Don’t let good habits fall off!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Ever start doing something smart and you’re able to keep it up for quite a while and then it just kinda… fades away? Like it was automatic for a while and now you just… don’t?

Well, as mentioned before, I moved. One thing I just noticed is that I no longer automate some of my daily tasks. One example would be how I choose my shirt in the morning to go to work. I go to my closet, grab the shirt further to my right, and that’s the shirt. If I don’t like the shirt, I leave it there and I grab the next one. If the next day I still don’t like the shirt, then I toss it into a bin for my rare trips to the Goodwill. I don’t know why but that was something I had stopped doing after arranging my new closet. So, starting tomorrow morning, I’m going to get back to doing that!

A couple of other small things fell by the wayside too which I’m going to re-institute in my life. It’s the small things that add up to significant change. Likewise, it’s the small things that also add up to being a big hindrance to the life we want to live.

So what’s something you used to do that was a positive in your life that has somehow faded back? Grab a piece of paper and search your mind. Maybe you used to go for walks and just stopped because life started getting busy. You were eating better than you used to but then gradually went back to your old ways. Maybe you regularly meditated or prayed and now you’re lucky to remember to do it once a week. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just start slow again and get back on. It’s like riding a bicycle. You might wobble a bit as you try to build up the habit again but you’ll be back on it in no time and you’ll be working towards those goals.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

How to read books OR You should just read more books!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Happy to have you here tonight because up next is a topic I hold as something that everyone should be doing more of: Reading!

I don’t have time for books, you think to yourself, probably muttering a swear as you read this article.

I disagree! If you spend time in the car listening to endless commercials on the radio or if you enjoy some downtime listening to something in your headphones, you have time to read a book. The trick is finding audio versions!

I’ve stated before that I love listening to books. I tend to be terrible about sitting down and reading. Even worse, if I hate the book, I sit there hating the book and finding it even more difficult to sit down and get through it. I mean, I can’t possible put it down and get another book. I HAVE to finish this terrible book.

Please keep in mind that bad books don’t have to be finished. You should be enjoying your reading experience. If the book is bad, just cut it off and toss it away. You don’t have to try to power through it. If you can read 3 good books in the time it takes you to read 1 bad book, that’s nothing to feel guilty about! Make sure you’re having fun with what you’re reading. Doing that, you’ll be able to do much more.

So WHY should you read more books? Whatever you’re reading, you can benefit from it. If it’s non-fiction, you’re learning something whether it’s straight facts or, in the case of a biography, what led to that person being a success or failure including their personality. If you’re reading fiction, you’re reading about the various moral choices a character may undergo and the worlds those authors created can stimulate your creativity. You will benefit by opening yourself up to new knowledge and experience.

I hope this helps you understand the How and the Why of you should be reading more books and take the time to pick up something you like!

Good luck Fuzzbutts!

Choosing your Challenges

Good morning, Fuzzbutts!

I believe in the importance of challenging yourself to experience growth. It could be a physical challenge to get healthier or stronger, or it could be a drawing challenge. Maybe it’s something that just challenges your discipline like picking a time to sleep every night.

Choosing a challenge is like choosing a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-based). The only real difference between a goal and a challenge is that a challenge is designed to stretch yourself regardless if you accomplish it. If you exercise, maybe the challenge is to eat less sweets. If you draw, maybe it’s to try new poses or draw a subject you don’t usually draw. If you’re not the spontaneous type and want to be more-so,

You already know the areas of your life that could use some work. It’s the part about yourself that you routinely think about throughout your day. A random thought will pop into your head like I’m always tired; I want to be drawing right now; I should finish blank. Based on these thoughts, you can pick a challenge around it. I tend to be tired a lot.  So what would the challenge be? Improving my sleep. How do I improve my sleep? Better diet? More exercise? Meditate to reduce stress before bed? How long do I practice this for? 30 days? A couple weeks?

I hope you’re able to identify the areas you should challenge yourself in and pick out something you can do to improve yourself. There’s never been a good story without some sort of challenge arising for the main character. If you’re the main character, what’s the challenge you’re going to face?

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Next Level of Life

Hello fuzzbutts!

I am not only a productive wuff, I also happen to be a homeowner now! I’ve spent the past couple of weeks closing the deal and then the last week moving my stuff over and settling in. What a stressful time! It was the stress where you pray it ends NOW but you’re putting up with it because you’re excited for when it’s over. Huge shout out to my folks for helping me make this happen.

So what’s next? I spent the past few years saving and doing my best to afford this home. Now the money I pay is not really lost value and I can use whatever I have for other things. Well, first is to establish my emergency savings again. I dipped into it for the down payment but I need to re-establish the safety net. After that, I need to fill my new home with some furniture that I want and will use and can entertain guests (I own one chair). Then I’ll start saving for conventions and going out to other things more. Just need to set some goals to make it happen!

Part of this moving process is, again, a chance to declutter! I’ve moved everything I could and then some from my folk’s home and now I can toss or donate whatever I’m not using. Old tablet and stylus I never used? Out the door! Karate trophies from when I was 11 or 12? Bye! I can decorate everything exactly how I want and make it a good den for a good wuff.

It really does feel like a new stage in my own life and I hope to maintain being a productive wuff, advancing in my career, and keeping you fuzzbutts along for the journey while providing value. I appreciate you all and keep an eye out for my next post!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Anxiety Overwhelming? How I dealt with a recent bad patch.

Good morning, fuzzbutts!

Been a busy couple of weeks for me. The job has been working me hard. I’m trying to close a deal on a home. I’ve been talking to various parties on how to get this home purchase done. I’m trying to find the time to draw. I’m working around my folks’ home to improve the place as much as possible before I move (landscaping mostly). I’ve been sleeping really lousy and I noticed I’m starting to get a little shaky in my hands sometimes. When I flop into bed at night, my heart starts to pound and, in spite of how tired I feel, I can’t fall asleep for a long while. When I do sleep lately, I wake up 2-3 times in the middle of the night. Gee whiz! How could anyone not feel so stressed?

The first thing I had to do was realized I was stressed. Not just temporary quick stress but prolonged, untreated stress. Even though I knew I was tired and not sleeping well, it was tough to recognize I was stressed. Once I knew I was really stressed out, I had to figure out why I was stressing. I tallied up the reasons why I was stressed and then needed a way to deal with it. Just diagnosing all of this took a lot of processing.

So what did I do? Normally, sleeping better would be the first step. In spite of trying to sleep better, I wasn’t able to stop waking up in the middle of the night. It was worsening a difficult situation but it wasn’t the cause of my stress. Normally I get stressed due to a lack of sleep but this was me lacking sleep due to stress. I had other things to focus on if I wanted to improve my sleep.

One, I had to stop trying to rush the process on the home buying. Yes, a labor day weekend to move all my stuff and settle in would be nice. No, I can’t actually rush through the paperwork and get all parties to sign it immediately. No it’s not so bad to only have a two-day weekend to move my stuff. Yes I am excited to move into my own home. No, I don’t have to keep talking about moving to everyone or asking for random advice.

Two, just because I was moving didn’t mean I had to rush fixing up the folks’ home. I wasn’t moving super far and would still have weekends to help out if my parents need it. It’s physically demanding enough without me forcing it to happen with everything else going on.

Finding time to draw turned out to be one of the easier things to resolve. During lunch at work, I eat my meal and head to my car. I brave the heat to sit in my car and draw for a while. I don’t care to have coworkers see my furry art and I’d rather keep my time after work to hit the gym. Still, I find this time of the day to give me the least amount of mental resistance and I sometimes surprise myself with a quality piece I enjoyed making.

As far as work, I decided to pace myself better. I have some control of my time and I had been rushing to get as much done in as short a time as possible. If I schedule appropriately, I can get everything done without running around like a wuff with his head cut off. Also, while scheduling my own work, I volunteered any free time between tasks to helping others get their own work done. One of the most satisfying evenings was helping somebody who had to work extra late and save them a few hours of time. Getting out of my head and dedicating a few hours to helping somebody was so helpful.

Last night was the first night in a while I slept well. It’s not like the stress magically went away. It’s still there. I’m still dealing with it but it’s manageable again. Much of the rest will go away with time and once I get through the situation with moving and home purchasing. I also enjoy the thought that my commute will drop by more than half and I’ll have way more free time overall. Things are looking up, even if I got pretty down recently.

Notifications? More like NOPEifications

Hello fuzzbutts!

If you survived my humor in the title, you probably know where I’m already going right now but it’s still important for you to hear.

Here we go. You settle in, start working on a project that you feel is important. Then there’s a familiar beep from your other brain- your phone. You pick it up, answer the message, then settle back to what you were about to do. Then they respond or ask something else, sending you another chime. You answer again, this time holding onto your phone for their inevitable response. As you’re waiting, you get another buzz and realize your favorite game of candy destruction has finished refilling your lives so you can try again now. So you’re waiting for your friend and start demolishing colorful candies since you know you won’t get any work done before your friend messages you back. An hour later, your friend is done, the lives are spent, and now the motivation is gone.

So how do we avoid these situations and stay on task? First, disable notifications for all your games and apps that are more entertaining than useful. The entire purpose of those notifications is to keep you engaged in the app and coming back to increase your chance of purchasing things. If it was really super fun, you wouldn’t need reminders to hop back into the game.

Next, use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone to silence any beeps and chimes from those texts. Unless you live in drama, there’s not going to be an emergency every time you’re working on a project and they can wait until you’re done and can check your phone.

Since I don’t get a lot of calls and texts, I leave my notifications on. If it’s something I’m really serious about, I’ll turn on DnD to make sure I’m not interrupted. As far as apps I allow for notifications, I leave on TimeTune since those keep me productive and thinking. If I do ever put a game on my phone, I make sure to shut off the ability to send notifications.

Anyway, I hope you continue to lead a distraction-free life and keep working on your goals! Keep up the good work, fuzzbutts!

Fall off the wagon? Time to get back on!

Hello fuzzbutts!

How’re those good habits coming along? Start drawing more? Eating better? Exercising more? All those good things? Did life get in the way?

Sometimes you’re eating better and then the convenience of lousy or fast food overtakes your new habit again and you’re back to eating some terrible food. You got active and healthier but then you got sick and had to stop. You’re all better now but it’s hard to start again and you feel like you’re starting from scratch again.

Well I have good news! Just because a good habit (or anything replacing a bad habit) has stopped doesn’t mean you’re starting from scratch again! Stopped exercising? You’re still healthier than you used to be and you know what to do the next time you hit the gym. Stopped drawing? Well all those extra hours or days of experience you built up before you stopped still have you as a better artist than before you got into the habit.

Imagine how awful it would be if you stopped drawing for a month and suddenly all your ability devolved to how good you were when you were 3Ick! 

So, since you were closer to your ideal life before, you just need to pick up the ball and run with it again. Resume working on those skills! Keep working on losing that weight! You’re further along than you think and you already did the hard work of starting the first time. Starting it up again will be easier this time. So dust off that list of good habits you stopped working on and give it another go!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Random Acts of Love

Hello fuzzbutts!

Tonight I wanted to talk about something I’ve been doing recently. Lately, I finally decided to take the pressure off myself as far as dating and enjoy my own company more while spending less time stressing about romance or being on the numerous apps I used. I noticed a shift in myself as I actually felt much more relaxed than I have in a while. More than that, I’ve found myself spreading this energy out to those around me and I feel like it’s been good for me and the responses I get make me feel even better.

Know anyone who creates? I happen to have friends who make a lot of art and also follow a ton of talented artists I’ve never spoken to. I happen to like their art. So why not tell them it’s great? Heck, if I get more than 20 favorites on a piece of art, I feel awesome. I feel even more awesome when people actually comment something positive on the piece. So how would they feel if I sent them a direct note? So that’s what I’ve been doing- Emailing, direct messaging, or noting the artists and creators once in a while that I appreciate their work and just how I think they’re so talented and amazing.

It’s a small gesture. It’s extremely small for something in a fandom where the content creators are really what drives the furry fandom. I feel the love of furry art, fursuits, and other media is what bring us furries together. The artistic world is full of self-doubt so you never know when an artist is feeling a little self-conscious or down on their abilities. So let them know you appreciate their work and how you feel about what they produce.

As a disclaimer, do not do this AND THEN ASK FOR SOMETHING. Nobody likes feeling manipulated and it undoes any good feeling the artist was getting from your compliment. It’s just a bad move and it’s not cool. Send a genuine compliment and just let them know you like their art.

You’re okay the way you are… or are you?

Hello fuzzbutts!

Happy to be here to bring you another post! Hope you’re all doing great. I’ve been having a good time but I’ve been thinking about something a lot of furries tend to do that pretty much self-sabotages us.

Something in life isn’t going the way we want. It might be something about the job or our bodies or something in our own behavior. We recognize there’s an issue and we get down on ourselves about it. Sometimes we share this with a friend. Our friend, well-meaning, responds with “You’re fine just the way you are.” You don’t actually feel any better about it, but you decide to push the problem away for now. Later, you’ll think about it again, seek validation that you’re still okay the way you are, and then avoid doing anything to help yourself.

However, if the problem is something that would improve the quality of your life like you want to get more fit, stand up for yourself more, be more patient with your friends, etc, then it’s a problem worth addressing. Blow up at somebody over something little? Overweight and think you need to get healthier? Feeling useless or like you’re a drag on your friends? Then you’re NOT OKAY THE WAY YOU ARE! You have some self-development to work on. Don’t let yourself settle for staying the same. You are the lead character of your own story and it’s a FACT that the best stories involve character development. I enjoy reading and nothing is more annoying than a main character who doesn’t evolve and grow as the story plays out. Same for movies. So many of the best stories involve a flawed main character who works to overcome their weakness and become the hero or heroine the observer can respect. That’s supposed to be YOU.

I want you to be the best you can be. I want to see you evolve and grow as people and fuzzbutts alike. You can’t do that if you stare at your own flaws and then say “Well I guess I’m fine the way I am.” Nobody is perfect and nobody will be perfect. On the flip-side, everyone can grow and do better.

Fall in love with your self-development. You know the things you’re doing wrong already. If you can’t think of it right now, stop for 2 minutes to think about it. You’ll come up with a pretty big list of things you could start to work on in very little time!

I love you and I want you to get on this journey to become the best you can be. Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Planning to get Unstuck

Hello Fuzzbutts!

One thing that has stuck out to me in some of the conversations with people I’ve met is how many of them seem to fall into a mindset that they are just stuck. They hate where they are but they can’t move from there because one of reason or another (usually it’s a job situation and they can’t move out of it because they need the job for money). Other times, it’s a weird relationship issue where they want to leave but they stay for whatever reason is most difficult for anyone else to understand.

While I can’t help so much on the relationship front, the job situation and the feeling of being stuck is something that can be dealt with. We feel helpless to the moment and the way we’ve led our lives that we’ve made mistakes along the way and don’t see any way out. We’re so busy we don’t think to take a breath and assess the situation. Yet, that’s exactly what we have to do. Take a step back and start reviewing where you are and where you want to be.

Have a lousy job and want to take on a job in a field you’re more interested in? Find what skills you’re lacking and start learning. I don’t get paid by Udemy but I love recommending their online courses. Computer skills, singing, drawing, whatever. You’ll learn more about the subject and learn if it’s something you actually want to do vs whatever you think it is. A computer job might sound lucrative and cozy but are you prepared to stare at hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code trying to fix whatever is broken with a deadline quickly approaching? Dip your toes into the water. If it’s fine, then start gaining the skills you need and make that transition. I know a couple of people who dropped out of college, got entry-level biotech jobs, and are doing great without a degree because they were determined to get their feet in the door and then picked up the skills they needed.

What if you’re stuck because you hate your job and don’t even know what to do? Well your problem is you don’t even know what you want to do. Start writing up a journal! Brainstorm like crazy on a sheet of paper about the possibilities. You don’t have to figure it out in one sitting. Every time you sit down and start popping off ideas, you might not know what you want to do but you’ll learn what you DON’T want to do. When you do figure out what you want to do, start assessing all the aspects of it and then weigh the pros and cons.

Say you want to make fursuits. Do you have the skills to make them to begin with? Can you afford all the materials to just get started? Do you have customer service skills appropriate for dealing with furries? Can you take criticism in case you get a bad review? Can you set up the boundaries necessary so you can do your job without being micromanaged by your customer while also make sure you can hold up your end of the deal? How much should you price your fursuits and accessories to be able to compete with better-known brands? How will you maintain your schedule and social media presence? Can you figure out a tracking system that won’t become a huge mess when you have a dozen orders or a long queue?

How about a non-furry related job? You want to work in electronics? What kind? Sound systems, displays, robotics, etc? Are you making things or repairing them? What companies would be interested in those skills? Are there any do-it-yourself projects you can do at home as examples to show off when you interview? Are there certifications you can acquire that would help you land work?

How about just stuck in your position at your current job? What does it take for a promotion? Is there a different career track at your company that they might even enable you to take? Are there other companies nearby that do the same sort of work but would give you new experience (and probably an increased income? Sometimes they will even if you end up with the same title)? Is it time to update the resume?

None of what I said matters until you can sit down and take the time to think about these things. You don’t need a lot of time. Take 10 minutes in the evenings or even during your break at work (just don’t show anyone at work you’re working on changing careers!). The point is you’re not stuck. You just need to settle your mind, take a breath and a step back, and review everything going on. You can come up with a plan and come up with a direction for your life. You’ll gain a sense of control almost right away as you shift gears and you’ll realize you can handle this.

Good luck fuzzbutts!