I worked hard, I put my head down and did what was asked of me. I came in to work on time, responded to emails on time, completed briefs before deadlines and on paper I was doing a stellar job. I never wore the same outfit twice in one week, I kept up with celebs on social media, I watched all the best series, I was doing everything right. I followed what the magazines told me to do, what my friends were doing and what I saw from others, so why wasn’t I happy?
I had all these dreams, but no resources and all these bucket list items but no time to actually do it. Life was running away from me faster than I anticipated and the more I tried to keep up, the less I actually got done.
And then it hit me, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I wasn’t insane so why was I acting like it? I quickly dropped old habits and picked up new ones. Over the course of a year, I changed my life and my mindset. Here’s what I changed and ultimately what happened.
1. I did what I loved, instead of what I was supposed to do.
I stopped keeping up with celebs, the latest gossip and the newest hits on the billboard. I had more time to listen to music that I loved, even if it was from 2002, I swopped series for conversations with friends and I spent more time on the beach than inside a mall.
The results were small but impactful. I become closer to people in my life, I discovered who I truly connected with and who was only there for a good time – which is completely okay. During walks on the beach I got to know myself more because I actually had time to reflect and think.
2. I spent my money differently.
I eased up on constantly buying new clothes, beauty products and shoes. Instead, I bought more books because they fed my imagination. I used my money on experiences instead of things because they left me more fulfilled. I spent my money on hobbies that I always dreamed of doing instead of drunken nights out.
In the end, I became money conscious and I invested and saved more. This lead to taking 5-star trips each year and local staycations in-between.
3. I avoided toxic environments.
You know that friend that makes shady comments or that guy that makes sexist remarks? Yup, I just avoided it all. I stopped putting myself in situations where I needed to watch what I said in fear of backlash or when I needed to change my outfit 5 times because it wasn’t trendy enough.
After a month, I was connecting with people who really understand me and I got rid of negative energy. In a drastic move, I left a toxic job and environment. While I’m happy for what I went through and what I learned about people, it wasn’t a mentally or emotionally sustainable environment. Today I’m at a company that has given me more in 8 months than I received in 2 years anywhere else.
4. I stopped comparing myself to others
This might be last, but it certainly isn’t least. When I fully understood that the only person who can be me, is me – things really changed. I stopped looking at others success and started focusing on my own. I put timelines to my dreams and they turned into goals. Then, I ticked them off one by one.
I became the truest version of myself, and that, is the greatest achievement of all.
For me, success is not about making a million in one year, it’s not about wearing H&M from head to toe, or about being the most popular on the internet. For me, success is having a healthy mindset, having unbreakable connections with the people around you, it’s about being happy with yourself and your life – it’s ultimately about loving yourself and living the life you always wanted, not just imagining it.
And if I can do it, so can you. Here’s your challenge, in 20 years time, will your life be the one that you settled for or the one that you chose? What’s your answer going to be.