At the beginning of the month, I decided to challenge myself to a full month of blogging. There were a lot of reasons I wanted to do this. I wanted to see how capable I was of creating a constant stream of content, even on a whim. I wanted to see how much passion I truly had for blogging and writing. And really, I wanted to push myself to do more.

You see, I’ve always been one to go easy on myself and give myself breaks, even in moments where I may have needed a push. I’m not great at follow through. Almost everything I tell myself I have to do falls to the side and I always end up back in the same place: bored on the couch watching the same TV show for the millionth time.

I’m no stranger to bad habits and routines. I’ve been a smoker, a drinker, an avid shopper, etc. Those little things that can help you slip out of your reality for a moment are really hard to kick. It takes a lot of effort an determination to find a way to let go of bad habits and make a better life for yourself.

So I have some experience in letting go of bad habits and making some better ones for myself. This challenge, that I am currently completing as I write this post, was one of those habit kickers that I needed to push myself to meet my full potential. It was a way for me to get out of a rut and drudge through a little drudgery to get to a place where I was doing something that I could be proud of.


Bad habits come in all shapes and sizes. From major drug addictions to food addictions to TV or video games. Now, I’m not about to say that if you have a major, debilitating addiction this will help you outright in turning things around. But if you’re at the point of recognizing you can do more and it’s time to make a change, these are some tips on how to kick the habits that are holding you back.



    You have to keep in mind that just adding a habit to your day takes at least 30 days to get familiar with and even longer to make it a second nature activity. Beyond that, removing a bad habit from your life is almost harder to accomplish and takes a while to really overcome. It’s going to be a pretty persistent struggle for at least 2 weeks to a month and it’s definitely possible that no matter how long it’s been since you let go of a habit, you’ll still find yourself craving it. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel free of a habit right away, if ever. The point is that you’re trying which is really all that matters.


    Or maybe you won’t. If you don’t fall back into your bad habit, at least a little bit, you are a super human and you should be very proud of yourself (I’m being serious but there’s no way to type that without it looking sarcastic). If you do slip, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope and it doesn't mean you have to start over. It just means you’re a human who can’t fight their own desires 24/7 which is extremely normal. If you fall back into old habits, just reevaluate and try again.


    This is a choice you have to trust yourself to make. For some, kicking a bad habit just means cutting back and having rules. For others, it means having a pretend restraining order against something in order to prevent it from taking over. Sometimes it means taking as much time as you need away from something until you feel you can be responsible with it. This is where you can decide what will help you the most. I know for me, if I decide to quit anything cold turkey, I will binge it so hard and never turn back. So I just have to limit my intake in order to help myself make more responsible choices.


    I would say most of us have many bad habits, big and small. We may even continue to pick up bad habits through our life time. Really, the job of becoming a better human is never done. So don’t try and take on all of your bad habits at once. Just do one at a time. It may feel like you’ll be stuck in your bad habits forever if you don’t take them all on at once, but you’ll be much more effective if you let go of one at a time. You may even find that once you start letting go of bad habits, the rest of them will become a little easier to remove from your life.



This is the best way to find your motivation to let it go. There’s a few ways to get to the route of a bad habit to find the real, deep down source.

  • Is it a physical or emotion dependency? Or maybe both?

  • What does it make you feel when you partake in the bad habit?

  • What are you missing when you don’t have it?

So as an example: cigarettes. A classic bad habit. When I was smoking cigarettes regularly, it was a physical dependency that was exacerbated by emotions. It was like a pacifier for me anytime I was upset. It was my guaranteed 5-10 minutes of dealing with life whenever I needed a break. It made me feel calm and confident when I’d have a cigarette and when I didn’t have one, it became hard for me to process whatever was going on around me.

I’ve also got shopping as a bad habit. It’s totally emotional. When I’m feeling insecure or upset or I want to reinvent myself, buying something new is a way for me to fill whatever void I’ve found to make me better as a person. A new shirt will make me look better when I’m feeling bad about my physical appearance. A new home item can make me feel capable to take on whatever thing I’ve decided I need to get into. If I can’t buy the new thing to make myself feel better, I get stuck in a ball of shame because I’m not getting the satisfaction of improving myself or my surroundings with something new.

So yes, understanding these things has really helped me to get to the route of the habit and find other ways to cope with whatever cigarettes or shopping was “solving.”


There’s always that thing that happens that leaves you craving your bad habit. Whether it’s simply morning time or feeling stuck and needing a change. There are so many things that can become triggers for bad habits. It can be simply having a routine that includes your bad habit to feelings or occurrences that you may be less aware of or ready for. There are even some bad habits that trigger other bad habits.

TV for me is definitely a habit with triggers. Usually as soon as I put my son down to sleep, I sit down and turn on the TV without even thinking (which then leads to me binge eating really unhealthy food, another bad habit). It’s become a very unproductive part of my routine that seemed so natural and innocent that I didn’t realize how harmful it really was for me. Giving into these little trigger made me feel like I had no time. No time for writing, reading, drawing, anything really. No time for my husband and no time for myself. There became a huge divide in my life all because I’d simply sit down and watch TV during nap times rather than engage in the world around me.

Drinking on the other hand, my trigger was, I don’t know… 3 o’clock? It was emotionally numbing at a time in my life when I really didn’t want to feel anything so feeling anything was a trigger. It took over my afternoons and nights (and then mornings and early afternoons if you want to count the awesome hangover I had nearly every day). The triggers that made this become regular were not ones that I could predict. Sometimes it wasn’t even anything that happened to me, but within me. It made it very difficult to catch the triggers because they weren’t as obvious as putting a baby to sleep (don’t worry, I kicked this habit before I even got pregnant with my son).

So identifying the triggers may be difficult, but it’s important to take the time. Sometimes understanding the route of the habit can help you find the triggers too.


So once you’ve gotten to know your habit really well, I’ve found it much easier to kick the habit by replacing it with a better one.

That was this challenge for me. Rather than sitting down and watching TV the minute I put my son down for a nap, I would write a blog post. At the beginning of the month, I’d usually rush through the post and then sit down for an episode or two. But as the month has progressed, my writing has triggered more productivity to where somedays, I don’t turn the TV on at all.

Cigarettes on the other hand, that was a more difficult one. A typical day was: wake up, have a cigarette. Make coffee, have a cigarette. Have a cigarette on my way to work. Have a cigarette after work. Basically, as soon as one activity was done, I’d have a smoke break and then move onto the next thing. So pretty much my whole day was a trigger.

When you find you spend the majority of a day on something, it may be worth it to change your routine all together. I pretty much gone through and added better habits throughout my day one thing at a time. It didn’t happen all at once, but little by little, I created a routine that gives me a little more of what I need everyday which leaves me wanting my bad habits a lot less.

  • I started by simply waking up and making my bed. This led to brushing my teeth which led to washing my face and getting dressed and then one day, I was eating breakfast without a single cigarette in sight. Waking up triggered a new, much more productive habit.

  • But then there was the after breakfast TV that I needed to get rid of. So instead, finishing breakfast became a trigger to clean up the dishes and the table which led to cleaning the house which led to me actually doing the necessary chores to keep a house running that I never did before.

  • But then the after-I-put-my-son-to-bed TV. The, from 6:30 - 10 TV that I really didn’t need. The, I just didn’t know better than to just turn the TV on, TV. Well, instead I’d take a bath. But I got bored in the bath so I started reading which means I actually read books now. And then, to avoid the after bath TV, I added a podcast hour with my husband to give us some quality time to learn something fun together. And after that, after the whole day is done, I can indulge in a little TV before bed which I think is totally reasonable and doesn’t make me feel guilty at all.

So if you’re having trouble establishing your triggers or kicking your habits, just take a look at your day. Start with one habit to add when you wake up and let it work as a domino effect on your day. If you’re diligent and active in making this work, eventually you’ll finish a whole day and realize you didn’t even think about your bad habit.

Again, it’s not an over night process. Most of my habits took me years and a major life change to overcome. The important thing is that you try. As long as you’re trying, you’re doing something right.



I was never one to keep a diary. I mean, I had notebooks that I would get out when I was feeling a lot of things all at once, but nothing consistent at all.

I’m extremely internal with most everything, but I’m also really good about letting out whatever I need to so I never felt like I needed much assistance in the thinking and processing parts of my life. I was very wrong. I never realized how much journaling can help you process and get things out before letting out things you may want to take back later. It’s a tool that could be utilized by so many of us to help improve our sanity within the chaos of simply trying to live and move forward in life.

So journalling is a recent thing for me. It took my a while to really get on board because you see all the posts that say journaling is a great thing to do right when you wake up or right before you go to bed. So for some reason I felt like, because I didn’t feel compelled to journal at those times, I just wouldn’t journal at all. Then I realized, that’s dumb..

Journaling is not reserved for those of us who have a lot of free time or time for slow mornings or energy for thoughtful nights.

It’s for anyone with a mind that can get overwhelmed by everyday life. For anyone who has thoughts that go through their head that need to be sorted through or remembered. It’s for keeping track of right now while letting go of what’s happened in the past and figuring out how to make things happen in the future.

A journal is like a hard-drive for keeping our minds clear and our thoughts organized.


At this point, I try to journal everyday. Whatever moment I can find to write anything, even if it’s “I don’t have much to think about to day” I will take it. I don’t always make it to my notebook or feel like filling any pages, but I always notice a difference in my mood and the quality of my day when I get a chance to journal a bit.


This is when I do my best processing. When my husband is off doing something and I can sit by myself with no distractions and no one around to catch a glimpse of what I’m writing.

For me, a journal is a brain dump for anything and everything. But it’s really hard to think completely uninhibited when you’re constantly distracted by the needs of kids or when there are people near by that could potentially peer into every corner of your mind. Even when it’s people I will probably reiterate every word to, I like to process it on my own. So I love to find a time when I’m alone and can pour my thoughts onto the page, no matter how significant or trivial they may be.


Coffee, tea, wine, a cocktail, beer, whatever. Just something. I don’t know why a tasty drink is the perfect writing companion, but for me, it get’s all my brain waves kickstarted and makes it a luxurious moment just for me.

I think what it really helps with is keeping me in the moment. Every sip brings my attention to where I am which helps me to not get too lost in my thoughts and fantasy worlds when I let my mind wonder.


Again, distractions when writing in my journal make it so every sentence is trivial and I don’t have the attention span to really let my mind go down whatever path it needs to.

I love to sit at the table where I have a hardy surface to bare down on. I like to be alone, but I can totally see the appeal of heading to a coffee shop and getting lost at your own little table. Really, just creating an environment where you feel completely at peace and uninhibited is key.


When it’s too quiet, I get distracted. Something about having complete silence just gives me the creeps. I have a few playlists, some that I share in my monthly letters, that I like to cycle through here and there. For the most part, every playlist I make is great for playing in the background to create a mood. Some are a little more moody while others are more uplifting.

Really, anything that can fill the background and inspire a flow on consciousness will do.


Once I get into the zone with all the things that help me get started, here are all the reasons I journal and what I write about.


This may be the most important thing I do when I journal. I don’t consistently check in. Sometimes I have to go in and say with intention, “it’s time to check in with myself today.” But it’s a good thing to do whenever you can.

Basically, I start with one aspect of my life and move down the list. I’ll write about the good things, things that have improved, things I need to work on, things I wish could happen and then how to make them happen.

For me, my key check ins are always Husband, Kids, Hobbies - blogging and something random that I’ve picked up for a bit, Home - general health, decor, and cleanliness, and my general mental state.

Basically, whatever my most important things are, I check in to see how they’ve been running. It’s helped me to realize I need to make a better effort to have quality time with my husband. I need more playtime with Oliver. It helped me to bring my blog to a more personal place and to help me step back and be patient with my slue of random hobbies I get into. And now, I’ve finally been able to step back and realize I can work on my home little by little and that we don’t need to have a perfectly curated design or the perfect, seasonal meals all the time. All of this together has made my mental state much calmer and at ease.

So by far, checking in is one of the most important reasons why I use my journal. They’re all important really, but this one forces me to take a detailed look at everything that’s important to me to make sure I’m giving every aspect of my life the attention and quality that it deserves.


This is an amazing tool for a racing brain. When you have a lot of things on your to-do list or deadlines you need to meet. Even if it’s just a lot of books you want to read or groceries or whatever. Whatever category or things that you’re trying to manage, make a list. I have so many random lists sprawled throughout my journal. I don’t even necessarily go back to them all the time. Simply getting them out and sorted can help me to prioritize and organize everything in a visual, tangible way that puts my mind at ease.

It gives me a next step, a first move, something to turn into an action so I’m not sitting on a bunch of thoughts that lead to nothing getting done.

I’ll use this to write out goals that we have for our future, goals I have for my personal hobbies. It helps me to sort through items I need for my wardrobe or home so instead of looks at each as a giant project that I have to do all at once, I can look at exactly what I need and think about what I want to fill that need with and then take my time finding exactly what I need.

Lists are probably the best way to turn your dreams and desires and goals into tasks that will help you reach each of those things in a manageable way.


There’s always those completely abstract moments where you’re thinking about so many things that it almost feels like you’re thinking about nothing. That is when I use my journal to help me start with something and get my thoughts moving.

During these times I imagine there’s a giant tumble weed in my brain. I know there are a million little peaces of straw making up the giant tumble weed, but it’s spinning so fast that I can’t grab onto one of them. So yes, that’s when the journal comes out.

These are the days where I usually start my entry by saying, “I have no idea what I’m thinking about but I know there’s something.” That is when I practice the exercise of writing anything until you finally reach something. Literally writing whatever rambles come to mind until the tumble weed starts to shrink and eventually you have an organized pile of straw that you can actually see and sort through. Even if there are no significant thoughts that come from it, at the very least you’ve cleared your mind and you don’t have to feel stress over nothing.


I am the type of person who feels and reacts within an instant. While my husband is the type to not even realized he felt something until the feeling is almost gone, I definitely feel all of my feelings immediately and intensely.

This has gotten me in a lot of trouble over the years. Reactions are never the best way to handle things and while I’m lucky to have fairly good instincts, there are some situations that could have been handled better had I taken the time to sort through the jumble of feelings before acting on them.

So now, if I’m feeling something strongly, I write about it. I write until I have a very clear answer on what happened, how I feel about it, and whether or not the situation was a big deal or if I just felt like it was a big deal in the moment. I have literally written 7 pages, front and back, on one issue just to try to understand and find a solution.

I’m a firm believer in talking through things and being honest always. Confrontation can be one of the most productive parts of a relationship, but only if it’s handled with empathy and reason, which hardly comes when you’re in the middle of feeling all your feelings.

Beyond that, behind every strong feeling, there is something deep within that triggers it. Feelings of being wronged rarely stem from our friends or spouses. Generally, the little wrongdoings that happen in adulthood come from something deeper in our subconscious: a pain we’ve acquired from the messiness of growing up.

We all suffer from childhood trauma. It’s how our very personalities are formed. We’re all born unable to receive some type of love from our parents, whether they actually give it to us or not, and that inability follows us for the rest of our lives. We all have the chance to learn this about ourselves and work on it, but we’re still going to have these weaknesses triggered by something every once in a while.

So this is why journaling helps me. It helps me to work through the strong feelings I have. It’s helped me to realize that when my husband does something on his own, he’s not doing anything wrong. It’s simply that I have a fear of abandonment and I need to learn to trust that when he leaves, he’ll still come back. But then, I can dig even farther and look at where that fear of abandonment comes from and learn to let go of the anger I built up towards my parents as a kid. To realize that they did their very best and that while as a child it’s sometimes sad when your parents have to go to work, as an adult I can help my inner child understand that there is no reason to hold onto those negative feelings because they weren’t actually abandoning me. The process of journaling before reacting makes it so these small triggers won’t effect me as deeply in the future and helps me to have a better relationship with the important people in my life.

So these are all the reasons I journal.

It’s basically like a therapy session that costs me $10 every 6 months to a year. A place for my mind to wonder, but not get stuck. It’s how I keep my mind free and at ease while still working through whatever it is I have to work through, big or small.



I’m the type of person who is heavily influenced by their seasons. The highs and lows of life. Whether something caused a high or low point is irrelevant. From what I can tell, they kind of come and go as they please completely out of my control.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. We all wake up and have a day where laying in bed sounds like the right idea. Sometimes that day can turn into a week or a month, and then one day you wake up with a ball of energy that feels like it will explode if you don’t find something to do immediately.

I’ve experienced these types of seasons most of my life. I don’t know if it’s linked to any kind of cycle or if my brain just likes to use all of it’s serotonin all at once or if it’s totally random and based on nothing scientific at all.

Either way, I’ve experienced this as long as I can remember, but I’ve only become aware of these seasons in the past couple of years. And I’ve only been actively aware very recently.

For a long time, when I’d fall into a low moment, I would fear that a high point would never come again. I felt like I’d run out of happiness and I’d be stuck feeling down forever. I wouldn’t say I’d fall into a depression of any kind. My mood wasn’t always a sad one, I still had joy. I just wouldn’t have a lot of inspiration and the idea of doing more than rest and watch TV sounded unappealing.

When I’d get to a high point, I’d be so inspired and so excited about things that I’d do too much OR I’d think about doing so much that I’d wind up doing nothing at all. I couldn’t figure out how to harness any of the motivation I felt and I’d be afraid the whole time of starting anything because I knew, one day, a low point would come and I’d eventually lose anything that I’d started during those high points.

So, obviously I can’t live my life feeling like I’m catering to two different versions of myself. I can’t drop everything just because I don’t feel like doing things, but I can’t prevent myself from being everything I want to be just because I’m afraid I won’t be able to maintain it sometimes.

During my last two rounds of ups and downs, I’ve been very focused on what is going on with me. I’ve tried to stay in touch with what I need without letting either season effect the other. I think ups and downs have their place and it’s important to listen to your inner self when it’s trying to tell you what it needs.

Seasons are a natural part of life. Our earth goes through seasons, plants do it, animals do it. Bears hibernates, birds travel north and south. We all have instincts and it’s important to follow them.

It’s also important to learn how to use each of these seasons to their fullest potential. There is productivity in not being productive. There’s downsides to being too productive. It’s all about finding the balance.

So that’s what I’ve been working on. I wanted to find a way to use my seasons as they need to be used. I wanted to work on making each season productive in it’s own way so I can, hopefully, utilize every bit of my time.


I’ve bashed these times for a very long time. I have spent most of my time resenting the low moments. Fearing them in the big points and hating them when I’m in the middle of them.

That changed this last time. I decided to embrace my low point and give myself exactly what I was asking for.

That’s not to say I literally sat and did nothing for a month. I still have responsibilities that I have to maintain. But I’m also not saying I did anymore than I absolutely needed to. I gave myself as much of a break as I could and here’s how I did it:


I’ve really discovered the power in journaling recently and it’s improved my life immensely. Especially in the moments I felt wrong for taking a break.

Journaling helped me keep my brain moving. It helped me to not get stuck in the low point while still giving me the opportunity to relax.

It’s not a huge activity. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or involved. But it’s something to do so you can prevent yourself from wallowing too much in your low moments. This is a good way to not get trapped in a cycle of stupid app games and mindless TV shows. It’s a small opportunity each day to let your gears turn, if even for a moment.


This helps me for two reasons:

  1. You don’t forget things that actually have to get done.

  2. It helps you realize how much you actually do in a day which helps fend off any guilt that may come your way.

Obviously, we still need to eat. We still need to have clean clothes. Our house needs to stay at least minimally clean. We all still have things that need to get done on a daily basis.

Just remember the difference between what you need to do and what you want to do. No matter how much you think you want to deep clean your floors, you really only need to once over with a stiffer every once in a while.

Don’t make yourself guilty for taking a break. Just be proud of yourself for taking care of what you need to. You can do the extras another day.

Setting deadlines will help you to make sure it’s getting done when it needs to. If you have things that have to get done by a certain time, put it in a calendar with a few reminders. That way you’re not putting too much stress on your mind but you’re still getting things done on time.


Seriously, don’t focus on what you could be doing. Just tell yourself, even if you have to say it out loud a couple time, “It’s okay to take a break.”

We are worth so much more than our productivity. It’s important to be content with how you’re spending your time, but not if it means working yourself harder than you can handle.

I like to think of the low points as our subconscious telling us it’s time to rest. Something is coming, whether you know it or not, and you need to take a break. Our bodies and minds are intuitive, maybe even more than we realize. We may feel like something big is coming our way without ever fully realizing we see it coming.

So listen to yourself and soak in those moments of ease. Take the hint and be lazy. You have no idea how badly you may need the downtime.


Again, it’s good to keep the gears turning. Even if it’s a mindless hobby or something simple. Personally, I do online jigsaw puzzles. I spend $20 on a 3 month subscription and do these dumb online jigsaw puzzles all day.

If I get board of that, I’ll crochet something simple or just get really into organizing my Pinterest boards or simply looking into planning a future project to work on one day. Really, nothing huge. Nothing that requires I do more than sit and relax.

I’ve just found that doing a tiny bit of something that you enjoy doing helps these moments to not get too out of hand and can even help them to not last longer than you’d want.


The high points are good and bad. They are good because, YAY! Inspiration is here again! You can start cooking better food and doing some fun stuff and getting out of the house. It can be bad though because your mind starts going so fast that it’s hard to keep track. For me I can feel like I’m not even thinking at all because of how many things I’m thinking at once.

So even though you have all this drive to do things, it can be hard to channel it towards something helpful.

So, given that I’m currently at a high point, I’m trying to take advantage of it. I want to use this time as wisely as possible and create some standards that can become so second nature that they don’t feel overbearing when a low point comes again.


Yeah, journal again. It helps to get your thoughts in order. The same way we need a little help having thoughts at all during a low point, we need help managing our thoughts during high points.

It’s a good way to get yourself on track and work through all the thoughts you’re having.

You can think about what’s really important to you and get everything out that is just a passing thought taking up room in your mind. It helps to prioritize and sort through all the things that may be running through your mind.


And no, its not an arbitrary number. In general, humans can only focus on 3-4 things at once so I figure, don’t push it. Give yourself the ability to succeed by not pushing the limits on how many things you need to manage.

Rather, give yourself the opportunity to push the limits on how far you can take a few things.

So this time around, I’m picking 3 simple things to focus on. Some are fun, some are things I should probably be better about. In general, they’re things I currently have the ability to put effort into and giving myself a clear focus seems to be the best way to utilize this productive time of mine.

So here’s what I’m focused on right now:

  • Cooking + baking more consistently because cold weather means I need a constant flow of tasty treats.

  • Finish crocheting blankets. A project I started in my low moment that will be really good to finish.

  • Practice drawing. I’ve always wanted to sketch and draw and hand letter, so I’m going to give myself the tools to start learning now.

Nothing huge. One of these days I may give myself a bigger task. I’ve got books I’d like to write and other house projects I’d like to work on, but this is what I’ve found is really calling me at the moment.


I think these are great opportunities to form productive a habit for yourself. Whether it’s eating better, cooking at home more, exercising, a better skincare routine, etc. Just something that you can make a regular part of your day that can hopefully carry through when a low point comes again.

It’s important to take care of yourself at every point in your life, but it’s hard to feel motivated when you don’t have a lot of energy to spare.

Forming these habits when you have the energy to add something new to your day can help it become second nature, even in the low moments.


I have a tendency to add a lot to my plate. I start thinking of everything I could possibly want to do and then I try to do all of it. I give myself obligations I can’t keep, expectations that I wind up failing.

It’s a recipe for feeling worthless, even at my high points.

So stick to your 3 things and only focus on one habit at a time. Don’t take on any major projects. Just focus on one part of said project.

For me, I’ve always wanted to start some kind of business. So when I’m at a high point, I always try to take on this huge project with so many steps and I wind up failing because I don’t take it one step at a time.

Like a paper good shop. Paper goods and handmade home goods. Textiles and things. I love it. I love the idea of creating it. I’d love to have a store one day with all of the pretty paper goods and home decor I can get my hands on. But I don’t know how to make the things I would want to stock.

So to take a major project and turn it into a tangible, manageable task; I’m going to start sketching. I’m going to work on one part of this massive project. This is something I can add to my current life without overwhelming myself and setting expectations I can’t live up to.

So whatever you want to do, break it down. Take on one tiny part of it and set the rest aside. You can still satisfy your craving for doing without giving yourself too much to handle.

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