Category: life advice

How to turn a bad day around (even if it’s 8 pm)

Want to turn around a bad day? It's possible! Even if it's 8 pm! Click through for ideas about how to get back on track, no matter what happened this morning.

Have you ever played that super fun game called “Well I Already Screwed Up So I Might As Well Really Lean Into This Mess”?

I bet you have. I spent most of my twenties and my early thirties playing this game several times a month! Here are the rules:

  • Set some unrealistic expectations for yourself
  • Do something slightly out of bounds
  • Throw your hands up in despair, decide this day is a waste, and you’ll start over tomorrow
  • Double down and spend the rest of the day doing dumb, self-defeating things

Ate three donuts for breakfast? Welp, I guess I might as well eat this whole pizza and wash it down with a tube of cookie dough!

Missed that deadline? Today is officially dedicated to blowing things off, watching my entire Netflix queue, and ignoring my inbox.

Since I started the day by gossiping about my coworker’s divorce, I’ll throw myself headlong into some celebrity gossip and then I’ll call my best friend and complain about my partner for 45 minutes!

How do you get back on track? How do you turn a bad day around? My answer is going to sound suspiciously easy and succinct. I’m telling you anyway.  No matter what happened during the day, you can spend 10 minutes at night setting it right.

How to turn a bad day around

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Two words that will make you happier, calmer, and more certain

Want to maintain boundaries, save money, have more energy, or happier relationships? Creating 'personal policies' might be the answer! Click through to find how to do it and + why they work! #selfhelp #selfdevelopment #selfimprovement

“Well, I’m certainly happy to take this to the tenant advocacy group if need be,” I say tartly. I tap my finger meaningfully on a highlighted section of my lease and raise my eyebrows.

It’s 2011 and I’m tangling with my landlord. He’s trying to make me cover the cost of repairing a phone jack that didn’t work when I moved in (?!?). I’ve pulled the appropriate paperwork, researched my options, and generally made him rue the day he messed with the blonde in 7A.

If you need someone take concerns to HR, call the president of the condo board, or convince your boss you deserve a raise, I am that someone.

(I mean, just as an aside, I don’t think they let friends negotiate raises but you see where I’m  going with this.) 

Since I’m the captain of team “I’d like to speak to the manager,” you’d think that would translate to other parts of my life, right?

For a long time, it didn’t.

For years, I would happily confront anyone, anywhere if I was backed by a “policy.” If I could print something out and point to a specific sentence, I was fearless. Backed by structure and bureaucracy, I felt confident taking on my boss, my landlord, my insurance company, my cell phone provider.

And I could summon the same tenacity when I advocated or negotiated for other people. You will regret the day you tried to overcharge my friend, because I am going to have words about it!!!

But when it came to advocating for myself in tenuous situations – situations where I was only backed by feelings, not paperwork – I’d wilt into a milquetoast wallflower. I’d make a mumbled, half-hearted request and then fade back into the carpet.

Apparently this is quite common. A 2016 study showed that women negotiate better outcomes when they’re negotiating for others than when they negotiate for themselves.

I was the same. Until I started creating ‘personal policies.’

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Are you Paying the Authenticity tax?

The authenticity tax is the price we pay for intentional living. It's not cheap, but it's absolutely worth it. Click through to read more.

It’s 2011 and I’m at a bonfire with friends. I’m about to leave for a 10-month trip and we’re all drinking and eating in honor of my impending travel.

Talk turns to dating-while-traveling. A married friend takes a long swig of his beer and levels his eyes at me across the fire.

“Aren’t you afraid that if you keep traveling you’re not going to meet a nice guy?” he asks loud enough for everyone to hear.

I blush and mumble something unintelligible, but by now I should be used to questions like these.

This not-particularly-polite-question is an example of the authenticity tax. It’s the price we pay for living a life that’s right for us.

The authenticity tax is the price we pay for living a life that’s right for us. Click To Tweet

The truth is, anytime you make a choice that’s right for you but runs counter to expectations, you’re going to get pushback. Family members are going to ask you about it at Thanksgiving. Friends might elbow you after a few drinks. Co-workers will look askance. Maybe the neighbors will talk.

These questions and comments are frustrating, condescending, and sometimes downright hurtful. But the truth is, they’re usually par for the course if you’re living your life on purpose.

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How To Be More Self-Aware Of Your Knee-Jerk Bad Habits (Or: Poker + Depression Pasta)

Want to be more self-aware? Break some bad habits? It starts with actually realizing what your go-to bad habits are! Click through to find out how!

 

I’m at a bar in Alaska, nursing an eight-dollar screwdriver, when the bartender asks if she can change the tv channel. I’ve been absorbed in picking apart my cardboard coaster so, no, I don’t mind.

She surfs through the channels, skipping Fox News and a fishing show, till she finds what she wants: a live broadcast of a poker game.

I know less than nothing about poker. How many cards do you get? How much are those little plastic coin things worth? Why is it fun to watch a bunch of dudes play cards?

I pick at my coaster and half-listen while the announcer says “Now, that’s a common tell. We’ll have to see how this plays out.”

And my former English teacher ears perk up because TELL IS NOT A NOUN WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???

So I do what anyone in 2017 does: I google “poker tell.”

In poker parlance, a ‘tell’ is a change in a player’s behavior or demeanor that is claimed by some to give clues to that player’s assessment of their hand. A player gains an advantage if they observe and understand the meaning of another player’s tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable.”

There are huge listicles and even entire books devoted to spotting these tells.  Experts have written thousands of words about unconscious behavior changes that belie someone’s belief about their state of mind.

I thought about the ‘tells’ in my own life, the things I unconsciously do when I’m tired, frustrated, or unhappy.

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Make Yourself 25% More Uncomfortable

Are you willing to make yourself uncomfortable to get what you want? You don't have to do things you absolutely hate but if you want to reach your goals, you probably need to do this. Click through to find out how I balance discomfort with growth!It’s a hot evening in July and I’m perched at my desk, sweating and grimacing over an email.

I’ve just opened my latest course and at midnight the price doubles – which seems like something people would want to know, right? Especially the people who attended the webinar?

I’ve emailed everyone who expressed interest twice already – once on Wednesday and once on Thursday. Is a third time overkill? Am I going to annoy everyone? BECAUSE OH GOD WHAT IF I ANNOY EVERYONE.

It would be so much more comfortable to close my laptop and pour myself a drink.

It’d be so much easier to say “if people want it, they’ll buy it! They’ll figure it out.”

But instead of drinking a tall vodka gimlet, I sucked it up, got uncomfortable, and sent that third sales email.

And would you like to know how much money than third email brought in? $2,134.73

Being slightly uncomfortable for 30 seconds brought in enough money to pay for a family vacation or two of those huge wheels of Parmesan cheese.  

Since this happened, I’ve been thinking a lot about those Pinterest quotes about how “great things never come from comfort zones” and how we need to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

While I love an inspirational quote as much as the next white lady, I’ve always given these particular sayings a bit of side eye.

Like, how do I know the difference between Challenging Thing That’s Actually Good For Me and Thing I Genuinely Don’t Like, Never Will, And Makes Me Hate Life?

What’s the difference between knowing myself + my limitations and selling myself short?

I’m not sure I can answer that probably-universal question, but I think I’ve found a workaround: be willing to make yourself slightly uncomfortable. Like, 25% more uncomfortable.

Making yourself 25% uncomfortable will probably yield 100% better results.

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How To Stop Being A People-Pleaser (At Least A Little)

Want to stop being a people pleaser? This post is for you. Click through to learn the one phrase that has helped me say no without guilt.

It’s 2010 and I’m 30 minutes into my flight between Newark, New Jersey and Mumbai, India. I’ve somehow angered the travel gods because I find myself in the middle seat, in the middle row.

On a flight that’s nine hours long.

I bend forward to dig out my copy of Skymall. When I return to my upright position I discover the men sitting on either side of me have each taken ownership of the armrests.

I look down and notice that they’re both slooooooowly man-spreading their thighs into my space.

Now, this is the part of the post where I’d like to tell you that I charmingly, assertively, diplomatically took back my armrests and personal space.

I’d like to tell you that in even in 2010, I didn’t care if I ruffled the feathers of these total strangers.

Instead, I’ll tell you what really happened. I spent the entire flight – all nine hours! – with my elbows tucked to my sides, my knees pinned together, dehydrating myself. God forbid I ask someone to stand up so I can go to the bathroom!

If you are a woman, from the Midwest, or a people pleaser, you probably have your own version of this story.

You let a friend-of-a-friend’s cousin crash with you even though you live in a studio apartment and you’re an introvert. You spend $$$ attending an out-of-state wedding for a relative you barely know. You agree to help a coworker move, even though said coworker earns significantly more than you and can absolutely afford to hire movers.

If you recognize yourself in any of the above scenarios, I’d like to introduce you to the phrase that has revolutionized my life and calendar:

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