Today is Strange.

I am literally having the strangest day ever.

Let me paint the picture for you:  It is about 430pm on a Monday – I am sitting in my car – a 2013 FIAT 500 2 door, hatchback – in Nose Hill Park in Calgary, overlooking the city – it is a pretty nice fall day.  I am anxious as fuck. I woke up this morning feeling like I wanted to write or create or something like that, mostly I just felt like I needed to get outta the house. It is hard for me to be in my own home (to be clear by own home I mean the room I rent in Calgary that is literally just a room rental). I left my house twice with my laptop thinking I wanted to find a café to drink a tea and finish a post I was writing about getting my finances in order. But I left both of those places feeling … off. And now, strangely enough, here I am, parked in my car with a beautiful view –  with my laptop, writing in my car.

I feel suffocated.

I feel so suffocated that I need to roll down my window in a dusty wind situation.

I have been feeling suffocated a lot lately. I am feeling that – plus unsure and not knowing. I feel lonely. I feel sad. I am eating my feelings one bag of NoName Sour Cream & Onion chips at a time. I am literally filling my body with swill. Every time I look in the mirror I make a comment in my head about my weight and how I look. I feel gross. It is like I stopped caring but I haven’t – like I have given up but I haven’t … I dunno what is going on in my head but here I am sitting in my car looking at the changing fall leaves feeling like something big is about to happen. I can feel it.

You know for a long time in life – I really used to think there was no harm in believing you were better than you were. Growth, you know. But as I approach my 40th year around the sun  I think it might be time that I take a different approach. Less dreaming, more reality. One time someone asked me if I still believed I was going to have a charmed life – he knew his life would be mediocre – at the time I didn’t realize that I was the very thing I hated. I believed I was better than I was, entitled to more than I am and was so gawd damn obtuse about it I didn’t know I was thinking it.

The winds of change have arrived.

The thing I am learning all the time is to feel less guilt and feel less shame and learn to feel more happiness, freedom and strength. I am a master of self help reading but not a master of self help doing.

I used to be an all-in kinda lady. Like if I was going out and getting fucked up – I was coming home the most fucked up, if I was getting high I was getting so gawd damn high I couldn’t keep my eyes open – like the kind of high that people worried about you (Gawd I miss that). There was no just have one beer or two. It was all or nothing. Then I spent a long time being a nothing gal. Recently I have decided I want to be a half in Gal. Somewhere along the way t become a better human I forgot that humans need to have fun. Then I realized I forgot what fun was like. I realized that I have become a hermit.

Anyway, sitting in my car I realized how great it would  to actually go after one of my big dreams. for example – I have wanted to rebuild the interior of a van to live and work in. I have been dreaming of the tiny living for sometime. Instead of committing to a sprinter van and a permanent van home – maybe I can commit to a caravan and weekend warrioring. See what I am getting at – I set my bar to high and then get sad when I don’t achieve it.

I have an end of year move thought lingering in my head, a huge debt repayment happening and then things will begin to shift. I am ready.

Self reflection, Friends, it is a part of growth. It is needed. In whatever strange way to let it happen. For me, today, it is sitting in my car on the top of a hill, writing out my feelings. Thanks for coming along of the journey.

Where are you at in your goals for 2019? Are you making things happen??

xoxo,

C

 

10 beginner things to do right now to START getting your financial shit together …

It is 2019 and you know what is sexy as fuck … being a financial badass!

You know what else is sexy??  …. having a handle your your money, being an adult and dealing with your shit like a mother fucking boss. The more I get my money shit together, the more I don’t get the people that don’t.  Seriously though, those are words I never thought I would ever say. Truth is I used to be a wreck, I really did  … but times have changed. I’m all grown up … so here is a list of things that helped me get started on my path to financial freedom:

 

  1. Become financial literate. Read. Listen. Research. The only way to learn about how to get your money shit together is to actually learn about money. Do your homework. Start following some budget gurus. Find someone that you can relate to when they talk about money – there is a lot of information out there – take the time to learn about it. Put it into practice.
  2. Get real with yourself – What do you owe? You can’t start anything until you make an honest effort to understand what you owe. You need to open up all the statements and process the amount owing, the interest you need to pay, how far you are behind and what you need to get ahead. You need to answer all the  creditor phone calls and figure out where you stand. As scary as it is – you just need to know the damage so you can move forward.
  3. On a spread sheet – either pen and paper or an excel spreadsheet – list out all the debts. Even better – list out everything you need to spend money on every month. All the debts & their interest and their payment dates. All your other bills – all the due dates. Where is your money going every month? You need to know this so you can you can tell your money where to go instead of panicking and trying to figure out what to do with what is left.
  4. Open a second (or third or fourth) bank account, you need to have at least one for bills and one for spending. Only carry the card for spending so you only spend your spending money. You need to have separate accounts for paying delinquent debts and collectors and only one place if you have agreed to let an automatic deposit come from your account. An unpopular opinion but something I do – stop all automatic payments and actually pay things yourself. if you chose to do this – you need to actually make the payments and be SUPER on top of your money.
  5. Pay. Things. On. Time. …  you need to avoid more interest, late payment charges, NSF charges and basically anything that requires you to pay extra on the debt you are already paying.
  6. Figure Out a Starting Snowball – pay minimum payments on everything accept the smallest debt – anything extra put on the smallest debt until it is pad off. Feeling the mother fucking joy of actually paying something off will motivate you to pay off other things.
  7. Cut Out All Extra Expenses – Do you need that latte or can you make a delicious coffee at home? Do you need that book? Can you go to the library? or read it online?
  8. LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS …. your rent/ mortgage should not amount to more than 30% of your income. Tally what your take home money is … and figure that out. Are you paying to much to live? Can you make it cheaper? Get a roommate, Airbnb, Short Term Rental?
  9. COOK FOOD AT HOME. I know, I know – but it is so much cheaper.  Learn to cook, drink some Kumboucha with dinner or Wine or whatever … MEAL PREP, MEAL PREP, MEAL PREP …. if you tally up how much your spend monthly on food it is probably insane – cooking a good portion of your meals at home is healthier AND will cost you less money
  10. Find hobbies that a) keep you fit and b) earn you extra income … free hobbies are the best hobbies to find while you try and get your financial shit together.

 

Keep yourself sane – make a treat wishlist for when you hit certain financial goals. Paid off the first credit card – maybe you can treat yourself those shoes you really wanted – paid off you massive soul crushing student loan – maybe it is time for a new laptop. You get my point – in the journey to get yourself in a better position you need to treat yourself as well …

That is all I have for today – still plucking away on the second debt in my snowball. Feel the pending joy already.

Baby steps to big success,

xoxo

C

The One Where I Disclose My Student Loan (and other) Debts ….

*** disclaimer if you are someone who is sick of hearing about my financial journey, don’t want to hear about white girl money problems or just don’t care about this stuff – this post isn’t for you

I am gonna be honest with you living within my means actually kind of sucks.

Truly it does.

I never really lived outside my means – but I certainly didn’t think about the financial ramifications of my adventures abroad or the financial cost of post secondary while I took out loans and didn’t work my way through school.

It wasn’t until my mid to late thirties that I actually looked at my financial situation and thought “oh fuck, I am in some serious trouble!”  but the panic – that was some time a few years later –  maybe 4 years ago-ish. I started to notice that while I was paying my bills it wasn’t actually doing me any good. No progress was happening. Some of them had such a high interest rate that my payments weren’t really doing any good. I was barely paying the interest. I wasn’t paying down the body of the loan at all. Not only that – in some instances it was like I was throwing money away. Thousands of dollars.

I honestly wondered how it was even legal. I also realized that the more of a mess your finances become – the harder it is to claw yourself out. I know that sounds like a no brainer – but I legit mean the part where you start to get penalties for late payments and the non sufficient funds charges – the non stop calling for collection agencies and all the other stuff that make you feel like you are drowning in a super bad situation.  No one will give you credit to consolidate and no one can help you. I remember a time when Dell used to call me 15 times a day. There was a time that Royal Bank charged me so many NSF charges and then added interest on that that I was negative $900 in my bank account and I didn’t have over draft.

I started to read a lot of financial books, listen to podcasts and realized that I needed to do something different.  Drastically different. I really needed to take a handle on my money situation and somehow figure out a game plan where I wasn’t going to live the rest of my life in a mediocre, stressed about money, never having any fun kind of way. I also realized that marrying rich was probably not going to be an option.

I got myself into this mess, I sure as shit need to get myself out.

The financial snow ball.

When I started flying and my income changed is when I really started to make strategic moves and financial decisions. For the first time in a long time I could see a financial plan coming together. Early on I sat down and made a full repayment plan for my debts. It was a 3 year plan but something that I could feasibly do and I felt confident in my success. I actually started to budget and pay my bills first. Telling your money where to go before it disappears was better for me than – doing what I wanted and then trying to pay bills with the rest.  I had to let my stocks vest an entire year, an entire year of putting 20% of my income in a fund (that got matched dollar for dollar) that I couldn’t touch no matter how hard it got. An entire year it took me to get used to living on less – all for financial wellness and debt repayment. I am not gonna lie it hasn’t been easy but I toughed it out  – I sacrificed my social life to live off of less.

Want to know feeling low ?? Feeling low is being almost 40, single, barely making minimum wage and trying to claw yourself out of 60K worth of debt. All while putting 20% of that income away.  Feeling low is seeing all your friends use their travel benefits while you eat ramen noodles complaining that you can’t lose weight. Feeling like none of the education you thought you needed is getting you were you need to go. Feeling completely and totally worthless because you work so hard and a treat of a Cancun overnight financially derails you because you cant afford to eat food on the road. Feel that – that is low.

The debt.

(This hurts but) here is an honest look at what I owe. I feel like to some it isn’t much, to me it is almost crippling the amount of stress that paying this causes me. After I pay off my bills there isn’t really that much left to feed myself, fuel my car and do everything else you need to do in a month. Social times, clothing, prescriptions and any incidentals come from the pool of $150-200 every two weeks.

I have rounded up some of these numbers just to make for easy math but here we go – the actually debt in point form in no particular order :

  • Back taxes owing to the government of Canada because I wasn’t getting taxed properly at my side hustle (in 2017) Owing $2500
  • Alberta Student Loans – I took this loan out in 2003-06. I have probably paid at least double what was originally. Currently owing $2500
  • Nova Scotia Student Loans – I took this loan out in 2012-15. In collection with the GOC, in good standing, am no longer being charged interest. They collect a set amount from my bank account every month. Owing $6500
  • Canada Student loans (Federal Loan) – HOT FUCKING MESS. This loan is in collections with the GOC.  It is a combination of amount owing from 03-06 and 12-15. They want me to pay $925/ month. We have made an agreement that I can pay $200 because of my current monthly income. I can barely afford that $200. I often miss this payment. I am now at a point that when I miss payments the cost is garnished wages. That $200 barely covers the interest that is accruing at $5.19/day. The only way to get it out of collections is to put $4000 on the loan. As of today owing $35000
  • Car Loan – I couldn’t afford to buy a car out right so I needed to get a car loan. It is 12% interest. It is what it is – this car saved my life. Owing $7500 (in case you are wondering I owe more than the car is worth so selling it currently is not at option even though I have thought about it – but also with all the trips to the airport I do need a car)
  • Credit cards. I have one. It is maxed. amount owing $2000

 

Financial Decisions that I made that have helped my snowball.

This summer I found a new insurance company. That saved me almost $1500/year on my car insurance. So instead of paying $108 every two weeks. I am paying $138 per month.

I pulled out some stocks in July to help me catch up when I got behind on my bills. Which actually helped me stay on track, make payments on time and not get to back logged on my bills.

I paid the first debt in my snowball off. I currently no longer owe money to the government for back taxes.

When my company rolled over the way we get paid to twice a month instead of every other Friday. I read the emails, I prepared and I changed all my monthly payments to line up with this new structure.

I got a second job so I get 4 paychecks a month.

I have recognized that I needed to restructure my snowball because if I can pay off something that frees up more money a month – I will actually have more money to pay off bills. So I restructured the order of my debt repayments. Learning the best way to tackle things and changing my plans to be more effective – just straight up financial badassery!

I started meal planning and prepping and actually paying attention to what I bring in my lunch bag so I have less food waste.

I took the summer off from drinking on the road – just to get my shit together and it was worth it. I am pretty sure Umbrella drinks in Puerto Vallarta are going to be extra delicious this winter with all my planning and financial success.

One of the biggest and best things I have learn this last year of financial badassery – that I can only focus on one big life goal at a time. If I try and take on to many things nothing gets done. So while I would love to be focusing all my energy on my fitness or on writing or podcasting or other things – my biggest goal and where all my attention goes is taking care of this mountain of debt and paying things off – one by one.

 

So, there you have it friends – an open and honest conversation about dealing with financial fuckery and some of the things I did to get myself on track. I know that I am not alone – so lets discuss some of your financial badassery …. go on, tell me something good!

xoxo,

C

 

 

 

I AM WILLING.

Lately I have been reading all sorts of books that I need time to think about, not like your typical fiction stuff that you can just plow through but the non fiction stuff that maybe you want to slow down and think about – process if you will.

Finally this last pairing I got into a space where I could actually think about the stuff that Gary John Bishop writes about in the Unfuck Yourself book.

Literally I want to say this is the maybe the first chapter.

(write 4 sentences take a phone break – this is why these things never get published)

Anyway – willingness. Am I willing to do what it takes to get what I want?! The thing is – for a lot of things, the answer to this lately has been just a big fat fucking no! Am I willing to change the way that I eat? Am I willing to start exercising more? Am I will get another job? Am I will to do things that make me uncomfortable to get the things that I want? Am I willing?

The answer of course has to be yes. But lately I have noticed that I can be really lazy and unmotivated. And normally my friends just say, hey – that is okay – sometimes you need a lazy day – and then I continue to just be lazy for all the days.  When the truth is – I need to use my time more effectively, I need to use my time more efficiently, I need to use my time instead of Netflix-ing my time away.

I am just so damn suggestible – just saying that makes me want to flip on something on Netflix and watch an episode, which will turn into multiple episodes and I will dwindle my day away and not push myself because instead of failing  – I just don’t do.

INSTEAD OF TRYING I GIVE UP AND STOP.

Often I just claim I can’t – I give up often before I even begin. I think the years of instant gratification has caused me to truly believe that I can’t. I used to be able to just put my mind to something and focus and just do it. I was known for it. But since I plowed through all sorts of things – some with success but many without success I have stopped believing in myself. It is crazy when your really start to look into problems and what caused them, how that can be your ultimate tool for growth.

I have learned that I give up easily. One bad date and I don’t go out again for months. I eat right for a couple days and don’t go down on the scale – I eat a monster bag of potato chips. I eat good for a day and I reward myself with chocolate cake – I mean it’s vegan so it’s good for you, right?! If I literally just finished writing all the blog post that I half-assedly started or even just friggen hit publish I would be in a whole different space – but here I am …

So my question today is .. Am I willing? Am I willing to make the necessary changes to get the things that I want? or am I accepting that I want to stay where I am because I don’t think I am worthy enough for something more.

So here I am on a Monday challenging myself to ask the hard questions, Am I willing to put in the work? And if not, what exactly is holding me back? Ask yourself the same thing the next time you are seemingly struggling with something – are you willing to just do what it take to have the things that you want.

It is true that we are the one thing that is standing in the way of our own success.

Go on – tell me – what is the one thing that you want most that you haven’t asked yourself if you are willing to do the work to achieve it??

 

The One Where I Talk About Debt Fatigue and What I Am Doing About It.

 

 

Debt fatigue occurs when a debtor becomes overwhelmed by the amount of debt incurred and the seeming futility of the debt repayment process, and it may result in a debtor giving up on making loan payments and beginning to overspend again.

This is for real and my life. DEBT FATIGUE. As of April 2019, I am feeling some serious debt fatigue. I have a few weeks of holidays right now. When I bid for these holidays, I actually had thought I was going to be in Asia for a few weeks. I am not in Asia – I am sitting on my friends couch hanging out with her cat listening to podcasts and writing this blog. I am not in Asia because I don’t have money to be in Asia. Since shit went down in my life in Montreal I have been very careful with my spending and hyper focused on paying off my debt. But the reality of focusing on paying off debt is that I have been feeling the debt fatigue for awhile.

The thing is I am not even sure if it is debt fatigue or if I am just not making enough money.

In the past I have made some really bad financial decisions. I bought into the student loan thing for a university degree then I bought into it again for a college diploma – and now I am working a full time job that I am not sure I even need post secondary for … I am now looking for a second job that is so far removed from either of those things just so that I can pay off students loans for a degree and a diploma that I am not using in the conventional sense.

About every 6 months debt fatigue happens to me. Everything goes to shit. I stop paying my bills, break free and do something financially stupid. Go on a trip or spend my entire payday on shit that I don’t need. Or just stop paying my bills. It gets so damn exhausting paying bills and putting everything towards my debt. I then feel guilty and spend like 6 months recovering from the financial mistakes that I made. The thing is sometimes it feels like I am not even making a dent in my overwhelming amount of student loans.

I have written about side hustles in the past. I have had 2 jobs many times in my life – I have no aversion to hard work, but I promised myself I wouldn’t work two jobs when I started flying. But after almost 2 years I think I am looking to restore a little bit of balance into my life. See I invest 20% of my payday, every payday into stocks. I am building a nest egg to pay off my loans – but that is leaving me with not so much money when its all said and done. – not so much for right now money. So, I end up flying more, then I am gone more and the cycle just keeps repeating itself. I need to be home a bit more and the only way I can do that is if I make money from another source. And here we are May 2019.

It is Wednesday night, May 1st and I am listening to Dave Ramsey and trying to refocus my priorities. I do realize that this might mean doing things that I don’t want to do. Manifesting debt reduction is happening. My plan is in place. I just need to keep pushing myself. It has come to my realization that I need to use my free time to make some more money – it doesn’t matter what it is just need to put cash in my bank account.

So what do I do about the debt fatigue??

• Stop, Breathe, Relax, Put my wallet and credit card away.
• Start applying for second jobs and ways that I can bring in extra income.
• Only drink free coffee on the airplane, drink free coffee in the hotel room, stop buying coffee out – goodbye Starbucks for a little while (yes, the latte affect)!
• Think about it, write about it, put my stress onto paper instead of on my waist line or my bank account.
• Look at the money growing in my stocks and see the nest egg I am building that is making it all worth it!!
• Remind myself how cool thrifting is and how wicked it is for the planet and how lucky I am that I have a uniform job, so I don’t need to invest in work suits and clothing that I would never wear in real life.
• Make a new budget that is more attainable.
• Talk money with my friends see what they are doing – how are they making ends meet?
• Realize I am not alone but also realize that everyone’s journey is different.
• Remind myself that future me will thank present me for getting a second job and getting my shit together!
• Breathe in some lavender and relax!
• Budget into my spending that this will probable happen again in 6 months time and plan for it, because making a financial plan to work through expected debt fatigue is probable the smartest thing I can do.

Have any tips for me on dealing with debt fatigue? I would love to hear them!

10 Introverted Side Hustler Things To Do for Fun When You Are Spending Your Money Paying Off Your Debt!

Let me paint the picture for you: It is Good Friday. I worked a redeye from Cancun the night previous and we were mega delayed. Like mega, mega delayed – we were supposed to land at 5 am – we didn’t land till 7am. I had thought that what I would do was sleep for like 6 hours and go to this interview. But by the time I got home from work and got into bed it was close to 10am. But I made a commitment – so on 3 hours of sleep I decided against my better judgement to go this interview for a job that I seriously didn’t even want.

Now I am at a job interview for a place that I literally have no interest in working at … it happens. I want more money. The thing is they ask me what I do for fun. I froze. I literally had no idea what to say – like what do I do for fun these days. It got me thinking probably in a way that I shouldn’t be thinking but seriously it just made me assess what was going on with my life. What the fuck do I do for fun? Who the fuck am I these days …

I literally thought to myself – I don’t have money to have fun. I am that strapped for cash. That is why I am at an interview to work at a smokehouse as a vegan – because I need money so I can have more fun. But this also made me think what are the things that I do do to entertain myself while I focus on paying my bills.

Here is the thing – more than ever before, right now, my primary focus is to pay off my debt. I eat, breathe, sleep paying my bills. Even when I have no money to make the bill payments, I make them – and live off of practically nothing so that I can get myself ahead financially. If you are wondering – it fucking sucks. But I am banking on future me to be happy that past me hunkered down and paid off my fucking bills.

I mean telling someone that what I do for fun is sending hilarious memes to my friends because I can’t afford actual fun seems kind of pathetic but right now it is the truth.

So here are 10 thing I do for fun  – someone that is super introverted, looking for a side hustle and mostly into things that don’t cost me money:

1) Drink coffee or tea and walk on the Calgary/local trails: this is one of my favorite spring/summer/fall things to do. The city I live in is FULL of wicked trails on creeks and rivers and all nature like and honestly I am not tired of them yet. I make coffee or tea and home or bring a hydroflask of water and literally wander for hours. Good for the soul, good for the heart, good for the pocket book.

2) Hike in the Mountains: There are so many awesome trails in day trip proximity to Calgary. If you stay out of Banff you can hike for free. And if the word hiking sounds intimidating – honestly it’s walking in the Mountains. You can make this whatever you want to make it. Download the ALLTRAILS app – you can find all the cool trails near you and it is free.  I wear my thrifted flannels, my Blundstones and bring a backpack. Honestly you don’t need expressive hiking gear to do this and pack a lunch and snacks. If you are extra smart you might pack a few ciders and leave them on ice for when you are done the trail! You could make a small one-time per year investment and get a park pass for the Mountains – it would be worth your while!

3) Netflix: Yes this is a month expense but honestly, I am paying for it anyway so might as well use it. I went through a phase where I was all about watching documentaries. Now I am on a kick where I am trying to watch all the classic movies that I never watched when I was younger. I am embarrassed to admit there is a super long list. I was busy traveling and being outside and going to raves to care about movies back in the day.

4) YouTube: Watch and Create!! There has been a lot of years that I have wanted to be a YouTuber – vlogger. I just travel so much for work that I thought it would be interesting. I love Youtube is it so fun. There are lots of people I follow. It is honestly mega fun to make videos. Everyone that has some sort of phone – use the camera, make the videos, string them together. Just start. Anyone can do this and if you are good enough one day it might be your side hustle but mostly its just fun as fuck to create things.

5) Podcasts: Listen and Create. This is another platform that I love. It is something to do. Literally you can create voice recording on your phone and upload them. Interviewing my friends is super fun to do – just talking without having to actually look presentable is pretty wicked.

6) Take Photos: Instagram. I love taking photos. The camera on my phone is awesome. Why not just find cool spots in the city to take photos and go for it. It is totally free to do and to upload. I have 1000s of wicked photos – if you put in a little google search you can find the coolest places to take photos in most cities.

7) Volunteer (at music festival) – I used to be a mega festival go-er. Times have changes. Money is tight. So now I find a couple festivals I would love to go to and I sign up to volunteer. It keeps me busy AND I get a free festival pass for volunteering. I meet amazingly cool people, still get take in the music and get myself into way less trouble because I have festival commitments AND it just win-win in my mind. Volunteer (the animal sanctuary) – hanging out with animals, spending time outside, learning some new life skills – I think finding things you are passionate about and getting involved is so good for your mental health. If that is working with animals or volunteering with kids. The point of this on is basically just volunteer for things that you find interesting so you can meet people with the same interests. Get involved in your community.

8) Writing/Blogging. Free as fuck. It is just your mind. WordPress is free. You just need to sit down and hammer it out. I love working through my life by writing it out. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. The dream is to write a book – current mission write the plot summary and book ideas out chapter by chapter and then giver.

9) Read: I love non fiction. I really, really love self help. But that doesn’t mean I don’t read other stuff. I trade books, borrow book, use my library card, use the libby app to read online. There are all sort of ways to get free material. Sometimes it is really good to just shut the internet connections down and get lost in a book. Whatever your like.

10) Try new recipes!! I realize this isn’t free but we all have to eat. I love to cook. I love trying new vegan recipes. I love testing out things in the kitchen. This is a good excuse to find cool things to try online or in one of the many cookbooks that I have. Also a great excuse to have friends over – sharing food is the best.

Bonus) Have a few drinks with my friends, drink coffee with my friends – eat out with my friends, travel with my friends – while it is really, really good to stay on top of my finances – it is also super good to spend some money and to not always go the cheap route. It is super duper important to occasionally spend money on yourself. To treat yourself and to say yes to some of the social outings that are offered to you.

 

So here I am folks at the local Second Cup spending my early evening doing something that I find fun which is writing this blog post and think about what I am going to do for my next staycation day.

 

The Power of Habit

Literally for ages I have walked by this book in the bookstore, have been attracted to the bright cover and then thought nope – I am not gonna like it, put it back. For years I have been interested in how I might need to change habits because Lordy knows I am in a habit breaking cycle the last few years. But I still resisted. But then last pay day after I crushed out all my bills, I found myself in the book store looking in the small business self help section (because lately I have been a non-fiction whore) and I finally thought you know what, I am doing it. I grabbed and finally had enough balls to buy it.

Here is the thing – I am currently reading two other books

But once I picked this one up, I could not put it down.

Charles Duhigg is a phenomenal writer. His ability to capture a story and make a point is so eloquent and inspiring. But through out the book – as I weaved through the chapters I realized he was following a formula and I am not sure if I got sucked into the habit and reward of the formula or what happen – but whatever Charles was doing – it worked.
The truth is – I have lots of habits that I have worked on breaking over the years. Lots of habits I returned to. Lots of pressure I put on myself to accomplish things that I think I want and then get overwhelmed when I don’t see results. Maybe it is because of cell phone instant gratification maybe it is because I am lazy – maybe it just something that I need to dig deeper into and figure out, so I don’t go on repeating the same fucking mistakes. I’ll have to get back to you.

Today I had so many plans of things I think I wanted to do but it is cold as fuck outside. So instead of messaging people my boredom texts I took it upon myself to finish reading my pile of books. You know what feels super great, finishing a book. You know what feels even more great feeling like I am using my brain. Thinking about things, assessing things, introverted me is such a thinker – idea generator – and sometimes it just feels good to flex that muscle.

The Power of Habit is the book that I didn’t know I needed to read. But I couldn’t put down. Talking about how everything humans do is habitual and in order to break the habit we need to form new habits. Now I know that that isn’t new information. But sometimes old information presented in a new way makes information stick in a way that it didn’t stick before.

I mean I inherently know that in order to find financial success I need to break spending habits. In order to find weight loss success, I need to form new eating and non-eating habits. In order to stop myself from being lazy and requiring so much down time is to effectively understand my sleep cycles and find new at home routines. But the actuality of doing that is harder than it is so easily presented.

I have realized I have bad habits. I have also realized I need change. When this happens I try and do all the big projects all at once. I try and change everything because I get so fucking excited about new beginnings – then I get tired and stop doing all of it – I let myself down and spiral. And then around we go again.  I know that tackling to many projects and making to many changes at once is a recipe for failure in all areas. So really this book confirmed what I have been telling myself for months. Actually I have been giving myself a hard time about this stuff for years and what needs to happen is I need to pick one main focus or habit to break. Currently the forerunner is finances. Spending habits – what I need to continue to work on is my path to financial freedom and stop putting so much pressure on myself to also see success at weight loss and figure out some sort of crazy online business/social media take over to generate something that I literally just don’t have the energy to focus on. The Power of Habit is really taking a look at what our habits already are and showing us that we can indeed form new habit.

Since I have admitted that I am hyper focused on my finances right now it is best for me to really look into my spending habits. What kind of reward am I gaining from spending? What kind of reward might I gain by saving?

I like to think I am pretty self aware but maybe I am just living in the looney bin of blissfully unaware. And perhaps that is where a lot of people live – I have no idea. But what I can do is focus on me, and what I am trying to do and that my actions have consequences both good and back and learning to understand that my decisions are the reason I am where I am in life.

Some of you may know that I have a script tattoo on my arm that reads: “No One is Coming to Save You” – some people read that and look at me like I am either in the depths of depression in a way they can’t understand or that I am totally fucked (I mean those things maybe true) but ultimately that tattoo got permanently etched into my arm to remind me all the time that all the work needs to come from with in. No one person or one thing is going to pull you out of the mess you got yourself in. No other human is the answer to anything we are fighting. Inner turmoil is solved by you. Weight loss again solved by you. Money problems also solved by you. The only thing that can change me or my habits is a cold hard look at how I got myself into this situation and how I need to gruelingly pull myself out.

The thing is maybe you don’t have any bad habits or habits that you would like to change. And I commend you if you’re that person. But if you are like me there are lots of things, I need to continual work on to watch myself grow. So really in theory if you follow these 4 steps you should eventually get to where you want to go:

Identify the routine
Experiment with rewards
Insolate the cue
Have a plan

Sounds simple, right?! The Power of Habit isn’t a step by step problem solver it really is just the tool you need to know that you can change. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us that in words we didn’t hear before.

If you need me, I will be working on breaking some habit cycles, working on crushing out those student loans – probably drinking free coffee at ‘40 000, reading something else to pass the time.

Happy Habit Changing,
XOXO,
C

Things I Think About: Burnout & Life Trajectory

 

It is my morning off. I am in Calgary, drinking my very large McDonald’s coffee in my bed watching Youtube – because I have next to zero responsibilities until 1135pm when I need to check in for work. It is a rare occasion I am home alone; the weather has broken its unbearable cold snap to a balmy -4C and it has been a mega mood shifter. Things today seem like they are a -ok. However, the last month or so things have been far from okay.

The truth is – I have been crying a lot lately. And I think we don’t talk about being sad enough. People get sad and it is okay.

I have known for many years that I struggle with winter depression and this winter hit me hard – like really hard. I don’t know if it is the extreme cold the last few weeks, or so much other chaos in my life. But seriously I haven’t cried this much in years. I know it is healthy to let out the frustration but LORDY it has been a lot. Feeling this way always leads to me over committing and under delivering in my life, to my friends, to my family and to basically anyone – I then over-work to deal with all my stress. Because I am a grown ass woman and dealing with stress by working too much is obviously the way to handle life.

One of my biggest, crippling life stressors is finances. I have a lofty goal of crushing out my student loans in the next couple years and I literally have a plan and I am sticking to it. But fuck me it is hard to stay on track and literally limit social interactions just so I can pay off my debt. I am literally barely dressed drinking my coffee reading up on side hustles and wondering if I had an online business what exactly would I sell?! I would love to just get all those bad ass brand deals by posting videos of me drinking umbrella drinks on my overnights in warm locations, but I do actually think it is more work than that. ‘Cuz well imagine if it was that easy? Why would any of us have Monday to Friday jobs?!

Yesterday morning while I was in Puerto Vallarta, I was recording an episode on my podcast about feeling burnt out. I actually found a Forbes articles detailing signs of burn out and I think I hit all 10 of them with a ‘bang on – ya, I sure am’.

See I think that the first part of fixing any sort of life problem is actually realizing you have the problem. Then the fun part begins and that is figuring out  how to solve the problem – like what do I do to stop the burn out from happening because girl needs a payday and also a vacay (that rhythmed and I am very okay with that).

So today I am just being a social media whore. I am writing, I am searching, I am signing up for freelance work websites – I am literally doing all of this from my bed because it feels like I am kind of resting all while getting shit done. Is it the dream? I am not sure but today it feels right!

I am actually curious what the rest of the world does to deal with burn out. How do you deal with that stress of it all? The stress of life? I mean as I approach 40 things seem to be so different than before, life is different – I actually started worrying about different things like retirement funds and buying property and if I will ever be able to retire. I wonder if I will eventually need to settle for a man that is ill suited to me because I long for some sort of companionship that I have yet to find. I think about all sort of things that on the surface seem really, really sad but are just a harsh truth. These are things I think about.

We all get there in life. It happens. We need money, we work too hard, and then we negate all the other things in our life that create balance. I am well aware of the fact that I have lacked balance in my life for a long ass time because I over work ALL THE DAMN TIME. But the truth is it is all on me to fix. There isn’t another person that can fix my trajectory but me. Being aware of your situation certainly helps in the process – because we all know you can’t fix something you don’t know is broken. So it just leaves me with this isolated feeling of what my next steps should be. Am I paralyzed in my own fear? yes – it is hard to make decisions when you feel stressed and burnt out.  It’s so easy to shut the word out and just focus on pushing through and not really thinking of anything else but making it to your end goal. But that just leads to all sorts of questions about what life is really for, right?! like am I having a good enough time? am I laughing enough? do I have enough people around me that support me? Am I enough?

Anyway – here I am just thinking about things – lots of things – am I the only one?


 

 

COOL PEOPLE I KNOW: Rosanna, Rosie, Ro

Awhile back I had a phone conversation with my long-time best friend Rosanna. She had called to tell me that the course that she had purchased online for Yoga teacher training had actually turned out to be a bit of a sham. The issue was that in the end the teacher (her friend) had duped them all and that at the end of the course after paying thousands of dollars – she would not be getting her certification. As we were chatting on the phone I kind of had this brilliant idea that I should make my baby podcast into a series of interviews. I had actually wanted to talk about the scandal that happened, but it turns out what I really want to talk about is the cool people I know and why I find them interesting.

Rosanna has wanted to be a yoga instructor for the better part of a decade, and I have thought she would be amazing at it for about that long. We sat down and started this free flow conversation with the idea that I wanted to talk about yoga but what I actually think is most interesting is our perception of todays society and the journey we have both taken to get to be the badass women we are today.

Sooooooo here is the podcast in all its glory:

https://castbox.fm/app/castbox/player/id1412402/id133234443?v=4.1.0&autoplay=0

Some random footnotes and thoughts to go along with this podcast:

I actually don’t know who she is talking about me dating from Sears. But I thought she was talking about my old friend Ali who I backpacked around Canada with, then I thought she was talking about this other guy I saw on occasion – but turns out I actually have no clue who she is remembering.

Our other old friend she is talking about – we almost drove off the Memorial Street overpass on one of our many drunken adventures to the BackAlley. He still lives to this day and if you are reading this – Hey Buddy, How are you?

I grew up in a family where I was surrounded by small business. My Dad had plenty of random small businesses. I think I was always attracted to the idea of running my own thing way back when I was young. I actually remember at one point telling a career counsellor in Halifax my business plan for my own business and she literally just looked at me and said she thought I was in the wrong space. I think I literally wanted her to help me build my business and she was there to tell people what trade schools they could get into and what programs were offered for their free training after being on pogy. I think one of the issues that I have had long term is that I have had zero confidence in creating my own business. That lack of self confidence has permeated my entire life not just a business life. I mean at this point I am not even sure what exactly I would sell – I just like the idea of not being responsible to anyone else but myself.

I think that really you need to find your power and you really need to understand not following the grain of life – and not letting fear stand in your way, putting yourself out there in a public platform is really hard. Like seriously have you ever read the comment section on any given Instagram post or YouTube video? Like these people have balls of steel putting their work out there for the savage keyboard warriors to pounce. I mean the truth is that getting your dream is a whole lot of hard work. Over night success is a myth and you really need to stay focused on your own path and not get derailed by all the dream zappers that are out there. They are busy being to scared to put themselves out there so they are trying to shatter your dreams because they are to scared to work on their own. Building your business or any online platform (blog, podcast) is all about hustling. Hustle, hustle, hustle. You need to use the platform of people you know and grind it out for years before the success starts to happen.

I mean all this stuff leads back to intention or goal setting (whatever verbiage you like). And not giving a rats ass what other people think. Information is at our finger tips. You want to learn a new skill – all the information you need is online. You want to get education in something new – start reading, watching and listening. Connect with the people. It sounds so easy right?!  I feel like there is a popular quote out there about some law of 10 000 hours. Anybody can learn anything as long as they put in the time. People are their own brand and really we just need to learn how to brand ourselves.
Authenticity is what attracts people and what brings them back for more. You are amazing just as you are, and people will like or dislike you for exactly who you are so embrace that and move forward with your dreams. My dreams are so different from your dreams but, in the end, I think we all have our eyes on the prize of feeling some sort of success in our lives. We want to create something good (whatever that looks like for us). We want to live within a more intentional space and take steps to be in a place of growth.

Anyway, our conversation vibration got derailed a bit in the end, so we wrapped it up.

As always – thanks for listening, reading and supporting my creative endeavors.

More to come,
XOXO,
C