5 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Want To Start Bettering Your Life

If you’ve always wanted to start the habit, here are five ways to start journaling and get you started:

1. What was difficult this week?

Addressing what was hard this week will shed light on the challenges in your life. Often these negative events cause repressed emotions that show up in monstrous ways. There is nothing healthier for your overall mental space than to let your words be your therapy and write about the challenges in your life. In doing so, you may come up with creative solutions you never knew existed—so give yourself the time and space to work through your problems as you navigate through them in the outside world.

2. What gave you joy this week?

Gratitude is a gateway to something truly beautiful. By pinpointing exactly what brought you joy and how it felt while engaging in an activity, you can bring more happiness and intention into your life by knowing what makes you feel the most alive. Understanding yourself and what lights you up is a path to a life well-lived.

3. How can you show up better next week?

In some regards, you may have failed at doing something this week. Flipping the script and changing your perspective to a more positive frame of mind can help you understand that failure teaches you lessons that will help you become a better individual. This is crucial when it comes to being aware of where you went wrong and how you can show up better for yourself in the coming weeks—life is, after all, a learning process.

4. What are new things you experienced this week?

If you experienced anything new this week, how did it make you feel? What is something that surprised you? Were you proud of yourself that you jumped out of your comfort zone and tried something new? Take careful note of these experiences, as they may unlock a key to something you never knew existed for your future self.

5. What new things do you want to experience next week?

One of my personal favorites when it comes to journaling is planning for the future, including things you want to manifest. While it’s not the best idea to hyper-focus on it, allowing yourself to dream and cultivate your future is an exercise that will bring you so much fulfillment and satisfaction when you see your wildest dreams come true. Having a vision is powerful—just don’t expect it to look exactly as you saw it because it may very well look even better than you saw it.

Journaling is not just a reflection of what’s around you but a reflection of how you’re feeling internally. It’s an intentional practice that gives you the time and space to not just open the door to a new world, but to change the story of your life if you don’t like the one you’re currently writing.

Why Returning To Ourselves Is Actually An Ongoing Process

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the process of doing internal work. What does it mean to do our “deeper, inner work”? Where do we begin? And how do we know we’re doing it well? 

As I reflect, I’ve come to notice the many ways we avoid the internal work, not because it is in itself unreachable, but because what we’ve made it out to be is unreachable. Sometimes we avoid it because we’re scared of what may lie underneath. We tell ourselves that we’d rather find ways to accept our current reality, even if we’re not all that content, because it feels safer than trying to change things without knowing what’s on the other side of that change. Other times, we hyper-focus on self-help books and mentors and therapy because we feel safer in the knowledge than in the action. We get trapped in believing another certificate or another big, fancy piece of terminology will finally help us feel safe in our understanding. We feel like we’ve got it “figured out,” and that makes us feel competent. Meanwhile, though, we don’t muster up the courage to take any action from our understanding, maybe telling ourselves that once we learn just a little bit more about the subject that we’ll finally feel ready to make a change.

We often have an insatiable need to feel “ready,” and we’ve come to believe information will satisfy this hunger. In reality, the nourishment we need is self-trust, not more information.

The truth is, we will never be perfectly aligned with every value, action, or aspect of internal health at all times. To believe we can be perfectly aware of exactly what we need at all times ironically becomes another facet to hold us back from action. When we aren’t able to be “perfect” along the journey of doing our inner work, we can become convinced that this means we need more training and more knowledge or that we’re just “not cut out” for this inner work things, and decide to give up on the task altogether. But if we take a truly, honest look at what internal work demands of us, it isn’t asking for perfection. I don’t believe we ever reach the end of coming home to ourselves. 

I love the phrase “love is a verb.” Each day, we can commit to turning inwards and saying, “Hey, friend, what do you need today?” But we will never get it right every single time. And it’s not even about that, though I have moments where I want to convince myself I can make the “right” choice every time if I just work hard enough. 

Returning to ourselves is a lot more like swimming with the ocean tide than it is climbing a ladder. We jump into life and are constantly pulled away in tiny moments of distraction and pain, so small we sometimes don’t even notice. Once we look up, we see our home base on shore, of towels and books and snacks, much farther away than when we started. 

The times we get caught up in avoidance or in achievement rather than inner work itself are the times we’re convinced that the journey is a ladder. For some, the climb seems too difficult, too steep; for others, so much time is spent researching the best ways to climb effectively, only to reach the top and realize there wasn’t anything up there. Time and energy spent only to be left feeling the same longing for inner peace that we had before we started the climb. 

Our job, I think, is to notice more often when the tide takes us away. We check in with ourselves more often, take note of who we want to be and compare it with our current position. And, with grace and lightness, we get to throw our heads back and laugh as we swim back towards home base, saying, “Oops! I got lost for a second, but I’m heading back… Here I am.” 

We are not meant to be perfect, robot-like people being 100% spiritual and emotionally healthy at all times. We are only meant to be silly humans checking in on ourselves, adjusting with the tide and loving ourselves actively as we float along.

42 Things To Do In Your 20s Besides Chase After Love

First, let’s make something abundantly clear: Wanting love does not make you weak, it makes you human. That said, chasing love and partnership is different from seeking love and partnership. The latter is always worthy of your time and heart. The former is not.

Of course, there will be moments you’ll be tempted to chase those who can’t love you during your 20s. If that’s you right now, here are 42 things you should put your energy toward instead.

  1. Build a life based on what you actually want, not what you think you should want. Define what being successful looks like on your own terms, not society’s. Put another way, if success wasn’t based on how it looked but how it felt, what feeling do you crave to feel the most? Is it contentment? A strong sense of purpose? Maybe gratitude? Once you figure that out, construct a life that would actually help you reach that feeling consistently.
  2. Make your home your personal oasis. Whether you live with roommates and the only space you have to decorate is your room or you live in a tiny studio apartment, make it feel like your own. Treat it with care and respect. Keep it as clean as you can. Focus on both style and function. Organize everything in a way that makes sense to you. Adorn your shelving with trinkets that remind you of everything you love. Make your space a safe space. When you do this, you make it your home.
  3. Be exactly where you are, not where you’ve been or where you could be. In other words, be present. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future doesn’t give you control over any of those entities. It just makes you miserable. Learn to focus on the moment at hand. It is all you have; it is all you ever have.
  4. Learn the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt, when warranted, can actually be beneficial. It signals a behavior that went against your values, so you know to be more mindful of that action next time. Shame, on the other hand, is never helpful or constructive. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” Shame says, “I am bad.” Sounds pretty different, huh?
  5. Buy yourself flowers. Take yourself to the movies. Go to an art museum on a Saturday afternoon alone. Get weekly manicures solo. Embrace your solitude. Enjoy your own company. You may find when love shows up that you actually miss your season of independence.
  6. Pay attention to what you pay attention to. Examine what that might say about your mindset and priorities. Adjust your focal points if necessary.
  7. Forgive who needs your forgiveness. Your parents. Your younger self. Your ex. Your high school bullies. Forgive them all.
  8. Become deeply involved in your community. Remind yourself that you are not an island. You are part of a community. Take care of it. Figure out what issues are most important to you within your community and then get to work.
  9. Make journaling a habit. Track your growth, your memories, your pain, your triumphs. These are some of the many things that make up your life.
  10. Read what you like to read, and often. Reading is one of the great joys of life, if you allow it to be. Read what is most interesting and expansive to your world. Not what you think would look great on Instagram or impress someone else. Read what you like. It’s really that simple.
  11. Figure out your life philosophy. This will help you define your purpose. This will help you determine what it is you value so you can live a life that feels like yours. Now, you don’t have to make up a new philosophy (though you can). If that sounds too overwhelming, leave it to the people who came before you. Read about stoicism or minimalism or essentialism or whatever philosophical movement piques your interest. Figure out which one resonates with you the most and then live according to those principles.
  12. Establish your boundaries. Then stick to them. Adjust as necessary.
  13. Remember that you’re allowed to change your mind. And you probably often will. That’s okay. You’re allowed to change your mind based on new information and wisdom brought to you by experience. In fact, you should be changing your mind. Otherwise, you’re staying stuck.
  14. Learn to apologize well. It will do you and your relationships good.
  15. Find something to nurture. Adopt a dog. Adopt two dogs. Plant a garden. Line your window sill with houseplants. Volunteer at a nursing home. Investing in the growth and well-being of something other than yourself reminds you that human beings were made to love. We’re wired to connect. Don’t deprive yourself of those destinies.
  16. Ask yourself why love hasn’t worked out for you yet. Answer that question in the most straightforward (and honest) way you can. Be mindful of an urge to be self-deprecating or bitter. Instead, be point blank. Some examples: “I haven’t found love yet because I haven’t put in the effort to date.” Or maybe “I haven’t found love yet because I have been healing from my last heartbreak.” You’ll come to realize that being single isn’t an indictment. It’s just a state of being. That’s it.
  17. Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. Behave accordingly.
  18. Heal. Go to therapy. Journal about the tough things you can’t seem to get over. Identify harmful thought patterns and then find ways to reroute them. Practice self-compassion. Give yourself the time and space needed for healing. It is some of the most important work you’ll ever do. In fact, it might be the most important.
  19. Write your eulogy. How do you want to be remembered, and how are you living up to that image? Or not? How can you embody more of those desired traits today?
  20. Find more ways to infuse yourself with awe. Remind yourself that you are but a speck in the universe. Go hiking and stare at the views in fascination, study paintings by some of the greatest artists and be humbled by their talent. Seeking out wonder is good for the soul. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you interested.
  21. Call your grandparents. You’ll miss it when you can’t.
  22. Learn to appreciate your body for what it can do for you (not what it looks like). Unlearn that your looks are the most interesting and important things about you. They aren’t. They never were and never will be.
  23. Get in touch with nature. Fresh air is medicine. Use it.
  24. Determine what exercise you ACTUALLY like. You don’t need to do anything crazy. If you hate running, walk. If you hate walking, try the elliptical. If you hate the elliptical, try yoga. Explore what movement works best with your body and then stick to it.
  25. Think about all the times you thought heartbreak would kill you but didn’t. Celebrate your resiliency.
  26. Figure out how to fight right. AKA learn to argue with the goal of resolution, not “being right.”
  27. Dance. At weddings. At the bar. Alone in your living room. Dance is a celebration of movement, of being alive, of self-expression. You don’t have to be a good dancer in order to enjoy it. You just need to be present in your body and follow your intuition.
  28. Do more shit you’re bad at but still love. In fact, doing something for the sake of joy, not your ego, is more beneficial for the soul than anything.
  29. Curate your social media feeds. Unfollow accounts that make you feel like shit. Follow accounts that inspire you, make you feel connected, or teach you something. You are what you consume. Be mindful of what those things are.
  30. Become the most enthusiastic listener you know. Ask more questions. Listen more than you speak. Be present when someone is sharing their heart with you. This is one of the most valuable relationship skills you can foster.
  31. Create an empowered dating life. Modern dating is difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Figure out how to date in a way that makes you feel comfortable and intrigued. Have fun getting to know other people, even if it’s just a date. Learn to stand up for yourself if you’re disrespected. Set boundaries.
  32. Facilitate a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Psychologically-speaking, your mindset is actually one of the biggest indicators of your success. A growth mindset operates from the assumption you can always expand and grow and learn. A fixed mindset functions on the idea that your abilities, your intelligence, etc. are fixed. Aim for a growth mindset. You don’t want to stay stuck.
  33. Learn to live below your means. Your budget will thank you.
  34. Notice what gives you the most energy. Do more of that.
  35. Notice what drains your energy. Do less of that.
  36. Choose to believe in good things. Even if you have every reason not to. Even if you’ve been knocked down and bruised and hurt more times than you can count. Believe in goodness anyway. Believe that something life-changing and wonderful is right around the corner. Live from a place of hope, not fear.
  37. Stop explaining yourself to people who will always misunderstand you. Focus on the people who do understand you instead.
  38. Flirt. Even if it’s someone you’ll never see again or someone you’d ever seriously date. Flirting is a way to express our sexuality and desires. Have fun with it.
  39. Learn to live gracefully in “not yet.” Just because you don’t have the job, the relationship, the skillset you want now doesn’t mean you never will. Keep working towards it. Trust your journey. Forget milestones.
  40. Stay as curious as possible. In the words of the late Steve Jobs“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
  41. Understand you already have so much love in your life. Romantic love is wonderful but it’s not the only type of love that’s valuable. You have a family or chosen family. You have friends. Maybe you have a pet or a blossoming career. And, most importantly, you also have yourself. 
  42. Remember you will never be younger than you are at this moment. What a gift. How are you going to use it today?

I’m Slowly Learning Why We Stay In Our Comfort Zones When We Should Really Break Free

We stay in our comfort zones because we’re afraid of the unknown. Even if we aren’t exactly happy in our current situations, at least there aren’t any surprises. At least we know what we’re getting. At least we know we can handle the pain.

We’re used to the situations we’ve been stuck in. We’ve grown accustomed to the way things work. It might not be comfortable, but it’s familiar. It’s bearable. It’s survivable.

Change, on the other hand, is scary. Change is something we want to avoid, even though change might alter our lives for the better.

We’re so afraid of taking risks, because although there’s a chance change might fix everything, there’s also a chance it could make things so much worse. And we can’t handle worse. We don’t want to drop to rock bottom. We would rather keep going the way we are right now because it might be bad but it’s not that bad.

We stay in our comfort zones because we lie to ourselves about how everything is fine. Our jobs are fine. Our apartments are fine. Our relationships are fine. We don’t want to get greedy. We don’t want to ask for anything unrealistic. We want to be careful about what we wish for to avoid disappointment.

We don’t want to get our hopes up too high because we don’t want them to come crashing down. We avoid rejection and heartache and failure at all costs. We try our best to protect ourselves by smothering ourselves.

We stay in our comfort zones because we tell ourselves we aren’t ready to start anew yet. We procrastinate every single day. We come up with ridiculous excuses about why the timing isn’t right for us to make a move. We feel like there will be some magical time in the future when we’ll be ready to undertake new challenges, but if we keep putting off our potential, that day will never come. We will keep waiting and waiting without any results when we should be taking action, when we should be following through on what our heart wants.

We stay in our comfort zones because we don’t have complete faith in ourselves. We’re worried we’re not going to make it. We’re worried we won’t have what it takes to succeed. We’re worried we’re going to end up regretting our decision to try something new, when really, there’s a bigger chance we’ll regret it if we don’t try something new, if we don’t trust ourselves, if we don’t leave our old routines behind.

We stay in our comfort zones because it’s the easiest option — but it’s not the safest option.

It’s dangerous to settle. It’s dangerous to stay stuck in one place. It’s dangerous to pretend we’re fulfilled when our souls are secretly hungering for more. It’s dangerous to tell ourselves this is as good as it’s ever going to get.

We have a million different excuses to stay in our comfort zones — but we should really break free. We should really start listening to our hearts. We should really take more risks, open ourselves up to more opportunities, believe in ourselves a little bit more.

Change Can Be Scary But It Can Also Be Beautiful

There’s no denying that life is unpredictable and more often than not we’re forced to make a change we didn’t really prepare for or expect. We lose jobs, we lose people, we move to another country or we find ourselves in unfavourable circumstances that we weren’t taught how to handle. These things force you to change something that you weren’t ready to change whether in your life or in yourself.

Change is a scary concept; especially when you’re the kind of person who thrives in their comfort zone or when things are stable and clear. Change also pressures you to overcome certain fears or insecurities which is something we all dread to do but the truth is, the only way to embrace life is to embrace change. The only way for you to protect yourself from the twists and turns of fate is to master the art of changing and adapting to whatever new conditions you’re forced to live with.

And change is not always a bad thing, sometimes change allows you to free yourself from toxic situations or difficult circumstances. Sometimes change looks terrifying at first but once you dive deep into it, it becomes easier to navigate, easier to embrace and easier to accept. Sometimes change is exactly what you need to grow and shine, sometimes it’s the gift you didn’t know you needed even if it feels like the biggest curse.

Because even if change is scary, there’s one good thing about it, you get to erase some of your past and start building a new future. You get a chance to change a part of you that held you back for so many years and you get a chance to be who you always truly wanted to be. Life brings about a lot of uncertainty and if you’re the kind of person who can’t accept that, your struggles in life will be a lot more than your joys. If you don’t change to adapt to certain situations or if you don’t change so you can free yourself from a life that’s making you unhappy, you will always be stuck and unaware of the power you have to change your life for the better or change yourself for the better.

And even though change may be painful sometimes, it’s still better than the pain of feeling powerless and helpless as you watch your dreams pass you by because change brings opportunity, renewal and transformation and it also brings you one step closer to a more rewarding life because sometimes little changes lead to big results and sometimes change can be the most beautiful blessing in disguise.