Reading More Books in 2019

I decided that right now, I’m going to sit in front of my MacBook Pro and type whatever comes up in my mind. I do this because I know how debilitating perfectionism can be and therefore, allowing myself to just write freely without trying to perfect the structure and flow of the entire post is quite freeing. It’s also good because that way I can actually get stuff DONE.

I’m sitting in my grandparents’ guest bedroom in Northern California, with my phone face up next to my right arm on the desk, Instagram opened. Today’s IGTV video is 74% loaded, after many many attempts to upload the video. The app kept saying “Upload Failed,” to which I responded by tapping “Try Again” – and this happened probably twenty times, if not more.

You would think that this kind of situation would make a person extremely frustrated and upset, but for some reason I was completely fine (not usually like this when it comes to technological issues).

But this evening as I was tapping “Try Again” for what felt like the thousandth time, I was fine, and even quite upbeat and happy. I think the reason for this is that the rest of my day today was what I’d call a “successful” day.

What defines a successful day? Probably depends on the person. But for me, a successful day generally means that I started my day early with a lovely and refreshing morning routine, completed important tasks throughout the day, gave myself enough time to relax and rest in the afternoon (like a 30 minute nap or so), and spending adequate time planning, evaluating, and adjusting my schedule, my short and long term goals, and just my whole life in general.

It also means that I did things that I consider my lifeline: prayer (30 minutes is ideal), meditating (and really just doing nothing), Bible reading, and reading other spiritual and self-help books.

I just started reading High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard (I recently discovered the amount of value he brings to the world and now trust pretty much every word he says). IT’S SO GOOD.

I’ve never considered myself an avid reader, especially since I can actually count with one hand the books (or series of books) I read growing up: Harry Potter (but I never got around to reading the 7th book..), A Series of Unfortunate Events… and I recall reading some Nancy Drew books every so often.

But that was mostly in elementary school, and maybe some of middle school. Once high school hit though, I don’t recall ever reading a book for leisure. I do remember reading enough books for all my high school English classes.

Anyway, my point is that when I say a book is good, it’s usually a pretty big deal. But then again ever since I became obsessed with all things personal development, pretty much every self help book turned into a good book.

Here are some enlightening quotes that struck a chord in me today from High Performance Habits:

“Who are these people, and what’s their secret? They are high performers, and their secret is their habits…With the right training and habits, anyone can become a high performer…”

“What you need is a reliable set of practices for unleashing your greatest abilities. Study high performers and you will see that they have systems built into their days that drive their success. Systems are what separate the pro from the novice…Without systems, you cannot… repeatedly deliver exceptional results. In personal and professional development, these systems and procedures are, ultimately habits.”

“High performance is not achieved by a specific kind of person, but rather by a specific set of practices, which I call high performance habits.”

Anyway, just a few things that stood out to me and gave me renewed hope, all within the first twelve pages of High Performance Habits. I’m suuper stoked to finish the rest of the book!

One of my goals for 2019 is to READ MORE. So please send me your book recommendations and I’ll put it on my To-Read list!

I really really believe that 2019 will be the best year yet, and something just tells me that my life will be drastically different by the end of the year. Maybe it’s just a feeling, but anyway, these motivational people like Brendon Burchard give me much hope and expectation for amazing things to come this year!!

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Losing My Job: A Blessing in Disguise

I just got off the phone with my job recruiter letting me know that I won’t be returning to work on Monday. Surprise!

Granted, I was still a “temp,” so there wasn’t any firm commitment on either side yet. But regardless, I did not expect that to happen at all.. I also left my super cute mug that said “I just want to drink coffee and pet my dog” at my desk which I will miss. But I know there are more of those mugs at Ralph’s so I might just have to make another trip back there. 🙂

Why did I lose my job? I guess another way to put it is, they fired me. Ouch. But it caught me by surprise, because I thought I was doing just fine. Wherever I worked in the past, I was always praised by upper management, so to get this unexpected phone call was quite humbling to say the least.

I just wanted to share a few things I learned from this experience. First of all, I realized that you can’t always take things at face value at the office – which sounds kind of cynical. Outwardly it seemed like my supervisor was nice, the office vibe was chill, and I was told that I could go into work at any time as long as I work for 8 hours that day.

So that’s what I did. I went to work each day not at any exact set time, and worked for 8 hours. Because that was what I was told I could do. However, when I received this phone call today, the recruiter told me that the company said I was often “late” to work. Very confusing, since there is no specific time that is defined as “late.”

What I realized after thinking back is that when it comes to work, I shouldn’t make myself too comfortable so quickly. And if I’m told that I’m allowed to do something, I actually shouldn’t fully do that thing. Does that make sense?

I also thought that I was doing well in terms of my work, because my supervisor didn’t say much about it. So I assumed everything was fine. I guess it wasn’t fine though. My only real self vindicating argument would be that my supervisor did not communicate to me exactly what her expectations were.

On my end, I guess my mistake was that I didn’t take much initiative to ask her what those exact expectations were. So it’s almost as if we both expected that the other person would already be aware of the unspoken expectations.

So while I thought things were fine, they really weren’t. Now I know that in the future it would be best for me to set more rigid goals and have more of a predictable schedule or plan for myself, even if my boss or supervisor makes everything seem very chill.

Another problem was that although I was very happy with this job in the beginning, as time went on I found myself once again in a situation where I felt that I was not being challenged or stimulated enough. Once I got to that point, my motivation faded away. That’s when I lost the drive to do my very best at work. And I guess that somehow showed in my work, based on the feedback my recruiter got from my supervisor.

This led me to a realization, which I then told my recruiter. I told her that I no longer have the interest to continue down the accounting/finance route, and wanted to venture into more creative jobs or industries. My recruiter was glad I told her that, and since she still thinks I’m a great job candidate she said she’ll let me know of potential jobs that are more “creative” (whatever that means haha) and that pay significantly better than the job I just lost.

Her words to me over the phone was that this looks like it may very well be a “blessing in disguise.” I couldn’t agree more.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, even when things are difficult to experience and understand. However I’ve never gone through insanely traumatic life events (e.g. loved ones getting victimized, parents losing their children.. ) so I don’t want to venture into those types of circumstances. Because if you ask me why someone died in a car accident, I would not be able to answer you. I for sure would not be able to tell you that everything happens for a reason, because I personally think that would be messed up of me to objectify something so deeply personal to someone else.

Anyway…. that being said, in my own life I can say definitely that every trying time turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The devastating breakup with my ex-fiance about 5 months ago is one of the best things that happened to me, because that was the best way for me to press the Restart button and get back on track with my life goals.

That’s how I got my blog rolling, and I love it so much. And that’s how I ended up moving all the way back across the country to sunny Los Angeles and got connected to so many new and old friends who make me so happy. It’s so nice to live for myself again, as an independent person. It’s nice to finally discover what I’m actually passionate about when all other influential factors (e.g. fiance) are removed. It’s like I’m getting to know myself all over again.

Truth be told, my day job was my biggest frustration to getting my blog business rolling, so when the “bad” news came I felt more relieved that anything. And then I started to get really excited about all the possibilities that lie ahead!

A couple weeks ago a blogger friend of mine told me about how she works remotely for a marketing team and that her income has been able to fund her travels all over the world with her professional hockey player boyfriend. I had started looking into that as a way to earn a little extra cash, but found myself once again frustrated by my day job. I was frustrated because the marketing job seemed way more interesting and right up my alley for me.

Sorry, quick side note: I’m not trying to tell you my life story but I find that the best way to make my point more clear and applicable for any of my posts is to draw from my personal experience, even if that means exposing my weaknesses and failures and making myself vulnerable. If what I share can help you, then exposing all my shortcomings is totally worth it.

I had my first marketing team meeting via video conference and it felt so nice to be in that meeting without feeling overwhelmed by everything else I have to do.

I’m super pumped and excited for yet again another new beginning, which I think is actually bringing me closer to my dream goal of working remotely anywhere I want in the world and getting to choose my own hours and be my own boss. The more time I spend on my blog and on my new online marketing job, the more progress I will make.

I also found out during the video conference call that one of my teammates literally lives like five minutes away from me. Of all the places in the country, one of my three teammates for this random online company lives in the same area as I do. Crazy. I think it’s a sign. I’ll have to grab coffee with her soon. 🙂

My plan of attack right now is to open up my Google calendar to get an overview of the whole week, and set my own work schedule by designating specific blocks of time to work on specific tasks at specific locations (probably cafes). I will also be sure to schedule in gym time and “goof off time” to give myself permission to “waste” my time and not have to worry about anything.

I can also finally be fully present and available to communicate and work with my virtual assistant instead of secretly messaging her on my phone at the office when my supervisor was around. Clearly, my heart was not there at the accounting office. I can finally do what I love.

Oh, did I mention I hired a virtual assistant to help with my blog business? Great investment, I recommend it. I’m also lucky enough to not have to worry about rent at the moment while I’m living with family. Life is good. 🙂

I’ve also considered just for kicks to possibly be an Uber driver in Beverly Hills to increase my chances of meeting celebrities. I’m super jealous of my Uber drivers who have picked up Kim Khardashian, Ellen Degeneres, Queen Latifah, and the guy with the curly hair from Boy Meets World. And I didn’t just make that up. Celebrities can take Uber too.

But that is more for fun than for the extra money, and I don’t know if my time will really allow for that with my blog and my part time marketing job.

Life is so interesting and full of surprises. And it’s always possible to have a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th new beginning! This is my 2nd new beginning at the age of 27. Can’t complain.

Perhaps the moral of the story is that it’s easiest to succeed at something when your heart is in it and you love what you do. Or you find that it’s still so worth it to do what you do when times are hard. Because you’re working towards the things you really want in life.

That’s why I honestly can’t see myself with a career in finance anymore, no matter how practical it may be, and no matter how much money I’d make as a financial analyst down the road. If I don’t love what I do, or if my job bores me, or if it’s just so I can pay for my bills, I think I’ll pass and do something that I’m truly passionate about. If I realize I’m not meant to work in a cubicle all day, then I probably should be out doing something else with more human interaction.

I hope my “unfortunate” job loss story gave you some inspiration and perspective about where you currently are right now.

Again, if you need anything (within reason) I am always an email away. I may not respond that quickly but I do for a fact respond to all emails. It’s been hard to keep up with even my personal emails with work taking up my time and energy. So I only expect that my response time will be quicker with my new schedule.

amy@justamyllennial.com

<3

How to Feel Motivated When You’re Feeling Down and Low Energy [PART 3 of 3]

If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2 yet, reading those first may help give some more context before reading  Part 3. Or you can read this first, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can always refer back to the first two parts of this mini “motivation series.”

Part 1 stressed that motivation is not necessarily a feeling. To accomplish something, you can’t solely rely on how motivated you feel. Otherwise, chances are, your “momentum” will not last forever and you’ll easily want to quit.

Part 2 stressed that on the other hand, sometimes it’s necessary to be a little more forgiving when someone doesn’t feel motivated to do anything, because the lack of motivation might be due to poor mental health, which can often be easily treated or helped with medication and/or professional therapy.

Both of these views are rather “extreme” and “absolute,” and suggest more of an underlying “all-or-nothing” mindset. But in most cases, the average person usually experiences a combination of both self discipline and a motivating feeling. So Part 3 will be called “normal.”

Normal: Somewhere in Between

We’ve all experienced some kind of “I have no choice but to do this anyway” approach (e.g. writing papers in college, picking up your dog’s poop, showering, dragging yourself out of your cloud-like bed to go to work), as well as the “I’m feeling so pumped right now LET’S DO THIS” approach (e.g. signing up for a half marathon without thinking, starting a business after getting majorly inspired, happily doing your first homework assignment after the first day of school, getting up at 5AM to hit the gym on January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd).

I do not believe that you or I have experienced ONLY doing things by means of self discipline, or ONLY doing things based on how pumped we feel. There’s a time and place for black and white situations, but this is not what we’re talking about here.

I myself have fallen prey to such black and whiteness, to all or nothingness. Actually, the situations themselves may not have been so black and white, but rather my way of thinking just did not have much of a middle ground. I believe that this all-or-nothing way of thinking and approach to life is why my life at times have felt so difficult or un-enjoyable.

I am also, right at this very second as I am typing this sentence, experiencing major writer’s block and cannot figure out what it was that I was supposed to talk about at this point of this blog post. My brain feels fried and empty, but I am still typing this.

I cannot say that right now at this moment I am practicing outstanding self discipline, because if I was, I would probably just willfully and unforgivingly tell myself, “Amy, snap out of it right now and use your brain to its full capacity for goodness sake. Just force yourself NOW to give it your absolute all and nothing less, or else you are a failure and your life is meaningless and you will never succeed in life because successful people don’t give in to their lazy feelings so easily so what in the world is wrong with you.”

But a part of me also thinks that this military-like mentality would likely result in unnecessary over-exhaustion by the end of the day. So, on the one hand I somehow am still typing away at this post, yet not beating myself up over not writing the most intellectually stimulating content, and also not fully succumbing to my blank-mindedness or blah-ness.

I guess maybe my current state of being and how I am responding to this circumstance is illustrative of this “happy medium” or “normality” that I am trying to explain here. I’m basically experiencing and practicing an approach that is somewhere in between the two “extremes.”

I would also say that what I am talking about is very much related to the matter of perfectionism, which is one of the top characteristics of people who waver between one extreme to the other, between black and white, between all or nothing.

Perfectionism “brings home” the discipline aspect and the emotional aspect, but not in a positive sense. If I were to let my perfectionism get to me right now, I would probably just keep thinking about how my head is starting to hurt and I have no idea what I’m writing or if my train of thought even makes sense at all, so I give up on writing this post because I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore, and why would anyone want to read this, etc. etc. and then as a result of this approach/way of thinking, aka this deadly perfectionism, I probably wouldn’t get anything done today. I’d rather complete a task imperfectly than not complete a task perfectly.

Meanwhile my eager best friend keeps texting me almost every day asking for a new blog post.. so giving in to my “I don’t know how good my writing is” thought would result in disappointing at least one of my perpetually excited readers. And I hope she feels special that I’m giving her yet another shoutout on this blog. You’re welcome. 😛

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Proof of best friend’s enthusiasm. Screenshot taken by Amy Lo.

 

So how do you feel motivated when you’re feeling down or low energy? Do you just suck it up and forget how you feel altogether? Do you throw a pity party and say that your life sucks, and let your emotions give in to every negative thought in your mind? I don’t have the answers. But both Part 1 and Part 2 have their place and their validity.

I do, however, have a few “tricks” that seem to almost always work for me in terms of motivation, though sometimes it takes longer for the motivation to kick in.

Sometimes, when all the energy is gone and motivation is but a distant memory and all I can do is sprawl on my bed which, by the way, is the most comfortable bed ever, I have found that the hidden inner motivated Amy within knows that anything is still possible with her iPhone 8.

Literally though, I can’t even count the number of times my phone inspired me to get out of bed and get things done. What does this look like? A few different possibilites..

Possibility #1: Text one of my bffs, usually the one in my timezone, and say that I need motivation and can’t get out of bed. But for some reason I can still text in bed.. Then she’ll send me all the cheerleader-like texts and emojis and even record herself saying “You can do it” in a weird voice, or come up with a great convincing reason for me to get up. I’m fortunate to have this kind of best friend, but maybe not everyone’s friends are as weird and quirky as us..

Possibility #2: Open YouTube app, and watch or listen to a personal development video (also while in bed). Sam Brown’s videos will usually do the trick. I don’t know why, but I would say in less than 15 minutes I’m usually “pumped” again because something in those videos always sparks renewed inspiration in me.

Possibility #3: Similarly, sometimes I’ll open either my Podcasts app or Libby app to play life-changing podcasts and audiobooks. I am currently listening to The Magic of Thinking Big. If you listen to or read a portion of that book and you don’t feel at all motivated and/or inspired afterwards… maybe you’re not a real human.

There is an overarching principle in all the above iPhone techniques. If you have an Android that’s fine too. The principle is that when there’s no motivation in me, I draw from others’ energy and motivation to get energized myself.

This “hack” somehow works well for me. It even worked, or at least helped to some extent, when I was miserably going through a rough breakup, in which case the bff technique usually worked best.

All that being said, I will add that if you’re feeling down and low energy, you might just need to take a nap or get to bed earlier. Or maybe you just need to eat a healthy meal, drink some water, or go for a run.

Our bodies and souls are so intricate and complex, for which reason practicing self care is (in my opinion) mandatory and foundational for our well-being. Any little issue with our body, soul, or spirit, can affect a person’s level of motivation.

My purpose in writing these three posts is not to address every possible scenario or solve everyone’s problem. I am just a fellow millennial figuring all this out myself alongside you, and sharing my own insights that could potentially be helpful or thought-provoking for my fellow Gen Y-ers.

How to Feel Motivated When You’re Feeling Down and Low Energy [PART 1 of 3]

A couple nights ago one of my best friends sent me a text suggesting/asking that I write something about how to feel motivated when you’re down and low energy – the title of this post. “My current life problem,” she added.

My response to her: “I’m definitely not an expert at that one.”

Yup, not an expert at all, so I can’t solve your problems. However, I do have some perspective and can share what I’ve learned through my own experience and what I’ve observed of others.

There are three parts to what I’ll be sharing, which are three different ways to look at this issue of motivation – two “extremes” and one “normal.” The three different ways of looking at it depend on the person and the situation.

Extreme #1 – Self Discipline

This may be self explanatory because we’ve been taught either in school or by our parents that we need to have self discipline in order to succeed in anything. Self discipline means you have self control. You’re strict with yourself.

This does not have anything to do with the feeling of motivation at all. Self discipline means you do whatever you need to do regardless of how you feel. I consider this an “extreme” approach/view of what to do when motivation is lacking.

You can easily say, “Well duh, just work hard and you’ll succeed.” Not feeling motivated? Well, then get your act together and work on your character and work habits. Stop being so lazy!

Blah blah blah. Yes, you can say all this to someone or someone can say the same to you, but my guess is that more likely than not, hearing this kind of talk will not solve anyone’s problem. It’d probably just make you feel condemned and angry. Then you may very well just give up on life all together.

Okay I’m being extreme here, but then again, I did label this section with the word “Extreme.”

HOWEVER, there is truth to the positive benefits of self discipline. If we lived by our feelings all the time, and only operated when we felt like it, I’m not sure if we would have been able to graduate from any kind of school. I mean, WHO wants to do homework and take standardized tests that measure the kind of intelligence that is favored by the long established academic system?

I also have never heard of a CEO or any other ridiculously successful person who only worked when the feeling of motivation was strong and present. The reality is, no one on earth was born with the gift of 24/7 motivation. That just doesn’t exist. And none of us would have gotten to where we are today without some self discipline.

In brief…

Self discipline means being able to do things even when you don’t feel like doing them.

This has been one of the hardest but most helpful lessons I’ve learned in life thus far, being someone who was born with an emotional personality. It’s a lesson we ALL have to learn. Don’t feel like going to work today? Well then, be prepared to be fired if this behavior continues.

It’s harsh but it’s true. So yes, this is one extreme of the spectrum of how to view motivation, or lack thereof.

Stay tuned for the other two parts to this blog post, Extreme #2 and Normal

Three Pieces of Advice From Successful Women

Today I attended a presentation at work given by three very successful women with the titles of either Principal or Executive Director. Women leaders – successful in their careers, married, with young children (average age of about 9). The presentation was on each of these women’s path to success, and my main takeaway can be summarized with three things:

Role Models – In advancing your career, it certainly helps to have role models. Who inspires you? Who do you feel would make a good pattern for you to follow? Who is someone a little farther in life than you, or a few steps ahead of you in his or her career? We always need to find at least one role model to emulate, to help give us an idea of the direction we’re going.

Mentors – Role models are great, but they’re not the same as mentors. Role models are ones we can look up to and learn from by observation, but mentors are those who can advise us in what our next move should be, and how to go about making that next move in our profession. Wherever we are in our career, we need to find a mentor, and they are always there, we just need to find them! This helps give us an even clearer direction. But, having a mentor is still not enough. We cannot get stuck in mentoring and not go on from there.

Advocates – Finally, there are those who can be our advocates. What does that mean? An advocate is someone who can actually make things HAPPEN for you to take the next step. I think the word “advocate” itself is pretty self explanatory. Our responsibility as those wishing to advance our career is to articulate exactly what we want to people who can make it happen for us. Who are those people? They are the advocates. Where do you find them? Well, it takes initiative on our part.

We can’t let anyone assume what we want out of our career. We can’t just assume that others know that we want to advance our career. So it is crucial that we don’t just bury our head in work and assume that one day if we just do our job well, someone will come up to us to give us a promotion. It doesn’t really work that way, most of the time.

We can’t just stay stuck and assume advancement will eventually happen! It’s important to always be thinking, what should be next small step forward be? There is always the opportunity, but we need to seek it out, rather than just being passive.

One of the speakers of this presentation talked about “the glass ceiling,” meaning that there’s a ceiling made of a material that you can’t see, so the ceiling to the amount of growth you can attain to has no limit, as long as sought out work continues to exist.

Regardless of your boss’s or other people’s assumptions, YOU have to keep going forward, and don’t stay stuck where you are. I’m currently speaking to myself as I write this post.

My next step – After this presentation, I immediately had a coworker introduce me to the CFO of the finance department at my company. I currently work in quality assurance but I’ve been thinking to get into finance for my long-term goal. So I was inspired and encouraged by these successful women to take responsibility to seek out a potential role model, mentor, and maybe eventually an advocate.

I’ve set up a one on one meeting with the CFO of finance for tomorrow morning. Pray for the best!

The Benefits of Early Rising

“Early rising” may be defined differently for different people. If you’re a college/university student who only has afternoon and evening classes, perhaps your regular rise time is noon. If you’re a working professional, you might normally wake up between 6 to 8am, depending on when you get into work in addition to commute time. Regardless of when you may normally wake up, here’s my working definition of early rising that can apply to just about everyone: Early rising means waking (and getting) up at a time that is earlier than what one has been accustomed to.

For most of my life, I’ve been a long-term victim of the Snooze Button (and I bet I’m not alone), because those extra 8 minutes (times 5) of sleep feel so necessary and wonderful in the moment. However, what I’ve found is that EVERY time I do that, especially on weekdays and with some exceptions on weekends, once I’m rushing to eat a bite of breakfast and get dressed and run out the door within 10 minutes, one word comes to mind: REGRET.

If I’m always going to regret pressing snooze, yet I keep doing it, I need to find a great motivating reason to get up the first time the alarm goes off. Well, sometimes we really do just need more rest, but in general whenever I get out of bed earlier than usual, my whole day is better, I become more productive, and I feel happier (happiness is a huge deal when you’ve fought with depression for years). Without further ado, these are the reasons why getting up early can improve your quality of life:

Early Rising Improves Physical Health:
If you get up early, you have time to actually eat a decent breakfast, which makes such a difference in your day, because you’ll actually have the adequate nutrients and fuel you need to make it to lunch time without feeling tired and weak. Getting up earlier also allows you to have time to incorporate healthy habits into your routine, such as going to the gym. Regular exercise can feel like such a suffering sometimes (no pain no gain), but the results are excellent, not just for vain reasons, but even more so for the energy and strength you get from being more active. Exercise is also REALLY good for depression sufferers, and I’m pretty sure that also goes for overall mental health in general whether or not a person has clinical depression. This leads to my second point that…

Early Rising Improves Mental Health:
After starting the day off productively with enough un-rushed time to have breakfast, to get dressed properly, and to do other productive things like working out or reading a book, I can testify that I start and end the day as a much happier and fulfilled person. A morning with adequate time to do what you need to do, in the way that you want to do it, helps boost self-esteem and confidence and makes you feel more motivated and productive. In my experience, whenever I start the day feeling rushed, I tend to feel more discouraged and disappointed for my crummy morning, and it’s also more likely that I’ll be late for work, which gets put onto my invisible list of little failures that have added up over time. Not good for mental health. Of course, there’s also the time and place for having a “new start” in the middle of the day, or at any time one feels it’s necessary. Furthermore…

Early Rising Improves Spiritual Health:
I’m not saying everyone needs to convert to any particular belief system or religion, but I do believe that there’s a part of our being that is even deeper than just our physical bodies and what we think and feel. It’s hard to describe, but I would categorize this area of “health” as spiritual health. If you like to pray, there’s nothing like praying early in the morning that makes you feel more refreshed for the rest of the day. Likewise, if you like to meditate, I personally can’t think of a better time of day to do so than the early morning. If there’s a spiritual activity you’ve been trying to do, I feel the morning is the best time to do it, to take care of that deeper part that often is what motivates us to keep going.

Hope this was helpful! I’m definitely open to suggestions on other topics to write about. 🙂

Consistency

This one blog post a day thing is getting a bit tiring, but here I am again. Thanks to my blogger friend Sam, I’ve been learning and practicing how to just “show up.” Like, here I am now, showing up to wordpress.com to write a blog post, even though I don’t feel like doing it. The thought and strategy here is that simply showing up, presenting yourself, is the key to consistency. Take a full-time job, for example. Whether you like it or not, you gotta show up – doesn’t matter what mood you’re in. You have no choice, unless you want to lose your job and have trouble paying your bills. Your life is dependent on your showing up to work! The reason why we are able to earn money for our living is because we show up. Sure, maybe some work days are more productive than others, but nevertheless you still showed up, so at least something was accomplished that day.

What if we applied this same principle to everything else in life, or to do things we’ve been wanting to do for a while but never actually got around to doing? Or maybe the idea of some things sounds wonderful, like say, mastering a new language, but that just feels overwhelming and impossible, and you just don’t have the time (supposedly) to add another activity to your life. Sound familiar?

I am absolutely no success story.. haha. But my aspiration is to be one. Actually, I’ve made the decision to be a success story. Making the decision is a huge first step towards success. It’s kind of like how recognizing that you have a medical problem is the first step towards recovery.

What to write…. blah. I don’t know. But I’m here. I showed up. That’s the most important thing, I think, because the more we show up to whatever it is that we need to do, the more we will achieve in the long run. But man, I do NOT feel like writing right now….. lalalalalalalala.

I’ve probably been writing this post on and off today at work, maybe about a dozen times. But each of the dozen times, I managed to still “show up.” Have I made my point clear yet? Just show up!

So I guess I should try to practice what I preach, other than the fact that I’m practicing showing up just by writing this blog post… Okay, one thing I’ve been wanting to do consistently in order to reach a big long-term goal is to get into the habit of reading a bit of a Bible expository book series every day and finish the entire series before I turn 30. The reading is very dense so I’ve had a hard time getting through it, but from what I’ve read so far, I feel like I’ve really benefited from it. Maybe I’ve found some sections boring, or other sections too technical, but there have also been the occasional sections where I’m blown away by the reading. Anyway, regardless of how I feel, I really do aspire to complete the whole series, but there are a total of 1,984 chapters. Yikes. Well I’ve already finished 237 chapters, so only 1,747 chapters left. No big deal. Totally doable… You know, actually it IS doable. It’s all about the mindset (think positive, cheesy I know), and the approach (showing up over and over again until the work is done).

Maybe finishing before I turn 30 is too ambitious. Maybe not. But regardless, my approach will be – you guessed it – showing up. Maybe some days I’ll be sleepy and read really slowly, and maybe other days it will be a lot easier to focus. But I’m PRETTY sure that even during my not so efficient days, SOME progress will still be made!

I’m going to make this like a full-time job, in the sense that at a set regular time I am required to show up. Just as I show up to work at 8:30am every weekday morning, I will also set a time to show up to read. For now my approach will not be “a chapter a day,” but rather, hm.. 15 minutes a day. But I can’t just hope to find 15 minutes each day at any random time when it’s convenient; I have to SET a time – the time doesn’t have to be “8:37pm,” something super exact like that, but I think it is more than sufficient to set a time as an event relevant to other events. For example, “I will read for 15 minutes every day as soon as I return home.” That way, if you have last minute dinner plans or something happens that you weren’t expecting to happen, it doesn’t matter. Why? Because you’re still going to end up going home by the end of the day. Or, other possible times could be right after dinner, or right before your daily jog (btw if you are already disciplined enough to be jogging every day, you probably don’t need to read this).

So, now that I’ve announced my reading plan to the public, I guess I’ll have to stick to it. 15 minutes of reading each day AS SOON AS I get home. Okay well, I will still allow myself to use the restroom if I’m desperate, and put my purse down and maybe change out of my work clothes. I’m not saying that as soon as I walk through the front door I have to be reading immediately. No, that’s stupid and unrealistic. I’m allowed to walk to the second floor where my room is, put my things down, sit down at my desk, get comfortable, and then read. As long as reading is the first real productive activity that I do, that’s fine.

I will proceed to start this new not-yet-established habit tonight. Actually, I will put “15 min reading” into my “Productive” habit tracker app on my iPhone right now (I definitely recommend the app).

Glad I showed up today to write, even though I didn’t really want to. Now I have a whole new blog post, yay!