What to do When You Can't Seem to Change

how to break bad habits

When every day begins to feel like yesterday, it’s time for a change. Recognizing that we need to make a change is the easy part. And what’s even easier is to think the change we need is something outside of ourselves: a new job, a new city, a new relationship, a new bank account. When the truth is, the shift needs to happen inside us first.

Cool. We can get that. I get it: change myself. I can vibe with that. But as I begin to bring my shadows into the light, it’s as if I begin to lose my breath. They are too big. Too strong. They’ve been a part of me for too long. Can we really part?

The desire to break free of old habits is a romantic gesture. We long for better days… days where we can be disciplined and healed. But what happens between the desire to break free and the actual doing of breaking free? We become hoarders.

We only have a certain amount of waking moments in the day. Depending on how much we sleep, those hours of consciousness are our moments to create. We fill our minds and our vibration with thoughts and feelings that later create our world.

Patterns and habits that are no longer serving us, involve negative thoughts. The time that we do have to create our lives is at capacity with old, automatic thoughts, which is why life feels constrained. It’s why I felt out of breath and overburdened when I knew something needed to change.

We are frustrated by not seeing change, by not seeing a new day, because we are unwilling to clean house. What we might do is take in a bunch of new positive info. Maybe some new classes. New self-help books. A new group coaching class. A new church. And while all of that is great, if there is no room in your conscious moments for the new it just won’t stick.

I have this rule where if I see that I’m running out of hangers in my closet, it’s time to see what clothes I can give away. I don’t need a new closet or a new storage system. I need to make space for the new clothes.

The same goes for us. When we’re trying to see something different than what yesterday was, we need to make room. We need to hold a strong guard of the thoughts that cross our mind throughout the day. Anything old that is taking up space, we must ask it to leave.  All that time we spend worry needs to be eliminated. It just can’t happen anymore. Instead of worrying, what can we create? How can we move forward? How can we use our time in a way that honors our desires?

We must make the choice to break free. We must be willing to stop indulging in those moments of panic, worry, and distress. Instead, occupy the moments with active positivity that is aligned with your truth. Create the space for change.

What to do With Worry and Fear

how to get over fear

Bad habits have a way of sticking. Like the habit of constantly falling back into fear, lack, worry, stress. It’s so easy to go there. It almost feels comfortable.

But what if for once we would make something out of it? What if would take that energy that has no real meaning or direction and turn it into something with purpose? What if we turn it into art?

Worry, stress, fear will continue to linger unless you and just make more of the same until you tell it, it has another purpose. Tell the pain, it was a moment that can now heal others. Tell the worry, it was an opportunity for growth. Tell the fear, it was time you discovered courage.

Give it purpose. Give it a name. Transform it into art.

How to Keep the Faith When Shit Ain’t Working

how to keep the faith

Grab the audio version of this blog post above.

I can see the future. Well, at least, my own future. Towards the end of last year, as I was coming out of the new mommy haze, I began to brightly see what the road could like for me if I could just stay on course.

Those visions we have while daydreaming seem so real. It’s like we’re already there. That’s why wandering off to fantasy world was one of my favorite pastimes as a kid, especially during math class.

Well guess what, if our mind can see it, if our hearts can believe, and if our souls can feel it…the vision is real. Meaning, if you put blinders on and focus on that vision, you will get there.

Ok, awesome. Most of us know that right? Get clear on what we want and then go after it. No brainer.  But what about the time in between? What about the times when we’re crossing the desert to get to the promise land and nothing seems to be working out? Then what?

This is when faith comes in. I love that word. It’s full of so much hope, strength, and self-discipline. At times when I would hear that word, it sounded like a virtue that was above me. In the past, I’ve felt too weak to have faith. I mostly lacked the self-discipline required to wake up every day and believe, although everything around me was telling me not to.

But you know what I learned? Faith is not above us. Faith is a choice we’re all invited to make. And whether we know it or not, we each do have faith. Because every day we close our eyes to go to bed and agree to wake up the next morning, we’re choosing to have faith that tomorrow will be another day filled with life. We are strong enough to have faith, because we already have it inside of us — even if it’s really small, it’s there.

how to keep the faith_1

The thing about being in the desert is the disappointment we feel when we get there. When we arrive, we almost feel embarrassed. It’s similar to when we open up our heart to someone only to see them break it. We feel stupid for believing in them. How could we have put our guard down, let them in, and then allow them to disappoint us? The same goes for the dreams we try to pursue.

What we forget is that many times the desert is inevitable. We were so excited to hit the road and get on our journey that we didn’t realize we forgot a few things. The desert brings those missing resources to light. The shitty times when nothing seems to be working is simply telling us what we need for the journey and what we don’t need. The drought of that space is not a sign that our vision wasn’t real. It’s simply a conversation the universe is trying to have with us. It wants to tell us what we really need to get to where we want to go. It tells us the skills we need, the resources we need, the beliefs we need, and the strength we need. The desert is bootcamp for dreams. The desert is where we get naked. The desert is growth.

If we can understand that this time — a time that feels like abandonment — is part of the process, faith will follow and carry us through. Embarrassment and failure will only come if you turn around and retreat to the old person you were when you started. Even if the road doesn’t take you exactly where you thought you were going, you will cross that desert and come out anew. And after all, we only start a journey when we’re ready to evolve into the next level of self. That’s the vision.

keeping the faith

Writer's Curse

how to be a better writer

The more I write, the more I begin to believe that writers, innately, must be insane people.

I subject myself to the same anxiety that comes with looking at a blank sheet paper that must magically transform into something legible, day after day. And this is a practice I believe to be fun. Really? Staring at the ceiling, while grasping my hands so tight that they begin to turn a blush white, and simultaneously praying to every god and saint (even the ones my mom considers to be of the Santeria variety) for divine intervention, is something I consider to be enjoyable?

In the midst of me stretching the skin on my face diabolically, while trying to complete my writing assignments for the day, it hits me: It’s not only writers who feel this. The feeling of constant self-doubt coexisting with a type of bright-eyed hope is an experience reserved for anyone who his crazy/romantic/brave enough to have the desire to create something… anything.

So why go through the pain? Those of us looking to create a business, a purpose, a painting, a revolution; are we all just crazy? Or is there something bigger than ourselves that drives us?

writing mentor

The answer is yes. And while there might not always be a logical explanation as to why we strive to create, there’s a responsibility that comes with hearing the call. You must answer. Even when the self-doubt screams louder than the peaceful feeling of knowing that something is pushing you to move forward with your creation. We just have to trust and obey.

Author Anne Lamott said it best in her book, “Bird by Bird.” “You just have to keep getting out of your own way so that whatever it is that wants to be written can use you to write it.”

That quote gives me such comfort. And it rings true for anyone who feels moved to create something, conquer a goal, or live a dream. You just have to push the self-doubt aside and go on with your bad self.

writing classes online

When a thought is constantly popping up in your head and guiding you to make a move, make it. Yes, while taking the step you might think, “What the F am I doing?” It happens to me every day. But just because you don’t answer the call doesn’t mean the phone will stop ringing.

Answer it. And surrender to your calling. As for the self-doubt, well, you can always use it for creative inspiration.

The Secret to Crafting Engaging Interview Questions

how to write good interview questions

If I could interview people all day, I would. Listening to the stories of others is one of my favorite journalistic roles. But just because I’m a lover of people and life, doesn’t mean I was a natural when it came to interviewing. Drawing insightful information out of someone — especially those who are media trained — is a skill. It’s a fact, I feel, all new writers and bloggers should respect. You want to write better stories that service your readers and the person your interviewing? Read on.

I have my own principles: No email interviews unless you just need a few statements. Record your conversation and transcribe. And don’t ask any questions you can Google to find an answer.

Rather than go off just my experience, I decided to bring in some serious backup: two seasoned writers whose bylines have appeared everywhere from Glamour to O, The Oprah Magazine.

(In an effort to be completely transparent, I sent these two ladies the same questions via email because I was looking for clear, comparable advice you could put into action. For a true feature, you want to get people on the phone.)

For the audio version of this blog post, CLICK HERE.


This Columbia University-graduate is a full-time freelance reporter and writer, whose work has been seen in Marie Claire, Martha Stewart Living, and Glamour, just to name a few. She also shares her wisdom during her freelance courses found on MediaBistro.com.

What do you feel makes a good interview?

Good preparation makes for good interviews. Ideally, you've already researched the person and the experience or the work you're asking them about. Have a list of questions drawn up, but just use them as an outline. You should feel free to ask follow-up questions, or new ones that occur to you as you're talking.

What types of questions do you like to ask?

I like to ask questions that take the information to the next level -- beyond what's already out there about the person, their experience, or their work. 

Otherwise it depends on the topic. If it's an interview about someone's personal experience with something, I like to ask questions about what was going on in their head. "How did that make you feel? What did you think when you got that news?" If it's an expert interview, I'm usually looking for some practical applications for their expertise. That is, what can a reader learn from them, and maybe implement in their life.

What do you think is the biggest mistake newbie writers make when interviewing?

I think the biggest mistake new writers make is trying to do interviews by email. With rare exceptions, most written interviews sound, well, written. We write differently than we talk. And it's exactly the spoken quality that comes across in a phone or in-person interview that enlivens an article. I know it can be intimidating to make these phone calls, and have the conversation, and then have to transcribe it, but nine out of 10 times, your piece will be better if you actually speak with your sources. 

Also, you will get much more material out of a phone interview. People talk fast! Even in a five or 10-minute conversation, you'll have a lot of quotes to choose from. If someone is instead replying to questions by email, you'll have more limited options. 

Email is fine for follow-up questions and clarifications, but you should get on the phone (or chat in person), if you can, for the bulk of the interview.


Based in Brooklyn, Lindsay started her career in the food department of Real Simple magazine and was most recently the Food & Nutrition Editor at Fitness magazine. More than just wordsmith, she loves healthy living and food. Take one look at her Instagram account, and you’re sure to fall in love, too.

What do you feel makes a good interview?

Not following a script. You want to do your research on the person and make sure you're prepared with some types of questions, but don't just read from a list. The best answers are going to come from follow-up questions, so make sure you're reacting and authentically engaging in conversation with your interviewee. Listen, listen, listen!

What types of questions do you like to ask?

I remember the piece of advice that one of my editors at O gave me, which was to ask the interviewee to explain a concept to you like you're a third grader. Often times, people whom we interview in a niche field assume the interviewer has a base understanding of their expertise, which is typically far from the case! If you don't fully understand something when you're on the phone with them, you're going to have a heck of a hard time trying to explain it when you're off the phone!

What do you think is the biggest mistake newbie writers make when interviewing?

Never phrase a question in a way that a person could potentially answer as a yes or no. Always lead in with a way that will force them to answer with more description. For example, not "Did you feel bad when this happened?" but rather, "How did you feel when this happened?"