When Changing Is Hard… 5 Steps To Follow Through

changeishardChange can be good, and it can be bad.

Yet somehow, it’s the bad changes that are easy.. and the good changes are hard.

Eating more and less healthy is easy, at least for me. And eating less and more healthy, is hard.

Exercising less is easy, too easy. Exercising more is hard.

In the interest of transparency, I have a confession to make. I’m less than a month into this blog, and already I’ve managed to not follow some of my own advice.

I was going to completely quit watching TV, and spend 40 hours a day doing productive things… but I failed. But that doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up, no.

It’s time to readjust and start again.

Plus, I have a secret weapon. A few steps that will help anyone achieve anything(slight exaggeration). Continue reading

The Upside Of Low Expectations AKA: Why You Should Go For It Even As A Pessimist

tangiblefreedomI’m not exactly sure when it started, or why, but for as long as I remember, I have had low expectations. But that’s not always such a bad thing. As long as you don’t let it stop you from giving it your actual best. That’s one of the reasons I think enjoying the journey, is just as important as you actual goals. Especially if you’re not one to look on the bright side.

But if you already enjoy what you are doing, any results are just unexpected bonuses. Also known as…

Pleasant Surprises

When You Don’t Give Yourself Enough Credit

I know what it is like to be your own worst critic. I think I became that way because nobody else wanted to criticize me. The closest people came, was telling me that “I could do better”. Maybe it stuck. Maybe it turned into a permanent belief, a belief that I can always do better. So when I look at something, it is never good enough. But I’ve learned to let go, and just put stuff out there regardless.

I have been trying to make the leap towards becoming a freelance writer for a while now, and I have been unable to give it absolutely 100%, because I had one nagging doubt. What if I’m not good enough? What if, despite what people are telling me, my writing is actually shit? But worrying about that isn’t going to help me, so I keep moving. I keep practicing, and I have started making some efforts.

So yesterday I check my email, and one of the articles I put up on a site called “constant content” a couple of months ago, sold for 30$ yesterday. The way the site works, I only get 20$, but still. Not only was it a pleasant surprise, to a degree, it validated my efforts. If I can lose the middle man, and write as good, or better articles every time, it is actually feasible for me to make a living doing this. To clarify, the rates I have been charging up till now have not been very sustainable.

I already mentioned how I took a test for my Japanese proficiency, the highest level, expected to fail, but passed. What I didn’t tell you, is that I actually worked hard for it. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss what you do as a pessimist. But looking back now, I realize that it is only natural that I passed.

When People Actually Want To Help

I am pessimistic, so I have always had problems asking for help. Because I somehow have this idea that people are inherently self serving. That if you ask for help, you are somehow setting yourself up for disaster. But after I started blogging and reaching out to complete strangers, I’ve had some weird experiences.

Not only have people cheered me up by handing me (incredibly creative) compliments out of the blue. I have commented about what I am doing, and people have actually offered to help me. When I contacted them through email, they answered my questions, no questions asked(pun intended).

Of course my first instinct as a cynic, is to question “what’s in it for them?” and the best I can come up with, is karma. Honestly I’m just thankful. So thanks to ¬†everyone who’s commented, inspired me or helped me out directly by answering my questions. You know who you are!

What are some of the pleasant surprises you have encountered over the years? (You don’t have to be a pessimist to answer!)

Picture by Josh.

When You Want To Quit.. 3 Questions To Get Back On Track

whenyouwanttoquitWhen I feel like quitting, I mean really throwing everything out the window, finding some cave in the highlands and going into hibernation indefinitely feel like quitting, I ask myself 3 questions first. (Thankfully. I’m not sure how bears would feel about me cramping their space.)

“Have my goals really changed, or am I just tired of the process?”

Almost every single time I start doubting what I am doing, it has nothing to do with my goals. It has everything to do with the process. The road I am taking to pursue them.

When I realize it’s the process, the every day things I am tired of, I ask myself the next question.

“What can I do to make the process more enjoyable starting right now?”

I am a firm believer in finding a balance between everyday enjoyment, and pursuing your goals. If pursuing your goals is proving to be a complete chore, and only a chore, there are often little things you can do to make it more enjoyable.

Integrate your favorite hobbies and vice versa. The hobbies you love can often be an untapped source to make pursuing your goals more enjoyable. Of course this varies a lot from case to case, but the general idea is that you use your creativity to spice up the process.

Imagine this, you’re in law school. You desperately want to be a lawyer, but the reading is really getting to you. The thing is, you’re also a pub quiz enthusiast. So what you could do, is arrange a quiz to your taste, that involves questions on the subjects for that month or week. It seems super obvious on paper. But it can be really hard to make the connection when you’re the person in question.

I got my first taste of this when I was learning Japanese. I had been struggling to get myself to learn Kanji for years. Completely disinterested. Then it dawned on me that I could find an interesting book to help me along… it worked. It took me 4 years before I tried reading a book in Japanese in my spare time. But maybe I’m just dumb.

After figuring out how to tackle this in your own way, it’s time for the last question.

“What is my next vital stepping stone, and how do I get there?”
Stepping stones are fun. They’re when you notice a big shift in progress, and you feel a lot closer to your goal. But they can be anything. They can be small, almost unnoticeable.

Find out exactly what tiny little part of the puzzle you need in place, and then make it happen. The sense of satisfaction you get from doing that, is well worth it on it’s own. And as a happy byproduct, you are also working towards your goals.

This should be done as simply, and as quickly as possible. As a testament to that, this will be one of my rare posts under 500 words(499).

Picture By: Robert Anthony Provost