5 Practical Ways I’m Trying to be More Confident

Self confidence is one of the key personal qualities necessary for success in life. I’ve previously written about how I’m learning to be more confident here but I realized that I wanted something more practical and easier to implement; something I could put into practise today. Not being confident makes me feel like I’m missing out on so many opportunities in life and that’s not how I want to live. I don’t want to be the person that stays inside all the time because I feel awkward, shy and not confident in myself. Here are a five things that I’m doing to work on it:

Make Eye Contact

I hate looking people in the eyes. It’s like they can see right through my soul and it makes me very uncomfortable. But on the other hand, I know that not looking people in the eyes gives off the wrong impression – what is she hiding? What is she afraid of? Why won’t she look me in the eyes? To build self confidence, it’s key to look people in the eyes as it speaks to how confident and open you are but I’m still working on this one. What has helped me so far has been to start slowly making eye contact with people like cashiers where I can have a quick “throwaway” conversations and build my way from there. I still tend to not look at people directly in their eyes but at a point very close by like the middle of their eyebrows. The other person can’t tell and I don’t feel as uncomfortable.

Walk with Confidence

This is a much easier and very practical way of gaining more self confidence. I simply had to learn to be more aware of my posture and my gait. Focusing on standing up straighter and not dawdling when I walk has made a huge difference in how I feel and how I’m perceived by others. I straighten up, pull my shoulders back, lift my head and walk a little faster. In my head I’m thinking, “I’m going to an important place to do important things and to do them well.” Walking with confidence has helped me feel more confident and the more I do it, the better I feel.

Express My Opinions

I’ve been afraid of expressing my opinion for fear I would sound stupid or ridiculous but I’ve learned that the more I hold back my opinions because of this fear, the more I kill my confidence. I’ve learned the opposite to be true, in fact; the more I speak up, the more confident I become. I’ve made it a rule to speak up at every meeting and this has become much easier over time. Sometimes, I truly don’t have anything to add to a discussion so I use the lead in, “I’d just like to add, I agree with…” and go from there. It builds goodwill with my coworkers and gives me the opportunity to add my 2 cents and build my confidence.

Sit in the Front Rows

Sitting right in the front has helped me develop confidence by not being afraid to stand out. The back seats are always filled first but those that sit in the front aren’t afraid to be seen, express their opinions and they believe in themselves. I try to sit in the front whenever I can and I’ve become more confident in myself.

Smile

A broad smile gives a sense of confidence, overcomes fear, does away with anxiety and eliminates despondency and despair. Whenever I can, I try to smile to become more open and to radiate self confidence. Along with walking tall, a smile gives off an air of self confidence and you tell yourself that good things are happening.

These are the five things that have been working for me to build my self confidence, what works for you? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Getting Over Perfectionism

Trying to be perfect all the time is not only draining, but feeds my internal voice that says, “I’m not good enough.” Perfectionism can hold you back from finishing what you start; if it even allows you to start. For me, I have black and white thinking so “it” has to be done properly or not at all. I either failed or succeeded and I’ve recognized that this line of thinking will start holding me back in life. I decided to make a change and shift away from that “all or nothing” thinking and getting over my perfectionism. Here’s what I’m doing:

Go For Good Enough

When I aim for absolute perfection, projects tend to never get done because perfection is impossible. There will always be something to add or change and it’s resulted in a lot of half completed projects. I’ve learned that there is a place called “good enough” and it is perfectly acceptable. It’s not about slacking off and calling it a day either; it’s about knowing when to stop and that polishing something too much is possible.

Compare Myself – To Myself

When I compare myself to other people, I just end up feeling worse and inferior. Remembering that everyone is different and that many people will be ahead of me in different areas helps me maintain perspective. I try to keep in mind: where I started from and to see my improvements; see what I’ve overcome and to appreciate myself. I’m my own biggest critic and having a reasonable measuring stick is key.

Accept that I am Only Human

Things don’t always go as planned and everyone and everything is flawed. It’s part of life and I have to learnt to adapt. Things can always be improved but never perfected and that’s OK. Accepting that we all have flaws and things can go wrong has helped me feel more free and capable of doing more than I was.

Do the Right Thing

I’ll always have the media and society telling me how to be perfect but being constantly bombarded by perfect images and bodies can be hard. One way I’ve been able to lessen the external influence is by just doing the right thing as much as possible. I get to take more charge of my life while letting others have less control over it. My self esteem also goes up and other peoples’ opinions matter even less. I’ll be stronger and less swayed by someone else’s opinion.

These are just a few ways I’m working on my perfectionism, what works for you? Please leave a comment!

How I’m Learning To Stop Procrastinating

I procrastinate a lot. I (almost) always get the work done right before the deadline, but who wants to live like that? I’m just adding unnecessary stress to my life and as someone who has anxiety, it’s not doing anything to help it. So I decided to work on it, and here’s what’s been working for me so far:

Stop Thinking. Just Do it.

I’ve mentioned my over thinking ways before here and it contributes a lot to my procrastination. Whether it’s an essay or a chore like reorganizing my closet, it can take a very long time (I’m talking months, sometimes) between the time I decide something needs to be done, and until it’s actually done. In the meantime, I find ways to waste my time like doing “busywork” or doing more enjoyable things like exercising or going out with a friend. By not thinking about the task and just diving right in, I’ve been able to almost clear my entire to-do list. Overthinking a task just makes it seem bigger and bigger the longer you procrastinate, so by not overthinking and just doing, it doesn’t have time to fester in your head.

Do the Hardest Thing.

This one thing has been a huge game changer for me. Whatever your hardest, or most uncomfortable task of the day is, just get it out of the way first. This makes me feel relieved and the rest of my to-dos a lot lighter and easier to get through. For me typically, it’s any phone call I have to make that day – to a pharmacy or for a phone interview, I try to schedule them first thing so I don’t have half a day to dwell and overthink it.

Don’t Blow It Out of Proportion.

I find the longer I put something off, the worse it grows in my mind. I tend to make huge mountains out of molehills when I procrastinate and a relatively simple task becomes almost impossible.

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”
Olin Miller

I know this to be true because fear ends up taking over the longer I have to think about the task. I manage to think of all the ways something could go wrong; instead, have perspective. That call will probably only last for 10 minutes and I talk myself through until the mountain is a molehill again.

Take a Small Bite.

This ties into the above point of not blowing tasks out of proportion – just do one small thing to start my task. That could mean simply setting up my workspace or settling into a quiet space for a call. Doing one small thing allows me to have a small win and move onto a another small step; then another, until I’m done!

Choose Something. Anything.

When I get analysis paralysis, I usually end up doing nothing – then feel worse. The best way to get over this is just to make a  decision; any decision is fine, as long as it gets me one step closer to my end goal. This helps getting out of that negative spiral downwards where I know I should be doing something, but don’t know where to start. I do one small thing and find the next choice to be a lot easier.

Finish What I Start.

Once I get over the initial fear of starting, I don’t feel accomplished until I finish what I set out to do. Of course, if a book is really boring and I just can’t get into it, I don’t finish it because there’s no law on finishing everything. However – constantly not finishing what I start can leave me in a negative funk and left feeling unaccomplished, which is just as bad. The sense of accomplishment I get from finishing what I start makes me more eager to get started on my next project.

How do you deal with procrastination? Leave me a comment and let me know!

How to Be Miserable

Here are just a few ways to stay in your misery – let me know if you have more!

Feel Entitled

Feeling entitled and maintaining the attitude that everyone “owes” you will help you stay in your misery. Everyone should drop what they’re doing on a dime to help you when you need it – otherwise, what kind of friend are they? Forget responsibility, compromise and patience, that’s for others to have – not you.

Focus on Problems

Make sure to keep track of all your problems and constantly review them. By constantly reviewing them, you get to live in the past and make sure you don’t move on. Better yet, don’t move on until you solve every single problem that you have. That will keep you plenty busy when you aren’t busy feeling entitled and living in your misery.

Magnify

Forget maintaining perspective and remembering you’re just human; instead, magnify your problems and hold onto that paralyzing guilt. Remember all of your mistakes and instead of having constructive regrets, just know that you can’t do anything right. Don’t cheat yourself out of misery by maintaining perspective – MAGNIFY!

Take Things Personally

You can always find malicious intent and ill will if you look closely enough; so make sure you do! When your boyfriend forgets to call you, you have to understand that you never mattered to him and you never will. If you don’t find the hurtful intent, who will? Make sure you take everything personally.

Don’t Be Grateful

Why be grateful? That will just further cheat you out of your misery. You should just discount all the good in your life as a given and remember that life will always just screw you over in the end, so why be grateful? Spend enough time away from gratitude and you’ll even start seeing the bad in the good! One last thing – to really be miserable, know that it loves company, so the more you share your misery and negativity with others, the more you’ll have!

How I Try to Overcome Failure

Everyone makes mistakes but how we deal with them is what sets us apart from each other. I can choose to wallow in my misery or get up and do something about it. Here are just a few ways I deal with failure and the bad feelings that come with them:

Rise Up and Don’t Regret

Sometimes when I fail, I have the habit of thinking I wasted my time when in reality, it’s better to make mistakes than do nothing at all. People that tend to criticize when you fail are generally the ones that don’t do anything themselves, so why care about their opinion? I just brush it off and I’m satisfied because at least I tried. The real mistake is not trying at all.

Understand Failure Brings Wisdom

Seeing failure in a different light has been challenging but highly useful. Instead of seeing it as something negative, I see it as a learning opportunity and I use my newfound wisdom to help me succeed. Having this mindset has helped me take out the negativity out of failure and see each one as a learning opportunity.

Keep My Confidence

Keeping confidence in myself despite my failures has been a challenge but I promise, it’s doable. Once I put in the effort to learn as much as possible from the failure, I tell myself I still have the ability to fulfill my goals even though it didn’t work out this time. I am still capable and by changing my attitude I see things in a different way.

Maintain My Enthusiasm

Not only do I keep trying, I keep trying with the same effort and enthusiasm as the first time otherwise, each subsequent effort will have less power. Keeping my mind on the destination and telling myself I am one step closer to success has helped me keep my enthusiasm high when I have suffered previous setbacks. One other way I keep my enthusiasm high is by staying focused on the end goal, and thinking about what I am trying to achieve.

Keep Dreaming Big

To overcome large obstacles, I sometimes need to remind myself of the greater why. This ties into my point about maintaining my enthusiasm and the most effective tool has been to keep my dreams at the forefront of my mind. This help me get through those tough days when I feel like a failure and everything seems to go wrong. The big picture keeps me motivated to push past my failures.

Learn as Much as Possible From the Failure

As I mentioned, failure brings wisdom and what you do with that wisdom is what’s key. I don’t mind making mistakes at the end of the day because there is always something that can be learned and applied to future situations. The biggest mistake here would be to make a mistake, and then keep repeating it over and over because I’m not learning from it.

These are just a few ways I try to overcome my failures and for the most part, they’re working.How do you overcome your feelings of failure and the negative feelings associated? Please let me know in the comments!

How I’m Learning to Stop Overthinking, and Start Living

I live in my head a lot and I’ve recognized it’s been holding me back my whole life. I have the ability to turn small, inconsequential things into something bigger and scarier than they actually are. And good things? They aren’t so good after I’ve been able to pick them apart. Once I recognized that over thinking was holding me back from living a full life, I decided I needed to do something about it, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Learn That I Can’t Control Everything

Over thinking is a form of trying to control things for me. I try to come up with every possible scenario in advance so I don’t make a mistake and look like an idiot in front of anyone. Learning to let go and stop trying to control the outcome has allowed me to take action without fear. I know that even if I do make a mistake, it’s something to learn from. Mistakes may look negative now, but in the long run, there’s always valuable feedback that can be gained.

Look at the Big Picture

It’s really easy for me to start stressing over minor things but looking at them through the big picture lens has helped me a lot. Asking myself if this will matter in 5 years or even 5 weeks helps me put things in perspective quickly and shifts my mindset so I can focus on more important things.

Don’t Get Sucked Into Vague Fears

When I go through tough situations in my life, my mind tends to run wild and come up with all the worst case scenarios. I’ve had to learn to stop this over thinking by pausing, and asking myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” I realize it’s not as bad as I think and can even come up with a plan for the worst case scenario – should it happen.

Set Time Limits for Decisions

This is all about becoming a woman of action. I’ve learned to set limits on how long I have to make decisions otherwise, things tend to not get done. For big decisions I give myself until the end of the day and for those small, daily choices – about half an hour. I know in my heart what I want the outcomes to be, I just have to convince myself it’s the right choice.

Work Out

This is the odd one out on this list but it’s still an important one. When I workout, I’m focused on the task at hand; not on all of my problems. This is a great way of getting out of my head for awhile and I’ve noticed that after a good, hard workout I come back to the problem refreshed and in a more optimistic mood. Because I’m also a bit tired, I tend to be more relaxed, calm and open to change.

Be Present

By spending my time in the present instead of the past or in a possible future, I get to spend more of my time in the here and now instead of in my head, overthinking. I’ve learned to slow down and be more aware. I get to enjoy the moment and give my mind a chance to relax while taking in my surroundings.

Spend Time With Positive People

Most, if not all, of my overthinking is pretty negative. Although some would call me a pessimist, I consider myself a realist. When I over think, I truly believe that there are a number of things that could go wrong but I try to come up with solutions to fix them. Over time, I’ve recognized that I’m not doing myself any favours thinking this way and one thing that’s helped me has been spending time with people more positive than me. Their thinking rubs off on me and I find that even when I do over think, I see not only the negative, but the positive as well.

I’m still not perfect with my over thinking but I’ve definitely made huge strides. These have been a few ways I’ve dealt with my over active mind, how do you deal with your over thinking? Please leave me a comment.

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Gotten

Just like everyone else, I’ve been given tons of advice from family, friends and partners of mine. They’re always well meaning but some advice has been a lot more helpful than others. I decided to make a list of the top four pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten and I hope it can help you too.

“Just Do the Best You Can”

I consider myself a hard worker with an all or nothing mindset. I either fail or succeed. This black and white thinking is characteristic of borderlines and I’ve had to actively learn to combat it. Since being given this advice, I don’t feel compelled to be perfect – just to do the best I can, and this has been so freeing.

“Welcome, and Then Learn From Your Mistakes”

I used to be afraid of making mistakes because I didn’t want to look stupid in front of anyone. Over time, I’ve learned that It’s OK to make those mistakes as long as I learn from them and that people aren’t really paying any attention to me anyways. They’re too busy focused on themselves, so who cares? I wanted to protect my ego and I was too afraid to make mistakes and  as a result, I ended up on the sidelines a lot. I’ve missed a few big opportunities in my life because of this fear and I’ve decided that it’s better to take the risk than live in regret.

“Set Your Own Standards”

This bit of advice firstly reminds me to have standards, then work up or (mostly) down to them. My standards are unbelievably high for most things in my life and I end up failing because they’re simply unrealistic. This ties once again into my borderline where my black and white thinking doesn’t allow for much wiggle room. I need to learn to be more realistic and set high standards for only those things that are most important to me.

“Do What Makes You Feel Good About Yourself”

They say when your life is in sync with your values, you live in peace. Whether its reading a good book in the middle of the day or going to workout, I get to choose what makes me feel good. Although I initially thought this was pretty selfish, I’ve realized it’s not. When I’m feeling better, I can guarantee that those around me feel better. With Borderline Personality Disorder, people tend to walk on eggshells around me and that is the last thing I want. I’ve learned to take care of myself better, to better take care of those around me.

These are just a few of the pieces of advice I’ve gotten over the years that have helped me find a bit more peace in my life. What advice have you received that’s been helpful to you? Let me know in the comments!

6 Ways Exercise Makes Me Feel Better

Recently, I decided to take the medication route after struggling for a long time without professional help. Although it’s helped significantly manage my depression and anxiety, I don’t want to be forever dependent on pills – especially if there are natural ways of improving my mood. I decided to make a number of lifestyle changes but the game changer for me was working out. Below are just a few of the benefits I’ve experienced from exercising regularly:

1. Gives Me a Mental Time Out

When I workout, there is no extra time to dwell on bad thoughts and feelings because I’m so focused on the task at hand. If I’m deadlifting for example, I need to be there 100% mentally otherwise I’m going to hurt myself. I love working out for this reason the most – it gets me out of my head and focused on something completely outside of me that needs my full attention. It’s nice to have a break from all the anxious and negative thoughts I have.

2. Helps Me Sleep Better

With my mind racing at night, I would normally only get a few hours sleep; then have to do it all over again. Since I’ve been working out regularly, I sleep like a baby. I feel nice and worn out and as soon I get in bed, I knock out. In the mornings, I wake up feeling refreshed which is rare for me. I’ve had sleep issues my entire life and I’ve finally found a way to sleep well, naturally.

3. Boosts My Energy 

On the opposite end of sleeping well, exercising also provides me with the energy that gets me through my day. Depression left me feeling lethargic and slow but since I’ve started lifting weights, I feel energetic throughout the day and tired at night – the way it’s supposed to be. Due to this newfound energy, my productivity levels have also been through the roof.

4. Eliminates Stress

When I feel stressed out and anxious, exercising not only gets my mind off things, but it also releases endorphins – natural feel-good hormones. I end up feeling much better than when I started because I’m more relaxed, happier and productive.

5. Improves My Self Confidence

I stand up straighter when I exercise, I just can’t help it. Working on my core and back muscles keep my shoulders back and with it comes a natural feeling of self confidence. When I make progress on my workout goals and have a new max rep, I just can’t help but feel proud and accomplished. My effort makes me feel better and looking great is just an added bonus.

6. It Just Makes Me Happy

Putting all of this together overall, just makes me a happier person. And it’s not just temporary like “runners high” and endorphins and all that; although that’s a part of it, it’s just a small part. Regular exercise makes me feel better in tons of different ways and I can always guarantee myself a better mood after a workout.

These are just six ways that exercising makes me feel better but I know there are more out there. How does exercise help you? If not working out, what makes you feel better? Leave me a comment!

Creating More Feel Good Moments

I’ve realized that I could either keep doing the same things over and over and wait for life to happen to me, or I could actively pursue how I wanted to feel. I’ve learned that I can change my feelings and that I choose how I want to feel. Over time, I’ve developed little habits that help me feel better on those days I feel down and out, like:

Under-Scheduling

Since I’ve been off work these past couple months, this has been the most difficult, yet the most rewarding action for me. Scheduling less into my day has helped me focus on the most important tasks of my day, actually getting them done and feeling accomplished. Normally, I’m guilty of over-scheduling, feeling “busy” then demotivated because I didn’t even get through half of my to-do list.

Get Moving

I try to stick to my workout routine for the most part, but there are days when I feel really down and lethargic. On those days, it seems nothing will get me out of bed, let alone get me to the gym. And that’s OK. I don’t force myself if I truly know it’s just not going to happen but I try to get moving a little. Whether it’s a walk around my neighbourhood in a hoodie and cap or some light yoga at home, I know I’ll feel better than if I just stayed in bed all day.

Decluttering One Small Space

I just feel better when things are a bit neater, I don’t exactly know why. I’m not a clean freak but when my bed is made and my personal space is clutter free, I tend to breather easier, and feel more calm and relaxed. I also don’t feel guilty about having to clean my messy apartment when I just want to curl up and read a good book.

Being Grateful

Every morning, I use my 5 Min Journal App and write down 3 things I’m grateful for. Some days it takes a bit of thinking but it can be as complicated or simple as you want. Personally, I’ve found that over time, being grateful has made me into a slightly more positive person. I’m still a realist but I tend to see the good in things much quicker than before; find the “silver lining” in situations.

Being Present

Being an over thinker, I find that I tend to live in the past or the future a lot. I’m never really in the moment because I’m always thinking about something that may happen and I never give myself time to just be. I need to learn to focus on the here and now because I can’t change the past nor control the future. Things will find a way to work themselves out.

Connecting with Someone

Although I’m pretty content being alone most of the time, I also tend to get caught up in my own head a lot with my personal struggles. I get so wrapped up that I can’t see beyond my own problems and I feel terrible. Connecting with another helps me because it takes my mind off my struggles while allowing me to focus my attention on someone else. Sometimes, it’s just a message on Facebook or a text but it makes a huge difference.

Doing One Thing Only

It doesn’t really matter what it is or how long it takes – just that it’s important to you. I think to myself, “This is the one thing I will complete today and feel accomplished.” For me, some days it’s that I completed my workout while other days it’s to re-organize my entire closet. The point is, if I finish this one thing, I’ll feel good about myself and I find that I’m more likely to tackle another task the next day to keep the high going.

Being Proud

Finding one thing to be proud of everyday is tied into being grateful, but different. This is about taking pride in my accomplishments or how I’ve treated people and recognizing myself. Sometimes we don’t get the recognition we deserve but this way, we can recognize ourselves and be confident in our own accomplishments and abilities.

Laughing

It can be a lame joke, a YouTube video or at yourself but laughing everyday is important as it’s an instant, natural mood booster. It’s important to take the time to laugh while being present enough to enjoy it everyday, even if you have to actively look for your laugh. Sometimes, it can feel unnatural at first but once I get going, my mood almost instantly improves.

These are a few of the ways I actively try to create feel good moments in my life. It’s still a work in progress but little actions now translate into more frequent feel good moments. If you have any thoughts or other suggestions on what’s worked for you, please let me know!

My Big Life Change

Fitness has always been such a huge part of my life. Growing up, I played a variety of sports in school such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, and even a bit of baseball. When I wasn’t in class, you could always find me at the gym. Recently, after going through a very hard time with depression and feeling stressed out about work, I realized I couldn’t keep living like this. I know I have to make a change so after thinking about it (a lot!) I’ve decided to go back to school and become a personal trainer. I know there are cheaper ways to get started in training than going to school for two years but, I’m a perfectionist and I need to learn all the ins and outs.

I’m not sure if I’m totally “bouncing” here and making a rash decision but it seems logical considering it’s related to one of my very few passions and secondly, I’m going in with eyes wide open. I know there isn’t a whole lot of money to be made initially and it’s very hard work to get clients. I’m also introverted (but not shy) so you won’t exactly see me schmoozing to get clients everywhere I go – I just wouldn’t be comfortable. I know there are ways to get around it and I’ll just have to work harder and longer but I’m OK with that.

One of the main reasons I decided to become a trainer is also for the flexibility. I don’t have to sit at a desk for several hours a day, 5 days a week – I would be working in chunks of 1 hour blocks. There will be a lot of hours but it will be a mix of both being with clients and time with myself, taking care of administrative and planning work. If things go really well – I will be working part time hours with full time money coming in and running my own business. The mental benefits outweigh the financial rewards for me, significantly.

I’m still feeling nervous and stressed but I also am looking forward to going back to school. I just hope all of this just works out in the end =\

Are there any trainers out there that can give me any tips or words of encouragement? I would love to hear about your experiences.