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4 Ways to Stop Procrastinating

Photo by Susanne Nilsson
Procrastination is opportunity's assassin. ~Victor Kiam

After a nice walk on a Saturday, my friend told me she had some housework to do and was weighing her options.

“I really don’t want to do it now, but if I wait until Sunday night, it’ll put a damper on my whole weekend. It’s like I won’t really enjoy anything until it’s done.”

Boy, could I relate. I had been the world’s worst procrastinator in high school, somehow managing to pull off amazing feats of academic strength with all-nighters, but that all changed after an incident in college.

I stayed up late into the night finishing a paper and had to drive to class to hand it in. (Oh the days when professors wouldn’t accept email files!) On my way back, I was exiting off the freeway and a cyclist ran a red light in front of me. I was so exhausted I didn’t notice him right away.

3 Ways to Know What You Want

Photo by Kurt Budiarto
If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. ~Lawrence J. Peter

I was riding in a taxi cab with a few coworkers years ago after a long day working a convention when I said something I thought was basic knowledge.

“You’ve got to know what you want in life,” I said matter-of-factly. “I think the reason so many people are unhappy is because they’re busy chasing things they don’t even want.”

One of my coworkers laughed and called me a guru. I took the compliment. But she also said this:

“If that’s our problem, then fixing it should be easy, right? We just need to figure out what we want.”

In saying that, she’s sent me on a bit of a quest these past years. How do I know what I want? How can I help other people figure it out too?

How to Get What You Want

Photo by Tom Merton
As for the future, your task is not to foresee it but to enable it. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

One of the first things I did after being dealt the ego-bruising, heart-wrenching blow of a breakup was to reinforce my support system.

I leaned heavily on my family and confided in a few close friends that I felt comfortable sharing the insanity of my outbursts with.

My 4-year-old niece reconfirmed my need to do this when, in the middle of my sobbing, she gave me a hug and simply said, “It’s ok. We’re your family and we’ll always take care of you.”

Nothing else seemed more true in that moment.

9 Tips for Better Self-Esteem

Photo by kris krüg
Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on. ~Maxwell Maltz

You know you’re clever and capable and can achieve great things. You have dreams of going places and doing things. Incredible, fulfilling things. But you’re not reaching for those goals. You’re not striving to achieve your dreams.

Something is stopping you.

It’s like you have a hand brake on. No matter how far down on the accelerator you press, you’re not going anywhere.

You want to go. Part of you knows you’re capable of going. But another part is preventing you from taking action.

How to Find Your True Love

Photo by Kris Kesiak
But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that's just fabulous. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Dating was never easy for me. In fact, I didn’t have my first date until my senior year of high school and that was because my brother wanted me to meet the person he had found to take me to prom.

Sad beginnings, I know.

And it really didn’t get much better for me until a long time after that “first date.” My attraction blunders were many.

I’ve sent candy and roses to men I’ve been interested in, begged a elementary school crush to consider me as a third girlfriend (yes, he actually had two others), and even chased away would be interested men because I was so happy to be asked out. I took the reins and tried to speed up the process, which ultimately just halted it all together.

I was completely clueless at what it actually took to attract the man of my dreams.

Feeling Misunderstood? These 3 Things Can Help

Photo by Tristan Duplichain Photography & Design
Everyone has a side to them that's kind of unexplained and feels misunderstood. ~Kirk Hammett

I have felt misunderstood, and for a large part of my life.

I am a very social person and I can get along with most people. People, who know me well, would not describe me as an introvert but I do feel I have an introverted side to me.

I find the world incredibly noisy, and I often struggle to understand my part in the grand scheme of life.

I have always questioned things and still spend much of my time thinking about different aspects of life, what everything means and how it all fits together.

I think a lot, and I think logically, so I find myself grappling with the meaning of life daily, which can be extremely frustrating.

4 Ways to See the World Through New Eyes

Photo by Julia Caesar
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite. ~William Blake

Working from home, while convenient, is often times punctuated by bouts of loneliness. To counteract that, I often spend hours working from a local coffee shop frequented by a group of regulars.

Today, sitting in my normal spot, I struck up a conversation with a man working next to me. We spoke in brief detail about our work and the weather and eventually about where we were from.

As a Colorado transplant from New York, he said, in short, that it seemed as if people here tended to be outwardly mean or judgmental without being provoked.

I was slightly surprised by the observation, simply because I had found that there was no way to make such a general statement about a group based solely on their geographical location.

To me, geography determined what hobbies you partake in or even the clothing style you learn toward, but personality traits were determined by something else entirely.

5 Things Kind People Know

Photo by Eric
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~Aesop

An elderly woman in Massachusetts made the news last month, and no one even knows her name. The anonymous woman, known as the “layaway angel,” walked into her local toy store and paid off $20,000 worth of merchandise on layaway.

Within minutes, more than 150 customers were told their merchandise was paid for — all because the woman said it would “help her sleep better at night.” She simply wanted to be kind.

The moment I heard this story, I resolved to be more kind myself. Maybe I didn’t have $20,000 to give, but I could at least do something small — one act of kindness a day for a month. So that’s I did.

The journey was easier than I expected and more rewarding than I imagined. It’s one we all should take, and I’m here to share five compelling reasons why you should begin that journey today.

The Gratitude Guide: 14 Practical Ways to Practice

Photo by Tonglé Dakum
Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. ~Oprah Winfrey

A few months ago, I was going through one of the hardest times of my life: Within the span of a few weeks, I had to find and move to a new apartment suddenly, suffered a devastating personal loss of a close family member, and was having some serious health problems.

Every day when I woke up, it felt like life was becoming increasingly hectic. I found myself wondering, “When will it end?”

Eventually, after countless hours of kindly giving me a listening ear through all the troubles, my best friend reminded me how important it is to take stock of all the good things I still had in my life. When things became crazy, I’d become too content to focus on how bad things seemed instead.

How to Be Grateful When You Aren’t Feeling It

Photo by Ryan B.
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. ~William Arthur Ward

You want to be grateful for what you have, but if you cut straight to the truth? You aren’t feeling it.

For a lot of people, acknowledging that truth brings with it immediate shame — the shame of knowing that in a world where so many people go homeless or hungry; or are hurt, abandoned, or abused; or are dealing with a serious illness or the death of a loved one, not feeling grateful is very, very bad.

So, we try gratitude on. “Okay,” we say, tossing our hair back and squaring our shoulders. “Let me focus on gratitude. Here I go.”

We think of 10 things to be grateful for, and then … deep breath … it is still there, that subtle and abiding sense of low-grade disappointment or sadness or disconnection from yourself or the world.

It can be the ultimate lose-lose scenario. If you push yourself to feel grateful when you know that it’s not happening on a core level, you feel like a phony. If you aren’t grateful, then …well, you’re ungrateful. No bueno.

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