stop standing in your own way

How to Stop Standing in Your Own Way

Most of us take our time on this planet for granted. We keep postponing our happiness until we have more money or more time. But the truth is, the clock is ticking and the next minute that passes, you will never get it back. So stop making excuses to justify living an unfulfilling life because all these excuses are fears in disguise. And with every excuse you make, you empower those fears to continue to lead you on in life.

There’s a famous quote that says: ‘Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.’ But what if that day comes too late? Can you imagine dwelling in misery for the rest of your life? You should not. It’s time to stop hiding behind fear.

Here are 3 ways to conquer fear and stop standing in your own way in life.

1. Rewrite your story

We are told stories about ourselves our entire lives. Every person we meet adds a line to our story and we simply go along with it. We never question what made us the people we are. So we remain stuck inside the person who created the situation we are in, unable to escape.

This is the realization I came to last year. I had just turned thirty and for some reason I began to feel like I was running out of time to live a life I loved. My life left like a waiting game. I was waiting for fulfillment to walk through the door, or for something to happen, that would get me to where I needed to be. But the problem was, I didn’t know where I needed to be. I didn’t know what my purpose or potential was because I had never explored either, nor tried to achieve more than what I was told I was capable of. So I decided to re-write my story and challenge the stereotypes. I stopped telling myself what I couldn’t do and focused instead on figuring out how to do it.

And that’s exactly what you need to do. Rewrite the story that seems to hold you back in life. Whether it’s living with a mental disorder, a disability, or being at a stage in your life in which “you are not supposed to do that thing”. I encourage you to take that first step and see where it leads you. The rewards can be so much greater than the losses.

2. Remember why you’re doing it

I know they say getting started is the hardest, but sometimes the middle of the journey can be even harder. It’s that time of uncertainty when you are not sure if you should stop and go back or continue. That’s when you have already put in so much work, often without visible or tangible results. It’s the most frustrating, daunting and disheartening time, but it’s also the most crucial time. Getting through this stage is the difference between success and failure.

This is when a lot of people give up. So to protect yourself against quitting you must constantly remind yourself why you’re doing it and envision the end result.

3. Persist

Whether it’s physical, emotional, or monetary success you’re after, be stubbornly persistent in your pursuit of achieving it. Look for role models who’ve been where you are and who didn’t give up. Use their stories to motivate yourself to keep going but remind yourself that their success is the result of years of hard work and persistence. Look back at the progress you’ve made, celebrate every milestone and don’t get too caught up in all the hard work that lies ahead.

Instead, be prepared to readjust your strategies, and most importantly, never stop believing in your goal. The more you believe in what you do, the more likely you are to do it well and succeed.

Read next: How to Stay Positive and Happy in Life: True Happiness

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feeling like you don't belong

When You Feel Like You Don't Belong

They say home is where the heart is. But what if your heart can’t find its place in this world? Have you ever wondered why? I have… and after moving cities, states and countries, I think I may have found the answer.

It all started twenty four years ago in a small town in Romania. I was a six year old little girl who had a wild imagination and even wilder dreams. One day, a family friend asked me: So what do you want to be when you grow up? I said I wanted to move to America. It is the earliest memory I have of feeling like I didn’t belong.

I was rushing to grow up, imagining my life in a place where I belonged, surrounded by people who fulfilled me, nurtured my big dreams and allowed me to flourish on my own terms. Twelve years in the making, the big day had finally arrived. My American visa was approved and my lifelong dream was about to become reality. I was convinced I was going home, even though I had never physically been there.

The journey to belonging begins

After a four hour car ride to the airport and two long flights I arrived in America. As I was picking up my luggage I couldn’t contain my excitement. I remember smiling so much my cheeks were sore. I remained in this euphoric state for about two weeks until reality set in. Things were not going to be as easy and smooth as I had naively expected.

There were many obstacles I hadn’t expected, like the language barrier and a much faster paced lifestyle. Life was so busy, I felt I couldn’t keep up. But I kept pushing forward because I was convinced this was where I belonged. I just had to find the right city that matched my way of living.

New York City?

Fate took me to New York City, the city that never sleeps and as amazing and energetic as it is, it drained me. I knew right away that I wasn’t a big city kind of girl. So maybe the suburbs were more of my thing. After living in the city for one year, I moved to the New Jersey suburbs in an entry level house that backed to a little forest. I loved the backyard, but I disliked everything else. The cold winters and the monotony of a well scheduled life that left no time for enjoyment or personal reflection.

So I thought… perhaps moving somewhere warmer and cheaper with the added benefit of southern hospitality was the answer. We sold our house and moved to Texas. I prefered the heat and humidity over the cold, snowy winters and people seemed nicer. So far so good. Only that, a few months later, I once again began to feel like I didn’t belong. The cycle of searching for the right place continued. I was convinced that my lack of belonging would be fixed if only I’d found the right city, in the right country.

home is where the heart is

Finding my happy place

After moving countries, cities and states nine times over the past ten years I realized I may never find it. Because my lack of belonging has nothing to do with the place I live in. It is the by-product of a disconnected childhood and living a socially acceptable life.

My heart has never been attached to a place. It has been longing for the harmony I didn’t find growing up and the peace I can’t find in our modern society. It is the realization I have come to only recently after looking up the happiest countries in the world for the third time this year.

I am beginning to see things in a new light and from now on, instead of searching for the best place to live in this world, I’ll be surrounding myself with people who understand me, immerse myself in activities that fulfill me and keep nurturing the imagination that fuels my inner world, the place where I feel most at home.

Watch video: When you feel like you don’t belong

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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mindful minimalism

Mindful Minimalism for Beginners

Mindful minimalism means letting go of extra things to find more purpose in your day to day life. Mindful minimalists adopt this lifestyle to let go of guilt, stress and to gain peace of mind.

If you are new to minimalism you may not know there are six types of minimalists. Regardless of your reasons behind becoming a minimalist, I believe mindfulness stands at the base of minimalism. All minimalists must be mindful of the things they purchase and what they hold onto. So I would recommend you start your minimalism journey as a mindful minimalist, then gradually implement other minimalism habits, like sustainability and frugality. If you try to do it all at once you will set yourself up for failure. First you adjust your mindset, then your lifestyle.

How mindful minimalism changes your life

Mindful minimalism peached you how unimportant certain things are, how much less you need and how much more free time you gain when you don’t have to hundreds of extra items to tend to, or organize. And the latter is definitely what motivated me the most to become a mindful minimalist. Time is our most precious currency, so anything that gives us more of it is worth considering.

Another way mindful minimalism can change your life is by removing that feeling of longing for things you can’t have. I remember when I was in my early 20’s wanting all these things that richer people had. I thought life would be so much better with designer clothes, expensive jewelry and luxury cars. But then I had the opportunity to live this lifestyle and I was more miserable than before. It was exhausting to try to keep up with the high society and pretend like your life is better because of all these fancy things.

To conclude, mindful minimalism can change your life by making it more meaningful, which leaves you feeling more content.

How to get started

Becoming a minimalist was a two year process for me. I knew I was overwhelmed by the many things I had and I was feed up with thinking about the next best thing to buy. But I wasn’t sure where to start, or how to achieve minimalism. So I have compiled everything I learned, minus the mistakes I made into the guide below, which I hope will make your transition to minimalism easier, faster and more enjoyable.

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mindfulness practice

5 Ways To Practice Mindfulness In Daily Life

Mindfulness is about creating a strong, healthy relationship with yourself in a practical way. But whenever I research the topic of mindfulness, it’s almost always interconnected with meditation. While meditation is amazing, and I don’t dispute its benefits, some of us have a harder time meditating. I believe that attaching the two terms together actually discourages those who can’t meditate from practicing mindfulness.

I have been practicing mindfulness (without meditation) for a few years now, and while it may sound difficult, it doesn’t have to be. As Ellen J Langer says in her book, Mindfulness:

“Trying to be mindful at all times may seem exhausting… I believe that being mindful is not hard, but rather it may seem hard because of the anxious self-evaluation we add. “What if I can’t figure it out?””

Here is the thing, you don’t need to figure it out all the time. The benefits of mindfulness lie in your attempts to get in touch with yourself, let go of old ways that no longer serve you and create new contexts. Mindfulness means seeing things in a new light and believing in the possibility of change.

Here are five ways you can incorporate mindfulness practice into your everyday life. And this is exactly how I stay mindful daily.

1. Question your emotions

As you go about your day, pay attention to your emotions and ask yourself why you are feeling them. For example, If you are feeling angry try to pinpoint the underlying causes of your anger. You may think it’s due to another person causing you to become angry, but most of the time that is not the true cause of your anger.

Anytime you want to figure out what is behind those negative emotions ask yourself the following three questions:

1. Have my physical needs been met today?

2. Is my body going through any hormonal changes

3. Am I more stressed today than usual?

Asking yourself these questions shifts your perspective on who is in control of the way you feel. So rather than saying to yourself: “I am angry because you made me”, say “I am angry because of this, but I am in control of the outcome” Therefore, you don’t empower the other person to make you miserable, you empower yourself to decide what you want to do with those emotions.

Also, it is equally important to question your positive emotions so you can reach for them when you need to.

2. Reflect on your thoughts

Your thoughts shape your life. You become what you think. In order to keep those thoughts positive, you must separate that negative voice in your mind from yourself. You basically want to have an ongoing conversation with yourself about your thoughts and reflect on where they came from.

Ask yourself: “Are these thoughts founded?” Are you truly a failure, loser or whatever other negative thing you believe you may be? And if so, why? By what standards? Who decides your worth, anyway? YOU DO. You have the power to build your own reality, so be wise about the things you say to yourself. If you wouldn’t say those things to someone else, then you shouldn’t say them to yourself.

3. Give yourself room for error

Mindfulness is about being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and accepting that you are not perfect. Perfection is unattainable. So what if today you were not as productive as you could have been? Tomorrow you will get a second chance at it. Or, you may have failed on a project and naturally feel like such a failure. But what about everything you learned along the way? Perhaps you can use this knowledge, or skills, in the future. You have no choice but to move forward. So give yourself the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes.

4. Be aware of automatic behavior

A lot of times I catch myself doing things mindlessly. I just do them that way because this is what I learned from my environment. This is how habits develop. And automatic behavior is what makes it difficult for us to break old habits and form new ones.

Be mindful of your automatic behavior whenever it doesn’t serve you well. The best way to evolve as a person is to constantly adjust your habits to meet your current needs, or lifestyle.

5. See things from others’ perspective

I believe this is a crucial step in mindfulness practice. Yes, we want to be in touch with our thoughts and feelings, but we should also strive to see things from other people’s perspective. In doing so, we minimize misunderstandings and have an easier time letting of negative emotions caused by others.

There are different ways of saying and doing things, and your way may not always be the best. We have a lot to learn from each other as long as we stay open-minded and willing to hear out what others have to say.

Mindfulness is the road to inner peace. It won’t always be smooth, but it will lead you to a better version of yourself.

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

Watch video: 5 Ways To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Everyday Life

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How To Find Enduring Inner Happiness

Oftentimes, we place the fate of our happiness in other people’s hands. We expect them to fulfill us and make us whole. But this only sets us up for disappointment and misery. The people in our lives may strive to make us happy, but if we aren’t happy with ourselves the benefits of their attempts will be temporary. The right way to approach happiness is through self-awareness. You must know your whole self to learn what prevents you from being happy, and what will make you happy.

The following five steps will enable you to gain self-awareness, and experience enduring happiness.

How to Be Happy

1. Know your history

Identify possible traumas from your past to find out what keeps you from being happy. Childhood traumas affect our behavior and emotional well-being as adults. It helps to write down all the high-impact negative events you can remember from your childhood until now. Rate those events from the most painful to the least, and you’ll learn what is at the base of your unhappiness. You will refer to this base as you work your way through the next steps.

2. Evaluate your mental health

The mental health topic carries such a stigma still. We are even afraid to admit to ourselves that we may be struggling with our mental health. So we avoid assessing and addressing it. We tell ourselves “I’m fine” and find external excuses for our inner struggles. But not acknowledging our true thoughts and feelings sinks us deeper into a negative mindset. You want to know how past traumas are affecting you today so you can free yourself from their grip.

This mental health self-assessment screening can offer some guidance.

3. Determine your personal values

Our personal values shape our social relationships and well-being in the long run. Also, personal values have motivational powers and provide direction in life. So when you determine your personal values you learn what makes you happy. Take your values into consideration when you form new relationships. And don’t try to persuade others to follow them because it rarely works. Instead, make sure the people you surround yourself with share the same values. It will allow you to connect with them on a deeper level. Close connections are detrimental to lasting happiness.

4. Focus on your strengths to find purpose in life

I wish finding our strengths was as easy as pointing out our weaknesses. Yet it is crucial to discover your strengths to find purpose in life. So pay close attention to the things you do well, and the things people praise you for. Perhaps you are a very patient person. Or, you’re an empathic listener.

Another way to discover your strengths is to get out of your comfort zone. Do activities that bore you, try the things that scare you. Most importantly, do the things you love even if you don’t believe you’re good at them. You never know where they take you. For instance, I never expected my writing would be appreciated by thousands of people. I always loved writing, yet never believed I could write stories that people will want to read. But when I hit that publish button on my first article, it opened the door to an amazingly rewarding career.

Here is a great collection of questionnaires you can take to figure out your strengths.

5. Forgive yourself and others

A lot of the misery in our lives is caused by the high expectations we have of ourselves, and the grudges we hold against others. We are our own harshest critics and we create an image of self based on our failures and mistakes. But a happy life is not a perfect life with perfect people. We are all flawed, we all make bad choices sometimes, and we all occasionally hurt others.

The ability to forgive yourself and others is a must for greater life satisfaction. If you’ve hurt someone’s feelings today apologize and forgive yourself. If you’ve made bad choices in the past, forgive yourself and reflect on what you’ve learned from them. Or, for instance, if your upbringing left you bruised in any way, forgive the people that caused it. The benefits of forgiveness extend beyond increased happiness. They grant you the opportunity to live a guilt-free life.

Achieving happiness is like putting together a difficult puzzle. There are many different pieces that go into being happy. But as you gather more information, and go through different life experiences you learn where each piece goes.

The secret to being happy lies in the willingness to challenge who you think you are, and allow yourself to try different ways of living. You can always go back to the person you were, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know who else you can be.

Finally, don’t expect to be happy every day of your life. Part of being happy is realizing that it’s OK to feel negative emotions too. Let yourself feel them, and remember, they won’t last forever. Tomorrow can be the best day of your life.

You may also like: Defeat Fear Of Change: Find Happiness

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How to Deal with Victim Mentality

Stuck In Life: How To Crush Victim Mentality

Are you feeling stuck in life? Blame your victim mentality. When you go through life with a victim mentality you trap yourself in a cycle of misery, blame and self-pity. This self-destructive mindset sabotages both personal and professional success. As a result, you end up feeling stuck in life.

You are unable to progress due to your perception that everyone is out there to get you. And you must protect yourself from the people that will “cause” you pain and unhappiness. This need for protection against those who may wrong you makes it impossible to trust people. Yet the opportunity to lead a happy, healthy life depends on our ability to trust others.

feeling stuck in life

What is it like to have a victim mentality?

A victim’s outlook on life is: I’m miserable, and happiness is out of my control. People with the victim mentality blame others, or the circumstances, for the bad things that happen to them. They fail to acknowledge they had a part in creating the unfortunate situation in which they may find themselves.

People who struggle with the victim mentality unconsciously seek problematic situations and relationships. And they are prone to overreacting, turning a minor setback into a major drama.

While some people have valid reasons to feel victimized, others become victims of their perceptions.

What causes the victim mentality?

The victim mindset develops within the family of origin during childhood. Children raised by parents who were indifferent, highly critical, or plain abusive adopt a victim mentality as adults. The victim mentality is also taught by parents who display its characteristics. These parents have a “poor me” attitude, and are unable to handle life’s difficulties in a healthy way. Unfortunately, parents with a victim mentality are unaware of the impact their behaviors have on the development of their children.

How can you crush the victim mentality?

1. Identify the root cause of your victim mentality

Look back at your childhood. Was there a person in your life that displayed victim behavior? Growing up, were there any events that made you feel unsafe, unloved, or neglected? Answering these two questions will provide you some insight into what may have laid the foundation for your victim mentality. And it will enable you to start healing those painful memories.

Do: Come to terms with your past. You had no control over your upbringing, but you are now in charge of your life.

2. Accept responsibility for your adult life

The only way to change your life is to accept responsibility for it. Don’t expect anyone to come and save you from your misery. You must dig your way out of it, and break the self-destructive cycle that keeps you stuck in life. Understand that your well-being can’t depend on external sources. You create it for yourself through self-acceptance, self-love and self-respect.

Do: Let go of your helpless identity. Hold yourself accountable whenever you display the victim behavior. Surround yourself with people who discourage self-pity.

3. Be aware of your victim tendencies

Remaining aware of your self-victimization tendencies allows you to stay vigilant. So when the victim mentality shows up, you can address it right away. This requires a high level of self-awareness, and the willingness to accept when you’re wrong.

Do: Be honest with yourself, and recognize that you are no longer a helpless child. Exercise your adult power in constructive ways.

4. Quit blame-shifting

Stop blaming your past, the people in your life, or your circumstances for your misery. While a traumatic past leaves deep imprints on people, the only way out of its grip is to forgive. Forgive the people that caused you pain, and forgive yourself for not being able to cope better until now. Avoid creating new grudges, they are like poison for your mind. Holding grudges sinks you deeper into suffering.

Do: Let go of resentment and the desire for revenge. You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reactions to them. Be ready to accept your mistakes, and take responsibility for them.

5. Be fearless in your pursuit of success

Fear fuels the victim mentality. Victims are afraid of failure, and of others disappointing them. So they isolate themselves from people and situations that require them to show vulnerability. Their fears hold them back from pursuing dreams and achieving goals. Yet overcoming the victim mentality, and getting unstuck in life, requires a healthy dose of vulnerability.

Do: Embrace feeling vulnerable at times. Take chances, challenge yourself to do better, and be better. Accept yourself as a work-in-progress. And actively work on your struggles.

Living with a victim mentality can be crippling. The longer you allow yourself to identify with it, the deeper you will sink into despair and unworthiness.

As you embark on the journey to defeat your victim mentality you will question everything you are and know. So be prepared to dispute your beliefs, and stay open to new ways of living life. Your sense of identity will be challenged. It won’t be easy to prevail, but the price of standing still is much higher.

Read next: Defeat Fear Of Change: Find Happiness

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How to Overcome Fear of Change

Defeat Fear Of Change: Find Happiness

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”

John Maxwell

When we resist change, we deny ourselves the opportunity to fully bloom. As a result, we struggle to reach a higher level of life satisfaction, and happiness.

Fear of change can turn your life stale, and reduce you to being a prisoner of your circumstances. When you allow fear to decide for you, it prevents you from living up to your full potential.

But why are we afraid of change when life is ever-changing?

We are afraid of change when we lack adaptability. Think of the changes we go through as humans, from birth to adulthood. Our brains and bodies constantly transforming. Our priorities, wishes and wants also change as we age. In this case, change is forced upon us. We can’t resist it, so we accept it. We adapt.

Adaptability is one of the most important life skills for overall success. Refusal to adapt, isolates us from potential role models. And it stunts our personal and professional growth.

People who have an easier time adapting, are also more resilient. And studies show, resilient people are happier with themselves due to their ability to use positive emotions to rebound from negative situations. So learn how to defeat fear of change. Become more adaptable, and gain resilience to not just exist, but live happily.

fear change

Having lived in four different countries, and moved seven times in eight years, I know that fear of change can be overcome. Adaptability can be learned, and resilience gained. But it took me a while to figure this out.I used to dread change. I was the type of person who wanted to live in the same house forever, and have my entire life planned out. As we all know, life rarely goes according to plan, which is why it’s so important to remain positive, and adapt to change.

Here are the main reasons we fear change, and how we can adapt to become more resilient.

1. Change is uncomfortable.

Yes, change is uncomfortable, but can be so rewarding. Standing still, on the other hand, almost always leads to monotony and melancholy. We are able to change when we learn to accept feeling uncomfortable. And when we understand that feeling this way is what leads to the outcomes we desire. Progress means discomfort.

Adapt: Learn to let go of the notion that change is bad, and you should protect yourself from it. Acknowledge and accept that discomfort will be a part of your journey. Plan ahead how to deal with it.

2. We are afraid of failure.

Fear of failure is perhaps the most prevalent of all fears associated with change. We fear failing because we are afraid of bruising our egos, disappointing others, or losing more than we stand to gain.

Adapt: Remind yourself that while failures can be painful, they are also life lessons. Think of your past failures, and how you’ve recovered from them. Take calculated risks that allow for the rewards to be greater than the potential losses.

3. We fear the unknown.

People like to know what to expect from the actions they take. When we embark on a new venture with an uncertain outcome, we panic. We overthink the details, envision the worst case scenario, and can ultimately talk ourselves out of doing it.

Adapt: Recognise how little control we actually have in determining the future. Despite working hard toward the achievement of a goal, and doing all the right things, you can still be unsuccessful at reaching it. So do your best, and hope for the best. Channel your positive side.

4. Change challenges our identities.

In some situations, change can threaten one’s sense of identity. Our identities are a cluster of values our parents ingrained in us, mixed with our environments and cultures. However, if those values happen to misalign with who we are today, we may want to let go of them. The adaptable people are more likely to achieve change, while those who are afraid of it stay stuck in an unfulfilling life.

Adapt: Acknowledge that no one can change the essence of who you are. You are in charge of your identity. So try to achieve the change you fear, the worst that can happen is you go back to who you were before. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know what could be. Remember, there’ll always be someone who disagrees with you. So stay true to yourself, it’s the greatest gift you can give yourself. Unapologetic living is the way to a wholesome life.

5. We don’t believe in our capabilities.

Most of us don’t want to admit feeling incapable. Instead, when we don’t believe we’re capable enough, we avoid taking on a task. This lack of self-trust holds us back from reaching our goals and fulfilling our dreams.

Adapt: Encourage yourself to pursue a new dream, or goal that you never thought you can reach. Actively work toward accomplishing it while fully trusting your capabilities. Because you are as competent as you allow yourself to be.

Fear is a natural emotion that every single one of us feels for a variety of reasons. Allow yourself to feel it, but don’t let it guide your decisions. You can defeat fear of change, when you realize how capable you are of handling change. Make fear follow your lead, not the other way around. Build resilience, and watch your life improve. Enjoy the ultimate prize- Happiness.

You may also like: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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How To Reach Your Goals: Intrinsic Motivation

Do you want to know how to stay motivated to reach your goals? It might be easier than you thought.

Chances are that if you set a goal, you have an emotional connection to it. So why not tap into the attachment you have to your goal to make it happen? You can do that by bringing intrinsic motivation on the journey. Let’s dive into the how to part.

Before we get started with the plan of action, I would like to remind you of the importance of self-awareness and self-acceptance when setting a goal. It is crucial that you learn to let go of past failures, present negative mindsets, and of what-will-people-say thoughts. Also, keep future expectations realistic by setting specific goals and making them relevant to you. 

reach goals

Intrinsic motivation is defined as doing something for innate satisfaction rather than for some separable results. This type of motivation is activated when you perform activities that are naturally rewarding and growth promoting.

 So how can you use intrinsic motivation to reach your goals? I will explain how through the following 5 steps.

1. Visualize your goals

I believe the best way to get motivated to reach any goal is to first get excited about it. Think of the said goal in a subjective way. Visualize yourself reaching that goal with no obstacles in place, and what getting there would feel like. Or how it will change your life. Doing so serves as a great incentive to get started. 

Tip: Feel free to daydream about your goals. Keep them present in your mind as a constant reminder of the end result. 

2. Relate to your goals

It is likely that the goals you set mean a lot to you, so inject emotion in them. Relate to them as you’d relate to a friend or family member. Nurture them, allocate the necessary time towards reaching them, and be ready to compromise when you get sidetracked. Your goals must become a priority in your life in order to achieve them.

Tip: Ensure that the goals you set give you a deep sense of purpose, and a great amount of pride in attaining them. Don’t set a goal with a beat-the-competition mindset. It rarely works.

3. Monitor your goals

According to research published by the American Psychological Association, monitoring your progress towards achieving a goal greatly increases the likelihood of triumph. Your chances of success are even higher if you share your progress publicly, or physically record it. This is a step that is often overlooked, but it could actually determine the fate of your goals.

Tip: Write down your goal and the timeframe in which you would like to achieve it. Determine how often you need to check in with your goal, and monitor your progress.

4. Reward milestones

Sometimes, attaining a goal can be a very lengthy process that can feel tiring and overwhelming. So reward your milestones with both superficial rewards and meaningful rewards. Also, acknowledge the steps you took to get to these milestones. In doing so, you remain motivated to stay on the journey to success. 

Tip: The rewards can be anything from a glass of wine, your favorite dessert, a new item, to going for a weekend getaway, or whatever else is meaningful to you.

5. Keep an inner scorecard

When you set new goals and work towards attaining them, don’t forget to also remind yourself of your past achievements. Bring to light how you reached those goals, and how you felt afterward. When we remind ourselves of the times we persevered, we let go of feelings of doubt and self-judgement. And these are the types of feelings that tend to keep us from accomplishing our goals.

Tip: Use your past accomplishments as a tool to give yourself a pep talk every step of your way to victory.

In conclusion, when setting a goal make sure you do so for reasons that are meaningful to you in some way. Do your best to make the experience as satisfying as possible, and allow yourself mini rewards along the way. You got this!

Do you have any other tips? Please share them below. 

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What to Do When You're Feeling Lonely

What To Do When You're Feeling Lonely

Feeling lonely? You’re not alone. According to a recent Cigna study, loneliness in America is at epidemic levels.

Did you know that while loneliness is defined as a state of solitude, or being alone, it is actually a state of mind?

Lonely people tend to see the social world through a pessimistic lens. As a result, they expect less positive social interactions, and store more negative social information. This gloomy view of the social world is often one of the underlying causes of loneliness.

Read on to find out how to change this state of mind and stop feeling lonely.

feeling lonely

Do these 5 things to stop feeling lonely:

1. Identify your loneliness type

Feeling lonely doesn’t always mean you are physically alone. Loneliness can be defined in a few different ways:

  1. Physical aloneness- being separated from others by distance, or for a period of time.
  2. Situational loneliness- created by socio-economic and environmental factors (like conflicts, or disasters).
  3. Developmental loneliness- experiencing a loss of meaning in your life (such as physical/psychological disabilities, significant separations).
  4. Internal loneliness- the perception of being alone without being physically alone (caused by mental distress, low self-esteem, or poor coping skills).
  5. Emotional loneliness- feeling disconnected, isolated and disengaged in your romantic relationship, or in your relationships with friends and family.

Determine what type of loneliness you are feeling in order to know what to do about it. 

2. Know why you’re feeling lonely

In certain situations, your loneliness can be temporary and time will solve it. But in others, it takes a lot more work to dig your way out of it. Regardless of how easy or difficult it will be to stop feeling lonely, knowing your why will bring you one step closer to overcoming loneliness.

3. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable

How many times have you avoided a social event because of fear of judgement? What about the times you thought you were not good enough, so you didn’t even give it a try?

The only way to connect with others is to teach ourselves to be more vulnerable.

Vulnerability is defined as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. And to some of us, this sounds scary. But there are two ways to look at vulnerability. On the one hand, we associate being vulnerable with weakness. We perceive vulnerability as such when our social interactions are dominated by fear of what others may think of us. On the other hand, we associate it with courage and confidence.  We see vulnerability as a positive when people are daring enough to show it. 

So allow yourself to be vulnerable at times. It can help you find your way out of feeling lonely. And keep in mind, we are all flawed, and we all have weaknesses. The only difference is, some choose to deal with them while others hide them.

4. Find a passion

A passion keeps your mind busy, and gives you a sense of belonging. As you can see, I didn’t say find your passion, I said find a passion because any passion you may have will do. If you wait to figure out your main passion, chances are it will take a really long time to find it. And in the meantime, your loneliness will deepen.

Therefore, find a passion you can act upon immediately. Join an online community, and/or participate in nearby events related to your passion. Surround yourself with like-minded people to increase your odds of developing meaningful friendships.

5. Go places

The best thing you can do when you feel lonely is to go places, and catch sight of other people. Take a walk around the neighborhood, go to a nearby library, or volunteer.

Become active in an online community, it is a great way to feel less alone, but strive for in-person human interaction. Also, try to let your guard down when you talk to someone, you’ll invite the other person to do the same. As a result, the overall quality of your social interactions is bound to improve.

At last, I believe that at the root of loneliness stands fear. When we feel lonely, we are afraid of getting hurt, of getting criticised, and of not measuring up. So we stand behind our shields in order to avoid being vulnerable, or trusting. We isolate ourselves. But the importance of social connection can’t be overstated. It is as crucial to our overall well-being as food and water. Therefore, don’t take feeling lonely lightly. Muster the courage to do something about it. Focus on how you make others feel rather than what you say, or how you’re perceived. You can do it.

Here is a great book to read that might help you through the process: Braving The Wilderness, by Brené Brown.


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Become a More Mindful Person

Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

Mindfulness comes with great mental and physical health benefits. Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination and stress, while improving focus and working memory. When you become a more mindful person your emotional reactivity to upsetting events decreases, and your relationship satisfaction with others increases. Mindfulness has also been shown to increase immune functioning. 

Trying to become a more mindful person may sound daunting, perhaps overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Mindfulness is a lot simpler to achieve than you may think.

how to become a more mindful person

Try these 5 powerful steps to become a more mindful person.

1. Practice self-awareness

Research has shown that self-awareness is crucial for success in all aspects of our lives, and it is especially important in the process of becoming more mindful. So begin by reflecting on the story of your life, from childhood to the present moment. You can do this by writing down, or just thinking about the people, events and experiences that have had the greatest positive, or negative, impact on you. 

Learn as much as you can about what shaped the person you are today. In doing so, you will be able to let go of labels that you’ve placed on yourself, or that others might have assigned to you. Letting go of labels is crucial since we tend to allow these labels to dictate who we are.

Remember, the more you practice self-awareness, the better you get at it. Your goal should be to turn your practice into a daily habit in order to become a more mindful person.

2. Accept yourself and others

While you work on gaining self-awareness you must acknowledge and accept that certain things will never change. You can rewrite history, but you can’t change it, so you have to be willing to accept it. Therefore, come to terms with your life story. Remind yourself that you have control of the present, and you have the power to shape your future.

Be prepared to accept the fact that you can’t control another person’s behavior, and if you put your well being in someone else’s hands you are bound to be disappointed. This is the step where you take matters into your own hands. At the same time, be willing to accept different points of view, and stay open to new information.

3. Learn emotional self-regulation

Emotional self-regulation means being able to manage and monitor our emotions and behavior. In an ideal situation we learn emotional self-regulation when we are children, and continue to refine it into adulthood. However, some of us are not made aware of it in our childhood. Instead, we must acquire and hone this skill as adults.

The best way to learn emotional self-regulation is to pay attention to your emotions, and define them. Allow yourself to feel them, but be aware of how you express them. Also, try to become more observant of other people’s emotions so you will be better prepared for an appropriate emotional response. This is a skill that needs lifelong practice given how volatile emotions can be, but you begin to reap the benefits of your practice as soon as you start.

4. Strive for positive thinking

Condition your mind to think positively by emphasizing positive little things throughout your day. You can do that by pointing out your tiniest daily victories. It could be the tasks you’ve completed, how you were of assistance to others, or the time you exerted self-control by making a good choice. Pay close attention to the good moments, people and things in your life, and express gratitude for them.

Most importantly, be OK with failing sometimes as we all do. Praise yourself for your achievements, and learn from your disappointments. It might also be helpful to remind yourself of all the difficulties you’ve overcome in the past, and how, if you keep trying, everything gets easier and better with time.

5. Savor the good times

When you think of the good times you’re probably thinking of the fun vacation you had last year, or an awesome party you attended, which is great. However, the goal is to savor the good times everyday. You can do so by holding onto the positive thoughts and emotions we have throughout any given day. It could be the delicious meal you had, a warm smile you received, or a moment of kindness. Remember how fast time goes by, and even if today wasn’t great, tomorrow can be better. 

Yes, it takes time to become a more mindful person. However, if you take the necessary steps to move through life less mindlessly you begin to see results immediately. This should serve as your motivation to stay on the path to mindfulness. 

Do you practice mindfulness? Leave a comment and tell us how.

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