Self-Worth isn’t Found at the Bottom of my To- Do List

Society has tangled self-worth and wealth – I’m here to dig a little deeper.

As the Queen of introspection I often ask myself “why”. Usually, whatever I’m questioning is an action. The questions form along the lines of  “Why did I order that third prayer plant?” or “Why I am I making this decision?” and usually my toddler-like tenacity for questions is fulfilled by these self-revelations. I tend to only stump myself when I zoom out past my current situation and incorporate the dreaded sociatel “we”. My latest ponder has left me stumped and I’m hoping we can solve this toddler style question together. Are you ready for it?

Why do we base self-worth on productivity and how do we stop?

I firmly believe that our modern capitalist society uses wealth and worth interchangeably. Sure, we may hide this connection under the guise of hard work equating worth but the name change doesn’t make this connection any healthier. You either work hard to make more money to then feel good about yourself or you work hard under the pretense of one day getting rewarded for this work with recognition and monetary gain. We have made it shameful to not work while simultaneously making it shameful to work hard and not be rewarded with success. In summary, as a society, we have made existence transactional and by doing so we have surmised that those who do not contribute (are not productive) are not worth caring for. 

Self-Worth and the Day to Day

This sociatel mentality then trickles into our day to day habits. Think about it – if you don’t feel productive during the day does it change how you feel about yourself? I know for me, and everyone who answered my Instagram survey, productivity is a key player in self worth. 

Self-Worth in the Workplace

 In the workplace we begin equating our self worth with our outputs. We work ourselves like machines to generate the highest value for our employers, even if we are not being rewarded fairly for this work. We begin to equate how we feel about ourselves with how well we perform.We continuously strive for that next promotion, another certification, or having the best idea in a concept meeting because we want to feel worthy of our spot in the workplace.

To make matters even worse we take this to the next step by applying these pressures to our personal lives. We use our long “to do” lists  as a point of pride on social media. People are happy to drone on and on about how busy they are. Jam packed schedules are considered a sign of success and enviable. The “rise and grind” or “hustle” mentality has seeped into everything from our board meetings to our weekends at home. But is this what we were really designed to do? 

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous and needs to change. So I’m channeling my inner Mr. Rodgers by starting in the only place I know how – myself. I’m spending this next year (and probably the rest of my life) untangling the web. I refuse to be defined by my outputs, my annual income (though I would love for that to go up), and how productive I am. Don’t worry mom, I’m not quitting my job, or slacking on my projects, I’m just being conscious about how I find value in my life. I’m placing my self worth in being my authentic self for 2020 – ready for the journey with me? 

*I am not a therapist. Please work with a licensed physician when it comes to your health.

Starting Fresh & Following Through

I love first days. Whether its a first day of school, first day at a new job, or first time in workout classes, being a newbie is fun. Starting fresh feels good. A new start the ultimate moment for positivity and optimism. No one expects you to master anything on your first day- especially if you are trying something new. The honeymoon period in a new job, relationship or while forming a habit is amazing…unfortunately it can fade rather quickly.

This year, I have set myself a couple goals some tangible and some, like being braver, that are larger in concept than application. To avoid setting myself up for failure I am changing up my goal setting. I paid attention to what worked and didn’t work for myself last year and I want to continue with that. For example, I learned that I am horrible at taking on vague goals without a plan. I cannot simply state I want to get fitter and commit to it, I have to take baby steps. Last year I started by working out one day more a week at a time, then eating better and then trying new workouts. If I had gone cold turkey on my Dominos lifestyle I would have quit by February.

Another observation I made was that rigid goal setting does not work for me. I am fickle; I cannot commit to a Whole30 lifestyle or a work out every day gym routine. Rigid goals make me feel like every slip up is the end of the process. It’s easy to quit when I feel discouraged. To combat this I now set intentions. An example from last year is instead of telling myself that I am going to meditate everyday or else, I tell myself that I intend to meditate everyday. It feels less harsh to me and makes accomplishing my goal of meditating easier. I’m applying it to this year by setting the intention to opt outdoors for at least 30 minutes one day each weekend. It can be a hike, a run or a walk through an outdoor shopping center as long as I make it outside and move.

A third observation, that ties into setting intentions, is adjusting my approach to my goal when things don’t work for me. For example, in an ideal world I would wake up at 6:00 am every weekday and do my morning yoga and set my intentions for the day. Unfortunately, I am not a morning person. I’m horrible at sleeping which makes motivating myself to get up damn near impossible. Instead, of beating myself up for not getting up every morning, or not working out at all, I just adjusted my schedule so I can do my workouts in the evening. A morning cardio session isn’t going to happen most mornings and I’m okay with that. I’ve let it go.  

While the above are all important I believe the essential tactic to not quitting when things stop being shiny and new is finding the why. Instead of focusing on the result I am focusing on the reason. It’s easy to get discouraged when results don’t appear immediately but if I have a good why I stand a better chance of completing my goal. It doesn’t always make it easier but it helps remotivate me when I dwell on why I’m doing something instead of the task itself. That being said, if I don’t have a good reason why, I let it go.

Handstands

With the start of this new year I have started a new job, started a new workout schedule and moved to a new city. I’m relishing in this sweet honeymoon period but I’m also trying to prepare myself for the future. Commitment is hard.

Let me know what goals you’ve set for yourself and how you keep yourself accountable!

Why I Blog & Reaching my Goals

I decided to start this blog with Kate last year and after months of prep and page designing we made it live. Originally, I blogged to make Kate laugh but now I blog to keep myself going with my goals (and hopefully still make Kate laugh).

A huge motivator for my consistency with this blog is keeping me honest about my progress of my goals this year. Truth be told, if I wasn’t sharing all of this information on the internet there is no way I would have ever started my morning routine that I do with B. I would still be BFF’s with Dominos and my flirtations with Taco Bell would be beyond mild.

I also happen to find this process of writing, editing and posting really fun, but without my monthly goals as motivation I don’t think I would have been as consistent as I have been. Lately I’ve been thinking more about why I decided to take this route and what I have learned on my goal setting journey. I wanted to share some of my goal setting tips, successes and failures with you.

StockSnap_TBJ9OPDGMK
My to-do lists never look this organized
First thing I want to address is why I took this to the internet. Sure, in January I could have written down my goals like everyone else and told myself I was going to work on my love and creativity but I’ve been down that road before and it’s never ended well. I needed adult supervision, but I was the adult..so my inner Rory came out and I made a list of ways to be accountable. Sharing everything online seemed like the easiest and blogging about it seemed like the ideal way to keep my Facebook friends from hating me. By spending the time each month to write about what I have done and plan to do I’m force to keep myself accountable.

Another key factor is “the rules are there ain’t no rules” (Grease for all those who live under a damn rock). I set guidelines instead. It is so easy to derail if you are counting every mistake as a failure instead of an opportunity to reroute. I always try to remind my perfectionist brain that it is “progress not perfection”.  This is another action that is easier said than done but I think a healthy relationship with meditation is key for this. The guided meditations that I do always remind me to come back to this moment, bring myself back in from where my thoughts trickled off to. Mistakes happen, life happens, sometimes you fall completely off your morning routine for a week or two…it doesn’t mean you can’t get back into it and it doesn’t mean you have failed your goals.

 I also decided to break the process down month by month. I prefer concise instructions in my life so I needed to give them to myself. This has been essential to my success. Instead of throwing the broad goal of creativity at myself with no guidance I break down the process to love and creativity. It is very easy to say I am going to treat everyone around me with loving kindness but without breaking it down how am I going to practice it? My monthly goals allow me to focus all of my attention on forming a healthy habit (which takes 21 days) and to then try to integrate it into the rest of my life.

 The ability to refocus my goals every month has been a HUGE help to getting where I am. At the end of every month I think over everything I’ve accomplished and rework my goals for the next month so that I am continuing down the path I want to be on. When I feel like I’m not making fast enough progress I stop and review everything I’ve done.

For example, I wanted to grow in creativity in movement and be confident about it in May and by the end of the month (and with a lot of help from Kate) I have conquered the headstand…my biggest yoga fear! Now that I know I can do this move without breaking my neck for June I can take the confidence from mastering this pose to the next move I want to add to my yoga tool kit or into my work/personal life off the mat.

This blog has given me an outlet to celebrate my victories each month. In January I did yoga everyday, in March I started running in the mornings, in April I spent more time with myself, making my current habits permanent and evaluating what I wanted out of this process and now in May I have begun truly working on my creativity. I’m beyond excited to see where my life will take me with this .

What’s my professional (Read: Amateur) advice on goal setting? Make your goals achievable and if they seem to hard, just change them don’t quit on them.

Do not try to start in the middle, this will not work and you will burn out or get discouraged.

Make your goals fun (coloring and yoga are fun af). Always reward yourself for getting shit done and getting closer to your goal (that’s my excuse for spending too much money on workout clothes and shoes).

If you need someone to celebrate your victories with you, big or small, I’m here.

But Really Though Reads – Break in Case of Emergency by Jessica Winter

Break in Case of Emergency is the best satirical takedown of celebrity philanthropy.

This novel balances, as Mike Schur put it “the moment in your life when you go from ‘young’ to ‘no longer young’”. It presents the stage where you are no longer the youngest person in the office but you don’t feel old enough to be making the decisions presented to you.

Winter’s work handles current global topics such as female friendships, pseudo-feminism, mental health, fertility and the monetary class divide. Jen, the main character, struggles with the absurdity of celebrity charities, the heart wrenching jealousy of the wealthy and the anxiety of having talent with no outlet for it.

Winter’s characters are lovable, multi-faceted and believably human. Jen has talent but lacks the privilege to live the life of her dreams, while it seems like everyone else around her has the monetary support to follow their artistic endeavours and take advantage of her on the way. Something that really resonated with me was her unwillingness to accuse her friends of taking advantage of her. Jen also refuses to let them help her out, not because of her pride but because she would never ask for what she couldn’t return. Women must help other women on the climb to the top without squashing anyone else on the way.

The character development and plot of this novel is what stood out the most to me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone in an in between phase looking for a humorous approach to dealing with the realities of the world we live in.

 

 

 

 

June Goals: Inspiration Creation

It is one thing to want to do something creative it is a different thing to actually do it.

I’ve learned throughout May that the hardest part is the dedication and setting aside the time, but both are closely followed by figuring out what to do.

But as Jack London said “ You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club”.

Last month’s broad goal of creating was great. It forced me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture but I also caught myself “waiting” for inspiration and creativity. Fun fact; talent and ideas did not flow through my veins the moment I decided to sit down and try. But I did try! In June I am going to create inspiration for my movements and my writing.

Once again I know this seems broad, but I’ve got a plan.

How am I going to do this? Watching, learning and practice, practice, practice.

To inspire creativity in my movements I’m watching more yoga videos like @erinkellyart. Her flows are gorgeous and natural. Watching her it is impossible to tell where the yoga pose ends and the yogi begins. Seamless. While I don’t want to copy her or try to speak her body language I want to watch and learn her transitions. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and I could sing her praises all day, but I want to take ideas and her ability to embody herself in her movements to make my own. She also has inspired me to get my handstand press up within the next year. If you don’t know what this move is I suggest you watch a few of her flows and see her in action. Beautiful.

I also am going to get on my mat everyday, regardless of how much time I have to practice. I want to try different flows by letting my body tell me what needs work and what needs rest. I’m curious to see where my body wants to take me if I listen to it.

I’m going to continue this curiousity off the mat and take every opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. Try new workouts, try new games, put myself and my ideas out there (wherever there is).

In my writing I’m going to follow more creative writing prompts and re-read old books from my childhood/ adolescence. I plan on reading Harry Potter, Matilda, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Slaughterhouse Five and Cat’s Cradle. After I re-read my favorites I want to read works that are out of my wheelhouse. I plan on going to the library and picking based on recommendations from friends or best seller lists.

While focusing on different reading genres I also want to mirror that with my creative writing. Try my hand at fiction, specifically absurdism (I am most excited to try this!) and see where my stories go. Absurdism, for anyone who is not a huge English nerd like me, is the idea that man is always looking for meaning in life, but there is no meaning. Absurdist writing, like that of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, typically involves a character hunting for meaning in a world that cannot provide the answers. I find this style of writing particularly intriguing as someone who would love to have a purpose, but I have no clue what that purpose is.

Most importantly, taking the time to write write write. From Stephen King’s book, On Writing I have learned that the right of passage to successful writing comes with practice.  

As always, I will let you know how it goes!