My goal of having a blog is to not only share the places I’ve visited and to inspire you to travel, but I also want to share the journey of growing, developing, working towards a life that I’m proud of, and connecting with like-minded people along the way. Of course, traveling played a critical part in molding me into who I am today. That’s why I believe it’s so important to explore the world outside of which you live in. However, the big chunk of life, so far, occurs in the everyday moments, work experience, and interactions with people around me. Those have largely contributed to my growth over the years.
In the past year and a half, I’ve taken strides towards doing what makes me happy and inspired to truly take control of MY life. A lot had to do with changing my mindset and implementing new habits. Not my usual travel post, but I hope some of you can relate!
How I Improved My Lifestyle
1. Stop dreaming, start doing. Take small action steps towards what you are trying to achieve.
When I was feeling stuck at my last job by the end of 2016, I knew I had to do something to change how I was feeling (and it wasn’t great). I sat myself down with the objective to write down pros and cons. Ultimately, all roads led to the decision to take a leave of absence. I don’t regret anything at all, and it was the best decision I’ve made in my adult chapter so far. After taking 4-5 months off to explore other interests and travel, another opportunity came my way, which I accepted. The only sucky part about all of this is that it took me 3-4 months of feeling miserable before mustering up the courage to do something about it. I worried about the permanence of my decision too much to pull the trigger sooner.
I knew I wanted a work-life balance, and I knew I wanted to give some time to my travel blog and, well, travel. During my time off, it felt amazing to not stress out about my never-ending list of obligations. Instead, I prioritized self-care and personal endeavors on my to-do list.
All I’m saying is if you feel it in your gut that you need change, whether it be a job, relationship, or environment, do it. Don’t waste time just thinking about it, especially if you’ve been thinking about it for awhile now. We spend way too much time thinking about what we want to do, without actually doing anything. I mean, don’t throw everything out the window, and “do you, boo.” Make sure you plan well, be prepared financially, and take actionable steps towards what you want.
“You will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
2. Book more flights, and go see the world!
“You learn more about your country by leaving it.”
I realized this when I studied abroad in France my junior year of college. Spending so much time with other international students, I learned that America is not the center of the universe. People can have such stubborn views and be close-minded about so many things. How can that be when you only know a fraction of what is the infinite amount of knowledge out there? On the contrary, we should always be open-minded to new ideas and solutions to keep up with our ever shifting social, political, economic landscape. We need to practice being more compassionate and empathetic by interacting with different cultures and backgrounds. Traveling can expose you to areas of the world that are completely night and day from what you’re used to. To get out of your comfort zone and overcome that fear of being out of your comfort zone is undeniably fulfilling.
“We travel not to escape the world but for the world to not escape us.”
(Travel gets two quotes because this is my blog).
3. Set your mindset by thinking positive and practicing “zoning out”.
Took me a while but I’ve finally
stopped minimized barraging my brain with negative thoughts and worries. These worries induced anxiety at random times during the day and before bed. Even worse, it didn’t set the right tone for my day/week. I used to ruminate in my bad thoughts and kept stressing myself out.
I’m not exactly sure if there was a turning point or if ‘zoning out’ (what I call meditation because people get all hoo-ha with ‘meditation’) gradually lessened the anxiety. But I’m telling you that my brain became less annoying and lightened up a lot. All jokes aside, giving your brain time to zone out/black out for a 10-15 minute block a day can do wonders on your overall mindset. This definitely helped me get out of the dark headspace I was in.
We make decisions everyday, and our brain is put to constant work. Ever wonder why you come home from work and just want to veg out (aka not want to think or make any decisions)? Due to decision fatigue, we can also make poorer decisions after having put our brain through excessive decision-making throughout the day.
Instead of soaking in junk TV, take 15-20 minutes and try to get your brain to empty out. It takes practice and time, but when you’re in the zone and brain blanks out, it’s the most satisfying and freeing feeling. Like lifting a thousand pounds off your shoulders.
Also, to push my negative thoughts aside, I would tell myself that my problem is small in the grand scheme of life. Just watch one of those ‘how the universe was made videos’. 🙂
“We suffer more in our imagination than in reality.” – Seneca
4. Prioritize health + wellness.
This is a no brainer, but let me reiterate – Prioritize your health and wellness. How many times have we put our health second because we’re too busy? We’ve all made enough excuses to neglect working out, eating healthy, or, simply, giving ourselves a mental break. Well, that’s got to change because not only will you feel better, you’ll radiate positive energy and good vibes with those around you.
I’m not one to eat clean all the time and am not aiming to, but I’m working on balancing indulgent meals with healthy meals. I’m big on moderation with everything in life, so giving myself the yummy stuff as well as the healthy stuff is the perfect diet, imo! And although I like cooking, I prefer easy and efficient meals.
More than that, doing any kind of physical exercise/stretch/workout 3-4 times a week is a huge change from me completely neglecting my body just a year ago.
What is life but movement through your body and thoughts in your brain? Take care of these two precious things, because we don’t want them to stop functioning properly…
5. Create more.
Recently, I thought about how I used to be way more creative when I was little. Drawing, dancing, playing instruments, writing poetry, sewing – where did that all go?!
As we grow up, society expects us to gain more practical and applicable skills, which naturally pulls us away from the creative realm. It’s unfortunate, and I’ve missed it. I have no crazy artistic talent, but writing for this online journal of mine makes me happy.
It takes courage to create and put your work out there for the world to critique. But to hell with the world (sorta)! If we think that our works need to be masterpieces and molded to perfection, it could hinder our creativity and prolong delivery. Instead, think of each piece as an improvement upon the other. No one and nothing is ever perfect – it’s all perspective. The more you put out there, the more you’re exercising your creativity and honing those skills.
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.” – Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
Get back in touch with your creativity because the world needs more of you. 😉
6. Be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
Probably the most important advice I received in 2017 and will continue to carry on this mentality.
It’s so important for us to keep pushing ourselves, to learn new things, to do things outside of our comfort zones in all areas of life. I’m definitely guilty sometimes of complaining about how I wish I had it easy and how I want a job where I don’t max out my brain capacity everyday.
But in reality, I’m thankful for all the opportunities and challenges that have come my way and have developed me and forced me to grow.
Once I changed my attitude to thinking that every situation or challenge, no matter how big or small, will give me an experience no one else has and will place another tool under my belt, I felt less anxious and more driven to knock it out of the park.
The uncomfortable situations, like failure, will make you a stronger version of yourself as long as you take responsibility for them.
The more of these situations you put yourself in and overcome, the more tools you’ll have to navigate through life.
7. Embrace change as it is the only constant.
In 2017, when I made big life changes, I realized the results of making big changes are not as drastic as I made them out to be in my head. Daunting at first, but it’s really not a big deal. I left the first job I’ve had since college, I took 4-5 months off to…think (I could see baby boomers rolling their eyes), I moved back to LA, I started a new job, and I took on way bigger responsibilities in a shorter amount of time than expected.
Welp, glad to report that I haven’t blown anything up! Everything turned out to be better than where I would’ve been had I not made that change (I’m pretty sure).
Now, I’m almost addicted to change and want to take more risks. The world is moving forward faster than you can imagine, and you need to set yourself apart by continuing to learn, to master new skills, and to adapt wherever you are. True to my millennial callings, I’m starting to find myself pushing hard against all that is conventional. And the best part is, it’s fun – join me. 🙂
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