20 Questions to Help Know Yourself Better

Happy Sunday, y’all!

 

I’m now in the midst of beginning applications for my final internship for grad school. It’s shocking to me how quickly this first year has flown by and here I am, with graduation only another short year away. Madness!

Anyways, as I fill out form after form after form and spend my free time crafting cover letters, my mind is constantly inundated with trying to answer prompts ranging from: “Tell us about yourself,” “What qualifications and skills do you bring to this position?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I think we can all agree that these questions can be super freaking hard to answer.

Why is that? Why is talking about ourselves so hard?

After turning this idea over in my mind, I’ve come to two conclusions:

  1. We want to answer differently than everyone else.
  2. We don’t know the answers.

As humans (or maybe just as Americans), we have an innate tendency to want to be different, unique, special – like snowflakes.

Jokes aside, I think that a lot of us get tripped up because we don’t want to answer like everyone else – and that’s not a bad thing! To stand out amongst other applications, you want to show the interviewers that you bring something that they can’t get from someone else so naturally, you want to answer differently.

On the flip side, sometimes we just don’t know the answers.

In this case, some self-reflection can give you the insight you need. You can think of this as an interview with yourself to prepare for the interview with your potential future boss.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t think that you need to be applying for a new job to ask yourself these questions. Any time is the best time to try to know yourself better! Everyone can benefit from taking time to devote some brain power to answering these, even if it only unfolds a small nugget of wisdom.

bold 20 Questions To Help Know Yourself Better (1)

If you’re a journal nerd like me, you can turn this into a fun writing challenge to span out over a few weeks or you can simply use it as inspiration to generate answers to difficult interview/application questions.

Whatever tickles your fancy.

Without further ado, here are 20 questions you can ask yourself to get to know YOU better – your starting point to get re-acquainted with the unique person that you are:

  • What do I find myself doing when I’m not working, finishing homework, doing chores, etc?
  • What is something that helps me breathe a sigh of relief in the midst of a busy day or week?
  • When and where do I find myself being the most productive?
  • What have I been told by a teacher, boss, or coach that I am good at?
  • What is something that can almost immediately put me into a bad mood?
  • How do I get myself out of a bad mood?
  • At what time in my life was I the happiest I’ve been thus far?
  • What contributed to that point in time that made me so happy?
  • What, if anything, is different between then and now? What is the same?
  • What is something I did in my past that I still give myself a hard time for? Why?
  • When is a time that I can ‘let my hair down’ and feel relaxed?
  • How do I know when I’m stressed out?
  • Who do I admire or look up to? What characteristics do I admire them for?
  • If I could be living any kind of life right now, what kind of life would that be?
  • If I’m not living that life, what is holding me back from pursuing that lifestyle?
  • How do I show people that I care about them?
  • How do I know that others care about me?
  • What do I think it will take to get to where I want to be?
  • What is my definition of success? 
  • How do I know when I have been successful?

•••

I hope these questions helped you gain a little bit of personal insight as the weekend comes to a close. After all, no one else can be an expert on what makes you YOU.

Until next time, friends.

XO, Lain

The Counterintuitive Idea of Taking a Break From the Things You Love

Hello, all!

It’s Spring Break here in Texas and unlike the majority of Spring Breakers packing their bags for a week of debauchery and sunburns, I’m lounging in my PJ’s and preparing for a week of working with PMS-y teens, lots of dirt, and hours of swimming at camp.

I don’t know about you but spring time always infects me with MAJOR spring fever. Although this restlessness was significantly worse when I lived in the northern states – with the snow melting and nature blooming – that antsy feeling always seems to creep in around Spring Break time.

Like most folks, spring makes me want to do everything! I want to clean. I want to take on new hobbies. I want to fill up my free time doing all of my favorite things. This has sparked about 5,000 conversations between my boyfriend and I about our hopes, our goals, and our new endeavors we want to take on as the season changes.

Until one day, he suggested the completely ludicrous idea of taking a break from the things we love. 

I was totally thrown for a loop.

Here we were, talking for weeks about all of these things we loved to do and wanted to try and he was suggesting we take a break from them?

Naturally, I realized he was right after I thought about this idea a little further. (Don’t you hate it when your SO is right all the time?) But seriously, taking breaks from our passions and the things we love can be SO GOOD!

Let me share with you a few reasons why:

The Counterintuitive Idea of Taking a Break From the Things You Love

You can gain some clarity.

Taking a break from your callings can help you to get a clearer perspective on your goals and how you want to continue pursuing them. For me, an example of this is my blog – taking some time away from posting allows me the space to identify what want to get out of writing and where I’m trying to get to.

More specifically, it can challenge you to consider what your definition of success is. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – am I successful when I start posting every week? Or when I reach a certain number of followers? Or when I start promoting?

The most important thing to consider with this is what YOUR definition of success is. Like I’ve preached in almost all of my posts, everyone’s definition is going to vary, so make sure this one is about you!

New ideas and inspiration will come to you.

Not only will time away from your #things give you clarity, it will also bring new ideas and inspiration. If you’re into writing, a new plot development could find its way into your mind. Or if you’re into fitness, you could find yourself inspired by a different kind of workout that you hadn’t considered before.

These new ideas and bursts of inspiration will allow your passions to develop and transform into something they couldn’t have without taking a step back.

A break can help you to fall back in love with what you do.

Just as taking space can bring your clarity and novel inspiration, it can also help you to remember why you started and what you love about it. I saw this most clearly when I took a couple weeks off from bouldering and rock climbing. I eventually reached a point where I was SO excited to get back on the wall that I was literally bursting with joy when I laced up my shoes again.

This is an especially important reason to consider taking a break from your hobbies if you’ve been finding it challenging to do your thing. Instead of forcing it, take a break or focus on something else for awhile – you might find yourself itching with excitement to get back into it again.

It’s healthy.

The simplest and perhaps most important reason to take a break is that it’s good for you. If you’re into fitness, your body more than likely could use a little rest. If you’re into art, your hands could probably use a break from gripping those brushes and utensils. And whatever else you’re into, your mind could use a break from intense focus and stimulation.

•••

So if you’re not jet-setting off to a dream vacation this Spring Break, consider a staycation and taking a break from your hobbies and passions. Get in some R&R and heck, why not engage in some self-care?

Take care of yourselves and give yourself a break when you need it.

You’ll thank me later.

XO, Lain

Why Goals Are So Much Better Than Resolutions

Hello, positivity seekers!

Writing about self-care yesterday got me thinking about how I can actually start taking better care of myself. In turn, I started thinking about the upcoming New Year, developing new habits, and the ever-so-enticing “New Year Resolutions.”

why-goals-are-so-much-better-than-resolutions

Resolution: (n) a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Does that definition sound inspiring to you? I didn’t think so. To me, resolutions, specifically New Year resolutions, are more like ideas. “I want to be more fit and in better shape so my resolution for 2017 is to start working out again.” Super great idea, right? Well, this person is the same person who you see in the gym on January 1 but you don’t see after January 15. It’s so easy to come up with these ideas but it’s even more challenging to actually stick with them.

Why?

Because there’s often not a measure of accomplishment to go along with them.

In contrast, goals are defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; or an aim or desired result.” Both resolutions and goals come from a place of ambitious action but developing goals helps you to determine what you’re actually working towards.

Instead of, “In 2017, I want to start working out again.” Try, “In 2017, I want to be able to squat 135 lbs,” (anyone else? Just me?)

The difference between the two is that the second example is concrete and defined, increasing your chances of strategizing and developing an action plan to achieve your goal!

A new year is a fresh start, a clean slate, a concrete beginning. It’s the time to reflect on the past year to see what worked, what didn’t work, and what you hope to change for the better. It’s the time to start developing new habits! When you make your goals for 2017, think about, and even write out, how you can achieve them – not only will this increase your chances of success, it’ll probably make you feel more motivated to get started!

•••••

To jump on the bandwagon, I thought I’d share my goals for 2017!

I started broad with 4 main categories and broke down my goals from there. Some of the goals are time-sensitive and some of them are ongoing. What matters is that they’re meaningful (and attainable!) and I feel super stoked and motivated to work towards them this year. I hope these spark some inspiration for your goal-setting journey!

  • De-clutter and minimize.
    • Turn all of my hangers/fold all of my clothes the opposite way so I can see what I wear/don’t wear. Donate what hasn’t been worn at the end of January.
    • Go through make-up  collection and throw away products that I don’t use.
    • Learn more about minimalism (more on this coming soon!)
  • Stay active.
    • Squat 135 lbs by March 1st.
    • Bench press 95 lbs by March 1st.
    • Attend a yoga class consistently for at least 1 month.
    • Start climbing black routes at the bouldering gym by the end of 2017.
  • Be creative.
    • Continue with #Project365 on Instagram.
    • Consistently post at least 1 blog post per week.
    • Experiment + have fun with GoPro.
  • Take better care of myself.
    • Develop a consistent night-time routine to improve my poor sleeping habits.
    • Try meditation for at least 1 month (to see what the hype is all about).
    • Try cooking 1 new recipe each week.
    • Re-establish Meal Prep Sundays!
    • Drink less coffee + drink more water (admittedly not super excited about this one).
    • Loosen up + don’t sweat the small stuff.
    • Stop hesitating.

 

What are your goals for 2017? How are you planning on keeping track of your progress?

Happy New Year, y’all! And happy goal setting!

XO, Lain