10 WAYS TO IMPERFECTLY IMPROVE YOURSELF

Lately, I've been feeling like I've been in a bit of a funk. My energy has been low, my motivation hasn't been as high and my healthy intake has been kind of mindless... as in, I eat whatever I feel like having without putting much thought into its health benefits. 

I've been telling myself that I need to make a change for a while. But my lack of motivation has been playing devil's advocate. I continue to say: 

"After this vacation, I'll be able to buckle down and focus more." 

"After the weekend." 

"I'll wait until I get that mind shift. I can't force myself or I'm not really gonna change unless I really want to."

Excuse after excuse happened. And let's be honest, this has been going on and off since I had my little Lila, who is now 16 months old. 😳😅

I needed to take my own advice that I constantly give to others and MAKE. A. CHANGE. 

 
 

Today is the eighth day of my mental and physical health journey. And it is something that I made a choice ahead of time. I mentally prepared for it. I know I'm not going to be perfect at it, so I am choosing to imperfectly improve myself, my well-being, and make a happier, healthier environment for my family as well. 

Since 40% of our behavior is habit-driven, we must take control of our ability to be self-disciplined, we have to control our habits. In particular, there are 10 habits that I am working to achieve every single day to help discipline myself. 

These are some things I did to prepare BEFORE I STARTED my own mental and physical health journey...and if you want to join in I will be your teammate! Because we are all in this together:

First, I went on Amazon and bought stick-on dry erase vinyl. I stuck it to my bedroom wall, where it faces me when I wake up in the morning. It may not be the prettiest decor in my room, but it holds me accountable from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. 

On one sheet I wrote my weekly, monthly and end of year goals. 

On the other sheet, I wrote my to-do list for the day. It is one of the most satisfying things to physically check off a box on your to-do list. It is very difficult for me to end the day staring at an unchecked box, so it gives me that much more motivation to get that box checked! Who's with me?

I categorized my to-do list by putting down my most important to least important tasks in order- or at least numbered them from most urgent to least. (Reason to follow)

Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there.
— Haile Gebrselassie

Here are 10 habits I am adding to my everyday routine to bring more satisfaction, joy, and strength in my life. 

1. WRITE YOUR GOALS & TO-DO LIST IN A HIGH TRAFFIC AND VISIBLE PLACE.

 
 

2. WAKE UP EARLY

One of my goals was to wake up "early". 7:30am. 😂 I'm not a morning person, so that is early for me. But I decided that I was going to wake up before my kids and accomplish the top three things on my to-do list. Make sure they are the three things you feel are most pressing and will keep you feeling less stressed throughout the rest of the day. 

 
 

3. MEDITATE

The first thing I put on my to-do list when I wake up is a 3-minute meditation to get my mind balanced and more focused. A great app to use is Headspace, it's a wonderful tool to use, especially if you are a first-time meditator like me.

What is the importance of meditating? Meditating helps us to control our mind and thoughts and turn off our mind when we do not need it anymore.

If you are anything like me, I am not a napper. I go to bed too late and when I try to go to bed early, I toss and turn as my mind runs a mile a minute. Thought after thought consumes me to the point that I sometimes need to get up, make lists, write down my thoughts or even put my loose thoughts into action. (Which is why it is important to write a to-do list every day, so that I can relax and remember that I accomplished my most important things for today and I don't need to worry so much about the small things.)

Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

4. DO SOME PHYSICAL  EXERCISE. 

This has been my biggest hurdle since I had my last baby. I have worked a lot on my self-worth and in the middle of it, I got into this mindset of being okay with my body and the changes it has gone through, since becoming a mother. I would say to myself, "it's okay if I have a little flab, a few extra dimples and a little too much jiggle in my steps. I am happy with my body, and I don't have to obsess over the little things." 

But then, something changed. I went back to the gym more than one time in a month! I was working out with my husband, doing squats and box jumps, when that feeling of accomplishment, power, and strength came over me. I missed that feeling. I didn't know it until that moment. A voice came in my head and it said: "you're back". It was the most satisfying and motivating feeling I've had in a while. But let me be honest with you, this feeling only lasted for a few days, maybe even hours. It was still hard for me to get my butt to the gym every day... it actually took weeks until I got my white board and physically wrote down my goals. 

I made exercise my weekly goal. It was my goal to go to the gym 5 times this week. I wrote M, T, W, TH, F, S all with boxes below them for me to check off after each day. Not only did I go to the gym 5 times last week, I went 6! So I'm feeling pretty proud of my self-discipline and commitment. The check boxes are working!

 
 

5. BE PRESENT

This is always a hard one for us all. With the whole world at our fingertips every second of the day, emails coming through, social media constantly popping up in our heads, wondering about what everyone else is doing, and constantly thinking of the next thing we need to do. It is so refreshing and eye-opening when you stop. Take a minute to look around you, actually look at people in the eyes and simply Be. All. There.

Funny enough, the "Presence" was testing me as I was writing that last paragraph. My daughter, Haven woke up early from her nap and came running in to hug me. As I held her in my arms and showered her with hugs and kisses, she then asked me if I could "please color with her". My immediate thought was, "I will after I finish this blog post." But then, the exact thing I was writing about and preaching about was there to test me. "This blog post can wait, I said to myself." and with a definitive "YES!" I followed Haven to her coloring table and we shared some one-on-one time that we rarely ever get these days. 

I could have missed out on such a sweet, memorable moment with my daughter. And I'm so thankful that I chose to be all there. One thing that I have tried to do since I had my girls was to not work when they are awake. I work during naptime and bedtime, that way I can be more present with them during the day. I know sometimes things come up and I can't always do that, so I set a timer for 20 minutes to spend completely with my girls. To be 100% there with them, and it has really helped with my mom guilt.

 
 

6. GO ON A DATE WITH   YOUR BUDGET. 

Putting together a budget and saving a certain amount of money before the end of the year was on my Goals list. This was a topic that Cory and I have been putting off for far too long, and even when I had it on my to-do list, the box stayed unchecked for two days. You know how much it pains me to see an unchecked box, so it shows how much I didn't want to look at our finances and figure out a budget and set a goal to save X amount by the end of the year. 

Back story-- I grew up in a family of 8 other brothers and sisters. So money was a constant topic of conversation with my dad. Better yet, the words "We don't have money for that" echoed through my head. It wasn't that we were poor, but we definitely weren't rich and my parents had to be frugal. When we went to the fair or an amusement part, we brought our own food in, there was no way in hell we were getting some kind of special treat there, unless we bought it with our own money. If the refrigerator door was open for longer than 10 seconds you would hear my dad's voice from the other room yelling "close the door, you're letting all the cold air out!!". It was like he was lurking around every corner to make sure to tell us to turn the lights off, to open a window instead of turn on the a/c, etc.  So I decided a long time ago that I never wanted to live with so much strain to be frugal and tight with my money. If I wanted to do something or buy something I was going to buy it without constant worry if I had enough in my bank account. That is why I started babysitting as soon as I was old enough. I made my own fliers and passed them out throughout the neighborhood. The day I turned 15, literally on my birthday I had a job interview at one of the only places that hired 15-year-olds, Wendy's. I have been working ever since and worked all through college, just so I could have my own financial freedom.

 
 

With that being said, it's hard for me to have a lot of discipline when it comes to my budget. Not that I go crazy and max out my credit cards, I have actually never had credit card debt. But, it is important to be more aware of your spending habits and where your money is going. I am trying to spend smarter rather than mindlessly. So we officially set up a budget last night, made some cuts and now have a plan for where our money is going. 

7. EAT WELL. BE WELL.

I'm going to be real honest with you, I haven't really gotten myself to this part yet this week. Mainly because I was making a lot of changes, to-do's and goals this week I didn't want to over do it and make myself feel too overwhelmed.

First and foremost, I do not believe in crash diets. I believe in lifestyle changes. My biggest problem is that I don't eat enough, if at all in the mornings. I eat random snacks, bread, little treats and/or a salad for lunch and then, for the most part, have a pretty wholesome meal for dinner. Then, after the girls go to bed I indulge in a treat. So it's not like I have horrible eating habits, but my problem is making time for me to eat something, filling and healthy. I also spend way too much money on Starbucks and their little Bistro Boxes, you know, the ones with the apples, grapes, two boiled eggs, bread and peanut butter? Yeah, those are a staple in our outings.

This week is the week to start really disciplining myself to choose healthier options. I'm planning to do the following things:

  1. Only have 3 sweets a week
  2. Instead of having "cheat days" I will have 3 cheat meals on different days. That way I won't feel like a total failure for a whole day. 
  3. Drink more water (90 oz a day)

8. HELLO, GOD.

Spirituality is such an important part of my life. It helps me to know that I will always have someone by my side no matter what I'm going through. I'm going to be honest, I have not been as good as a could be at talking to my God, reading scriptures, or sometimes even putting forth much effort to recognize His hand in my life. But the amazing thing about my belief of God, is that he is always reaching, always there to comfort me and is a constant listening ear when I need someone.

There have been many times of trial in my life where I have felt more sorrow than I thought I could bare. But when I reached for my God, I could always feel him reaching back. For me, his presence in my life is something that keeps me feeling loved, important and guided in my decisions. 

There is a quote by C.H. Spurgeon that says, "To trust in God in the light is nothing, but trust Him in the dark- that is faith.

 
 

I am a firm believer in these words and I feel that in order to keep that faith strong, I need to keep a closer relationship with God. Therefore, I have made goals to talk to him in the morning and night and try to reflect on one verse a day. Since doing this, I have felt more compassion, gratitude and love for those around me, and that makes me happier person.

9. GRATITUDE

I feel that when I am not being fully aware of what I'm grateful for, I am constantly looking for more to satisfy me. The habit of gratitude helps move us away from constantly wanting what we don't have, and towards appreciating what we do have. When we do this, some remarkable shifts begin to occur.

Gratitude reaches so much further than we think. From improving our mental health, to our emotional well-being, and our spirituality, gratitude can do so much. But most importantly, it helps to move us away from a state of lack and towards a state of abundance.

Lately, my husband and I have been in a stand still when it comes to advancing in his career and where our family is supposed to be. For a while I have been caught up in how we aren't where we both thought we should be. We don't own a house yet, all while most of our friends are buying their first home, settling in and really starting their family journey. We are surrounded by very successful people who seem to have it all. So it is easy to get caught up in the comparison game and wonder when we will get to that point, asking, "why is it so much harder for us?" 

Now, I am decided to make a shift in my mind. To be more grateful for what we have accomplished and where we are now. If we work hard, with a grateful heart, things will work out despite all the confusion and twists and turns life can bring us. 

 
 

10. SLEEP

Sleep is directly connected with our ability to discipline ourselves. When we get the proper amount of sleep we have so much more power to get things done. As I'm sure you've noticed that when you don't get enough shuteye your mood is greatly affected. And if you're anything like me, I drag through the day, I'm more moody, shorter tempered and my ability to focus is like a dog on a walk (squirrel!). Our diets are affected as well as our overall health.

Studies indicate that people who are deprived of the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis are at a greater risk for certain diseases. Our lack of sleep has a great impact on our immune system.

 
 

While we all know, that getting more sleep is better for our well-being, why is it so hard for us?? I could tell you the studies and facts of lack of sleep all day long, but until we get to the bottom of why we aren't getting enough sleep, we can't change it. So for me, I have the following problems:

  1. I stay up for at least and extra 45 minutes mindlessly scrolling through social media, reading random stories and pretty much procrastinating until I can barely keep my eyes open.
  2. As a parent, I don't really get a lot of "me" time. So night time is the only time I can relax and focus on work, watching a show, reading a book, and/or talking with my husband.
  3. WORK. As I mentioned above, I don't have a lot of time without my girls around. I don't like to work when they are awake, so I work when they nap and when they go to bed.. Therefore, leaving me to work late at night sometimes. 

These are my solutions to work on:

  1. Put my phone in the other room so it doesn't tempt me. Put my journal by my bed instead and write about my day, my gratitude and loose thoughts. I tend to have a hard time quieting my thoughts. So if I write them down, it will be easier to have them out of the way when I'm trying to actually go to sleep.
  2. Do some breathing exercises after the girls go down for bed. Try to relax the mind for 20 minutes and set an alarm for when I should begin my nightly routine. (Wash face, brush teeth, write in journal, talk to husband, pray, sleep.) I know this isn't going to be easy, but when you make it a priority and really discipline yourself to do these things, it will get easier. 
  3. If you don't do it one night, or even a few nights, don't let it ruin everything. Just try again the next day. Like I said previously, be okay with imperfectly improving yourself.

If you can instill these 10 habits into your life, you can create the foundation for achieving your goals, but most importantly let this be the beginning of a happier, healthier lifestyle. 

Join me in this journey and share your experience by tagging @bebonafide!!

 
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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ACTUALLY SAY WHAT GOES INTO THE PERFECT BIKINI SELFIE?

Essena O'Neill is the epitome of what Be Bona Fide is trying to inspire and bring awareness toy young adults everywhere. We need to open our eyes and realize that there is so much more to focus on than our acceptance through social media. We need to lift our head out of the cloud and be present and aware of those around us. We are so happy to have found this amazing, thought provoking post and brave girl who decided to take her fame and use it to help change many lives including her own.

"I can't tell you how free I feel without social media. Never again will I let a number define me. IT SUFFOCATED ME," she writes, "I know you didn't come into this world just wanting to fit in and get by. You are reading this now because you are a game changer, you might not know your power yet I am just finding mine, but man...when you do...far out you'll go crazy. It'll be brilliant. You'll be brilliant."

From fashion bloggers to fitness experts to simply photogenic everyday citizens, the "Instagram celebrity" has emerged as a new branch of fame in our social media-run world. Essena O'Neill, an 18-year-old from Australia, was a regular teen who amassed half a million followers on Instagram (on top of 200,000 followers on YouTube and Tumblr and 60,000 on her Snapchat, all now inactive) with selfies, outfit posts, and #fitspo photos. After building that up, she decided last week that she was done with social media. She deleted 2000 photos, renamed her account to "Social Media Is Not Real Life," and changed the captions on existing photos with truthful anecdotes about posts she was paid for, how many tries it took to get the shot, and the pressures she felt to look perfect. 

"I've spent the majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status, and my physical appearance, " O'Neill writes in her last Instagram post on October 27, "[Social media] is contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It's a system based on social approval, likes, validation, in views, success in followers. it's perfectly orchestrated self-absorbed judgement."

"How can we see ourselves and our true purpose/talents if we are constantly viewing others?" she says, "Many of us are in so deep we don't realize [social media's] delusional powers and the impact it has on our lives." In addition to making changes on her Instagram, O'Neill made a video on YouTube about how people make money off social media. She's since moved on from YouTube to Vimeo, where she'll now be uploading daily videos, because of its "positive and value based ranking, not likes or followers or BS ads." O'Neill adds on her newly launched site Let's Be Game Changers, "BUT PLEASE CAN SOMEONE MAKE A SOCIAL SHARING PLATFORM NOT BASED ON VALIDATION IN VIEWS/FOLLOWERS/LIKES BUT SHARED FOR REAL VALUE AND LOVE. THANK YOU. PLEASE HURRY UP."

Article found here on ELLE. 

Learning to Be Present at The Happiest Place on Earth

"Hi, I’m Katie, and I am addicted to Disneyland. Lucky for me I live about an hour and half away from the magic kingdom and I have annual pass. Unfortunately, it is expiring at the end of September – so last Thursday my boyfriend Sean and I decided to ditch our responsibilities for the day and head to The Happiest Place on Earth.

We have been to Disneyland together more times than I can count and have all of the mandatory Disneyland couple photos in front of the castle, the Ferris wheel, on Splash Mountain, with the characters, walking down Main Street USA… you get the picture. In the spirit of Be Bona Fide we decided to go phone-less this trip. This meant no looking at your phone while waiting in line, or checking the Disneyland app for wait times, and if we were taking a picture we only got one shot, ONLY ONE SHOT!

 
 

I was reluctant to give up my phone at first, but the second I tucked it away I automatically felt relieved and stress-free. It is such a nice feeling to not be glued to your phone and detach from social media for the day. We headed to “Soaring over California” first, because they added new high tech screens that allow you to experience the 3D motion of flying without 3D glasses – it was seriously amazing!

Anyway, while waiting in line without our phones, we were able to spend time reading the bios of all the pilots that cover the walls leading up to the entrance of the ride. These fun facts lead to conversations about female pilots, fighter jets, and WWII – all while helping past the time of waiting in line. Once we jumped on the ride the girl sitting next to me began snapping (snap chatting) our flight. Not only was the light distracting but I couldn’t help but think that she was missing out the ride because she was choosing to document and share this moment on social media. Instead of experiencing the ride, she was viewing it through her iPhone screen, a tiny tiney  5.44” x 2.64” screen, compared to the massive high-tech jumbotron right in front of her! 

Running around Disneyland phoneless, watching people constantly on their phones, posing and snapping pictures, and documenting and sharing their experience for the sheer pleasure of posting on social media got me thinking, why do we choose to view life through our iPhone screen? The beauty of our surrounding is only adequately captured by the beholder - YOU and your eyes only! Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook had allowed us to share our surroundings with others but it will never quite do it justice. The snapchat of “Soaring over California” could never capture the nostalgic feeling you get when your legs are dangling from a ride, the wind blowing in your hair, or the smell or California Orange fields or the Pacific Ocean.These little moments add up and make memories and this is something you will never be able to capture and share with your followers, friends, or family. 

I am challenging you to choose a place where you have envisioned taking the perfect picture for instagram (you know that place, the “Nikon Picture Spot”) and go phoneless for the day. Fight the urge to live your life looking through your iPhone screen. There is so much more beauty in the world and all you have to do to enjoy it is: look up."


How many of you have had this same experience? *insert raising hand girl emoji* We sure have and know first hand how easy it is to get lost in your iPhone, especially waiting in those long lines! At Be Bona Fide we are striving to be present in everything that we do and L O V E how Katie is challenging us to put down our phones and enjoy the moment. Are you going on vacation, have a day trip planned, or visiting an Instagram worthy place soon? We want to hear your experience about being present and going phone-less! Make sure to tag us @bebonafide, use #bebonafide, or email us at hello@bbonafide.com to have your story featured. 

Don't forget we will be in Southern California TOMORROW at LUX Clothing (@shopluxclothing) in Riverside from 10 - 12. We would absolutely love to mix and mingle with the people who are keeping this movement alive. Stop in for sips, snacks, and a little (or a lot) of shopping! Can't wait to meet you!

Think Positive & Positive Things Will Happen


The power that we have to control our day is very underestimated. Just the other day I rolled over when my alarm went off and gave a grumpy grunt then said "don't make me get out of bedddd". Ryan looked at me and saw my emotionless face and said  "put a smile on that face, Nik".  I felt annoyed that he said that, all I wanted was 5 more hours of sleep!  Shortly after I shook off my pride and put that smile on my face laying in bed... painfully at first... but it slowly became natural. I started to notice everything was looking up... the lady at Starbucks was genuinely happy to see me, everyone I was with was so enjoyable to be around and the 110 degree Dallas summer did not seem that hot.  Wait, ok now I'm you know I'm overexerting... but no really, that day was pretty golden. :) That fake-it-till-you-make-it smile made me focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

This Ted Talk is everything! Please take the 12 minutes out of your night to watch this.

We’re finding it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.


This  part of the talk is SO powerful.  We get so caught up trying to hit our societies goals that we have slowly made happiness something that is becoming impossible to obtain.  With social media at our fingertips this "keeping up with the Jones" mentality just keeps growing.

How do we find our personal happiness? We need to reverse what our society believes happiness is- which is "If I work harder I will be happier". We need to make conscious effort to re-wire our brains to to be grateful for the little things in life  and to acknowledge our small victories. When we are positive everything in our capability rises.


Its so easy to  look at people and in our head think..."If I had her house I would be happy... or if I had her body I would be happy". Recently I have seen a change of mindset where I'm no longer wanting THINGS others have. The people who I'm noticing and I'm admiring the most are people who are genuinely happy. I do believe I am a naturally positive person... But let's get REALLL.. life is HARD!  I have gone through trials and I know the older I get the more trials and struggles are to come. 


If there is a study out there that has made people happier, why have I not participated?  If we have the capability to change my happiness level why have I not done this yet?

We’ve found there are ways that you can train your brain to be able to become more positive. In just a two-minute span of time done for 21 days in a row, we can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully. We’ve done these things in research now in every company that I’ve worked with, getting them to write down three new things that they’re grateful for 21 days in a row, three new things each day. And at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.


I have watch this Ted talk a handful of times and yet have challenged myself to committing to writing down 3 things I'm grateful for everyday. I'm pretty embarrassed but mostly disappointed in myself that I'm just now committing to doing this. So heres to holding myself accountable... I know how easily I can prioritize other things ( like.. 5 more minutes or hours of sleep;).  Anyone with me?! 


BEING POSITIVE IN THE PRESENT IS THE GOAL.


I uploaded our print above as digital copy and made it my screensaver to help remind myself of the control I have on my day. I'm in charge of finding my life and I choose happiness. 


This print is available in our shop for $8. Join me in this 21 challenge and report back... or just download it for positive reminder... either way you rule! 

MUCH LOVE, 


Nikk- Tay
Nikki-Tay- B
Nicoleita
Nik Nak
 

Be Present

Let me take a minute and just say how  grateful I am to have Be Bona Fide's message in my life!  Even though I catch myself doing and thinking un-bonafide things everyday it has brought such a light to things that I didn't even know I needed it. 

I was lucky enough to travel to Europe last week, and while there it brought back so many memories of my travels last year. Looking back I had no idea how consumed I was in social media. Sharing my travels with everyone is so easy with social media just a WiFi click away. And don't get me wrong, sharing what you are up to and what you are seeing is the coolest part about social media! But last year while in Europe, every new place we went, I was constantly visualizing the perfect post, then spending a lot of my trip trying to recreate it (which never took just one attempt).  I was so concentrated on getting the picture exactly how I wanted I was so far from being present and soaking in the moment.  I would constantly be going into cafes and hotels and the first thing being said is  "do you have wifi?". I could not wait to post my next picture. Why was I so consumed in it?? The more I think about it, the more I realized: I needed... validation. I subconsciously was looking for comments and likes to validate my trip.   

I remember one day specifically where everything was going wrong. The vibes between Ryan and I were off but I was determined to get this "perfect" picture of Ryan and I kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower. I hauled Ryan around the tower trying to figure out what would be the best angle. I seriously cringe when I think about that day, and really even that picture. Once I got the shot, I went into a Cafe and spent the rest of the day "instagram-ing". Not experiencing the moment. 

This year, although traveling still came with complications and silly arguments, my mind set was completely different. Did I still take ALOT of pictures? Of course! But I was no longer visualizing what I wanted and caring more about the picture than the actual moment. I'm so happy to be constantly reminded by each of you who can relate one way or another (I know I was definitely pushing the crazy card last year). I have said it before and I will say it again: It. Is. Not. Meant. To Be. Perfect. Take in each moment with the struggles life gives you or the unperfect picture with a guy photobombing or your double chin showing more than you hoped. Be Okay with it. We are in this together so let's BE PRESENT which is so much more important than getting that perfect picture.  Head over to our shop and get a bracelet for a reminder. 

- Nicole