When I sat down to write this post, I initially wanted to dive into the topic of work ethic. But then it hit me—I didn't want to confine myself to just that. Work ethic is important, no doubt. It's about dedication, discipline, responsibility, and perseverance. But what about the bigger picture? What about being committed to doing your best in all aspects of life? That's what I want to explore.
If you had followed me for a long time, You would know of all the challenges I had in my earlier years in life such as bullying, self-harm, and the discrimination I faced. In my college years, I made it my responsibility to heal from those dark themes as new obstacles were rising and even though there were so many times I wanted to just quit, I did not.
Today I am the happiest I’ve ever been and one of my biggest strengths is I am a person who regardless of my circumstances, I am always dedicated to trying and making the best things. Today I am sharing tips on what helps me to keep going even when doubt creeps in or people try to make me feel foolish for the way I am going about life.
Have a strong purpose that you can remind yourself of when things get hard
If I had to choose my most important tip for staying determined even when my mind starts to spiral, it would be this. I spoke about this in the latest video about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation but I would like to share what I think about when self-doubt creeps in:
“My ultimate goal is to have freedom of time. I love creating and my creations will always grow with me so I don’t want my potential limited by a job. I don’t want to give away the best part of me to something that is not necessarily stable. I want to create a job fueled with passion and alignment. I want the type of life that makes me feel so excited to live every day. A life where I am not afraid to take time off when I need to. A life where I spend time with people I love. I live where I can help others. A life where I have a voice and live as my most authentic self."
That is something I recite when things start to feel hard. In 2024, I am taking a huge risk by taking time off after graduating and working for a few months. Sometimes I struggle with the thoughts of wondering if this is wrong to do, that I should just get a job and just do what all other adults are doing but part of me just dreads that. Not because I am afraid of growing up, lazy, or anything like that, I just have the perspective that even if I get a job it’s not more secure than taking a risk and building my own business, trying to write a book, or becoming a content creator. I see everything at the same level of unstable because all rely on likeability in a sense and your ability to connect with people ( when you do a job interview you are convincing why you would be a worthy employee, when you are a content creator you are convincing people that you are worthy of having an audience and so on) but the biggest difference I would say is how your timed and ideas get invested.
Your ideas are the company’s own if you work for one and when you are an entrepreneur your ideas are your own. I also think there is more freedom of choice of how you use time because with a job there is an obligation to meetings even if it is outside your work hours and truthfully I find the whole culture around work so backward. If you want an employee to function properly at work, you shouldn’t cut into the time that they need to manage their health because if they get burnt out because you are overworking them, you’ll just replace them. Also, there is always this strange discourse around if a person works longer hours they are a better worker, but to me, that just seems like the person overly identifies with their workplace and doesn’t have interests, hobbies, or anything else in their life that is as important. It makes me sad for humanity.
I see people put off their dreams until retirement and they say that’s when they can relax. I want to create a job I love so much that I feel as if I can do it even if I’m 75 years old because it would be something I am passionate about. I feel like I do have a strong work ethic as long as I can connect it back to my purpose. So when I am having days like this where I don’t want to create anything, I start doubting myself because I feel ignored and rejected, I remind myself of my why and it makes me want to think of my goals in a new way and try more until something works.
Do not skip maintenance days and rest days (they are non-negotiable)
Taking care of yourself is crucial to persist. I know we get time anxiety and want to be as successful as possible and in our head, if we aren't suffering ( losing sleep, not eating proper meals to save time, saying no to spending time with people, giving ourselves extra time, etc.), we aren’t truly earning the things we want.
Maintenance days are important because once you truly start losing confidence in yourself it is hard to focus on people and the goals you have. When it was my 7th semester of college, I remember saying repeatedly that I wanted to drop out. The truth is I was resenting school at the moment. That summer, I was taking care of myself. Even though I felt guilty for not having a job that summer, it was one of the best summers. I took two classes- one was Spanish 1 and the other was starting a small business course. I also traveled to Virginia to visit my grandpa. I was also learning to drive (I failed my driving test but it still felt like I made progress to adulting). I started working out again and I was finally starting to feel on top of my health again. it was the only summer I was dreading going back to school because I realized with school I wasn’t having a good balance.
When I did classes in the fall, even if I was interested in the topic, it was more about getting good grades than learning the content. It was about having classes so I can say completed a minor, but it stopped pretty much being about learning. I had a lack of sleep. Even though I was going to school 2-3 days a week, I was taking 21 credits total with the online classes. I was losing sleep, on days that I would have classes I would wake up at 4:30 am to leave the house by 5:15 am- 5:20 am, walk to the train station to catch either the 5:35 am train or the 5:50 am train so I can reach around 7:00 am (if there are no delays), stop by a deli if I was too tired to make myself food and eat somewhere in my school by 7:30 am- 7:45 am and work on work for my online classes. Then if I would have stomach problems due to the anxiety I was having, I would be able to take care of it before anyone else was really in the building (when I was in middle school that was the first time, I learned when I’m anxious I would vomit regardless of whether I ate or not. And so in college, it was similar but I was starting to think I had IBS).
The point is regularly I was not taking care of myself, I wouldn’t dress nice because I already was feeling self-conscious of my body since I lost the time I had taking care of my health, and didn’t do the usual confidence booster things (hair done, nails done, brows done, etc.) and because of how little time I had all I could’ve managed was basic hygiene things (daily showers, washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc.) but I wouldn’t do the extra thing that also gave the luxurious experience at home.
Now that I’m graduated and taking a break from working I have two maintenance days per week and have a spa day bath experience once a month. The reason I have
two maintenance days is because in terms of beauty, I’m focused on growing my natural hair (I have fine 4c hair so this one is important for me because I want to be able to wear my natural hair out but growing up I never really learned to take care of it- I relied on salons so learning how to grow it is just step one but I want to learn how to do cute hairstyles without going to a salon) and skincare/body care ( my face improved drastically over the years minus the hormonal acne I get when I pms but I’m working on managing the acne that I typically get on my chest and upper back).
I’m still working on what rest days look like for me right now. Right now content creation is my work even if I'm not paid for it yet and I take it seriously because it kinda reflects what would I do if I was my boss. I’m in the process of looking for hobbies that are just hobbies. For me, it used to be reading, but now I use books as a part of my research process for my content creation or use it to post when I don’t know what to post so I just post what I’m reading (read with my content). I’m thinking of things like drawing, crocheting, doing puzzles or legos for play.
For me as a lifestyle creator, it’s hard to keep things as just hobbies because if the lifestyle is the center of my content what I’m doing with my life including hobbies also feels like an additional thing to content creation. But outside of hobbies, spending time with my mom helps me to be present since she hates being a part of content, it makes me present when I spend time with her instead of thinking I should be filming this. Even today I did film a bit when we first got there so I will have clips for YouTube but pretty much most of the day I was off my phone and away from my laptop (which is the device I use most). Now I'm refreshed enough to continue with my content creation journey because, over the past 2 weeks, I was starting to burn myself out.
Prioritize: Know what to say yes and no to
I speak about this a lot but I’ve been getting better at saying yes or no. I used to feel guilty a lot of times because I would want to spend time with people, create, work on my health, read, watch animes and K-dramas (and sometimes Western media shows or shows that center in the UK or Australia), clean my room, organize my life, do career-oriented things, practice my spirituality and my religion, etc. there are so many aspects to life and I’m a person who gets overwhelmed very easily.
One thing I had to quickly learn is the ways you show up in life are going to look different. I have 3 goals right now and all of them are heavily centered around me building systems so I can work more efficiently. From now until March (the end of Q1), it is a time of solitude for me because I’m analyzing myself. Right now I don’t have the capacity to hang out with friends on a physical level, but I will still try to make time a few times a day to check in with them, answer texts from them, and talk to people in my digital communities that I’m currently in ( TWC group chat on Geneva, Slay101 on Discord and The poetry palette on discord).
But once it gets warmer and I have my habit systems in place, I will want to go out more often. Some things are just temporary, so try to prioritize based on your goals without neglecting things you know would bring more balance into your life.
Be cautious of the way you label yourself
Maybe this is a cultural thing but my mom always told me to be cautious of my word because words have power. When I used to describe myself as chaotic, invisible, unloveable, and misunderstood, my energy was constantly projecting that in the ways I showed up in this world.
I know it is a trend to use self-depreciation to make yourself more relatable to others but there is a line between being humble vs being your enemy. I think people do this to signal to others they are not a threat, but diluting yourself for other people’s comfort ruins your capability to persevere.
To improve your work ethic, you have to believe there is no limit to the way you evolve. We all have ideal versions of ourselves and identifying with words used to describe that version of you allows that to be the minimum of how you grow.
I see myself as someone smart enough to make the most of present reality because I know it’s temporary, my results will be what I envision or better because I know how to manage my energy, I’m analytical and I always find ways to improve because I’m ambitious. I’m not lazy, I just know what I’m working for. To be productive, I can’t focus on wanting things for the sake of trying to be like others. If I like something or want something regardless of how trendy or unique it is, that is what I’ll put my energy towards.
Thank you for reading. I know these tips seem unconventional but perseverance and determination have nothing to do with how much you're doing but what you are doing. It is about your mindset, how you figure out your systems, and how you uphold them.
The biggest misconception with productivity is that you have to suffer for it and if you are feeling like you are not doing enough, really ask yourself questions. Dissect your thinking to understand if you are feeling that way due to comparison, ego or you know you are operating below your potential.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it interesting. Also if you like my content it would mean the world to me if you would also subscribe to my YouTube channel, my Pinterest, and my TikTok account. On YouTube, I have the most inspirational content from Lifestyle Design posts to Digital "open when..." letters to boost your moods. I also keep a copy of my podcast episodes (which is also available on Spotify). I decided that I am honoring what feels right to me and continuously working on building the life of my dreams and helping others do the same. Don’t forget to share this if you feel inspired and I will have more content for you soon.
Until next time butterflies 🦋