If you’re not a morning person, waking up is hard to do. Maybe you hit snooze eleventy million times, eventually stumble to the kitchen for coffee, and wonder why it’s so hard for you to wake up in the morning when others seem to have no problem bouncing out of bed to greet the day.
So, have you decided that you want to become an early bird but are finding it really difficult to drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Here are 8 non-obvious reasons why you can’t stick to this habit.
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1. YOU’RE NOT TAKING YOUR SLEEP CYCLES INTO CONSIDERATION
I think a common issue that stops people from waking up early is that they feel extremely tired when they do. I mean, I know you’re assuming this is some pretty basic observation, but there’s actually more to it.
The thing is that you’re not supposed to feel so tiredevery time you wake up. So, basically, if you wake up feeling froggy and too tired, it means you’re waking up at the wrong time. To understand this concept better, let me first explain how sleep works.
The entire duration of our sleep is divided into “sleep cycles” – each in turn divided into 4 stages. Each sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes. This means that in the first 20 minutes of your sleep you are in the first stage, called “light sleep” – and it’s very easy to wake up during this stage.
The second stage is when the real sleep starts (“Normal Sleep”). Then you move on to the third stage which is the “deep sleep”. In this stage we have something called rapid eye movement (R.E.M) in which your brain stores and processes all the information you got while you were awake. And finally, it goes to the fourth stage which is the “light sleep” again.
Now an entire cycle has been completed and the next one is about to start. On average, if you sleep 6 hours per night you’re going to go through 4 sleep cycles.
Here’s a diagram to help you understand it more clearly: I
So for instance, if you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle (in the third stage for example) what happens is that your brain is still storing all that information and it’s hard to wake up at that moment. It’s like you’re forcing your brain to stop that process in the middle of it, just like restarting a computer and trying to turn it on before the restart process is actually finished.
So if you want to wake up at a particular time feeling awake instead of tired and foggy, you need to make sure you don’t wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle but between two sleep cycles (indeed, during the last and first stages of the cycle we experience “light sleep”, which means it will be pretty easy to wake up in that moment feeling alert).
Now you’re probably wondering:
“But how do I exactly calculate at which time I need to wake up in order to make sure I’m between two sleep cycles?”
If you’ve ever noticed that you tend to feel energized and drowsy around the same times every day, you have your circadian rhythm to thank. Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle.
In other words, your Circadian rhythm regulates when you feel tired enough to go to bed and when you need to wake up instead. It works at its best when you have regular sleep habits, like going to bed at night and waking up in the morning around the same times from day to day (including weekends).
So if you want to start waking up early around the same time everyday, this is what you need to work on.
I don’t like giving you this advice, but it’s needed: even if you’re shattered, get up. The next night (or the night after, or the night after that) you’ll sleep better because you’ll get tired sooner and as a consequence you’ll also wake up earlier.
Maybe you’ll need some time to adjust and change your Circadian rhythm (between 1 to 3 weeks on average), but it’ll be all worth it in the end.
So you need to suffer pain in the beginning to enjoy the gain in the long run.
3. YOU HAVE TROUBLES FALLING ASLEEP
I promised non-obvious reasons in this post and I swear I’m trying to deliver, so if you’re like ‘Duh’ after reading this title, please hear me out.
Sleep is controlled by the hormone melatonin which is affected by the light that hits your skin. A long time ago, before the invention of lighting, that was how our bodies would know when it was time to go to sleep or stay awake. When the sun was out, it was time to stay awake and focused, when the sun went down it was time to be tired enough to fall asleep.
However, nowadays there’s artificial lighting everywhere and we can “substitute” the sun’s light at any time (screens on our phones, computers etc.). According to Harvard Health, blue light suppresses melatonin secretion – and that’s the reason why we have troubles getting tired enough to fall asleep.
Luckily, there’s a very simple thing you can do about it: installing some apps that control the color of your screens light.
These apps change the light on your screen throughout the day so when the sun starts to set it changes the light on your screen from white light to yellow light which simulates the sun setting and allows melatonin to be produced naturally.
I personally use F.lux for my computer and the “night mode” (you can set it in ‘screen settings’) on my iPhone. You can use Twilight App if you have an android phone.
4. YOU DON’T HAVE A STEADY NIGHT ROUTINE
Routines are more important for your body than you might expect.
They are not only a way for your body to save energy and willpower throughout the day (‘cause you’re following a pre-set loop, basically), they also make the brain aware of what’s about to come next.
So if your night routine consists in 4-5 steps you repeat every single day (preferably also at the same time) your body will soon perceive that these exercises mean the day has finished and it’s time to go to sleep, and will prepare consequently.
Your body is smart, work with it and waking up early wll be a pleasure!
I’m not gonna lie to you. Actually, I’ll say it straight to your face: waking up early can totally suck. At least for the first 5 minutes.
If you’re a early bird it might not be your case, but it could actually be that you’re one of those people that simply hate waking up in the morning. And I’m here to tell you that that’s perfectly fine.
Actually, that’s exactly what happens to me everyday. I’ve been consistent with waking up early for quite some time now (I even wrote a guide on how to do it here)and I still don’t ‘feel like doing it’ every single day. For the first five minutes, all I can think of is “I want to go back to my warm sheets”…“I need 5 more minutes”…“I will just stay in bed, I won’t sleep”…“I deserve some sleep, I work so hard” and so on.
So what do I do? I just don’t listen to my brain. That’s it. I know it’s bs talk. So I just walk to the bathroom, wash my face, do my things and it eventually stops.
And after those 15/20 minutes awake, I start loving waking up early again. I love feeling like I’m the only person in the world, I love that calm, I love knowing that most people are asleep while I’m ready to conquer the world.
But if I didn’t get past those 5 minutes, if I actually acted on those no-sense thoughts, I would feel guilty for going back to bed. I would feel like failing myself for the rest of the day.
So what’s worse? Not acting on my sh*tty thoughts for 15 minutes or acting on them, going back to bed and then feeling rushed and disappointed in myself for the rest of the day? I don’t know if this is your case, but I know that if someone told me this before I started realizing it myself, I would have probably conquered this habit a lot sooner. So I’m saying it to you, in case you need it.
To recap: waking up early can be extremely unpleasant for the first 5 minutes, but if you can get yourself through that first moment, you can achieve great things during the rest of the day.
6. YOUR REASON FOR WAKING UP EARLY IS NOT COMPELLING ENOUGH
As we just mentioned in the previous paragraph, in the first 5 minutes awake (unless you’re a “natural” early bird – which I guess it’s not the case since your clicked to read this post) we all have to fight the voice in our head that keeps screaming “Go back to sleeeep!!!”.
So, to avoid actually listening to that voice and getting under your blankets again, we need a plan.
Something I found very useful in this case is having something to do. I know, I know, seems obvious, right? But I don’t mean just anything. You have to find something to do that you want to do more than you want to go back to sleep.
Let’s say you’re a coffee lover. Imagine you smelled some great hot coffee coming from the kitchen. Would this distract you from going back to sleep? I bet it would! You would go straight to get your coffee!!
So give yourself a chance to do something you love doing in the morning – it could be enjoying a big breakfast, listening to your favorite podcast or reading a book that’s been sitting on the shelf for too long.
7. YOU’RE NOT GIVING YOUR BODY TIME TO ADAPT
Remember when we talked about the Circadian rhythm in point #2, right?
Well, the reason why you can’t stick to waking up early could be that you’re rushing it. Let’s say you usually wake up at 7 am. Then you decide you want to start waking up at 5 am and go all in.
It can be a total shock for your body, you might hit snooze without even remembering it (I know because it happened to me multiple times!). There are definitely some cases in which going “all in” can help, but might not be this.
So if your body is not responding well to the shock and you notice the change is not sustainable for more than a few days, change your approach.
Instead, you could start by waking 15 minutes before the usual time your alarm rings. For the example we mentioned, you could start by waking up at 6:45 am for a whole week, maybe two and then start waking up at 6:30 am for another week and so on.
This way your body will adapt to your new routine much more smoothly.
8. YOU DON’T REALLY WANT TO GET UP EARLY
Maybe it’s because it became such a popular habit in the last few years (from the realization that most successful people wake up from 4 am to 7 am), but nowadays everybody seems to be trying to wake up early. The earlier, the merrier.
But if you really hate doing it (after the first 10 minutes have gone by) then just don’t do it. Don’t do it just because everybody else is doing it, don’t do it because most successful people do it. If it’s not making you more productive and happy throughout the rest of the day, why would you be doing it for?!
Besides, there are also many examples of successful people that absolutely hate waking up early and are still being productive.
So don’t waste so much effort and energies into something you realize you don’t really want to be doing. Waking up early is though, sometimes it doesn’t even get better with practice, so if you don’t really have a purpose, a tangible reason to do it, just don’t. And save yourself that amount of stress. Enjoy your beloved sleep instead!
What’s the thing you struggle the most with when trying to wake up early? Why do you want to wake up early? What are your favorite things to do right after you get out of bed? Let me know in the comments section below!
Now, of course this girlboss habit might not include all of you guys reading. I know there’s some of you who might work shift work or have to get up super late or maybe goes to bed late because of work.
I mean, take this as you will, but whether or not you are someone that goes to bed early and also wakes up early it’s more so the matter of getting enough and proper sleep.
I can’t explain the amount of motivation you feel when you wake up early. You feel like you’ve already conquered the day before it even starts. Definitely a great feeling!
When you wake up, your motivation focus and energy levels are all at their highest point.
You’re awake when most people aren’t and you have in fact earned some extra time to relax, spend some alone-time, get ready without constantly being in a rush and also start working on the toughest tasks with a lot more time available.
Procrastination is a tough monster to fight. That’s why a true #girlboss never stops working on it.
Believe it or not, even the most successful people on Earth has to still fight procrastination – maybe not everyday, but often. Because we have this monkey inside our brain that would just lay in bed all day watching Netflix and eating junk food. It’s up to our more rational and mature side to start working.
You might want to watch this video to explore the subject from a more scientific point of view:
Accept the fact that, like Mel Robbins says: “You’re never gonna ‘feel like it’” and move on. If you can’t find the motivation to achieve your goals or even to tackle a few tasks off your to-do list from time to time, keep in mind that it’s not necessarily how it has to work.
Instead of waiting to ‘feel like it’ before starting a task, do the exact opposite: start working on the task and you will start ‘feeling like it’ after a while. That’s why my personal go-to when it comes to procrastination is a simple technique called ‘the pomodoro technique’.
Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes and start working on your task of choice. After that chunk of time, you take a 5 minutes break. As simple as that. It actually still surprises me to this day how such a simple method can completely shift your mindset about the task, allowing you to eventually tackle it completely.
Indeed, instead of thinking “Duh! I have to work on this thing I hate now! It’s gonna take me 8 hours! I think I’ll watch another Netflix episode”, you tell yourself: “Ok, I’ll just work 25 minutes on this, than I’ll get a break! Woo!”
What this does is overcoming the resistance barrier procrastination causes so that most of the time after the 25 minutes have passed you actually find yourself in flow and keep working without problems.
Here you can find practical pieces of advice and ways to start fighting it right now:
3. LOVING TO LEARN AND SEEING EVERYTHING IN LIFE AS A LESSON, CHALLENGE OR CHANCE TO LEARN
Now, this is a mindset that everyone can have or develop – and #girlbosses in particular master it.
Every single day we have so many opportunities to learn and gather more knowledge by what we are doing. Now, we can choose to see everything that eventually gets in our way as a obstacle, or a chance to learn, or even a challenge to prove our worth.
But if you’re constantly in the mindset of learning and just experience for the sake of learning and growing, then things will start looking like less of a big deal to worry about and more as a fun challenge to prove ourselves that we can do it no matter what. It’s really up to you to define failure.
I get that when you hear the term “girlboss” you instantly think of things like “business” “money” and “hustle” – and yes of course success is amazing and is something we all should look forward to – but I also think that being a girlboss is knowing when to prioritize things over your work.
Friends, family and your community should be above work and success sometimes. Because we shouldn’t forget that being connected and feeling loved and appreciated, feeling that there’s someone that cares about us, should come first.
And it doesn’t have to be something too extreme either. It means putting off work to enjoy a night out with your family or friends or sharing a coffee with an old friend that it’s in town only for a few days. Because let’s not forget that our time here is limited, let’s not waste it.
5. KNOWING THAT YOU’RE NOT PERFECT BUT CORRECTING ANYWAYS
When you go through life with the perspective of mistakes actually just being lessons then you stop putting so much pressure on yourself and you stop being so hard on yourself for the times that you aren’t necessarily right.
Something that we all might have in common is this self-doubt that kind of sits inside of our heads and make us feel crappy about ourselves. So shifting the perspective from “Why did I do this?” to “What did I learn from this?” can be life-changing.
Like we already said, when we think about the term “girlboss” things like “success” and “business” and “work” come to our minds, but it’s impossible to work 24/7!
You’ll eventually need to take some time to unwind and relax, whether it’s in the morning or at nightor both.
Self-care is a crucial part of working not only on your mental issues (things like anxiety, feeling overwhelmed or stressed etc.) but is also a way to recharge your brain and your willpower to being able to have consistently a productive day.
It’s impossible to give 100% all the time. So would you rather give 50% everyday for a whole month or give 100% for 3 days and feeling burned out during the rest of the month? Your choice.
Often times being busy involves other people, so make sure you’re always communicating effectively. Let people know about deadlines, changes, meetings, important things that are coming up, things that are happening, things that you need to work more on etc.
As annoying as it sounds, over-communicating is better than under-communicating, because it allows you to stay all on the same page so that nobody gets pissed off or screwed over.
And this can apply to your personal life as well.
And if you think right now you’re not much of a great communicator, there are tons of videos on Youtube or other courses online that can help you with that. You just need a quick search on Google!
I know most of us hate it, but exercising is essential, and not only to get in shape. Working out is considered the number one stress reliever for when you’re stressed out, or angry or mad, or frustrated etc. If you’re a #girlboss, you probably deal with stress a lot. Stress just comes from being busy – and exercising will help you like no other.
Honestly, any form of “moving” can play a major role, so it doesn’t have to be lifting weights or running or going to the gym. You can just put on your favorite jam and dance to it for as long as you want!
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a business setting, a casual setting or even a in your own personal relationships, always make sure you are listening to listen, not listening to respond.
This means you’re actually paying attention to what the person is saying, you’re not thinking about what you’re gonna say next or how you feel about it. Otherwise, you’re not really giving the other person a chance.
I know it’s hard, especially since we live in such a connected digital age, but when you want to stay focused on your work to give your best results, you’ll need to unplug it all: put your phone in another room, turn off the tv and make sure there’s nothing constantly trying to catch your attention.
Focus on one task at the time – this will work magic in your workday, but also in your personal relationships (who doesn’t hate that one person that’s always checking their phone when they’re having a conversation at lunch with you? Ugh!).
11. WORK ON YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH
As we already mentioned, a #girlboss is constantly working on herself. She’s always trying to be better, not only for work – and not necessarily better than anyone else – but better than who she was yesterday. So start a genuine competition with yourself.
A practical application of this concept would be to do things like educating yourself, reading, learning a new skill, working on your issues, trying to be more aware, open-minded etc.
(P.s. Reading a few articles on this blog is a great way to start!)
12. LEAVE YOUR EGO BEHIND
Nobody likes a person with an ego who acts like they know it all – imagine working with them. So simply don’t be one of those people!
13. STAY ORGANIZED
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re busy, if you’re a #girlboss, if you’re out there hustling, you have no time to be disorganized. Feel free to craft your own systems, utilize to-do list planners, digital notes, Google Calendar etc. (there are literally a million things you can test out!) but plan effectively.
Do you know that quote: “If you do not know how to manage your time, nothing in your life will be manageable”? Yeah, you know what that means.
At the end of the day, being productive doesn’t mean getting 100 things done, it means doing the few most effective ones that’ll change the game. That’s why learning how to prioritize is so essential to be the perfect #girlboss.
So before getting deep in your work, instead of going randomly through your to-do list, highlight the 2-3 tasks that would impact your day (and future) the most and make sure you tackle them off first.
Live within your means. Learn how to budget, don’t overspend and don’t be frivolous. With social media – especially Instagram – it’s so easy to see all these people who seem so happy with expensive things.
But if you can’t honestly afford that stuff, simply don’t buy it – don’t pretend that you can. Trends eventually pass – and you don’t really want to end up broke just to impress other people around. Plus your worth doesn’t depend on how many designer bags you own. Who cares everybody is wearing Gucci belts!
16. SPEND TIME WITH QUALITY PEOPLE
Your energy is precious, don’t waste time with people that constantly suck it out of you.
Instead, keep around like-minded people that keep bringing positive thoughts and feelings into your life.
17. DECLUTTER + GET TIDY
I love a good declutter. That’s always what I do when I start feeling frazzled and kind of disorganized even though I’m top of all my to-do lists. Personally, I have found that when my space is organized and tidy, I just get work done more easily because I don’t get distracted and feel overall less overwhelmed.
Even if just subconsciously, the clutter and dirt around you influence your working performance and make you feel overwhelmed even when you aren’t really. Don’t let it happen -make sure to have a good declutter every once in a while!
18. BE WISE WITH YOUR FREE TIME
Whenever you have free time, use it wisely. My personal recommendation is to either spend some quality time on yourself or with your loved ones.
If you’re really trying to make a name for yourself but also want to live a meaningful, fulfilling and happy life, the way you spend your time matters. A lot.
19. TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHERE AND WHO YOU ARE
Successful people and #girlbosses try to never complain. Not only because it’s a useless and extremely time-wasting activity per se, but also because they are well-aware of who they are and take full responsibilities for their actions. They do not blame others for their problems and – as we already said in #number 5 – they know that they are not perfect but are at least correcting everyday.
They know that even though they can’t always control what happens to them, they can control how they respond to events. And they eventually choose to respond in a positive and productive way.
20. LIVE IN THE MOMENT
Most successful #girlbosses practise daily meditation or some other sort of mindfulness practice. Whether it’s journaling, morning pages, meditating or something like the 5-minute journal, they choose to always dedicate some time to experience peace of mind.
If you can’t even get a few moments of calm and focus before your day starts being a constant go, go, go, how can you make sure you’re still working with intention at the core?
Remember: “Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action” – Tim Ferriss
Practising mindfulness on an everyday basis will help you make sure not only that you stay on track but also that you don’t lose sight of the end goal, of your vision.
There are various blog posts dedicated to morning routines on this blog. That’s because I deeply believe in the power of a relaxing, productive and healthy routine to kick-off the day.
You know, a morning routine designed to ‘get you in the zone’ is probably one of the best and most effective productivity tools around. So, yeah, your morning routine is actually the perfect time to develop yourself into the woman you want to become!
Below is a list of 5 different activities successful women do during their morning routines – which I hope might inspire you for your own. My recommendation is to start incorporating them into your own daily routine only one at the time. Otherwise, it might get too overwhelming. Let’s start!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn some money if you click on one at no extra cost for you. I am very grateful for your support of this site in this way. Thank you.
Successful women often use the first hours of their day to get centered and focused (‘to get in the zone’ as we were saying!) – and meditating is just the perfect way to do so.
And if you’re thinking: “No, wait, I could never do that!” then you might want to keep reading to realize it’s actually easier than you think! All you have to do is set a timer (start with 3-5 minutes), close your eyes (or you can keep them open) and simply focus on one thing that’s not a thought. For example you can focus on your breath, I like looking at a particular point of my wall etc.
99% of the time you’ll get distracted by your thoughts but don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. The exercise is to bring back the focus on that one thing. As long as you do that, you’re doing it correctly!
READ A BOOK
If you’ve been wanting to read more but struggle to do it at the end of the day, maybe because you’re too tired, then your morning routine is the perfect time to get your nose in the pages! It is well known that successful women like to keep learning and improving themselves or their skills so they try to integrate as much reading time in their morning routines as possible.
If books aren’t really your thing, you can always try switching to audiobooks! They’re also incredibly time-saving as they allow you do multiple things at once (e.g. you could listen to your audiobook while you’re running or washing the dishes!).
LISTEN TO A PODCAST
Another great way successful women use to learn is by listening to podcasts. Just like audiobooks, you can listen to them while running your chores (e.g. washing your dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the house etc.).
Not only are podcasts completely free (and very easy to access nowadays!), but there’s at least one on basically any topic you might be interested in learning more about!
Of course it’s no secret successful women stay organized and often use their morning routines to do it!
I honestly think one of the most important aspects of staying organized is keeping yourself out of overwhelm, indecision and confusion. That’s why I suggest you create a habit of taking the items on your to-do list and prioritizing them. Once the tasks are organized in order of priority, you can write down all the steps that you’ll need to take to tackle that item off your list and schedule each of those items in your calendar.
Putting your to-do list in your calendar forces it to be realistic and workable (I’m often guilty of underestimating how long a task will need to be completed so!) and is also much less stressful. This way, instead of thinking about the millions of things you want to do, you can just look at my calendar and see what’s next. And you’re good to go!
WORK ON THEIR SIDE HUSTLE
Successful women often use their extra time during their morning routines to work on their own projects. This makes perfectly sense since the first hours of the day are actually the ones in which our energy and focus levels are at their highest. So, yeah, that extra hour a day of work can definitely make all the difference!
If you own a computer with an Internet connection, you have more production power than a 200-person company had in 1970. And since you’re reading this post, I assume that you do have an Internet connection. So…Can you believe how crazy it is?
The land of opportunity has never been this big, yet we often find ourselves paralyzed either by having too many options or having a hard time believing we can truly do what we want.
We want to follow our passions… but we also want to pay the bills.
We want to be happy and live a fulfilling life… but we haven’t realized what that means for us yet.
Well, if this is your situation, then you might enjoy reading this post.
P.S. In case this blog post isn’t enough and you want to continue the conversation, I’ve also created a free mini-course that perfectly relates to this topic: it’s called “Plan your (dream) life” and it’s all about figuring out what you want through strategical planning. You can get access to it by clicking here or filling the boxes below.
Behind everything we do there’s a why. So if we want to get truly deep into this topic, we also need to clarify beforehand why it is so crucial that you do get through this process.
Indeed, without a compelling reason to do this work on yourself, you’re never going to make it past the resistance you’ll feel when you try to work through this and you will likely procrastinate on it.
Why? Because it is hard. It’s hard to make yourself uncomfortable now for the purpose or living a more fulfilling life in the future – so I might as well warn you immediately that it might get tough and even ugly.
In other words, don’t be surprised if your brain is a little reluctant to start coming up with answers at first. If you’ve been letting your brain off the hook, it’s not going to like it when you ask it to go to work. And that’s ok – I just don’t want you to think that this being challenging means there’s something wrong. It’s just part of the process!
Going back to why you need to figure out what you want… Most of us know what we don’t want – which is good, sometimes, to make us realize what it is that we really shouldn’t get into. It saves us time. But it’s equally important to know what we do want. And it’s often harder.
The simple fact is that when you don’t know what you want, it’s hard to figure out what to do next.
You can’t go on to do all the funny, exciting planning and goal-setting stuff (which I’m a big fan of, btw!) if you don’t know what it is that you’re trying to achieve. So knowing what you want is the first step of the process, and consider it might also be the hardest. But this post will help (I hope!).
WHY YOU HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU WANT (YET)
There are definitely some people out there who really have it all figured out, they focus on one thing and onething only and they choose to master it (maybe since they’re children) – but since you’re reading this, I assume it is probably not your case.
The truth is that there are so many reasons why we block ourselves from figuring out what we want, things we often do without even noticing. And of course we can’t analyze all these reasons in this short block of text – also because they might be extremely personal – but we can definitely explore one of the most popular ones: not being true to ourselves. Now, I’m not saying this is necessarily something you do consciously.
Let me explain it better. A couple of years ago, I had my future planned in vivid details. In my head, it all seemed exciting and “mature enough” and every time I’d tell people about it, they would all answer: “Oh, this sounds great! I’m so happy for you!” But every single time I received that answer, I could hear this quiet voice in my head saying: “This is great, but I’m not happy!”. It was a weird feeling to explain, but I knew what was going on, I just didn’t want to say it out loud.
If this is close to what you’re feeling or what you think you’re feeling (emotions can be so confusing sometimes!) please let me tell you a few words from the bottom of my heart:
I know that fighting your blocking mindsets, self-doubt and self-sabotage is hard and scary (I’m still going through this everyday!) but ask yourself: “Is it really worth it?”
Is it worth it torturing yourself into doing something you might enjoy but not totally LOVE for the rest of your life?
Is it worth it living an ‘almost fulfilling’ and ‘almost happy’ life just because you’re afraid of what other people will think of you? Is it worth it not putting your true potential out there? Is it worth it ignoring the passion that truly sets your heart on fire because you’re afraid it might not work out? Remember: the answer to 100% of the questions you don’t ask is no.
This might not help everyone, I get it, but I know it helped me so I think it’s worth sharing if it makes even the slightest difference into someone’s life.
A last thing to take into consideration:
Maybe the reason why you haven’t figured out what you want yet is that you just haven’t experienced enough to take anything into real consideration. This is a simple, quick thought, but maybe underrated.
In this connection I would highly suggest you watch the following TED Talk: it could blow your mind.
WHAT IT (TRULY) FEELS LIKE TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
I think it’s also important to talk about what it truly feels like to know what you want.
That’s because a lot of us put this whole ‘figuring out what we want’ thing up on a pedestal. We convince ourselves that knowing what we want will make us feel constantly amazing and excited about life. It’s gonna be the “end of the darkness”, it’s gonna be the answer to everything. We convince ourselves that people who know what they want must feel GREAT about their lives.
But the truth is this is not a magic pill. Nobody has it all figured out, but having a start, a direction, that’s what truly matters. Because if you have it all calculated to the second, something unexpected or a little mistake could totally put you off track. Instead, it should be a constant growth.
So, yeeaahh… you probably will never have it all figured out, but that’s something to be happy and grateful for! It’s means you’re going somewhere and there’s room for growth.
Think of it a spectrum. At one end there’s total uncertainty and at the other there’s total certainty. Our goal here is moving a little closer towards the ‘knowing what you want’ end of the spectrum.
ASK YOURSELF THIS SIMPLE QUESTION
Mel Robbins changed my life.
Around a year ago I ran into a Youtube video where this blonde middle-aged woman with glasses was talking about passion, and finding it in life.
At that point of my life, I was desperately looking for a way, a path to follow. I just finished my high school years and didn’t feel like college was really the right answer for me. So I felt lost – and was desperately looking for answers everywhere.
Basically, what Mel suggested in that video was that instead of looking for our passion and purpose in life we should ask ourselves one simple question: “What does energize me everyday?”
She believes passion is really another word for energy.
In her own words: “Every one of us has an internal fuel tank that is either empty or full. And if you’re empty, you feel depleted, if you’re full you feel energized.”
And the answer to that question could be everything that feels true to your heart. There’s no need to lie to yourself. She even suggests that if the answer is “making money”, then it’s okay, you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.
You might feel a natural drive for money especially when you’re a 20-something, because you’re finally in a stage of life where you can buy yourself pretty things. And you want them, and there’s nothing wrong about it!
This is also what she added:
“It could be in any single shape or form but if it energizes you, that’s what you need to follow. And what happens is that passion also because it’s energy, it dissipates over time because when you first start making money it’s fuc— thrilling but what happens is once you learn how to do something once you can do it over and over again and so it starts to become routine – which means it’s no longer energizing you […] now you got to be energized by the next thing”
Seen from this perspective, the ‘figuring out what you want’ thing seems a lot more doable, right? And it takes a lot of the pressure off, because you now know that passion is temporary, so you don’t have to choose one thing only for the rest of your life!!
Once you identified what energizes you for most of the time, then you just have to figure out a way to make money from it so that you can actually do it everyday – which is easier said than done, I know, but it’s a start.
#Tip: Dream without judgement.
For this exercise to be really effective, you need to dream without judgement, you need to stop giving your brain limits. Let me ask you a question.
If you had 100 million dollars in your bank account and wouldn’t have to work another day of your life, what would you do all day?
Would you travel, or paint or write the next greatest novel? Would you go to that yoga retreat in Nicaragua you’ve always dreamed of? Would you rescue animals? What would you do??
Sometimes it happens that we can’t give ourselves a sure answer because what we are looking for is buried underneath, deep in our subconscious.
The exercise I found to be the most effective in digging deep into our minds is definitely journaling. Ok, maybe you don’t like writing. It doesn’t matter! It’s not an essay, you’ll be the only person reading it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you simply have to write whatever comes to your mind. The silliest thoughts, I don’t care.
But try to write as fast as you can, to stop you from censoring or judging yourself. You’ll see that after a while your true voice will start coming up and getting louder (the one buried under all the doubts and fears!). Now you just have to listen to that voice.
In the free mini-course you’ll also find great writing prompts to help you get started.
ACCEPT THAT YOU MIGHT JUST BE A MULTI-PASSIONATE
I used to be an hyperactive kid (I still am shh). I would literally run around all day, invent the weirdest stories and create the craziest things that were only based on my imagination (perfumes, mixtures, forts…you know, all those things kids do!). I could barely get and put in practice an idea that I was following another one, or mixing the two together. And I was happy to do so!
But growing up, teachers and “experts” would tell me to focus on one path only. To specialize, to narrow my focus as much as possible to get the best out of a single subject for the rest of my life (maybe).
But that’s just not who I am. I mean, it’s definitely true that focusing on one thing can allow you to master it and take it to the next level, but I would have been unhappy with having to make such a choice.
Because I loved writing, but also designing and a bit of coding, and personal growth. I didn’t want to give up any of them! And that’s basically how this blog was born – which is probably the thing I’m the most proud of.
So do you have lots of passions but aren’t sure which one to choose? I give you permission to follow them all!
The amazing Marie Forleo coined the term ‘multi-passionate’: when she was starting out she was a fitness instructor and a life-coach and a hip-hop dancer.
Even Steve Jobs talked in his speech at Stanford of how taking a single class of calligraphy at the Reed College gave him the idea for the new fonts for the first Macintosh computer 10 years later (as he said “It was the first computer with beautiful typography”).
The point is: experience is everything – you never know what skill you might need in the future, or how something you did 10 years ago could give you a life-changing idea now.
So if you like focusing on one thing only and mastering it…I’m really happy for you! Go ahead! But if you don’t feel comfortable feeling pressured to make a choice… then you don’t have to!
I suggest you give a look at the following video, it’s a TED TALK about multi-passionate people. A couple years ago (I think) I saw myself in her words and stopped feeling so guilty for having more than one passion at a time:
EVALUATE YOUR OPTIONS
Now that you hopefully have some ideas on what you want to spend your life doing (or even only the next few years), you have to realize how you want to monetize your passions.
The first thing I suggest you do is: research, research and research. With the Internet and globalization, it seems like nowadays you can literally make money doing whatever you want (I literally saw the craziest niches online courses make 6-figures!).
Maybe you won’t be able to become a millionaire in every case, but you’ll definitely be able to live a more fulfilling life doing something that not only you love doing, but that pays your bills as well.
Honestly, you’re probably a few clicks of Google searches away from a step-by-step plan to make 6 figures in the next year right now.
STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT?
Don’t worry! I got you covered! This blog post was the tip of the iceberg, but there’s more you can do to discover what you truly want to do with your life.
I created this FREE mini-course called “Plan your (dream) life”, it’s basically a self-paced online course whose goal is to help you access your current life situation and realize what you truly want through strategical planning. It is composed of 7 video lessons plus a few downloadable workbooks you can fill out and some bonus printables.
So grab your favorite beverage and get cozy, ‘cause it’s time to craft the life of your dreams.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Did you find this post interesting? Did you try any of the techniques mentioned? Are you a multi-passionate like me?
I absolutely love bedtime. But it hasn’t always been the case. Actually, I struggled with it for quite some time.
For some weird reasons, in the past, whenever I got myself under the blankets, my brain would immediately wake up. Not only I would overthink every single detail of the day I just went through, but the best.ideas.ever would come to my mind – you, the ‘too good to ignore’ type.
Basically, my mind had assumed that the fact that I was going to sleep meant it was ‘thinking’ time – which caused me to stay awake.
Luckily, with time, I got to learn some tricks – and most importantly a few routines – that get me ‘in the zone’ and help me unwind and sleep better more easily and more frequently.
You might be surprised by how much of a difference some little changes can make into your life.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn some money if you click on one at no extra cost for you. I am very grateful for your support of this site in this way. Thank you.
It’s scientifically proven that the blue light that phones, tablets, TVs, Laptops and other technological devices emit makes it difficult to both fall and stay asleep. Our brain thinks that light is the sunlight and delays the production of melatonin in our bodies, which is an hormone that regulates our sleep patterns.
That’s why I suggest you start using Twilight (for android)) or the night shift mode (if you have an Iphone). Basically, they will filter the blue spectrum on your phone or tablet after sunset into a soft and pleasant red filter so that your device screen adapts to the time of the day.
While these apps offer a good solution to be able to use devices before going to sleep, I would still suggest you turn off the screens and enjoy other more relaxing activities, like reading a book (honestly, the best sleeping pill I tried to this day!) or taking a long hot bath while listening to relaxing music, a podcast or an audiobook.
This is probably the reason why I manage to stay mentally safe. For real!
With a million tasks to check off everyday, I would literally spend the night before going through the entire list, which would make it almost impossible for me to fall asleep.
Writing everything down on a to-do list (I’m currently doing it digitally on my computer) will not only help your mind prepare and stay focused, but will also make you feel like you have your sh*t together and nothing to worry about except getting a good rest!
If you’re about to skip this paragraph because you’re thinking “um no, that’s not for me, I could never be able to do that”, please hold on for a second. Or you could regret missing on it.
Tim Ferriss – productivity expert, author, angel investor, winner of Tango World Championships (honestly, whatever you have on your bucket list, this guy has probably done that!) – said that his first productivity hack would be meditation for sure. No doubts about it.
And even thought I couldn’t see the benefits of meditation at first (despite the incredible amount of scientific research in its favor), I decided to give this habit a try. In two words: it’s a game changer.
It’s actually a very simple habit if you think about it. I mean, you just have to sit, relax, close your eyes and focus on one single thing (it could be your breath, a specific point in front of you, or the color you see when you close your eyes).
The goal is not ‘to think about nothing’. It is to observe how your thoughts tend to wander without judging them or stopping on any in particular. 99% of the time you’ll feel distracted, but don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. As long as you catch yourself and bring back the focus on that one thing, it’s working.
A 10-minute meditation before bedtime is now one of my favorite bedtime habits. It doesn’t only calm me down (which is crucial for my anxiety) but also allows me to get more control over my thoughts. Instead of feeling like a victim to my own bad thoughts and feelings, I can now notice them and simply let them go. I choose what I keep in and what I ignore.
And that feeling of power is priceless, I swear!
There are many apps out there that offer guided meditation. The most popular ones are Calm and Headspace (also suggested by Tim Ferriss!), but you can also find various recordings on Youtube.
Like meditation, this is a life-changing habit whose goal is to improve your mood and happiness, on an everyday basis.
It basically consists in giving yourself 5 minutes (I personally do it both in the morning and at night) to be grateful for everything you have in your life. It can be anything, from your partner, a friendship, to the clean sheets you slept in or the cup of coffee you’re about to drink – or simply the fact you’re breathing and alive.
Stretching is very important not only to improve your flexibility and your range of motion but also to prevent injuries. It relaxes muscles and increases blood flow and nutrients to your cartilage and muscles.
I used to hate stretching or practicing some relaxing yoga, especially at night, and now is something I actually look forward to every evening.
We all run around all day, we work and get things done – but we also deserve a rest. After a long day, this sacred moment to share only with your body can be a great way to recharge and unwind at the same time – and practice some love and kindness toward yourself.
If you’re a beginner – like me – Adriene (the girl in the video above) has also an entire playlist dedicated to beginners – there you’ll find all the main poses and how to perform them correctly. Plus she’s a great teacher!
SET OUT YOUR CLOTHES AND WORK BAG
…Or really any other necessity you usually do in the morning. This will not only save you some extra time while getting ready in the next morning, but will also make sure you don’t run in a rush and enjoy your morning routine to the fullest.
You’ll sleep like a baby knowing your clothes have been laid out and your work bag is ready to be picked up!