Affirmation Challenge Day 7: Opportunities

Today I’m playing catch-up with PE’s Affirmation Challenge (last night I was stopped because of a visit from a special birthday boy =p), so we’re now onto day 7, which focuses on opportunities! I’ll be doing days 8 and 9 tomorrow, most likely.

To be honest, reading about this day’s challenge made me feel awful. I’m always putting off trying to achieve my dreams because of one reason or another — today I was just too busy and too tired; I need to learn how to do X before I can begin achieving my dream; I need to come up with a better plan/complete course Y/fulfill A, B, and C criteria before I can achieve it.

Put simply, I’m not a woman of much action, though by looking at my plans it’d seem I should be! Usually I fail because I put too much on my plate; near the beginning of this month, I got super motivated and decided I wanted to do two different 30-day challenges at the same time. I figured I was familiar with the challenges so I could probably handle them both at once.

I’ll never know, though — I didn’t start until the third or the fourth of the month, meaning I was already trying to play catch-up just for the sake of being able to match my progress with the day of the month! After a few days, I gave up because it was just becoming too stressful and I was starting to do the challenges just to get them done, not putting my best effort into them.

Then there’s today. I read the challenge, decided today would be the day I take action on all the things, and promptly made a to-do list that highlighted my “top 3″ tasks of the day, but ended up with a total of 9-10 tasks. I got home from work however and I’ve accomplished nearly none of them. Things came up, I got distracted, and bam! It’s almost 10 o’clock, and I’m just trying to catch up with the affirmation challenge!

This particular theme for the day is hard for me because I fail, over and over again, to take action.

My theory is that I’ve yet to find a “realistic” way to set my goals. I’ve been having some success getting things done by assigning tasks and “due by” times to my work assignments, but this is very micro-focused on my job, and coming home I haven’t spent much, if any, time on the things truly important to me. I usually desperately need rest and time to unwind…which isn’t a bad thing, but that carries into my whole evening!

My strategy for this is, starting at least with this week’s weekly review on Sunday, I’m going to break down my yearly goals (the ones listed in my life plan) to months, and then come up with broader goals for the weeks remaining this month, and daily goals for next week. This way, I have a very clear view of what gets done when and the overall effect it will have on achieving things in the big picture. I think each step currently feels so small, which is partly why I haven’t taken the steps at all.

To help achieve this, each day I’m going to find my inner motivation for each of my “big three” tasks for the day — the big, important tasks I want to get done. I may make a separate, general, to-do list each day as well, and I’ll probably continue making one for work, but if I keep track of not only what’s important but why, I may have an easier time actually doing it. Just a theory for now, but worth a shot, no?

My empowering thought about opportunities?

Don’t act “as if” your life depends on it; act BECAUSE your life depends on it!

I think for now, this is enough from me. I’ve got one more post to catch up with (yay!), and I’m really tired so I want to get that done with and get to bed. I’ve also got an update/extended version of yesterday’s challenge I want to share at some point as well, so that’ll be up probably tomorrow sometime, assuming I don’t change my mind about sharing it.

How do you guys create opportunities in your life? How do you get yourself to take action?

Affirmation Challenge Day 6: Self-Worth

I’m a bit behind in the Affirmation Challenge due to the weekend, but luckily today’s a catch-up day! So without further ado, here’s Day 6’s challenge on Self-Worth.

Today, Celes asks us to identify an area where we experience self-doubt, and work from there.

I had to think about it for a minute — where is it my self-doubt really crops up and shows itself? Then it hit me: social situations.

I always dread social situations with too many people I don’t know. I’m fine in small groups, but after so many people join us I begin to feel uneasy. How do I act? How do I get to know people? What if I look/say something stupid? What if I misunderstand someone? What if I appear “lame” if we’re trying to do something?

Pretty much, I’m scared of being judged. I’m afraid to say something stupid, or do something badly, or have an opinion no one likes, or not know something about someone or something that leads me to looking foolish.

Just today at work, I had a situation. There’s a big lunch/game-day happening at my office to celebrate the release of many projects, and the whole building will be attending. My co-workers and I are going to be a team during the games…and I’m terrified. Just hearing about it made me want to say I didn’t want to be a part of the team; I didn’t say that, but I did say (out of pure nerves) that I’m “not good at anything.” Cue the natural teasing response (well we don’t want you on our team if you’re not good at anything), but the truth is I was deeply shamed. Both by the way I spoke of myself, and the resulting teasing, though I doubt there was any malice in it. As my one co-worker said, I really did set myself up for it.

It scares me because my performance will not only be reflecting myself, but could help or hinder (obviously, I’m focused on the hindrance) my teammates as well. It’s everyone watching, hoping I’ll do well, and I just feel I won’t do well. I’ve never been good at party games (which I assume these games will be), and I don’t have very good depth perception due to my eyesight, meaning even with my best attempts I often screw up games involving tossing/catching things.

Anyway, I’m entirely embarrassed of the whole situation. Plus I feel like due to my reaction today, I’ll probably have someone make fun of me tomorrow, thus reliving the embarrassment of my words and what they mean.

My dream for this area would be to simply not get so nervous in social situations, and be comfortable, if not confident, with myself. I don’t want to place so much importance on what other people think of me.

This one is a struggle for me, but I’m going to attempt to make some new beliefs:

What people think of me doesn’t matter; the only thing that matters is I do my best, and love and believe in myself. What people think only has value if I allow it to; the choice is mine. I deserve to enjoy myself while socializing.

I’ll really need this one for tomorrow! Wish me luck, everyone.

Edit/Extension: I contemplated on this some more after the day was done, and I felt I got a deeper understanding of my self-worth.

First of all, any judgment on me isn’t my problem; it reflects on how they see the world.

Second, why do I care what they think? Why do I care so much to meet expectations, to fit in, to be liked, to not be a disappointment?

The answer is simple, though the effects are profound: I’m letting other people’s opinions of me represent my worth.

When I drilled down, this was what the underlying answer was. Beneath the desires to give people something, to meet expectations, and to avoid disappointment was the fact that I was holding what people thought of me as a measure of my worth.

Realizing this and releasing this are two totally different matters entirely, however. I know I will struggle to let this thought go. I keep experiencing moments of embarrassment where, with the focus on me, I can’t recall that their opinions only matter if I let them.

But if I don’t hold their opinions as a symbol of my worth, it’s super freeing — I don’t need to take myself as seriously!

My new thoughts?

I deserve to be  comfortable with myself unapologetically and unconditionally.

How is everyone doing with the challenge? How did your overcome your area of self-doubt?

Affirmation Challenge Day 5: Gratitude

Today’s task brings us to the end of the first third of the 15 Day Affirmation Challenge, Day number 5.  I’m ready to dive in!

Today is about identifying things we’re grateful for — and some things we’re taking for granted. I’ve inconsistently kept a gratitude journal for a long time now — sometimes I’m great at writing in it every day, and sometimes I just forget for days at a time. I keep a notebook in my Evernote account for these lists and create a new page each day, where my aim is to write down at least five things I’m grateful for each morning. I have a separate goal (kept in the gratitude journal as well) of writing about the best parts of my day at the end of each night, but this is even harder for me to keep up with than the morning task. I do keep trying, though, so hopefully eventually it becomes a habit I can maintain as easily as my morning and evening routines!

For things I take for granted, I think I’m going to keep those thoughts to myself and work through them on my own.

As for ten things I am grateful for? I can share those:

  1. My wonderful boyfriend. He’s really my best friend before all else; I love how he thinks, he supports me every day, and I truly believe he cares about me more deeply than anyone has before.
  2. My great roommates. I could have ended up in a house with three other people who don’t get along, but instead we all ended up being friends and that makes me happy.
  3. The fact that it’s Friday! I had a harder-than-usual week, so I’m grateful for my chance to relax and regroup.
  4. Seeing my family tomorrow! My little sister is celebrating her birthday this weekend, and my boyfriend and I are making the two-hour trip back to my home to see my family for the first time since I’ve moved out.
  5. My one roommate is planning to take me to the store so I can surprise my boyfriend with a great gift for his birthday/to celebrate his going to grad school. Can’t wait to give it to him!
  6. My fairly new phone, the Moto X, and the fact that my dad gave me some money towards it. It’s such an awesome device, and I’m so grateful to have a smartphone that actually works well and has great battery life!
  7. The internet. Man, I use it constantly, it’s just so awesome.
  8. Mr. Toasty, my Squishable stuffed toast. He’s totally adorable, a gift from my boyfriend, and makes an awesome pillow!
  9. YouTube, for having videos which entertain, teach, and inspire me.
  10. Life as a whole. It’s so beautiful it boggles my mind.

What’s one way I can share my gratitude for one of these things?

Well, geez. I say “thank you” to the people in my life all the time — I try really hard to make sure people know I’m appreciative of what they do for me. I think my act of gratitude wherein I’m getting a gift for my boyfriend will work; a big reason why I’m getting him what I am is because I want him to know how much he means to me. Not that he needs a gift (he knows already), but I want to show him in other ways that he’s precious to me. This is one way I can think of.

I’m also planning on really thinking about and reflecting on the things I take for granted — especially because I feel it may be detrimental to take them for granted for too long.

So, there’s the results of my gratitude affirmation challenge! What do you guys think? What are you grateful for, and how do you show it? Anything you take for granted that you feel comfortable sharing? Let me know! =)

Bonus: Here’s a beautiful TED talk I found on gratitude before writing this post. There’s some great words and imagery here, it’s very much worth the watch!

Gratitude: Louie Schwartzberg at TEDxSF

Affirmation Challenge Day 4: Setbacks

Today’s challenge is about identifying an obstacle and identifying ways to overcome it.

I’ve identified two obstacles for myself: the expectations of others, and, well, myself.

I want to do my best in what I’m working on, and if I’m doing something for someone else, I want it to be my best work. I don’t want to disappoint them, or for them to think I’m stupid.

For these reasons and others, I have a hard time doing things just for myself, or asking for help. I’m always so caught up in the thought of the response that I freeze and put things off. I’m always afraid that the reaction I get will be negative. I put so much stock into what others think of me, that even if I believe in myself a little bit, I’ll easily get pushed back if someone thinks ill of what I’m doing.

However, I’ve got one exception in recent memory that I can use as fuel to prove that I’m capable when I believe in myself: moving into my place with my roommates.

When I got a job offer (technically, an internship), I was ecstatic. It meant being able to move out of my house, into the city that I loved rather than my home town. It meant freedom and being able to take care of myself. It was everything I wanted for myself but hadn’t ever thought I’d be capable of.

But my parents were skeptical: “What if you they don’t hire you after the internship? How will you pay for your apartment then? Should you really do this?”

Normally, this kind of talk would have stopped me. It was true, I had no back-up plan should I not be hired after the internship. I’d be left with a lease I couldn’t pay for. I should have plans in case things go wrong. I shouldn’t take the job offer, in case things didn’t work out.

For the first time in my life, however, I felt no fear. Everything felt like it was falling into place. I felt unstoppable, despite what my parents feared. Not that I shouldn’t worry about the possibility at all, of course, but it didn’t feel like I was taking a stupid route; after all, I could always pick up another job should my internship not last.

I believe the difference this time was that my dream was to move out, to stay in my current city and not be stuck in my home town, where there was little opportunity and none of my friends. So when things fell into place, I knew it was because my dreams were coming true.

In light of this story, my answer to how I plan to overcome my obstacles — my thoughts, and the thoughts of others — is this:

  1. Recognize my biggest goals and dreams. I felt at my most powerful when I saw that I was about to make my dreams come true. I had no idea the exhilaration I would feel when I was offered the job, and realized I could say “yes” to the friend offering me a room in a house I could rent for a low price. Realizing how badly I wanted to live on my own is what powered me through the scariest parts of getting there.
  2. Allow myself to have these goals and dreams. I first needed to let myself accept that I could have these dreams. I thought in the beginning that it was too unlikely and it wasn’t going to happen, so why bother thinking about it? It wasn’t until my friends started telling me to “do something about it, or stop complaining” that I realized I actually did really want this goal, but I was terrified.  Still, it was the impetus I needed to believe I could actually achieve this goal.
  3. Recognize my own power to achieve what I want. While I was scared and needed a lot of support to get through the job application and interviewing process (and much before that, getting the advice of my teachers and taking on an unpaid internship), the truth is in the end I took the actions necessary myself, and I earned the reward. I had much to thank people for, but it was my own doing that got me there. I’ve faced so many fears along the way, and I’m still facing many more, but I’m getting through and finding out what I’m really capable of.
  4. Recognize all the support and opportunities I receive. Although I was the one who achieved what I wanted, I could not have done it without the support of my friends and my teachers. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given and for the people who mean so much to me — and they know it too, I thank them way too often! There’s no point in this journey that I haven’t felt immense gratitude for everything going on.

In following these steps, I believe I’ll make it so that neither of my obstacles exist anymore; not only will I feel much more empowered to go after my dreams, but the thoughts of others won’t affect me anymore.

Huh, this is starting to sound like what happens when you’re a confident person…maybe I’m really getting on to something here! =D

So for today, my new empowering beliefs are these:

I’m allowed to dream big and am worthy of any goal I set for myself. As I take action, I bridge the gap between my dreams and my reality. I move in the direction of my highest goals, because even an inch at a time gets me closer to them and in a better place than I was an inch before.

Phew, this affirmation proved more powerful than I ever imagined! When I started, I was thinking the obstacle I would come up with (and in turn, the response) would be much more superficial…so glad that I was able to delve quite deep! I think recollecting my story of getting my job and my own place really solidified some confidence in myself. I feel surprisingly giddy!

How’s everyone doing with their fourth day of the Affirmation Challenge? What obstacles did you recognize, and what are your plans to overcome them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! =)

Affirmation Challenge Day 3: Ability

Day 3 of PE’s Affirmation Challenge, here we are! I don’t know about you, but these topics have felt super-powerful to me…I just can’t imagine what the next twelve themes could possibly entail. But anticipation is probably half the fun, right? xD

Day three is about identifying where you might be blocking yourself from achieving your dreams or goals, and what beliefs you hold that are causing it. A lot of this can be identified with negative self-talk, such as, “I can’t/I won’t/I don’t know how/It’s too difficult/I’ll fail…” etc.

For me, the goal, the dream I have doubts about is my financial independence. I want to make money by doing what I want to do on my own time. I want to see my passions and values be the driving force behind the work I do. I want the freedom that comes with being your own boss. Not gonna lie, I’m heavily inspired by Celes — the maker of this challenge. It’s her life and accomplishments that have made me consider that I want a life like hers, too!

While I don’t explicitly tell myself “I can’t,” I have plenty of nagging thoughts behind this goal:

  • I don’t have enough good ideas (or conversely, “What if I can’t create a focus?”
  • I feel like what I want to do has been done before
  • I feel like I have nothing new to share
  • I’m afraid what I’ll do is too similar to X/Y/Z
  • I want to be open about myself and my ideas, but I’m afraid of what others will think
  • I don’t think I have enough experience

These doubts weigh on me; even if I’m not telling myself I can’t, it feels like my mind is trying hard to convince myself I can’t anyway!

So now for the hard part: reframing these beliefs to be positive instead!

  • As I learn more and more about myself and what I’m passionate about, I’ll come up with more and more ideas to try out. There may or may not be a true “focus” to what I do, but that doesn’t need to be a bad thing.
  • Even if what I want to do has been done before, that doesn’t mean I can’t do it differently/better/with my own insights to offer.
  • Even if what I’m sharing isn’t “new,” there’s always new ways to share and present things. The uniqueness of my own voice and presentation is important enough in its own right. Besides, most likely I will have something new to add!
  • I don’t necessarily have to be open about myself and my ideas right away — that can always come later, or not at all.
  • The only way to get experience is to get out there and try.

My next action steps will be as follows:

  1. Take time to think if there’s any other root cause of my hesitation to go after my goal, and if so, figure out a new line of thought
  2. Continue my course on Android App development that I’ve been putting off
  3. Identify my true passions and values — then brainstorm how to work them into my own independent creation!

Well, that’s it for today! Thinking about both Day 2 and 3’s goals in the same day has really taken a lot out of me, but I feel like it’s worth it!

What goals and dreams are you guys going after? How’s your Affirmation Challenge going? Let me know in the comments! =)

Affirmation Challenge Day 2: Self-Love

Time for Day 2 of the Affirmation Challenge hosted by PE! Today is about focusing on the love we have for ourselves.

I was particularly excited for today’s affirmation, and I was super excited to get home and really think/write about it after work…only for my power to go out.

My area recently has been experiencing brief but damaging storms. This is the second time in the last five days I’ve lost power for the evening — thankfully each time it’s come back on by the morning. Hopefully, there isn’t another power-outage any time soon, but I digress!

So, a day later, I’m back to do both day 2 and day 3’s affirmation challenges. I’ll still keep each day in a separate post!

Today, Celes asked us to identify a self-hating belief. It could be as extreme as just that — hating yourself entirely — or even just disliking a certain aspect of yourself. Either way, there is no reason to hold these beliefs, as they only hurt ourselves in the long run.

For me, this comes with a struggle of never feeling good enough. I would not say I hate myself by any means, but I usually feel like I “need” something before I can be “truly” happy with myself, like I need to work harder, be healthier, make more people happy, stop procrastinating, be more confident…

I’m always assigning myself a new time at which I’ll truly love myself and be happy. In fact, just in typing this out I realized the irony in one of my thoughts: I’m waiting for the right conditions to occur so I can feel I truly love and am happy with myself, yet the flaw is assigning your self-worth to such symbols — accomplishments, physical things, whatever they may happen to be. Truly, the only thing preventing unconditional self-love is assuming self-love is conditional!

For today’s affirmation, my new thoughts are:

I don’t need to wait for anything, I love myself now. I’m worthy of love now. I don’t need to meet any criteria to be valuable. Improvement is a journey, there is no destination at which my happiness is waiting. I feel love, worthiness, and happiness right now, and take these with me as I move forward.

Pretty excited about this one, can you tell? =D

As for my next steps to demonstrate my new self-love? I think tonight I’m gonna  settle-in early and cuddle up with my Kindle and a nice cup of hot cocoa or tea. =)

What is your response to today’s Affirmation Challenge? How will you show yourself self-love today? Let me know in the comments, I am really excited to see everyone’s thoughts!

Affirmation Challenge Day 1: A New Beginning

I’m not sure about you guys, but the fact that it’s possible to change your life at any moment is fascinating. If you change your thoughts and take actions to support your goals, it’s entirely possible to achieve them, even if the goals are huge!

For PE’s Affirmation Challenge Day 1, Celes invites us to think about a limiting belief we may hold, and 1) uncover why we hold this limiting belief 2) change this into an empowering belief and 3) identify something you can do to put this new belief into practice.

After you’ve identified your new belief, repeat it to yourself along with the affirmation of the day:

Today is a brand new day.
My past does not define me.
My future is mine to create

For me, I find that often I put off getting things done until the last minute — they always get done, to be sure, but the stress caused by putting things off would be a nice thing to be rid of!

I thought about why this is, and came up with the conclusion that I’m afraid of doing badly, so I put things off out of fear — which ironically increases the chances that I’ll do badly as I give myself less time to complete the tasks I’m given. It’s also difficult if I can’t find meaning in the tasks I’m doing, though I’ve found with some thought you can usually always find meaning in what you do. After all, if there weren’t ANY reason, you wouldn’t be doing the task in the first place!

So for me, my new empowering thoughts are:

I live with passion and purpose. I put my best effort into everything that I do, because my work is a reflection of me and I am immeasurably valuable.

My next action steps are to first, identify the purpose of anything I’m working on, and strive to work mostly on things that are most valuable to me, and second, give myself whatever I need to get the job done well.

This second point for me currently means giving myself a firm “timeline” to get things done by, even before the “real” deadline. I think this sense of urgency spurs better work, especially if there’s something that needs being done but may not be the most enjoyable task. Perhaps in the future I will find this isn’t true (or that there’s other things I need to get things done well), but I think this will be a great tool in addition to my first action step!

That’s all for today! Check out my comment on PE about today’s  challenge. What did you think of today’s tasks? Any suggestions for my action steps? Let me know below! =)

A New Challenge to Celebrate a New Beginning: Affirmation Challenge!

Hello everyone! Welcome to HackMyHeart.com! I’m Calae, and this is my first post on my new blogging adventure! It is my hope to share my experiences of the love and beauty life has to offer, and help you discover more of these for yourself all the while!

Love, gratitude, appreciation, imagination…life has so many beautiful things in it, and I hope to do what I can to create more of these and share what’s out there!

One of these beautiful things is the Affirmation Challenge currently going on at Personal Excellence! If you’ve never before visited Personal Excellence, I implore you to check it out! Run by the ever-amazing Celestine Chua, this site is full of super high-quality content, most of it available for free!

The Affirmation Challenge is a 15 day challenge, where each day is given a theme. Celes posts some area of your life to think about and offers suggestions on how to create a powerful affirmation and, more importantly, begin taking action steps to improve that area of your life! As of this post, we’re currently on Day 3 of the Challenge — plenty of time to jump in and join the fun!

I will be blogging about my experience with the Affirmation Challenge here on HackMyHeart, as well as commenting on the posts at Personal Excellence. I hope you join all of us taking the challenge — it’s a great way to increase the positivity in yourself and the world around you!

Let me know if you’re taking part in the challenge as well in the comments below! =D