Watch Your Mouth: How Changing My Language Is Changing My Life

One of the the more transformative lessons I’ve learned is the impact my day-to-day language has on my mood. Seemingly insignificant words have had the power to either carry me into a championship-winning week or hurl me into a whirlpool of “woe is me.” And that word-power produces real consequences when it comes to my art, work, and relationships.

In light of this knowledge, I now consciously make an effort to edit my mental script when things are looking dark. Here are two “easy” word swaps I’ve made to instantly create a more positively charged outlook:

  1. To Me vs. For Me
    Instead of seeing any particular situation (e.g. a career setback, emotional letdown, or personal failure) as an all-out attack that is happening to me, I reframe it as an opportunity for me. An opportunity for me to practice this new mindset I’ve been wanting to have. An opportunity for me to learn and to lead. An opportunity for me to grow.

  2. I Have To vs. I Get To
    If you were to describe this week’s to-do list to a friend, how would you do it? Pay attention to how this feels:

    “I have to wake up at 6AM tomorrow.”
    ”I have to go to the studio and work on this project.”
    ”I have to make a post about ______ to promote my upcoming _______.”
    ”I have to figure out what I’m going to do about _______.”
    ”I need to get my sh*t together.”

    This was me - constantly looking ahead at a pile of tasks that I have to or need to get to, rather than something I’m lucky to be doing. I found that gratitude is the only way to flip the switch, and it’s as easy as replacing the phrase “have to” with “get to.”

    I get to wake up at 6AM tomorrow.”
    ”I get to make a post about _______ to promote my upcoming ______.”
    ”I get to get my shit together!”

    (Bonus: turn “get to” into “choose to” and you’ll be activating an even more powerful starting position.)

What other language makeovers could you see yourself initiating this week?

9 Ways Comparing Yourself To Others Is The Biggest Scam

Light from another sunrise makes it its way through a squint in my venetian blinds. In a dream-like state of half-asleep/half-awake, I roll over to a phone nestled comfortably beside my pillow. I check in on the time to make sure I’m not late for anything. Then, of course, I check in on humanity.

The Instagram app is open. How did that happen? I’m scrolling now. The screen slides effortlessly underneath my thumb like melting ice. My eyes are wide.

Consciously the stimuli begins to roll in:

…There goes the concert I missed last night…
…somebody’s cute baby…
…my friend dropped a new music video…
….wow, look at this art direction…
…ok, this meme is really funny…

Subconsciously, another narrative plays in the background:

…If I were smart, I would’ve been at that show. Have I lost my finesse?…
…I’ll never have babies because babies cost money and I don’t have any money…
…This music video is great - I wonder how many views it has? More than mine…
…I need better art, I’ll never be cool enough…
…If I made more jokes, I’d have more friends…

Have you been here before?

If you’re like me, warped messages from comparing your life to others’ (IRL + online) echo inside your head and drip down to your heart, activating all those familiar feelings of not-enough-ness. Why though?

I’ve heard that comparison is the thief of joy, but what exactly are we supposed to do with this information? I’ve parsed together a few ideas.

Here are 9 things I remember when I need to get out of the comparison-trap:

  1. Comparison is a fact of the human experience, there’s no getting around it and therefore no use in harboring shame about it.

  2. Comparison is a distraction. Feeling bad about the way your life compares to someone else’s is just another way to avoid the tasks in front of you.

  3. Comparison is petty. Many times I’ve realized I don’t even want something until I’ve seen that someone else has it. Stop and think - is this a real desire of mine? Or am I just hating out of fear of being left behind?

  4. Comparison is ego-based. An unchecked ego is literally unattractive. Trying to protect your self-image by ramming it up against others only blocks new opportunities. With your head stuck in the white sands of another’s curated achievements and aesthetics, all the good that’s meant specifically for you passes by without notice.

  5. Comparison pays no respect to differences. Each of us are living different lives with vastly different paths. Even identical twins. So expecting any of us to end up at the same place or the same conclusion at the same time just makes no sense.

  6. Comparison forgets where you came from. So you went to a good school, got good grades, got a good job, and then seemingly threw it all away to pursue a creative endeavor you were passionate about. It was a sacrifice, but now you’re basically doing what you want 90 percent of the time. So why do you salivate over the projected stability and business card titles of your college friends, knowing all that you’ve bravely created for yourself in the here and now? You’re exactly where you need to be.

  7. Comparison lives off of assumptions. If your mind is an inbox, assumptions belong in the spam folder. We tend to tell ourselves the worst possible version of a story and end up acting things out in real life to try and make it true. Assumptions can keep you stuck in a negative loop about yourself that you were never supposed to subscribe to in the first place. As Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements, “Once you recover all the energy that you invested in making assumptions, you can use that energy to create a new dream: your personal heaven.”

  8. Not all comparison is bad. Comparison can light you on fire in a positive way. Just don’t hold on so long to it that it burns. Let it be catalyst for changes that are realistic and healthy.

  9. Life is not a race. You may have heard the saying, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” But I’d trash that competitive concept all together. How about…life is a school dance. You show up, awkward as hell, move your body around, take some pictures, pretend to have fun until you find a way to actually enjoy yourself, and stay until the end.

What tips do you use to break the spell of comparison?

High Maintenance: 5 Tips I Use To Stay Consistent With New Habits

The beginning was super strong. You launched the project, calendared the deadlines, showed up to the meetings, created the mood board, completed the workout…You sowed the seeds of an ambitious new routine. But now one of two things is likely happening.

  1. You’re stuck staring at the soil, tapping your feet, biting your nails, still waiting to see the real results of your labor. "Maybe I should try something else? “ Or…

  2. You’ve seen a tiny sprout - the renewed productivity, the glowing of the skin - you got hype and now you’re thinking about taking a day or two off. “I just don’t feel like it today”

Don’t fall for it. It’s a trap. I know because I’ve been a victim so many times.

Yes…that was me killing it at eating clean, who looked in the mirror, saw the whisper of an ab and decided to celebrate by pissing the rest of the week’s planned disciplines away. A week became a month, and before I knew it I had self-loathed myself back into a corner with my old ways. Safely nestled in the comfort zone, but not where I wanted to be.

And yes, that was also me, who set up weekly writing sessions in hopes of getting more work done and conveniently forgot to reschedule when one of my collaborators cancelled last-minute. Soon after, I had quietly given up on maintaining a creative schedule because I felt like one too many factors were out of my control.

Our brains are so clever at keeping us locked into what we’re used to. After all, our egos have a deep-seated interest in keeping things the same. Sameness breeds comfort, complacency, and a sense of protection. What sameness does not breed is true growth, power, and abundance. If that’s what you’re after, you have to put in the work.

So let’s do it. Here are five tips I’m using right now to push through plateau-season and get to the other side of sameness.

  1. Forgive yourself. Do what you can. After years of trying to follow every rule to perfection, I’m finally learning how to make adjustments to my process based on what actually works for me. It’s like cooking without strict measurements - season to taste. If waking up at 6 AM doesn’t work for me, I wake up at 8. If spending more than four hours inside the studio drains me, I’ll take a break. If I’m not feeling 500 words, I’ll start with 50. As long as I continue to show up every day, a muscle is getting worked. Consistency over everything.

    Even though falling off the wagon sucks, it’s no longer an excuse to stay down. Some days are just off, and on those days I’m telling myself that half-assing is better than no-assing. Keep it simple in service of the bigger picture.

  2. Visualize the new you. There’s a future me looking back at the current me saying “what’s good?” Future me has a new mindset. Future me is three months sober. Future me is detached from unhealthy relationships. Future me is using joy and the power of positive thinking to game the system. It may feel corny for current me to say it, but future me doesn’t care.

  3. Double-down on the good stuff. Whenever I miss a few days writing in my accomplishment journal I make sure to go back and finish my entries - even if it means 4x the work. If I’ve skipped a workout sometimes I’ll put in two sessions the next day to catch up. And I’ll put an inspirational talk on repeat over and over if I’m really needing that message. To be clear, this isn’t out of guilt or punishment, but to remind myself that I can actually do more than I think. The confidence of being extra in my completion gets me back on track.

  4. Connect The Dots. I’ve started paying attention to the lifestyle patterns that lead me closer to the things I want with ease. For example, when I’m in the kitchen eating breakfast over the sink it’s usually a great time to reach over and pre-heat the oven. Before I’m out the door, I will have already roasted up some vegetables I can use for that night’s dinner instead of draining my food budget with Uber Eats. When you can hack into some positive triggers and start intentionally placing those throughout your day it’s like engaging both the domino effect and the path of least resistance at the same damn time. And I love a 2-for-1.

  5. Five-second rule. I’m painfully over-thoughtful sometimes when it comes to taking action, so I’ve tried to implement a five-second rule with certain decisions I need to make. Today I was in the middle of reading a book and it came to mind that I should call my manager for a quick question. I almost hesitated by running through all of the possible scenarios. “I should finish this page first.” “What if they don’t pick up?” “Should I text instead?” “Maybe after lunch?” “Maybe I’ll wait ‘til after the weekend?” Implementing the five-second rule allowed me to skip the drama and get to the point. Two seconds to put the book down. Two seconds to pick up the phone. One second to tap the call button. Done and done. I was back to the rest of my day in no less than 2 minutes and the best part is I didn’t have to carry the weight of this simple task around all day.

Now that I’ve laid out my inner dialogue for the internet to observe, how about you? How do you deal with plateaus in reaching goals when you’re no longer feeling the momentum?