As You Leave 2021 Behind…

I hope that as you leave 2021 behind, you are proud of yourself; that you are proud of how far you have come, not necessarily in terms of what the world may count as achievements and accomplishments, but in terms of how far YOU have come. I hope that as you review your year, you practice self-compassion and remember that your worth is not tied to your accomplishments

I hope that you look back on the year, not with regret or pain, but with peace; a peace that surpasses all understanding, that envelopes you and makes you feel warm on the inside and that gives you hope for tomorrow.

YOU have made it and that is all that matters.

You may not feel like this year was anything to write home about. You may still be dealing with some unresolved disappointment, blow or pain that the past months or year have thrown at you. BUT YOU are here and YOU are present. YOU should be proud, if not for anything, but for this.

It is true that where there is life, there is hope, there is opportunity, there is chance; A chance to heal, a chance to right wrongs, a chance to start all over, a chance to keep going, a chance to grow… a chance to live.

So this is not a piece to help you take stock of how the year has been or to give “tips” on how to bounce back from a rough 2021. While these may be useful, this is a simple piece to once again celebrate YOU, for making it this far and for not giving up.

So here’s to YOU. 🥂

Remember, the world is always better with you in it.

x.

The Joy of Being

“Even if you did nothing, you are still worthy; worthy of love, of friendship, of happiness, of peace and of laughter. Your “amazingness” does not come from “the things you do” but who you are at your core.”

– Rachel Eyo

When was the last time you enjoyed just being?

Just being you; kicking back and relaxing; being present and enjoying the beauty that is life; doing nothing.

More often than not, we tend to find “joy” in “doing”, in being motivated, in being busy and in being “productive”. We swell with pride at an accomplished feat and sometimes do not even pause to celebrate said feat. Rather, we’re immediately on to the next task, goal, mission or vision. And if we fall short after a victory, we are quick to get hard on ourselves, forgetting the recent victory we forgot to savour. We are constantly on the move and not stopping soon, not even to get proper rest. Sometimes we proudly say “sleep is for the dead” and worse, we believe it.

The fast-paced world we live in occasionally makes us feel being busy (not “productive”) all the time is a good thing and not being busy is a not-good thing. Social media has exacerbated this feeling due to the fact that we have constant access to a steady stream of daily updates of things “being done”.

As a result, we’re constantly “doing”, constantly attending meetings, working, creating, dashing here and there, meeting deadlines and working some more. In fact, we subconsciously derive some joy and validation from constantly doing to the point that believe that if we are not busy or doing something, then we have nothing significant to contribute to the world. This explains why taking some time out to rest or vacationing with family without looking at a laptop could prove very difficult for some people.

Thus, we tie our worth and self-validation to what we do, achieve or accomplish; When we “do” and are busy, we are worthy and amazing. When we are doing nothing, we are not worthy and so we fidget and fight ourselves and look for something to occupy our minds and we are restless through out.

I’m learning to enjoy the art of being, enjoying my existence, the present moment, breathing in the fresh air and taking one step at a time. While I hardly get bored(because I’m always with one book or the other, lol), I’m learning to be okay with doing nothing at certain points and just appreciate life for what it is. Sometimes, it feels weird because I’m used to “doing” and feel weird when I’m not doing, but I’m slowly unlearning glorifying “busy”-ness and “doing”.

So, be okay with being bored occasionally, be okay with the quiet, take walks, REST, meditate, unplug from social media and the noise occasionally and bask in the beauty that is life.

Find joy in being; in your being.

x

Rachel

Overcoming Perfection Paralysis; 5 Tips to Help You Get Started

You have composed your first song; you have written your first blog post; recorded your first Youtube video, gathered content to launch your website; tidied up your CV; written your masters’ application essay, put together content for your first webinar/masterclass/event or come up with a brilliant business idea with a stunning business plan and proposal even you are proud of.

You are eager to get the process going.

BUT…

You are stuck.

You are paralysed.

You cannot seem to take any step further because you are plagued by the need to ensure that everything you have done is perfect.

You probably suffer from perfectioniosis and have no one to tell you. Your need for perfection may be your blessing and curse in that your refusal to accept nothing less than your idea of “perfect” helps you produce top quality work, but may paralyse you when all you need to do is just get started.

If you do find yourself stalling intentionally on getting things done, here are 6 tips to help you overcome perfectionism and just get started:

1. Develop a Growth Mindset

“A growth minded person believes that they can learn anything as long as they are willing to put in enough effort into it. If they fail, they would get back up and try again, this time with new knowledge about what not to do. They realize that their potential is only limited by their willingness to work hard and keep trying new approaches until something works.”

A growth minded person takes on challenges, learns from them and increases their abilities and achievements. He or she does not see failure in its raw form and does not get discouraged or devastated by mistakes, but sees each failure as a learning opportunity or as an opportunity to be better and to do better. He/she sees failure not as an evidence of unintelligence, but as an opportunity for growth. He/she is constantly willing to improve, is positive about the future and hopeful that his/her goals would be achieved.

When you develop a growth mindset, you are gradually able to overcome perfectionism as you learn to accept that failures are a part of the process. Your first try is not expected to be superb neither is it expected to be perfect.

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work-brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

Carol Dweck

2. Remember, “Done over Perfect”

This is so important to remember in whatever task or project you may be working on. You may be waiting for the perfect time or the perfect person, or perfect equipment, or perfect result, or perfect scenario. Just stop waiting and get started!

The perfect time is now. Every second you waste trying to “get things together” or “put the finishing touches” is another second that you lose fussing over things that may not matter. Be okay with learning as you go along. No one is ever perfect the first time around. Mastery takes time, practice and consistency. You may be worried about what other people think of the quality of your work, but put in your best and put it out there. How would you know if you do not try?

An excerpt from Jen Sincero’s You Are A BadAss

Also, be okay with welcoming constructive criticisms and feedbacks. Do not take them personal.

3. Avoid Unhealthy Comparisons

Do not in anyway compare yourself to the next person.

Sometimes these unhealty comparisons creep up subconsciously and we waste valuable time dwelling on them and feeling less than competent to handle certain tasks because we are too busy concentrating on the next person’s strengths and not ours.

A growth minded individual realizes that each person has his/her gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses and has an equal chance at developing same as each individual is unique in his/her own way. Focus on your strengths and develop your weaknesses into strengths. Also, feed your potential.

Time spent watching another person’s progress and comparing to yours, reduces the time you have to focus on your journey and goals.

Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.

4. Fall in Love With the Process

Enjoy the learning process of it all.

Life is in various stages and phases with each one presenting a plethora of lessons you can learn from. You could find that you are so obsessed with end results and expectations within a certain time frame that you get impatient and begin to freak out when the process goes beyond that expected time frame.

Embrace each phase and each lesson that can be learned from life, all the while expecting the best to come and working hard to achieve it. Do not worry about how you are going to be perfect or how it will work out. Just put your head down and do the work. Success will come.

The prize is in the process.

5. Believe In YOU

Seems pretty basic right?

The reality is if you are letting time pass you by and not getting started on your goals, then you do not believe in yourself so much. You have chosen to focus on your weaknesses and not your strengths. You have chosen to listen to the negative “what if’s” over the positive “what ifs”. You have decided that you are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty/handsome enough or not qualified enough to get things done

The most important question to ask yourself when you get consumed with these self-limiting beliefs and doubtful thoughts is “How true are these thoughts?” Alot of time, we drown ourselves in thoughts that are not true; thoughts and fears that prevent us from getting what we truly want. Your fears are really just that and they almost never come true anyway.

So what are you waiting for? It does not have to be perfect the first time and there is always room for growth and self-improvement.

Stop doubting your greatness.

You can do it.

Just get started!

Watch this book review I did on Jen Sincero’s book You Are A Bad Ass which has given me the inspirational and motivational push I needed to keep going after my goals. (Also, please subscribe to my Youtube Channel)

Lockdown Chronicles

It’s Lockdown day 5 in Nigeria.

I’m sitting in the dark (of choice) typing this on the WordPress app on my phone which I recently discovered because, well, my laptop decided to have a mind of its own and develop a faulty screen. I have now been without my baby for about 2 days, the longest time I’ve been without my her, I think. I do not own a television so I’m not watching that. Televisions are not my thing, really. I don’t know when that started but I haven’t owned one for the past 5 years or so.

It’s the funniest thing how I would typically spend my Saturdays indoors, resting and reading, perhaps shooting content for my YouTube channel or going to book club meet and listening to some very smart people share their perspectives on the book we would have read that month.

However, this Saturday certainly feels different because for the first time, I’m not “allowed” to go anywhere; to move about, to hang out with my crazy friend who gives me life or to go get frozen yogurt from Tutti Frutti. We had our book club meet online today and while it was interesting, it was different.

Had this Saturday gone the way it was supposed to, I would have been surrounded by family and loved ones at a cocktail dinner party in an amazing dress, with professional make up and amazing hair, feeling like Beyoncé et Rihanna with a good-looking date on my arm and dancing like there would be no tomorrow.

I can see it clearly in my head as I type; everything happening in slow motion with music in the background. I am dancing and laughing out loud, being twirled around by the most handsome man in the room as we attempt to out-dance each other. I’m sipping wine I don’t like (because I don’t like alcohol generally) and just having a great time. My nephew, who can now walk, is running to me and I lift him in the air as he squeals in excitement. Then again, if I know my nephew very well, he might be asleep or not in the mood to be carried by anyone since he’s now a grown man at 1 year old and can now make life choices for himself.

Life is funny. We make all the plans in the world but at the end of the day, it’s not up to us. There’s only so much we can control. Man proposes and God deposes, right? Hard truth right there. This is why it is important to make the most of life at any given life. Don’t wait until there’s a pandemic to want to travel and see the world, to take that chance, to do something you’ve always wanted to or be who you’ve always wanted to be.

I’m also understanding how sometimes, it really is the simple things that bring joy and happiness; how at the end of the day, it really is the simple things that matter; the things we often times take for granted.

Fresh air and long walks, a hug here or there from a friend or a loved one, a drive by to get frozen yoghurt, being able to hop on a plane to be with the people who matter the most to you whenever you want, walking through the supermarket and buying things without anxiety or paranoia, going out on Friday night with your girls to have drinks…

It’s day 5 of Lockdown and I’ve learned more about myself in 5 days of being “locked down” and in “self-isolation”; more than I have in the past couple of months, even though I’m not typically surrounded by a lot of people on a normal day.

I am doing the best I can to remain positive, I speak to my family and friends occasionally and I’m confident within me that we will overcome this. I know that God will continue to be with us. He never leaves us hanging. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did ask him some questions at the beginning to find out why this was happening. I needed to however make peace with not knowing why; with not having all the answers to every question I asked and I did make peace.

When this is over, I know the things I’m definitely not taking for granted. I hope you do too.

I know that this will be over soon, for this too shall pass.

Taking Big Little Steps; 4 Ways to Overcome Fear and Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

As a recovering control freak, one of the hardest things I have learned and am still learning is occasionally stepping out of my comfort zone and taking big little steps in the pursuit of my goals.

Admittedly, stepping out of your comfort zone may be difficult to do; in that it is the space in your life that brings you the most comfort and where you do not have to deal with nerve-racking uncertainties.

As human beings, we are wired for comfort and tend to seek out a peaceful existence where we are in control and can plan accordingly. We are perfectly content with a world where everything goes right and nothing goes left. Most of us only desire to be in a space we can control. However, the danger of remaining in your comfort zone is that it limits your growth, learning and creativity as you “escape” taking on challenges which are an integral part of life.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

Brian Tracy

It is simply fascinating how we subconsciously tie the words “safety” and “better” to our comfort zones. We believe that it is better and safer to remain in our comfort zones (whether or not we choose to call it that) when in reality, our comfort zones may not necessarily be safer or better; it is just all we have ever known. Our bodies get used to a particular way of doing things and a way of existing that any thought that creeps up to suggest something otherwise is shot down by fear and “rationality”.

You choose to remain in your comfort zone because you are uncertain of what lies ahead

Another prominent reason why you choose to remain in your comfort zone is the almighty Fear of the Unknown.

The Fear of the Unknown is such a paralysing factor in the pursuit of goals and dreams. We tend to think of the unknown as “unsafe” and subconsciously associate it with failures and negative “what-ifs” which is why we would rather stay in a toxic relationship that our bodies have gotten used to than be single or explore thoughts of leaving the toxic relationship. This is also why we would remain in a job we hate which pays a relatively reasonable salary as long as it can foot the bills.

While fear is valuable in that it keeps you safe and encourages caution when caution is due,…

It’s also a limiting thing: Not everything you’re afraid of deserves fear or caution. And sometimes, moments of bravery are what are needed to make your life better.

Forbes Coaches Council

How can you overcome fear and step out of your comfort zone?

Do new things that make you uncomfortable

This is something I started at the beginning of last year and it has been amazing. Simple yet profound in stretching your mind to get used to a life outside your comfort zone.

By doing things that typically make you uncomfortable, you find that your mind gradually experiences freedom. You may experience discomfort while doing or watching people do certain things due to factors like your upbringing, culture, fear and environmental factors or just a subconscious “what would they think about me?” mentality.

However, by constantly engaging in activities that you may not typically engage in, your mind experiences freedom to enable you take the big little steps. Some of these activities, may include singing out loud while taking an early morning walk, greeting and talking to strangers, dancing in public, jumping out of a plane (skydiving, please), wearing clothes that typically make you feel body conscious, parasailing or entering a hot air balloon, answering a question first in class…the list goes on and on.

Me parasailing sometime last year. Best experience ever.

In a nutshell, the things that make you cringe or think “I can never do that” ? …do them.

“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.”

Robin Sharma

Take Baby Steps

A very important way to overcome fear and step out of your comfort zone is to take baby steps in the direction of your goals.

Understand that if your goals and dreams scare you sometimes, this is perfectly normal. Perhaps you want to achieve something that has not been achieved before, or you want to give a different twist to an already existing product and the thought of starting gives you all sorts of anxiety; start by taking baby steps. You may be looking to quit your job to get a better one or start doing what you love because your current job does not align with your purpose. You may be scared of losing your financial independence and/or somewhat financial stability that has aided you this far.

However, it is necessary to take baby steps in the direction of your goals. Some baby steps could be drafting a business proposal, reaching out to a potential investor who is a complete stranger, searching for new jobs, dusting up your CV, applying to schools to further your education if you desire, giving yourself closure before stepping out of a toxic relationship. Whatever the case may be, the important thing is to start somewhere.

When you take and accomplish these baby steps, you gain the necessary confidence required to step out of your comfort zone.

Develop a Growth Mindset

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”- Carol Dweck

Developing a growth mindset is crucial in overcoming fear and stepping out of your comfort zone. This is because your mindset affects your attitudes and general outlook on life.

Most often than not, we remain in our comfort zones due to the fear of failure which is intricately tied to the fear of the unknown. The fear of failure itself is so mentally paralysing and destabilising to the extent that the comfort zone begins to look so attractive that any opportunities for growth and learning are subconsciously shot down by the mind.

By developing a growth mindset, you are able to take on challenges while learning from them and increasing your abilities and achievements. A person with a growth mindset does not see failure in its raw form and does not get discouraged by mistakes, but sees failure as a learning opportunity to be and do better. Furthermore, he/she sees failure not as an evidence of unintelligence, but as an opportunity for growth and as such, is constantly willing to improve and positive about the future.

“A growth minded person believes that they can learn anything as long as they are willing to put in enough effort into it. If they fail, they would get back up and try again, this time with new knowledge about what not to do. They realize that their potential is only limited by their willingness to work hard and keep trying new approaches until something works.”

You can read more on how to develop a growth mindset here.

Affirmations

Words are so powerful and simple positive words which may seem ineffective on their own, can evoke a powerful response of feeling amazing, powerful and like you can take on the world.

By repeatedly saying positively affirmative words to yourself even if you do not believe them at first, your brain believes them. This is because your brain does not know the difference between what words are true and false. Positive affirmations help you counter negative thoughts that may pop up from time to time due to fear.

Also, be careful of the negative words you tell yourself or others about yourself, whether jokingly or in serious terms. Sooner or later, you begin to believe them and act accordingly. If you continuously say “this one is too big for me to do” or “I can only imagine working there” or “let me do the one I know I can do, that one is only a dream” then sooner or later you believe in and limit yourself accordingly.

You cannot know until you try.

You cannot control everything in life and you need to make peace with this. In the pursuit of your goals and dreams, you can only fight to overcome fear, take calculated risks, do your best and have some faith.

Remember,

Your greatest fears are just that…your greatest fears. They have no power over you unless you give them power.

I pray you find the strength and bravery to step out of your comfort zone this 2020 and exist courageously.

Love and Light,

Rachel

P.S, 

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Bounce Back; 7 Tips to Recover From a Rough 2019

Going through social media the past couple of weeks and seeing what a tough time 2019 has been for a lot of us was actually surprising. I had sat in my little hole thinking it was just me who had had a crazy year, only for thousands of people to open up about how rough 2019 was for them.

It just goes to show that no matter what one is going through or how peculiar it may feel in that moment, there is also someone, somewhere in the world, who may be experiencing something similar even though unique, and can relate to what you’re going through.

So…

You’re not alone.

If 2019 knocked you down a little too hard or more than what you expected, here are 7 simple ways to bounce back to help you get ready to embrace the beauty that will be 2020. These simple but super useful tips are sourced from a mix of my experiences this year and what has helped me in bouncing back so far, a podcast by Robin Sharma I listened to a while ago and one of my now favourite books of all time, The Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

Seek Perspective

When you sit down to reflect about how your 2019 has been, especially when you look at the rough times, ask yourself “How could this be worse?” , “What was good here?” “What were my blessings?” , “What am I grateful for?”

When you look at some of these moments that may have caused you pain, brought some disappointment, heartbreak or betrayal, attempt to reconceptualise your thoughts if you have been looking at the painful experiences negatively. There is no doubt that these experiences may have been rough or painful, but by reconceptualising, you begin to see things with a growth mindset. No matter how much you feel like the victim in a situation, and granted, you may have been, try to ask yourself “What can I learn from this?” “What can i do differently going forward?” “What ways can I improve better?”.

Leave other people to find out for themselves and concentrate on YOU.

Leverage for growth

As mentioned earlier, what you do not want to do in bouncing back in sitting in a pit and letting only negative thoughts cloud your mind. However, what you want to do is to use these rough times in 2019 (no matter how rough they may have been) as opportunities to leverage for growth going forward.

Hard times are nothing more than Growth in wolves’ clothing.

Ask yourself “How can I use this to grow?” and “How can I use this to cover the shattering of my ego?”

Sometimes a situation looks so bleak that you feel that there’s nothing to learn from it, or that there is nothing to grow from, but I bet if you looked close enough, you would find at least one way. Some of these rough times may just help us become stronger as individuals.

Appreciate the season

The truth is that difficult times come to crack the shell of your understanding, to humble you, to remind you that you are human. You may appreciate the pain that comes with these times, but you can appreciate the season; the season of growth, stretching, improvement. Learn to use the stumbling blocks you faced in 2019 as stepping stones in 2020 and turn those wounds to wisdom. Share with people what you have learned during the painful seasons and wear your scars proudly.

Feel to heal

If there is any pain you need to heal from in 2019, then you need to feel it. Running away from it and pressing the “reset” button or burying it deep down to enter 2020 with is very unhealthy. Deal with it and feel it so you can move on. Reflect on those tough times and pay attention to the difficult feelings that came with it. Do you still feel any resentment, anger, bitterness or any negative feelings towards something or someone? Are you disappointed in yourself for not reaching certain goals? You need to dig deep and deal with these feelings.

To release a toxic feeling, the only way in is out.

Do not tie achievements to self worth

Ahhhh. This is one of the most important lessons I have learned this year; not basing my self worth on my achievements or accomplishments. I am definitely using this going forward in 2020.

A lot of us base our self worth on our achievements and accomplishments in different seasons of our lives. So if we are not employed, married, married with kids, do not have a high paying job, are not able to finish an online course, are not able to read a book in a year, not able to gain admission into school, are not able to save a certain sum of money by the end of the year, then we are failures and nothing more.

This is not true!

Even if you did nothing, you are still worthy; worthy of love, of friendship, of happiness, of peace and of laughter. You are still worthy of all the amazing blessings God gives. You are still amazing and special. Your “amazingness” does not come from the “things you do” but who you are at your core. You are already made perfection by God.

“When you use unconditional self-love as the starting point when setting any goal, you remain aware that perfection is not tied to the end result, but rather the reality of the present moment.You were perfect at the onset and you are perfect now; you are perfect throughout. You are aware the entire time that the end result won’t define you. It is through the practice of awareness that you are able to see the perfection that exists in yourself, which also lets you see perfection in the world around you and in each being in it.”

Do not wallow

Refuse to wallow in the disappointments of 2019. Refuse to remain in the pit of negative thoughts from 2019. Forgive yourself for mistakes made, chances not taken, discipline not exercised, not being discerning enough or moments where fear overwhelmed you and pushed you out of an opportunity. Forgive yourself, take the most important and practical lessons that can be applied in the new year and move on. Remember, time waits for no one. Time spent wallowing can be spent on doing and being better.

Detach from Outcomes and Focus on the Journey

A lot of us tend to focus heavily on the outcomes and destination of our goals or desires for the year that we forget to just enjoy the journey. We are too busy looking at where we want to get to that we forget to be present and enjoy life for what it is. In bouncing back, learn to detach from outcomes, while still having them, of course, but most importantly, focus on the journey, the experience and the lessons.

Learn to be patient. If it wasn’t your turn this year but another’s, be happy for him/her. Next year may be your turn…and if it isn’t, you try again in 2021.

Remember, you are not the accomplishment of your goals or desires.

Here’s wishing you an amazing, productive, laughter-filled, joy-filled, peace-filled 2020. 🥂

May all your dreams come true!

Love and Light,

R.

P.S, Life-changing, straight-to-the point and concise weekly emails guaranteed to help start your week right have started going out!! If you haven’t subscribed then you are definitely missing out! Click the link here to sign up so you don’t miss out on anything! https://mailchi.mp/06750630c287/weeklyemails

If You Are Considering Giving Up on 2019, READ THIS!

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Easier said than done right?

Tell me about it.

October 2019. You may not be feeling those ground-breaking, self-achieving goals you set towards the end of 2018 or at the beginning of 2019. In fact, you may have had a really tough year and are ready to face the fact that you’re done…ready to hit the RESET button.

YES, the first week of 2019 seemed full of promises, opportunities, and goals you set out to achieve for the rest of this year. From those weight loss and healthy-eating goals, to spiritual goals, to that career change or taking a big step in starting a business/project, to finishing books you’ve always wanted to read, to completing courses and acquiring more skills without any excuse, the list seems endless.

You may have “run out of steam” and are currently considering giving up totally and patiently waiting at the train station for the 2020 train to arrive. Some of the reasons why, may be due to circumstances beyond your control. You may also have decided to start working on these goals again from January 2020 even though you can get to work now, but there’s just something about a new year that gives you that added boost and determination…right?

You may have adopted the “Abeg I cannot come and go and kill myself” mentality (which by the way, is the most convenient to say, but in reality, could be a way to escape from accomplishing goals you set or yourself) and are fine with this because, actually, you cannot kill yourself.

You look back on this year and see that the little steps you decided to take towards an important goal now seem too big and scary to accomplish. There are now more reasons why your plans can go wrong than right and the sole reason why it can go right is proving difficult to find. And so it seems safer to just remain in your comfort zone where nothing goes left and everything goes right. Sadly, it is safe to conclude that you may be fading out.

HOWEVER,

I’m here to remind you that 2019 is not over yet! If you have been making attempts from the beginning of 2019 till now but none seem to come through and all you have been left with are mistakes, remember that:

“Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

ALSO REMEMBER:

To take a closer look at your goals

If you wrote them down or made a mental note, pause and reflect on the three most important goals that you determined you would set out to achieve this year. Now, DO EVERYTHING WITHIN YOUR POWER TO ACHIEVE THOSE GOALS OR SET THINGS IN PLACE TO DO SO.

To count your wins

This year was not all bad. There were some minor insignificant wins that you had this year, even if the only one might be approaching the year end alive. Count them. It’s easy to forget the good and focus on what did not go right. However, count those wins and remain grateful but hungry to do more.

To believe in your capabilities

The mind is powerful and belief in oneself, which stems from the human mind, can either make or break you as an individual. Your belief in yourself and your capabilities can either create an amazing life for you or destroy one full of potential. Believe in your capabilities to see things through and get them done.

To resist from making unhealthy comparisons

The year is wrapping up. Social media is going to be awash with lists of achievements and stories from the journeys of others. People will share more their highs than lows. Resist comparing your journey to theirs. Pay attention to your Behind The Scenes and not someone else’s Highlight Reel.

It is not too late!

To go after those dreams and work hard in the achievement of your goals. You can write 2019 off as having run its course or you can be determined to put in work these next two months to set things rolling or put things in place. Your choice. The fact remains that it is not too late to achieve whatever it is before the end of the year.

Give 2019 that extra push. Sometimes, all you need to do is try one more time.

You can do this!

P.S, 

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Here’s Why You Procrastinate + 6 Practical Tips To Help You Overcome Procrastination

Procrastinate
/prə(ʊ)ˈkrastɪneɪt/
(verb)

delay or postpone action; put off doing something.
“the temptation will be to procrastinate until the power struggle plays itself out”

synonyms:
delay, put off doing something, postpone action, defer action, be dilatory, use delaying tactics, stall, temporize.

It is no secret that procrastination is a huge enemy of the achievement of goals and dreams. I would know, I almost procrastinated writing and publishing this blog post.

If you’re an avid procrastinator, you’ve probably asked yourself why you procrastinate so much. Then again, you’ve probably procrastinated with coming up with an answer to that question. In the alternative, you may have just given up altogether, accepting your fate and dwelling in your cave of procrastination.

The reality is that sometimes, we do not know why we delay getting things done. You may or may not have accepted the fact that you procrastinate but if you are constantly putting things off or delaying some tasks because “you’re not ready” or “it’s not that good” or you need to “put some finishing touches”, I am here to let you know that you are procrastinating.

Now, here are some reasons why you procrastinate:

Fear of failure or being criticised: This is legit one of the most common reasons why we tend to put off goals or tasks. You may be scared of the outcome, of putting in the work towards a certain goal and coming up short. You may be scared of external judgment or negative criticism that, let’s face it, does not always feel good. Thoughts like “what if it doesn’t work?” “would people like it?” “What if I fail?” “What would people say about this?” constantly plague your mind.

Lack of Motivation: You may delay getting things done because you really do not have the motivation to get them done right now. Or, in simpler terms, you’re not just in the mood.

Mental or Physical Exhaustion: Another possible reason could be that you’re stressed out and are just plain exhausted physically, emotionally and/or mentally. Your brain and/or body cannot take up any more tasks for now and so you keep pushing things that need to be done away.

Overwhelmed: You may have some huge goals and plans that leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. You do not know where to start so you keep delaying until you “figure it out”.

Indecisiveness: You are indecisive about what goals you want to achieve and keep going back and fourth. You are yet to make a decision and so it’s best to put it off till later until you can “come up with a substantial decision”.

Prioritisation of immediate feelings: You keep choosing how you feel in the moment over the long term results and do not delay gratification. If it makes you feel good now, you’ll do it. This is why you spend more time Netflix and Chilling than actually working towards your goals…and then later complain that you do not have enough time to get things done.

You do not believe in your capabilities: You feel that you are not good enough, not ready or not as qualified as some people seem to be. You keep waiting to be qualified or have the right experience before you take action. So in your opinion, it’s best to “wait till everything is perfect; the timing, your qualification and the tasks themselves“. This is why you keep putting off publishing that book, updating your CV and applying for that job, taking that course or just putting content out there on social media.

Other reasons could be that you’re going through depression, may have an attention deficit disorder and get bored easily or may fear that you will sabotage yourself in working towards your tasks.

If you have admitted to yourself that you procrastinate most times and may very well fall into one of these categories above, then congratulations. That is the first step. It is important that you identify what your “reason” is for procrastinating so that you can effectively deal with it.

So how can you overcome procrastinating? Here are 5 simple ways you can try:

Break huge goals/tasks into smaller tasks: By doing this you’re not as overwhelmed or confused at where you need to start. Break goals down into smaller tasks and the smaller ones into smaller ones. Tackle smaller ones daily and set realistic deadlines for yourself.

Reward yourself for the accomplishment of smaller tasks: Do not wait until you hit a “milestone” or till you achieve a huge goal before you can celebrate. Celebrate little victories and plan to reward yourself for the accomplishment of smaller tasks no matter how insignificant they may seem. This gives you something to look forward to and may give you the much needed motivation to get things done.

Get motivated!: If you lack motivation to get things done right now and stop putting things off, get motivated! External sources of motivation help, but at the end of the day, you are your most valuable asset, so motivate yourself as well! Listen to motivating music, watch inspirational videos, listen to inspirational/motivational podcasts, watch/read about the progress stories or people in your field you admire and surround yourself with like-minded or motivated people.

Identify your most and least productive periods of the day: This would help you with scheduling, planning and strategising on when and how to tackle tasks. It will also help achieve more within a little time. During your most productive periods of the day, eliminate any form of distractions that may threaten to slow you down…basically, turn off your notifications.

Realize that there is no perfect time: Avoid the perfectionist mindset. There is no perfect time. And if there was a perfect time, the perfect time would be now! You do not have to be good enough to start working towards your goals and dreams. Remember that people are learning as they go and are making it.

Develop in your ability to overcome procrastination and achieve your goals: Most importantly, believe in yourself. You are amazing and can achieve whatever you put your mind to. Stop doubting yourself and your capabilities. Stop talking down to yourself or waiting to be the smartest in the room.

One of the most important things I’m learning right now, which may be of benefit to you, is that my worth is not tied to my achievements.

You are still worthy even if you do nothing.

So when you take that big leap and people judge, give their feedback or criticism, remember to separate it from you. It is the work they criticise, not you.

So what are you waiting for? Get to work!

I hope this was helpful in some way. Let me know why you procrastinate in the comments and if you’re working on overcoming, let me know what you do to overcome procrastination!

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Why You Need Mental Breaks + 5 Simple Ways to Take a Mental Break

The importance of taking occasional mental breaks cannot be over emphasized.

Mental breaks are great for your mental health in general because they give you a much-needed boost in creativity and productivity. They serve to rejuvenate and refresh your mind so you are not simply existing on auto-pilot mode on a day-to-day basis, barely makin’ it. These breaks, if taken the right way, therefore serve to provide a healthy balance between rest and work/productivity in a very busy and distracting world.

Most times, people refuse to take mental breaks because they are subconsciously connected to certain procedures and routines, so a break (whether mental or physical) in same threatens to make them feel purposeless or bored. The ironic thing about this is that while you may often cry out for a break “Oh I need a break!”, “I’m due for a vacation” and so on, the moment you take a break, it may be difficult to break free from procedure and routine. This is why you find yourself working/responding to emails on vacations or searching for a new course to take, to fight the feeling of not doing enough or the purposeless feeling.

I recently took a mental break from it all and it was simply amazing. I would be the first to admit that sometimes I fall into the category above of people who feel the need to do something at every point in time. However, in recent times, I am learning to just be and enjoy being.

So how do you know if you need a mental break ASAP? Here are just a few signs to show you you may need to take a break and chiiiiiilllllll.

No Motivation: You lack the motivation to get things done and nothing seems to inspire you anymore. You’re just going through the motions of life and sometimes, try to get motivated, but keep failing to be motivated.

Irregular sleep pattern: You are currently experiencing an irregular sleep pattern which may be due to stress, insomnia or “burning the midnight oil”.

Anti-social: You have become anti-social and subconsciously prefer to experience socialisation through your phone by scrolling through social media and interacting with people online.

Stressed out: You are currently mighty stressed out due to workload, activities and sometimes, unrealistic deadlines you are fighting to meet. You are therefore highly irritable, frustrated, always on edge and just all over the place mentally.

Low creativity/productivity: No matter how hard you try, putting high quality work out there seems to be a chore and your productivity is greatly declining.

There a lot more signs that you may need a mental break which I will encourage everyone reading this to research on, but the fact remains that if you feel it in your gut that you’re due for a mental break, then you most likely are!

So what ways can you take a mental break? Well, I am glad you asked!

Unplug: Unplug from it all; distractions, notifications, emails, social media…all of it! Sometimes, we may convince ourselves that scrolling through social media is taking a break. While that may be true to some extent, our brain still does some work while looking at photos or reading captions which are capable of evoking different kinds of emotions within us.

Take some time to meditate: Even if it’s just for five minutes a day. When on an extended mental break, meditating and observing quiet times for minutes or hours at a stretch can help quiet and refresh your mind. Meditating or observing a quiet time does not mean overthinking or mentally crossing of things on your to-do list. Think of nothing in particular or just visualise relaxation by thinking of an image that relaxes you such as the warm sun on your skin or a calm sea.

Immerse yourself in nature: Feel the ground or grass underneath your feet and focus on being present on enjoying your environment and the scenery. You can also take a walk as this is great way to relieve stress because it’s a great escape for your mind. Heading out for a quiet early morning walk in a peaceful environment when possible may offer even more relaxation.

Just Be: Be okay with “just being”. Simply sit still and take it all in slowly. Don’t be in a rush. You may also choose to relax, watch something or read a book. This may serve as a great escape and can leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face whatever is outside your bedroom door.

Stay away from Toxicity/Negativity: Consciously staying away from toxic/negative people, situations or thoughts is a simple way to take a mental break. You are left feeling positive, refreshed, creative and productive. It’s okay to take a break from toxic or negative people, no matter who they are or where they are.

While these are simple ways to take an occasional mental break or two rom every day living, it is important to state that going on a vacation or changing locations does not automatically mean you are taking a mental break. Mental breaks need to be intentional, purposeful and effective.

You do not need to go for a vacation or change your location to take a mental break. All you need to do is shut down and shut out for a while till your mind feels rejuvenated and refreshed.

Remember, “You’re still worthy even if you do nothing. Your worth is in your being, not in your doing.”

I hope this was helpful in some way. Kindly share with me in the comments what simple ways you take mental breaks!

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How Journaling is Changing My Life + 6 Amazing Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Writing has always been a great purge for me.

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved expressing my thoughts in words, to the best of my ability, I must add…because sometimes, my crazy imagination cannot be put into simple words. LOL. So writing has always come easy to me and with time, I found that I did quite well expressing myself and articulating my thoughts with words.

I had always been a “journal-keeper” at different stages of my life, if there is such a word. Of course, at some point, I fell into the “Dear Diary” phase that plagues most female pre-teens/teenagers where I would whisper untold secrets to my diary (the type that came with a little gold padlock and key in its edge) with words, feeling confident that the padlock kept my deepest darkest secrets safe from the world. Plis, what secrets?

LOL. Youthful innocence.

Some months ago, I started Journaling intentionally and its benefits have been too great not to share. “Journaling generally involves the practice of keeping a journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life.”

Whichever type of journal you choose to keep (gratitude, goals, ideas, values, experiences, curiosity or a combination of all), journaling and writing down your thoughts, feelings and emotions in different moments is guaranteed to give great scientifically researched benefits.

Journaling has become an integral part of my daily routine (I do this 3-5 minutes everyday, some days are longer). After the last sentence, whatever it may be, I drop my pen on my paper feeling somewhat satisfied, purged and more aware of myself, my emotions or what I am feeling at that point. I am then able to connect with myself in ways I may not be able to do through out the day (if journaling in the morning) or may not have done through out the day (if journaling at night.

I am really excited to share some of these simply changing and amazing benefits of journaling with you. They include:

Journaling reduces stress and anxiety

ARRGGHHH! I cannot over emphasize this enough! Journaling has helped to greatly reduce stress and anxiety in different aspects of my life. You find that writing about frustration, anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By journaling your emotions and thoughts, especially when they are not so great, you tend to feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.

In the moments where I have felt overwhelmed with some challenges, putting pen to paper, even if not having the right words, has helped reduce any anxiety or stress felt at the time.

Clarifies thoughts and gives perspective

Another benefit of journaling is that it helps you prioritize, clarify thinking, and accomplish your most important tasks, over urgent busy work. Journaling has definitely helped me clarify what I need and desire in various aspects of my life.

By writing down your thoughts routinely, you get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being. You become clear about who you are as a person, why you feel the way you do in certain circumstances and how you can apply yourself to become the best version of yourself.

“Thinking in writing has this magical quality of clarifying your thoughts.”

Furthermore, journaling also helps to reframe your personal narrative and gives you a fresh perspective on people, experiences, things and lessons learned. By reflecting on your thoughts and experiences, you are, in effect, telling your own story. Journaling therefore helps to find new meaning and perspectives in these narratives.

Emotional release

Journaling serves as a medium to release your emotions on paper; when you are happy, sad, pained, angry, frustrated, sober or just feeling grateful, writing down your thoughts and expressing how you feel can be a great way to release your emotions.

When we are going through certain emotions, we find that we either want to speak to someone trustworthy about it or just shutdown completely and drown in our thoughts. Journaling serves as an effective way of purging intense emotions that may be raging deep within you so you do not implode or explode over little things.

Encourages mindfulness and self awareness

For me, this has to be one of the most amazing benefits of keeping a journal. By consciously articulating and writing down my thoughts, experiences and emotions at different moments, I have become more mindful of who I am at my core, the decisions I take and the impact these decisions have on me. I am also becoming more aware of my self ; my temperaments, likes, dislikes, wants, needs and so on.

Increases Gratitude and encourages healing

Often enough, I try to write down things I am grateful for. This could be difficult especially if going through a tough time. However, by writing down at least one thing, you become aware of the fact that life is not just composed of unfortunate events and it encourages you to maintain a positive attitude to life.

In addition, journaling helps healing through difficult moments. By consciously writing down your experiences, lessons learned and your feelings about these experiences, you are able to heal through these tough times. By writing and repeating affirmations, you are able to take control of your thought process and focus on healing and not suffering.

Self-discipline and achievement of goals

Needless to say, journaling helps to boost self-discipline and the achievement of goals. By constantly writing down your goals, how you feel about attaining them and the best ways you can achieve them while staying true to yourself, you learn to discipline yourself and can achieve goals set out in various aspects of your life. You are able to track your progress and look back on what you could have done better.

What if I writing is not my thing?

A typical question that comes up on journaling is “What if writing is not my thing?”. To this, I simply say “Then make it your thing!”

The benefits of journaling are just too great and impactful for you to box yourself into only what your thing is. As human beings, we are constantly growing, evolving, learning, unlearning and changing. Allow yourself to evolve and welcome new things/routines that are guaranteed to boost your mental health.

So how can you start?

Your journal does not have to be anything fancy. Just a simple notebook and pen would do. I would definitely recommend journaling the traditional way with a pen and paper and not on your phone. Psychologists have determined that writing things out by hand improves memory and encourages deeper thinking and reflection.

Your words do not have to be perfect or sound like a perfectly crafted novel. You are not writing for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. No one is going to read your journal. Also, there are no right words. Just let your thoughts flow on paper.

In addition, it is important that you schedule time to journal, especially when you are attempting to make it a part of you. 3 to 5 minutes daily or every other day is okay at first or however long you find yourself writing words on paper.

And if you find yourself glaring at a blank page with a pen tightly clenched between you fingers for the longest time with nothing to write, start by writing down 5 things you are grateful for or 5 important lessons you have learned in the past week/month. Or simply write an open and honest letter to yourself, or perhaps a loved one you have been meaning to connect with or even a loved one lost.

I hope this was helpful for you. If you have started journaling, please share with me in the comment section, the benefits you have gained or hope to gain from keeping a journal!

P.S, Life-changing, straight-to-the point and concise weekly emails guaranteed to help start your week right have started going out!! If you haven’t subscribed then you are definitely missing out! Click the link here to sign up so you don’t miss out on anything! https://mailchi.mp/06750630c287/weeklyemails