How to climb over a moutain

Have you ever had that moment, where you know what you want, and more or less how to get there, but the size of the task is daunting. I feel like that at the moment. After my trip, I started getting back into the flow of things and reevaluating where I want to go and what I want to do. Any way I look at it, there is a Lot of stuff I have to accomplish in order to hit my goals. Plus I’m not 100% sure it’s the right direction. I mean I could commit to a big project, and realize it didn’t get me what was advertised. Kind of like picking a major. Your going to have to commit a lot of time and energy, work hard etc. to get that degree, but at the same time a lot of people wonder if it’s going to put them on their desired carreer track, or if they should have focused on something else. 

That’s where my reserve is coming in right now, I can usually handle large tasks when I know what I’ll get in return. But this is going to require a lot of work, yet I don’t know if it will put me on the right path. Time is also a factor. You could start off with an Undeclared major, but your still on a time restraint to pick one. I also tend to over analyze things, so I end up with too many choices, and what ifs. Then I stall, and just feel more pressure. Well if it was easy, we’d all be rich and successful. The thing I’m trying to figure out now, is how to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed.

When I started my first job out of college, I learned how to focus on one task at a time. My boss would give me tons of work that he wanted done yesterday, and I had to keep from panicking. That habbit has stayed with me. The difference now, is that I’m trying to plan ahead, so I can’t just focus on the task in front of me. I have to know the bigger picture as well.

However, when I think about the bigger picture, it makes me procrastinate today. Well I know it’s good to think about it, instead of ignoring the issue. My only answer is that I’m going to have to commit to myself. Even if I end up going the wrong direction, it’s easier to readjusted then if your not moving at all. If I view it as a challenge, it becomes more fun. If I see it as an investment in myself, even if I decide not to make a career out of it, I’ve gained knowledge and skills. One thing I’ve learned is that things can connect in the strangest ways. So typically the more experience you have the more it will help you in your current position, even if it’s not related. I just have to stop looking at it as something that will be bad if I don’t accomplish, but as something that will be amazing if I do accomplish. 

Stagnating is the worst thing to do, but feeling overwhelmed can get you stuck fast. Focus on the journey, the improvement and the scenery. The hardest journeys make the most inspirational stories. If I see the mountain as the obstacle, I might never get the motivation to go, but if I look at the journey itself, it starts to sound fun. Maybe that’s just me. Either way, it’s best to move, it’s always easier to stay commited once you’ve made some progress.


Follow Your Passion
How do you follow your passion? I’ve often heard the phrase ‘follow your passion’, but how exactly does one do that? It seems impractical to me. Besides if you want to get ahead in anything, your typically not following, but leading. Lead your passion, or make your passion, would make more sense. We sort of get to choose our passions. It typically takes time and work to become passionate in an area. Being passionate about something you haven’t invested yourself in, would be like being passionate about a person you just met. Sure there could be initial chemistry, but you have to build a relationship and get to know the person, before you can genuinely be passionate about them. 

I’ve come to understand passions like relationships. Initial chemistry can be important, but even so, until you spend time with a person, you can only dole out simple judgements. The more time you spend, the more you can tell if it’s a good fit. Some people just won’t be a good match, but there are a lot of people that would be beneficial for you to know. That’s what a passion can do. It can pique your interest, challenge you, make you better, change you, give you a different perspective, a different vision, a good time, difficult times, and a more fulfilling life. It’s not always fun or easy, but messy and changes with time. 

I feel a lot of passions are discovered once you get your first accomplishment in that area. So if you feel like you don’t have many passions, don’t just try something new, but commit a certain amount of time to something new. A first date can be informative, but sometimes misleading. Besides starting something new usually makes us feel awkward, unskilled, and even embarrased. It makes sense, but passions come after that initial step. Then all those awkward moments become worth it. Some passions just hit you, but I think most are created, just like relationships. Some are spontaneous, but most require some hard work and dedication. However, that’s what makes them valuable, strong, and enjoyable.

Tick Tock

This is one of those moments where correcting a bad habit is a double negative. I used to eat when I was bored. So I started filling in my time with other items, in order to avoid that pitfall. However, right now I’m waiting on some pretty big news, that will come in some time today. So I am trying to distract myself, which I used to be able to do with food. So now I just have to figure out what to do with myself until I get the news. Well I guess one good fall back is writing. I used to not have that, and it keeps my brain engaged and occupied. Getting my brain sharper was the reason I started blogging, but it also fights boredom during a bad moment. Of course I can also cruise through other interesting blogs, which helps build motivation to stick to my goals. It’s realy interesting to see how many different bloggers are out there. You can go through 1,000 blogs, and each one is unique. Even 1,000 blogs on the same topic are all different. Yet I can still read a post and completely relate to it and think, that’s exactly what I went through, I know right? 

Quite amazing for us to be so different, going through completely different situations, and yet still understand the emotions, struggles, and achievements in others. It shows how connected we actually are, since we can pull motivation from just hearing someone elses story. It shows how much we connect and relate with others. Maybe it amplifies it online because we typically aren’t looking at someone’s socioeconomic class, race, gender, hairstyle, accent, or anything else that we can’t help but use to ananlyze the people in our everyday lives. When people blog online, we are normally just reading their words directly, which cuts out a lot of mental filters. You can apply yourself more directly to their story, and see yourself in their shoes, because at the heart of it we are very similar. Take out societal archetypes, and just read pure writing, and it’s easy to connect. That or maybe bloggers are just awesome, which is why there are so many great blogs. 

I just got an idea, if you know of any great blogs, (including your own), post or comment below. I can find really great posts in the most random ways, so I’d be curious to see if you guys have any favorite blog recommendations. I love reading new information, everyone has a unique perspective. That will also help me keep my mind occupied, and happy

Visualize your Achievements 

Yesterday I was grabbing a jacket out of my closet, and I grabbed the wrong one. They both had similar colors and materials. I hadn’t worn the other one for years because it was pretty tight, and I don’t like the feeling of a tight jacket. But I was in a hurry, and I didn’t want to find the other one, so I was like, well heck why not. It was loose! I just stood there for a minute in disbelief. I knew I had lost weight, but I guess it feels so gradual to yourself, that I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference. Then I started thinking, what about some of the nice jackets I have that I haven’t been able to wear in forever, but I’ve always kept them just in case. There was one that was pretty expensive, and it’s rare for me to buy expensive jackets, so I couldn’t make myself get rid of it. It was crazy, it fit perfect. Like when you slide in to your best outfit, not too loose, not too tight, just right. So a couple lbs here, a few more, a few more, and just keeping going consistently in one direction definitely paid off. I have lost a bit of weight, but when you do it over time, it’s hard to judge it with your eyes.

Then there’s the psychological aspect. I mentally know, I am starting to be able to wear my nicest clothes. Meaning, all those times of saying no weren’t for nothing, and I’ve gotten better at self control. Self control aside, I’ve also learned a lot about the diet world in general and how things are stacked against you. Knowledge can change your life, which certainly did that for me, well applying what I learned into actions did.

Now here’s a fun experiment. Say you’ve lost a pound, or 2, or 3. Whatever the number, you can adapt it. I was holding a bag of raisins the other day and it was 1 pound. I also had a bag of frozen blueberries and that was 3 lbs. Now holding those, and realizing that that was how much just 1 pound of fat weighed, was really startling. It reminded me of 1’st grade where the guest speaker brought in a pound of fat to show us what it looked like. They showed us the health problems that came from it as well. It was really gross as a little kid, but one thing hasn’t changed. Your literally dropping weight off yourself, which is going to make daily functioning much easier.

Your body needs energy to run, and the more weight you move around, the more energy it needs. So maybe 5 lbs doesn’t seem like much. But go pick up a 5 lbs bag of frozen fruit, and see what that feels like carrying around. If you want to lose say, 20, 40, 80, etc, that can have huge impact on your life. A lot of people could handle losing at least 40 lbs. Which is equivalent to carrying a full box of paper around. It’s a huge relief for your body to drop that weight and move efficiently. Visualizing tends to help me when I don’t feel like I’ve made much progress. Just go physically pick up the weight you’ve lost to remind yourself. The important thing is to feel confident and be healthy, and to fit into your favorite clothes 🙂

Why, ‘Cookies or Health’ is the Wrong Question 

If your making a sacrifice to better yourself, focusing on what you can’t have is a recipe for disaster. I see the clips all the time that give you two options, something like this:

And I would think, well I know camera shots make you look bigger than you are, so she’s pretty darn skinny, which isn’t my ideal, but I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t all that motivational. So I thought about it and realized something. If someone is asking if I want cookies, or a thin body, the choices have vastly different circumstances. The reason dieting is so hard, is because we can have instant gratification with a cookie. How long is that slim body going to take to get? Weeks? Months? Years? Depends on the person, but it’s long term. Cookies? 3 seconds to open a bag, and I’ve got my reward. The guilt, sugar crash, and fat come afterwards. Where as for dieting, the misery comes first, and the reward comes later. But when I would see the ‘would you rather have a cookie or a great body’ type add, I knew what the point was, but I would still want a cookie. Which I realized is because I can have it now.

Which brings me to my next point. Don’t focus on what you can’t have. If I sit and think about the things I want but can’t have, it’s only a matter of time before my mind will go, screw this, and I’ll end up caving. Especially if you do any long term dieting or type of goal, you won’t make it if your always thinking about things you don’t have. I’m not one to just use ‘modern’ healthy motivations either. And by that I mean, if it motivates me, pretty much anything goes. I’ve read plenty of articles that say don’t use negative emotions as a motivator because it’s bad for you. No, what’s bad for you is being overweight, constantly eating toxins, and hating what you look like. Once I realized I could use anger as motivation things got exponentially easier. Most of the time I don’t need it, but when you start, and things get tough, it can be a lifesaver.

My anger fueled some of the most challenging parts of my diet, as it was the only thing stronger than my desire for food. And you don’t have to keep at it forever, maintaining weight is way easier than loosing weight (despite what is commonly said). Especially after what you know you went through to lose the weight in the first place. I was mad at myself for a while, and that got me through the initial cravings when I didn’t have much progress with my diet yet. That anger turned to appreciation. I’m now thankful that my old self decided to stick to the plan day in and day out. I couldn’t today get the results I want, unless my past self had already got the ball moving. So no it doesn’t turn you into a ball of negative emotions. Fitting into your old clothes has the exact opposite effect. So use anger or whatever to get through that initial stage. Once you get traction it’s easier to keep yourself on pace. 

Bottom line, focus on what you want, not what your missing. It’s okay to use anger as a motivator. It’s fine to be mad with the shape your in, or the unhealthy habbits you have created. It just means you believe in yourself and know you could do better, be better. Don’t let others derail you because they say it’s healthier to be overweight and feel good, then to actually have a healthy body with self control. Nothing feels better than having that healthy body. And don’t feel bad if you see a guilt trip add with a cookie or a slim figure. Cookies come with instant gratification, that’s why it makes you feel more guilty than anything. But there’s nothing wrong with that, just get the image out of your head, and focus on the rewards of accomplishing your goal. If all else fails, get mad at the cookie.

How to succeed at waking up early

So I’ve been working to keep to a sleep schedule the last few days, and I first saw a difference today. For some reason my alarm was set to a different day, so I didn’t get up as planned, however, I still woke up way earlier than before, and was functioning enough to be able to study some Japanese. Which I didn’t expect to see a difference so soon. If you want to try getting up earlier, try to get something you really enjoy and do that first thing. Be it T.V., music, food, just something positive that will help wake you up. If you have something fun to look forward to, it makes it a lot easier to adjust. Then you can switch it up to something more productive once your body gets used to waking up early. I think that’s why a lot us fail getting up earlier, because we instantly try to attach it to working out, or something like that. Then you mentally have to get over getting out of your warm bed early, and getting your workout on. By the second or third day, our motivation gets pretty drained.

Once you get in a pattern, your brain will start waking up at that time, and you won’t feel half asleep. Much easier then to exercise or study, since your not fighting yourself to get up and stay awake. Honestly, I don’t know if the same holds for caffeine/coffee drinkers. If I have caffeine it’s rarely, and in tea, so I’m not sure how that would affect someone’s wake up pattern. Though it doesn’t hurt to try 🙂 My main thought is successful people tend to get up early. So it must be worth doing. Having the morning to yourself is nice as well, gives you time to plan the day, get started on tasks early, or spend time enjoying a hobby. Just be prepared for the first early morning. When my alarm went off, I was going, why?? its so early, this was a dumb idea. But a few days later, I’m starting to wake myself up without the alarm.  Not as early as I plan to be, but it’s progress, and I’m starting to get things done. That was a breakthrough for me though, get up and do something fun. Not dragging yourself out of bed to do something productive. It’s easy to switch once you adjust, but just start with the time change. I didn’t have to argue with myself to wake up today, I was already good to go. 

Researching the topic, the hardest part of getting up early seems to be getting out of bed. Which is probably why my routine has been working, getting up early doesn’t mean getting out of bed. If I knew I was about to freeze, and leave my comfy sheets, the odds of me failing would increase significantly. 

(The normal methods for getting up early would just make me hate it more and more, I mean water thrown on you first thing? Yeah that’s not going to inspire much motivation)

However, if all I have to do is unlock my phone and start reading the news, or my favorite show, my brain starts waking up, with me only having to click a button. Your not wasting your time if your setting a new pattern. And your associating early rising to something positive, instead of the worst feeling possible of getting out of a warm bed. No wonder I could never stick to an early schedule before. Every morning I was associating my brain to a negative connotation. 

(Things not to focus on the first morning you try to get up early)
(Things to focus on, aww, seems so much better)

We’re told not to use smart phones, t.v., smart pads, etc., before bed because it keeps our brains awake and makes it harder to sleep. Then why not use that to your advantage when waking up early? Even if temporarily, if it gets your brain used to working, thinking, even laughing at that time, then I’m all for it. That could be a good idea, watch a sitcom, or comedy show to get you more alert. Get yourself to have a good connotation to the morning, and you’ll have already won the war.

Forcing yourself to get out of bed through sheer willpower = 😩😧😴😪

Having something enjoyable when you wake up, even if still in bed  = 😩😐🙂😀

Saving for a Sunny Day

Do you have a plan for your future? Many of us neglect things in the here and now because we’re focused on today’s troubles. If we pay attention or not, the future is fast approaching. The decisions we make now create our new today. All we ever have to work with is today. 

We have 1,096 todays until May 25 2020. 1,826 todays until May 25 2022. Which are 3 and 5 years out. Tomorrow, we will have 1,095, and then 1,094. The older you get the faster time seems to go but the more we tend to ignore it. Are you where you want to be today? Maybe you don’t know how to get where you want, but everyone has something they could be doing better. If you spend some time each day focusing on an area, 1,826 times, will make you proficient in almost any area. Learn a language, play a sport, learn to paint, read a few hundred books, grow a garden, or any number of things are possible if you dedicate a little time every day. We all have the same amount of days, and 5 years will be here before you know it, but will you be who you want, know what you want, or be able to do what you want?

I had never written out a 5 year plan before, because it seemed too far away. How could you prepare for something so ambiguous, when you don’t know where you could be living, working, doing etc. But, I realized the one thing that will be constant, Me. I will still be with me 5 years from now even if everything else has changed. So, there are plenty of things I can focus on in order to be who I want in 5 years. I don’t want to look back and go, dang if I had just spent more time doing this, I would be in such a better spot right now. I want my future self to be appreciative of my current self for putting in the energy each day to make a better future. 

Hard skills won’t be useless, even if life gets flipped upside down. They serve as a cusion for rough times, and wings for successful times. Gaining new skills and abilities, changes a person, and makes them more likely to adapt and grow in changing environments. So be it 10-20 minutes even an hour, dedicated to a task you wish to achieve, that’s one less thing to worry about in 5 years, and something to look forward to. Have fun with it, I did. I went, if I spend a little time each day, in 5 years I’ll be pretty good, so what do I want to be able to do? We are a generation with the blessings and curses of the internet. We have access to vasts amounts of information, that has never before existed. Use it to your advantage, and though everything else may change, help your future self by planning a little time towards a goal. They will thank you for it 🙂