The Thief of Joy

I am sure that many of you have heard the phrase, “comparison is the thief of joy.” As I have gotten older, I have realized just how true this statement is. Today I wanted to chat a bit about this topic, because I feel that I have learned a lot about it over the years, and I understand it well.

 I think that it is normal to compare ourselves to others. We seem to do it naturally, and even subconsciously at times. We compare ourselves to our family members, our friends, and even complete strangers on the internet. While a little harmless comparison once in a while is no big deal, it can have detrimental effects if it were to be continuous. But when does it cross that line?

While I was never one to let social media affect me negatively, I think that we can all say that we’ve compared ourselves to someone online before. The problem with this is that some people still do not see that social media is a highlight reel. I do not see anything wrong with showcasing your achievements or your best photos online. I don’t see a problem with sharing great moments you experience in life. I think that we all want to showcase our best selves to the world, and that is completely ok. The problem comes when people assume that someone’s life is perfect simply because they post about the good moments. Even the most beautiful person you follow on Instagram has their flaws. Their life is not 100% figured out every moment of every day. They have bad days, just as we all do. Never assume that someone or their life is perfect. This is never the case.

I know people who share all of the good and all of the bad online. What you put out onto the internet is up to you, but I think we would all be better off if we spread a little positivity now and then. For myself, I use social media as a way to stay connected with friends/family, to find inspiration, to uplift and inspire others, and to share my passions. I never want anyone to think that I am perfect, or that I have everything together all of the time. I like being open and honest on social media as often as I can. It is important to me that I keep my content genuine because people can relate to that. It can resonate with people, and that is all I want. I choose to share content that is more positive because that is what I want to put out into the word. That is what I want my life to be about. I’ve gained the confidence to share my voice with the world through my writing, and social media has helped me share what I believe is my purpose in life. It will always be a goal of mine to stay true to who I am, both in real life and on social media.

Comparing ourselves doesn’t just stop at social media. We do it in real life sometimes too. It is important to remember that every single person in this world has their own unique timeline. If a friend of yours is having a baby, that doesn’t mean that you are falling behind in life. If your younger sibling gets their dream job before you do, that doesn’t mean that you are a failure. If your parents got married at 22, and you are 23 and single, that doesn’t mean you will never get married. Please understand that the right things will happen for you at the right time. We are all living completely different lives. You are your own person, and this is the way it should be.  We all have different priorities as well, so work on what is important to you, not what’s important to anyone else. While a little bit of jealousy is normal, you shouldn’t let it overpower your happiness for those you care about.

Remember to cheer people on. Cheer on your friend who got a raise. Cheer on your friend who is traveling the world. Cheer on your friend who just got engaged. Your time will come, I promise. For now, be happy for other people, and be happy for yourself. Be proud of where you are in your life right now. So long as you are making progress and working toward your goals at a pace that works for you, things are going to take off for you. And when you experience achievements and good moments, the right people will be by your side, supporting you too. And it is important to be there to uplift and support your people when they’re struggling just as much as when they are on top of the world. Be a present friend, girlfriend, daughter, etc. Be there for the people you love.

I hope that this message was helpful today. I think it something that people need reminding of sometimes (including myself).

Thank you so much for reading!

The People You Attract When You Love Yourself

For the longest time, I found myself connecting with people who treated me poorly. I felt like my heart was being taken advantage of time and time again. I used to put all of the blame on those who hurt me, but the truth is, I allowed them to treat me that way. Something I’ve learned over time is that the relationship you have with yourself, affects any and all of your relationships with others. When you don’t love who you are, you are essentially telling others, “You can love me as much as I love myself” and at times, this can be detrimental. At the end of the day, people are going to treat you how you allow them to. For myself, realizing this was a wake-up call.

Sometimes, we get into situations involving unkind people. Whether it is a love interest, a friend, a supervisor or peer, the list goes on. No one likes to be treated negatively. We all want to feel loved and accepted. We all want to find people who treat us with respect and like we are valuable. The problem is, you can’t really start looking for that love in others until you start looking for it in yourself. Truthfully, this isn’t always a problem. It depends on where you choose to focus your energy; on others or yourself. To fully accept who you are is such a gift. I have been taking my time to learn this and I have already been reaping the benefits of self-love.

I used to only focus on what I wanted. I failed to recognize my needs. Now, what I want and need is the same thing. I stopped putting in effort with people who don’t value me, and I broke free from those negative relationships that drained me. I know how I deserve to be treated now, and to rise from what I once felt broke me, is an incredible feeling. Of course, I am still learning and I am still growing. I am in no way perfect. They say that lessons are often repeated until they are learned, and I am sure that I will be tested with negative situations in the future. The difference will be how I choose to react to the situation. Will I let my love and care for others overpower their behavior, or will I walk away with the knowledge that I deserve better?

Self-love is a journey, and it is one that you need to continuously work on. You need to make it your job. It is not selfish to put yourself first when you realize that you aren’t being treated the way you deserve. There comes a point when enough is enough. You aren’t going to want to settle for people who don’t show you fierce and honest love and respect. Walking away from people who mistreat you can sometimes be difficult, but in the end, it is one of the most rewarding things you could ever do. Choosing yourself takes courage and strength.

Remember that the right people are going to love and accept you for who you are, all while pushing you to be your best self. The right people will never put you in a position where you question your worth, and they will never let you stay stuck.

I am learning to forgive myself for putting up with people and situations that I once allowed to hurt me. It is hard some days, but looking back, I see so much growth. I have changed so much in such a short amount of time, and I will always be proud of that.

For the past few years, I have been pouring so much love back into myself, and it has truly been life changing. Not only have I been feeling more confident and accepting of who I am, but I have been attracting the most amazing, supportive, and loving people into my life. I feel more at peace and happy with myself and my life than ever before, and I want to continue working hard to make sure this feeling stays.

Everything I shared today has been on my heart recently, and I am happy to put it out there. I hope that you found this message helpful today. If you feel that someone you know should hear it too, I would appreciate it if you shared this post with them. Thank you so much for reading!

How to Live a Happier Life

So many people go searching for happiness. What I have come to realize is that happiness always comes from within. The sooner this is realized, the sooner happiness can begin.

I think that all anyone ever wants is to be happy. The problem is many people do not know where happiness comes from, so they go off to find it somewhere else. Happiness is a choice, and it all starts with you. Every morning, I try to wake up and choose to have a great day. To be happy. Obviously, not every day is a great day, but your attitude really is everything.

I often describe myself as a very happy and positive person. I think I’ve always been like this. I find joy in the little things, and I tend to have an optimistic view of life. This doesn’t mean that I am positive and happy every single day, but that is always my goal.

Today, I wanted to share some ways to live a happier life overall, but I am changing things up a bit. I am really excited because I decided to include a few of my friends and family members in on this blog post! I asked them all the same question: What is one thing you would say to someone who wants to live a happier life? This may seem like a surface question, but in reality, it is extremely deep and personal. I am going to include a few of my family members and friends responses, and my own as well. Keep in mind that these responses are paraphrased, however I included their main point(s). I also included a couple quotes that stood out to me the most. Their answers were brief, but in my opinion, very meaningful.

Here were the responses (in no particular order):

Say positive mantras daily

Whether that is “Today is going to be a great day” or “I am grateful for what I have”. By focusing on the positive things in life and remaining optimistic, happiness will follow. “Never underestimate the importance of recognizing the silver linings in life.”

Love your job

No one wants to spend their lives miserable. We all start somewhere, just make sure you are working hard to get to where you really want to be. They always say that when you love your job, it doesn’t necessarily feel like work. Make sure you’re doing what you love. (This person also mentioned that having a furry friend in your life can bring so much joy as well.)

Let go of your past

Holding grudges will only hurt you in the end, so there is no reason to hold hate or bitterness in your heart. This person also stressed the importance of removing toxic people from your life and forgiving everyone.  Remaining positive is key in her life as well.

Spread more love and less hate

Being cruel and mean will get you absolutely nowhere in life. Love and kindness are powerful. What you put out into the world will ultimately come back to you. Spread love always.

Don’t worry about what other people think

It shouldn’t matter so much what people say or think about you because at the end of the day, your own opinion of yourself should matter more. Focus on yourself and do what you want to do. That is what is going to bring happiness. “Nobody is putting as much effort into thinking about you, as you are.”

Delve into your passions

Focus on your goals and your dreams and work hard to make them a reality. You really can do anything you want in life, and by working toward your passions, happiness will always be with you. Do not let anyone discourage you or make you believe that you can’t accomplish your dreams.

Go with the flow

Sometimes, being a planner (especially during an unpredictable time) can lead to a lot of disappointment. There are going to be moments in life when things will not go your way, and it is important to adapt in these situations. Understand that change is going to come, but know that how you react matters most.

Think positive thoughts

“Your thoughts control your actions and they will control your mind too.” Remember to always remain positive and never let negative comments from others bring you down. Do the things that make you happy, and spread kindness to everyone. This person also mentioned the importance of incorporating meditation into ones daily life.

Surround yourself with family

It is so important to have your loved ones around you. Family should always be a priority, and making time to be with them is what makes this person very happy. Not everyone has a great relationship with their family members, so if this is you, try to find friends who feel like family, and keep them close.  Having good people in your life can help you in ways you couldn’t imagine.

Every answer I received was beautiful and personal to the individual. I found it interesting to see what everyone said because happiness means something different to everyone. Some common themes I found were positivity and kindness. I was very happy to include these people in this blog post because they mean a lot to me.

Remember that ultimately, happiness is a choice. Yes, good things are going to happen and yes, bad things are going to happen. But, at least to me, you can choose how to react to most situations you face. Being happy truly does come from the heart. If you wake up every day, focus on the positive, and choose happiness, I promise, you will find it.

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time!

The Beauty of Vulnerability

I’ve always been someone who wears my heart on my sleeve. This has both helped me and hurt me in the past. I’m rarely afraid of being vulnerable. I love having deep and honest conversations with people because it allows us to open up, and that is when you really get to understand a person.

That is the beauty of vulnerability. You see the truth. Sadly, some people do not look at it the same way. Some people see vulnerability as a weakness. I’ve never looked at it that way though. I’ve always seen it as strength. Being able to show your emotions and tell people how you feel about them is beautiful. It takes strength, and it takes courage.

So many people would rather put on an act than to simply be themselves. I was never the type of person to do this though. I think that sharing my feelings has scared some people in the past. Some people are not used to so much transparency. I love forming relationships with people, and I have found that being honest and true is always worthwhile. No one can relate to perfection.

I’m not going to lie, being vulnerable, at least to some people, makes you a target. If you’re vulnerable, there is always a possibility of getting hurt. This is the tricky part. You need to be careful about who you let in to your life. You shouldn’t share everything with just anyone. Not everyone is going to stick around, and some people use your own vulnerability against you.

I often feel that I am very good at reading people. Even if my heart is telling me to look past the red flags, the voice in the back of my head is always there to tell me otherwise. One of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning is to trust my gut instincts about people. I don’t have very many friends, but I am lucky because I know that the ones I do have are true. I think that I come across as antisocial and sometimes even “stuck-up” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve had to learn to be careful about whom I share my personal life with, and while I think that it is sad that people must learn this in the first place, it is also smart.

Once you find your people, at least for me, opening up is easy. Being yourself is easy. Because if they are the right people, they are going to love you no matter what. I know that for some people, opening up can be really difficult. Maybe you’ve had a difficult past and you don’t like to talk about it. Maybe you’ve been hurt one too many times, and you don’t want to go through that pain ever again. Maybe you’ve seen people close to you get hurt after being vulnerable. Whatever it is, you can’t be afraid of being honest. You can’t be afraid of connecting with other people. It will only lead to a life with empty, meaningless connections. Life is so much more meaningful and beautiful when you allow yourself to be seen to the people that mean the most to you. If you find people who feel comfortable sharing their feelings with you, remember to be that person for them as well.

I’ve never been one who hides my emotions very well. If I am happy, you’re going to know it. If I am frustrated, you’re going to know it. And if I am sad, you’re definitely going to know it. Yes, I would describe myself as emotional, but I think that many people look at the word “emotional” and automatically associate it with being sad all the time. This however, is not the case for me. I am a very happy and positive person. I feel my emotions very deeply. I simply accept them. I talk about them. I write about them. It is so unhealthy to bottle up your feelings and keep them to yourself. It only hurts you in the end.

If you remember anything from this post, let it be that it is ok to be vulnerable, and you should never fear it. However, always be careful about the people you connect with. While people’s true intentions always show in the end, it’s better to be smart from the beginning.

I wanted to share this message to remind anyone and everyone that vulnerability isn’t something you should steer away from. If anything, vulnerability is what connects us. I hope that the next time you interact with someone, you open up, even if it’s just a little bit. Whether you’re sharing your favorite color or your deepest secrets, when it comes to those you love and trust most, allow yourself to be seen.

Thank you so much for reading!

How I’ve Been Staying Productive While Quarantining

COVID-19 has very quickly spread across the globe, causing many people to quarantine in their homes. I know that the world is slowly reopening, however, I felt that sharing this blog post with you all can still be helpful. Especially for those of you who plan on quarantining for a bit longer.

While many people love being at home all day, other people may be struggling with it a bit more. For me personally, my mood is different every day, though I think many people can relate to this. Some days I feel very productive and happy, and other days I break down and cry. It’s so strange to be living through a pandemic like this. I never thought that I would ever have to go through something like this, but here we are.

When we first had to start quarantining, I was finishing up my junior year of college. School work kept me busy during that time, but now I have completed the semester and I am on summer break which means I have a lot of free time. Too much free time is not necessarily a good thing, at least for me, so it is important and in some ways necessary for me to keep busy.

As I said, not every day is amazing. When I do have great days, I try to think about what it is that made it great. Today, I wanted to share some of the ways that I have been staying productive (and happy) while quarantining.

Exercising

Alright, if you know me at all, you already saw this one coming. I love working out and staying active, however gyms have closed a while ago which means people are either working out from home or skipping their workouts. When I got the email that my gym was temporarily closing, I was upset but I understood that it was the right call to make in order to keep everyone safe. So, I had to get a bit experimental. Luckily, I have quite a bit of gym equipment at my home. I have a workout bench, some weights, and resistance bands. I often feel much more motivated when I am working out at the gym, so at first it was a bit difficult to get into this new routine. I am happy to say that I am working out 5-6 days a week! It keeps me busy, and it makes me feel healthy and happy. I enjoy weight training, HIIT, yoga, walking (or hiking), and I’ve even been playing badminton! It is so important to stay active especially at a time like this. It is tempting to lie down all day and watch TV or play video games, but when I do nothing productive all day, I feel awful. When I work out, my mood can change completely. (If you can get outdoors for your daily exercise, that is even better. Fresh air is always important, but especially right now!)

Cleaning + organizing

I am not the biggest fan of cleaning, but of course, it has to be done. I have been trying to keep my home clean and organized. I have been getting rid of things I don’t want or use, and I enjoy organizing. It keeps me busy, and it has allowed me to go through things that I would have most likely left alone for a long time. While cleaning isn’t my favorite thing to do, there are times when I get a random urge to just clean everything. It is always important to keep your home clean, after all, that is your space that you come back to day after day. Plus, at least for me, having a clean and organized space relaxes me (and it’s aesthetically pleasing)!

Pampering myself

I try to prioritize taking care of my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I have so much time to do whatever right now, so I have really been taking care of myself even more lately. I like to keep up with my outer appearance because it makes me feel more confident. I’ll do my own brows, I’ll use hair and face masks, and I will do my skincare routine. For my mental and emotional health, I like to do the things that make me happy. Whether that is working out or writing, I try to make time for the things I love. I also feel like talking (or in my case ranting) about how I feel always helps me. If I have a bad day or I’m just not feeling like myself, I will spend some time with my family and talk to my friends. This relaxes me, and sometimes you just need to have a good cry (I know I’ve had a few while being stuck at home)! Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, jut don’t dwell on these feelings. Have a bad day, and try to do better tomorrow.

Blogging + writing

Writing is one of my biggest passions, and luckily, I can do this from the comfort of my own home. I love planning out and writing my upcoming blog posts. Nothing beats the feeling of being inspired, and somehow, even while stuck at home, I’ve managed to stay inspired. I like to plan out my blog posts at least a month ahead, and I try to stay on track with my posting schedule. I really enjoy writing and blogging, but if this isn’t your thing, try to dive into your hobbies or explore new ones. Learn more about what it is you want to do, and do it!

These next 2 are not necessarily productive, but they make me happy, and I think they are needed and important to mention!

Talking to friends and family

Luckily, I am quarantining with my family, and they are my best friends. I am happy to have them by my side. While I like my alone time, I still love hanging out with and talking to my family every day. My family even did a zoom reunion so we could see the family we haven’t seen in a while! I have really been missing my friends lately, so I try to text them often. I even have a couple facetime dates planned out with my friends. I hate that we can’t see each other but once this is all over and done I am going to give them the biggest hugs. I understand that not everyone is quarantining with their family or friends, and you may be by yourself right now. I am sure that this is very difficult, so this tip is especially important for those of you who are alone. Reach out and talk to your loved ones as often as you can. This is going to pass eventually!

Relaxing

I know that this post is about staying productive, but honestly, many of us have some time to relax, so we should enjoy it! When I am not doing any of the things I mentioned above, I like to relax. For me, relaxing looks like lying on my bed watching Netflix or YouTube, scrolling through social media, or reading. I’ve been thinking of starting some new TV shows and watching some of my favorite movies as well.

While it is great to be productive, it is ok if you’ve been relaxing a little too much lately (we may never get this much time to relax again)! Please, don’t be too hard on yourself. Like I said, this is a really strange time we are living in right now. If you have been spending your days lying down and you don’t feel very productive, that’s ok. If you’ve been moving nonstop and staying busy, that is ok too! What I will say is that you should take note of the things that are making you feel great and recognize the things that are making you feel bad. Based on what I’ve been seeing in the news, things do seem to be looking up (at least in some parts of the world). Don’t lose hope. I think we are all going to come out of this so much more grateful to be able to simply live our everyday lives. To interact with other people less than 6 feet apart. To workout at the gym. To go to the grocery store without a face mask on. And to hug the people we love extra tight.

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time!

How to Build Self-Confidence

Hey everyone! As I am sure many of you are aware, I am all about confidence and self-love. That is, after all, what my blog is centered around. I did not just create this blog for myself though; I created it for other women like me. For the women who are trying to gain confidence in themselves. For the women who are working on loving themselves unconditionally. I created this blog to stand with you, and to let you know that I understand exactly how you are feeling. Today, I wanted to share my best tips on how to build self-confidence.

I feel as if I have been on this self-love journey for so long now, that at times it can get really frustrating. I say this all the time, but I am not where I want to be in life just yet. I still struggle with confidence and I still struggle with self-doubt. I have grown so much in recent years, and I have gained quite a bit of confidence in myself, despite the struggle. I am proud that I was never the kind of person to pretend to be anyone other than myself. I always stayed true to who I was and what I wanted, even if that meant that I didn’t fit in. This still rings true today.

Part of me felt that it wasn’t right to share these tips with you all because I am not the most confident person out there. But then I thought, if I am feeling this way, there is bound to be other women who do too. Plus, these tips that I am sharing with you today have definitely helped me gained confidence in myself, so I hope that this helps you too!

My tips:

  • Be prepared

One thing that always brings me a bit of confidence is being prepared for anything. Since I am a college student, this is a tip that I have learned in the past few years. Sometimes, you need to be ahead of the game. For me, this means getting my school work done and being productive. If that means going over something the day before class, I do it because I know that by taking the time to look over a reading or do an assignment, I will know exactly what my professor is talking about. I like to know what’s going on, and I like having a plan. This is just a personal example. Find what that is for you, and stay on top of it! Whether you are studying for your driver’s test or you are getting ready for an important interview, being prepared will always bring you confidence and calm your nerves.

  • Compliment yourself daily

Self-affirmations are a great way to start your day. You do not necessarily have to believe the positive things you tell yourself, but you should! I try to do this every day because it makes me feel confident. It may seem a bit silly to look at yourself in the mirror and say “you’re beautiful” or “You’re strong”, but I am telling you that it works! Embrace the awkwardness and show yourself some love. Soon enough, you are going to believe the words that you are saying.

  • Get out of your comfort zone

This is something I tend to struggle with a lot, however I’ve been doing this more often lately. I am the kind of person who enjoys routine and planning things out. I find comfort in a daily routine, and getting out of it can be challenging for me. Well, I recently went above and beyond with this tip, and I was able to go on my dream trip to France! This was a huge step for me, and it brought me confidence as well as independence. Although I wasn’t alone, I did go with a group of girls from school who I did not know too well. I ended up having an amazing time and I learned that sometimes getting out of your comfort zone can be the best thing for you. This is a big example, but there are smaller things that you can do in your everyday life that will lead you to a similar result. Do the things that scare you. If it is going to help you grow in positive ways, take the risk.

  • Self-care

I always feel my best when I take care of myself. I like to take some time to pamper myself, and keep up with my appearance. Although I know that looks aren’t everything, it does make me feel more confident when I look presentable. I also enjoy dressing up and doing my makeup and hair. I’ve noticed that when I am wearing an outfit that I love and feel comfortable in, that is when I feel most confident. I know that everyone is different, and not every girl likes to get glammed up. If this is not your style, I would suggest wearing what you want to wear. Whatever you feel best in, wear it. I do not look at the word “self-care” and think that it only applies to appearances. I work really hard on taking care of my heart and mind as well. Take care of yourself all around. It makes a world of a difference.

  • Surround yourself with good people

This is easier said than done, I know. I feel lucky that I have an incredible and loving family to fall back on. They are my everything, and I am so grateful that I have the relationship with them that I do. I am aware that not everyone has this though. I always struggled to make friends, so I never had very many, but right now, I know that the ones I do have are true. As long as you remain true to who you are, you will attract the right people, however, there is a good chance that you will attract the wrong people too. Be careful and be aware of who you surround yourself with. Some people will only get close to you to use you, to hurt you, or to bring you down.  Trust me, you don’t want or need people like that in your life. Cut the ties, and find people who truly love you, support you, and care for you. And remember to be that person for them as well.

  • Work toward your goals and passions

This is something that I have been working very hard on, and I have to say, not only does it make me feel confident, but it makes me happy. Creating this blog was one of the biggest steps that I have taken that is helping me reach my goals. Since I love to write, I now get to do it often, all while helping others, and nothing makes me happier. If you take some time to think about your goals and what you want in life, you can start working toward those goals right now. There is no reason you have to wait around. Go after what you want in life, and even with the setbacks, please keep going. If you are passionate about something, and if you believe in yourself, you can reach your goals. And don’t forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small!

  • Envision the person you are trying to become (essentially, fake it til’ you make it)

As I have learned, gaining confidence can take a long time. It also takes a lot of work. Even if you aren’t 100% confident in yourself, it is ok to act like you are. There is a difference between confidence and cockiness or arrogance. No one is better than anyone else. Just try to imagine the person you are trying to become, and work every day to get there. This does not mean copying anyone else’s lifestyle or comparing yourself to anyone else. While it is great to be inspired by others, I simply mean that you should strive to be YOUR best self. When I imagine the woman I am becoming, I see that she is strong, confident, and kind. While I would describe myself with these words right now, I know there is always room for improvement.

  • One last tip from my momma: There is no deadline

I was recently speaking to my mother about confidence, and how I wish I was further along on this journey. What she told me is something that I think everyone should hear. I told her that I was worried about never reaching that point of being 100% confident in myself. I was worried that I would not be able to have the things I want in life if I am not confident in who I am. She reminded me that there is no deadline, and that people have their dreams come true at different points in their lives, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, by taking your time and working on you, the right things will come to you at the right time. She said that life may seem long right now, but it is actually really short. And lastly, she reminded me that it isn’t about the destination, it is about the journey.

I know that this may seem overwhelming, but we would all be much better off if we gained more self-confidence. Know that it takes time, but you will get there eventually. I haven’t given up hope, and I hope you don’t either. I am right there with you. Thank you so much for reading!

Exciting Announcement: Part 2 of “Saying ‘Yes’ to New Opportunities and Why You Should Never Fear Growth”

If you have been keeping up with my blog posts for a while now, you may remember that I posted that I had an exciting announcement to share in the New Year. Remember when I posted that I said yes to an exciting new opportunity? Well, today I am finally sharing what that is! Saying yes to this opportunity is leading me to one of my biggest dreams, but it was actually not an easy decision to make, and I will explain why.

First, I want to share with you all that I am going to be traveling to France over spring break! To say that I am exhilarated would be an understatement. Everyone who knows me knows that I have dreamed of going to France for such a long time now, so the fact that I am actually going doesn’t feel real just yet.

I feel very lucky to attend a school that offers amazing opportunities. I am a junior in college and my advisor recommended that I travel abroad while in school. I do not live on campus, so I have had trouble meeting people, but part of the requirement for the travel abroad program I am in is to take a course during the semester of travel. I am currently taking a class for the program called “Bonjour Ville Saine”, which means “Hello Healthy City”. We are learning about the health of the people in my city as well as the health of the people in Paris and Lyon, which are the two cities we will be traveling to. When we come back from our trip, we are going to be comparing the health of the people in these cities to my city. I think this is going to be interesting to look at because here in America, I feel that we do have a lot of issues when it comes to healthcare.

While speaking to my advisor about the different countries that I could travel to, I felt excited at the thought of traveling again. She mentioned that there were spots open to travel to Guatemala and France. I immediately perked up when she said the word “France”. The excitement quickly dissolved when I started thinking of all of the reasons I shouldn’t go. I know that this decision may seem like a no-brainer to some of you, and you may even be thinking “Why on earth wouldn’t you say yes?” but I made a list of pros and cons. My cons were a pretty big deal in my opinion, so let’s start with that.

Although I have been lucky enough to travel often, I have always done it with my family. My family and I are very close, and the thought of being away from them for more than a couple of days makes me anxious. Especially since I am going to be OUT OF THE COUNTRY. I spent some time talking to my family and my friends because I trust their opinions, and it felt like a decision that I just couldn’t make on my own. Everyone I spoke to said I should do it. They were happy for me, so why couldn’t I just say yes?

My family knows how much this trip means to me, and I was really hoping to go to France for the first time with them. I was worried that if I went on this trip without them, I wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy it. I guess I was feeling guilty and a bit sad that I wouldn’t be able to live out my dream with the people who know how much it means to me. I’ve realized that even though I won’t be with my family, in some way it still feels special because I am going to experience it on my own. I will gain a lot of independence and confidence this way. Hopefully at some point in the future, I can enjoy France with my family. I may not be able to do every little thing I want to do this time around, so maybe one day I can do those things with my family by my side.

The next issue that held me back was the fact that I did not know a single person I would be traveling with. As I mentioned, my school offers many travel abroad programs. I knew I didn’t want to be alone, so I felt that IF I were to do this, I wanted it to be short term and I wanted to do it with a group of students and professors. Luckily, the trip to France is exactly that.

There are about fourteen of us going on this trip, plus our two professors, and many of the girls are Nursing (or health related) majors. I am not, but thankfully these programs allow anyone to join. I may not know the girls very well, but I am looking forward to getting to know them better. I am going to be living my dream, so it would be nice to enjoy it with other people. I also think that by traveling and experiencing this with them, it could help us bond.

I think that I was also holding back from saying yes because it was going to be quite a bit of responsibility. Although I feel like I am pretty responsible, and that I could take care of myself, I’ve never really been on my own before, so I was nervous that I wasn’t ready for it. I think that in life, we are going to feel “not ready” for many things, but I believe that it is up to ourselves to decide whether or not it is worth taking a risk. I know that this will be worth it, and that is why I said yes. Pushing myself to say yes was scary, but I think that this is exactly what I need right now.

I did have to make this decision on a bit of a deadline, so after thinking and thinking, I made my decision. I am not sure what it was that ultimately gave me the push, but I said yes, and I am so glad I did. I have been slowly getting to know the girls and the professors who are also going on this trip, and the closer this trip is getting, the more excited I feel. I guess what led me to this decision was the fact that I knew it was my dream. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go. This really is going to be a great way for me to get out of my comfort zone, and I have been trying to do this more often.

Of course I am still a bit nervous like I think most people would be, but I know that this is going to be good for me. I can’t really think of any reason why it wouldn’t be now. And hey, if this ends up being a not so great experience for me, at least I can say that I did it. And even though it may seem silly to some of you, I am proud of myself for making this decision.

I am so happy to share this news with you all! I am leaving very soon, and I will not be posting any blogs while I am on my trip, but you should keep an eye out for a post when I come back. I will be talking all about my trip to France, and I can’t wait to share the experience with you! (I may not be active on my website during my trip, but I will still be on social media, so follow me on Instagram, @sacchere14, to keep up with me and my travels)! For now, I have a few other posts to share before I go, and I’ll have plenty to share when I come back! Thank you so much for reading!

Embracing Change and Making Positive Choices

Some people can easily adapt to change while others may struggle a bit more. Some people are very willing to try new things while others prefer to stay in their comfort zone. Either way, change can be overwhelming and there is a level of uncertainty that comes with it. In life, things are always going to change. We can either look at this as a negative thing, or a positive thing. We can experience so many different  kinds of changes whether that is moving to a new city, going to college, or something on a smaller scale such as switching up your diet. Many people believe that in order for change to happen, they need to do something big and they need to do it quickly. There are so many small things that you can do that can lead to big and positive changes over time. Today, I wanted to share some small things that I have been doing that have had positive effects on me and my life. I hope that by me sharing this, you will be inspired to make some positive changes in your life.

Recently, I noticed that I was making subtle changes to my daily routine and this is not only making me feel happier, but it is making me feel healthier all around.  I am currently a junior in college and I just recently started a new semester. This is always a little stressful and overwhelming for me because it can take some time for me to get comfortable in a new routine. It was so nice to have some time to relax over the holidays, but now I am back to school and my schedule is not ideal. My days are pretty long and I have some pretty big gaps in between my classes.

I was nervous to start this semester because not only was I taking new classes with new people, but I was also about to start my first internship. I am the type of person who likes to plan things out and I enjoy routine. I wanted to sit down before the semester started to write out a schedule that included everything I wanted or had to do in a day. This schedule included school, school work, my internship, the gym, and time for my family and myself.  I had no idea how I was going to do it all in one day, but 4 weeks into the semester, I can (somewhat) confidently say, I am handling it. In this situation, I was somewhat forced into change. A new schedule meant I had to turn things around, so change was necessary.

First, I wanted to talk about how I have been able to get to the gym. When I first started my fitness journey, I was in high school. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday my dad would pick me up from school and we would go to the gym together. Once I started college, I began going to the gym on my own and I went earlier in the day (typically I would leave for the gym around 1pm). Luckily, my school schedule allowed me to go at this time most days, so this is the schedule I stuck to for quite some time.

As some of you may know, I felt like I had lost my motivation last year quite a bit and I knew I needed a change. Now, mostly due to my school schedule, I have to work out in the mornings. This is something that I was not used to because I was never one to work out in the mornings. Although I am a morning person, the idea of waking up and going straight to the gym just sounded exhausting. I think this change was exactly what I needed. I have been going to the gym in the mornings around 9am and I have been feeling really good about it. After my workouts, I always feel more awake, more energized, and happier. I am now able to get to the gym early, and then I can focus on school and my internship for the rest of the day. There are only a couple minor issues with going to the gym in the morning. One issue is that I start to feel tired and sluggish after lunch time, so I need to find a way to keep my energy up in a healthy way (if you have any tips or advice on how to get over this, please leave a comment below). And the other issue is that I feel like my workouts are a bit rushed because I have to get to school right after the gym. I could wake up a bit earlier, but it is difficult!

On to a similar topic: healthy eating. Along with losing my motivation for the gym last year, I was also falling off track with my healthy eating. Well, I knew this year I wanted to do better, so I have made small changes. Since my days at school are pretty long, I always pack a lunch. I rarely eat fast food, and I am usually comfortable making my own food at home. When I pack my lunches, I make sure to bring healthy options. Even if there are sweets at home, I try to avoid them and save them for later when I get back home. I’ll typically pack something like grapes, an apple, turkey, crackers, nuts, and yogurt. This is usually enough to get me through the school day. When I get home, I eat my dinner, and then I’ll let myself enjoy something sweet. I have a major sweet tooth so avoiding sugar is incredibly challenging for me. I allow myself to enjoy my cravings however I don’t go crazy. Moderation is always key.

I think that many of you can relate when I say that technology is absolutely addicting, and it can negatively affect us in more ways than one. I was never the type of person to allow people on social media to bother me and I think this is because I know who I am and I understand that people like to showcase their highlight reels. What I do have a problem with is knowing when to put my phone down. I struggle with this mostly at night. I know I do not get enough sleep and it is something I am working on. I decided to limit my time on technology at night. After I finish my school work and take a shower, I don’t bring my ipad downstairs with me. If I do, I know I will end up on Netflix and I will binge watch my favorite TV shows all night long. Now, I’ll just scroll through Instagram and eat a small snack before I head off to bed. I try to get to sleep by 12:30 instead of 1 or 2am like I used to. Since I have to be up early for class most days, I need to sleep even more now.

These are just a few small things that I decided to change in my daily routine. I knew that if I didn’t make these changes and stick to them, I would feel much more tired and I simply wouldn’t feel healthy. Certain situations in life are going to push you to make some changes. While my new schedule is what gave me the push I needed to make these changes, I also make choices in my day to day life to stick to my goals. I don’t HAVE to go to the gym, eat healthy or put my phone down. I CHOOSE to wake up and go to the gym (let me tell you, it is so tempting to sleep in on those days), I CHOOSE to pack healthy and delicious foods for lunch because I know I am going to enjoy it and it is going to make me feel good. I CHOOSE to limit the amount of time I use technology. We make choices every single day; make sure to make positive ones.

Thank you so much for reading. I know change can be difficult. Trust me, I don’t always like it and I had a couple of breakdowns when trying to figure out how I would do all of this. But let me just say, sometimes change will push you to make better decisions and it will even push you to better yourself. If you get a little off track, it is ok. Take your time, make small changes, and you CAN change your life in such positive ways. It all starts with you; your attitude, and your choices.

My 2020 Goals and Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! 2020 is already looking good, and I am so excited to share some new content with you all! Now, I know that people tend to laugh at the idea of “New Year’s resolutions” because sadly, a lot of the time people do not stick to them.  Well, I have always been very determined to reach my goals, and I am very easily motivated, so I am going to do my best.

First, I plan on continuing my once a month hikes but I want to do things just a little different this year. If you read my “2019 Year in Review” post, you would know that my uncle and I went hiking once a month for twelve months in 2019. This is something I plan on continuing, however I want to make it a bit more challenging. I am hoping to incorporate a few more intense hikes throughout the year. Last year, our hikes were not always incredibly challenging, but we did find new places every time we wanted to hike! If we are unable to find new places to do these intense hikes, that’s ok, as long as we get one hike in every month!

This next one may seem so simple, but it will be a bit of a challenge for me personally. I want to try to get more organized; this includes things such as my room and school work. I love to plan out my days and I like having a set schedule. I’ve already written down a schedule for this coming semester of college, and although I am going to have a lot on my plate, I think that I will be able to handle it. Making time for the things I need to get done is important, but I also want to make time to do things that I enjoy such as writing, relaxing, and going to the gym. When it comes to my room, I tend to get a bit lazy when it is time to clean. I am going to try to keep my clothes in order, and if I do not use or wear something, I want to give it away. I think many of you will be able to relate when I say that putting away clean clothes is NOT fun. I’ll usually leave it next to my closet until it piles up. I am going to make sure to keep my room neat because it makes me feel much happier when everything is where it should be. Plus, it’s aesthetically pleasing to walk into a clean room every day.

As many of you know, I am a total gym rat and I have been weight training for almost 4 years! I love everything about weight lifting and living a healthy life has made me incredibly happy and confident. In 2019, I did struggle with a loss of motivation when it came to the gym and with healthy eating, so this year things are going to change big time. I am still in college and managing my time has always been difficult for me, so I am going to come up with a schedule for myself that includes my college classes, the gym, work, and spending time with family, friends, and myself. I plan to try to get to the gym at least 3 times a week, but I will work out for a total of 5 (meaning that I will do 2 at-home workouts a week plus the 3 days in the gym). As for food, I am creating a list of healthy foods that I enjoy and I will try to incorporate them into my daily meals. This includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, protein, and water!

Toward the end of 2019, I woke up every morning and I would compliment myself and tell myself that it was going to be a great day. Doing this absolutely changed my mood and set good intentions for the day ahead. It made me feel happy and a bit more confident as well. I am going to continue doing this daily, because you get to choose how your days go. Yes, we all have bad days, but you can always start over the next day, and you can start it on a more positive note. I also noticed that I sometimes talk down about myself and lately when I notice myself doing this, I stop talking. Starting now, if I want to say something I don’t like about myself, I won’t say it. We all have flaws, but it is so important to accept them and love ourselves anyway. I have talked about the power of your mind on my blog before, and it is something that I truly believe in. Your mind is a very powerful thing. Feed it love and good thoughts, and it can change your life. Ever since I made the decision to be happy and to love myself, things started to change in the most amazing way.

I’ve always enjoyed staying in my comfort zone. The problem with this is that you won’t ever grow by staying comfortable. I am going to share some very exciting news with you all soon and it is about an opportunity that I said yes to. I am nervous about it because it is a big step for me, but I am proud of the decision I’ve made and I am so excited for the opportunity! In 2020, I am going to try to step out of my comfort zone a bit and do things that scare me (only if they are going to help me grow).

Lastly, in 2020, I am going to continue writing as much as I can because the only way to get better at something is to actually do it. Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. Little did I know then that it would turn into my dream. I love being able to write about my passions and share it with the world. I want to be able to write and help others, so I am going to continue doing that this year and for all of the years ahead.

I am very focused on my own personal growth right now, and I am going to continue to love myself unconditionally, and I am going to do my best to gain as much confidence in myself as I can. Thank you again for coming on this journey with me. You don’t know what it means to me. I’ve said it before, and I will always say it: the purpose of my blog is to share my passions, to inspire others, and to help me as well as my readers  gain confidence in ourselves. So, if you’re new here, welcome to Compass to Confidence! 2020 is here and I want to continue to show myself and the world around me nothing but love. Leave me a comment below telling me some of your New Year’s resolutions!