Wednesday Tailtip: Even More Online Courses

Hi fuzzbutts!

I’ve mentioned online courses before. There’s things like Coursera which aren’t accredited courses but will teach you a variety of skills. I like Coursera since just about every single class is completely free (unless you want to pay a fee for it to show up on your transcripts and your LinkedIn profile). There’s also lots of stuff on youtube from a wide swath of people so you can try to find somebody who trains well. The only disadvantage to Youtube is that ANYONE submits stuff and some teachers are much better than others in terms of both content quantity and quality.

One site I recently discovered is Udemy. I had heard of it before but I decided to check it out yesterday and saw some courses have dozens of hours of content, lots of positive reviews, and were dirt cheap ($12 for a 70 hours course). Then I realized this was a site-wide sale for yesterday and today. What luck! I bought like 9 courses, some related to my professional development and others related to my personal goals like drawing and singing (Did I ever mention I’d like to get better at singing? Not a specific goal but an overall thing I like I try sometimes). I assume the majority of people who read my blog might not catch this particular sale by the time they read this but I wanted to put this out there as an option since I’m now going to keep Udemy on my radar for future sales and courses I might want to take.

In other news, it’s a week late but I’m happy to report that my latest digital artwork I submitted on FurAffinity reached 34 favorites, finally reaching my goal of reaching 30 faves with one of my art pieces. Heck I also got 4 watchers after posting that one too! I want to keep improving my art so I’ll set up a new SMART goal for my drawing goals!

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!

Wednesday Tailtip: Remembering from the Beginning!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Today I wanted to let you know that it’s important to go over your goals and why you’re going for them even after you’ve been working on them for a while!

On my last post, I put up an example of sorting myself out with RP. The thing I didn’t actually expect was the sudden rush of motivation and a renewed sense of “Finish those darn tails!” That inspired this post!

Sometimes, as you work real hard on something, you might remember a little bit of the why but the negatives start to outweigh the positives. This is the resistance that starts to slow you down and makes it tough to finish. When it starts to get pretty heavy and you have trouble finishing these tasks, you should pause and review. Imagine you quit your goal already and now you’re reviewing whether or not to make it a goal again.

If you were to continue working on this goal, weigh your why against the actions you need to finish and what the problems are that you’re going to have to overcome to finish the goal. In the tails example, I already put a lot of work into it so there’s definitely not as much work left compared to when I first started. I also wanted to finish just from the sheer amount of work I already invested into it (not the best reason), and the money I can make from selling the finished tails. I also realized I was actually putting off my own goal by focusing on other stuff but still feeling guilty for putting it off at all. Actually writing this out and getting my head on straight again was like breaking through a wall I had unknowingly built. Once I was through that, the work came easy again.

So try it with your own goals if you notice you’re not doing as well as you can. Maybe you just need a refreshing on the pros and cons of your goals to get you moving again!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

RP to Straighten out your Thoughts

Good morning, fuzzbutts!

Sorry for the late update. It’s been pretty busy lately with a sick doggo, fumigating the home, yard work and painting. It’s been super productive but I let myself be late with this post. The good news is I got a lot of stuff done and learned a bit more about my goals and what I want to do.

Speaking of sorting things out, I’ve been trying a new technique to get myself out of my own way. If you’re not the biggest fan of journaling to write down everything and sort yourself out, you might want to try running through some roleplay in your head instead.

To do this, close your eyes and imagine your fursona feeling the way you do right now. Then, place them in a situation that can be similar to your own. Then it’s time for you to picture and imagine how they would deal with it or have them talk out whatever is going on with another fursona. Here’s an example where I felt like something was wrong but couldn’t figure out why:

Kulkun, a wuff, is pouring over notes on his desk at the lab. He looks bored, or maybe unhappily busy. Everything is quiet in the office until Kaliki, a rabbit, walks into the office with a stack of papers and drops the heavy stack onto another table. She seems frustrated or maybe a little irritated.

“Am I screwing up? I feel like I screwing up something.” Kulkun asks, still staring at a page of notes. Kaliki sighs and turns toward Kulkun.

“You’re not screwing up anything in particular. You’re just not doing the things we should be doing.” Kaliki responds. “You’ve been picking too many projects and a lot of them aren’t even what we started all this for. The dye project isn’t even worth it.”

“The dye cost me enough money I don’t want to abandon the project. It’ll get finished soon.”

“Soon? You’re not working on it, though. You need to either dump it or finish it so we can get to work on something else. That dye program is eating way too much time and causing us a lot of trouble. You don’t work on it because you don’t want to. We need to get back on track.”

“Look, it was expensive and we can still make the money back and then some. So we should work on it and get it done.” Kulkun says stubbornly, standing up. Kaliki folds her arms across her chest, one ear perking up.

“So when? We have to get focused.”

“Now. Every day until we get it done. I’m sorry for not focusing on this and putting you through this. We really should get back to having fun and enjoying the work we do.” Kulkun says, speaking with a bit more resolve. Kaliki perks up a little bit, both of their moods improving.

“Ok. Let’s do it.”

Alright so that was useful and let’s review. I felt like something was wrong. I couldn’t really pinpoint it. Both of my characters were feeling the same thing but by asking Kaliki, the overall issue of “I’m doing too many things” surfaced with one in particular standing out as a bad project. In my real life case, it was making tails for extra cash. There’s resistance to dropping it from my life because I threw so much money into it (Sunk-cost fallacy of throwing good time and money after bad. I’ve discussed this concept in the past). Still, I confronted the fact it’s not a good thing to work on and that I haven’t been seriously trying to get it done, letting it bother me instead. In the end, I realized I need to get focused and spend time every day on it to finish it. I entered this exercise just feeling like something was wrong or I was doing something wrong and came out of it with a plan!

Give this a shot to address how you feel or how you need to approach something or to approach your mood and why you feel certain ways. I haven’t decided if this is more effective than journaling but it’s definitely a bit more fun!

Good luck, 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: Site Blockers

Hello fuzzbutts!

Hope you’re all doing well. It’s a beautiful September Wednesday where I am and I hope you’re enjoying the weather wherever you are.

Today, I wanted to let you know about one small thing I use for productivity. I find it way too easy to look up good ole Google News, browse the stories, and end up spending way too much time in the comments section. Not just there, but also websites like buzzfeed or those slide-show websites that tell stories one picture at a time while flashing a million ads around the page. I don’t recall the last time I actually got anything useful out of those websites yet I kept clicking on them.

To overcome this distraction, I installed a simple extension in Google Chrome that lets me block websites. I block google news and I block any websites that do the slideshow thing. I still have the news on my phone so if I really need to read something, Ican force myself to do so on my small phone screen but I’m far less tempted to do so compared to my large monitor screen. At work, I still sometimes mindlessly click the google news shortcut and end up looking at the BlockSite screen. The moment that blocked notice comes up, I shake it off and go back to work. Same at home. I start getting distracted by something, see the blocksite screen, then go back to whatever I was working on, drawing, or learning.

If you can get as distracted as me, consider just cutting off everything that doesn’t serve you. Install something like Blocksite, add some websites to it that eat your productivity, and the stay on track!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Silence the Negative Voices

Good morning fuzzbutts!

If you’ve been around here for a little while, you probably have a couple of good goals set up for yourself. You started putting in the work, pushing yourself to get those goals. You probably told some people, feeling pretty proud. They might have been happy for you. Then again, maybe they tried to talk you out of it.

Today I want you to protect your goals and dreams. There will be a million excuses to stop, sometimes all told to you by one or two of your friends and family. If you’re not careful, your big dream will become “too big” for you. People might mean well but they don’t know your life or hopes as well as you do.

So what happens when the outside world tries to “help” you by killing your dream? You cut them off from it. Don’t bring it up to them, don’t talk about your dreams to them, and don’t let them bring it up either. They might even ask you to settle on your dream. You don’t have to lose 50 lbs, you already did 20 lbs and you look great! No. You set your real goal already. Keep up the good work and keep the goal in your heart.

Watch your own inner voice too. When things get hard, you might go back to your default excuse of missing out on time or doubting your ability. I’ve heard so many people make excuses to avoid their dream job, as if it takes luck more than anything. One example is a non-fuzzbutt friend of mine wants to play guitar covers for recording studios. I’m not personally clear or what exactly it is. They make good money and it’s super fun, he says. “Why don’t you do it?”, I ask. “Well I need to learn sheet music and it’s about who you know.” is their excuse. So what? Sheet music isn’t so crazy once you get started, you know how to play guitar, and if it’s about who you know then try to meet those people. But nope! This guy has let his inner voice convince himself that his dream is impossible. It doesn’t matter that other people are living that dream and they had to learn sheet music and make connections. It’s impossible.

Don’t do that. You can do the thing. There’s no good reason to NOT pursue your dreams. If you put in the effort, you’ll run into some hurdles but you can overcome them as long as you stay on track and diligent. Don’t let anyone, least of all yourself, talk you out of your dreams or let you think you can’t really do it. You don’t have 1000 years to get your head in the game so let’s get moving!

Good luck out there, fuzzbutts!

Goal Check in

Hello fuzzbutts!

This week I wanted us all to check in on how we’re doing with our goals! If you were around or scrolled back enough to some of the early posts in this blog, you might remember me going through the process of writing down a smart goal. That goal was to draw something good enough for 30 faves on furaffinity within 6 months. With the mid-September deadline looming closer, it’s time to see how I’ve been doing!

Close but not quite yet. My most popular image in those six months is a recent one that, at the time of this post, has 28 faves. There’s a chance this still might hit 30 before the deadline but I’m having fun with drawing on my tablet so there’s no reason to quit. Besides! If I quit after 30 likes, then what was the point of making this a serious goal that I care about?

The Review

Let’s go over how I’ve done with an honest self-assessment on how hard I worked toward this goal. Could it have gone better? Yeah. The whole moving back in with family thing definitely impacted my ability to sit down and draw. Even then, however, I wasn’t the greatest at sitting down after work and drawing either. I usually left work with very little motivation to do stuff so I wasn’t fulfilling my “Draw X hours per week” action item.

So what didn’t work? Waiting until after work. What does work? Drawing in the morning before I hit the gym and then go to work. My mind is in such a better place in the mornings that I can accomplish it. Also, streaming online with friends is a good way to keep me drawing since I don’t want to be the furst to cut out of the stream and I like chatting with pals (partially solving my laziness issues after work). Also, drawing with my new Huion GT-220 has felt much less frustrating than previous tablets and even better than sketching in a notepad since I can zoom in and make endless lines until I have the one I want as opposed to erasing like crazy and risking ruining the rest of the image.

So I still have time to draw up some art to reach my goal. In the meantime, I’ve posted up much more art than I have in previous years, I’ve gotten many new followers, I have a better relationship with my artist friends who I hang with more now, and I know myself better in how I operate effectively.

So do your own self-reviews, check your goals, and see how you can do better!

Good luck out there, fuzzbutts!

Being Pawsitive!

Good morning Fuzzbutts!

One thing I keep seeing furries do on social media like Twitter or Ferzu, is furries just begging for compliments, posting about how depressed or lonely they are, or even going as far as to wonder aloud to a bunch of strangers whether anyone would notice if they were gone. I swear my head wants to slam on the desk every time I see these posts. It’s not unexpected- we’re a huge bunch of social misfits who dress up in animal costumes to have fun! Still, don’t publicize your negative mood and expect anything other than pity responses to help you feel better. Pity responses help you feel better until you reach the end of the response. Then you’re back to waiting for other pity posts. Worse, if nobody responds to it, you end up making yourself feel even more badly!

I don’t recall anyone I’ve met and had a good, lasting relationship with so long as I was sad or seeking attention by being negative. I haven’t seen anyone create strong bonds through it either. We’ve got to do a better job of presenting ourselves in a positive light if we want to attract the best people. So how do we get out of a bad funk that isn’t an actual chemical imbalance?

Help people! Not just other furries but anyone. You need to find a way to be positive. For all those “Would anyone notice if I’m gone?” posts I see, I silently ask “Well do you do anything that others will remember you? Why would they notice if you’re gone if you spend your life living in your head? Why is it so important to be remembered anyway so long as YOU know you’re doing something important?”

Find a charitable cause you support and toss a small gift to them. Doesn’t have to be a huge gift. Also give it somewhere it will be appreciated. I’ve met fuzzbutts who just want hand-outs and then don’t appreciate what they receive, if anything. I donate toys or cash to a children’s hospital where the proceeds go to buying supplies and toys for kids who may be at the lowest point of their lives. I’ve never met a single child there (medical privacy and all) but I know those kids need some help after all the times going into there and find the donation bin was empty until I showed up.

Sadly, not everyone will be in the right frame of mind when you’re trying to help. Learn to recognize when people genuinely want help or when they just want to complain. The former is somebody to interact with while the latter will drag you down. Protect yourself from the drainers and meet the great fuzzbutts in the fandom.

I’ve met more cool people in this fandom by being a “cool dude” according to them, being a positive and optimistic person. I like to start by believing the best in the new people I meet and keep habits in my life that focus on others and trying to be helpful. Whenever I feel bad, I don’t post it for the world to see unless I’m also posting a solution to the problem. If you want to improve your life and feel better, start reaching out more in service of others and not to beg. You’ll feel better and more productive with your life!

Good luck fuzzbutts!