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We Keep Going, One Tiny Step at a Time, and We Should Be Proud

“Don’t wait until you reach your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take.” ~Karen Salmansohn

One of the greatest ironies of being human is that we’re often hardest on ourselves right when we should be most proud.

Let’s say you finally find the courage to start a dream project you’ve fantasized about for as long as you can remember. You push through years of built-up fears, overcome massive internal resistance, and take the leap despite feeling like you’re jumping through a ring of fire, above a pit filled with burning acid.

It’s one of the most terrifying things you’ve ever done. It dredges up all your deepest insecurities, triggers feelings you’d rather stuff down and ignore, and brings you face to face with the most fragile, vulnerable parts of yourself.

The fact that you’re even willing to take this risk is huge. Monumental, really. Just getting on this long, winding path is an accomplishment worth acknowledging and celebrating. Most people avoid it. They do what they’ve always done and remain stuck in discontent, wishing they could know a life less limited.

But you? You’re trying. You’re taking a chance at being who you could be, knowing full well there are no guarantees. You’re a f*cking rockstar. A total badass for giving this a go. But you likely don’t see it that way.

You likely think you’re not doing enough, or doing it fast enough, or doing it well enough for it to count. You might get down on yourself for not learning more quickly, or having a perfectly honed vision and plan from the start.

Instead of giving yourself credit for every inch you move forward, you might beat yourself up for not leaping a mile.

Or maybe you’re not pursuing a dream for the future. Maybe you’re facing a pain from the past.

Let’s say you’re finally leaning into your anxiety or depression instead of numbing your feelings with booze, food, or any other distraction. Perhaps you’re in therapy, even, trying to get to the root of your complex feelings and heal wounds that have festered, untended, for years.

It’s intense, draining work that few can understand because there’s no visible representation of just how deep your pain goes. No way to fully explain how tough it is to face it. No way to show how hard you’re trying, every day, to fight a darkness that seems determined to consume you. So on top of being emotionally exhausted, you quite frequently feel alone.

Just acknowledging the pain beneath the mental and emotional symptoms is an act of immense bravery. And allowing yourself to face it, however and whenever you can—well let’s just say they should give out medals for this kind of thing. You’re a f*cking hero. A total badass for doing the work to save yourself. But you probably don’t see it that way.

You might think you aren’t making progress fast enough. Or you’re weak for having these struggles to begin with. Or you suck at life because sometimes you fall back into old patterns, even though on many other occasions, you don’t.

Instead of giving yourself credit for every small win, you might beat yourself up for being a failure. As if nothing you do is good enough, and you’ll never be good enough, because you’re not perfect right now.

Because if it’s not all happening right now—the healing, the growth, the progress—it’s easy to fear it never will. And it will be all your fault.

If it seems like I’m speaking from personal experience, that’s because I am.

I followed a decade of depression and bulimia with years of self-flagellation for not healing overnight and magically morphing into someone less fragile.

I responded to childhood trauma by abusing myself for acting insecure and emotionally unstable, even when I was actively trying to learn better ways to live and cope.

And I crucified myself for every cigarette and shot when I was trying to quit smoking and binge drinking, even though I quite frequently went long stretches of time without doing anything self-destructive.

Through all this internal whip cracking, I consistently reinforced to myself that I was weak for not changing overnight when really I should have acknowledged I was strong for making any progress at all.

It was like I was watching myself treading water, with broken limbs, while screaming at myself to hurry up and get stronger instead of throwing myself the rope of my own self-encouragement.

In retrospect, this makes sense. This is how most of us learn growing up—not through validation but punishment. We far more often hear about what we’re doing wrong than what we’re doing right. So instead of supporting ourselves through our deepest struggles, we berate ourselves for even having them.

Though I’ve made tremendous progress with this over the years, and I’m no longer in crisis, I still find myself expecting instant perfection at times.

I’m currently pushing myself far beyond the edge of my comfort zone—so far I can’t even see it from where I’m precariously floating.

I’m writing more here on the site after years of working through an identity crisis I’ve never publicly discussed.

I’m trying to get funding for a feature film I wrote, with themes that are deeply personal to me, knowing the “low budget” is still no easy amount to raise, and I might fail spectacularly.

I’m working on multiple new projects with third party companies—something I’ve avoided in the past because I’m a control freak who doesn’t easily trust others to take the reins.

And I’m doing it all while pregnant—six and a half months to be exact—at almost forty years old. So on top of all the usual fears that accompany big risks and changes, I’m juggling your garden-variety new parent concerns, with a few geriatric-pregnancy-related worries for good measure. (Yes, geriatric. My uterus could be a grandmother!)

I’m pushing myself into a new league, far outside my little work-from-home introvert bubble, while frequently feeling both physically and emotionally exhausted. And I’m finally giving myself the leeway to evolve after years of saying I wanted to grow but refusing to let go of my comfort to enable it. Really, I should be proud.

Every time I take a meeting when I’d rather do only what I can accomplish myself, every time I send an email for a new opportunity when it would be easier to passively wait for whatever comes to me, every time I push myself to be the brave, fulfilled person I want to be for both myself and my son, I should throw myself an internal parade. A festival complete with a float in my own image and endless flutes of the best champagne. (I know, I’m pregnant, but it’s internal, remember? Keep the bubbly flowing!)

But do I do this? To be fair, yes. Sometimes I do. And I’m proud of myself for that. I’ve come a long way from the self-abusive girl who only knew to motivate with intimidation and fear.

But other times I can be pretty hard on myself. It’s like I have this vision of how this all should work, and when, and I blame myself if I can’t meet my rigid expectations on my ideal timeline.

I don’t always step back and see the big picture: That there are many external factors I can’t control, and I need to be adaptable to deal with them. That it’s hard to learn new things, and no amount of willpower or dedication can make the process instant. That some things simply take time, and this isn’t a reflection of my worth or my effort.

I get impatient. I get frustrated. I get anxious and resistant.

And really it all comes down to attachment. I resist this slow, uncertain process, and bully myself into making things happen more quickly, because I want these things so bad I can taste them, and I fear they may never happen at all.

I want the freedom these new opportunities could provide. I want the fulfillment of bringing my creative vision to life. I want the things I tell myself I should have made happen years ago, and I want them now so I can focus on the joy of attainment instead of beating myself up for having “wasted time.”

But none of this internal drama is useful or productive, and it certainly does nothing for my motivation or focus. It’s nearly impossible to create from your heart when it’s totally eclipsed by anxiety and fear.

The only way to do anything effectively is to accept where you are, let go of the outcome, and throw yourself into the process.

So going forward, when my mind tries to bully me into doing more than I reasonably can or shame me for my pace or my progress, I’m going to remind myself I’m doing better than I think. We all are. And we all deserve more credit than we likely give ourselves.

We all deserve credit for facing our demons, chasing our dreams, and showing up every day when it would be easier to hide.

We all deserve acknowledgment for every tiny step forward, no matter how slow or timid, because creating change is hard.

We all deserve recognition for the many internal hurdles we overcome, even though they’re not visibly apparent to anyone else, because often they’re harder to tackle than even the most challenging external obstacles.

And we all deserve the peace of knowing that who we are right now is enough. Even if we have room to grow, even if there are things we’d like to achieve, we are good enough just as we are. And it’s okay to be right where we are.

It’s okay to be messy, inconsistent, and not always at our best. It’s okay to feel insecure, unsure, lost, confused, and scared. It’s okay to make massive advances on some days and just get by on others.

Would it be nice if we could instantly transport ourselves to the idealized future we see in our heads? Sure. But that’s not really what it means to “live our best life”—despite what our YOLO-promoting culture would have us believe.

Living our best is embracing what is, while working to create what can be. It’s doing the best we can with what’s in front of us, and accepting that nothing else is guaranteed. Because this is the only moment we know for sure we have.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize I missed most of it because I always felt it needed to be more—and that I needed to be more—to fully appreciate and enjoy what I had while I had it.

So today, I’ve decided to be proud. Of my strength, my efforts, my progress, and the fact that I keep going. Whether I’m wounded, weary, or worried, I keep getting back up. I keep moving forward. I keep evolving. I am doing the best I can. So are you. And that’s something worth celebrating.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. An avid film lover, she recently finished writing her first feature screenplay and is in pre-production now.

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How to Harness Neuroscience to Change Your Life

If your resolutions have already failed, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

In fact, studies show that 92% of all New Year’s resolutions fail and most of them by February.

But have you ever wondered why those resolutions fail so quickly? Is it because of low willpower, improper goal setting or something else?

To me, I always thought it was a combination of lacking willpower and not setting the right type of goals. But after reading a few books and learning from Dr. Bruce Lipton, I was very wrong.

While those might play a part, the main issue is actually your subconscious identity, also known as your self-image. Your self-image is everything.

As Maxwell Maltz said in the personal development classic, Psycho-Cybernetics, “Self-image is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self-image and you change the personality and the behavior. The self-image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. It defines what you can and cannot do.”

How to Harness Neuro Science to Change Your Life Maxwell Maltz Self-image is the key to human personality and human behavior.

Why Resolutions Fail | Neuroscience

Most people set resolutions based on something that isn’t aligned with their identity, which is why they fail so quickly. They use willpower for a week or two but at the end of the day, it doesn’t align with their identity. This why change feels so hard.

As Tony Robbins said, “Identity drives behavior.”

Your identity shapes your beliefs, which shape your stories, and behaviors in the world. This is known as the logical level in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) which is commonly taught by Tony Robbins and other high-performance coaches. 

How to Harness Neuro Science to Change Your Life The BEST LDP Delegate Workbook

So if your identity isn’t aligned with the change you’re trying to make, change is going to feel impossible. It’s will feel like you’re trying to accelerate but still have the emergency brakes on.

Identifying Your Old Identity | Neuroscience

Most of us are operating from our past identity as we are all programmed at a young age. When we’re kids, our parents and society help shape our identity. Even though you might not realize it, you’re operating from a childhood self-image. 

For example, if you’ve always struggled to make money or lose weight, you’ve probably blamed yourself or lack of discipline or willpower. But in reality, the reason you haven’t been able to do those things is that you have a subconscious belief that doesn’t align with your goal.

The reason change feels so hard is that you’re trying to fight your identity.

As Dr. Bruce Lipton said, “95 percent of your life comes from the subconscious program. So by definition, your life is a printout of your subconscious programs. In contrast, anything that you have to work hard at, put a lot of effort into or anything you have to struggle for to make it happen, is a result of your programs not supporting that.”

Research has found that your subconscious (identity) drives 95% of the behavior you do on a daily basis. Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, and all the great personal development leaders talk about this constantly in seminars and events.

Essentially, your subconscious programs might be sabotaging you without you even realizing it. So before you set another goal, look into your past to better understand your identity.

If you’ve struggled at something in life for a while, it’s because you have an old, outdated belief that is not letting you stay committed to your goal. Once you identify the old belief systems, then you can start to reprogram your subconscious to achieve more than ever before.

How to Reprogram Your Identity | Neuroscience

Remember, human beings are basically operating from old programs and beliefs we formed when we were kids. The neuroscience we operate with needs upgrading. If you don’t like something about your identity, it can be changed.

Instead of using willpower and failing like so many people, you need to learn how to start making a change from the inside out.

Here are some of the ways that can help you reprogram your identity and create new belief systems.

1. Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis isn’t like it is portrayed in the movies. It’s the exact opposite.

You’re just in a very relaxed state which makes it easier to access your subconscious and make the necessary change. You can use self-hypnosis audio and some forms of meditation to impress a new set of beliefs and identity to your subconscious.

But you can’t do it just once, you need to repeat it over and over again. As the subconscious is just a habit mind, you need to work consistently to retrain your habits.

2. Repetition

Once your identity is formed around seven or eight years old, you begin to establish habits. And your habits are formed by repeating something over and over and over again. Think about learning to ride a bike or drive a car for the first time.

It’s all done through repetition. Practicing, repeating, and practicing until it becomes unconscious.

And that’s exactly how you rewire your subconscious, through constant repetition. That’s why it’s so important to affirm your goals or new habits on a regular basis. Preferably you want to work on changing them morning, noon, and night.

Repetition is the key to mastering your mind. You can’t just create a goal or try to change a habit only once. You need to do it over and over again.

How to Harness Neuro Science to Change Your Life Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.

3. Major Life Events

The other main way might happen unintentionally. Every once in a while, something happens out of the ordinary that can help you make a huge change from a life-changing event.

These events can come in the form of apparent crisis such as a loss of a loved one, major emergency or even the birth of a child. The impact of these moments might be so unique that they call forth a completely shift your identity and way of being in the world.

Final Thoughts on Changing Your Identity | Neuroscience

If you haven’t made the changes you want in life, give yourself a break and forgive yourself. Few people ever understand how to make a lasting change as this type of content isn’t taught in the education system.

As Dr. Bruce Lipton said, “We are not victims of anything other than the programs we are operating from. Change the programs you are operating from. If your subconscious programs match the wishes and desires of the conscious mind, your life will be one continuous honeymoon experience for as long as you live on this planet.”

Give up on willpower, understand the neuroscience behind your decisions and start reprogramming your subconscious mind to create lasting change in 2019 and beyond.

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Turia Pitt: Life Is So Precious – The Whole World Needs To Hear This!

Turia Pitt is an extraordinary human being with an extraordinary story to share with the world.

Turia Pitt: Life Is So Precious – The Whole World Needs To Hear This!

Speaker: Turia Pitt
Get her amazing books here.
Interview and Film by E.T Rouleau

Transcript: Turia Pitt, Life Is So Precious

My name is Turia Pitt. I’m an athlete, author and mindset coach.

In 2011, I was badly burned during the Kimberley Ultramarathon. I spent a couple of years in and out of hospital, I had over 100 operations, and I really had to rebuild my life from the ground up. And when I think back to that experience, I’m really proud of not only how I handled myself, but how I was able to galvanize myself and rebuild my life to a spot where I think it’s even better than it was before.

Turia on being driven:

I’ve always been a pretty driven person. I mean, in high school, I had three after-school jobs, and I always volunteered for things, and I always put my hand up to do things.

And I think that’s just because, even before my accident, I had this idea that life, it’s so precious. We only get one shot at it, and it’s not like a video game where you die, and you get another chance. We don’t get that opportunity in life.

And I think, sometimes I get stressed because I think I’ve only got a certain amount of time left on this earth to make an impact and to do everything that I want to do. And I get overwhelmed because I think that I don’t have enough time, but then I remind myself, just relax, take it easy, take the pressure off, and just focus on doing the small steps that you can do today.

So I think I’ve always been really driven to get the most out of life. And I think it’s a pretty important reminder for all of us to not take things for granted and to remember that each day that we get, it’s really a gift.

Turia’s advice to anyone going through hard times:

If I could give advice to someone who’s at a really low point, it’s that sometimes when you think about the end goal of where you want to be, and you’re at a really awful place, that idea of rebuilding your life and recovering can seem very overwhelming and almost insurmountable. So what I did is I used to focus on just getting through one day at a time, and when I got through one day, I’d pat myself on the back, and I’d say well done, Turia. You’ve made it through another day. And then when a day was too hard, I’d break it up into hours, and I’d say you’re still here, it’s another hour passed, you’re still here. And I think just, again, take the pressure off.

Be kind to yourself, be easy on yourself. You are a human, and it’s okay to have feelings, and if you’re going through adversity, just take the pressure off and just take it really slowly, day by day or even hour by hour.

Turia on where she finds her strength:

I always get asked where I find my strength from, and I think people assume that I’m a super naturally motivated person, and every morning I jump out of bed, and I can’t wait to seize the day. But I think it’s important to take the pressure off yourself, as well, and not have that high expectation that every single day, you’re just going to smash things.

So I always say to people that motivation, that’s the spark that starts the fire, but really it’s consistency that keeps the fuel burning.

So I remind myself that whatever it is I’m doing, whether that’s training for an Ironman or working on something new in my business or writing a book, I have to let go of this idea of needing to be externally motivated and just focus on consistency and just doing the small things that I can do every day that get me closer to where I want to be.

Turia on what it takes to really achieve your goals:

Yeah, I think when you’re talking about motivation, first of all, you’ve got to have something that really excites you, that gets you out of bed. Just something that you’re working on or a marathon that you’re training for. And more than that, you’ve got to have a really crystal clear and really compelling reason for WHY you’re trying to achieve that.

Are you writing a book because you’ve always loved literature, and you want to share a story with the world?

With me for Ironman, I wanted to do that because I wanted to prove to everyone and to all of the naysayers that not only was I as fit as I was in the Ultramarathon, but I was fitter.

So it’s really important to not only have something that you’re working towards, something crystal clear and something tangible, and on top of that, you have to have a really crystal clear REASON for wanting to achieve that goal.

So they’re the two things you always need when you’re achieving a goal. And that’s what gets me out of bed most mornings.

Turia pitt quote

Turia’s take on pushing yourself:

I think what’s always drawn me to doing endurance events has been it’s a space where you can really challenge yourself, and you can really test yourself, and you really find out how much you can cope and how much you can endure. And I think, especially in our lives these days, they’re so comfortable. You wake up, you open the fridge, you pour your breakfast, you watch TV, you open your car, you drive to work, you sit at a desk, you type on a computer, you’re in an air-conditioned office. And you never really get a chance to test yourself well or to stretch yourself. So that’s why I like things like endurance events and freediving and surfing because they’re all places and opportunities where you can get outside of your comfort zone and just test yourself a little bit more and see just how resilient you are. And I believe all of us are incredibly resilient. All of us have the tools within us to cope with all scenarios, but we just never get tested so we never get to see that we do have it in us.

Turia’s perspective on life tests:

I think that’s one of the really good things about my accident is that I got tested beyond what any normal human gets tested. And that doesn’t happen to most people. And so I went through that experience where I had to rebuild my life completely from scratch. I couldn’t even walk, I couldn’t brush my hair, I couldn’t wipe my ass. So I was in that low point of my life. And I found the tools within me to learn how to get out of bed and start walking, how to bend my elbow enough so I could feed myself, how to brush my hair. And I think because I went through that experience, I realize that not only am I resilient, but it also makes me thing that all of us are resilient. All of us are capable, all of us are strong, all of us have to much mental toughness. But we never get tested, we never get uncomfortable, we never get outside of our comfort zone so we believe that we don’t have it in us, that we’re not capable. But I think that’s bullshit. I think we’ve all got it within us, we just never test ourselves.

Turia on negative thoughts:

I’m human and, of course, I have negative thoughts. In a race, I’ll think this is hard, I can’t do it, it’s too much. When I wake up in the morning, I think all right, I’ve got a really big day, I don’t know if I wanna do it. We’ve all got these two voices inside of us. And you’ve got that negative voice who says, oh, you’re not good enough, you’re stupid, you’re ugly, you’re gonna fail. But we’ve also got that other voice, that empowering voice and that voice which tells us that we can do it. And so to try and drown out that negative voice, every morning without fail, I do my gratitude practice.

And gratitude is a tool that I use every day to short circuit those sort of negative emotions. And the awesome thing about gratitude, you can’t be grateful and angry at the same time. You can’t be grateful and bitter at the same time. If you’re truly grateful, that’s the only experience that you can have.

And I think, as well, so often we’re always focused on what we don’t have in our lives and what’s not going right for us and what people haven’t done for us. And I think when you flip that and think about what it is that you are truly grateful for in your life, whether that’s your family, your kids, your health, your home, your job. When you start your day in that place, that’s a way more motivating place to be in. So that’s what I use, specifically to short circuit negative emotions, I use gratitude.

Turia’s morning routine:

So I always get asked about what my morning routine is. It’s pretty simple. The first thing I do in the morning is actually the first thing I don’t do, and that is, I don’t look at my phone. ‘Cause when you do, you get into that habit of just scrolling through, and you get messages and emails and alerts. And all of a sudden, not only are you starting the day off stressed ’cause you’ve gotta do all of these things for everyone else, but at the same time, it’s not a very inspiring or motivating place to start your day off.

So the first thing I do is I don’t look at my phone. The second thing I do is I grab my son, I pick him up, I put him on the living room floor, set him up with some toys. I open up the blinds because sunlight helps us wake up. I make a coffee, I sit down, I watch my son play. I marvel at his tiny little fingers, and I reflect on the miracle of life, and I think of three things specifically that I’m really grateful for. So today, I was grateful for my partner, who got home after 10 days, and he’s really working on something that’s important to him. I’m grateful for my son, for all of the joy that he brings to my life. And I was grateful because I had a lot of exciting things that are happening with my book behind the scenes. And I think that’s such an awesome place for me to be in, that not only are people interested in my book, but they wanna buy it, and they wanna read it. And after that, I ask myself a really simple question, and I ask myself what’s the one thing that I could do today that would make today great? And if you ask yourself that, you’ll notice instantly your body start to react biochemically to that question. And for me today, when I asked myself that, I thought I’m gonna go for a surf with my family later today, yeah.

Turia’s 3 most valuable life lessons:

I guess if I think about my three most valuable life lessons, the first one would be…

Everything in our life comes down to our mindset. And I really believe when you master your mindset, and you master your self talk, that anything is possible.

I think the second life lesson, I guess, would be that I tell people just to forget about motivation, forget about this idea that you have to be externally motivated by some external source. Forget about that and just focus on being consistent. And the third life lesson, I guess, would be to really start using the tool of gratitude because it’s so awesome. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s quick. But if you start your day off being grateful and showing gratitude, that’s gonna instantly transform how the rest of your day turns out.

Turia’s legacy:

And when I think about the legacy that I wanna leave behind, I guess it’s just, in hospital I read books by people who had overcome adversity. I read a book by Sam Bailey, who’s a farmer, and he had a bad car crash, and he became a quadriplegic. And he managed to rise above all of that, and now he’s the first quadriplegic in the world to fly a helicopter. And so I read his story, and it really made me think if this typical Aussie bloke can rebuild his life, then I can, too.

So I think for my legacy, it’d be awesome that when people hear of my story, they think, well, if Turia’s been able to rebuild her life, and if Turia’s been able to do an Ironman event, then that means maybe I could quite my job. Maybe I could learn a language, maybe I could do a half-marathon. I think if I inspire people to take action in their own lives, I think I’d be really proud of myself.

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