Rough Times Habits

Rough Times Habits

Rough Times Habits

Two Rough Times Habits that can help you next time the (insert expletive) hits the fan – based on my personal experience.

Habits for Getting Through Rough Times

In case you haven’t met me in person or have the observational skills of a rock, you might think that as the founder of CUTESolutions – The Habit Company, I’ve got it all figured out. For the record, I don’t.

My life has become this one big ‘I don’t know’. Stole that from Pinterest, but that’s beside the point, the point is that it’s true. I’ve always felt more comfortable assuming that I ‘knew’: knew who I was, what I stood for, where I was going and especially how to get there. In fact, I built a successful business based on the assumption that with the right habits you can get there. And call it hubris, because it was, but I felt pretty damn sure that I was ‘there’. There were plenty of good times with friends and family. I was meditating and going to the gym 3 times a week. Work was going well and I was eating healthy 70% of the time.

Ya think so

But a few months ago life hit me. The mean ‘Ya think so?!’ kind of punch in the stomach. In one of my favorite reads of the past year ‘Dropping Ashes on The Buddha, the buddhist teacher hits his students with a stick or shouts ‘katz’ to smack them out of their ‘mind’ and make them see things as they really are. Although over-sharing is definitely one of my bad habits, I’m not going to go into detail here, but let’s leave it at that as the result of my own katz-moment, I experienced more sadness and anxiety than ever before in my life. I’m starting to believe that if we’re fortunate to live long enough, we are all going to learn the same lessons. We all have these ‘katz’ moments that teach us that change is constant. We really don’t know anything. Self-love and joy are everything. We will all grow old and die. We are all connected and that now is all we will ever have. Some people get sick, lose their jobs or worse, their loved ones. And I empathize now on a deeper level than I ever could before. I apologize to everyone I’ve ever said ‘Everything’s going to be ok’ to before. And I thank you for not slapping me in the face even though I deserved it. Not that it isn’t true, I still believe that. But I had no idea of the struggle you were going through to get there. I’m sorry.

Rough Times Habits

Now this isn’t going to be a story about how dramatic my life was and how I impressively turned it around and am now in this amazing place. Quite honestly, in some important ways, it’s still a mess and I wish it wasn’t. This is meant to be an honest account of the two key habits that have really helped me through and made me stronger.

Habit 1: I Do Everything with Intention and Like I Mean It

I have been into meditation, yoga and self-reflection practices for years. As a pussy. I now realize that. I would set intentions like ‘I want to feel more connected’, ‘I want to live more in the moment’, ‘I want to be kinder to myself’, but I would do it in a noncommittal way, the way you make a wish when you blow away an eyelash, but without a clue of the growing pains that it’s actually going to take. Now there was the necessity to mean it. It was that or losing it all together. I now set an intention for my day or practice and I mean it. I commit. If I say I’m going to love myself, I do it with all my heart. With as much care as I would for my sister’s twins whom I love more than anything. I would never talk to them as harsh as I do to myself and I wouldn’t keep them up binge-watching Youtube when they really need sleep. And if they told me they have a sadness in their heart, I would listen to them and take them into my arms instead of telling them to suck it up and have a glass of champagne. Also, because they’re just four years old, but still. I tell myself over and over until I fall asleep “I love you, Sarah, I really really love you.” That might sound dramatic, but I make sure to feel with all my heart that I mean it.

Habit 2: I Focus on What I Want

After the katz mercilessly threw me out of my state of ‘sleep-walking-kind-of-happiness’ as my therapist likes to call it, for a few months I was mainly focused on what I had lost.

I had lost my sense of security and certainty. Even the absolute certainty I had always felt about ‘when you die, that’s it’ was gone and I dreaded having to go through this shit for many more lives to come. I had lost trust in my own capacity to make decisions and when you start doubting your life and your own thinking, you’re much more susceptible to the advice of others. And everyone is trying to be helpful in sharing their opinion, but in the end, I had to find my truth. It’s my life. But to find this, I started to realize that I would have to focus on what it is that I want, not on what I had lost. For someone who has a hard time deciding between having a veggie rice curry or a burger, this proved to be my biggest challenge yet.

As synchronicity would have it, at the same time this realization started to manifest itself, a dear friend recommended me the work of Dr. Wayne Dyer, who is the author of the book ‘Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life’. Every word he said made so much sense to me, you cannot attract into your life what your energy is not aligned with. To put it extreme, if you give in to your fear of flying, you’re not going to experience the wonders of travel. I am now very cautious about every conversation I have with myself or with others, because I now understand that ‘You are what you think about’. If I think and talk about what is missing, this is what continues to expand. Pain needs pain to survive and I noticed that I was starting to attract more of it instead of what I wanted – joy! What you give energy, grows.

Rough Times HabitsWhat-you-want journal

And I now focus on what it is that I want. Which as it turns out is probably the hardest thing to figure out, because sometimes the heart knows what the mind cannot explain and on the other hand, the heart cannot always be trusted. What I find most helpful here, is picking up a practice I started many years ago and that was passed on to me from an ayurvedic doctor-surgeon Dr. Dwaraka that he had learnt in an Indian monastery that has been studying happiness for generations. The practice is simple: you divide your journal in to 3 parts: what you want on the short term (now – 2 years), what you want in de middle-long term (2 years – 15 years) and what you want on the long term (15 years +). Every day, you note down everything that it is that you want, even if it’s seeing your dead grandmother again (yes, I did check this). And once a week, you do a review and check off everything that has happened and cross out anything that didn’t. I was foolish to stop this practice when everything seemed to be going perfectly in my life. But now I picked it up again, because I know how powerful it is. Try it, you’ll see what happens.

So what’s next? I don’t know. But I trust again that good times, adventures, exciting things and love are on its way. Life happens for us, not to us. I hope this has been useful to you in some way. I wish you not too many katz-moments – but just enough – and good fortune.

These resources inspired me to understand and finetune these rough times habits.

Habit 1: I Do Everything with Intention and Like I Mean It
Habit 2: I Focus on What I Want


Good luck with those new rough times habits. (Which of course I hope you don’t need right now!)

Sarah (CEO, owner CUTESolutions)

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