Today I am sitting in a coffee shop just down the street from my house, trying to get some inspiration for my next post. After starting a blog I thought it would be so easy to come up with content every week and just bang out post after post, NBD.
Although it is definitely easy to find endless topics to write about, it’s hard to find topics that I am truly passionate to write about week after week. As you may or may not know, I currently make zero dollars off of my blog. Sure, that is entirely my fault as there are definitely ways I can make money (and trust me, I’ve read all the blog posts on how to do that), but I guess it just hasn’t been one of my priorities yet…but I’m working on it 😉
When I first started this blog I thought I would be working on it everyday and making sure it was continuing to grow. Not to say I’ve neglected it completely, but it is really hard to pull off what could be a full-time job when you are already working two part-time jobs… I am not complaining as I and I alone decided to start this blog and I can quit anytime – no one is holding me to it but myself. Even though it’s hard, I really do love it.
Some days are easier than others but overall I am so glad I decided to start writing because I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process and lot about my readers. I am writing for myself, but more so I am writing for you. I truly want to help you. Why? Well it may sound selfish, but it’s because when I know I am helping you, it makes me feel great! And when I feel great, I get motivated to continue and help more people. It’s so contagious – I’m sure you can all relate.
So after reflecting on some things I’ve learned throughout this blog writing process, I’ve decided to write about one of my biggest lessons so far:
How to live a life true to yourself.
This is huge for me. By turning inwards, I’ve learned that a lot of my fear, anger, jealousy, resentment, negative thinking, etc. has come from comparison to and the expectations of others. Every time I go onto social media, or hear about someone else’s success I immediately compare myself to that person, regardless of where they are in their lives. This instantly makes me feel like bag of shit. Once in this mindset, I go into this negative spiral where I get short with everyone around me, when really the only thing I am unhappy about is myself.
And guess who created these “thoughts” inside my head? Ya, I did. They are my thoughts and mine alone (or whoever else in my life put them there, making me believe they are true). But our thoughts don’t define who we are. They are only thoughts and they can be changed. We don’t have to live the life of our current thoughts. We decide which thoughts to believe as true and which ones as false. We have the power to change our thoughts, our mind and our life.
Remember you are in control, and no one else.
On that note, let’s get into today’s post.
How To Live A Life True To Yourself
1. Put Yourself First (and don’t apologize about it)
In order to truly live your own life you need to put your own needs ahead of others’. Now this may be hard for all those moms and dads out there but it’s just as important for you, if not more important.
When you focus on yourself first and being the best version of you, you will inevitably be better to others.
Let me use an example from my athletic therapy background to illustrate this point: If you are a soccer player and you injured your ankle, would you just brush it off and continue to play because your team needs you even though your performance may be hindered? Hopefully not; for your sake and your team’s sake. You are not going to be any help to them with an injury. You need to focus on getting yourself better and then you will be of more value to them.
Either way, you can apply this point to every every aspect of your life. Just like rehab, there are no excuses.
2. Focus On What Makes YOU Happy
Not your mom, not your spouse, not your kids, not your boss, YOU. You should only be doing things that bring you joy because life is too short not to.
I know what you’re thinking: “I hate my job but I need the money so I can’t quit.” Ok, sure. That’s a valid excuse but there are other jobs. Probably ones that you would enjoy more. Do you actually NEED to stay in this job? Chances are you don’t. Don’t confuse comfort with necessity.
You only have one life to live, why on earth would you spend it day in and day out in a job that you hate? You should wake up everyday feeling good about what you do and truly enjoy it. If you wait to live your life in retirement, you are waiting too long. Who knows if you’ll even live that long? (I know, blunt but true).
Now I’m not advocating that you quit your job tomorrow without a plan, but start by taking the necessary steps in order to do so sooner rather than later.
Start by making a list of your current activities that you dislike and a list of the activities you enjoy. Look at the list and start eliminating non-essential things or activities from the list that you dislike and replace them with things or activities that you do enjoy. You will be amazed at how quickly your days become more enjoyable and your life becomes in-line with your values.
3. Don’t Worry About The Jones’
Comparison is the root of all evil. Well, at least in my life it is. When you focus on everyone else, you lose track of what’s truly important to you and start thinking that you need and want what other people have. It’s a very slippery slope and so hard to get out of once you’re in it.
My advice: Make it impossible to get caught up in it in the first place.
How, you ask? Well I’m not an expert and I definitely haven’t mastered it yet but here’s what’s been helping me so far:
- Take all social media off your phone. If you can’t do that, at least move it to the last page of your apps. Schedule specific times in your day to check it with time limits. Even better yet, unfollow anyone who makes you feel less than awesome about yourself. Repopulate your feed with people that lift you up. Why? Because you can! So why not?
- Make a list of your values, prioritize them and then put them somewhere in your house where you can refer to easily. Use this list to remind you of what’s most important to you. This will help ground you when you’re faced with “Jones’-type” distractions.
- Focus on what you are doing and don’t worry about the rest. You can only can control one thing and that is yourself. So why spend time yearning over others? This will do nothing to help you. Focus on what you can control and only that. There will always be people doing the same thing as you and I guarantee someone will be better at it than you. So what? There are 7 billion people on Earth – the odds are stacked against you. Instead of getting down on yourself, focus on what you are good at and how far you have come. Nobody has done what you have done with the same experiences as you and that is what makes you 1 in a billion 🙂 (well, 7 billion)
4. Prioritize Your Time. It Is Your MOST Precious Resource
We often forget that time is the most important resource, but it is. We can’t hoard time, or get it back someday. Understand the value of your time and make sure to spend it on activities you truly enjoy.
If you spend time on things you dislike, the effects are twofold: you will feel bad afterwards and I guarantee the results will be less than optimal. So why bother?
Figure out how much your time is worth and say no to activities, things or people that are not worth it.
5. Be Honest With Yourself
Be really honest with yourself. This can be hard. Maybe you’ve created this idea or story in your head of who you thought you would be and are playing it out but you actually don’t want to be that person anymore. That is tough. Sometimes that means giving something up you’ve worked your whole life to get.
But ask yourself: “Am I truly happy?” If the answer is no or you’re not sure, that is a good indication that you need to change. Yes it can be scary to change but it’s not as scary as staying the same the rest of your life.
As humans one of our biological needs is to learn and continue to grow and evolve. If we resist this need, then we cannot be truly happy.
Ask yourself the hard questions and commit to taking actions in the areas of your life that need to grow and evolve. You will thank yourself later. If you are having reservations about taking this step, just know that this is one of those instances where the grass will definitely be greener on the other side. That I can promise.
6. Commit To Putting The Work In
You can’t expect anyone else to make your life what you want it to be. You have to take charge and make the choices necessary to start living your life more in line with your values and goals.
If you depend on others for your happiness then you will never truly be happy.
Take action: List your goals along with your values and break down the steps needed to get there. Then break them down again, and then again, and then again until there is something realistic you can do today to take a step towards them. You’ll be surprised what happens when little steps are completed everyday.
7. Enjoy The Journey; This Is Where True Happiness Comes From
The end goal will never make you happy. The sooner you can wrap your head around this the better. The work, the experiences, the friends you meet along the way are what truly make you happy.
The more you can stay present and enjoy each and every moment, the more you will enjoy your life and you will never feel as though time was wasted. You will look back at how far you’ve come and feel proud that you were able to live a life true to yourself.