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3 Lessons Solo Travel Taught Me

Photo by Rosie Hardy
To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. ~Elizabeth Gilbert

Six years ago, I took one of the boldest actions of my life. I traveled solo halfway across the world to Ubud, Indonesia (Bali). In June 2008, I was 27 years old and had never left United States soil despite a constant longing to.

A combination of fear and comfort held me hostage in familiarity — until  I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This bestselling novel chronicled the author’s adventures through Italy, India, and Indonesia as she sought to “find herself” after a divorce.

The book’s vivid descriptions of Indonesia’s rich culture and lush countryside converged with my imagined vision of ornate wood-carvings, colorful temples and sprawling rice paddies.

The beautiful tapestry of life I envisioned left no question about where my first trip abroad would be once I mustered up enough courage to go. And whenever I went, I decided I would go alone — just like Elizabeth Gilbert.

5 Steps to Design Your Life

Photo by Hannes Caspar
The soul cannot think without a picture. ~Aristotle

Lately, I have observed that many of us feel we are reacting to life versus creating it.

Perhaps some of us are stuck in a job we feel is not challenging or is not utilizing our potential.  Or, we are constantly feeling behind — the demands from errands, tasks and bills have us constantly playing catch up. Some of us struggle with finding a meaningful balance between our family and career.

Or, simply, we have become the victim; unconsciously, we have decided to be the effect of each day versus the cause.

Recently, as I was faced with a disconnect in varying interests, I realized I had to refocus, quickly, before I went astray.

I found by designing my life through a vision statement, it has been a tool for providing more direction: Instead of becoming reactionary to whatever arises in my day, I have regained the role of creating it.

How to Create Good Habits

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them. ~Confucius

Recently, a friend in my 30 Day Challenge group brought up a really interesting point. “Have you noticed” he asked, “that it’s far easier to remove something or limit something from your life than it is to add to it?”

It gave me pause. Every challenge I seemed to excel at had something to do with deprivation. I’d quit caffeine. I’d stopped eating gluten. My media fast was pretty successful as well, but what I’d had trouble with was reading something every day for myself.

I took it as a challenge. I have all sorts of good habits that I cultivated in my adult life: daily journaling, exercise, cooking. How did I add these to my life? And what lessons can I apply to creating a new good habit?

The Art of Consistency

Photo by Lori Andrews

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

There’s a lot to be said in that proverb and quite a bit to think about.

The biggest lesson I take out of those six little words is consistency. Consistency is something I never really liked. In fact, I’ve always found it boring. It’s so….well….consistent. But I’ve come to learn that big goals require three things: a plan, commitment and consistency.

But I have always been a do it now, get it done, and move on kind of girl. Life was always too short to just keep plugging along at something day after day after day.

But…here is what I am learning: If you don’t keep plugging away regularly at something big, you won’t reach the goal. Plain and simple.

How to Find Motivation

Photo by Simon Pais
Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go. ~Unknown

The first time I attempted running as a form of exercise, I huffed and puffed my way out of my apartment complex, made it approximately one block and stopped out of fear that my heart would beat out of my chest and my lungs would explode. I promptly turned around hoping that no one noticed how out of breath I actually was.

A few years later, despite the memories I harbored of previous failed attempts, I tried it again. This time I made the not-so-smart decision to run in 100+ degree heat. I made it approximately half a mile before my head started spinning and my vision blurred.

Even after that incident, I was still inexplicably drawn to the sport of running and the breed of people who become dedicated runners.

4 Steps to Personal Transformation

Photo by Karrah Kobus
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

Sometimes the path of life comes to a crossroad. One direction ends in stagnation while the other leads to transformation.

When I entered my junior year of college I had a sudden identity crisis. I had always been an athlete throughout high school and junior college, and a fairly good one at that. A very shy person normally, my abilities in sports gave me confidence and brought out leadership skills I didn’t know were within me.

How to Set Goals – To Create the Best Year

Photo by Kevin Russ

For New Year’s Eve 2011, Jeremy and I sat down and made our goals for the year. We made sure the goals were measurable, challenging, and lead us in the direction we wanted to go. After all, the experts say to set SMART goals. As diligent students, we complied.

Well, I accidentally opened up this document last week, for the first time since we created it (more than a year ago). I had completely forgotten about it. Reading through every line of the document, I felt a surge of guilt and disappointment.

You know that feeling in your stomach, almost ashamed that nothing on the list—of supposedly important items—were achieved. I didn’t end the year with 30K facebook fans, I didn’t do yoga everyday (In fact, not even once for the whole year), I didn’t become an early riser, and my living & working space is still messy.

Dreams Come True: Story of Audacity

Photo by Kai Z Feng. Follow him on flickr.

What are your dreams? What are you passionate about?

Around the time I graduated University I became fascinatedwith photography. It became my first passion. I dreamed of becoming a professional photographer.

I loved photography, and dove in head first determined to make my dreams come true. I read books, took countless images, invested in equipments, spent countless hours in Photoshop, attended gallery showings, and took classes on specialized subjects.

I loved photography so much that –at one point- I built a darkroom from scratch, rented a large loft space to have my ideal studio setup and eventually married a photographer – who I admired, because he was so confident with his craft and was among the few successful working photographers I’d met. Most other photographers I encountered all struggled to make ends meet.

5 Essential Lessons on Success

Photo by Aeschleah DeMartino

Today I want to talk about the ingredients that cause success. Why do some people succeed, while others fail? what separates the two. I’m constantly intrigued with the concepts involved in success and failure. I’ve dedicated my life to discovering and explaining what separates one from the other.

I spend my days learning about the laws and the principles of success. I believe if we learn these laws and principles we will succeed. In fact, if anyone learns these laws and principles, they will succeed.

The laws of success will move your life from the pit to the palace, from ordinary to extraordinary. With that, let’s take a look at five essential lessons on the causes of success.

Goal Setting Secret – How to Achieve Any Goal

Photo by Wynona Robison

This article looks at how a deliberate shift in our views on goal setting can net drastic cumulative results in the long run.

Whether it’s career goals or personal goals, we’ve all been there – setting aggressive and sometimes overtly ambitious goals, chasing after it, hitting road bumps and eventually become de- motivated to never see the goal come to fruition.

Nobody likes to be stuck in a plateau. You might spend months working hard towards a goal without seeing any progress. It can be incredibly frustrating to feel your motivations go unrewarded.

How you react to a plateau will decide whether you’re going to eventually be successful. While many people react by burning themselves out or quitting, some people continue showing up, every day. The people that show up, through sheer patience, will eventually break through their plateau.

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