Welcome back! I hope everyone had a great week, and got to do something fun last weekend. Our week was a lot more eventful than last week. After I got out of work on Saturday, we spent the evening on the patio with Courage, so that was pretty typical. Sunday morning we woke up early to go for a beautiful hike at Hieroglyphic Trail. It was just a moderate three mile hike, but at the end of the trail were giant rocks with actual hieroglyphs and a small waterfall. The entire hike was extremely scenic, and filled with bright flowers. (you can see all of the photos from the hike below). After our hike, we came home, made a giant breakfast, and hung out on the patio again. It was a really great weekend for my mental health, but the real excitement happened on Monday when the coyotes came to town. And by town, I mean our backyard. Monday morning I took Isley outside, and she was acting all weird, but she’s a weird dog, so I didn’t think much of it. A few minutes went by, and she was sniffing a patch of grass when I felt a presence behind me. I turned around and there’s a freaking coyote about three steps away from me. Just standing there looking at me like “oh, hey! What exactly are you?” So I did my best to keep Isley from noticing this coyote because she’s got a really great knack for making other animals really angry. I backed away from this coyote (who really did not look menacing at all. In fact he was really adorable, but he was a coyote, so if he changed his mind, I was going to be in trouble), and headed inside to the apartment. By the time I got inside, watched him roll around in the grass like a cute puppy, and realized that I should take a video, he was pretty far away. Dan I then took Isley out that night before bed and ran into TWO coyotes, so that kind of set the adventure bar pretty high, and the rest of the week was pretty lame in comparison.
Last Saturday I mentioned how our week was pretty boring, so I started talking about goal realization and staying positive. This week was definitely not boring by comparison, but I will still finish what was started (which you can refresh yourself on here). As with last week I would love to hear some insight, tips, and suggestions on goals and positivity. I’m still trying to figure this stuff out myself, so any and all thoughts help, but my final thoughts on the subject include the following:
- Examining what’s holding me back. How many times have you enviously said to another person “wow, I wish I could do that,” to which they almost always respond with “what’s holding you back?” If you had a dollar for every time, you would probably have one less thing holding you back, amiright? It’s such a frustrating question because the answer always seems so obvious. You can’t just travel the world because you don’t have the money. You can’t spend all of your time volunteering in the jungle because you have responsibilities you can’t leave behind. But what if I told you that these are not real reasons to hold back? These are just obstacles that you have to find creative ways to work around, and that the real thing holding you back is fear. I’m not saying that your fears aren’t legitimate. Quitting your job with no savings and enough debt to make Bill Gates cry, in order to move to South America to help conserve the rain forest is a terrifying idea. But if it’s what you want from the very bottom of your soul, then your lack of savings and huge debt isn’t enough reason to hold you back. If you told me two years ago when I was struggling with so much anxiety that I could hardly leave the house, let alone hold a job, that I would be living on the other side of the country, working full time in a legit job, I would have thought you were insane. If I had told you then that I wanted to live in Arizona, and you had asked me what was holding me back, I would have just rolled my eyes and laughed. A few months later, I would hit my breaking point and decide that I just couldn’t keep living the way I was living anymore. I hated my apartment, I wasn’t happy with myself, and I felt trapped in a small town. That’s when I made the unwavering decision to leave Pennsylvania. It felt like an insane thought to both Dan and me at the time, but when we fantasized about the idea, we were just filled with so much excitement, that we knew we had to find a way. I became obsessed with finding creative solutions to the how’s and the what if’s of the idea, and did everything in my power to plan. The biggest obstacles stemmed from money, but that just meant more of a chance to show off my creativity and problem solving skills. I got such a rush from figuring out how we were going to make this thing happen, that ideas came to me in my sleep. It’s all about living your best life. When you find what you are passionate about, and identify what is truly holding you back, the answers just come to you, sometimes through hard work, research, and phone calls, and a lot of times from unexpected places that you never would have thought to look. If you are looking for some more insight on how we worked through some of our bigger “setbacks,” you should check out these two posts from a few months ago: A Journey and Budget BFF .
- Asking for help. This one can be really difficult for a lot of people, but it’s completely necessary if you want to reach your full potential. I am generally a very independent person, and I have never been good at asking for help, but I would not have had nearly as many opportunities as I have over the past year and a half if I didn’t suck up my pride and start asking for help. We never would have saved enough money to get out to Arizona if Dan and I didn’t ask his parents for a place to stay for a year, we wouldn’t have had a place to get grounded if we didn’t ask my cousin for help once we got here, and I wouldn’t have found a great job if I didn’t communicate with my cousin’s boyfriend that I was searching. Believe it or not, as long as you aren’t taking advantage of people, they actually WANT to help you when they can. It’s human nature to crave the rush you get from going out of your way for someone. And if you’re really struggling, but you don’t personally know someone who can help, a quick Google search can always help you find pages of professionals just hoping you’ll seek their guidance! Just suck up your pride, and accept help when you need it.
- Finding time for myself. If asking for help is difficult for you, then you’re really going to hate this one. I know this because it’s the one I struggle with the most. I recognize that the ticket to goal realization and staying positive is enjoying life. Balance is really the key to everything. You can figure out what your goal is, push yourself to the limit, achieve the goal, and still be absolutely miserable because you didn’t take time to enjoy yourself along the way. Yes, we need to work hard to get what we desire and deserve in life, but life isn’t only meant for working, it’s meant for living (duh!). Put in your hours, pick up those extra shifts to make more money, take time each night to journal and read books about goal setting and being positive, but above all else, make sure you are taking time to take care of yourself. The greatest defense against burnout is self-care. Whether you’re making time for a monthly pedicure, a weekly bubble bath, hanging out in nature, or just committing an entire day to Netflix and ice cream does not matter. What matters is that you are making that time, and you’re doing it for yourself. Turn off your phone, shut out distractions, and promise that this time is just for you. And don’t ever feel guilty about it. You need this time in order to be at your most productive. Some of my best ideas have come to me in the middle of a candle-lit bubble bath because my head was clear for the first time in days. Seriously, this step can be one of the hardest to overlook, but it truly is the most important.
Realizing your goals and staying positive does not come easy. We have years of experience in people telling us that our dreams are crazy, we need to make safe, obtainable goals, and putting us down, turning truly positive things into negative ones. These thoughts, along with the ones from last week are just starting points. Try them on for size, tweak them to fit your own lifestyle and personality, and do not beat yourself up if you’re struggling. My whole reason for writing these posts is the amount that I’ve been struggling. The trick is to do what you need to do to get back on track, and that’s what these three steps are all about. If you’re having a hard time, take time to reflect on what’s holding you back, ask for help, or just take some time for yourself to clear your head. In the end, those positive vibes are totally worth doing whatever it takes!