My Journey in Mindfulness So Far

I take a deep breath as I walk a few steps, trying to walk slowly while thinking, Breathing in, I have arrived. On breathing out, I continue: Breathing out, I am home. I see my surroundings and wonder if my altered pace is noticeable, as I try to focus only on my breath and the moment I’m living in.

For the first time, I’m truly focusing on bringing mindfulness into my life. The fears, the anxieties, and the worries I experience daily all stem from ruminating about my past and how it may negatively impact my future. If I’m in the moment, these can’t stop me.

But for each time I practice being mindful, I have several moments where I turn away from my forming habit. Of course, having just started, this is to be expected. I already realize the benefits a few changes to my life have been making, and I intend to keep at them and see what else these habits have to teach me.

Specifically, two types of mindfulness have been helping me: learning to return to the moment, and performing a body-scan meditation every night.

Returning to the Moment

Whenever I think of it, I try to return to the moment. I try to repeat: Breathing in, I have arrived; Breathing out, I am home. I love these lines because I can repeat them in any situation, whether I’m sitting still or moving.

It’s amazing the calm you can feel when you’re fully present in a moment. The fact that you’re alive to experience it is amazing in and of itself – and if it’s a beautiful moment, like being outside witnessing a sunrise, being fully “in it” makes it more so.

If I’m stressed from over-thinking something, being present is immensely relaxing. Slowly, I’ve been seeing that the majority of the time something is bothering me, it is because I’m ruminating needlessly over it!

Either a) There’s something I can do, but am not doing it for X, Y, or Z reason, or b) I’m anxious over the outcome of something, even though there is nothing I can do. In both scenarios, being present brings out the truth that there’s nothing to worry about. Either there’s something to be done, or there isn’t!

Challenges in Returning to the Present

As I’m very newly into the idea of living in the present moment always (as opposed to just while I’m meditating, for example), I’m seeing many challenges crop up.

  • Breathing. For some reason, whenever I hear the advice to focus on my breathing, it becomes a challenge. I begin to feel my throat tense, and I wonder if I’m over-thinking this basic activity. My best guess so far is that I ignore theĀ other advice of, “don’t force your breathing to change, just notice it,” as I tend to try and breath deeply when I focus on it. Going forward, I will have to do my best to keep it as natural as possible while I observe it.
  • Walking. While trying to walk mindfully, I am at odds with my naturally quick pace. Many times, people have commented that I walk quickly, and even when I try to slow down I feel that I’m going “too fast.” I then begin to think too much about my pace, which distracts me from my breath, which then pulls me from the moment altogether. I’ll continue to try and slow my pace as best I can, but I may just feel self-conscience in the fast-paced environments I walk through.
  • Unpleasant moments. When I try to be present for a moment where there is something going on that I don’t quite like, I am not always able to move past my anxieties. I see my fear, and instead of sitting with it and figuring out what’s really going on, I slam the door on it and run away. I’m not sure what else to do with this one besides to just keep going at it, and hope I can slowly build a tolerance for and understanding of the things that frighten me so badly.
  • Neutral moments. I’m also still learning to truly appreciate any moment, so even a neutral moment gives me trouble at times. Often, these moments invite nervous thinking, simply because there’s nothing else at my attention. I think as I learn to appreciate each moment for what it is, this will dissipate.

Total Relaxation: Body-scan Meditation

While this seems quite different from the act of mindfulness itself, I have found that this activity has already begun helping me feel better about myself.

Essentially, a body-scan involves relaxing and focusing on the different parts of your body in turn, consciously releasing the tension in that area and thanking it. You might start with your head/eyes/ears, work down to your neck, your shoulders, your upper arms, elbows, lower arms, wrists, hands, fingers, then return to your heart/chest, back, lungs, stomach…making your way down eventually to your toes.

This focused relaxation and gratitude really helps me appreciate myself and my body. I’m not entirely sure of the reason why this is, but my guess is it’s hard not to love the person in the very body that you’re being grateful for. I do this at night in bed as I’m going to sleep, and I’ve found it’s a great way to calm down and relax into sleep.

For me, these exercises of returning to the moment and doing a body-scan each night have really made a difference. I’ve been sleeping better which is great by itself, and I’m also learning to relax into each moment. As a chronic worrier, I could not be happier with the results! I recommend trying out these practices, as they really take no time out of your day and the benefits could be worth the bit of effort it takes!

Will you guys give either of these exercises a try? Do you utilize any other techniques of mindfulness? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Starting again

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I posted, and I’m here to briefly explain why that is, what I’ve been up to, and what I hope to do in the future.

The truth is, I was completely stuck. I had no idea what to do with HackMyHeart (and in many ways, I still don’t). I’m nervous about what I share here, about who might stumble upon my words, and about what they might think. But the truth is, I’m stagnating, and I want to start again. I fear it may be a rough journey, and this may not be the only “fresh start” that occurs, but I realized that sitting behind trapped in the planning stages was not getting me anywhere. So I’m back with the intention of writing more frequently.

I’ve been trying a lot of things recently to make myself feel better about myself, and reduce my fear. Although there are a lot of things I want to be doing for myself, the truth is I got paralyzed with the sheer amount of change I wanted to bring about. As such, I’ve pared it down to some simple things that I’m having an easier time doing consistently, with the hope that eventually I will be able to incorporate more of the habits I want to make part of my life. The things I’ve been pretty successful at doing include:

  • Writing an “Accomplishment List” each day. On my daily list, I write down anything that feels like an accomplishment, no matter how big or small. For example, sometimes just sending an email at work, or taking the two minutes to floss my teeth at night, feel like monumental tasks that are worth noting. In this way, I’ve learned to focus on the positives just a bit more, and I have a tangible list to look to. My friends try to point out to me everything I’ve done that’s worthwhile all the time, but acknowledging it for myself is powerful as it teaches me to value my own worth, regardless of what others think.
  • Keeping a “Gratitude Journal.” For my gratitude journal, I write down at least five things every morning I’m grateful for. Sometimes I struggle more than others to get even five things down, and sometimes I can write down three times the amount before slowing down! In this way, I try to focus on everything I’ve got going for me, instead of dreading my “to dos” for the day. At night (or sometimes the next morning, if I forget), I write down the “Best parts of my day” so that I can remember all the good things that have happened that I’m thankful for.
  • Learning to be present/meditating. This is the newest of my “tools” I’ve been utilizing. I’ve begun to understand the importance of being in the moment, and what it means to be truly present as it prevents you from being too caught up with either the past or the future (which can be pondered when you’re feeling calm, instead, if there’s things to plan/learn from). When I feel panicked especially, I find that by focusing in on my current moment and not a second ahead, I can usually diffuse my feelings of fear and worry. In meditation, I try to face my strong emotions so that I may experience them, learn from them, and finally make peace with them. I’ve been learning that the best way to overcome tough emotions or situations is to look through them, rather than try to run away from them or suppress them; if you do that, you’ll just continue to be dragged down by them.

I’m still in the process of really solidifying these practices into my daily life, but I feel it will be worth it in the long run as they’re all really focusing in on trying to improve what I’ve been dealing with for years.

Over the next while, I am aiming to update this blog more frequently with whatever comes to mind to be worth sharing about. I may update the appearance of this blog/make other changes to it, but my priority is simply to try writing and seeing what I most enjoy sharing with the world. This may happen on more than one blog, this may all happen here. But I need to take the first step — even if it will just be a series of baby steps — to do something that might bring me towards where and what I want to be. I may not know fully what to do, but I know I need to do something different than what I’ve been doing.

Until next time,

Calae

To any readers out there: What have you been working on recently? Are you finding any habits/changes helpful to getting to where you want to be? Anything you’d like to try?

Affirmation Challenge Day 15: [X]

Welcome, everyone, to the final day, Day 15, of the Affirmation Challenge at PE! Today, we’ve been asked to come up with our own affirmation!

I’ve put this task off for a bit, because I really wanted to give it thought and come up with something that will energize me whenever I think of it. Something so motivating, that it can lead me to action even when I don’t particularly want to take action (or if I’m scared).

My thoughts lead me to the heroes of stories I love. In particular, I’m a huge fan of Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen.” I can totally relate to her fears, and I love how she overcomes these fears through the power of love, of all things!

Thinking about my fascination of magic, fantasy, and all of the “super powers” of the inspiring people in the stories I love, I wanted to create an affirmation that made me feel as empowered as when I read about these heroes’ great acts, or sing along to the songs that get me pumped up and feeling like I can do anything. I really wanted to capture for the motivating and inspiring feeling I get from reading, watching, or listening to these stories and music.

My magic is the ability to achieve my dreams. My power is limitless and in my control. I create the path and the future before me.

While creating this affirmation, I had two songs in mind: The wonderful, amazing, “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel, and “Holding on to You” by Twenty One Pilots (the latter of the two might require a lyric look-up, as he sings quite fast!). Both of these are very inspirational “pump up” songs for me, and I tried to create a concise essence of them both within my affirmation. I love the songs/movies that show me someone achieving their potential after overcoming something (both of these songs to me imply overcoming self-imposed limits). I just can’t get enough of the inspiration these songs bring me! I’m so sad that “Let it Go” is at that stage where people are sick of it because it’s overplayed, because I really think the message is super powerful.

I think that’s it for me for today, though I’m really happy that I finally came up with an affirmation that truly resonates with me. =)

How did you guys do with today’s challenge? What affirmation did you come up with? Let me know, I’d love to hear them!

Affirmation Challenge Day 14: Self-Image

Welcome to Day 14 of the Affirmation Challenge, about Self-Image!

Today I feel will be a tough one for me; I’m either going to go deep into it and share it all, or not deep at all so I can work on it in my own time. That said, let’s see how this goes!

We’ll get right to it: what’re some of my negative self-beliefs?

  • “I’m not good enough.” — Pretty much at the root of all of my worries.
  • “I’ve already messed up too badly.” — Usually comes up when I procrastinate. This thought prevents me from working to correct things, as I tend to convince myself that it’s a lost cause and that no amount of effort can fix the situation I’m in.
  • “It’s not going to amount to anything, anyway.” — Stems from me usually beginning a million things and never finishing, due to some reason or another.

When did these beliefs start?

  • “I’m not good enough.” — I’m not sure when this started. Perhaps as early as kindergarten/first grade because I remember trying to hang out with a group of girls and always feeling like I was “forcing” myself into the group, because it felt like they’d run off and leave me behind as soon as they could.
  • “I’ve already messed up too badly.” — I mean, I cause the procrastination that makes this thought occur, but I’m not sure why my instinct is to give up rather than try and fix things. I suppose my perfectionism is getting in the way at this time. I think when I was younger I would try to fix mistakes (my own, or others) and my efforts wouldn’t be acknowledged. Perhaps I think this way because I’ve noticed time and again if I ever change an aspect of myself, people still see the old aspect and not the new one. Change/improvement therefore becomes awkward because the reactions of others tends to make me revert back to how I used to be/think/act, rather than how I’m aiming to be! I’m afraid that people will never see my effort, just my mistakes. I can only imagine that the next time they’ll acknowledge me is when I’m making another mistake!
  • “It’s not going to amount to anything, anyway.” — I’ve wanted to learn/try/do new things so many times in my life, but I rarely get past the beginner’s phase before I move on to the next thing. This happens to me constantly. I’m always getting new ideas to try, getting curious about new things to learn, wanting to do more/different things. Growing up, I know my parents had my sister and I try many different types of activities — soccer, cheer leading, gymnastics, ballet — but we never stuck with any one of them. I think my parents meant well by wanting to expose us to different things, and I think the reason we always quit was probably partly some level of disinterest from us (my sister and I), but also largely in part due to my parents not wanting us to continue for one reason or another (too expensive, too much travel, etc.) I think I picked up on some of the negative thinking (“This is too much effort to let you continue doing X/Y/Z”), and thus I only stick to things while they’re “fun.” I’m sure my desire to try/learn new things is a big part of it, but it seems I’m also opposed to hard work.

What can I do to challenge these beliefs?

  • “I’m not good enough.” — Despite being ingrained with the desire to be good enough for others, I really don’t need to prove myself to anyone. And even externally, there’s lots of proof that I am good enough: I have an internship that I needed to be selected for, I have a boyfriend that chose to ask me out. Even without those things though, it doesn’t matter. Not everyone will like me, and that’s okay. I have to focus on doing my best, because that is literally the best I can do to be “good enough.”
  • “I’ve already messed up too badly.” — If I really do focus on doing/being my best as I just mentioned, I should think this less often. That said, I will be automatically trying to fix my mistakes in aiming to do my best. Besides, even in the worst case scenarios I can think of, there will always be a way to pick myself back up from whatever “mess ups” I can possibly get myself into. I need to focus on being/doing my best for me, because obviously doing it for other people isn’t enough motivation if I keep having the opportunity to think this!
  • “It’s not going to amount to anything, anyway.” — I frequently question the value of the work I’m doing, but the truth is, it IS valuable on some level. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be doing it/asked to do it! As for my own attempts to do things/learn things/etc., I think I have to get more specific in my goal-setting so that I make the things important to me happen, while realizing I shouldn’t try to overwork myself. Maybe I decide to move on to a new thing in the future, but now I know a lot about something else too! If I find a thing or two to truly take up in the long run, I’ll have plenty of time to humor my other interests as they pop up or dissipate. I have to remember my deepest motivations, desires, and values constantly so I can channel them into accomplishing all the things that are truly meaningful to me.

I think at the end of the day I still really need to work on valuing myself and how I spend my time. Sometimes when I’m really down, it’s because I’m thinking, “Why does it matter?” and I find it hard to care about myself or anything.

I think the answer is, “It matters because this is my ONE chance to live life.” The seconds will tick by regardless of if I’m doing something I love or not, so why not try to fill them with as much of the stuff I love as possible?

Honestly, I’ll have to work hard I think to truly believe in that, and to convince myself to really do my best in all situations, as I think I’ve got a lot more to uncover about myself. But I think this is a good start for now.

What thoughts about your self-image do you have? How are you challenging those negative beliefs? Let me know!

Affirmation Challenge Day 13: Health

Today’s Affirmation Challenge (I will be catching up today, doing tasks 13 and 14) is about health!

I’m not going to lie to you guys — seeing the tasks for the past two days (Health on day 13, and Self-image on day 14) was part of the reason I’ve procrastinated on doing these two days. These are the two areas I feel I struggle with, currently, despite having no real reason for doing so. Hopefully I can dig into some of the reasons today!

So first, talking about health. I know objectively how important it is to care for your body, as it’s truly the only thing we have with us for our whole life. However, I think it is because it is always there that it often gets neglected, as our bodies can usually handle a lot of abuse before things get “really” bad. But the truth is, just like we need to care for our emotional needs, we have physical needs too. And neglecting our bodies can carry over into all the areas of our lives!

I know that especially since starting my job, I’ve been quite lazy when it comes to taking care of myself. I get up early to drive, so I avoid eating breakfast before getting in the office in order to not get up any earlier than necessary. Breakfast becomes coffee and trail mix or a granola bar at the desk…not the worst, to be sure, but not as wholesome as, say, oatmeal. I have access to a gym with my company, but I’ve yet to take advantage of it. When I get home, I’m tired from working all day, and then struggle between giving myself down time and doing things that are meaningful to me. Five days a week, the cycle repeats.

In summary, these are the things I can think of that are negative habits in regards to my health:

  1. Not exercising. I used to go to the gym regularly at school, and I did yoga and Tai Chi throughout the week as well. Now, the most I can say I do in terms of exercise is the two-block walk home after parking my car in the hot summer weather. The heat exhausts me even more than my work day, making me extra lethargic once I’m home (where all I want to do is run and change because I feel like I’m melting from the heat!).
  2. Not drinking enough water. I have an awesome filtered water bottle (a “bobble”) both at home and at work, but I rarely drink enough water throughout my day (I worked it out that I should drink at least two bobbles a day). It’s easier to do it at work for some reason, but I’ve still finished many days without hardly a dip in the amount of water sitting in my bottle.
  3. Not flossing nightly. I brush my teeth in the morning and at night no problem, but usually I’m so tired by the time I go to bed that I rarely floss my teeth. When I finally do, it usually hurts because I haven’t in a while, discouraging me from doing it the next night.
  4. Not eating well. As I mentioned earlier, I usually eat a breakfast of trail mix and coffee. Lunch is a sandwich (usually either peanut butter and jelly, or some kind of deli meat and cheese) that I’ve prepared on Sunday (discovering that you can freeze certain sandwiches for use later in the week = best time saver ever!). Throughout the day, I snack on trail mix if I get hungry. Dinner however, sometimes doesn’t even happen. I’m so exhausted when I get home, I’m sometimes not even hungry, or if I am, only for some snacks! I’m more likely to eat leftovers (usually from fast food), or junk food. I think it usually comes down to laziness and not wanting to take the time and effort to get out everything necessary to cook a meal (or learn to cook, rather).
  5. Work/posture-related issues. I work in an office job, and staring at Word documents all day puts severe strain on my eyes, and typing usually begins to hurt my wrists. I’m not sure I’m in the more ergonomic position either, but it feels like I constantly have to readjust things to get comfortable, so I settle into the bad positions. I don’t currently have a desk at home, so I use my laptop on my bed, which I’m sure isn’t good for me, either.
  6. Neglecting my eyes/skin/teeth in smaller ways. My glasses are currently pretty scratched up, and I think that’s causing me to strain my eyes as well. I have contact lenses I could be wearing, but I’ve never gotten 100% comfortable to wear them on a daily basis. I have a prescription for eye drops that help but I never renewed it and now I wonder if it’s too late. If my skin breaks out even slightly, I tend to pick at it despite knowing how bad it is for my skin in the long run. I have a retainer that I received after getting my braces removed years ago, but I rarely ever use it as it almost seems pointless (“my teeth will just go back, anyway”).

Phew! I’ve got a lot of things I can improve on. I know one big thing for me is a lack of energy, but I didn’t write that down because I feel that by improving some other things, I will probably get more energy.

Now it’s time to get to thinking, what are my reasons for these bad habits, and what can I do to change them?

  1. Exercising: I think I’m resisting this because it sounds like a hassle to put together a gym bag for work, I’m afraid of being in the gym with just one/a few other people (I would go in the morning, and I know for sure one other coworker I know goes then, but I feel like that’s more awkward than a crowded gym), and I’d also have to re-shower when I’m done before finally going to my cubicle to get my day started. I’m also semi-afraid of getting to my job too early and finding that the building isn’t even open yet! When I’m lethargic when I get home, I think it’s mainly from getting too hot during my walk back, but I also feel like I need time to decompress and I do that by doing mindless activities.
    • Solution, part 1: Just pack up my bag, and go! Part of the reason I’ve been getting up so early is because I wanted to use the gym before starting my day (I got up at 6:30am, now 6:15, and I’ve been meaning to get up at 6 to be sure I had plenty of time for the gym before starting work). Yes, I’d need to make sure I always have a towel/shampoo/hairbrush/etc., but is it really so much extra effort I avoid going to the gym for it? I’ve also seen that there’s a hairdryer in the women’s locker room, so I wouldn’t even need to go back to my cubicle with wet hair!
    • Solution, part 2: I think it might be better if, instead of just flopping down in my room after getting changed from my walk back, if I do some form of yoga instead. This will give me a nice meditative state to decompress in, and hopefully give me energy for the rest of my day. It’ll be great to help with my flexibility and posture throughout the day as well! In the same vein as yoga, I might try and relearn the parts of Tai Chi I know, and do a run of it when I wake up in the morning (as the whole thing takes maybe four minutes, tops, to do). No particular reason for this, but it might make my mornings feel a little better!
  2. Water: I’m not sure I have any real reason for this, except I forget. At work, I have a slight resistance to it because the filter on my bobble makes it loud when I drink and I feel self-conscious that everyone hears it in the office.
    • Solution: Drink every time I see my bobble from the corner of my eye. That should make it easier to drink the minimum two bobbles per day that I’m aiming for! I think I should also make it a habit while packing my lunch in the morning to put my home bobble in the fridge before work, that way when I get home I have nice cold water instead of room temperature water to drink!
  3. Flossing: Usually I avoid it because I’m tired and don’t want to take the extra minutes to floss after brushing. Then when I finally floss again, it hurts really bad so I don’t want to do it again the next night and cause more damage. Eventually I forget/am too tired to continue, and the cycle just repeats.
    • Solution: Brush/floss earlier in the evening, before I’m too tired. Even if I eat something after, it’s still better than not flossing at all. I’ll also floss only as often as I think I can without it being painful, increasing in frequency until I’m flossing every night without issue.
  4. Eating well: Mostly energy-related. I feel too lazy to make a “good” meal usually, and some days if I have nothing easy to make, I’m not hungry enough to justify taking the effort to make something. I also don’t really know how to cook, so even when I do my “meals” are something like a smoothie. Which is healthy, but eventually I’d like to learn how to make real dinners as well — though I’m afraid of wasting things if I make a mistake while learning to cook, or possibly making myself sick if I don’t prepare something properly.
    • Solution: First, I think if I actually start exercising once again like I want to, I’ll get the hunger/energy I currently lack for making dinner. Second, I feel like I should start small with my meals; even if I just make a smoothie, I’m getting into the habit of eating/eating something healthy. Third, I can look up easy, healthy recipes that get me excited to try them out, and can view learning to cook as a delicious experience rather than a timely effort. Fourth, although not directly related to dinner, I think I could stand to have more fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet. I used to regularly eat fruit and veggies with dip as snacks, and salads often too. Hopefully having better food also helps me have better energy!
  5. Work/posture: This one is a bit difficult, as I need to mostly be in my cubicle working. There’s only so much adjusting I can do in my environment to make it more comfortable.
    • Solution: I think I will make an effort though to take a mini-break every hour (rest my eyes, stretch, etc.) and have a post-lunch break at some point to walk and refill my water bottle. Hopefully, that will also give me a slight energy boost in the afternoon as well! I will adjust my workstation as much as I can to improve the ergonomics of sitting at a desk all day, and do my best to maintain good posture. I will eventually invest in a desk for my room at home, so I can sit there instead of on my bed where I’m likely to slouch.
  6. Eyes/teeth/skin: When it comes to my skin, I hate seeing the imperfections it sometimes gets so much I almost can’t resist picking at it, though I always regret it after. I think I have to redirect my efforts to clear my skin into kinder practices. For my teeth, I feel like I mainly just need to take the effort to wear my retainer. For my eyes, I have to realize that I am probably going to have a better time seeing each day if I use my contacts/use my prescription eye drops.
    • Solution: I need to sit with myself and figure out why I don’t find these tasks worth it (that must be how I think about them, or else I would be doing them). Then, more practically, I could treat my skin better by resisting picking at it and instead use face-wash (for example), and for my teeth I could try wearing my retainer just once a week at least to start. For my eyes, I can call the pharmacy and see if I’m still eligible to renew my eye drops. Regardless, I can try working up to getting used to wearing my contacts for long periods of time by starting with just an hour after work (perhaps) and increasing from there.

This is a huge list, I really have a lot to work on! I probably won’t implement all of these strategies at the same time, but at least I’ve taken the time to think about them.

That’s all from me for this challenge. How’re you guys doing? What solutions did you come up with to improve your health? Let me know!

Affirmation Challenge Day 12: Wealth

Welcome to Day 12 of the Affirmation Challenge! Today’s focus is on wealth.

When it comes to wealth, a lot of us may have limiting beliefs about it, even if we don’t realize it. For me, I tend to think something along the lines of, “Other people can make money doing what they love, but I can’t.” or “Making money via passive income will never happen for me, it’s just too good to become true.”

Some more general thoughts I’ve experienced: “If I didn’t need to worry about money, I wouldn’t have anything to worry about”, “I don’t have the skills I need to make money the way I want to”, “I don’t need a lot of money to live”, and “I’m bad with money, and I don’t know how to save it properly.”

To challenge these beliefs requires some thought, but ultimately even at a glance I can see a common root: I don’t believe in myself! Notice how all of these beliefs are negative reflections about myself and my ability to create the type of life I really want to live.

With this in mind, here are some new thoughts to think instead:

“I’m able to generate tons of passive income with ease”, “I have everything I need to make money doing what I love”, “I don’t need to worry about money because I have more than enough of it”, “I have all the money I need to experience all that I want to in life”, “I am excellent when it comes to money, and I always have more than enough on hand.”

So what are some action steps I can take? Luckily, I have a few already set in my calendar to get to, but there’s always more that can be done!

  1. Set up my 401k with my current job. After all, it can’t hurt to begin it!
  2. Sign up for a good credit card. Now that I’m making money, I can get a credit card to begin earning good credit; hopefully I can find one with good benefits, too!
  3. Figure out the best savings account/checking account situation.
  4. Aim to create something that generates passive income, such as a Kindle book. I may be currently expanding on my app and web development skills, but there’s no reason I can’t start trying to earn passive income as of today! The only thing I have to do is think about what message I want to share!

Well, that’s all from me for today. What are your thoughts about wealth? What ideas do you have to change your mindset about money for the better?

Affirmation Challenge Day 11: Career

We’re on Day 11 of PE’s Affirmation Challenge, this time focusing on our careers!

I really like the idea of today’s challenge, which is essentially to get us thinking about what is possible in terms of how we work and earn money. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I’ve been planning out my long-term goals and desires, so I’m interested to see if I come up with any new insights today!

First things first: what do I want to be doing? Ideally, I’d love to be working for myself, making various articles, books, and whatever other forms of writing I can create and share, and apps and websites as well. I love technology and so I very much want to utilize it as my means of making money! It would be a passive-income business, which makes sense and things like apps and websites pretty well lend themselves to being published and available without actively working to make them so. Of course, they’d need to be updated, but there’s no reason that needs to take the time of a full-time job!

My audience would vary based on what medium I’ve produced — a game app might be targeted to younger kids, but a guide on studying could be for high-school or college-aged people. As a whole, I want to encourage imagination, learning, and betterment, so whoever wants to engage these things more would be my ideal audience! In terms of an “ideal” amount of money I want to make…why not aim for a million dollars a year and see what happens? =p

So now that I know what I want to do, what’s stopping me? My biggest obstacle is learning about web and app development where I’m able to create my ideal sites and apps. I know the basics of a lot of different web and programming technologies, but nothing much past a beginner level. Therefore, I need to continue to educate myself so I can get past these “lower levels” and reach the point of the professionals! My second biggest obstacle is my time/energy with which I can go after my goals. After I come home from work each day, I’m so thoroughly exhausted that despite my desire to get things done, I really just look forward to unwinding and vegging out. My third biggest obstacle is coming up with (and then focusing on) ideas. I tend to have a hard time coming up with ideas, but then if I do come up with a new one, I almost always want to stop whatever it is I’m currently working on in the name of this new idea. I very rarely see things to the end for this reason (and possibly others).

With some thought, I’ve come up with some action plans to get me through these obstacles:

  1. The need to learn new skills/”level up” my skills
    1. Make sure I am learning something new every day that applies to my goals
    2. Meanwhile, make use of the skills I do have
      • I just realized while writing out my obstacles that I do have the means to create some things (specifically, writing), so there’s no reason I can’t make use of the skills I already have while learning more of the skills I want!
  2. Having low energy
    1. Make eating healthily more of a priority — I’m not sure I’m eating enough/well enough each day, hence the low energy
      • Make sure I always have “easy” healthy meals on hand, like fruit for smoothies
    2. Make sure I get to sleep at a reasonable hour at night — probably no later than 11pm
    3. Make daily goals that are clear and specific and identify my motivation(s) for doing them
      • It’s hard to be lazy/tired when you’re psyched to do something!
  3. Seeing my plans through to the end/better handling ideas
    1. Allow myself adequate time to brainstorm each day, so I can be more likely to utilize good ideas when the time comes and therefore reduce the likelihood of coming up with a “better” idea later
    2. Make sure I have a clear plan and goals
    3. Give myself enough “buffer” time to allow for any surprises in my schedule, this way I’m not completely derailed if I miss a day or so.

Phew! I think that’s all I’ve got in me for today. Tomorrow, I plan to make more specific plans of my larger goals (yes, I’m planning to plan. xD) I’m really hoping that this planning –utilizing the action steps from the challenge so far, especially — will help me kick-start my path to the type of money-making I truly desire.

What plans did you guys come up with? What will you be doing to achieve your goals, moving forward? Let me know, I’d love to hear them! =)

 

Affirmation Challenge Day 10: Love

I’m doubling up today to make up for being busy yesterday evening, so my first post of the day will be about the Affirmation Challenge Day 10, focusing on love!

What a lovely focus for the day! Love is something I very highly value, and I like to try my best to employ the concept of love in all that I do, and encourage it in others. By “love” I don’t necessarily mean romantic; rather, to me it’s more about incorporating respect, appreciation, and a general well-wishing into our actions. For example, I try to encourage people not to judge others at a glance — after all, it’s impossible to know someone’s story this way!

Today, however, we’re asked to focus on romantic love. As I have a wonderful boyfriend, I will be doing today’s tasks with that in mind.

So what is my ideal relationship with my boyfriend? It’d be one in which we’re both confidently in love with each other, where “I love you’s” are said with meaning and without hesitation or condition. It’s one where we both take time to talk to one and other each day, not just about what’s going on with our lives but what we’re thinking about, and other types of intellectual discussion. It’s one where we take interest in each other’s hobbies as much as we can, and do things today in which we have a common interest. It’s one where we hug and cuddle often, hold hands, and in general openly show our affection for one another. It’s one where we both encourage each other to grow and better ourselves and achieve our goals. It’s one where we care deeply about each other’s feelings and problems, yet try to be as logical about things as we can where logic is appropriate. Thoughtful gifts or “extra” shows of affection every once in a while would also be nice, such as dates, or bringing home something yummy to eat, or small gifts or extra special attention.

So what are the action steps I need to take to achieve this? Fortunately, my relationship currently holds most of these ideals. =) I think the challenge will be maintaining it in the near future, when my boyfriend moves a few cities away and begins medical school — he will be busy studying, I will be working each day, and so we’ll probably see each other a lot less and under more stressful circumstances. For meaning our “I love yous,” I know we definitely mean it in the sense that we’re super important and special to each other, but to mean it in terms of unconditional, “you’re the one for me” type of way is quite a way off (and only if it turns out we are the ones for each other, obviously). Only time will tell with that one! As for the rest, I think if we continue or increase what we currently do, that would be great as I don’t feel like we’re lacking in any of these areas — we do what we can with the time/budget we’re allowed!

I will continue to make sure my boyfriend knows how much he means to me, and help him out when I’m able. I’m confident that he’ll continue to do his best as well. =) Regardless of the future, I know we’ll always mean a lot to each other, and that’s really the most I can hope for.

How did you guys do on this affirmation today? =)

Affirmation Challenge Day 9: Relationships

Today is about identifying what’s important to you in a relationship (romantic or otherwise), and figuring out ways to create and foster those kinds of relationships.

Celes opens the challenge of the day asking us if the people close to us fit two criteria — 1) Are you able to fully express yourself/share your goals, values, purpose, etc. with them? Or do you have to stick with mundane topics? 2) Do they support and empower you, or do they put you down?

I thought about this for a minute, my initial thoughts being, “No way! I would sound like I’m babbling incoherently if I mentioned all of these things!” But that’s simply not the case; in fact, I’m very fortunate that I have very supportive people in my life! While I may not be able to explain everything to them exactly as I do it, the fact is I still bring it up in more subtle ways. For example, I can mention the things that are important to me to other people, and my goals — and the more solid of a plan I have to execute them, the more likely these won’t be seen as “fantasy” but thought-out, life change.

If anything, I think anyone’s doubt in my abilities comes from me, either by me not being solid on my goals, or doing a lot of talking but little action. If I show results, though, obviously I’m less “crazy” wanting the goals I’ve set for myself!

Some different kinds of relationships I want are: emotionally supportive, intellectually supportive, experience-exchanging (as in, having a mentor or a mentee), and someone with whom I can discuss my dreams/engage my imagination.

Honestly, I’ve got maybe one or two people whom I trust to discuss my dreams, but I feel that’s all I need! I’ve got plenty of people to support me emotionally (thank goodness for that!), and intellectually, I’m surrounded by incredible smart people. In terms of having a mentor (as I’m not sure I could be a mentor to anyone right now!), I really don’t have one. The closest I can get is to the teachers/writers who create the materials I’ve been using to learn. Even if I don’t have direct contact with them, they’re still providing me the opportunity to learn!

In terms of where I can find more people (perhaps such as those also learning the skills I’m learning), I’d say I’d probably find most of them in communities online. I’m not big on meeting people I don’t already know in real life, plus I feel the types of things I love to learn are better discussed online — for example, personal growth and all sorts of programming/app development have huge communities online. But in real life, it can be harder to find people who are growth-focused, and it’s almost easier to discuss things like programming online/over the computer.

If I start to think of other ways I can meet people, I’ll give it a go. I’m not sure if I’ve even fully realized the types of people/support I want in my life!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today. What types of relationships do you guys want? Do you have any of them already in your life? How are you planning on finding these kinds of people? Let me know! =D

 

Affirmation Challenge Day 8: Physical Looks

For today’s Affirmation Challenge, we’re going to take a good, hard look at ourselves…literally.

At first I didn’t think I was going to have any problems with this one. “I’m pretty okay with myself.” I thought. “Even if I dislike a certain aspect of myself, it’s rarely ever permanent. I’ll go back to being okay with it all soon.”

The first step of today is to rate our looks. “A seven.” I thought automatically. “Well, maybe a six.” I thought about the times I look “eh” and the times I look “wow!” and I figured I was probably on the six side of things more often.

But why?

I picked up a mirror; the second part was to look at ourselves. I didn’t think I looked great. My face seemed too round and my features seemed too narrow. My lips were full but didn’t have a nice shape. My nose was huge from the side, and too narrow from the front. My eyes seemed bland if I took off the thick black frame of my glasses. My hair was shiny, but it flared away from my head only near my cheeks, accentuating their roundness. I looked plain. Not attractive.

I couldn’t believe how much was wrong with me.

I kept looking, though. I wanted to see my true beauty, my real beauty, myself. I kept staring and staring.

I gave up for a bit and took a break. I picked up the mirror, and put it down. I didn’t see it. I didn’t feel beautiful.

Desperately, I got up to look in my full-length mirror. It seemed different, seeing my whole self rather than just my face. My features were still the same, but something changed what I saw. I smiled. I could see it, my inner goddess. I wondered if I could see her from now on.

I hope so; it was a much nicer way to see myself than before.

How did it go for you guys? Let me know!