Proactivity in Day to Day Life

When you’re starting your journey to be proactive, it’s really hard to see how it can improve your day to day life. But once you do, the rewards are plenty and you start to appreciate the beauty of every day life and living as a human being on this earth.

When I started my self improvement journey back in 2016 (way before this blog existed and way before I truly knew myself), I started to read Dr. Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It was a transformative book for me and the first habit: Be Proactive, is my favourite habit which serves as the inspiration for this blog.

Realistically, it’s not always easy to be consistent and actively maintain proactivity. It’s easy to miss a day, to miss one item on the routine and to have something else going on (usually it’s something important that we can’t ignore) take up your time. We’ve all had that happen to us in many forms: family, work, school, you name it. Let’s not forget the many ways that COVID changed our lives. I’ve had all of that happen to me for the past five years, so I know the true struggle of trying to change and trying to make it stick.

With all these outside forces it’s easy to slip back into a reactive state. I use state instead of “life” because we can change the state of our being, just like in physics how matter can undergo different changes of state. Whether or not this change of state leads to a “better” or “worse” situation for us depends on what we do.

When you fall off, the best way to get back on track again is to start small. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% or even 0.00000000000000000001% if it’s one small change that made you feel better.

How does this relate back to the post title? I find that after slowly injecting proactivity into my life, I can see it everywhere in my life. When I’m stuck in traffic, instead of getting angry I could turn on a podcast or listen to BTS on Spotify. Whenever I feel stuck on an assignment, I go out and walk my dog. If I feel angry, I water my plants (because who can stay angry while watering plants?).

The key thing to take away from this is we all have the freedom of choice. Even though I haven’t met any of my goals yet or I don’t have a lot yet, I’ve found it quite astounding at the many things that I can do within my life the way it currently is. Once we realise this and practice this in small steps, we can see the value in it and do more of it everyday. We start to appreciate ourselves and realise that even though it is small at the beginning, we have influence in our lives and the world around us.

Here’s a story about me: back in May 2021, I lost a job that I really enjoyed, due to COVID. The company decided to downsize and this included scaling back on their staff (resulting in me getting the boot). Instead of making a scene, I calmly accepted the verdict from my boss and finished my work day. After a few months of tough job searching I found a new job and I’m still at this company at the time of this writing. I thought it was a blessing to finally have work again (which it was and I’m grateful for it) however six months down the line, due to increasing demand and being overworked and stressed out (like we all are right now), I woke up one day and decided to make changes so that I could reduce the influence that work had on me (it wasn’t a good work environment and COVID made things worse) by going back to university and continuing my studies. This lead to me being able to make changes to my availability and getting a better work life balance. I’m still working at this place but instead of focusing too much on work , complaining about it (there’s nothing wrong with complaining as long as you do something about it) and accepting things as they are, I’m slowly making changes so that I can get to where I want to be and that I’m ready once opportunities show up.

While the Franklin Covey website provides more in-depth information on the first habit (which you can read here) here is my own process that I do to use proactivity in my everyday life. You may have heard something or do something similar already:

Step 1: Identify What You Want To Change

Whenever I want to change something in my life, I always try to identify what it is and why I want to change it. For example; I worked 5 days a week at odd hours and at odd lengths (some days I work for 4 hours and sometimes I work for 8). Shift work took a huge toll on my sleep pattern and mental health to the point that sometimes I’d be falling asleep while driving and believing it’s a miracle that I even got home alive (which, it is).

I wanted to change my work availability and wanted to find a new job. To do this, I decided to up-skill by going to university again and doing my Masters. This way, I have reduced availability and a better work-life balance.

Ask yourself: What do you want to change? I find that this question works for most things throughout my day. You may not be able to make huge changes immediately, but it’s the small changes that matter. For example if I want to change how I feel about being stuck in traffic, I put on a podcast so that I stop feeling miserable and start to see the time spent in traffic as time to learn something new or as a way to relax.

Step 2: Figure Out What Options Are Available To You

When I made the decision to go back to university, I’m grateful that I was in a place that I was able to do so. I had the idea for months but it also took me months to decide. It wasn’t until after speaking to my family and friends that I finally applied and accepted the possible changes that could go along with it.

The truth is, not everyone has the same options at certain points in time. There could be different factors that prevent us from getting certain options to make the changes that we want BUT this doesn’t mean we are out of options. Situations and circumstances can change. Do your research to see what options are available for the change that you want to make. If the options available at the present moment aren’t good for you, another valid option is to wait.

While you wait, let your imagination run wild. When I forget to set Spotify, the next best thing I can do is think of things in my head. Oftentimes what may seem like the silliest, improbable solution, may actually be very possible. It’s one of the many superpowers that we have as humans.

Step 3: Stick To Your Changes By Being Accountable

Once you’ve selected an option that you like to work towards making that change, stay on track by being accountable. This can come in many forms: telling your friends, keeping a habit tracker app, joining online communities, posting online on social media apps etc. I believe in technology being a tool that we can use for good, depending on how we use it.

When I say that I’m going to do things, I always tell my friends because they’re a supportive group of people and we encourage each other to live better. As an example, at the moment I’m part of a 30 day plank challenge with some of my friends and we notify each other once we’ve done the daily plank challenge. Seeing everyone do their planks makes me want to go on and continue with the challenge too.

If you don’t have a friend group, there’s always Reddit and Discord. There’s a community for anything that you can think of and the good thing is you can stay anonymous (if you’re feeling shy). If you need an accountability buddy, I am always contactable via my blog 🙂

Step 4: Always Remember Why You Wanted To Change

It’s normal to lose our way or have doubts while we want to make changes in our lives. To stay proactive, I recommend to always remember your reason. This reason will drive you and help you stay on track.

On my off-days where I don’t feel well or don’t want to study, I remember that the reason why I started my Masters is because I don’t want to be stuck at the same work place or the same kinds of job roles for the rest of my life. Whenever I’m craving McDonald’s, my boyfriend reminds me of the (last time) that we went, and for an unknown reason, the staff forgot to put my apple pie in the bag (which I really wanted) and every time I remember, I’m reminded of my health goals. At the time of this writing, I haven’t been to McDonald’s for about a month now!

Creating change is slow. At the start of aiming to inject proactivity into our every day lives, we need to be constantly aware and always remember why we want to change. Over time it will be easier to be proactive and see the rewards in our every day lives.


Why Bother? Because You Owe It To Yourself

Last Monday, I turned 25. There’s always something about birthdays (and leading up to it) that make me go through contemplative phases that lead to existential dread (which lasts for followed by an extreme desire for change. The only other times I’ve felt this way is during New Year’s at the start of the year and middle of the year (when it’s the end of the financial year in Australia and the start of a new one).

During these three symbolical ‘new’ years I get into what I like to call an existential deep clean rush. I get this feeling of not having done enough with my life as I should have, feel frustrated with myself that I haven’t done enough to the point of feeling depressed and then I counteract by gaining a huge pile of motivation to start making drastic life changes which end up fizzling down after a few days (sometimes if I’m lucky, it’ll last a few weeks).

I get rid of things that are bad for me – I get rid of Facebook on my phone, delete my Webtoon app (which I use to read webcomics), unfollow people and pages on instagram that I can’t learn anything from, do the same thing on Facebook including unfollowing sometimes unfriending people, including the obscure family member (sorry aunties and cousins, if you wanted to reach out you would have done so already!). I unfollow channels on YouTube that only contribute to a negative mood and outlook and I get rid of reddit communities that also don’t serve me any purpose any more.

Next, I start planning things that I want to change or start doing things that I know are good for me. After watching this video by thewizardliz (it was a hard slap in the face that I needed on my birthday) I decided to adopt a morning and evening routine on my phone (saved as my lock screen wallpaper). I started exercising in the morning by walking my dog (which she absolutely loves me more for it) and recently I tried yoga for the first time. It was absolutely painful and hurt like hell but I could see the immediate benefits afterwards because I felt taller and had better posture. It’s been four days since my first session and my back hasn’t hurt at all! (Which I complained about all throughout the first half of my twenties)

Does all of this sound familiar? Haven’t we all gone through something similar in our lives?

Now if you’ve read this far, keep reading. This isn’t about a ‘I turned my life around in one day’ story. Actually it’s far from it. I barely do my evening routine, I still wake up late (in my Asian household 7 am is considered late) I still suck at doing chores (don’t we all?). The truth is I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of trying so much to change and then being unable to keep up with it all. I think this is why I stopped blogging and doing the things I said I would set out to do when I started this blog.

So why should I bother? Why should I keep going? Because even though I’m afraid of change and afraid of being unable to maintain these new routines and habits, I’m even more of afraid of staying as the person I am now. I’m afraid of living a life of mediocrity, of becoming a person who’s a victim of their circumstances, a person who, by the end of my life, would always wonder about the life I could have lived. Because I owe it to myself, past, present and future, to take control of every moment and make a choice to change. Even if I fall down, even if I get lost along the way, while I’m still alive I will always keep trying. Even if it takes me five years, I’ll start again and keep going.

So, why should YOU bother? Why should you keep exercising, why should you keep blogging, why should you keep practicing the piano? Before you answer this question, you should answer this question first: would doing this lead to a better version of yourself? If the answer is no, you can always track back and find something else that sparks joy for you. We live in an abundant age where, if we really wanted to do it, we will find a way to do it!

If your answer is yes, then keep going. If you fall down, just dust yourself off and keep going. Don’t focus on thoughts like ‘oh it’s been so many days since I did this’, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, ‘it’s too hard’, ‘other people have done it before’ and so on. Using blogging as an example, when you look back at all the posts you’ve made the gaps in between won’t matter in the long run. If you do it tomorrow, you’ll end up pushing it and pushing it and pushing it… until it’s been weeks and then other life stuff propped up to take up your energy (I know because I’ve done it too). Change is always hard but this is only in the beginning; once you stick to it, it gets easier and easier like when we were learning how to read and write. The fact that other people have done it before means that it’s in the realm of possibility! Isn’t that amazing? Just because other people have done it before doesn’t diminish your own efforts, your own voice as you go through your journey. As you change, there’s always someone around you that you may end up inspiring.

So why bother? Because you owe it to yourself. Because we, living in today’s digital age, have access to so much knowledge and to so many things that can help us achieve what we want to achieve. Because we owe it to ourselves to keep trying.

Tip Tuesday: The Fastest Way to Grow


Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

You might have clicked on this expecting a miracle, that after reading this article you would know the secret to getting that hot bod, great grades, amazing relationships and all the friends that you can ask for and get it straight away. I’m here to tell you that unfortunately there is no miracle way to get what we want, whenever we want. This post is not about getting fast results but to create change that stays for the rest of our lives.

From my past experiences, when we give in to quick fixes, it often does us more harm than good. I have found that I could never complete a diet or gain more friends after using a quick fix. I realised that the reason why I could never follow these was that I would have to deny a part of myself in order to make myself look better, look prettier and be friendlier. I would need to cut out all the things that I things that I enjoy, such as the foods that I ate, the hobbies that I enjoy and other things that I love completely.

Depriving ourselves in order to achieve results in the short term never works and things can backfire when we do. What we need to do in order to create change is to put in effort bit by bit every day to create positive change in the long term. For long-term change to stick, we need to be patient and willing to reinforce those habits each day. And that comes to my tip today.

My tip for today is that the fastest way to grow, in whatever we do, is to set challenges for ourselves.

Challenges can be whatever you want them to be. You can set the difficulty, measure your progress and personalise it to how you’d want it to be. By placing challenges on ourselves, we grow from the struggle and we will not see it as hard work as we aren’t depriving ourselves of anything. We need to be realistic for ourselves, identify the problem that we’d like to solve and continually work on it by approaching it in a way that is enjoyable and making us feel that change is not an impossible task.

Challenges are a great way to reinforce habits and allow us to work on any areas that we want to improve in our lives. If you want to lose weight, challenge yourself to eat more vegetables and walking every day. If you want to learn a new skill, challenge yourself to do something to learn that skill every day. Challenges can be as enjoyable as you want them to be and can be done at your own pace. Life is one long marathon and it is the challenges that we face along the way that build us!

I hope this helps and that this encourages you to identify an area in your life you’d like to improve on and take steps to change!

*Side Note: As of writing this I have decided to challenge myself and will be taking part in this months art challenge, MerMay on Tumblr! I have made my own prompts list and decided to stick with that. The aim of the challenge is to draw Mermaids every day with a design around the prompt of the day! I shall be posting my end results at the end of the month!

*Side Note: I have also started a fandom zine on Tumblr and in the middle of organizing it. I have taken this as a challenge on my organization, project management and time management skills. Plus, it feels amazing to contributing to one of my fandoms in a big way! If anyone is interested in reading about it I will write an article about the zine. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

The Question Of The Post: What are your thoughts on the post? What are some of the things that you do to make changes in your life?