The risk of falling too hard into a niche:

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We love our niches. We’ve been told to seek them out since we were kids. Find your people and everything else will fall together! And I’m not saying that our people aren’t important, in fact, they are one of the most important things in our lives. All I’m saying is that we don’t want all our people to be exactly the same, just like we don’t want all our creative work to be the same, or all our habits to stay exactly the same.

We’re human beings, we don’t make progress or grow if we just do the same things over and over again.

If you find people who are too much like you, or only enjoy work that is exactly like the work you create, you’re not going to change any. You’re not going to be pushed to grow, you’ve never going to need to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll create a beautiful little bubble around you and you’ll never be challenged. It might sound nice in a lot of ways, but without being challenged we will never achieve more than we are now. Without being pushed outside our comfort zone we’ll never learn that we do better work there. We’ll never learn that our people weren’t helping us but holding us back. We’ll never know that we can be more.

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Let’s talk about Sacrifice:

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I used to give up things for lent as a child, we didn’t make a big deal of it,  but I remember doing it. This year I decided to give up gluttony, which looks like giving up late night snacks, eating less overall, and eating better overall. I decided I wanted to partake because I realize that I’m bad at giving things up.

We don’t talk about sacrifice enough when we talk about getting our goals. We streamline the discussion by talking about hard work, like those two things are completely interchangeable, but they aren’t. Sacrifice is hard work, but working hard doesn’t mean that you’re truly sacrificing, especially if it is hard work you enjoy.

The point of sacrifice is that you’re giving up something you don’t want to. The point of sacrifice is to suffer now in order to succeed later on. In terms of your life it means later on in the years, in terms of your soul it means later on in the next life. But either way you have to give things up to get anywhere.

The path you are on has lead you to where you are now, but you might not get any farther if you don’t change yourself. You might be stuck here or stuck inching along at a snails pace forever. You don’t want that, but you might deserve that with how you’re currently living.

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Seven Things:

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  • The most inspiring story as of late has to be Selma Blair making her struggles with MS known. Chronic illness is a terrible burden to bare, it is greatly misunderstood, so spreading awareness is wonderful and brave. Here is her interview about it.
  • This video showcases a church doing ash Wednesday drive thru style. I normally don’t have ash’s on my forehead today, but I love the reminder that seeing them brings no matter your denomination. We’re all mortal and not meant for this world but the one after.
  • I’m a pen snob, just ask anyone, I’m really picky and I have a lot of opinions on what makes a good pen, so I was happy when I found a ranking of 100 pens. Though my favorite didn’t make it high on the list (which makes me wonder…)
  • This articles headline says it all: Religious practice is declining. Here’s why that’s bad news for disaster recovery.
  • I haven’t had a lot of luck with underwear and bras from Victoria Secret, which was my go to when I was younger. They’ve gotten uncomfortable and the quality has decreased, there has also been a lot of backlash against them for not being body positive, so I was really excited to hear that Target is launching three new intimates lines, because let’s be honest, I was in Target anyway!
  • This baby panda video is insanely cute and funny. It’s hard getting work done with the help of baby pandas!
  • This article on the cult of wellness touches on the same topics I did in my Lyme Disease post on fake medicine and real medicine. This article though speaks about the wellness move in general, from oils to Fitbits.

The steps on the road to self improvement:

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A while ago, when I wasn’t as busy because of sickness and had been spending a ton of time in prayer, I was hyper focused on self-improvement. And let me tell you, It’s a lot easier to improve yourself when your life is at a standstill. I had a ton of time to think about my bad habits and how they formed. I was able to come up with lists of good habits I wanted to create, and since I wasn’t doing anything else, they were easy to make time for. But when my life picked back up I dropped a lot of the work I was doing, not because it wasn’t important, but because I was so busy that things were getting forgotten, or I simply didn’t have the time to chart it all so I lost some of my accountability.

Life happens like that, it comes through and sweeps us off our feet and it takes us sometime to get them back under us.

My life hasn’t calmed down any, in fact, it’s gotten busier. I’m starting a new treatment plan for my Lyme Disease, Chris and I are planning a wedding, and we’re buying a house. A lot is happening, but I’m starting to feel the tug to revisit that list of good habits I wanted to create, because after all, being busy isn’t a very good excuse for not bettering yourself.

It’s harder than it should be to get back in that zone. It’s hard to think about good habits once a day and it’s even harder to make time to form those habits. So what is a girl to do? It seemed much more black and white when I was bedridden.

  • Make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Want to be a morning person? Want to do more small acts of kindness? Need to pray more? Struggling to nourish our body correctly? Make a list of all the key traits your best self would have. If you need to make smaller points with steps you need to take to make it happen add those. Once you have it in writing you have a goal to reach.
  • Carve out time to review your daily goals and report on your steps to self improvement. Maybe you keep a journal with boxes to check off like I do, or maybe you keep a list on your phone that you simply scroll through, either way, taking time to remind yourself what you’re trying to do and seeing if you’re producing results is a good start.
  • Don’t focus on everything at once. It gets so overwhelming if you do. You’re not going to be able to pick up ten new habits at once. You’re not going to be able to stop all your problems cold turkey, and that okay. Pick the ones that our most important. Prioritize your list. What do you really want done now and what can wait till your farther along this journey. Sometimes we need to make progress before we can even start to look at the details. That’s perfectly normal.

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Study tips for someone with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia:

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I am dyslexic and I have dysgraphia, but I graduated in English Literature with a 3.4. I’ve talked about majoring in your learning disability before, though it’s been a while. I talked about how learning disabilities are often made out to be an end all be all and discourage people from pushing through them. I also comment on the fact that they are disabilities not differences, because they make it harder to do things and there is no need to sugar coat it. I say that there is no secret and that there isn’t a list of tips that will work for everyone.  It’s true, most of pushing through your learning disability is just working through sweat and tears, but I do have some study tips I’ve learned over the years and if you’re facing the same challenges as me you might find them helpful.

  • Listen to older literature: Especially Shakespeare, he was made to be listened to. Well, he was made to be watched, but many adaptions do different takes on his work, so if you’re looking to do it for an English class it’s best to listen to an audio book so you just get pure dialog. Audio books are amazing for older works. Old English is harder to comprehend, but it’s easier to understand when you hear it. Audio books also remove all the line breaks from works like the Odyssey and rely only on the periods for pauses, which is how it is meant to be read, even though some brains struggle with reading it that way.
  • Google is better than spellcheck: I could scream this one from the rooftops. I feel like spellcheck is sometimes concerned about me I’m such a poor speller. It just shrugs me off because it honestly doesn’t know what I’m trying to say. Take that jumbled mess of letters and put it into Google search. It can normally figure it out. I am strictly talking about the web search, though, Google Docs doesn’t always get it either.

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Adding Good Habits vs. Removing Bad Habits

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Bad habits die hard, it’s universally known. I’ve never met someone who had an easy time getting rid of a habit, they become part of our wiring, and undoing that isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s one of the main reasons that people give up on getting rid of them. It can seem just too difficult, and I get that. I’ve given up on a few of mine as well. I’m not exactly proud of it, but they felt to hard to change.

Is there an easier way to get rid of them? It’s a question that a lot of people have asked, and nobody really has an answer too, but there is an argument for pushing your bad habits out simply by forming good habits, but that too can be complicated because good habits are also hard to form. It takes time and repetition to create the wiring that all our other habits have. It requires forcing yourself to act and getting down right angry with yourself when you don’t want to. It requires self-discipline.

But is it the better alternative? Is it even true that you can push your bad habits out by replacing them with better habits?

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Romantic relationships are partnerships and should be treated like it.

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In Australia they don’t say ‘my significant other’ they say ‘my partner’ because that is what relationships really are, they’re a partnership.  I often see hear people talk about how you shouldn’t rely on your partner, and I agree with 50% of what they’re saying.

I agree that you need to be able to function without them, you need to be able to live if something were to happen to them or if something were to happen to the two of you. But not being able to function without someone and relying on someone are not the same thing. You should be able to rely on your partner. They should be carrying you when you can’t carry yourself. I know that there’s an idea out there that you should never be unable to do things alone, but it’s false, everyone needs help, and sometimes we need a lot of it. I touched on this in my relationships and mental illness post, but the same way they should carry you when you can’t, you should carry them. It’s a two-way street. It’s a partnership.

The whole premise of dating isn’t just for fun, though it’s turned into that over the years, it’s that you’ve got someone by your side to tackle life with. It’s a try out session for the partner that will last you a lifetime. And being a partner means a lot more than being in love with your best friend. It means that you ask each other for permission before making sizable decisions. It means that you seek each others advice on near everything. People hear you talk about these things and think that you’re in a controlling relationship, but that isn’t what its about. It’s about wanting the others opinions and wanting them to agree with you as you make choices that will effect both your lives.

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