Stop Wishing, Start DOING

What a whimsical sounding phrase. A phrase backed by the thousands of possibilities that could occur if we all stopped wishing for things to happen and just started doing them ourselves. It seems like such a daunting task, to actually go ahead and do the things we’ve been putting off, or been too afraid to try for. I used to fall victim to this trap all the time, and the only way to break out of it is to start.

I was the type of person to always want things that seemed out of reach. Huge goals that people would probably say are more along the dream line. I had no problem doing things for other people, or doing things because I was told to at work, but those things didn’t directly pull me out of the wishing phase.

Somehow, along the line, despite mass encouragement from our family and friends, we can lose sight of our ability to make our own dreams and wishes reality. We doubt ourselves, and tell ourselves that it’s not possible. We simply can’t do it. Or the timing isn’t right. Or our finances aren’t completely in order. Or mercury is in retrograde. Our cat is sick. It’s not the right season. Maybe next week though!

I promise you I tried to sell myself on the same load of garbage listed above. I was really too afraid to make the leap and be honest with myself. Did I honestly want that new job? Did I honestly want to make a new fitness goal? Did I honestly want to start a blog so badly it hurt? Yes to all of those. I honestly did, and I was overshadowed by my own doubts and lacklustre excuses.

When we’re children, we really do not understand limitations well. We think we can fly, we can scale the mountain, we WILL be king of the world. And then somewhere in the transition from child to adult, we lose that feeling, and stop believing in ourselves. Not detrimentally, we still function perfectly well and go on to complete our own string of accomplishments. We go about our lives and sort some of our hopes and dreams into areas of our brain where we essentially send them to die.

I’m telling you it doesn’t have to be like this. I’m telling you there is so much untapped potential inside of you it’s almost scary. The things you are capable of are astonishing, you just have to believe in yourself for all of five minutes.

So when I say start that business, save up for that item you’ve been dreaming of, start a blog, lose fifty pounds, start writing that book, plan that trip. I mean it. I can hear the outcry from your end. Shall we revisit the list of excuses from above or shall I spare us both? You can accomplish what you set your mind to, you just have to make it a reality, and stop wishing for it to happen.

Lets break it down into bite-sized pieces that we can swallow. Say you want to take the leap and save up for something big and important to you (let’s say a boat). Of course, if you’re among the averaged income like myself, you would politely say ‘that’s not feasible at this time, but I definitely always have wanted a boat’. Okay, so you’ve always wanted the boat. You’ve wished for this boat, but you can’t seem to fathom paying X amount of dollars for said boat. Well, what if you did something crazy and started putting $50 aside a week. Just tuck it into savings. That’s crazy right? What is $50 dollars going to buy you? The life jacket? Well what if you kept putting aside $50 a week, and just kept doing it. At the end of the year, that’s $2600. So what does that get you, you ask? Well, you would be $2600 closer to getting a boat than if you had just sat around and wished for it.

Okay, maybe you don’t want a boat. Maybe you want to write a book so badly it’s all you can think about? So write the book! You may say something like ‘no one will want to read it’ or ‘I can’t write a whole book that’s insane’. Okay, well what if you sat down one afternoon and did an outline. Just an outline. Okay, and then what if you advanced to sitting down and writing a couple of pages. Then maybe a chapter. Then keep writing chapters. Then before you know it, you may be closer to a whole book than you were when you were just dreaming about it!

I’m not here to yell at you and stand behind you as you funnel loose change into savings or crack a whip while you stress to write a chapter. I’m telling you the key to getting things done and end the wanting, wishing and dreaming of them to just magically happen, is to start doing things that will get you closer to your dream.

If you need another way of looking at it, let’s think of it as working towards a goal. A goal is simply a series of smaller tasks and steps we take to complete a bigger task. You cannot simply sit here and wish for the goal to happen (if you can, please contact me and share your gifts). You have to take the first step and start the series of tasks. You have to move from wishing to doing in order to make things happen. You need to get out of your own head and just start the first task.

Now I want you to sit and think of a large goal you have for yourself and what would have happened if you started working towards it a month ago. What about six months ago? What about a year ago? The more time you sit and think about starting, or wanting to start, or dreaming of the outcome, you miss out on valuable time you can be using to implement your goal.

I hope by now I’ve sparked a little inkling of inspiration for you to go ahead and start working on your goal. How did I get in the mindset you may ask? First I had to realize all of the above. I had to come to the harsh realization that days were going by and I was not making any headway by staying in my own head and wishing for things to happen. Then I sat down with my goal and mapped it out. How was I going to get towards my goal? What steps did I need to take? (This is an ever-changing process, our plan evolves as we work towards our goal). I made a PLAN. I made to-do lists. I told myself that if I wanted to reach my goal, then xyz needed to be complete. And then, I didn’t give myself the option to sit back and let another day go by.

The last one was the most important. I have struggled with procrastination and putting things off for almost my whole life. Procrastination works against you when you’re attempting to achieve a goal. This is a process of mind over matter. You have to go ahead and do the thing, regardless of how much you want to or not.* You have to put in the effort every day. You have to complete the tasks. Your mind can be the biggest barrier when it tries to bargain with you to get out of a task (trust me, I know this all too well). You cannot let your mind start bargaining. Just do the task.

*This point being said, it is important to take rest periods and give yourself down time from working on your goals. You will need to pace yourself in accordance with your own schedule, limitations, finances and well-being. For example, on days I don’t feel like working on my goal at all, I pick one small task to work on so I at least get something done.

If you’re like me and like (love) lists, here’s how you can easily start getting in the right mindset:

  1. Establish your goal (what is it that you have been dreaming of and desire more than life itself?)
  2. Realize your goal will not happen magically and you need to start now.
  3. Make a plan (I love SMART goals! Map out your goal into measurable tasks and make a list of these tasks)
  4. Make a daily to-do list and incorporate your measurable tasks into this to do list, as well as supporting tasks (what will help you achieve your measurable tasks? What will help facilitate this process? This includes planning the rest of your life and scheduling rest periods).
  5. Re-assess your plan weekly (is the plan working in a timely manner? Is something not working? Is something working so well and your plan is taking a new direction?
  6. Remember: there will be days where motivation lies at the bottom of an abyss and nothing in the world will make you want to continue this goal. Quitting = failing, anything else is trial and error. You will honestly kick yourself later if you quit, because when you do go to pick it back up you’ll realize how much further ahead you could have been.

Takeaways

I wish I could have taken my own advice sooner. The sooner you realize your goal should have been started yesterday, the easier it will be to get the fire lighted underneath you to get going! Do not let yourself talk yourself out of not wanting something because it seems hard. The things that are most valuable to us are the things that don’t come easy. I’m challenging you today to take a goal you’ve been non-stop dreaming about, and take the first step into making it happen.

Did you find this helpful? Do you have any personal stories related to this concept? Let me know in the comments!

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How to Break the Cycle of Over-Thinking

I am guilty of being an over-thinker. Ever since I could remember I have dwelled on a majority of the thoughts that have occupied my brain. I obsess over the smallest things, and continue to obsess over them for days. Maybe I forgot to say thank-you to someone holding the door, or perhaps I’m making a to-do list about a mile long. Maybe I’m obsessing over a blog post and whether I got the wording right. Regardless, it doesn’t end.

My thoughts are a series of lists and on-going chatter. I think about something and I can’t seem to shake the feeling. A thought will re-occur several times a day, usually a nagging thought of something not going the way I had wanted. It will pop up over and over again, never changing, just becoming more annoying.

This happens throughout the day, when my brain is supposed to be focusing on other things. It happens when I have downtime, my brain a constant swarming of thoughts. It happens right before bed, when I think about everything from the day and dip into the next.

Over-thinking is tiring. I don’t want to have the same conversation with myself 20 times a day. I don’t want to reassure myself that there was nothing else I could have done 20 times a day. I don’t want every little task to be accompanied by the task of mulling it over 20 times before executing the thought.

Over-thinking robs you of being in the present time. You are not truly engaging in the present life around you. It sends your brain into a series of spirals, thought after thought, until you don’t remember what initially started the over-thinking. You are living in the past and the future while your brain spirals, and unfortunately wasting time just living. The past we can’t do anything about, and the future isn’t here yet.

I knew I was wasting quite a bit of time over-thinking. I was exhausted and tired of mulling over the same thing without the outcome changing. I knew I had to change my thought patterns to correct the overthinking or else I would continue the same cycle. I have not perfected the act of stopping overthinking, but I have significantly reduced the amount of time I spend dwelling on recurring thoughts. Below is a list of tricks I use to stop overthinking in its tracks and bring me back to the present.

Grounding

5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Use grounding when you catch yourself over-thinking to reorient yourself to your surroundings and bring yourself back to the present.

Change your scenery/task

If you find yourself over-thinking while doing a mindless task, get up and change your scenery and change the task. By getting up and physically moving yourself you will put yourself into a different space (and then you can try grounding). Changing your task over to something else will require you to change your focus as well as your mindset.

Ask yourself if you can change it

For example, if the recurring thought you have happens to be dwelling on the past, ask yourself if it’s something you can change right now. Can you change the outcome or the circumstances? If you can, then change it. If you can’t change it, you will have to accept the outcome/circumstance the way they are. At this point you can change your focus onto something in the present.

Assess the importance

Determine if what you are over-thinking is a priority or needs to be addressed at the current moment. If it can wait, redirect your thoughts to something that requires your attention in the moment using grounding. If it needs to be addressed right now, find a way to complete the task or address the thought to clear it from your brain.

Practice meditation

Meditation is a great way to silence the mind and the flow of thoughts through it. If you’re new to meditation, you can try guided meditation to build up the ability to focus on the current moment. Meditation is great for calming the never-ending string of thoughts, and can be used daily and in times when your thoughts cannot stop racing.

Takeaways

Over-thinking is still something I occasionally struggle with and work towards improving. Using these tricks has helped me in times of over-thinking. I use these tricks daily to be able to bring myself back to the present time and place.

Did you find these tips helpful? Did something else help you to stop over-thinking? Let me know in the comments!

10 Simple Ideas for Self-Care

If I could look back and change one thing about the past year, it would be the amount of self-care I incorporated. Before I truly delved into self-care, I didn’t make it a priority for myself. I didn’t think I had time to do elaborate spa days and purchase all the necessary ‘popular’ self care items. Little did I know, I was wrong about quite a few things, which ultimately hindered me from participating in self-care sooner.

A few of the common misconceptions about self-care is that it has to be elaborate, Instagram worthy, and has to cost you money. Although I fully admit some of the self-care activities I do enjoy fall into one or more of those categories, a majority of the self-care activities I participate in are neither of those things!

The best part about self-care is that it is to PRESERVE and IMPROVE your overall health and well-being, meaning it is an activity that YOU personally enjoy. If it makes you feel better and improves your ability to function, there’s no one to say it isn’t self care.

I absolutely love when I see people participating in self-care! It makes it seem like theres a whole bunch of people working on themselves for the better! However, I don’t like the idea of perpetuating a self-care culture that is exclusionary based on what social media deems as popular self-care activities. Self-care is for everyone, and below you’ll find a list of ten simple ideas for self-care that is for every person, budget and level of functioning.

Exercising

Yes! Exercising is a form of self-care if moving your body is something of value to you! Exercise can be performed in any setting, such as a gym, your house, your backyard, a park, etc. Going out for a walk, going swimming or even busting out a sweat-drenching workout at the gym can all be self-care (And last time I checked, going out for a walk is free!). If you’re like me and don’t exactly like conventional cardio exercises, you can check out my previous post How You Can Make Cardio Less Hard-io to find simple ways to get active today!

Taking a bath or shower

Self-care is about preservation and improving, and this can be a simple technique to add comfort to your life. I have done this many times after having a bad day, or when I feel like I need to unwind and relax! Crank the water up to warm, put on some tunes/start a show on your computer or tablet and just m e l t. I’m also a huge fan of littering my bathroom with every candle I can find (ambience, am I right?) but you can just stick to a simple bath or shower and it 100% has the same effect!

Watch your favourite movie/read your favourite book

Take the time and sit down and disappear into another world for an hour or so. Rereading your ultimate favourite book or watching a feel-good movie can be incredibly relaxing! If you have minimal time, maybe it’s your favourite show or just a few chapters. Being able to let go of the current moment and distract yourself for a little while will help to refresh you and re-align your thinking. You just need a break sometimes, so definitely take it!

Go out and purchase yourself a treat you’ve been saving up for

The ultimate reward of saving up your hard-earned money is getting yourself a treat! Whether this is a specialty coffee beverage you’ve been dreaming of or a new shirt you’ve been wanting, go out and treat yourself to one thing! Even when we’re budgeting and repaying debt we have to be realistic and allow flexibility, as a rigid budget can make us feel trapped and lead to splurging!

Donate 5 things you no longer use

When people suggest cleaning out your closet and or house, it’s hard to conceptualize what that may look like. No one realistically wants to donate all of their things, but picking 5 things you honestly don’t use anymore can be refreshing! Not only does it declutter your space, you’re also going to be donating the item to someone who can really use it!

Just sit and do nothing

Curl up on the couch in some comfy clothes, with a blanket (and potentially a pet) and just veg! Turn on the TV if you like, read a book, have a warm beverage close. Take the time and just rest and recharge! Often we’re busy and feel overwhelmed with the go-go-go, but this allows you to just sit and enjoy the moment without feeling like you have to get up and do anything!

Plan an outing with a friend

Whether it’s lunch, a walk in the park, coffee, a movie, etc. Go out and do something FUN! Sometimes just getting out of the house and spending it with someone is a nice way to reset and recharge. Catch up with a friend and make an adventure out of it. If you’re in a time crunch, run errands together or make sure you’re completing a to-do list task! Regardless, having company can be comforting even if it’s just for a couple of hours!

Cook yourself an amazing meal

Dig out your old recipes or find a new one to try and just immerse yourself in the kitchen! Get lost in the process of preparing the ingredients and watching the dish come alive! Experiment with old recipes or just go out on a limb and try something brand new! Set a place for yourself at the table and sit down to enjoy it. Take the time to prepare, cook, and EAT.

Watch a sunset/sunrise

There is nothing I love more than waking up before the sun so I can watch it peak out over the horizon! Set your alarm or make a note of when the sun is supposed to set and prepare yourself! Find a spot you can really take it in, uninterrupted, and enjoy the beauty as the sky changes from minute to minute as the day breaks or closes. Feel the warm sun on your face and just embrace it.

Plan your week

One of my personal favourite tasks! Every Sunday I sit with my planner and prep the next week! If you are a fan of organization (and colour coding like myself) then you will love just taking a few minutes to yourself and making plans for the week! Finding a spot for each task gives me the peace of mind that I will be able to complete my weekly to-do list. Making and breaking down my weekly to-do list makes my tasks seem more achievable, and assures me that I have a plan in place!

Takeaways

These are just some of the self-care things I incorporate into my day-to-day life! There are HUNDREDS of things you can do for self-care! This list is a simple list of ways you can incorporate easy, non-time consuming tasks into your day-to-day lives to start the self-care ball rolling. One size does not fit all and I encourage you to find self-care ideas that make you feel like you are improving or preserving yourself. If this article resonated with you and you enjoy the idea of daily self-care, you may like my post How YOU Can Easily Make Self-Care a Lifestyle!

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Six Things You Can Start Doing Today to Become More Financially Conscious

I will admit, I am not perfect when it comes to budgeting and being frugal every waking moment of the day. However, consistency is the key to keeping yourself in check when it comes to spending and budgeting. Consistency has formed the habits I use on the daily to not only save money, but budget appropriately.

If you are like me and are new to the budgeting world, first of all, welcome! Starting a budget is one of the more adult things I have done in my life, and I have to say it’s been a bit scary, but equally thrilling. Sadly, budgeting is not all glitz and glamour and you may be the only person who’s actually excited about your budget BUT it’s still a good feeling nonetheless.

Before I mapped out an actual concrete budget, I started becoming more financially conscious. This step is important before you sit down and actually map out your budget, because it allows you to get an idea of how and where you’re spending your money. I personally recommend taking one month to map your expenses so you can see what you spend your money on.

So, for a whole month I tracked my spending and basically had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I realized what a monster I was. I had no concept of saving money let alone getting on top of my bills whatsoever! So, after looking at one month’s spending, I had to sit and make some changes. I gave myself another month before hammering out a concrete budget. Why did I do this you ask? I did this simply because if I had built a budget off of my initial one month ‘assessment’, no budget in the world would be able to justify that I was over spending. In simpler terms, I was spending more than I made, and in order to create a workable budget I had to reign in my spending.

In one month, I transformed my mindset and spending goals. I am still not perfect to this day, but creating the right mindset was key for me to focus on saving instead of spending. From the mindset, I then created my financial goals (which will look different depending on your salary, wants and needs). In order to be in a financially conscious mindset, I created several habits to engage in to help me stay on track. Listed below is the tips and tricks I used to become financially conscious and seriously cut down my spending.

Become intimate with your finances

The grossest part of becoming financially conscious was me opening my online banking and staring at what I had done. In order to become financially conscious, you need to be aware of the INS and OUTS of your account. This is a little painful, and was different from my shove-it-under-the-rug approach, but being up-to-date with your bank account is the key to make this all work. You need to know what’s going on inside your account, and the only way to do that (unless you plan on appointing someone else to entirely manage your finances) is to be AWARE.

See a financial advisor

I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve, but the real goldmine is the financial advisor at your bank. These are trained professionals who work with money all day! I booked a FREE appointment with my financial advisor to go over my spending habits, and come up with a plan for my spending. This helped me to become even more aware of expenses I was not noticing, as well as how to distribute my income better over my expenses.

Track your daily expenses

Again, really gross and can be quite painful to see what you’ve spent in a day, but do it. At the end of every day, I sit down and jot down in my planner what I spent and where. This makes me visually aware of the numbers, and I can see them adding up right before my eyes. Half of the battle of becoming financially conscious is becoming aware of the seemingly harmless purchases we make each day. Putting them down on paper is one more concrete way to see where your money is going.

Analyze the patterns and look to make modifications

Analyze seems like a pretty heavy duty word, but what I mean is look at where you’re spending money over and over again. I recommend taking out a bunch of coloured highlighters, and assign frequent purchases a certain colour (ex. coffee, grocery store, clothing store). This will make you more aware of the frequency of which you are spending money on these items. Now, once you see the colour pop up over and over again, then it’s time to analyze further. Ask yourself “is this something I need, or want?” If you see the word ‘fuel’ highlighted more often than not, that may be a necessity. Groceries are also a necessity. The coffeeshop you visit daily? Maybe not a priority right now. Assess whether you can cut down the frequency of the spending or eliminate it entirely. You can check out my blogpost 15 Ways You Can Save Money With Minimal Effort to modify these areas of spending further!

Be honest with yourself

I can assure you I am a ‘yes’ person. As in YES I would love to go out for drinks/dinner/shopping/horseback riding/taking a rocket to the moon. I love doing all of the things and that was part of my downfall. I never cared whether I had the money for it, I just wanted to do it ALL. Now, before I go out for an activity, I check my budget for the week as well as my previous spending for the week. Did I already go out to lunch this week? Is this the third time? Can I really afford it? In order to stay within your financial goals, sometimes this means saying no, or taking a rain-check to plans. Honestly ask yourself ‘can I afford this right now?’ and make your decision based on the honest answer to that question.

*Disclaimer: this is not to say never go out and have fun with your friends. NOT what I’m trying to say. This is making yourself aware of your financial standing and your budget before agreeing to plans. I recommend incorporating funds into your budget for going out and having fun!

Making a list of wants and needs

Not glamorous, I know. But, sitting down and being honest with yourself about whether your next purchase is a want or a need will help you determine the urgency of which you need that item, and whether you will need to incorporate that purchase into your budget. This can also help ease the stress of ending up at a store, just ‘going to take a look’ at said item, and then having the internal debate on the spot of whether you need that item or not. Planning ahead of time will ease some of the decision-making on the spot. I’m all for buying myself a treat, but treats should come secondary to purchasing a need, and should also come secondary to staying within the budget. Plus, keeping a small list of wants is a great way to have an idea for upcoming birthdays and holidays!

Takeaways

I do firmly believe in living your best life and having a blast. I’m all about the fun and seek to make my life as enjoyable as possible. However, I also firmly believe in working hard and being financially stable. Financial stability can seem like a tough and daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. I am a reformed impulse buyer, and I truly notice the positive impact becoming financially conscious has had on my life. I hope you truly take these tips and incorporate them into your daily lives to become aware of your spending habits!

Did any of these tips help you? Did you try something else that was super effective? Let me know in the comments!

Why it’s OK to Feel Lost in Your Twenties

While growing up, I had the added advantage of having a half-sister who was twenty-two years my senior. It was like having a second mom, but without the scolding and lecturing, just the good stuff. Imagine having a fountain of knowledge present at your side, waiting on your beck and call.

We aren’t all that lucky, nor did I really listen to half of the stuff she said to me. At the time, I was too busy thinking I knew everything to really take into consideration what she was saying (which I now wish I had). Aside from many regrets of not listening to everything she said, I do remember one thing that was constantly on repeat throughout my teenage years.

Around the time I was fifteen or so, she started dropping hints about my twenties. I thought it was a little weird, considering I was only fifteen, but she was smart and often repeated herself (causing these little sayings to get stuck in my brain).

“Your twenties are the most exciting but weird time of your life” she would say. “You’ll be surrounded by people and friends who are at very different stages in their lives. You’ll most likely feel very lost.”

Okay thanks, but how does that help? How was that supposed to prepare me for apparently the most confusing decade of my life? I would snarkily reply. Sometimes fearfully reply. But her answer was always the same, that it was completely okay to be lost and confused in your twenties, it’s exciting and thrilling and can be also the most lonely time of your life. But it all works out. You were supposed find yourself the most at this time.

Okay but HOW was this helping? At the time these supposed words of wisdom left me feeling even more confused and unprepared to enter my twenties. How could it be okay to be lost and confused? My life as I knew it was governed by friends, family and the daily requirement to go to high school. The routine was the same, and from what I could see, all of my friends and I shared the same routine and seemingly goals.

Of course, you don’t see it until you’re in the thick of it. Absolutely lost in the rhubarb. It seemed like life as I knew it jumped off the deep end. I definitely did feel lost. But did I feel lost because I didn’t know what I was doing myself, or because I couldn’t keep up with what everyone else was doing? I had friends who never went to college and did nothing, but also had friends who never went to college and were thriving way more than I was. I had friends who went to college and were bottoming out, and then I had friends who went to college and were already talking going to grad-school and being offered excellent jobs in their field.

I had friends who had children, friends getting married, friends ending high school relationships, friends getting pets. There were friends starting businesses, friends going broke. Friends travelling the world and living their literal best lives. Friends who were a source of untapped potential and sadly had no motivation and drive.

It was the strangest thing I had ever seen. We had all just come from the same routine, and had managed to manipulate the outcome a thousand times over. So this was the lost feeling we were told about. The part where you don’t exactly see where you fit on the spectrum of success (and then get a little older and realize the spectrum of success is completely an individual spectrum personalized to you).

And then comes the part (that no one really mentions but is definitely a phenomenon) where your friend life becomes a revolving door. Some friends stay, some come and go as they please. Some linger and fade out, some friendships blow up and leave shrapnel in every piece of your life. I can honestly say year to year my friend scene always looks a little different, but the comforting fact is there are people who enter that door and manage to keep rotating with you.

Then we obviously have to consider jobs. Who knew I would end up having several part-time jobs, volunteer gigs and then eventually what I call my big girl job? That big scary job you go for after you get your degree to make start to make a debt in 4 years of student debt? That’s pretty scary. And then realizing this may not be your permanent home in the job world? Also scary. Don’t even get me started on the lingering thoughts of going back to school to FURTHER your education to find a better permanent job home!

Now we can’t forget about the dating scene. Theres the bar scene, which can be its own battleground within itself. Theres the world of online dating, also scary. Theres the possibility of meeting someone in a picture perfect movie setting (running into someone head on in the grocery store and falling madly in love). Then, your ever evolving the friend group has its own set of friends-of-friends who you’re suddenly exposed to. Then theres breakups, moving in with someone for the first time and the looming possibility of marriage. Nightmare material.

Wow, okay, so my life right now actually looks NOTHING like I pictured it would. Weirdly enough this is okay. Weirdly enough, the path I ended up taking was a path I’m GLAD I had taken. For every moment of uncertainty, there was a moment of relief as the plan unfolded. For every moment I felt as though I wasn’t doing enough in comparison to others I knew, there was a moment of comfort as I reassured myself that it wasn’t a contest, this wasn’t a race. Success wasn’t measured by a super elite job or a six-figure salary, success was doing what made you happy and what made your life worth living.

Your twenties may look a little bit like a rollercoaster ride, with plenty of highs and lows. Your twenties may not feel like you’re where you are supposed to be. And that is okay. The decade of the twenties is a time of mass transition. You are just figuring out yourself and what the rest of your life is going to look like. This is the first time you’re calling the shots and figuring out what it’s like to navigate the adult world. Theres more room for freedom, decision-making and trial and error. You are essentially mapping your way into the adult world, which is big and scary.

So, if you’re feeling lost. Or you feel like maybe you’re not doing as much as everyone else around you is, or maybe you think you have no idea what you’re doing at all, here are some reminders that you’re doing the best that you can in the place you’re at.

Don’t compare yourself to others, it’s not a race

You’re doing your own thing at your own pace. It’s not a competition. As long as you’re heading down the path you want to go, you’re doing exactly what you should be. Remember that social media is a highlight reel, and people are reluctant to post their struggles.

You’re in a period of transition

Often, when things are in transition they kind of look like a bit of a mess. This can also be what your life looks like. It’s important to stop and take a breather, and remember to not be so hard on yourself. Will your life always look like that? Most likely not. Visualize a house being moved into. Messy, boxes everywhere, to-do lists a mile long. But, when things start to fall into place, the house gets organized and moved into. And then it looks like a home. This also applies to your life.

Success is a measurement created by you

To be successful means a lot of different things to different people. Does you leading a successful life mean you’re happy? Does you leading a successful life mean you have a million dollars? Success is defined differently to each individual. Your success may not seem like success to someone else. You need to sit down and define what it means to be successful for your personal self, and work towards what goals are going to get YOU there.

Most people do not feel entirely comfortable in their twenties

Most people are trying to figure themselves out. Most people are trying new things and sticking with what works. There is trial and error, as well as massive growth. I can assure you that you are not the only one who feels this way, even though it feels like an alienating process. I encourage you to chat with people who are close to you and share these feelings.

You’re doing a great job

Life does not come with a set of instructions. You are creating a path for yourself that did not exist the day before. You are creating a life for yourself that you will love and enjoy, and there is no wrong way to do that. You are doing great, and you will get there.

Takeaways

It’s okay not to be okay in your twenties. It’s okay to feel lost, to feel like you’re going nowhere, and to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. This is completely normal. It’s also okay to feel like you DO know what you’re doing! It’s okay to be thriving and in a good place! Everyone’s twenties look different, and you just need to forge your own path, wherever that may take you!

Did this post help? Do you have any personal stories of feeling lost in your twenties? I would love to hear in the comments!

Yelling at Retail Workers: Why it’s NEITHER Cute NOR Appropriate for this Holiday Season

Small disclaimer, yelling at retail workers is actually never appropriate, however I’m a firm believer in baby steps. Surely, you know at least someone who has worked in retail. You may currently work in retail or have worked in retail at some point in your life. I have personally spent over seven years in retail and I have several family and friends who continue to work in retail. Although retail will not be my primary scene for the first Christmas in eight years, my heart still goes out to retail workers at this time of year.

I do totally get it. I’m not immune to the pressing demands of the holiday season. The desire to find the perfect gift under less than ideal time constraints. I have been there friends! I get it! The holidays can make a monster out of the best of us. However, I have also been on the other side of the fence. I have been called countless names, most that I let roll off my back, several that made my teenage self cry in the stock room at the back of the store. I have been yelled at and dismissed, most of these events being an all year occurrence that particularly ramp up over the holidays.

I’m here to generally get one point across, and that point happens to be that this behaviour is inappropriate. Yes, please, repeat after me: Being rude to, threatening or yelling at retail workers is inappropriate.

I’m not here to defend the odd occasion where you have had a horrible retail experience where you were the victim, which I guarantee has absolutely happened. However, that is not what this post is about. I am here to draw light to the fact that as we enter the holiday season, stressors rise and tempers flare and often retail workers take the brunt of it.

Below you will find a list of common problems that often occur in retail, and some possible causes of the error. As you read, I encourage you to truly put yourself into the position of the retail worker. Whether you have had the pleasure of working in retail, or perhaps you may have not, attempt to put yourself into the position of these workers, young and old. They often end up working extended hours to stock shelves, ring through purchases, and assist you with your shopping needs. They are away from their families to be able to facilitate your shopping experience. These are all important things to consider while reading the list below.

This is a stressful time of year, not only for you

In addition to working the stressful retail environment, this is also a stressful time of year for the retail employees themselves. They also must find the time (outside of their hours, within regular retail hours) to shop for and purchase gifts for their friends and families. Some retail workers also have the added stress of being students, and participating in exam season in addition to working in retail environments and shopping themselves. It’s easy to have our blinders on and forget that we aren’t the only ones who are stressed, but this is important to remember.

9.5/10 times the cashier is not in charge of stock, or lack of stock

This is a big one. The cashier is not responsible for ordering stock. The employees stocking the shelves are often not responsible for ordering stock, the manager may not even be responsible for ordering stock! As more stores switch to automated ordering systems, there are kinks that need to be worked out. Ordering products is a closed loop system in the sense that once the order is sent out of the building, the order is then received and then delivered (the stock coming into the store as a shipment). Here are some possible reasons why there may not be enough stock at that particular moment:

  • The item is in high demand – this is a new product hitting the shelves and only finite numbers of product have been distributed. Chances are, the store you are shopping at received only a certain number of said product.
  • The item did not perform as well last year – ordering to fill shelves is a numbers game, and if an item did not perform well last year but suddenly gains popularity, there may not be enough to be distributed throughout all stores.
  • The store ordered the product, but there was an inventory issue at the warehouse – the order was sent for the item, but the warehouse did not receive the item to be able to ship it out to the stores.
  • The store ordered the product, but there was a manufacturing issue – the order was sent, however the manufacturer is unable to meet the demands of creating said item, meaning there is not enough product being sent out from the manufacturer.
  • The store did not anticipate the high demand for said item – it happens, supply and demand are a constantly changing dynamic.
  • The sale started Monday and there isn’t enough left by the end of it – if the item is highly anticipated, at a great price or there is a shortage of stock to go around, sale items will sell out fast.
  • Transport issue(s) – the item got lost in transit, the item got damaged in transit, there was a miscommunication and the item was sent elsewhere.
  • The store made an error – the person responsible for ordering the item did not appropriately plan for the demand of said item.

There is a price error (that most likely can be fixed within a few minutes)

Again, the cashier you are taking it out on is not responsible for pricing. The employee stocking the shelf may not responsible either. Often, price inputs are done at a level of the company that does not take place within the store. Price changes are generated and activated at the time of sale. There may be errors during this process. If the item is featured in the flyer for said price, you will be able to get the item at that price. It can be frustrating to have to go and fix a price, however, errors exist and this is life. Each day we make errors in our day-to-day lives and we go about fixing them. An error in price can be rectified quite easily, and often the price error is then rectified for future shoppers.

Stores have reduced hours leading up to the holidays

Often on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, stores will close earlier and will close the day of the actual holiday. This is a common practice among retail outfits. I can still remember getting yelled at (my first year working Christmas Eve) because we closed at 6pm on Christmas Eve, and this man could not figure out for the life of him why we would be closing so early. It’s important to remember that after retail workers have served the last customer, there is still cleanup and closing duties that must be performed before they can head off to join their families for festivities. This is not a personal vendetta against customers, but due to mandatory retail closures that are pre-determined by your municipality/province/state.

Yelling because you are upset is inappropriate regardless of whether you feel it is warranted

At the end of the day, retail workers are humans deserving of respect. These employees go to work with the sole purpose of providing a service for customers. They do not have malicious intentions behind their actions. As the flow of customers increases during the holiday season, retail workers are attempting to mediate the traffic into the stores, ensure product availability and ensure checkout in a timely manner. This includes ALL retail workers, from new hires to seasoned veterans. They are all doing the best they can to ensure you are able to leave the store with what you came for. Yelling, using derogatory names or threatening retail workers because they do not have a product you desire, they are not moving fast enough for you, or they do not have an answer you like is inappropriate, to simply put it.

In order to further facilitate your shopping experience this holiday season, below there is a list of tips you may find useful to be able to navigate the retail setting a little easier:

Leave yourself ample time to shop

To ease the added stress of a time constraint, leave yourself enough time to complete your shopping trip with time to spare. This way, if a problem arises, you’ll have accounted for the time in the first place.

Have a backup plan

If you are seeking high demand products, be aware that they may sell out fast during the holiday season. Have a backup gift or food idea in place in case of unfavourable events.

Seek out sale items at the beginning of the sale

Items may sell out faster than expected or the store may have limited stock. Treat every sale as though it is a limited stock sale, and allow yourself to grab the deal when it first comes out. The further away you get from the start date of the sale, the less stock there will be for that sale item.

Research and or call ahead

If you fear a hot ticket item is going to sell out fast, research which stores have items in stock prior to going out and tearing up the town. Call ahead before leaving your house to verify the store has the product in stock before making the trip.

Stay clear of the stores if you are overwhelmed/not in the mood

The last place I personally want to be is out shopping when I know I’m in a bad mood. If you are overwhelmed and overly stressed, try steering clear of the stores. The over-stimulating environment coupled with the stress you are experiencing will not dissipate upon entering the store. Listen to your own limitations and consider rescheduling your shopping to a later time when you aren’t mentally taxed.

Breathe

It is normal to feel stressed at this time of the year. Everyone wants the holidays to flow perfectly and smoothly, and sometimes that may not be the case. You are doing the best that you can with the tools and resources you have. The memories you make will be worth the frenzy needed to get into gear, but just remember to take it easy and take time for yourself.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Before you go to open your mouth and possibly yell as a stress release, try putting yourself in the other person’s position. They may not have the AUTHORITY to change what you are upset about. They most likely were NOT the cause of the problem you are experiencing. They will most likely be able to FIX what the issue is, but you do not need to yell, berate, or threaten them.

 

Takeaways

The holidays are stressful for everyone, including yourself and the retail workers you are interacting with. They are often trying their best to deliver a smooth interaction for customers throughout the store. Human error occurs, but it also occurs in our day-to-day lives. It is unacceptable to yell at and berate another human for something they have no control of. Misplaced stress and aggression is never appropriate. Remember, you can not simultaneously demand a service while degrading those providing it.

 

I hope this post was able to open your eyes to the world of retail over the holidays. Leave any comments you may have, I love hearing from you!

 

 

15 Ways You Can Save Money With Minimal Effort

The older I get, there is nothing I love more than saving money. Perhaps it is directly related to the fact that I need to use my own money as an adult to survive day-to-day, but nonetheless, saving money has become a new hobby of mine.

Saving money isn’t shiny and glamorous. I don’t have a camera crew following me throughout the store as I shop and spend coupons, and I definitely haven’t won the lottery and made millions. The simple act of saving money day-to-day isn’t glamorous to the masses, but to me, it makes me quite happy to see that I can keep my spending in check.

The easiest way to save money is to look at all areas of your life and assess your day-to-day spending. What do you find you’re spending the most on? Is there a way to spend even less money or cut that expense completely? By thoroughly assessing my spending, hobbies and habits, I was able to cut down or eliminate costs. Some of these were simple and required no brain power at all, others took a little more time and planning. Below is a list of 15 things I’ve done to either reduce or eliminate costs out of my day-to-day spending.

1. Pay off your credit cards to eliminate paying interest

Interest is a money sucking vortex. You never see that money again! This in no way benefits you to spend this money! This also applies to other loans and payments requiring interest. Pay off the principal as soon as you can to avoid forking over extra money that absolutely adds no value to your life.

2. Stop buying takeaway coffee everyday

This was the simplest thing I did to cut down on day-to-day spending. Simply make your coffee at home and either enjoy it before you leave or put it in a travel mug. Once you sit down and do the math and see how much money you’re throwing away on the daily coffee it becomes easier to let that expense go.

3. Make your own lunches

Cannot stress this enough. You don’t realize how much money you’re spending until you sit down and account for the groceries you’ve already purchased in addition to the daily lunch you’re paying for. Average lunches can range from $5-30 depending on what you’re eating, and can add up quickly if you make it a daily habit. Limit purchasing lunch to one day a week (as a treat) or completely going homemade to cut your costs.

4. Flyer browse before you shop

I used to work at a grocery store and out of convenience would pick up products on my way home. I never consulted other sources, nor did I really look too much at other stores. You may find yourself a better deal if you flyer browse beforehand. Check out the weekly sales or simply browse the price of the item within the store. You may find another store carries an item cheaper at regular price than the current store you shop at. It takes a little more research but there is no need to pay more for a product you can buy cheaper somewhere else.

5. Go to the library

I do enjoy purchasing books to bring home and to have for whenever I need a guaranteed good read, but if you’re an avid reader like myself it isn’t feasible to purchase every single book brand new. Check out your local library for books to read. They have magazines, DVDs, and often have new books that are currently hot on the market on their shelves (they may require a wait list to read, but they’re free).

6. Call your phone company to adjust your plan

Often times by calling your phone company you may be able to negotiate a better plan for yourself, especially if you’re a loyal customer. When you go to the kiosk, the workers there don’t always have the authority to make big changes. Customer service reps over the phone have more wiggle room when it comes to adjusting plans and making changes.

7. Buy generic

Most stores carry their own brand name of food, and these often come cheaper than the brand name items. Generic really isn’t much different from the bigger brands. The company of the store pays the brand name companies to make the food for the generic brand, often using the same ingredients, at a cheaper cost to you. When you can, buy generic to limit your costs.

8. Carpool/bus/walk to work

To save money on gas, start or join a carpool with people you work with! Or, if you’re able to, walk or bus to work. You would be amazed at the amount of money you save on gas, especially if you find yourself having a far distance to go, or are sitting in traffic for long periods of time (literally just wasting gas). Often, cities with excellent transit systems have bus only lanes, which can buy you time if your regular route home has a heavy flow of traffic.

9. Limit number of drinks when out for dinner

You’re already spending quite a hefty amount when you’re going out to dinner before you calculate alcohol into the equation. Instead of ordering several drinks when out, stick to one or wait until after dinner to go home and have a drink.

10. Make your own wine

If you’re an avid drinker of wine like myself, you may find yourself leaning more towards making your own wine. Although you must pay for the batch upfront, you save yourself more money in the long run as it works out to an average price of $3 a bottle (depending on the type of wine you want to make). Although initially pricey, you save anywhere from $7+ a bottle.

11. Shop the sales

If you really want a particular item, and it’s too pricey for your budget, try to wait it out for the sales. Although this can be difficult and requires patience, you may end up saving yourself a whole bunch of money. This will also help determine if the item is really something you want and or need, as you will be more willing to hold out if it is something you really want.

12. Shop refurbished/open box

For electronics this is specifically helpful. Open box items (someone has opened the box and returned it) or refurbished items are items that are not considered new anymore, and are discounted from the original price. You must check the websites/stores frequently as there is no guaranteed number, but you may be able to save yourself quite a bit of money. These items also often come with a warranty that keeps the item under protection (retailer dependent).

13. Sell items before purchasing new items

This can mean a variety of things, but some stores have trade-in opportunities for your old items. For example, electronic stores may take back old electronics that are still in good condition in exchange for store credit, which is perfect if you are planning on purchasing something else. Sell items you no longer use such as books, furniture and items on online platforms designed for secondhand items. You can either keep the cash and put it into savings or use it towards a new purchase you were planning on making.

14. Shop at department stores

If you’re looking for something you should check out the department stores in your area before heading to the stores. Often you can find brand name items at a discount. From books to makeup to kitchen appliances to clothes, you may find exactly what you’re looking for! Definitely worth checking out before shelling out full price!

15. Take advantage of daily specials

Whether you’re going out to eat or looking for a sale before you go out shopping, check your email for a coupon or check a restaurant’s deals for the day before heading out. Often stores and restaurants have daily deals and discounts on specific items or meals. This can be a great way to still head out while saving yourself a chunk of money!

Takeaways

There are hundreds of money-saving tips you can come across through the internet, chatting with friends and my personal favourite, Pinterest. At the end of the day, saving money comes down to consistency and effort. You may very well stumble upon a deal, but it is better to go into shopping prepared with a deal. Consistency is what is going to get you up and making yourself that coffee or lunch for the day. So I’m challenging you to assess your spending habits and look at what areas of your life you can improve!

Did you find these tips helpful? Is there a major tip I’m missing? Let me know in the comments!