Replacing Bad Habits

Hello fuzzbutts!

Oh you read that this will be about bad habits and probably a hundred things flooded into your brain that you currently do. Habit of eating junk food? Drinking too much coffee? Bouncing around the various video games you own rather than working on your goals?

We all have bad habits. Even the best the fandom has to offer have at least a bad habit or two they could identify. It stinks because we know we shouldn’t do it but we do. Then we beat ourselves up a bit for it anyway. A personal example I have is that I went running yesterday. I was doing well and decided I want to cut down a little bit of weight and carry less fat. So I ran as hard as I could and thinking to myself “Less sweets, less fat, less junk.” So what happens when I get to work? Somebody brought donuts! Without even thinking, I grabbed one and wolfed it down. I wasn’t even thinking. It was just an automatic response to what happens when I see free donuts after years of going in and grabbing a donut if there were any available. This is a deeply ingrained habit that I have to work on if I want to lose some weight.

Studies have shown that going cold turkey on a habit, whether it’s smoking or even snacking, rarely works. You’re so focused on resisting it that the temptation just builds up until you break down. The true solution from these studies is that you need to replace the habit with something else.

One thing for me would be that I already try to make plain oatmeal every morning at work unless I’m not hungry or somebody brought bagels and donuts. The habit I should cultivate is to ALWAYS make oatmeal. Two reasons: 1- I’ll always end up eating it. 2-After eating oatmeal, I won’t be so tempted to grab a sugary treat. The only thing I need to do is have some quality oatmeal on hand which is something I already have the habit of keeping.

For video games, I end up having similar issues. I have all these unplayed games and occasionally I’ll want to install all of them and just have them there at the ready. Instead of working toward my goals, I might fire up a game. With so many to choose from, it’s easy to put off serious work. So, obviously, the point is to keep 1 or 2 games tops on the computer. If you want to play something else, you need to re-download and wait. That extra obstacle will make it easier to choose the things that are actually important to you.

So what’s something you’re doing that you’d like to stop? What’s an option you can try to replace it with? It won’t be easy. After all, preparing oatmeal is more work than plucking a donut out of a box! However, if it’s really worth it to you and your ideal furry life, you’ll do your best and it will get easier over time.

Good luck out there, fuzzbutts!

Build your pack (or herd, or flock)

Hello fuzzbutts!

I realize I’ve had a couple posts about separating yourself from toxic people or anyone who doesn’t support your goals and dreams. So why not talk about the converse? Time to start finding those with similar interests and goals and hooking together with them!

Want to build fursuits? Start interacting with fursuit makers or others who want to build them. Want to draw more? Start trying to talk with other artists or, if possible, stream with artists who do similar artwork as you. If you actually end up having a couple of fans who appreciate your work, try to be available to them since their encouragement will help fuel your desire to practice and improve.

So how do we find these people? Naturally, don’t aim for the top. If you try jumping straight as a beginner to going for those like MixedCandy or MadeFurYou fursuit builders, they’re probably swamped with people already talking to them before some rando emails asking to be a friend. Same for artists like Strype or Blotch or whoever. Nope! So where do you go?

There’s groups all over the place. Multiple telegram groups for fursuit builders and artists. Multiple places to find the types of people you can interact with. Keep in mind you have to interact with them. You won’t get a whole bunch of reward from groups you don’t contribute to or be active with. Want to meet more furries, look up local meets or maybe even start your own to bring them around. Want to be more active, there’s tons of groups out there for that, whether it’s light or heavy training. Writing workshops, skill development, whatever it is. You can meet people who will help you along toward your goals.

Again, it’s necessary to vet these people too. Join an art group where everyone seems to be negative or your feel like your work gets more hate than constructive critique? Dump them and find a better group. Joining a walking club but nobody is friendly and takes it more like a job than a chance to be healthier? Dump them. You have to find people who resonate with your core values and motivate you to work toward your goals.

Good luck out there, fuzzbutts!

Wednesday Tailtip: Your “why” can change!

Good morning fuzzbutts!

Sometimes you have a good reason for setting a goal. You pick something you want to work on and you know exactly what the goal of it is and why you want to do it. You get that motivation for a while and you keep at it. Yet your discipline and motivation fails at some point and you stop working on it as much as you did. Eventually, you stop working on it entirely. You know why you should do it. The why is still there. However, it’s not enough to keep you going! What a predicament, furry friends!

I went through this recently. I’ve had piles of fur and sewing materials for a long time now. YEARS! I bought the fur to make tails or to make paws and fursuit stuff and then poof. Poof. Making paws was too hard. Making tails didn’t pay enough. Still, despite one of my earlier posts to declutter and get rid of stuff, I couldn’t bring myself to toss out hundreds of dollars in fur. There’s still value in making tails, even if it won’t replace my job. So the fur sat, me without enough motivation to finish using up the fur and selling it. I know my why was “make money” but that’s not good enough. So what changed?

I moved into a much smaller room from my apartment. 900 sqft of stuff crammed into less than 250. That wasn’t quite enough to get rid of the fur so it sat in the corner by my window. However, it’s August and there’s a heatwave now and no AC where I live. It’s affecting my sleep because it’s so warm at night. So what do I want now? A standing, portable AC unit to hook into the window and cool down my room. What do I need for it? I have the money already. What I don’t have is space in front my window. I can’t shove the fur into another spot because there’s no space. If I want that AC unit and to cool down and feel better overall, I need to start burning through that fur or get rid of it.

I can’t say that’s the only reason I’m able to work on this. I had found already that I can draw in the mornings. I’m lazy after work and it’s hard to work on my goals. So now my goal is to work on the fur in the mornings. It’s easy. I can dedicate a whole two hours before the gym and before work to just sew tails. In two days I was able to hand-sew a tail and a half when it didn’t feel like work at all. The “making money” will be a side effect of me selling these tails after they are finished.

Is “I want an AC unit in my room” some grand nebulous goal to motivate you? Maybe not you but it’s working for me! Your why doesn’t matter as long as it gets your tail moving toward your goal and getting things done. After that, what else is there for me to do? Once the fur is gone, maybe it’ll go back to purely drawing or maybe I have another short-term goal to work on. We’ll have to see! In the meantime, understand why you want to do something and don’t be afraid of changing your “why” as long as it gets you going.

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Good enough just isn’t, sorry!

Good morning fuzzbutts!

Sorry for the delay this week. Have you ever acid-washed a pool? I have.

Earlier this week I got into a discussion with somebody who wanted to announce to everyone, including you, that you are good enough and don’t have to worry about changing. For those of you who read my blog, you know I consider that heresy for anyone looking to do more and better in their lives.

“Good enough” in my opinion, is a level of dissatisfaction that somebody considers less painful/more comfortable than sticking to your goal. It’s trying to go from 240lbs to 170lbs but stopping at 200 because you really want that burger and you hate going to the gym. 200 lbs is “good enough.” It’s trying to draw artwork at a level like Strype and then stopping at the sketch phase because shading is hard or you don’t want to learn to color or refine your raw sketch. Your raw sketch is “good enough.” It’s settling for a job because a promotion or your dream job requires you to go to school or get some extra training. Because of the extra unpaid work involved in advancing your career, your current job is “good enough.”

Everyone wants to consider themselves extraordinary in some way. I mean look at your fursona! You love being unique! So become extraordinary! Good enough is just settling for less. Don’t become “good enough.”

I’m not saying to be dissatisfied with your life all the time. Celebrate the advancements and small victories you achieve. Just don’t settle at a level that isn’t your actual goal. Keep working hard and push yourself to levels that you only dream about.

Good luck, Fuzzbutts!

Crop your life like cropping your photos!

Hello fuzzbutts!

You know when you take that perfect picture? It looks great. You’re right in the middle with a perfect background and looking amazing. However… there’s that weird doggo on the side. It’s got one eye kinda closed and a big goofy look on its face. Here you are, all the prestige of royalty, and everyone’s looking at that doofy dog. So you crop the doggo out and enjoy your splendor. Get where I’m going? No? That’s ok! I did a terrible job with that analogy.

Anyway, the cantankerous canine is every distraction we have in the glorious photo of our life’s journey. We have a clear picture of how we want things to go and what our goals are. Unfortunately, all sorts of things might interfere with realizing those dreams. it might be a person in our lives. It could be a project you’re not excited about. It could even be one of your own bad habits.

Well the job this time around is to identify what things are distracting you from your goals. For my morning routine, the thing that kills my groove is turning on my PC because it distracts the heck out of me. Another distraction for me is a mess! If I make something messy, it suddenly creeps up in my mind as if it’s the most important thing to take care of rather than my most important goals! Remove the distractions!

So once you have an idea what the distractions are, take them out of the picture! Understand the life you want and what you need to do! Good luck out there, fuzzbutts!

Maintaining Productive Relationships

Hello fuzzbutts!

History lesson time! The famous Jim Rohn famously said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” End of history lesson.

For your homework today, I want you to sit down and consider the relationships you maintain. Are they productive? By that, I mean are you getting something out of the relationship? I don’t mean just tangible stuff like money and things. I mean “does this relationship help you feel better or drive you to grow as an individual?” Think about that. Maybe these people are more like drama llamas who sap your energy and expect you to save them from every crisis. Yet, between every crisis, they emphasize “Oh I don’t do drama.” Yeah ok…

I keep a very small, tight network of friends. I know a lot of people and can get along with a wide variety of furries. I love to learn from them and see how their lives are progressing too. Fursuit makers and artists are especially cool since I love how they turned art into a way to make a living for themselves. I have friends who pursued goals for their careers and just inspire others with their work ethic. Just by watching these people work to improve their lives, I feel inspired to do it in my own life to find ways I can do better for myself.

Then there’s the other people. I’ve known people who take in a known mooch, provide for them, and finally got frustrated with the mooch enough to kick them to the curb. They thought maybe they could “fix” this person who obviously didn’t want that. The drama llama always has problems. The friend of the drama llama can’t maintain relationships with other friends because there’s never time to spend time being happy with people because they have to constantly console the llama. The grown child just can’t take care of themselves. They have no idea how to do anything and just tag along. They don’t actually try to learn or adapt to situations and just have to have their hands held for any little thing. There’re toxic people who are just friendly enough to keep you around but take every opportunity to say something negative about you or one-up your achievements with their own exaggerations. There’s all kinds of people who aren’t going to help you reach your potential.

You need people to support and inspire you. Not some vulnerable pet for you to protect to validate your sense of power/ability. This is a two-way street! Just as they inspire and support you, you need to be a supportive friend who lives a life they will find inspiring in their own ways. Remember, you’re the average of the five. That means some people will be further along in their personal growth and some will be a little bit behind you but you’ll have something to learn from everyone.

So your homework is to review the people you most associate with. If they’re toxic, dump them. If they’re not toxic but they’re not inspiring, helpful, awesome, etc, then put a little distance to make room for the best friends. If you know people who keep you motivated and help you do better, then pull them in tighter and make yourself more available to spend time with them (talking to the introverts in the audience).

I hope you continue to grow yourself because personal growth is always productive.

Time to get up early!

Hello fuzzbutts!

This title is a doozy for many of you! Just hear me out first!

I know in my previous posts from a couple months ago, I said I just wake up, eat breakfast, clean up, etc etc and then go to work. Well, the more I’ve explored my mornings, the more I realized these are great times to be productive!

After a day of work, you might be feeling rather drained. That’s one of the reasons I try to keep my workouts to the mornings since I’d rather avoid traffic and I’m usually tired at the end of the day. Waking up earlier gives me the time I need to do that!

After realizing how much better it was to have time for a workout, I expanded my idea to include other activities. What about a little mindfulness meditation to relax? Maybe squeeze in some time to read!

“I can’t wake up early. I’m not a morning person.” you say, still cuddling your blanket while you stand at the cash register buying coffee. “Nonsense!” I say. Anyone can be a morning person. It just takes a little work to get used to it. So how do I do it? No you won’t just be able to go to sleep earlier since it’s not really your schedule.

Wake up earlier than you want to by about 30 minutes. It’ll be difficult but you’ll survive. Go about your day as normal while enjoying that extra 30 minutes in the morning to make progress in whatever you want. Go about your day and then go to sleep a little earlier. Good chance it’ll be easier to sleep early this time around. Continue to inch yourself along until you’re waking up at the desired time.

It’s Ok to Change Your Mind

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Are you struggling with a goal? You keep putting it off that you make no progress on it? Does you feel guilty for not doing it but not guilty enough that you actually do it? Is the thing on your worktable just staring at you… watching you… expecting you…

Sometimes you embark on a goal with intent! You’re going to do this thing and it’s gonna be awesome. Then you start to run into a hurdle. Maybe you pass that hurdle or your struggle to get over it. Then another one pops up for you. Then another… and another… Does the final idea even seem like something  you still want? Here’s a test. If you accomplish the goal, will you feel a sense of pride and joy or will you feel a sense of relief? The former means you should keep working at it. The latter means you need to re-evaluate what your goals are.

I’ve gone through a lot of these kinds of things. I wanted to make furry stuff to make some cash and thought it would be a fun creative pursuit. I started making tails and making a little money from it. As time went on and I made more, I found it difficult to expand my designs and it appeared there was less interest in my tails. I exhausted the small pool of furries who wanted very basic and cheap tails. Eventually, I took the tails I couldn’t sell and gave them out at the next furry meet so at least they didn’t go to waste and some people were thankful. It never truly bothered me. I have my own career and the tails were side-money but at least I sold a few, learned quite a bit, and people were happy to have some free tails. What had bothered me was having them around for so long!

Much later, I decided pre-made partials were worth a shot. I knew about sewing and cutting fur already so I wanted to build on that. Only problem was I had no idea where to start with foam. I hung out with fursuit makers, gleaning what little advice I could. Then I started going for it. I cut up foam, tried to shape it as best I could. I spent probably 10 hours just on shaping the foam. I probably spent 15 hours on figuring out how to make handpaws. I learned a lot more about these things. However, it was starting to drag on and become even more difficult. The time invested into it was looking really bad for how much money I thought I could get from it. Even if I did finish this goal, I wasn’t going to feel great. I sure wasn’t going to put myself through this again to make another one!

Time is not a chain

Just because you’ve invested a lot of time into something doesn’t mean you should stick it out. It’s the equivalent of “throwing good money after bad.” An example is the game Paragon. They invested a lot into it but it flopped to the competition. They invested more into it to try to distinguish themselves and kept things running as long as they could. Eventually they couldn’t do it anymore and the best they could do with their 12 million dollar investment is earn some brownie points with the gaming community as they released all their assets for free to let other developers use them.

My point with that example is you’re spending your time on your goals. If your goal has lost all of its luster and no longer brings you any excitement, don’t stick it out just because you invested that time. Take what you learned and move on! You have my permission so don’t feel guilty either!

I do a lot of things and change my mind a lot!

Do you make a habit out of exploring a new thing and then you eventually decide it’s not for you? Do you hop from project to project, never finishing one? Some might say you’re undisciplined. That very well might be true but I think exploring and trying new things is incredibly important to personal growth and discovering what you want out of life. When you find what you really want to do, the hurdles won’t be obstacles. They’ll become challenges. It won’t be easy but keep thinking about that awesome goal until your eyes sparkle and stay productive!

I would much rather you be productive at something you enjoy that forcing yourself to be productive at something you hate!

So What Is Your Goal? Why?

What a great week! Now that you have some energy from the last post, what are you going to do with it? Let’s have a chat about goals, fuzzbutts!

Goals are important. They give you something to work toward. Without goals, it’s easy to just exist which, more often than not, will then lead into depression as you unwittingly stunt your personal growth. It’s not just the having of goals that will provide a sense of fulfillment, but you need to work toward them. So we have to be productive!

So how do we set goals? Most will refer to SMART goals. Specific, as in there is a specific think you want to accomplish. Measurable so there is some actual way to prove you accomplished your goal. Actionable, meaning there are very specific things you can do to get you to your goal. Reasonable goals mean you can actually get it done. Time-specific, meaning you need to set a deadline for yourself to get this goal done which puts a little pressure.

An example of building a smart goal:

I want to get better at drawing. That is the specific goal I want. How do I determine if I’m better at drawing? It’s a skill that is constantly developed so it’s not like there’s some sort of ending to it. To make this goal measurable, I’ll rely on the opinions of others and decide that I’ll be better at drawing once I post an art piece that gets 30 favorites on FA (which gives an idea of how good I am at drawing). Once I hit 30 favorites, I’ll consider the goal accomplished. Is it actionable? Of course! I need to post something on FA that will get 30 faves. Is it reasonable? I’ve gotten 20 faves on a piece before so 30 does seem reasonable. Do I have a deadline for this? I’ll give myself 6 months from now. Now let’s put it together:

I will become better at drawing by posting more art and get 30 favorites on a piece within the next six months.

That’s a solid goal. What happens after that goal is accomplished? I make another one if I want. Maybe go for 40 favorites or work on increasing my drawing speed or draw a certain number of backgrounds.

I want to add that not every goal has to be a SMART goal (but it helps). Sometimes you just want those 30 faves but don’t want to set a deadline. The deadline helps add pressure  to keep you going but if you’re not concerned about how long it takes (so long as you’re putting in the work), then alright.

Have your goal now? Do you know why you have this goal?

Goals are easy to set but it’s hard to stick with them sometimes. What’s most important is knowing why you want this goal. Do your reasons for this goal outweigh the reasons why you haven’t been working on this goal? Saying “I want to get good at drawing or making fursuits just to make money” is a sure way to exhaust yourself when you know you dislike sewing, working with hot glue, or sitting for long periods of time. You may stick with it for a while but burn-out is looming around the corner. To help avoid burning out, make sure your life is balanced and enjoyable (Work Hard, Play Hard philosophy). Your reason for your goal must be your own. Trying to change something about yourself purely for the sake of others will not lead to meaningful, lasting change.

How many goals do you have?

“Hey Wuffles! I already have a ton of goals I’m working on!” you say. “That’s nice but not very useful.” I say as I pat you on the head. Yes you can easily set too many goals. Goals require attention and work and if you have too many at once, it’ll take way too long before you check even the easiest goal off your list. Narrow down what’s on your list and prioritize. You should have maybe 2 big goals you’re working on. Goals are supposed to be reasonable, not simple. Why 2 and not just 1? Because sometimes we enter a waiting period. Making a fursuit was your goal but you ran out of a certain color of faux fur and realized you had to order more which won’t arrive for a few days. Well now you have your second goal to work on while you wait (Read that book that’s been collecting dust on my shelf for the past 2 years or spend that time exercising).

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Assuming you have a SMART goal, you determined your goal is actionable. I’ll keep with my goal of trying to reach 30 faves. So what is the action? I need to post something that gets 30 faves on FA. So how does that work? I need to post better quality art and more of it until I come up with a successful piece. Well how can I do that? I need to spend more time drawing each week, include backgrounds to make the scene alive, and add more variety to what I draw like different characters, angles, poses, etc. I can probably stop there but let’s keep cutting up this elephant into smaller bites: Spend more time drawing how? Dedicate at least 4 hours a week to just drawing. How are you going to include backgrounds? Practice drawing scenery and landscapes so I learn more about perspective and how to place things. How are you going to add variety? Draw character gift art for friends, artists I like, or just fan art of shows, etc. Google up photos that have different perspectives and poses and do my best to imitate it until perspectives feel natural. That is my new plan. Also, maybe 30 faves requires me to draw more than 4 hours a week but the point is to have a plan. You are free to adjust your goals and plans

My goal is to get better at drawing. I could accomplish the measurable part of my goal by just trying to be better at marketing myself as an artist or begging for faves  (which could also technically be broken down into many, smaller tasks) until I had my 30 but my specific goal is to get better at drawing.

I’d love to hear your goal!

Come up with a goal after reading this post? I want to hear about it, fuzzbutt! Click the Contact Wuffles link to the left and tell me about it! I’ll do my best to respond!