Earth. It's not possible and there needs to absolutely be real and drastic policy reform in order for that to happen. It also excludes those who don't have enough money to chose what they buy, they have to buy the cheapest option available. 

With that said, if you do have privilege and you are buying things and experiences, educate yourself on that company. Even if you have to buy from WalMart, look them up, research them, tell people about them, teach your kid about them, and vote with your actual ballot for people who are pushing for reform. If you do have the privilege of having options, always always always chose the most ethical option you can because unfortunately, money is power so give power to those that really deserve it. 

4. Give Experiences Instead of Gifts

I've wrote a lot about this in my other posts, Minimalizing your Life, Not Just Your Closet and How to Change the World by Changing How You Give. For Christmas this past year I took my boyfriend to see Jay-Z instead of an actual present and we had a blast and made memories and that's better than any gift I could've given him (especially because he already has everything he needs/wants). 

5. Reuse

It is absolutely okay to have a room full of junk if its intention is for it to be reused. There is a reason why folks in the depression never threw anything away. It's better for the environment that you reuse the parts from that old computer (to use my previous example) than it is for you to throw it away. When I came up with the idea that I wanted an aquaponics unit that could fit on my counter I was able to make it that day and only had to buy a water pump and a goldfish to make it because I had all of the materials, which is again better for the environment because I didn't have to throw away the packaging for the new stuff. It was also better for my bank account. 

MINIMALIST.png

 

 

How to Let Go of Shame and Bring In Success
20170816_185558.png

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 :) 

 

shame.png
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.

9 Tips To Manifest Everything You Need

If you're not constantly manifesting you're living life the hard way. I don't care what term you want to use if manifesting sounds a little like witch craft. It's just another term for positive thinking, the law of attraction, praying for things, etc. I want to make one thing very clear, though, ANYONE can manifest anything at anytime. And it's super simple. 

1. Make your intentions clear

The first thing you need to do is write down EXACTLY what you want. The details really matter here. You don't want to confuse the universe/God/spirits/etc. Make sure that you're specific on what you actually want though. For example, when manifesting love manifest how the person will make you feel as opposed to what they will look like. If you've had a hard time finding love you've probably been manifesting the wrong things or confusing the universe with what you want. If you've ever found yourself thinking "I want a guy who looks like Chase Crawford" well great you might get a super attractive guy, but he's a douchebag. So instead request your soul mate. "I want a guy who is unbelievably kind, has as much ambition as I do, has his own hobbies, inspires me to be better, and I'm attracted to him". That's what I manifested and that's what I got. I'm telling you it works. 

2. Ask the universe

Once you know exactly what you want ask the universe for it. "I need $800 to pay my bills, please". Cool it'll happen. DO NOT focus on HOW you're going to get it. That's fear and fear is going to stop you from getting what you're manifesting. You need to trust that the universe is going to bring it to you or it can't. So I'll say "I don't care HOW I get the money I need to move, just please help me to have enough" or "I need a new car please help me to get the perfect car for me". 

3. Trust that the Universe knows better that you do

So if you are manifesting a new house and 3 years go by and there is no house you need to trust that was on purpose. Maybe the market is about to crash and that'll be a better time to buy a house. Maybe an apocalypse is coming and the house you're living in now is safer and better for that event. Who knows? Maybe the car you wanted was a Lexus, but you ended up with a Subaru and you're pissed because you manifested the Lexus. Well just wait because maybe you're going to get into an accident and the Subaru is safer and is going to save your life. You need to be humble and remember that you can't see the future. Manifest what you want, but tell the universe you only want it if it's going to help you with your life's purpose. If it's going to send you down a different or wrong path then tell the universe not to give it to you. 

4. Ask open ended questions

An excellent tool I use to make sure I'm manifesting what I want and having it fit my life's purpose is asking open ended questions. Examples of this include "I wonder what it would feel like to be totally and completely healthy" or "I wonder what it would be like if I had enough money to start charitable foundations to help bring clean water to third world countries". Then I'm putting it it the universe's hands to make me feel that way or for that experience to happen to me and I'm not saying how I want it to happen or when just that it will happen. 

5. Act like it's real

This is where the power of positive thinking comes in. Once you've manifested your dream partner you can just sit back and know that they're coming when they're supposed to and you don't have to worry about it anymore. It's off your plate and the universe has to figure it out now. Act like you already have that job, that scholarship, that money, that car, etc. If you just act like you're totally and completely healthy you'll start to feel totally and completely healthy. It's truly amazing. 

6. Manifest what you want, not just what you need

Something that's hard for me is manifesting more than I need because I somehow think that if I'm getting $100 to pay a bill I'm taking it from someone who really needs it. This is total bullshit. The universe is endless, nothing is scarce. Manifest boat loads of money and success if that's what you want and that's in your life's plan and make sure that when you get it you're giving it away and doing stuff with the money. The universe doesn't manifest to hoarders or people will ill intentions so if you're like Oprah and you want to manifest billions of dollars so you can create charities, and inclusive, diverse media, and you want to give away a lot of your wealth then you're more likely to get it. The reason she keeps getting more money is because she keeps giving it away. There's an energy exchange happening, the energy is flowing in the form of money.  

7. Trust

I know I touched on this a little bit, but you have to 100% trust in God or the Universe that it's going to provide you with it. If you do not believe it's possible it won't happen. If you do not believe you're worthy of it then it won't happen. If you can't imagine yourself with it and act like it's going to happen then it won't happen. You have to have blind trust in it. 

8. Be patient

Yes I want millions of dollars to help people, but I'm not expecting it tomorrow.The universe isn't going to break the laws of nature to make it rain money in my bedroom. It has to bring it to me. So I have to leave different avenues open for it. Maybe I'll meet someone who wants to invest in my ideas. Who knows how the money is going to get to me? I don't care when I get it, I just ask that it's when I'm ready for it and when I can use it for the greatest good and to fulfill my life's purpose. So I manifested it and now I wait. One day it'll happen. It could and probably will happen gradually. 

9. You have to work for it, too

You can't just manifest millions of dollars and then sit on your couch and wait for it to rain money, like I said. You need to be open to opportunities and pay attention to the signs the universe is telling you to in order to earn the millions of dollars. The more avenues you have open the easier it'll be for the universe to bring it to you. The universe can't bring you your soulmate if you never go anywhere or do anything. You won't have to go out and look for them yourself, but you do need to still make sure you have hobbies or whatever that'll get you out of the house and into the world. 

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.

7 Ways To Become Inspired and Find Your Passion

I felt like after my last post 6 Reasons Why We Need To Be Inspired, I should also explain HOW to become inspired. I hope this helps!

1. Focus on what you already know you enjoy

If you already know that you love yoga, painting, writing, hiking, whatever... invest more time into it now. The reason you love it is because it's fueling your inspiration flame. Notice how you always feel refreshed after doing these things. If you're not sure what these are... they're the things that after you do it you feel like you just took a nap afterward. Your mind feels clear, you feel like you can breathe, and you feel healthy while you do it. So these things should not include drinking, eating shitty foods, and doing things you might think you love... but that don't make you feel lighter after doing it. 

2. Continually try out new experiences

There are so many hobbies out there you have no excuse to spend all of your free time binge watching Netflix. Try taking classes (find free or inexpensive ones in your city!), try crafting, try renovating, try training for competitions, try wine tastings or tea tastings, try new restaurants, WHATEVER. If you feel stuck trying to think of hobbies I would suggest starting with Pinterest. You just need to research what is available in your area. Obviously in Phoenix I'm not going to try to take up Surfing, and in Maine I'm not going to try perfecting prickly pear margaritas. This is (in my opinion) the funnest part of finding inspiration. If you try something and you hate it so what? You don't have to commit to it forever, and it's worth taking a chance on it just in case you end up loving it for the rest of your life. 

3. Travel

And constantly be planning your next trip! Plan trips to different destinations in your state, in your country, and around the world! It's ALWAYS doable if you budget! I do this by calculating how much it's going to cost me to go on the trip, dividing it by how many months there are between now and the trip, and saving that much each month. SUPER SIMPLE. After visiting a new place is when I feel the most inspired. Traveling gives you feelings and insights that no other experience possibly could. You can read all of the books you want about the place, but experiencing what can't be put into words is the only way to get the whole effect. Trust me when I say traveling is an absolute MUST. 

4. Read!!!!!

I cannot stress this point enough. Everyone around me is sick of me saying this. Get lost in books. I never finish a book and feel uninspired. THIS is where I learn about humanity, emotions, productivity, different approaches to life, etc. I absolutely love learning and I feel my fire roaring when I'm reading and gaining new insights. You can read whatever you want to, no judgement here! If you want to read syfy, nonfiction, cheesy romance novels, I don't care. That author put their world view seen through their eyes into that book and it's such an amazing way to bring inspiration to your life. 

5. Go on a technology detox

For me, just going 6 hours without any technology around me makes me feel inspired. This is when you read. This is when you hike. This is when you disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself. I would suggest going as long as you can. This is what I suggest when you feel absolutely no motivation. You know how it is right, you're feeling sad and you can't describe why. You feel sad taking a shower, you feel sad eating, and you don't want to do those things you already know you love. THAT's your brain telling you it needs to unplug from the rest of the world. Burn some essential oil, meditate, and chill off the grid for a while. 

6. Fall in love with nature

Whether you live in a big city or not, nature is every where around you. Go on hikes, go on picnics, and walk barefoot on the ground. If you have an open mind about it, spending even an hour a week in nature is like hitting a reset button on your brain. When your brain is short-circuiting and you're feeling anxious, overwhelmed and you're lacking passion... nature is going to cleanse this. It's like putting an air purifier into your body to rid of the toxic energy. I know I'm sounding like a super hippie right now, but this is STATISTICALLY PROVEN. Folks who live in rural areas surrounded by natural scenery live longer and healthier lives than those who live in large, industrial cities. Make an effort to go back to your ancestral roots (where they spent their entire lives in nature) and I promise you will not lack inspiration whatsoever. When I'm in nature is when I have epiphanies and realizations. I NEED this in my life, so give it a shot!

7. Meditate

It's really that easy. Just sit and think. I have high-functioning anxiety and at least twice per day my thoughts start racing and I feel overwhelmed. I just stop what I'm doing, even if I'm at my desk, I rest my hands on my legs, close my eyes, and count my breaths. This is the key to living with high functioning anxiety if you also have it, or if you're feeling blocked. When I don't know what to write, I meditate. When I'm lacking motivation, I meditate. It's the best fix for when I don't have time to hike, or do yoga, or take a nap. Just sitting for even 5 minutes changing my outlook on the world. I will say this is super important when you're feeling angry and negative as well. Just sit in silence, with your eyes closed, and breathe. I wrote a whole post on Why Badass Bitches Meditate Every Single Day because of how important it is.

 

Of course there are so many more things you can do to feel inspired, these are only 7 that I personally do. I hope this helps! If you have anything you do to boost your inspiration comment below!

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 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.

 

 

How to Change the World by Changing How You Give

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I found this topic inspiring. In this post I am going to address not only what you can give people that will make you feel good about yourself, but also why you need to first change your mindset and view of how you're currently giving.

Giving shouldn't be about you

We've all seen the Grinch, right? Well I'm not going to rant about the meaning of Christmas to you, but this is the season for gift giving, although these methods should be applied to birthdays and anniversaries as well. If we really get down to the bottom of it the 2 main reasons you are giving gifts is out of social obligation and guilt. Society has told you giving is just what you do on these holidays so you must. Or you give to make yourself feel better about the lack of time you spend with someone, or to feel like a good person, or even because you would feel guilty not giving after receiving a gift. This is all wrong and I'm asking you to open your mind to the idea that gift giving should not be about you, it is always about the receiver.

The problems

Giving to make yourself feel better is like therapy shopping. It's super unhealthy, expensive, wasteful, and to be quite frank, it's pointless. Do you really think all of those hot pink (when anyone who really knows me knows I hate pink) socks I got for Christmas from extended family that I always ended up donating were given with me in mind? No. They wanted to feel better about the fact that they don't spend time with me, while also checking me off of their list of people society said they had to buy a gift for. Don't be this person. Don't buy into materialistic happiness, it's false and empty and there are much better things to spend your money on that I'll get to at the end.

I would also like to point out that I am a minimalist (you can read why here). Therefore I fundamentally believe that buying stuff is one of the quickest ways to make this world a worse place. If you want to make this world a better place you need to be mindful of every purchase because with your dollar you're voting for a cause you believe in.

Also, consumerism is just so bad for the environment that you're destroying the world by buying, and especially by buying new. Every single thing you buy had to be made with materials that were likely made in a way that hurts the environment, then are probably put together with slave labor, then shipped to the U.S. which uses fossil fuels and adds to the already immense pollution problem. Plus it has to be packaged, most likely with plastic, which adds even more pollution. Plus it all ends up in a landfill eventually. The point of me telling you this isn't to depress you, but rather to help put it in perspective that if you want to spend money to buy happiness for another person there are much more long lasting, more fulfilling ways to do so that can also help to change the world.

What to give instead of stuff

Experiences

I always try to give experiences instead of stuff for any gift-giving occasion. For example, for my sister's 16th birthday I got her concert tickets to see our favorite band together. Not only was this not a gift out of guilt for not spending time with her, I instead used it as an opportunity TO spend time with her. Another example would be a few years ago I got my family tickets to ride The Polar Express. We were living in Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon Railway turns into the Polar Express for the holidays. It was so much fun and memories are really the gifts that keep on giving.

Donations

This one is huge if you actually want to make the world a better place instead of just not making it worse like the examples above did. You can give donations to charities in the name of someone else. Personally, if for Christmas my family decided to donate to any of these charities that are helping Syrian refugees instead of giving me a present I would be so thrilled. I have more than I need to survive and there are so many in this world who don't. Also, another tip would be to make donations for your super-stubborn hateful family members and they'll get a thank you card in the mail from the charity. I for one am planning to donate to the Natural Resources Defense Council for my extended family that doesn't believe climate change is real.

Charity Navigation is a great site to help you decide which one you chose to donate to. They have lists for every charity on how they spend their donations and which ones are in the most financial need. They're also trying to start #DonationTuesday as the counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Your time

I can already feel a lot of you thinking "well I give socks because I don't have a lot of money and they're inexpensive so you should be grateful I gave you anything". I understand this concept, I really do. If money is tight, or heck even if it's not but you're so busy out there making money that you're never really present with your loved ones, then give your time. Just spend time with the people who love you. If they're expecting a gift then remind them it's time to watch the Grinch and It's A Wonderful Life and probably a documentary about the current crisis in Syria. You also can and should volunteer to make the world a better place. Have a soup-kitchen Christmas where you all donate your time and serve meals to those who need it most. For everyone who is so scared for the future of this country right now, this is how you'll change what course it's on. Again this goes for other holidays, too. I'm trying to plan for my birthday next year for my circle and I to participate in Habitat for Humanity.

When it's okay to give stuff instead

If a person has what they need to survive, they don't qualify in needing materialistic things. However, there are lots of people who do need things. If you, for example, love extreme couponing for the holidays and door buster sales, etc, then great! Donate what you're buying to a shelter, or ship it to disaster relief programs, or to our soldiers over seas. Where I work there is a very large homeless population so I keep goody bags in my car to give out with items like protein bars or whatever snacks I can get super cheap, tampons, thermal blankets (you can buy these in bulk for less than $1 each), and a printed card with the number and information for NAMI, a charity that offers mental illness treatment to vulnerable communities.

And if you simply MUST give, like say for a White Elephant or something similar then give something they can use. Get some coffee from a local roaster, or a bottle of wine, or something similar. Give them something they need or something they can use that would replace something they would buy themselves. If I got a bottle of Pino Nior for Christmas in a White Elephant I'd be stoked, but if I got a reindeer gag gift that poops chocolate sprinkles... not so much.

Make traditions more important than the gifts

So my family is a good example of this I think. We still gave more presents than I would have liked, we were fortunate in that way, but when I look back on all of the Christmas holidays I've spent with them it's the traditions that stand out the most. These are how you build your community. Every year we dedicate a whole entire day just to baking Christmas cookies (my fav desserts in the world). We invite our friends over and everyone makes triple batches of their favorite cookie and everyone leaves with a sampler of all of the different cookies, with usually enough to bring to neighbors, coworkers, etc. This brings the most cheer to a community because if there's one thing we all have in common, it's a love for food. Other traditions my family participates in is driving through neighborhoods on Christmas Eve looking at the Christmas lights, there's a community that has a contest every year for best display and they offer hayrides through it so we do that, and we binge watch Christmas movies and decorate the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I'm sure you have your own traditions you do with your family, but these are what Christmas is about. These are my favorite memories and the only things I look forward to during the holidays.

Santa PSA

I rant about this every single year during the holidays. I understand that Santa is an important tradition for many families and I'm not asking you to give that up. I AM however asking you to ONLY give ONE present to each child from Santa. There are so many children who do not live in a family as privileged as yours. It is not fair and not right for a child to think they were a bad kid because they got one sweater for Christmas while their friend at school got an XBox and 30 other toys. GIVING ISN'T ABOUT JUST YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. If you want to give a bunch of gifts, even though I've explained that they'd rather have an experience, then make them from you and just one from Santa. Okay, rant over.

How to break the news

So if this post has been at all convincing then you're going to need to tell those in your circle why they're not getting a physical, material gift this year. There are a few ways you can break it to them. First, you could simply send them this post so they, too understand what you now know. Second, you calmly explain to them that they already have everything they need and your love for them cannot possibly be explained in a gift, but rather your experiences, your time, and your gratitude. This is also a good time to bring up that love and support is not synonymous with consumption. Thirdly, if they're kicking and screaming you can still buy them an experience. As a child I would have loved to go on the Polar Express instead of getting the presents much like the socks I mentioned earlier. If my circle would have decided that they were all going to pitch in for tickets instead of buying socks, that would have been much more meaningful because quite frankly I could not tell you more than maybe 5 Christmas presents I received as a kid, but I can explain to you all of the experiences I got instead.

I know traditions are hard to break and I'm not saying throw all of your traditions away. I'm simply saying that if you replace some of your traditions with new ones that make memories you'll notice an improvement in your family dynamic. I'm constantly hearing how this country "just doesn't have any good, old-fashioned family values" and how that's what's wrong with it. If you truly believe that, or at least believe it's important, then changing how you give really could change the world.

 

How to be a Badass Bitch Who Gets Shit Done

Pardon my french... but actually don't because I'm not sorry for it. I suppose the weaker version of this post would be "how to be a well functioning adult who has their life together", but it doesn't have the same punch. So anyways... I'm not an expert on this topic, yet, but I do spend a lot of time on self development and have always just had a knack for getting my life together. So here are my tips that if you follow somewhat religiously, I promise you that you will be the most badass version of yourself.

Exercise!

If there was only one tip that I could give you to be successful, this is the one. I don't care what excuse you have, badass bitches are not lazy. If you do not want to get off of your butt and exercise then you do not want to be the best version of yourself and you can stop reading this post right now. And I am not telling you to exercise to lose weight, that is just a pleasant side effect of working out, I am telling you to because you will feel strong, motivated, and ALIVE. You will gain the confidence held by all badasses because you're going to feel good about yourself and you're going to prove to yourself that you are disciplined enough to get your freaking life together.

TIP: Running is the most efficient form of exercise and it's free, end it with some cool down yoga and a protein shake and then move onto the other steps.

Stop eating garbage!

Seriously, I'm not going to tell you that you need to throw out your chocolate and eat kale, but stop treating your body like a garbage pit. Badass bitches hold themselves to a very high standard and they not only take responsibility for their actions, they OWN it. Yes for breakfast I have an organic boiled egg and green smoothie because I'm fucking worth it. I'm worth so much more than cereal or McGag-me sandwiches. And don't you dare try to tell me a McGriddle just "tastes so good". No, actually, it really doesn't. You want to know what's better than a processed piece of trash? Knowing that you're going to be able to succeed and make something of yourself because you're giving your brain actual food that it can use to think of clever ways to get ahead. Stop allowing yourself to eat mediocre food, badass bitches are not mediocre.

Stop apologizing!

If I hear one more girl say "I'm sorry" when a man walks into her I'm going to lose it! Stop apologizing for things we all know you're not sorry for! You gave someone room-temperature coffee? Do not apologize they can get their own damn coffee. Someone wants to go to a club and you want to stay home and be introverted? Sick, just tell them that and don't apologize for it. Apologizing is basically the same thing as lying to avoid hurting someone's feelings and it WILL lead to codependency. If you are not genuinely sorry for something you have done or said do not apologize. And then when you say your sorry it'll actually mean something.

Side hustle!

Badass bitches do not have only one goal in life, unless that goal is to be badass. You need to have multiple projects going on because the world needs help and most of all it needs you to work on it, whatever that means. For example, I work full time, maintain this blog, just started a podcast, I'm completing a 2 year graduate program in 1 year and starting a non-profit... and I plan on writing books, and probably 70 other projects because I'm ambitious. A common theme here amongst powerful women is they do not settle. If the only thing in my life was my full time job I would be so depressed and would probably also be addicted to TLC shows about morbidly obese people because I would be looking for inspiration. Don't be that person, be a badass bitch who has projects going and is constantly trying to be even more successful. Badass bitches are financially independent and that means it's a clever idea to have back up incomes just in case you lose one.

Be a feminist!

Personally, I don't even believe this is really a thing, you're either a feminist or your sexist. With that said... be an assertive female who acts just as a badass man would and stop allowing people to treat you differently based on your gender. Stop letting men (or anyone for that matter) interrupt you, bump into you, yell at you, or do anything that treats you as lesser of a human being. Example: you do not need to "smile" and look friendly at all times, RBF is not a thing, men do not walk around smiling either.

Discover yourself!

Over and over and over and over again. You know what is the best superpower? Having complete control over your self esteem. If you know that you're a strong, independent woman who is beautiful, takes care of herself, is healthy, and is a productive member of society, nobody can hurt your ego. Nobody can make you feel like any less of a person than you do now because you know exactly who you are and what you're worth and nobody can take that from you. To get to this stage you need to be in love with yourself. Obviously this does not mean you need to be a narcissistic asshole, but you do need to love who you are and who you're trying to be. That positive self image will be your superpower. So get to know yourself and work on the parts you don't like so you can be the best version of yourself.

Go for it!

If you want to do something then find a way to do it. If you want to travel then find a way. Make a budget and stick to it and live your dream. Literally anything is possible if you take the time and effort to make it possible. For example, I wanted to start a non profit so guess what? I researched how to and I'm in the process of starting it with a whole support system behind me ready to help when I need them. Just do it.

Ask for help!

You're not an island. Life is so much easier when work is divided. People are going to surprise you with how willing they are to help you with whatever you need. I needed someone to take photos for this blog because I don't have a lot of time for that particular task, so I asked my sister and she's been an amazing site model. And the more successful you become the more people you'll have volunteering to help you. If you need a work out buddy, or advice on something, reach out to someone who seems to have it together. Build your community. Badass bitches are badass because we stick together and lift each other up.

Read!

AT LEAST 30 minutes per day. Read self help books, business books, fiction, non fiction, whatever! Your vocabulary will improve. You're going to be more interesting because you're going to have more to talk about. Your thought process is going to become more well rounded. You can tell the difference between a person who reads and a person who watches E! News for current events. It makes a difference. Also, listen to podcasts on your commute instead of always listening to the radio. They are a much more productive use of your time (not that I don't also love music...)

Stop settling!

Stop having shitty food, shitty coffee, shitty sex, shitty relationships, shitty friends, shitty drinks, and a shitty life. You are an amazing person who deserves to be surrounded with amazing experiences. (This does not mean blow your cash on expensive tequila btw). What I mean is... do not drink if you cannot afford to drink the good stuff. You need to be at home working on your side hustles if you're in that situation. Do not have a relationship if it is not going to make you the best version of yourself. Stop allowing mediocre things into your life or that's what you're going to be.

Be proactive!

When your alarm goes off in the morning GTFO of your bed. Get your morning routine down so you are at your most productive state throughout the day. Get your evening routine down so you can go to bed and sleep efficiently as well as have an easier morning routine. Organize your thoughts and plan out your time (I like bullet journals, but do whatever works for you). Do you really think Beyonce is hitting her snooze alarm in the morning? No. Do you think she's having a caramel frappacino and a McGriddle for breakfast? No. She's eating like the Queen she is because she knows that's how you are at your most productive state. Stop making excuses for yourself and get your life together.

PSA: A great app is the sleep cycle app if you don't have an apple watch or fitbit. It will track your REM cycles and wake you up at the end of a cycle so you're not jolted awake in deep sleep. I'm not a morning person so this app is the only reason I can get out of bed without hitting snooze.

Use self care!

And although face masks and pedicures are versions of self care, they are not really what I mean. I mean take care of yourself. Go to the dentist, the doctor, get your oil changed, and do the adult things in your life that aren't super fun, but WILL make you feel better. I feel so relaxed after I've given my car an oil change, bath, and good vacuum. I feel like I can take on the world after that. Self care means taking time to do things that will take stress out of your life. 

Say no!

If you're overworked then tell your boss no. If you do not have enough free time for the things you want to do then tell your friends and your family no. This is critical. You need to make sure your pitcher is full before you can pour into other cups. It does not make you a bad person, it makes you an aware, assertive person and people will respect you for it. 

Be a good fucking person!

Badass bitches are NOT stuck up snobs who think they're better than everyone else. You have an obligation to be a productive and decent member of society. Badass bitches recognize this and they fight for this and they're a beacon of light in a very dark world filled with shitty relationships, shitty alcohol and shitty people. Your success is not about just you, it's what you can do with your success. I want power so I can help people with it, not because I'm a power hungry egomaniac. Educate yourself before you have opinions on political issues, or really any issues, and be that breath of fresh air everyone is craving.

badass bitch.png