Monday, February 24, 2014

My manifesto

"Manifesto" is a pretty word. It sounds so empowering and official. Given that I generally have a lot on my mind at one time and don't always feel like narrowing those things down to one specific thing, a manifesto seems like an appropriate thing for me to write. It will be like my "miscellaneous thoughts" posts, only bigger and better.

But first, an introduction to what inspired it:

Being in my early twenties is one of the easiest and hardest things in the world. I can be young and take it easy, but there's still a lot of pressure to grow up and learn how to stand on my own two feet. It's an adjustment period. It's a growth period. It's a time of learning about myself. It's a time of navigating the battlefield of head vs. heart. It's a time of helping people through my experiences and letting other people help me through theirs. I'm both a kid and an adult through the eyes of others. I've experienced soul singing bliss and debilitating self-doubt.

I have a feeling 2014 is going to be one of the best and most challenging years of my life. I am turning 22. I am traveling more. I am finally reaching for a few of my wildest dreams. I am trying to be a better friend. I am trying to choose love and trust over fear and uncertainty. I am asking myself some tough questions about life, love, money and work. I am trying to remind myself for the umpteenth time that change is the only constant in life and that I will never learn and grow without it. I am rediscovering the meaning of balance. I've started caring less and less what people think of me, which used to seem like an unfathomable feat. I've been doing a better job at keeping my intentions clear and eliminating the word "should" from my vocabulary. My heart has softened, and my skin has toughened.

So without further ado, here is my 2014/early twenties/Journey of a Soul Searcher manifesto:

I propose to stay true to my passions in life, even if it means being behind my friends, having anxiety attacks when I look at my income, or sacrificing what I want for what I can tolerate.

I propose to be patient and let my journey unfold naturally.

I propose to always consider myself as equal to everyone else.

I propose to work on keeping my priorities straight.

I propose to dedicate more time and energy to building my career each day.

I propose to connect with bloggers, readers and clients more often and not just when I have a request for them.

I propose to follow and work for my dreams instead of just writing them down and waiting for them to come knocking at my door.

I propose to get serious about personal finance and nurture my relationship with money.

I propose to keep this blog authentic and write it for the same reasons I've always written it.

I propose to try new things.

I propose to keep my heart and head open.

I propose to do the things I want or need to do without always feeling the need to justify my reasons for wanting or needing to do them.

I propose to choose happiness over popularity.

I propose to stop placing age limits and timelines on my goals and accomplishments.

I propose to understand and help other people understand that there is no end point in life until we die. There is no destination. We are never finished becoming who we are.

<3 Madison      

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

7 ways to motivate yourself when you're running on empty

To be honest, I sort of pulled this post idea out of thin air because I started to feel guilty about the fact that we're nearly halfway through February and I haven't blogged since January.

I generally hear from a lot of people who are seeking motivation and encouragement to follow their dreams or simply get through their week without wallowing in self-hatred or ruining their relationships with others. I understand that need for motivation and encouragement because I frequently seek it myself.

Although I'm certainly no expert on motivational techniques, the following ideas usually work for me when I feel like sitting around and doing nothing all day:

1. Make a conscious decision to show up for yourself.

You don't have to be super perfect or super successful at whatever you're doing, whether it's writing an article or planning a trip. All you have to do is be willing to show up, regardless of the results you cultivate. If you don't show up for yourself, nothing will happen. If you do, you'll get somewhere. It might not be exactly where you want to be, but it's better than nothing.

2. Read this. (Shameless plug)

I wrote this post a year ago. Today's topic reminded me of it.

3. Take a break.

Don't overwhelm yourself. If your brain is fried or you feel like slamming your face against a brick wall, it's time to take a break. It's okay to step away from whatever you're doing long enough to eat, bathe, take a walk, or watch a few episodes of your favorite show. Chances are, you will feel more refreshed when you return.

4. Turn off all distractions.

Turn off your phone. Turn off the TV. Turn off your music. Stop reading the pointless celebrity gossip stories that are trending on Yahoo. Stop checking your Twitter and Facebook every five minutes. If you're trying to get something done, distractions will make it nearly impossible.     

5. Start small. 

If you're feeling overwhelmed by a task or conflict, remember to start small. You're not Superman (or Wonder Woman). Take baby steps, and don't expect yourself to accomplish everything in one fell swoop.   

6. Check in with yourself.  

If you have zero motivation to do something, it's a good idea to ask yourself why you're even doing it. There are some things you simply don't have to do. The next time you're stressing out over a lack of motivation to do something, ask yourself, "Is this something that absolutely has to be done?" If the answer is no, don't do it. What a relief!

7. Be okay with not being okay. 

You will have days where you just hate everything and feel uncomfortably discouraged. There's no magic formula or cure for these days. We all have them sometimes. If you beat yourself up for having a bad day, you will only feel worse. Sometimes all you need is a little self-compassion and a reminder that tomorrow might be better.

<3 Madison