Goals

Just Keep Swimming

Just Keep Swimming - Josie Feather Blog

This year I’ve committed to keeping a inspirational or motivational type book on my current reads list. By constantly feeding my crazy brain with positivity and exciting ideas I’ve found it’s so much easier to keep myself thinking positively and focused on big goals. Maybe it seems a bit cheesy, but to each his own, right?

The thing is that I’ve noticed a theme that runs through a lot of these books. Some are bold and clear about it, and others it’s just a faint whisper in the background, but it’s still there.

Resilience.

I’ve never given much thought to the word until recently. I’ve never really stopped to think about it’s application in my own life. I think in some ways it felt a bit like a foreign concept in the past. Now I hear it loud and clear. Now I can see how it’s played out in my own life.

I used to struggle to build good habits. It seems like there was always some convenient excuse to give up on “my goals” and yet I still wondered why I couldn’t seem to ever reach those goals. I’ve been working on changing that though. I’ve been slowly building good habits I actually look forward to and truly love (I can’t tell you how much I really missed working out last week when I was sick). Now I look back and think about the person I was and feel a stab of pity for the girl who seemed to be endlessly frustrated with herself.

The thing is, the reason those things changed is not because of some crazy magic, or a secret I finally figured out, it was simply that I finally decided to be resilient. I decided I wasn’t just going to give up and take the first excuse that sauntered my way anymore. I decided I’d work out even when I really really really really really didn’t feel like it. I would hit the gym even when it meant some mornings I’d have to get up before 5am. I would read for a few minutes even when my brain really just wanted to shut off and watch some tv. I would just keep going, even when it was inconvenient, not fun, or just plain torture some days.

In other words, I just kept swimming.

It seems so simple, yet is one of the hardest things to do. To keep going even when there’s good and easy reasons to just give up. I’ve never done a “word of the year” but may just have fallen into this one, and I’m not complaining.

Have you ever stopped to think about your own resilience?

What to do (when you have no idea what to do)

What to do (when you have no idea what to do) - Josie Feather Blog

As Chris Traeger once said, “I am 100% certain that I am 0% sure of what I’m going to do”. If you don’t know who that is, then I’m very sorry for you, and would recommend you go directly to Netflix and binge Parks and Rec for the rest of the week.

That quote is exactly how I felt for years.

At times I’ve felt like social media has made it seem like everyone’s got their whole lives figured out. Every ten year old is starting a fortune 500 company, and all the 12 year olds are traveing the world and getting masters degrees, and there I was with no clue what to do. I would read and listen to countless blog posts, books, and podcasts about how to achieve your dreams(!) It felt like I had all the steps memorized, perfectly ready and willing to do the work, but have absolutely no idea what work I was supposed to do.

“Do what you’re passionate about!” the world seems to scream these days, but what do you do when you have no idea what you’re passionate about? It’s taken me years to figure out what I’m passionate about, and figuring that out was a way different process than I thought it would be. I used to think you just knew, and something was wrong with me for not knowing. Maybe that’s how it is for some very lucky individuals, but I think for the majority of us it just doesn’t come that easy.

Get to know yourself

I know I’m maxing out my Parks and Rec references here, but just like Anne, you need to date yourself. When I think back to those times I felt completely lost and generally freaked out by not knowing where exactly I was going, I realize how little I knew myself. I was overcome by fear and insecurities that slowly over time I’ve had to chisel away at to get to the real me so I could even find out what things I like, much less what I am passionate about.

So… how do you get to know yourself? I fully encourage you to follow your whims. One thing I knew I always enjoyed but I never seemed to actually make the time for was reading. Over the last few years I’ve made it more of a priority, something part of my every day, if even for just a few minutes. I also indulged in anything that had sparked my interest - I took horse back riding lessons, taught myself calligraphy and lettering, learned to run, and traveled more. None of these things have anything to do with what I’d call “my passion” but by indulging in them I learned more about myself and what I love, and sometimes, what I don’t love.

Take care of yourself

I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. Even during better times when I didn’t find it impossible to get out of bed, I still felt like I was living with a brain fog and a general apathy for life. Those my friend, are not a good combo when you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life. If you are struggling with any number of mental or physical problems you need to stop and take care of those first. You’re not going to be able to find your passion if you can barely even find joy in regular life.

This past year I discovered how much exercise helps me fight off depression, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t hit me at times (especially when I have extra stress), so I also took another step and finally found a therapist I can talk to. I don’t have regular appointments with her, but if I hit a wall I can make an appointment anytime and I already have that relationship. No matter what your struggle is, set up systems to help you overcome and keep you on the right track. You can’t chase your dreams (or even figure out what those are) if you are’t taking care of your health first.

Give yourself time

At one point I remember feeling frantic to figure out what was next. I felt like I was loosing time and needed to decide what direction to go in ASAP. After talking with my therapist she told me I needed to give myself a break, stop raking my brain and just enjoy life for a while. So I did. Well, kind of. As best as I could. I decided to just stop thinking about it, stop worrying so much. Which is easier said than done. I experimented with things and tried new things without any specific hope that they would be the answer I was searching for.

If you’re struggling with where to go next, take a step back. If you’re getting ready for the craziness of college and aren’t even sure what to study then I love the idea of gap years. Don’t just sit around in your parents basement for a year and waste the time away - travel, volunteer, try new things constantly. Give yourself some time and space to experiment and have a little fun.

If you don’t know where you’re going - I feel ya. To the very depths of my soul I do. Don’t be tough on yourself, everyone has either been there or will be there at some point in their life. Care for yourself, know yourself, and give yourself some space and eventually you’ll get there. More than anything, just learn to enjoy life.

Post That Selfie

Josie Davis

Last year when I decided to go from freelancing back to full time work I realized that if I was ever going to make daily workouts part of my life I had to do it then. It would never get easier to add it in later. In fact, it would only be harder to try to change my habits once they were set, but since my daily habits were about to change for work anyway, now was the time to add exercise in.

Getting up at 5am and going to the gym is not easy, especially those first few months. No doubt about it, you’re tired and your brain is foggy and, if you’re like me and had mostly been an afternoon runner, you move like a sloth that’s carrying all it’s luggage through the airport. All I wanted was to crawl back into bed and forget the gym existed. But I didn’t.

I actually started a fitness instagram account. It sounds super cheesy, especially since almost all of the photos were mirror selfies, but here’s the thing, it actually helped. Not only did I use that account to follow other fitness people who I could look at for motivation, but posting that dangon mirror selfie every day felt dayum good. It was like a little victory lap for my brain. I may seem silly, and heck, it actually is a little silly, but that little mental victory lap definitely kept me going some mornings.

Even in the moment I thought it was just some goofy thing I was doing, but I’ve been listening to the audiobook of “Eat That Frog” and Brian Tracy actually encourages using social media to post about your goals and help hold you accountable. It’s funny how little things like that can make such a difference. For years I wished I could build a healthy workout habit and seriously struggled to come anywhere close to it, but putting myself out there more and celebrating with something as basic as a selfie, I found it a lot easier to mentally push past.

As a society I think we tend to think really poorly about selfies. It’s easy to write them off as something self obsessed teenagers do, but I actually think they can be so helpful for acknowledging achievements and for someone learning to build their self confidence. As someone who’s always had low self esteem I feel a weird unbalance when posting a selfie that is so hard to get over some days, so if you have ever felt the same, I’m here with you. It may feel weird, silly, or just plain strange at times, but forget all of it - post that selfie.