The pain of feeling unappreciated. 

Unappreciated and overburdened. 


There is nothing worse than going out of your way for someone and when a similar situation arises, they don’t do the same for you or they don’t say thank you.  While you shouldn’t do things for others in expectation of receiving something in return; it’s still painful to know that,  that person wouldn’t and doesn’t appreciate you or your time. There are so many people who do not have the same heart as you and do not have good intentions for you, which sets you up for many disappointments along the road. Don’t get me wrong, there are good appreciative people in the world and if you find them, keep them close but there are plenty of users too. The person reading this may or may not be a user too, but only on self-reflection can you answer this question. When this happens to me, I try to remind myself that God will reward me for doing things out of the kindness of my heart, but sometimes that isn’t enough.

When you feel unappreciated you have three options:


  1. Say how you feel 

  1. Distance yourself

  1. Don’t go out of your way for them again

Speaking about your feelings –  If you’re like me, you probably hate speaking about your feelings out of fear of overreacting or saying something offensive because you’re undiplomatic, or you expect everyone to have a certain level of respect/common sense/unselfishness and most importantly to avoid conflict. You have to stop biting your tongue to avoid hurting someone who is hurting you, I mean, how else would they know how you feel? Depending on the situation is and how angry I am, I get my point across by writing down how I feel then speaking to the person later so I don’t forget the important points and to make sure I’m not over-reacting and to avoid saying something hurtful.


Distancing yourself – Self-explanatory. I avoid that person and situations where I would feel inclined to go out of my way for them, this could be late replies to texts and decreasing my availability.  If you feel unappreciated by everyone around you, take some timeout to enjoy your own company, but don’t overdo this as it can be unhealthy.


Don’t go out of your way for them again – This is hard when you have a giving spirit and you like helping others but you can’t let people exploit you and your kindness. Remember you’re not a doormat, so put your foot down. If I feel like I’m going out of my way for someone (based on our level of friendship and our past) I will stop and ask myself would they do the same for me and if that answer is “no” I don’t do stuff for them because I have boundaries to set. Setting up boundaries around unappreciative people takes some time, but it’s worth it and you won’t regret it because when people get comfortable they think they are entitled to your time and resources when they’re not. You have the strength to say no or refer them to other people when you’re asked for things, as there’s no point doing things for people who will just take and take and take until you’re left empty, you need to look after yourself.


See my previous post: “The Power of Saying “No” 


To conclude, being unappreciated hurts but remember that you always have options when it happens. 

What I learnt from the Monzo Inspire Event

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the inspire event at Monzo’s head office near London’s Silicon Roundabout.

The event speakers were:

  1. Tom Blomfield CEO – Monzo
  2. Juliana Zarate Co-Founder and CEO –  Mucho!
  3. Tom Freeman – Learning and Development Manager – Headspace


Monzo

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Monzo is a bank which challenges the idea of a traditional bank because it is available at your fingertips. They are completely digital which provides their users with the ultimate customer experience by avoiding the queues and long waiting times you would get in a traditional bank. This is because they have no physical stores and operate through their smartphone app. Users are given a prepaid card which is linked to the app, so when the  card is used the app is updated.  So customers get spending notifications immediately, can add notes or receipts to their transactions and are provided with a real time budget analysis that allows them to see where all their hard-earned cash is being spent.  Another major perk of joining  is, there are no transaction fees even when abroad, something major banks do not offer. All these perks combined is why Monzo has over 370,000 users and rising.

Headspace

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Before I divulge into talking about the Headspace App I have to talk about their meditation and mindfulness expert co-founder Andy Puddicombe.

“Andy is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food” – New York Times

Andy cut his sport science degree to become a Buddhist monk for 10 years. After completing his monastic commitment he returned to the UK with the goal of teaching mediation and mindfulness to as many people as possible. He met co-founder Rich Pierson in 2009 who needed help in dealing with the stress of the advertising world and Headspace was born. Headspace was originally established as an events company in 2010 teaching politicians, athletes, business leaders and others about mindfulness and meditation. It evolved into the app we see today  because attendees wanted to practice what they learnt at home. The app has guided meditations, animations, articles and videos.

Mucho!

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Mucho! is an iOS app which removes all the complexities from cooking as it recommends recipes, products & shopping lists that are tailored to each user, it is essentially a personal stylist for your tastebuds. Mucho! hand-picks recipes to suit a customer’s needs whether it be allergy, vegan, budget or they want a lot of cheese, they have already done the nutritional research for their food so the customer doesn’t have to. Mucho! also has partnered up with retailers to allow customers to get their food delivered.

Why work for a start-up?

Start ups can be very exciting if you believe in the company’s mission and can be very rewarding too as you will get a lot of job responsibility because it is a small team so all your hard work can be connected to you.  You also get the unique experience of working with innovative minds and can receive some great company benefits including:

  1. Company shares
  2. Free gym membership
  3. Daily meditation time

The main disadvantage of working at a start up is that could fail and it probably won’t be as luxurious as a normal corporate job in the beginning.

How do you change your an idea into business? 

Once you have your idea you have to figure out the ways in which it will work through testing and researching. You may face criticism and skepticism from friends, family and firms  but you need to  be determined to turn your idea into a reality. Your competitors may view your product as a toy but that’s okay because you might have the last laugh, think of Blockbuster VS Netflix.

Paul Graham Essays, The Innovator’s Dilemma (Management of Innovation and Change)The Innovators Dilemma and The Innovator’s Dilemma (Management of Innovation and Change) The Lean Start Up were all recommended for reading. Since attending I have read three of Paul Graham’s essays, How to do what you love, How to get start up ideas and Write like you talk.

How do you stay motivated? 

I asked this question to all three speakers. To stay motivated you need to find your mission. What drives you? What makes you get up in the morning? What is your passion? What are your strengths? What are your weakness? What issues do you want to solve and how will your strengths and weaknesses help you?

A great starting point for this is: “Start with Why”  Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action The Global Bestseller and Ted Talk by Simon Sinek. I also watch Gary Vanyerchuck videos for inspiration and blunt answers.

How can you manage your time better?

Decide the top 4 things you’re passionate about then complete them. Ensure that you are not wasting your time on futile things which are not helping you move forward because you’re only fooling yourself. Read books and articles related to your passions so they can help you on your journey.

What have I learnt about entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs have a natural curiosity which sets them apart from others. They are continuously trying new things, willing to test out ideas and step out of their comfort zone. This leads them to finding a gap in the market which needs to be filled by their product.  For example Jennifer wanted to travel more outside her hometown in Columbia, her travelling led her to create “Become Colombia Ltda”  which allowed discounts for young people to explore the city they lived in, they also partnered with large tour wholesalers to provide clients with flights hotels and other adventures similar to Groupon.  None of this would have happened if she was not curious.

Another thing I have learnt is success does not happen overnight, both Co-Founders had been working hard for years and had previous businesses/start-ups which they then sold.

You have two choices in life, take the opportunities available to you or make opportunities for yourself. 

If you are offered the opportunity to try new things take them and if you cannot find opportunities reach out and create some of your own. 5 years ago Tom F.  became a graduate intern at Headspace after emailing them because he liked the company and was interested in meditation, he was also able to show his creativity by creating an online CV slideshow.  Now he’s the Learning Development Manager at Headspace, held 7 different position and has relocated from London to Santa Monica with the company. Tom B. was not allowed to play video games when he was younger so he started messing around with html and building websites. This skill lead him to creating a website for his local estate agent when he was in secondary school and Co-Founding 3 start-ups including Monzo  and Go Cardless.

How do you attract customers in an established and over-saturated market?

To attract customers you have to communicate a mission that resonates with people. Speaking with enthusiasm and passion is so vital, from the event I could tell that all speakers believed and loved their products which made me want to find out more about each company and write this post.

Monzo is able to attract customers through their mission of creating a better bank and create an intelligent hub where customers can view their entire financial life. This was reinforced by their innovative approach, transparency, open dialogue with users and zero transaction fees. Headspace is able to attract customers due to their mission of improving the health and happiness of the world and their calming user interface. Mucho! is able to attract customers because they want to take away the complexities of cooking without taking away the nutrition. Mucho! knows everyone is extremely busy but they want to make cooking nutritious food easier for all their customers hence why their personalized recipes have been so successful.

How do you get yourself out there?:

  1. Research
  2. Ask for advice for people who have done it before you
  3. Social media
  4. Word of mouth
  5. Get a Mentor
  6. Ask people to test your product (after you’ve patented it, unless you trust them)
  7. Partnerships with known brands who align with your mission. Headspace partnered with Twinings because tea is associated with relaxations and Virgin Atlantic to try and stop people from being scared of flying

 

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2016 – The review

Seems like everyone in the blog universe is reviewing their year, so I might as well do the same.

Two thousand and sixteen, you have been good to me. 

This year has been exceptional and I have truly been blessed. Obviously it wasn’t always  plain sailing but I got into shore safely  and had my fair share of large cocktails.
The best parts were completing my placement, my holidays, going to several concerts, gaining more of a direction of where my life is going and exploring what my real passions are.

Placement:

Completing my placement has been my most meaningful achievement so far. Life after university is tough, so enjoy uni  and take all the opportunities presented to you.  At work you have so many deadlines,  people are depending on you constantly and there’s always some sort of competition with other teams which is expected. Proud to say I finished it and I excelled. I am so grateful that I am always worrying about my future (even though it stresses me out), otherwise I would not have thought of doing a placement.

Holiday fever:

I went to Miami this year. Best. Holiday. Ever. As I reminisce now I can feel the Miami blues gully creeping back. Everything is better across the Atlantic except for public transport  and the way we present our tax (they add tax after shopping, so backwards if you ask me).

The food was sublime, I had pancakes almost everyday and they were mouth watering, soft like a mink rug without all the hair.  Makeup shopping was glorious, there were so many places to choose from but Sephora and Macys were my faves, had to stock up on some  Estee Lauder and Fashion Fair. Miami outlets were the best outlets, they had  mind-blowing  deals. Clubbing was an experience (VIP all day woop).  Waking up everyday to look at the ocean is awe-inspiring, really made me appreciate life. I love seeing natural beauty in the world which is why I watch nature shows like Planet Earth religiously (God bless David Attenborough.) Did you know giraffes fight with their necks? No? Neither did I.
Anyway, I digress. Miami was probably the best holiday I have ever been on or at least top 3. I had the time of my life and I didn’t want to come home. Only thing I regret about Miami is not going to Wynwood Walls because of the Zika virus (which isn’t even in the news anymore, but hey safety first.)

I went to Portugal twice this year and it was lovely. Celebrated my last few days as a teen in Albufeira with my friends, the spa lady  at our hotel changed my life. She gave me a full body massage and I fell asleep. I was knocked out until she whispered it’s time to wake up and afterwards I felt like I was walking on air, that’s how relaxed I was.  In early August I celebrated finishing my placement in Porto with my family. Porto has a  rich history of architecture and  football if i recall correctly. I would definitely go back to both.

Albufeira more than Porto though.

Shake ya music maker:

I went to 4 concerts this year: Bryson Tiller, Beyoncé, Wireless and most recent being Skepta.

Beyonce was the best hands down. I love her, she’s so talented words cannot describe how Priya and I were after it finished. She’s a force to be reckoned with and I would love to see her again, no questions asked. Worth every penny and I spent a lot of pennies.You know when a musician plays your favourite song and you scream the lyrics? Yeah? That was me at  Beyoncé, specifically when she sang Survivor,  Formation and every other song on her Beyoncé album.

Bryson Tiller  was good he can sing really well, performed his whole album and didn’t miss a note. SKEPTA has exceptional energy he’s such a performer. He literally shut it down.
In comparison to the other three Wireless was alright, Future was great though.

Last but not least:

The last major thing I did this year was buying this domain last night.

apieceofsarah.com and it’s all mine! I thought “let me put my money where my mouth is” so I bought it.  I enjoy writing my thoughts and saying how I feel so why not be professional about it and take it to the next level. I have some major plans for the upcoming year so keep tuned.

This year made me realize/reminded me of the the following:

  1.  I would rather spend money on experiences than material things.
    • Yes Miami was extremely expensive especially without the help of the bank of mum and dad but I don’t regret it, I had a blast, great way to spend my summer
  2. The importance of focusing and planning 
    • If you don’t have a plan you won’t focus and lose sight on what your doing. Which is horrible once time has lapsed and you’re left wondering where the time went.
  3. I am responsible for my own success
  4. Holidays are good for stress levels
    • I want to travel minimum twice a year from 2017 onward even if it is to Scotland, just anywhere peaceful
  5. I have a very ambitious group of friends and an even better family
  6. Working far away from home is draining
  7. Health is wealth
  8. Watching movies on the train is not the best use of my time
    • I traveled roughly 4 hours everyday to and from work, I’ve watched nearly every movie came our this year and  the last. I probably should have been reading instead.
  9. My mum is the best
  10. I need to become a prudent saver.
    • All Missguided clothes shopping needs to cease
  11. I spend way too much money on food

In conclusion, 2016 you have been so wonderful to me, all glory to God in the highest.
I did some things that I have never done before and  took risks which is what life is all about.  I am genuinely excited for what 2017 has in store for me. 

 

Accountability and the art of failing to prepare.

 By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

Whenever I want to be really  lazy and avoid doing major things  I remember the above quote. It’s so simple yet so true, by not preparing for something you are setting yourself up for failure.  Emphasis on “you”.

So many people don’t prepare for things which are paramount to their success like assignments, interviews, creative projects…the list goes on. Eventually they see the fruits of their labour, complain about  how they’re not going anywhere in life and  nothing is working for them yet they’re putting little or no work in.  Even though they set themselves up for their own downfall they start blaming others for their results, don’t learn from their past and the cycle continues.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Overtime, I’ve noticed the extent of work and effort individuals think they’ve completed is  repeatedly embellished in their minds. What I mean is, people are usually in denial of the amount of work they did previously and believe they put in their all, when in reality they haven’t.

People say, “I tried my best, I don’t know what went wrong” forgetting the fact they left things until last minute. Moreover, when you ask them if they did XYZ which is the necessary steps  required of them, they say “oh I couldn’t because *insert poor excuse blaming everyone else and timing here*”.  Clearly the failure to devote your time and efforts wisely has caused you to neglect your priorities. Stop blaming others and start holding yourself accountable for your own actions, it’s the only way you can move forward.

The best way to become more accountable is by remembering:

  • You are responsible for your own success.
  • Your thoughts combined with your actions control your future.
  •  If you really want something you have to get it yourself.
  • By blaming others, you’re only fooling yourself.

I think lack of accountability is caused by lack of focus because when you’re focused you have a “tunnel vision”. You don’t get distracted about what’s happening around you because your fixated on striving towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

When I was 16/17 my priorities were all over the place and any problems I had I swept under the rug because I hoped my life would sort itself out. Long story short, it didn’t.
After some sobering self-reflection following the summer after my 18th birthday I started taking responsibility for my actions because I needed things to change. I started by doing things related to my goals and ceased  waiting for life to work out on it’s own because it  evidently doesn’t. Like I said in my consistency post, “life only changes when you do.”

When I started working towards my goals and stopped making excuses for myself especially when it came to assignments/studying, I excelled. Trust me I was over the  moon—still am and I still persevere. Now, none of this would have been achieved if I didn’t take a hard look at myself and was held personally liable  for my behaviour.
If I  didn’t do this I would still be pretending everything was okay, which is what you should never do.  I know if I was as focused then as I am now, my life would be so different, but that’s the thing about hindsight  I already know the outcome of my actions and I know what I could have done differently. So I’ve stopped beating myself up over it and focused on the future because I can’t change the past .

To help me focus  I made lists in the back of my  notebooks bullet-pointing  my top  goals and when I wanted to achieve them by. This gave me a visual reminder of what I planned to do. Recently I bought a new goals journal from Paperchase  where I answer the following questions:00551484_1_1

  • What are my goals?
  • How I plan to achieve it?
  • What is my inspiration for doing it?
  •  The outcome.

I researched the things I wanted to achieve then worked from there. I prioritized my time for the things I needed to do and didn’t overwork myself by over-cramming because this can make any task daunting. Finally I was honest about what I wanted to achieve , why it was important and the consequences, so that helped me stay motivated.

Accountability, focus and failing to prepare all go hand in hand. If you lack focus you won’t hold yourself accountable for your actions as you’ll always be distracted by what’s around  you.  Concentrate on your goals and remember you are responsible for your success. Once done you will be able to drive forward and prepare for things you say you want to achieve.

 

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Toxic friendships 

Friendships are weird, you meet someone, you start talking, notice you enjoy the same things and you build from there. As time goes on you become friends.  

Over the last few years I’ve realized the significance of friendships and why it’s essential  to limit who gets to know the real you. Friends have an affect on our happiness, self esteem and not to mention stress levels. So it’s wise to not accept or entertain everyone as a friend because not everyone deserves you. Not everyone has the same heart as you and quite frankly not everyone is entitled to your time.

From my experience there are so many “friends” you need to be cautious of.
All are toxic. 

A toxic friend as defined by Jenn Berman WebMD  “Someone who, after spending time with them, makes you feel bad about yourself instead of good; someone who tends to be critical of you — sometimes in a subtle way and sometimes not so subtle; a friend who drains you emotionally, financially, or mentally, and they’re not very good for you.” 

I’m going to speak about 5 types of toxic friends, sometimes more than one of these traits are in the same person:

  1. The emotional freeloader
  2. Extremely negative friends
  3. Friends who always talk about themselves 
  4. The friend who can’t take constructive criticism 
  5. The friend who gives really bad advice

I came up with the phrase “emotional freeloader because freeloaders are people who take advantage of your generosity without giving anything in return. In this case they’re your friends and they are always emotional, hence the name.

The emotional freeloader uses you as their therapist but is never available  for the important things like meet up or attend your birthday. Always calls you when things are going wrong in their life but never asks you if you’re okay. You’re last place in their life and even the people they say they  hate  are prioritized over you. They’re untrustworthy and overtime you’ve  realized what they say doesn’t add up. As their “therapist” they usually don’t listen to you and get into the same situation again and again and again. Which regularly takes up your time and energy. No one should waste your time nor energy. Let’s face it, your friendship is one sided and you’re making all the effort. They don’t value you and  their problems are not worth headache they’re causing.
Either communicate or cut them out. 

Extremely negative friends. AVOID. AVOID. AVOID.

I feel like there’s two types of negative friends in the world: 

  1. The one who thinks the world is constantly against them 
  2. The one who wants the world to be constantly against you 

For most of  this section  I’ll  be focusing on the latter. Negative people are bad for our health. Google it. Misery loves company and all negative people  do is bring you down with them. They want you in the same place as them, if not, below. You tell them your ideas, they say “it can’t happen/it won’t work” or something unsupportive along those lines. Remind you of someone? Yeah? Steer clear.

If you have to pause before telling a friend positive news because you fear the backlash you will receive, or they’ll say something negative to put you down?
Chances are you shouldn’t be friends in the first place.
Don’t let people project their negative thoughts and feelings onto you. 

I’ve learnt to always listen to people’s response and tone when talking about good and bad things. Why? Mainly because too many people are more excited to hear about your failures than achievements, which is why it’s  good to keep things to yourself sometimes.  

Part of me thinks “friends” are negative  to compensate for their own shortfalls as it makes them feel better about themselves. Another part thinks they believe they’re  in some sort of competition with you. The rest of me believes it’s because they’re evil. 

Cheque please!

The friend who always talks about themselves. You’re trying to say how you feel and they’ve interjected with something completely unrelated but totally about them. Or your friend will interject with something related but they will make the conversation about themselves and this happens constantly. You feel as though  you’re fighting to speak and in the end you give up. You’ll end up talking  about them for what seems like an eternity and  as a consequence your problem is still unsolved so  your emotions are neglected.  Sometimes people are unaware and they don’t notice their selfishness. Talk to them about their behaviour, otherwise cut them off or limit the time you time spent with them. 

The friend who can’t take constructive criticism: Your friend is in the wrong, you’ve told them and they’re angry at you?! Anyone who can’t take constructive criticism and is angry/insulting when you give it to them needs to be avoided. I say constructive criticism because the aim is to get a positive outcome and it comes from a good place. 

I had a friend a few years back who could never accept when she was wrong and her attitude was vile. She was a funny person when she wasn’t being horrible but she was too proud to accept her faults.  One day in the summer of 2012, she walked off because I was apparently  “taking too long in a shop and why should she be heading home late because of me?”

¿Que?

Bearing in mind I had spent roughly six hours with her that day trying to buy the  things she needed. We went from East London to South London then back to East. That’s one hell of a TFL journey  with several tube changes and a bus. I told her, her attitude was still horrible and I was upset since I did all those things for her but she didn’t have the courtesy to spend 15 minutes in River Island with me. (I say “still” because we had spoken about it before and she had lost friends because of it.)
Anyway she didn’t take that text well at all and I found out how she truly felt about me. Let’s just say it was horrible and I laughed at the texts with my mum. Anyone with that kind of hatred in their heart shouldn’t be in my life. We thank God.
What you call a wolf in sheep clothing.

A year or so later she  messaged me to apologize which I think I replied to and she added me back on Facebook years after that which she ended up deleting because I just left it there. People like that should never be in or allowed back into your life, ever.

Burn that bridge before it burns you. 

The friend who gives you really bad advice: I can’t even repeat the worst advice I’ve ever received but let’s just say my excuse for ending the call was “I need to get back to reading the Da Vinci Code.” Anyone of a sound mind who gives you bad advice or you make several bad decisions around should be avoided. If your friend tries to push you to do negative things, act dangerously, unhealthily, do something that’s borderline illegal  or downright stupid they need to go, they’re not good for you. 


Good friends will always want the best for each other. Period.

When people show you who they are, believe them. Don’t use the length of your friendship as an excuse to keep them . When I was younger I used to hold on to friendships, not anymore, I value my time, energy and sanity too much. I don’t regret any friends I’ve lost because people are never worth the inconvenience they cause. Overtime we mature and become conscious of who our friends really are, it’s acceptable to cut people out, especially those you’re not growing with and starting to resent because they are one of the friends I spoke about.

If you really want to hold on to the friends I’ve mentioned, then talk to them because sometimes people are unaware of their actions. Unless they can’t take criticism like #4 then run for the hills.

If you’ve read this post and can relate to it,  then leave a comment/share your thoughts.

If you’ve read this post and can’t relate to it,  you either have a great friendship group which you should cherish or you’re the toxic friend.  Hopefully it’s the former. 

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Consistency.

Today I’m writing about consistency because it affects my life in more ways than I had originally thought. I remember all the times where I wasn’t consistent and failed to get the results I wanted. Then I remember all the times I’ve been consistent and I was happy with the outcome because I had exceeded my own expectation of myself because I was consistent. Both times the only person that could control the outcome was myself.

CONSISTENCY /kənˈsɪst(ə)nsi/ The ability to behave and act in in a similar way overtime. I say ability because it’s a skill and it’s bloody hard.

My favourite times where being consistent has worked in my favour was finding a placement and losing weight in second year of university. I spent months finding a placement, 30 different CVs and cover letters made, 2 assessment centres and 3 interviews later I unexpectedly got my placement  in July. 2 months after I finished my second year of uni I had my interview and got my job. Even though working for a year was very hard and I complained about lack of sleep most of the time, taking a placement was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Ever. Apart from getting paid, it gave me experience in my field and showed me what I wanted and didn’t want from my next job and helped me start the next project I’m working on.

Losing weight in my second year of university:

I lost two stones, dropped my BMI (Body Mass Index) from 33 to 28 and have been able to post two full length bikini pics on Instagram ( I’m proud & yes that’s important to me.) I had been trying to lose weight for years but I had finally had enough. I signed up to my local gym, sometimes went with friends but mostly went alone. The only reason I lost weight is because I went to the gym 4 times a week and tried to eat well. It was hard at first but once I got into it, it became part of my routine. I am currently trying to lose four stones but trying to find time to go to the gym right now is hard due to third year.

But where there is a will there’s a way. 

My main point of this post is to never give up and don’t stop just because you want to quit. “Anything that’s worth having is sure enough worth fighting for” word to Cheryl Cole. Even though she was talking about love I realized this can be applied to everyday life. Relationships, friendships, studying, weight loss, creative projects etc. Life only works if you’re consistent and all of these things need consistency to work.

When you want to stop ask yourself this:

  1. Why did I start in the first place?
  2. What do I want to achieve?
  3. Why do I want to stop?
  4. Am I happy with the way my life is going and will I be upset if I don’t complete this task?

Once you’ve answered these questions you’ll know exactly what you want to achieve because life only changes when you do.

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