Whenever I read articles about the things you need to “remind yourself daily to be happier/live a better life/achieve more goals”, I always find the same exact tips, “Start every day with the mantra that ‘you are enough!'” or the infamous, “never settle for less than you deserve!”
*Cue my eyes rolling*.
Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t wake up one day thinking that I deserve more because I said it to the mirror every day for a month. You can talk to your mirror till your blue-in-the-face, but if you don’t honestly believe what you’re telling yourself, it won’t make a difference.
I don’t believe that just because you say it enough times it’ll come true. Especially with self-love and self-worth. To get to that place, to achieve that type of thinking, takes thoughtful, insightful action. You don’t convince yourself to be confident or feel worthy through daily mantras and self-improvement guides. You first must reframe your thinking to get to the root of the problem.
Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve gone through the mantras and the motivational sticky notes and I learned that I couldn’t convince myself to ignore self-doubt until I started to pursue my goals and watch them become a reality.
I never wanted to produce things of value because of a sticky note on my mirror. I wanted to produce things of value when I decided it was the only way I was ever going to feel a sense of purpose.
How do you get to that place of feeling worthy, fulfilled, and motivated? Where do you begin?
Do the hard stuff first
Begin each day doing the things you really don’t want to do.
For 2 reasons:
1: You don’t want to spend the entire day dreading it, overthinking it, and worrying about it.
2: As soon as it’s over you will be more productive all day long.
How does doing the hard stuff first give you more confidence and motivation? Putting off things that you don’t want to do is the easiest and most common way we hide from challenges and avoid failure. Maybe you want to avoid failure, perhaps you would rather stay in that comfortable place, well go ahead, but it’s not going to help you. It won’t make things easier for you. There are more benefits in doing the things you are afraid to do rather than avoiding them.
Your daily routines matter
What you do every day matters way more than what you do once in a while.
The actions you take today are the building blocks for tomorrow. The status of your life right now, in this very moment, is the compound effect of yesterday’s choices. Your everyday habits are the composition of your life. Let that sink in.
All of the little choices you make, good or bad, matter.
Your decision to get out of bed, the 30 minutes a day you spend at the gym, the time you spend listening to podcasts in the car, what you do after work, what you do before work, the cup of coffee you buy. Every single thing has a domino effect and the more often you do it, the stronger the effect.
Use that in a positive way and watch the progress of your dedicated consistency add up to success.
Good things take time, so don’t stress the process
I used to get stressed constantly. I mean like driving around yelling in the car because “this traffic is taking fucking forever and I HAVE 100,000 THINGS TO DO!”.
I stressed about:
- Not having enough money,
- Enough time,
- And not being able to do the things I wanted because they required time and money that I didn’t have.
I so badly wanted to be done with the college years of my life.There were many stressful breakdowns and self-loathing rants.
Stressing about something doesn’t change your situation. It doesn’t speed up the process, it doesn’t make life any easier, and it certainly doesn’t make you any happier.
Never stress about where you are in your journey, don’t worry about getting to your destination faster, instead learn to use your time wisely and live in the moment. That is all you ever have to work with so work with what you’ve got.
Don’t take anything too seriously
A. Don’t take yourself too seriously and
B. Don’t take other people’s opinions too seriously.
Listen to what people have to say with the full intent to understand where they are coming from. Then judge for yourself, is accurate? Is it true? Is it coming from a good place? Leave it at that.
I’m an extraordinary over-thinker. Criticism and I are like oil and water. I will mull over the words in my mind and try to understand the meaning behind them. Every interpretation, angle, and outlook, trying to prove an opinion right or wrong.
Here’s the thing about over-thinking someone else’s opinion of you, you’ll never be able to see it from the same point of view. You will only see situations from your own frame of reference. Each person’s experiences and journey mold the way they see the world. Which is likely vastly different from your experiences.
At the end of the day, whether you choose to take advice, listen to criticism, or carry on as you were, it’s not that serious. Growth and experience are a byproduct of your choices, so take life with ease and let it go.
Give yourself permission to be easy on you
I went to yoga once. It was great. I got in touch with my third eye or whatever it is they teach you in yoga.
The class was an hour and a half long, and for the first hour, I felt like I just wasn’t getting it right, like it wasn’t as easy as the yoga moms made it look. I felt like I needed to be better at it. In my head I told myself I’d take more classes, I’d learn how to get centered, I’d learn how to relax.
Then something dawned on me, a little voice inside my head said, “wow, you are here to relax, and all you can think about is how bad you are at relaxing.” That was the moment I decided to stop overthinking it.
If I just gave myself a second away from my own criticism, apart from thinking about being good or bad, maybe, just maybe I could do what I came here to do. Then the craziest thing happened…I felt myself let go.
We forget to go easy on ourselves because we are constantly under pressure to get things done, be better, be good at everything, and if you’re not good? Well then, of course, you have to practice so you can get better! Stop. Just stop.
How about learning to be good at being easy on yourself? Accepting imperfections, accepting you’re never going to be good at everything and being okay with your weaknesses.
You’re right where you need to be
Remember when you were 16, and you thought that having a car would solve all the problems in the world? I always thought that I would get to take road trips, and do cool things with my friends, I had all the freedom.
Then you get a car and it’s great, but you forgot that you had to work to pay for gas and insurance, and oil changes, and then you have no money to do any cool stuff.
My 16-year-old self still reminds me still that no matter how much you strive for more, no matter how many times you level up, there will always be consequences to every solution.
Money, love, a great career, nothing will ever come to a happy conclusion as you imagine it will in your mind.
That’s why it’s important to be happy in the moment. Focus on leveling up, but don’t forget to be grateful for what you have.
Gratitude is key
We belong to a society that focuses very strongly on destinations.
Even goal setting focuses on the achievement of the goal, the end result.
I used to find myself saying, “If I can just….. then I’ll be happy” and “Wow, that girl, look at her, she is so lucky if I had what she had I would be so happy.” I’m sure you’ve told yourself a similar story.
I spent a lot of time focused on what I didn’t have; money, free time, a better job, etc. For this reason, it always felt like happiness was out of reach, it always seemed to elude me no matter how hard I tried to achieve it.
There is no happiness destination.
It’s not a one-stop-shop where you can pick out the things you want in life, and then decide that you’re happy and grateful for those things. The gratitude has to come; first, happiness has to come first! If it doesn’t, you’ll achieve the things you want, but always be focused on the next best thing. You will never arrive at the destination of being happy.
If you can’t appreciate what you have now, what makes you think you will appreciate what you have later on?
You cannot control the outcome of things but you can take responsibility
Everything that happens to you, good or bad, you are responsible for.
This doesn’t mean it’s your fault but it does hold you accountable for the actions you take and the feelings that are associated with those actions.
There are 2 kinds of people;
-The ones that convince themselves (and others) that nothing that happens to them is their fault and life’s not fair. (AKA the poor-me’s of the world.)
-Then there are the people who understand that it doesn’t matter if it’s their fault or not it’s still their responsibility.
Don’t fall into the poor me category, you are the only one who cares about your sob story.
Take responsibility for the unhappiness in your life and I guarantee you will be happier.
Taking one step forward is better than taking no steps at all
This also relates back to being easy on yourself and letting go of the need to be perfect. Sometimes we stop or never start doing something because we’re afraid to fail, so we never even try. We convince ourselves that it’s better not to do it than to do it and fail.
When I find myself in a rut, I remind myself that if I don’t get everything done or if I fail, it won’t be the demise of my goals as long as I don’t give up and I keep trying to succeed.
Slowing down, taking a break, and only taking one step at a time will always produce more results than giving up.
It doesn’t take miracles or mantras to change the way you see yourself and your life. It starts with action. Learn to take responsibility for your progress and your failure. Remind yourself that to be better than you were yesterday means you have to act better than you did yesterday. You have to make the hard choices and take the tough steps. Above all, you have to focus on being better than your competition—the person you were yesterday.