6 Crunchy Snacks You Could Eat Instead of Potato Chips

Lately, I’ve been clearing my cabinets of junk food, choosing fresh produce and simple ingredients over the saturated, processed food that I’m used to.

This lifestyle choice has helped me resolve issues with my skincare, mental health, and physical health. I dare say I’m in the best shape of my life and have never felt more energized, clear-headed, and light on my feet.

One of the first junk foods I switched out happened to be a guilty a pleasure of mine, something you would always catch me asking HusBae to pick me up during his nightly runs at our local bodega: chips.

These delightful, crispy, salty bites of happiness, however delicious, were causing me problems, especially when it came to skincare–the unhealthy combo of white starch deep fried in vegetable oil and dressed in salt has been aggravating my acne since I was a teen, a problem I never addressed.

With this in mind, I went on a quest to find snacks that could satisfy my cravings for crunch without jeopardizing my skin care or overall health.

Here’s a list of my favorites.

1. Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

Photocred: Amazon.com

Popcorn, in general, is a great alternative to potato chips. When prepared consciously, it’s a light, airy snack with a satisfying crunch that doesn’t have to be deep-fried or covered in oil to be enjoyed. I’ve had several popcorn variations since switching out potato chips, including an addictive sour cream and onion flavor by Smartfood. Still, my favorite by far is Boom Chicka Pop’s cheddar cheese popcorn by Angie’s.

First of all, whenever you combine the creamy, saltiness of cheese with the crunchy, airiness of popcorn, it’s a match made in heaven. We knew this the first time we all tried white cheddar popcorn, also made famous by Smartfood. However, Boom Chicka Pop sets itself apart by opting to coat its popcorn in yellow cheddar cheese, which provides a sharp, cheesy flavor that’s dangerously addictive. I appreciate Angie’s choice of whole-grain popcorn, sunflower oil, and simple ingredients that don’t run a mile long and are easily defined and recognizable. Search for these bad boys at your local Target. You won’t regret it.

2. Blue Diamond Almonds Bold

Photocred: Target.com

Almonds are not only a healthy, crunchy alternative to potato chips, but they also have many health benefits. These bite-sized nuts are high in protein, making them the perfect on-the-go snack. Blue Diamond is a brand that’s famous for its almond snacks, the best of which is their Almonds Bold line.

Blue Diamond Almonds Bold is a line of almonds that are coated in savory flavor profiles like sriracha, sweet Thai chili, and wasabi and soy sauce. The best of the bunch is the Bold Habanero Bbq, a spicy, smoky snack whose dismal 6oz size goes quick. Although the Almonds Bold line seems to be available everywhere from Walgreens, CVS, to Key Food, when you see this flavor snatch them up while you can. I bought them a few months ago and haven’t been able to find them since!

3. Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps

Photocred: Giant Food

Snack Factory pretzel crisps are a lifesaver. They’re available almost anywhere and have filled my void of chips for a while regularly, thanks to how well they pair with dips (like Kite Hill’s delicious plant-based french onion dip, for example). Unlike the thick salty pretzels that we’re used to, these light, crunchy snacks are thin and crispy and are only lightly coated in salt.

Snack Factory’s pretzel crisps come in various savory flavors, including buffalo wing, everything, and honey mustard and onion. My favorites are the original flavor and the garlic parmesan, which can be eaten with a dip or stand-alone. If I’m in the mood for a sweet and salty combo, I’ll pick up their dark chocolate Drizzlers, which coat the original pretzel crips in semi-sweet dark chocolate. Mmm, soooo good!

4. Planters Salted Caramel Peanuts

Photocred: Walmart

You won’t find these salty-sweet snacks in your local stores, I’ve only ever been able to buy them on Amazon, and even that’s been a crapshoot. It makes sense–these crunchy snacks are so deliciously addictive they’d sell out in minutes.

Planters salted caramel peanuts have a delightful flavor profile of sweet, buttery caramel with a light salt dressing that is unlike any planter’s snack I’ve ever tasted. I used to go out of my way to seek their coated honey roasted peanuts, but ever since I tried these during an Amazon shopping trip, I’ve never gone back. The only downside about this snack is that it’s rare and weirdly expensive for its 6 oz size, costing nearly $10 for a pack of 2. Whenever I buy this snack, the only thing on my mind is, “WHY AREN’T THESE AVAILABLE IN A BIGGER SIZE!?

5. Good and Gather Sweet Cajun Trail Mix

Photocred: Target.com

Trail mix is a great alternative to potato chips thanks to its variety of options and limitless flavor combinations, traditionally combining granola, dried fruit, nuts, and candy. Target’s market brand Good and Gather offers lots of options for trail mix, including tex mex, cashew cranberry almond, and blueberry nut. However, the sweet cajun trail mix is the best one on the shelf.

Good and Gather’s sweet cajun trail mix is so good thanks to its spicy crunchy bites of sesame sticks and peanuts, combined with the sweetness of butter toffee peanuts, corn, and honey roasted sesame sticks. With a profile as advanced as that, who needs chips and dip!?

6. Good Health Chips

Photocred: Amazon.com

Good Health’s chips are the only actual potato chips on this list, but with good reason. This health-conscious branch of UTZ offers potato chips prepared in better quality oils, which promote heart health and are rich in monounsaturated fats, unlike the standard vegetable oil option.

Good Health’s potato chips are prepared in avocado and olive oil, making me feel a lot less guilty when I’m scarfing them down. They come in a variety of flavors, my favorite being the spicy jalapeno, and are another crunchy snack that pairs well with dips, thanks to its lightly salted taste.

That rounds off my list! I hope you find these options helpful and give them some thought the next time you hit the store for a snack run.

*What are some of your favorite snacks?

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

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Be Your Own Best Friend: A Practical Guide To Becoming Your Own Source Of Happiness

I used to be the kind of person who sought happiness through everything else but myself. I depended on things like money, success, and companionship to satisfy emotions that I should’ve been nurturing personally.

This misconception caused huge problems in my life when I found myself stripped of these vessels– the absence of money and adoration left me feeling lost, hopeless, and without direction.

For the sake of my well-being, I started to prioritize self-love, and life has been more fruitful ever since! Allow me to put you on to the three ways I learned to be my own source of happiness so that you, too can learn to be your own best friend, and carry your joyousness with you everywhere you go!

Give Yourself The Love You Seek From Others

Sometimes we rely on others to fill voids of love we should be awarding ourselves. We fish for compliments, attention, and displays of affection from other people and are disappointed when we don’t receive it or if it’s not up to our standard.

I used to rely heavily on validation from others in order to feel good about myself. So much so that other people’s opinions affected my confidence, and absences of adoration would be taken to heart.

I didn’t realize at the time that these were all symptoms of low self-esteem.

In life, I’ve learned that you can’t control how other people view and treat you. If you allow yourself to be persuaded by other people’s feelings, you’ll never reach a point of satisfaction. The only person you should be trying to please is you.

Author and spiritualist Don Miguel Ruiz speaks about this in his best-selling wisdom guide “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom”. In the second chapter titled “Don’t Take Things Personally,” he speaks about the benefits of loving yourself:

“When you feel good, everything around you is good. When everything around you is great, everything makes you happy. You are loving everything that is around you, because you are loving yourself. Because you like the way you are. Because you are content with you. Because you are happy with your life”.

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Practice self-love. If you’re providing yourself with love and nourishment, you’ll never be without it, and you won’t feel the need to seek love from anywhere else.

Here are my favorite ways to pour love into myself:

  1. I celebrate my own accomplishments. Whenever I achieve anything, great or small, I make sure to give myself a pat on the back. Cheers and smiles followed by a “you go girl” is usually enough to keep my spirits high, but if the mood calls for it, I’ll take it one step further and treat myself to something (celebratory J, anyone?)
  2. I don’t compare myself to other people. My looks, life, and process are uniquely mine. Instead of being caught up in an imaginary popularity contest, I accept my life the way it is. With this outlook, confidence comes with ease, and I never feel threatened or the need to compete. I am my own competition.
  3. I build myself up with words of affirmation. Verbal affirmation is my preferred love language. Knowing this, I force-feed myself affirmative quotes daily. I’ll look for a quote that’s specific to the reassurance I need(either in a book or online), and I’ll post it somewhere nearby (like on the wall behind my workstation or as my phone’s wallpaper). This way, I’m constantly exposed to it. Now I have a daily reminder of how amazing I am 🙂
  4. I’m mindful/selective of my language. If words can be used as a weapon against others, why not ourselves? I started paying close attention to how I speak about myself, especially when I make a mistake (ex: OMG! I’m such an idiot). I refrain from using hurtful language and make sure that I am kind and patient with myself at all times.
  5. I use self-help books and music to keep my spirits high. Nothing like a self-help book or an upbeat song to remind you that you’re the shit. Whenever I need help restoring my inner faith , I read, or I put on a playlist. My ‘boss bitch’ playlist is a sure-fire way to put my confidence on 1000.
  6. I pamper myself. Whether it’s a relaxing candlelit bubble bath, my favorite yoga routine, or a face mask, I dedicate time to pampering myself. I do this daily and the luxuriousness of it all makes me feel like a goddess.
  7. I protect my peace. Establishing boundaries is a form of self-care. To raise my self-confidence, I stand up for myself whenever I feel my happiness is in jeopardy (one of my favorite ways to do this is by putting my phone on DND whenever I need alone time). By establishing a standard for myself, it helps me take myself more seriously and sends a message that I am worthy of respect. I do this as often as I can, even when it seems intimidating, and every time I succeed I can physically feel my self-worth rising.
  8. I stick to my guns. I used to feel compelled to explain myself or apologize to people, even when explanation wasn’t necessary or I didn’t do anything wrong (like if I was too busy to respond to a text or I didn’t want to go to someone’s event). Now, I practice trusting my thoughts and feelings instead of feeling bad about them which eliminates the need for me to explain or say I’m sorry.

Hang Out With Yourself

Spending time alone is a great way to reunite you with your sense of self and get familiar with your inner voice, which can be smothered or have to take a back seat when you’re hanging out with other people (like Eleven of Stranger Things would say, “halfway happy“).

I recently discovered the majesty of hanging out with myself, which reminds me of a story…

A few weeks ago, I learned about Japanfes NYC, an annual festival that celebrates all things Japan (everything from food to music to anime cosplay.)

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a huge fan of Japanese culture, so you could imagine how excited I was to go! Feeling spontaneous, I told my family to get dressed so that we could have this experience together but, they didn’t seem as excited as I was. Feeling disheartened by their lack of enthusiasm, I canceled our family outing. My Husbae saw how disappointed I was and suggested I go alone. My eyes beamed with joy and, after I left the house, I was so glad I went dolo.

I didn’t have to worry about my daughter getting tired and complaining about all of the walking or my Husband getting irritated by the large crowd; I got to enjoy the experience 100%, and even though I was only able to be there for a few hours (next time I’ll get you rolled ice cream!) I had so much fun!

When I was young (and yes, dumb), I thought that hanging out alone was only for weird, lonely people, and fun could only be experienced with company…that all changed during the pandemic. Constantly being surrounded by people caused me to feel overwhelmed and without a sense of self. When I finally got a chance to be alone, I had no idea what to do with myself. When I could think of something to do, I always wanted to involve other people. I found myself constantly craving company. When I couldn’t get ahold of a friend or a loved one, I took it personally and would take my insatiable loneliness out on other people. Who can relate? Eventually, I learned that what I needed wasn’t to see people more often; it was to learn to be comfortable doing things alone.

Hang out with yourself! Relish in your own solidarity and bask in doing things just because you WANT to. Enjoy alone time pursuing your own hobbies and interests and do things exclusive to you and your happiness. Take yourself on a date and learn to move throughout the world uninhibited, free from worry, judgment, or duty.

Here are my favorite things to do in my alone time:

1. Explore the city (I’ll walk down a new block, visit a new place, or visit my favorite places just by myself)

2. Hike/nature walk (nothing but me, my music, my lemon water, and my walking shoes)

4. Travel (I recently got to fly alone for the first time and it was truly bliss. I’d love to solo travel more often)

Happiness is something that has to come from within. If your happiness is tethered in other people, places, or things, then you’ll never get to the point of satisfaction because you’ll constantly be stuck in a cycle of pursuing happiness. This way of thinking can be dangerous and detrimental to your mental health and self-esteem. When it’s all said and done, and the dust settles, all you’re left with is yourself. Make sure you’re treating you right.

*How are you your own best friend? What ways do you like to practice self love?

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

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The Energy Boosting Powers of Song: How I Use Music to Increase My Productivity

As a wife and Mom, my life is always busy.

Add full time blogger and editorial writer to the mix, and there’s never a dull moment in the Kaillaby household.

Any given day, I can have a laundry list of things to do, and I always use a Spotify playlist to keep me company.

Whether I’m finishing up an article, scrubbing floors, or washing my daughter’s hair, music always helps me put my best foot forward and help make even the most boring and mundane tasks seem, dare I say, fun.

Here’s how I use music to help increase my productivity.

I Use Music to Keep Me Focused

Music helps a lot with focus.

Whenever I have trouble starting a task, either because I feel lost or my thoughts are all over the place, music helps anchor me to the Now and zero in on whatever I have to do at the moment.

In addition to helping me stay present, music helps me focus by drowning out excess noise.

When I put on an Apple playlist, I’m blocking out the noisy world around me, which helps me immerse myself in my duties and really get some work done. This is especially useful when you live on a main avenue in a major city where labor is constantly being performed every which way you turn at all hours of the day, and you have a job that requires elite mental clarity and peak concentration (i.e., being a writer). In New York City, noise pollution is everywhere, and hearing blaring sirens and people screaming at the top of their lungs (for some reason) can be unnerving and distracting. Not only does music shield me from the distraction of my city’s hustle and bustle, but it prevents me from being distracted by people, too.

The presence of others can definitely be distracting. When your speakers are blaring, you’re putting out a signal to the World that your current mood is “D.N.D.” Trust me, nothing shuts up a chatty coworker quite like turning up the volume on your Mac’s speakers. I remember working in an intimate office on the Upper West Side that literally thrived on gossip (as is the fate of most office jobs). Although I looked forward to my mid-day kiki’s with B when it was time to grab my print jobs, there’s no denying that it pulled me away from my work.

Plus, being distracted can cause you to make mistakes you otherwise could’ve avoided had you been giving your task your undivided attention (yay! no more mini panic attacks).

Focus is the creme de la creme of productivity; you won’t get work done without it. If you’re having trouble focusing, either because you’re feeling scatterbrained, there’s a lot of noise going on, or there are chatty people around you, try putting background music on.

Pro Tip: The best kinds of songs for focus are instrumentals. Lyrics can be disruptive.

My favorite genres for focus: Lo-fi, Trance, Retro Video Game Music

I Use Music To Help Me Relax

I’m always rushing because of my anxiousness, but over time I’ve learned that doing things faster doesn’t always translate to efficiency (work smarter, not harder). Whenever I’m doing a job that’s stressful, meticulous, or requires precision, a gentle, slow-paced melody is just what I need to put me at ease, slow down and take things one moment at a time.

According to unr.edu, slow-paced music can “quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management.”

Recently, I had to complete a trial shift for a company I applied to work for. For this trial, my job was to research and write two completed and error-free articles in a limited amount of time to be considered for a position. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and it’s a job I really want, so you could imagine the amount of pressure I must’ve felt.

Before I got started, I put on the “Peaceful Piano” playlist on Spotify, and it helped me set the mood. Instead of feeling stressed out, scared, and anxious, I was completely relaxed and at ease, and it made a world of difference in my work performance. I was able to spot errors, correct mistakes, breeze through my research process, and even have time to ask questions, which helped my submission out a lot. Instead of allowing the pressure to get to me, I used music to put myself in a calm, tranquil state. Thanks to my increased focus and mental clarity, I walked away knowing that I gave 100% and I was extremely confident in the outcome. All thanks to music for providing the perfect setting.

Pro Tip: Music is perfect for setting a tone/mood. That’s why whenever I have company, I have music on–it’s a great way to control the mood in an environment.

My favorite genres for relaxing: Classical, Jazz, Coffee Shop

I Use Music To Motivate Myself

Sometimes the reason we’re not performing at our best is that we’re not feeling motivated. If a task requires a lot of energy (like exercising) or it’s just boring A.F. (like filling out spreadsheets ), adding music to the mix will definitely help with that.

Here’s how it motivates me:

  • Makes tasks enjoyable. An upbeat tune creates an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re having a good time making painful tasks seem fun 🙂 I hate doing dishes, but pair that with some Calvin Harris, and it’s a party!
  • Provides words of affirmation. Sometimes a singer will give you all the words of encouragement you need to keep up the good work and get your light feet going. I swear by the statement that no genre’s lyrics are more motivating than Electronic Dance Music. Just put on Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” if you want to see what I’m talking about.
  • Gets my heart pumping. Research suggests that music can literally increase your heart rate, which comes with mood-boosting effects like increased adrenaline. That definitely comes in handy if you’re doing something boring or that needs a lot of energy.

Good music makes the day seem brighter, makes your time pass quicker, and takes the sting out of drawn-out, dull duties. (Like doing laundry. Nothing makes getting up at 8am on a Saturday suck less than Coldplay)

My favorite genres for motivation: EDM, Hip-hop, Rock

A Few Things To Keep In Mind

Here are some helpful tips for customizing your productive playlists to get the exact results you’re looking for:

Tip # 1 Make sure your soundtrack pairs with the tone and energy you need

Do you need mood-boosting, high-energy music, or something chill that will help you destress? 

Tip # 2: If you’re doing something that requires clarity, listen to music without lyrics

Your main priority is increasing productivity, so the music you listen to is really only background noise. If it’s preventing you from completing your work, it’s distracting, which defeats the purpose. As much as I love Megan the Stallion, twerking in my living room will not help me write these articles faster (no matter how fun it might be).

Tip # 3: Sometimes, you need silence

Take a break from noise once in a while. It helps sharpen the mind (completing tasks distraction-free helps with memorization and alertness)

Oh, Here’s a Playlist ❤

I customized a productivity playlist for anyone who needs help getting into work mode. This playlist is mostly chill, upbeat instrumentals which should really help with focusing.

(Here’s one if you need something more upbeat)

It’s ever-growing, so like all of my Spotify playlists, I’ll add new music from time to time, but for now, I’ll start you off with these 15 songs.

I hope it helps 🙂

Give it a like!

*What are some other methods you use to increase your productivity?

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

Feeling Through Music: Playlists For Every Mood

It’s hard to describe my relationship with music. No word in the English language can capture the way a good song makes me feel.

How do you verbalize an entity that has brung you joy, relief, and comfort for as far back as you can remember?

I have been expressing myself through music in every phase of my life:

  • Pop, when I was a starry-eyed kid with my head in the clouds and all the world was a stage,
  • Rock when I was a brooding emo teen, and I thought no one would ever understand me,
  • and R&B as an adult for its chill vibes and relatable lyrics.

Since I was first introduced to this art form, my music taste has expanded vastly; there’s no telling what you might hear when you put my phone on shuffle. It could be soul, metal, trap, EDM, or an anime theme song. But no matter the genre, the type of music I listen to always echoes how I’m feeling in the moment.

That’s because there’s power in song.

Courtesy of “the little book of self care” by Joanna Gray

Music is more than just mere entertainment; it’s a soul transcending experience.

If you’ve ever seen music live, you know what I’m talking about.

Every which way you turn, fans are in their own zone. Whether they’re dancing and singing along, nodding their heads, crowd surfing, moshing, or swaying from side to side with tear-stained cheeks and their phones raised to the sky, it’s all proof that there’s something powerful at play here.

I believe musicians are the worlds most influential people. They have a gift that unites people through emotions.

Music is so influential that a tune can literally affect your mood.

Some of the most important moments in your life require music (graduations, weddings, birthday parties). What would a celebration be without a good soundtrack?

That’s definitely true for me. The most magical moments in my highlight reel feature music: my high school prom, Bamboozle 2010, my family cruise in 2018, that time Husbae sang to me at my brother-in-laws…

But music isn’t just there for us when we’re in a good mood. It can help relieve feelings of anger, stress, and sadness, too!

I have playlists for every mood:

  • “Anxiety Reducing” when I need to calm down,
  • “Issa Vibe” when I want to chill out,
  • “Make Her Dance” when I want something to get me moving,
  • and “Dark and Brooding” when I hate everything and just want to cry in the dark (lol)

Music means the world to me, so I want to share it with you!

I created these mood-specific playlists that are designed to adhere to whatever you’re feeling at the moment.

Not just the happy ones, because sometimes we feel down, too. (You’re human. You’re allowed.)

So whether you want to keep that mood high, you’re trying to chill out, or someone just cut you off in traffic and you never got the satisfaction of flipping them off, I have the perfect song for you! To me, sharing music’s a profession of love. Let me show you how much I love you.

1. So in love

If you’re feeling particularly smitten

2. Let’s Dance (NSFW)

If you’re in the mood to dance

3. Issa Vibe

Super chill. Anxiety reducing.

4. Lets Put A Smile On That Face

Guaranteed to make you smile 🙂

5. Mood. (NSFW)

When you’re MAD mad.

If you’re like me, then music is a form of therapy. Sometimes hearing the right lyrics paired with the right tempo ignites a fire in you like nothing else could. I definitely have my days where I just need to escape, and music has always helped me. I hope it helps you, too ❤

*Don’t be a stranger, drop some of your favorite mood altering music in the comments! I love being put on to new tunes ^_^

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

6 Valuable Lessons I Learned From Yoga

Yoga is my favorite way to exercise. It enhances flexibility, promotes mindfulness, and encourages discipline.

These days, I get my yoga fix from my favorite Youtube channel, Yoga By Biola.

Not only has yoga been doing my body right (aowww), it’s also been having a major influence on me psychologically.

Here are 6 valuable takeaways I’ve learned by practicing yoga.

1. Yoga Taught Me Patience With Myself

I judge myself harshly when things don’t go according to plan. When I make a mistake, I can be pretty mean and impatient with myself. It’s as if I’m mad that I’m falling short of my own expectations. How many of you can relate?

This impatience stems from past experiences where I wasn’t granted the tolerance and compassion for my flaws. My mistakes would be met with punishment which caused me to set up unrealistic standards for myself. Yoga teaches me that this way of thinking is wrong.

It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Allowing yourself to learn and grow instead of punishing yourself for being human is better for your long-term success and self-esteem.

In yoga, it’s less about how perfectly you can get it right the first time and more about your gradual progress.

Abiola Akanni’s practice teaches me to be patient and kind to myself, down to how I talk about my body.

In her “slow flow hip opening” routine, she speaks about observing the body without judgment. Not discrediting yourself for being tight in a certain place or having a limited range of motion, but instead making a mental note of your body’s progress and the messages it’s sending to you at the moment.

Yoga By Biola does an excellent job of encouraging people to move in a way “that feels safe” and to not be so caught up in trying to achieve stretches and bends that our bodies aren’t prepared to handle. Abiola is super accommodating and often recommends using additional accessories (i.e., yoga blocks, pillows, books, belts, etc.) in case you need them.

We could all benefit from being more patient with ourselves. Most of the time, we’re our harshest critics and our own worst enemies when really we should be our own best friends!

Be mindful of how kind you are to yourself in moments when things aren’t going right for you. Grant yourself the graciousness you give to other people, and remember to love yourself unconditionally. (Side note: It’s NOT ok to insult yourself. Even in jest. What we speak, we become.)

2. Yoga Taught Me The Power of Consistency

I started doing yoga to improve my flexibility and counter tightness in my hips and groin, a consequence of constantly sitting and not having enough movement in my legs.

At first, I didn’t see the improvement I was looking for, not taking responsibility for my lack of persistence.

When I started taking it seriously, I noticed that the more I kept practicing, the easier the bends and poses became. Each time I was able to lean into it just a little bit further, and before you know it, I was pulling off moves with ease. (Ok, nailing pigeon pose!)

This inspired me to become more consistent in other aspects of my life. Like

  • My work ethic
  • My hair and skincare routines
  • And relationship building.

With yoga, just like anything you strive to achieve, you have to be consistent to see the results. It helps to think of each practice as a stepping stone in your journey versus expecting results immediately.

If you want to see progress with anything, you have to be consistent.

Establish a routine and keep at it. If you commit to the process, you’ll inevitably get better over time. The hardest part is finding the patience.

Just put your energy into achieving the goal, turn a blind eye to the timeline, and the Universe will take care of the rest. T.T.P!

3. Yoga Taught Me To Dedicate Time To Peace and Mindfulness

As someone who lives with anxiety, my peace is often disrupted by my mind’s desire to constantly overthink which can cause me to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. It’s helpful to incorporate a habit that anchors me in the present and cleanses my mind of this noise.

When I’m done doing a flow, I always walk away feeling calm and alert. The state of zen does wonders for my anxiousness and mental clarity.

I even started keeping a journal nearby because sometimes, the increased alertness inspires new thoughts, feelings, and creative ideas.

This very post was inspired during *one of my daily practices.

We always make time for work, friends, and social media, but how many of us dedicate time to our peace?

Take the time to be present, and as a result, you’ll be more relaxed. It’s hard to be chill when you’re constantly distracted.

Sometimes just a few minutes of deep breathing and stretching can be enough to regain your focus and find your tranquility. Considering how much time we willingly forfeit to our obligations, we should be willing to at least spare 20 minutes for our peace of mind.

*Here’s one of my favorites:

4. Yoga Taught Me How To Use Every Part Of My Body

In yoga, some poses require you to isolate specific muscles in the body. When done right, these poses can improve posture, release tension, and increase range of motion. Yoga will have you activating muscles in your body you didn’t know you had or, at the very least, the ones you misuse. For me, that’s my upper body and spine.

I’m guilty of hunching my shoulders and not sitting upright, which can have negative effects on the chest and back. Poses like cat-cow and triangle pose are helpful for that.

Yoga by Biola offers different yoga flows that target specific parts of the body. Her routine for the neck and shoulders will give you the greatest release of tension you’ve ever felt. (Skip that massage you booked, all you need is a chair!)

Each routine challenges me to activate muscles I didn’t realize were weakened (Like my triceps and biceps. hello spaghetti arms!) or carrying stress.(It’s the shoulders and hips for me).

I take each challenge as a moment of self-reflection and check in on parts of my body that could use improvement. I invite you to do the same.

Remember to be kind and patient with yourself and try to follow the instructor’s tips verbatim to prevent injury.

5. Yoga Taught Me That Breathing Is A Thing

If you have ever attended a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the instructor tell you things like “focus on your breath” or “remember to breathe.” Typically they’ll ask you to inhale or exhale deeply depending the intensity of the pose. I’m sure you’ve rolled your eyes at this advice and convinced yourself it doesn’t work. But, really. Breathing is a thing.

I have found that the more I elongate my breath, the more space I make in my body, inviting me to sink into those really ambitious poses. Like the goddess squat, for example.

Photo courtesy of Youtube.com

Turns out there’s a scientific reason why.

According to healthline.com, deep breathing not only helps you increase your pain tolerance but also lowers your chances of injury and helps you relax.

Now when I’m faced with tense situations (a heated argument, a setback, a vigorous exercise), I take a second to breathe, and it makes a huge difference for my threshold of tolerance and pain. I invite you to do the same.

Try this: Instead of short, shallow breaths through your mouth, try deep inhales and exhales through your nostrils which will allow you to breathe deeper.

Bonus perks if you suffer from environmental allergies. (like me!) It has amazing benefits for the sinuses, too. Happy breathing!

6. Yoga Taught Me To Embrace My Femininity

Doing yoga has unlocked new levels of femininity within me. It makes me feel strong and powerful and unleashes my inner Goddess while encouraging me to try moves in a way that makes me feel safe and in control of my body without feeling ashamed or sexualized. (like the opening of my hips, groin, and chest.)

It promotes body positivity, something I know a lot of women struggle with.

*One of the things that impressed me about Yoga by Biola was her take on woman’s sexuality with her Trap Vinyasa Core demo.

I created Trap Vinyasa to help you explore sensuality and begin identifying as a sensual vessel as opposed to a sexualized body

Abiola Akanni

Here she encourages us to embrace our sensuality with confidence by incorporating twerking or the chakra shake as she so cleverly words it 🙂 (say what you will about twerking, it’s fun A.F. and an amazing workout)

Yoga teaches me that femininity is divine and that I should welcome all the things that come with that: softness, gentleness, sensuality, strength, and fluidity.

Because of yoga, I am a stronger, happier, and wiser version of myself. Not a bad takeaway from an exercise that I get to do from the comforts of my own living room.

Namaste!

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

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*She also has a playlist called “The Divine Yoga series”, a 6 part series inspired by “the 6 archetypes of the divine feminine”. I invite you to try and make it to the end!

5 Unique Journals You Can Buy At Target

Target is one of my favorite places to shop.

Recently I had some extra time on my hands and took a detour from my usual candle venture (lol) to get lost in their selection of journals and notebooks, a habit I’d like to continue from now on.

As a writer, I live for journals.

I’ve been gifted a few, including the very colorful “Zen As F*Ck” which HusBae gave me a few Christmas’ ago.

Not only are journals a safe secret place to air out your thoughts and feelings, but they’re also a practical way to check-in with yourself.

These 5 journals offer that and more.

If you’re a journal lover like me, here are some unique ones you can find at your local Target.

1. Get To Know Me Better

This journal’s pages are filled with writing prompts and fill-in-the-blank sentences designed to learn all there is to know about a person.

It’s like your own personal trivia book.

Reply to all kinds of personal prompts like “Hidden talents I’ve kept hidden are” and “Things I like to do when I’m alone are.”

Target.com

It’s a fun way for someone to get to know you and the perfect opportunity to get in touch with yourself.

Who knows, your answers may surprise you.

2. A Great Way To Capture And Relive Memories

This journal would be a great keepsake to pass down to a family member or loved one.

It’s a record-keeping book designed for you to answer a different question about yourself every day for 5 years.

Target.com

I think it would be cool to look back on your answers and see how you were feeling and thinking at a specific moment frozen in time.

Seems like a fun psychological exercise to me.

3. This Freaking Journal Helps You Blow Off Steam

When I saw the long flowing text on the cover, I was drawn to this one immediately.

Anytime a sentence starts with “I’m so freaking freaked out” in enlarged white underlined font, you have my attention. It’s the humor and originality for me.

As I made my way through the title, I couldn’t help myself–I burst out laughing in the middle of the aisle (and yes, I am the type of human who’ll laugh to herself in the middle of Target. )

In addition to making me laugh with its quirkiness, it touched me with its self-affirming concept.

This journal is filled with inspirational quotes followed by check-in stations that start with the phrase “Why I’m So Freaking Freaked Out Today”.

You are then given several blank lines to pour your heart out on each page.

Target.com

I love that it gives me a space to freak out. I can see myself turning to this book in times of crisis and meltdowns.

Sometimes, you just need a safe space to spill your guts out and blow off steam.

Hey, it beats sending an angry text.

This journal is bloody brilliant. 10/10. It’s definitely going on my Christmas list.

4. A Journal That Flexes Your Creative Muscle

The aesthetics of this journal caught my eye: the way the gold foil pops against the black binding made me anxious to see what was inside.

I loved that it’s small and lightweight so it’s easy to transport.

I like to take journals with me on the go for distraction-less fun sometimes. It’s a peaceful way to pass the time.

What’s unique about this journal is that it requires your imagination. It’s filled with titles that are writing prompts designed to inspire your own short stories, helpful for creative flow.

Target.com

Each assignment presents a challenge: write your story using the required group of words on one page or less. Talk about concise.

A journal that encourages creative writing and productivity? Count me in.

With a copy of “Write The Story,” who needs a writing class.

5. A Daily Reminder To Take Care Of Yourself

I’m a huge advocate for self-care, so anything that acts as a vessel for this is a win for me.

The pages are filled with inspirational quotes designed to uplift your mood.

Each page serves as a reminder for self-love and begs the question, “what did you do to take care of yourself today?” followed by a space for you to track your mood and energy level.

I think this is a great way to just check in with yourself and make sure you’re given the individual care that you truly deserve.

This could be helpful if you’re someone who needs a little extra push when it comes to practicing self-care or to build yourself up if you’re having low self-esteem.

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

6 Vegan Products You Didn’t Know You Needed

It’s hard to believe it’s not dairy

Over the course of my new lifestyle (once vegetarian, now, basically, a pescatarian) I’ve tried some incredible food.

From restaurants to supermarket finds, I’ve had my fair share of vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Although there were a few (dozen) misses, the things that were good were impressive. So much so that they’ve gone from foods I was just curious to try to food I can’t stop talking about. I thought to myself, why not make a list!

Allow me to put you on to some of my favorite vegan finds I’ve come across in my local shopping adventures.

1. Earth Balance Coconut Spread

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pop up in my story.

IG @happinessovereverythingblog

This coconut butter is DELICIOUS.

I tried it once at my local Whole Foods out of curiosity and fell. in. love. I was devastated when it didn’t come back to the shelves.

Since then, I’ve looked for it everywhere and virtually gave up until it popped up at a local Food Bazaar. Now it’s my go-to vegan butter.

I use this spread for EVERYTHING! OK!

From breakfast to baking–it’s great on toast, spectacular in oatmeal, and cooks eggs and pancakes perfectly. I once used it to bake chocolate chip cookies, and it added this nice extra layer of rich sweetness to the recipe.

The spread is light and flaky, just like coconut. It melts almost instantly when heated. If you’re looking for rich, tasty non-dairy butter, I recommend you seek this out. It’s worth the scavenge and the $6 price tag.

2. Just Egg Patty

Whoever was the brilliant mastermind behind this invention, give that guy a raise!

The Just Egg patty has been my go-to for eggs since I stopped eating them this past Winter, thanks to an episode of DC’s Titans. (lol, no, really. It was disturbing. I couldn’t get the image of that cracked egg out of my mind o.O).

This was my 3rd attempt at trying an egg alternative, and it’s the only one that left a (good) lasting impression.

When trying new vegan food, the decision usually comes down to two things: flavor and texture.

The other two vegan eggs were either too mushy or completely bland.

These bad boys mimic the texture of eggs perfectly.

The four patties come pre-cooked and frozen, so all you have to do is warm them up.

It’s topped with its own seasoning but feel free to add your own.

I usually fry them in a pan with some butter and the leftover juices from my plant-based sausage for extra flavor.

Cook on both sides for a little under 5 minutes, and VOILA! It’s like a miniature omelet.

I found these at a local Whole Foods, but they can be found at Food Bazaar and Target, too!

3. Sweet Earth Mindful Chik’n

Just like with eggs, I had a hard time replacing chicken once again due to failed attempts at replicating texture and flavor.

My first time trying the Sweet Earth Chik’n was in one of the brands’ frozen dinner meals. (HusBae swears by them.)

When I found out that they sold the Chik’n separately, I knew I had to try it. I was amazed by the results.

Although the Sweet Earth Chik’n is bland, it wins because of its texture and diversity.

I’ve experimented with this and was able to fry it, bbq it, and use it in a curry.

It comes in a “raw” form, so it has to be cooked thoroughly before eating. Just be sure to season it generously or cook it in a sauce.

It’s a great transition from the real thing. Take it from me; my family called me the “chicken hawk” as a kid.

4. Milkadamia Latte Da Barista Macadamia Milk

I recently learned about Macadamia milk thanks to my cousin, Kevin (shoutout to cuz).

While he was still living in NYC, he worked in a coffee shop (who hasn’t?!) which offered Milkadamia Latte Da Barista Macadamia milk on their menu.

He was so enthused about how good it was, he bought me a box during his last visit, and my taste buds couldn’t be happier.

Up until then, I was only buying almond and oat milk.

I like oat milk thanks to its creaminess and almond milk because of its light vanilla flavor.

I’m not a fan of coconut or soy milk because the flavor is too overpowering for me. This is where macadamia milk reigns supreme.

This macadamia milk is light! It has a semi-sweetness that won’t overpower a bowl of cereal and a creaminess that is great in coffee!

I’ve found this milk at my local Food Bazaar and Whole Foods. Check with your local supermarket to see if it’s available.

5. Kite Hill French Onion Dip

I stumbled on this gem as I was wrapping up a shopping trip at a local Whole Foods. Now, I’m a chip and dip kinda chick. I’m a sucker for good tortilla chips and salsa or the classic combo of Ruffles and french onion dip.

The problem here is

  • 1. Tortilla chips aren’t exactly healthy. They’re loaded with sodium and contain a lot of oil which is bad for my skin.
  • 2. Most dips are made with dairy.

I’ve been cooling it with the chips for some time, reaching for pretzel crisps instead.

And now, thanks to one of my favorite vegan brands, Kite Hill, I have a replacement for French onion dip 🙂

Kite Hill is a vegan brand that I trust. They have almond milk-based yogurts and creamed cheese that I swear by!

All of these things considered, I still wasn’t ready for how good this french onion dip was.

Kite hill did not skimp out on flavor here. This savory dip is a flavor bomb! It also manages to be perfectly creamy with no added graininess (it happens sometimes with almond based foods).

It complements chips and pretzels amazingly.

Pick it up at your next Whole Foods or Food Bazaar shopping trip.

6. Field Roast Frankfurters

Field Roast always knows what the people want.

Field Roast has been offering plant-based meats and sausages for some time. One of my closest friends (hiii Kendel!) recommended their spicy chipotle sausage to me.

Those are great and all but these ballpark franks, though!? Game changers.

It’s everything you want in a hot dog, minus the guilt of having one. (C’mon. You can’t pretend you don’t know what it’s made of at this point!)

These franks are meaty, plump, and delicious.

They’re spiced amazingly and are the perfect size for a hot dog bun. (yes, that’s a thing).

Now, thanks to Field Roast, even if you don’t eat meat, you can enjoy a good ol’ fashion stadium hot dog.

Fruitarians, make sure to bring these with you to your next cookout.

Inevitably, all they’ll have to offer you is rice and potato salad.

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

The Problem With Complaining

They say a little complaining never hurt, I say complaining never helped anyone. Here’s what you can do, instead.

Recently, I picked up my copy of “The Power of Now,” a book that was recommended to me by my therapist as a tool to help me deal with my anxiousness, stress, and overthinking.

When I arrived at page 82, under the subheading “Wherever You Are, Be There Totally”, author Eckhart Tolle goes deeper into the concept of unconscious thinking.

When asked to provide examples of what unconscious thinking looks like, he starts with the most common form: complaining.

Complaining: A Common Language for the Unhappy

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is,” he explains, “When you complain, you make yourself into a victim.”

This line received the writer’s stamp of approval, aka a yellow highlighter, and a verbal “YES!”.

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Tolle.

I hate complaining.

It used to be something I did a lot of, if not to vent my frustrations, definitely as a conversation starter.

It’s a common language that unites the unhappy.

Have you ever noticed how common it is for people to resort to complaining as a coping mechanism?

My problem is not necessarily the actual complaint. It’s how it starts and ends there.

Very few people seek solutions to the problems that are constantly on their lips; it’s as if they find comfort in the unhappiness.

I’m a firm believer that complaining is pointless. Sure, it may feel good at the moment, especially when others can relate, but aside from the temporary release of your pain, how else is it beneficial?

It would be more helpful to turn the complaints into a moment of self-reflection.

Time for Self-Reflection

Pay attention to the things you often complain about. It is your mind trying to tell you something: you’re unhappy.

You’re not happy with the job you’re doing, the person you’re dating, or the apartment you live in.

You’re not happy with the way you look, the amount of money you have, or the way you’re being treated.

You’re not happy with the direction your life is headed. That much is clear. But, after a while, we have to take responsibility and have ownership over our lives because anything else makes us a victim, and we are not victims

You are in control of your life, your mind, and your emotions.

You do get to control your narrative and the direction your life is headed.

It’s easy to give up the power and play the victim. This way, we don’t have to deal with accountability. But there’s freedom in owning your life. There’s power in responsibility.

The real question is, what do you plan to do with your power?

The Only Two Options There Are

When faced with an unhappy circumstance, as humans, we are left with two choices: accept it or take action.

By making the conscious (or unconscious) decision to do nothing, you are left in a mental limbo. This is where your pain comes from.

The pain is rooted in the inactivity and continuing to leave your unhappiness unaddressed.

Try this: when complaints come up, try asking yourself, “what can I do about it?”. 

If there are solutions and steps that can be taken, map them out and execute them but start right away. Sitting idly on these steps just puts you back to square one.

If the situation is beyond your control and nothing can be done to make it better, you have to accept it.

The path of acceptance is not an easy one, it will take practice and lots of mental strength. But the latter option is no better or healthier.

The opposite of acceptance is denial, and that denial is what is feeding your pain.

I’m not saying that no one cares about your feelings or to keep them to yourself; we all get down about something. What I’m suggesting is that instead of sitting in these feelings and resorting to complaining to resolve them, which could potentially snowball into bigger problems (such as declining mental health), you should instead seek solutions and ways to help yourself because you are stronger than you give yourself credit for 🙂

So the next time a complaint comes up, what do you intend to do about it?

Are you going to step up, take ownership, and find a way to improve your life and strengthen your mind?

Or will you continue to standby and be a victim of your circumstances?

The choice is yours.

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

A Life Outside Of Your Comfort Zone: The Benefits Of Conquering Your Fears

Conquer all the fears.

A few years ago, when the trend of big butts was steadily on the rise, I was on a mission to snatch my waist and increase my muscle mass, so I sought the help of a close friend and personal trainer(sup Necye!?).

One day we met up at a local Planet Fitness to start the endurance-building regimen he created for me.

He gave me a simple task: jump over a bench. He demonstrated a few times to show how effortlessly easy the exercise was, but for some reason, when it came time for me to do it, I froze in place.

The task wasn’t necessarily difficult, but I was intimidated by the idea of failure.

I kept thinking of all the things that would go wrong:

  • “What if I trip?”
  • “What if I fall? Omg I would be so embarrassed…”
  • “The bench may be higher than it looks, what if I can’t jump that high!?”

No matter how many methods of encouragement my friend used (affirming words, demonstration, being assertive), my legs would not move. There I stood, frozen in place by my own fear and self-doubt, trying to figure out a way to psych myself into it.

I even got my feet to move a couple of times, but they refused to jump. I was shocked and bewildered at how little courage I had to do something so minute and knew I must’ve looked so stupid.

Suddenly, with minutes left of our hour session, I felt my defenses come down, and without warning, I ran and jumped over the bench, relieved when I felt my feet plant perfectly on the other side.

As silly as it may have seemed, that literal leap took courage, and afterward, I was grateful that I shook my fear and overcame my comfort.

When’s the last time you lived life outside of your comfort zone?

Taking Steps to Overcome

By literal definition, your comfort zone is

the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity

merriam-webster.com

You know that voice that’s constantly making you cancel plans and bail out whenever you’re asked to try something new? That’s your comfort zone.

I know it’s comfortable to settle in a space where everything is easy and you’re in control, but this fear of the unknown is holding you back from your life’s potential.

Although fears can stem from evolutionary instinct and have roots in past experiences, nine times out of ten, our fears are illusions, creations of self-doubt, and lack of understanding.

Conquering your fears and stepping outside of your comfort zone makes you realize how much bigger life is than what exists inside your bubble. I know every time I step outside of mine, I come out relieved.

For example, one of my biggest fears is social interaction. You wouldn’t think so with my cheerfulness and sunny personality, but speaking to strangers is really intimidating. This is based on my traumas from bullying, lack of acceptance, and the scarring of toxic relationships. My social anxieties caused me to be over apologetic and disconnected. I was definitely the type to come up with excuses to avoid hanging out with people. (YES! I’ve got a fever! Now I HAVE to stay home!)

However, these behaviors are counterproductive to my career as a freelance writer. Networking and relationship building are CRUCIAL in the freelance world, so I had to figure out a way to be more social. It was scary as hell at first; my first couple of attempts were jumbled messes of me speaking loud, fast, and fumbling over my words, but I learned to talk calmly with confidence and self-control with practice.

Here are the steps that I take when facing a scary situation. Maybe they can be helpful to you:

  • I breathe it out– My experience with yoga taught me how significant the breath is. It can help you, not only through the most difficult yoga poses but also by calming your mind in the most stressful of situations. If deep breathing can help you through anger, stress, and pain, why not through fear? Give it a try the next time you’re tackling something scary.
  • I build up the courage– Whether it’s pacing back and forth in my living room burning sage, journaling, or talking to myself in the mirror, I build up my mental strength before doing something courageous. Although having encouragement can be helpful, no one can convince YOU like YOU can. Try talking yourself up before stepping outside of your comfort zone. You’d be surprised by how far a few “You can do it!”‘s will get you.
  • I take baby steps– I can’t say that I always go 0 – 100 in scary situations, especially if the fear is tied to a traumatic experience. In cases like this, I micro-dose and build my way up. If you fear open water, for example, try exposing yourself to small bodies of water first and then build on top of that until one day you’re comfortable enough to step into the ocean.

Remember: Although your fear may seem trivial or juvenile to someone else, it’s not ok for anyone to make you feel belittled or invalid. A lot of people take the tough love approach, which can make your fears worse. What you need is patience, understanding, and support in overcoming things at your own pace.

I base a lot of my life goals around stepping outside of my comfort zone, not just for my career but for the sake of personal growth.

Benefits of Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Living a life outside of your comfort zone comes with psychological benefits like feelings of empowerment and personal growth.

Let’s dive deeper into these concepts.

Empowering

Stepping outside of your comfort makes you feel powerful. The boost in bravery comes from the liberation of staring fear in the face and living to tell the tale.

You realize how you are in control of your life, and that type of mental strength can move mountains. Silentmindsingingbowls.com has a quote about this on their blog post “The Amazing Benefits of Facing Your Fears”

“When we come to personally understand that we can change our own brains, it’s incredibly empowering. We can make ourselves calmer, more creative, anything we want.”

Once you’ve hardwired your brain to be less afraid, you feel like you can do anything.

Personal Growth

Challenging your fear builds character.

I know a lot of people who suffer from low self-esteem due in large part to self-doubt. It doesn’t help when you’re surrounded by people who are feeding into that.

Beware: People who have been limited by fear their entire lives will often try to project those feelings onto you. They’ll convince you that you’re incapable of stepping outside of your comfort zone and that what you’re trying to achieve is impossible because this is their reality.

But once you start tip-toeing on your boundaries of comfort, you’ll be able to blur the lines of your capabilities.

Before you know it, fear won’t even be a contender, and you’ll be achieving new heights of personal growth.

With your new and improved fierce skin, gone are the days when fear is holding you back, allowing you to open doors you swore were closed off to you.

Look, I know the idea of facing your fears and challenging your comfort can seem scary and maybe even a long shot. But I’m living, breathing proof that not only is it possible, but there are enormous payouts.

Ask yourself are you limiting your personal life, growth, and dreams because of your fears?

How much longer will you allow your imaginary boundaries to keep you from living?

Stop getting in the way of yourself. Try something brave today.

Conquer all the fears.

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

The Two Major Keys to Achieving Your Goals

Being an independent artist is one of the most soul-fulfilling careers you can ever have. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid to pursue their passions?

Although the market is saturated with millions of talented artists who are all working toward the same goal of making their dreams come true, the reality is that most people will drop out of the rat race before they ever see success.

It’s not because they’re not worthy or for lack of trying, it’s because along the way they lose sight of the two things that are absolutely necessary to achieve their goals : motivation and discipline.

I came to this realization on my own path. Less than a year ago, I decided to become a writer full-time and I never looked back.

I refused to go back to the mundane life of working a 9-5 and I’ve been on my own ever since–just me, my computer, my determination, and my endless collection of composition notebooks and notepads.

I thought it was all I needed to get by but I often found myself staring at a blinking cursor and an empty screen as if I could somehow will the work into existence.

I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. The passion was there but try as I might I still found myself falling victim to bad habits, distractions, and inconsistent behavior.

To put a stop to this madness (and to get my life together) I did what all millennials do in times of crisis, I turned to the internet.

That’s when I found this quote on Pinterest

You will never always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined

The discovery of this was one of the most profound moments of my adult life and writing career.

I found myself wondering:

  • “Is it discipline that I lack? or motivation?”
  • “What’s the difference?”
  • “Can you have one without the other?”
  • And last but not least “Which of these do I need more of to achieve my goals?”

After months of rummaging through articles and picking the brains of industry professionals, here’s what I learned about motivation and discipline.

How Motivation Works

You can be motivated in one of two ways: intrinsically and extrinsically.

Intrinsic motivation is a motivation that has no intentional ties to a reward or incentive, the sole purpose of you doing it is because of a passion or a strong willingness to do.

Take me writing this for example. I didn’t write this for critical acclaim, fame, or money. I wanted to write this post because I have a desire to help people. I like the idea of using my words and personal experiences to inspire others.

For you, it may look like:

  • Joining a dance class because you love expressing yourself through dance
  • Climbing a mountain because of the thrill or sense of accomplishment
  • Starting your own business because you want to be your own boss

If the ties to your reason why are personal, or psychological, it’s considered intrinsic motivation.

Research suggests that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than its extrinsic counterpart. According to psychologytoday.com, Intrinsic motivation is more effective because “it is integrated into identity and serves as a continuous source of motivation.”

Basically, it hits different when you inspire you.

“It hits different when YOU inspire you”-Kaillaby”

Extrinsic motivation is a motivation that’s related to an incentive or reward. This could be anything from money, praise, or attention.

I definitely have extrinsic motivations, money is the first that comes to mind. I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to live a certain lifestyle and generate a level of income I know I wouldn’t have been afforded working at my office job.

For you, it may look like:

  • Cleaning the house to avoid complaints or nagging from your spouse.
  • Getting all A’s on your report card for the praise or high status.
  • Going to work because you need the money.
  • Giving a good performance at work out of fear of being reprimanded by your boss.

If something or someone else is your reason why then it’s considered extrinsic motivation. Although extrinsic motivation has its benefits (after all, who doesn’t want to be rewarded?) it can be risky if the reward loses its luster. Once you’re no longer impressed by the bribery, you’ll lose your momentum.

It’s important to note that regardless of whether the inspiration is internal or external, for a payout or personal satisfaction, it’s always best to lead with positive reinforcement.

Inspiring through fear (like threats or punishment) or negativity (demeaning or insulting) won’t get you as far. You end up causing more psychological harm than good and it could end up backfiring.

Ruling with fear or scare tactics may be effective in the short term, but that fear will eventually grow to resentment. Once the fear is gone, *poof* there goes the motivation.

You can learn more about the types of motivation from this article I found on psychologytoday.com

How Discipline Works

Discipline requires willpower– it takes mental prowess and structured behavior.

Think of it as the following formula:

Your work ethic x your routine + consistency = discipline.

When it comes to discipline, it’s all about commitment.

Commit. Commit. Commit. Commit.

It’s not enough to come up with a plan, you have to stick to it to achieve your goals, something I didn’t realize was preventing me from achieving success.

Take my skincare journey for example.

I suffer from acne and hyperpigmentation.

I found a skincare system called Curology that I was convinced to try after viewing their ads and reading their testimonials online.

When I first tried it, I thought it wasn’t working because after a few weeks I wasn’t seeing much of an improvement in my skin. My impatience almost persuaded me to quit and try something else.

Instead, I reached out to one of their skincare professionals and asked them when I should expect to see significant results. Turns out, I wasn’t committing long enough. They told me it could take up to 6 months to see the results I was looking for.

The conversation motivated me to give it another shot. I stuck around, committed to the recommended routine, and low and behold: I’ve been seeing better results!

A lot of people underestimate how much commitment is required to achieve their goals, this can be said for anything from losing weight, to gaining fortune and fame to eliminating debt.

The internet age has us addicted to instant gratification and everyone wants to see results right away but, the reality is, you may not see any results at all for months. Maybe even years, depending on what your goal is. I know my impatience tends to be MY downfall.

It’s important not to be deterred just because you don’t get what you’re after right away.

Before you admit defeat, ask yourself:

  • Are you being consistent?
  • Have you created a routine and stuck to it?

If the answer’s yes and you feel like you’ve hit a wall or a plateaued:

  • Are you working around it?
  • Are you coming up with new, inventive strategies?

Use your motivations to keep your eye on the prize and continue building on your discipline until you get to where you’re going. Sure, it’s easier said than done but stunting your process will result in prolonged success.

What’s the difference?

When it comes to accomplishing a goal, think of motivation as the why and discipline as the how.

What separates motivation from discipline is action.

Motivation is what brought you to this post. Discipline is what will put these words into practice.

Although motivation will give you the wind beneath your wings, it is the discipline that will propel you forward.

Another difference is motivation doesn’t have to be consistent, it can be sporadic and can strike at any moment like lightning in a bottle but discipline will require commitment and consistency.

After all, the entire basis of discipline is rule and order.

Motivation is the energy you need to achieve your goal but discipline is the strategy that you’ll need to take to get there.

Can You Have One Without The Other?

It is possible to be motivated without being disciplined.

Who else is guilty of just sitting on a load of passion with no direction or plan to execute it?

You can also be disciplined without being motivated by just living your life according to rules and structure but lacking the drive or passion behind it.

Having one without the other is counterproductive to success.

If you want to achieve a goal, you’ll need to find a balance of both.

Which Of These Do I Need More Of To Achieve My Goals?

Although having both is best, in my research I’ve found that you’ll get nowhere without motivation.

I spoke with Mrs. Ivelisse Villalona, MSW a social worker in the NYC D.O.E who had this to say about the significance of motivation

“Professionally, when I work with kids, for example, it’s difficult to work on changing their behaviors if it’s not something they are motivated to do. So I can talk to them about making better decisions but if it’s not something that’s internal, like if the motivation is not there to make those good decisions, what I’m saying is it’s not going to work.” She continued “You can be disciplined but not necessarily reach your goal unless you have the motivation to do so. So unless the motivation is there, no one can-I feel in my professional opinion and personal, no one can influence your desire, your will to do something.”

Ivelisse Villalona, MSW

Even if you have the structure and plan you need, if you’re not motivated to stay on track there will be no movement.

The Bottom Line

If you’re having trouble reaching your goals, I recommend doing some self-reflection.

Therapist Jenny (Jinhee) Lee, LCAT, ATR-BC agrees! She recommends “finding a greater purpose to the goal and meditating on the purpose daily for reminder of what the work in one’s motivation is for. Having a greater purpose outside of the self can help motivate oneself to get through the process.”

After months of seeking, I got my answer: what I was missing was discipline.

Now, I’m fine-tuning my routine every day and I’m happy to say I’ve been finding success! But, I won’t stop here. I’ll keep using my passions and aspirations to feed my commitment and build on my routine until I reach my finish line. Cue Keni Burker’s ‘Risin’ To The Top’.

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