The 7 pillars of my theory of life

Geen categorie

The other day, my fiancé and I were high on Athletic Greens and on our daily walk. Somehow, we landed on the subject of purpose and our personal reason to live. Even though I don’t necessarily tie purpose and ‘the ideal life’ tightly together, we had a sudden urge to come up with ‘categories’ or ‘themes’ that add value to our lives. Categories which, if we would invest in each of them for the rest of our lives, would contribute to living a fulfilled and meaningful life. These are the categories that we came up with ‘to live a good life’.

1. Health/fitness

Being healthy is the first category because it is an presupposition of anything else in life, or to have a life at all. It is only when you have (a certain level of) your health, that you can think about the quality of your life, and how you want to live it.

Do you remember the Maslow-pyramid? If our basic needs aren’t met, and we worry about our health, we can’t think about or be bothered with any category that follows. So firstly: if you want a fulfilling life, invest in your health.

2. Relationships

Relationships (in the broadest way) are second, because we human beings are social creatures. We need each other to survive, to feel part of something bigger, to share with and learn from, and to be happy. Being lonely is literally unhealthy and life-defeating for human beings.

So whether you are an introvert or an extravert, in other to live a good life you need to have (some) meaningful relationships. This can vary from the love of your life, to colleagues or even distant acquaintances. Value what they add to your life, and invest the important relationships in your life.

3. Ethics

Another category that stems from the fact that we are social animals, is ethics. In order to live a fulfilling life, we need to have some sense that we are a good person or that we contribute to something bigger than ourselves. This is why altruism feels so good, and why helping others gives us a real sense of purpose.

So unless you are a psychopath (not even kidding), listen to your need to be good, to do good, and to therefore feel good. Get your values straight, and act in alignment with them (=integrity). In other words: invest in being a good person, at least the majority of your time.

4. Intellectual development

Intellectual development is a category that, in contrast to the previous one, does not rule out psychopaths. However, not everyone has a indefinite need for intellectual development in order to feel fulfilled. However, I would argue that development in the broader sense – i.e. forever learning, making progress – is something that is inherent to the human race.

If you don’t learn, you stay the same person forever. And you will rob yourself of many beautiful new insights, experiences, and knowledge life has to offer. So: keep learning, and tickle that brain every now and then. 🙂

5. Aesthetics

I know what you’re thinking: art and aesthetic experience is not essential for everyone. Not many people look at a painting or read a book and think: this just makes my life so much more fulfilling! However, I would argue that for human beings, aesthetics do have an important say in whether we are happy and live a meaningful life or not.

First of all, art is often seen as a way to understand (parts of) life in a different way than we are used to. In this way, art can contribute to category 4, 6 of 7. Secondly, art is a luxury: something many people only have time and energy for when everything else in their life is somewhat amazing. So, your interest for art can be a good indication that you’re on the right track.

Finally, aesthetic experience cannot only be found in art, but also in daily life, other people, or nature. The fact that we find some things way more beautiful than others, is deeply ingrained into the most primal parts of our brain. We are evolved to find things that help us survive (water, sunlight, colorful flowers and animals) literally more pretty than things that would hurt or kill us, because they represent prosperity.

Even though the need for this ability is a little outdated, you can use it to your advantage. Walk in nature more, enjoy a beautiful museum or a sunset, read a good book, and see how this seemingly shallow attraction makes your life more fulfilling.

6. Spirituality

Ok. This is a hard one. I do want to keep this one on the list, because spirituality adds meaning and fulfillment to many many lives. This can vary from traditional religion like Christianity or Islam, to new age or even merely believing ‘there is more to life’ or karma.

However, I don’t want to argue that you need to be spiritual person (in any way whatsoever) to live a good life. I don’t believe you’ll go to hell, and I don’t think (unless you feel it) that you miss out on a whole lot. Now that I have become more spiritual as a person, I do see how it adds great value to my life, and makes many things more easy, understandable or meaningful.

In that way, I would definitely say that I live a better life now than when I was younger (and more atheist, haha). I would also definitely say that I would miss out on one of the most valuable and important parts of life. But if you don’t feel the need for spirituality at all, and you are completely fulfilled without anything ‘woo woo’, please feel free and skip this category.

7. Joy

Joy is really the icing on the cake here – except for this cake, icing is quite essential because otherwise the taste will be quite bitter. You see, you can be super fit, have amazing relationships, be a good person, keep learning, have aesthetic experiences, and pray or meditate everyday. But if you’re not enjoying life, none of this really really feel as meaningful or fulfilling to you.

Even though I’m not a hedonist, and I definitely wouldn’t say that joy is the ultimate goal and purpose, I do think hedonist have a (small) point. None of the other categories will fulfill you if you don’t enjoy investing in them, or investing in them doesn’t bring you joy. A little fun (or better: a lot of it) is important to be able to keep up with these categories, and to feel fulfilled in the process.

Do you, like my fiancé feel a need to have certain categories in your life that you can work on? I think they can be very helpful to reflect on your life now and then, and see which categories you want or need more of. Let me know if this theory of life helps you out!

xx Coco

How to save valuable time by creating order

Geen categorie, Lifestyle 🏃🏼‍♀️

I’m not going to say I’m a super organised person, but since the horror-year of 2020 I have become one more and more. I figured that in order (ha!) to reach my goals and dreams, some organising my thoughts and planning ahead had to come into play.

Creating your dream life is simply much easier when everything is in order, and to me – also more fun. Because where order is created, space to do what you want and dream of is appears. And I find it more fulfilling to be productive and creative in an organised space, than in a chaotic one. So let’s find out how you can create more order in your chaos (if you want 😉 ).

Decide on priorities

First of all, a big realisation is that we have a limited amount of time and space, pretty much everywhere in our lives. There are only 24 hours in a day, and there’s only so much space in your home, there’s a limited amount of thoughts your brain can handle, and there’s an ending to your money, energy and focus. So: let’s set some priorities. This is a way of creating order in itself, but it can also help us focus on where the order needs to be first, and what we want to create this new time and space for!

What is really important to you? What are your core values? What is are your non-negotiables? What do you want less of and what do you want MORE of? These are where your focus needs to be, so everything else: Good riddance to bad rubbish! It will leave more time and space for the things you love, and will leave you to take good care of them (instead of clogging your brain with the non-important stuff).

Plan more – or everything

Planning is an allergy of many people, but to many more it’s a great way to make sure that they actually do what they want and aim for. Planning more (or I as would plead: almost everything) also saves you from having to remember a lot of small things, which again only clogs your brain and uses up your energy. Having to come-up-as-you-go, remembering many things at once, not knowing where the day, week or year will take you all make for a big chaos in your life. And they are all things that keep you in the here & now, without ever having time or energy to think about where you want to go.

So no matter which medium you use – an old-school agenda, Notion, your e-calendar, a (bullet)journal or many planners, sheets and stickers – plan the details, save yourself some time (and probably some energy, money and frustration) and be the creative, productive, impulsive, venturous version of you when it comes to the important stuff.

Wake up early & have a routine

One way to start (and keep!) your day in order is to wake up at a set time everyday, and to have a routine that makes you feel clear, focused and calm. It helps to wake up early, because as the rest of the world is still sleeping, you can have a little time for what you find important – and not your boss, partner, social circle – these are the priorities we talked about in the first paragraph!

Also, if you can check off a big part of your (pre-planned!) to-do list in the morning, you will feel like you have more time to breathe in the rest of the day, and you will feel more calm and organised. I also often clean or tidy the house in the morning, so I can start the day with order (literally), and no energy will be wasted on chaos right away.

Make order a habit

A very easy and simple way to become more organised, basically takes care of itself. If you try the tricks above for a few weeks, you will feel that you are more used to order and you like having things organised. You will automatically clean up more, look ahead more, and focus more on the things you really find important. This will slowly but surely bring order into everything you do, which will have positive effects on every area of your life.

When my life is in order, my brain is too: so I’m a nicer person, make smarter decisions, can fit more into my day, eat more healthy, and have more fun. This is not because I force myself to be this neat and organised person, but because having a clean and calm environment, agenda and mind has become my habit.

Make time and space for more order

So, this leaves me to question: where can you make time and space for more order? Start with the recurring parts of your life, and ideally the ones that mean most to you. Clean up that space you have to look at multiple hours a day. Do more time-management at work. Maybe you can do things in bulk, or already plan some things that will make your life easier in the near-future.

You can really plan everything: to social events, to self-care moments, wish lists, relationships, you can even plan in time to do nothing if you need to. Some areas where I created time and space for myself, by simply creating order, are:

  • I wrote all the important dates and birthdays at the start of my journal, so I can transfer them to my months, weeks and days. I also plan ahead to think of and buy presents.
  • I have a set list of certain things that are not hard, but important for me to do every week (such as cleaning my phone and earpods, doing my nails and buying groceries). I made this a checklist so I can check it off every week when I’ve done them, not because I otherwise forget, but to save myself the time from thinking whether and when I want to do them, and how I spend my spare time. I have already done these things by making the list.
  • I wrote all the important dates and birthdays at the start of my journal, so I can transfer them to my months, weeks and days. I also plan ahead to think of and buy presents.
  • I have a set list of certain things that are not hard, but important for me to do every week (such as cleaning my phone and earpods, doing my nails and buying groceries). I made this a checklist so I can check it off every week when I’ve done them, not because I otherwise forget, but to save myself the time from thinking whether and when I want to do them, and how I spend my spare time. I have already done these things by making the list.

Of course, these tips are meant to make your life easier and more fun, not you set you up with a hundred more things to do. If you focus on creating order once a week, or even once a month, it can already help you out tons. Don’t think that by prioritising, planning or having a routine, you can’t be impulsive or go off-track.

Because even if you do, you have still created time and space in your head for more important things in the meantime! Planning does not only work if you stick to it, it also helps to empty your brain right away. It is up to you if you want to keep yourself to your own agreements (spoiler: I think life gets even more amazing if you do).

How you feel about planning? I’d love you hear your thoughts on these tips!

xx Coco

Don’t believe everything you think

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One of my biggest interests within the area of self-development, is how to control your emotions. By this, I don’t mean: how to not feel anything, how to be a stoic, or how be more rational than emotional. I love having many emotions, and I think they are one of the most relevant and meaningful parts of life.

But they can also feel like a big burden, which gets in the way of manifesting your dream life. So, we might want to learn how to find a sweet spot here. A spot in which our thoughts really are the deal-breakers.

To me, the emotional sweet spot looks like this: I feel and experience as many emotions as I can, without trying to numb them down. But when I notice one (or some) really heavy, negative emotion(s) ruling a large part of my life, and causing negative effects in my behaviour (like acting on fear, insecurity or depression instead of love, abundance and inspiration), I try to change them into something more positive, or I try to make them less dominant. These are the insights that can help with this:

You are not your thoughts

The first step in having more control over your emotions, is realising that emotions are caused by thoughts. Some of these thoughts are very present, others have become so familiar that you’re not even aware of thinking them anymore.

Whichever thoughts cause your emotions, one way of gaining more power over them is realising that you are not your thoughts. For that matter: you are not your emotions either. You are not ‘what is thought’ or ‘what is felt’ – you are the thinker. You are the feeler. And the logical consequence of this, is that you can (and are allowed to!) step away from your thoughts, take a break from them, make some space between you and them.

Try to observe your thoughts and emotions from a distance, look at them as if you are looking at a distant movie screen, and decide to analyse and understand them or look away from them if you want to – because they are not your essence, and you are so much more.

We reason our way into ‘truths’

Another step in gaining more power over your emotions, is to understand that your reasoning or the thoughts that cause them can be faulty. We often overestimate how (and that!) we judge certain situations. We try to think for someone else, creatively fill in the gaps that someone or some event has left us, and reason our way into some explanation or deeper meaning as to why this certain thing – which caused certain thoughts and therefore certain emotions – happened to us.

However, we often forget that this whole chain of experiencing, interpreting/judging and feeling is in between the factual situation and how we suddenly feel. We experience negative emotions as a direct result of something that happened in our lives, while actually, they are the result of our reasoning about the thing that happened.

This makes you an actor, not a victim. And this is a good thing: once you see that you are actually the designer of your truths and emotions, not the actual thing that happened, everything changes.

Thoughts can stem from (ill-placed emotions)

Thoughts cause emotions, but certain emotions can also cause thoughts. Think about that time you broke up with your ex, and as a logical consequence, you missed them the weeks or months after. This feeling might have made you think that your ex was someone you should be with, someone really valuable to you, someone you needed in your life – why else would you miss them so much?

This is a fault we often make out of convenience, comfort and habit. Your feelings about a person (or situation, for that matter) are in no way connected to whether or not it is a good idea to have them in your life, you probably see that now in the case of your ex. What was ‘thinking’ here, was your fear of being alone, the emptiness inside you, the discomfort you felt from simply having to give up something that was safe and familiar to you.

But these thoughts don’t get to decide what is true: they are an ancient mechanism showing you the easy way, not the right way. And once you start listening to them, they cause new negative emotions, which in turn cause new negative thoughts. The same mechanism can happen when we experience fear, insecurity and depression, and start to listen to the thoughts they give rise to.

So what now?

Not everything we think is true. We know that now. But how do we deal with that? If our emotions are based on our thoughts, and we can’t be sure of our thoughts, how do we know what to feel? The point here is this. In many cases, we are actually very capable of judging whether or not a thought is true, and whether it is justified to tie certain emotions to them. Being more mindful and critical on your own thoughts already helps a lot in dealing with negative emotions.

But in the small percentage of cases in which we really have no idea what to think, we have to learn to be comfortable in the unknown. It is ok to not know everything, or to not know how you feel about something. It is ok to say: I don’t know enough of this person/situation/subject to judge it, and I will keep myself from feeling anything else than (calm) uncertainty about it.

At the end of the day, our thoughts and emotions are here to help us survive and thrive, to cater to our fulfilment and happiness – not the other way around. If you stop acting like a slave of your thoughts and emotions, and realise you are the actor and creator of your life, no matter what you think or how you feel, you will see that negative emotions will disappear slowly but surely. After all, we are thinkers and feelers – now let’s start enjoying that beautiful design.

xx Coco

So I finally read Psycho-Cybernetics

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For 2021, one of my goals is to read more (I mean, whose isn’t, right?). I aim for one book a month, which for a non-reader like me, is quite a commitment. One book I heard a lot about in podcasts was Psycho-Cybernetics, which apparently is a self-help classic from the ‘80s. Somewhere in January, my fiancé suddenly ordered it online, and so the universe had spoken: PC would be my February-read.

For starters, I have to admit my expectations were a little bit high. Once you’ve been in this selfrealization jazz for a while, it’s hard to find a book that blows your mind. So as I should’ve expected, this book didn’t. It didn’t leave me with many new insights or bright ideas. What it did do, however, was back up my already existing insights with some good psychological theory, and some good ol’ common – although very christian – sense. Here’s what the book taught me.

Our subconscious is a torpedo

The first thing PC thought me was that the subconscious (brain + nervous system) works pretty similar to a torpedo. Human beings overall learn stuff by aiming for a goal, striving like a rocket towards it, and correcting our errors and deviations as we go. Think of a young (still quite not self-aware) child learning how to walk: they stand up and fall down, stand up again and fall down again – learning from the errors what not to do, and learning from the successes what to repeat.

PC teaches how we can apply this principle consciously to our goals as well, and in that way, use our subconscious to our (planned or pointed) benefit. For example, imagine our goal is to lose a few pounds. If we admit and set this goal for ourselves, according to PC, our subconscious will unknowingly work towards this goal without you putting in a lot of effort.

Of course, the conscious mind has a say as well, so some work has to be done. In the case of losing weight, we shouldn’t eat donuts all the time and maybe exercise a little. But if we can believe PC, the subconscious will help you with this and make it a lot easier to make certain (wise) decisions.

Our nature wants us to thrive

To be completely clear: we don’t have to make our subconscious work to our benefit, because it already does. Always. It’s how we learn or accomplish anything at all. But in the goals that we have that are not completely natural and instinctive (like learning how to walk), we do have to set our goals.

The design of human beings is so beautiful, our brain and nervous system (or subconscious) is supposed to make us thrive in life. It supports our goals and dreams, and by means of survival, always gravitates (or rockets) naturally towards them. Thus saying – and this is my own conclusion – life doesn’t have to be a struggle. It is actually in our nature to get what we want.

This is also backed up by other theories and movements (though in other words), for example by the Law of attraction theory or Deepak Chopra’s Energy of Attraction. PC, however, tends to explain this phenomenon by the use of cybernetics. And even though this book was written in the ’80s, that’s quite refreshing.

Self-image is everything

However, whether you learn from your fails or judge yourself by them, is essentially and up to you. Because you decide what thoughts and ideas your subconscious ‘rockets’ on. Your subconscious doesn’t have a direct link to reality, so you and your thoughts are what feeds the system and tells it what to aim for. So while setting our goals and aiming towards them, something inside us has to believe that we will reach our goals and that we are worthy of them.

If you only ever remember your fails and forget your past successes, you will think low of yourself, unknowingly set low goals, and that is what your subconscious will work towards. You’re brain tells the subconscious ‘I will never get it’, and thus that is what happens. If you think highly of yourself because you focus on your past successes, you will believe that the goal is something you can reach and deserve, and your subconscious will start to work accordingly.

So if you’re someone who thinks low of themselves, hear this: you’re not inherently born with a low self-esteem, you’re just using your memory wrongly. Train yourself to focus on your past successes, or fake the feeling of being successful if you have to, and your subconscious will start to work differently and to your benefit.

What I love about this book is that it reminded me of some strong beliefs I already had. It supports the idea that our brain has a big effect on our biology, and can even explain how, for example, we can make ourselves ill or look younger, simply have having certain thoughts. It explains why we have a higher chance of winning a game when we truly believe we will, and why ‘practising in your head’ makes an actual difference when doing the real job.

I’m a big fan of ‘woo woo’ theories like the Law of attraction, but it is nice to have these theories backed up from another angle of science. I personally relate many human issues to a low or inadequate self-image, so it was nice to read a theory that relates self-image to reaching our dreams. The book also comes with very practical exercises to train your self-image, and to make your subconscious work for whatever you set your mind to.

The only downside is that since the book is already quite old, some of the other (psychological) theories PC refers to, are a little outdated. I also didn’t appreciate the writer using religious arguments to back up his theory, or to tie his lose ends. But all-in-all, this is a very good book to remind ourselves of our beautiful design as human beings.

Did you read Psycho-Cybernetics? Let me know what you think!

xx Coco

Why and how I strive for financial freedom

Geen categorie, Lifestyle 🏃🏼‍♀️

Financial freedom is often seen as some vague unreachable dream many of us don’t even dare to aim for. When we are younger, we learn that having a job is essential to live a prosperous life, and often we are conditioned into thinking that once we have this job, we will do it for the rest of out life and that will be it.

Gladly, my (millennial) generation is one of the first to doubt that this is the dream life, and – thanks to the financial crisis of 2008 – many of us have learned to value freedom, independence, variety and self-development over owning a house, buying a fancy car and climbing some corporate ladder. I would like us to take this even a little bit further: let’s talk about not having to work 40 hours a week for the rest of your life at all.

My love-hate relationship with working

Ever since I can remember, I have found the fact that I had to work the largest part of my week, for the largest part of my life, extremely unjustified and repulsive. I remember telling my mom and dad that when I grew up, I would simply refuse to work. Their advice was always to find a job that I really loved, so it would feel like less of a burden. And I did.

The job I have right now is absolutely amazing (for a job): I have a lot of freedom and responsibility, I can spend a lot of time on my own or simply socialising, and I get to do something that I love and find important. On top of that, I hardly ever get stressed and my salary is really good for my age and experience. But like I said: it’s still a job. Other people might be fine working this job for the rest of their life, but I simply don’t feel like that. My job, as amazing as it is, still feels like something mandatory, something I can’t opt out of, something I never chose to do but someone just decided that I should. (Maybe it’s part of my aversion of authority peeking through ;).

So at the end of last year, I decided for 2021 that I wanted to look for ways to not have to work 40-hour workweeks for the rest of my life. Complete financial freedom is a dream which I may not be able to realise in one year, but I decided that I could at least find something to become a little more financially free. The thought of having to work 20 or 30 hours a week for the rest of my life, is a way smaller burden to bear. And of course, we can grow as we go. Here is what I learned so far:

The richest people have multiple streams of income

Of course, our goal here is to be more financially free, not become a millionaire (for which in many cases, you’d actually have to work more, not less). But there is something we can learn from the richest people in the world that teaches us how to be more financially stable, and how to be less dependent on one job for the rest of your life. And that is to generate multiple sources of income (it is said that the average millionaire has around seven).

So the trick here is not to excel in one job, but to do a little better than average in multiple ones. This way, you spread your risks, costs and advantages, and when one fails (or you simply don’t like doing it anymore!) you always have the other ones to fall back on.

Now, I’m not saying you should take seven small day jobs. I’m saying: have a day job that you love (if you can and want to), and see what you can do on the side to generate another stream of income, or multiple ones. Eventually, your goal could be to make any one of your streams of income optional, including your initial day job. That’s what we call freedom!

Passive is massive

Now, the smartest (or only) way to generate multiple streams of income, is to make money in a passive way, not an active one. If you have a job for which you have to visit an office every day, or you have to talk to people every day, or ‘do your trick’ for a different audience every single time, this job will take a lot of your time and energy. It will also only generate an income on the days you actually show up. If we want to juggle multiple jobs like these, we will probably burn out and not feel very ‘free’.

So, what you want to do is put your time and energy in one product or service, that you can sell multiple times. Think of online products people can download, books you can write, prints you sell or video’s or courses you could get paid for. And of course, you can create multiple products like these. The point is to produce/write/upload something once, and people will be able to buy your product or service endlessly. This way, you’ll be able to cash even when you’re sleeping.

Make money with money

Another way to generate money without working (more), is to do smart things with the money you already have. Many of us are not able to buy a second house they can rent out, or invest a lot of money into profitable business, I’m aware of that. But that doesn’t mean that the only thing we can do is save up (the old fashioned way), and wait for the day we finally allow ourselves to spend it. And we do not want that either. The thing with saving money is: eventually, you can still only spend it once.

Imagine you can bring yourself to save up 100 euros/dollars/whateveryouhaves a month. This is 1200 a year, and after ten years you have 12.000. This is a lot of money, well done! What are you going to do with it? Buy a car? Remodel your house? Take a long trip somewhere? When you envision these (not even great big) goals, you can already feel what I’m trying to say here: this money took you 10 years to save, but spending it will go a lot faster, since life and the things we want to do are very expensive. And during your remodelling, travelling or driving, you will find yourself thinking: is this what I saved up for all these years?

So we have to make sure that simply having money, also makes more money, until the point it cannot be spent in one go. An easy and accessible way to do this is to invest a part of your money (long-term) into low-risk funds. There are actually many organisations which can help you with that.

Another way to invest your money wisely is to buy things that do not lose their value quickly, so you can resell them and get even, or even make a little profit. Real estate is one example of this, but it is said that these days even Chanel bags do not lose (or even increase in) their value. Make of that what you will. 😉

You don’t have to earn money you don’t spend

One thing I realised last year, and this is probably the most accessible way to become more financially free, is: if you spend less money on the regular, you’ll have to work less in the future. Most of us are conditioned to think the other way around: I work 40 hours a week (because that’s the status quo) so I can afford the things I want, and I deserve to spend my self-made money.

However, if you’d somehow spend less money, you can spend less time working! For all the clothes, make up and out-of-the-house drinks and dinners I bought in 2020, I spent around 1/3 of my pay check. This means that theoretically, in 2020 I could have worked 27 hours a week instead of 40! Would I have sticked to this lifestyle, I would need to work these extra 13 hours again this year, and the next, and the next. Now, if I stay in my current lifestyle (and don’t upgrade much on my house or car), I can sign a 27 hour contract next year. This is freedom too!

I’m not telling you to never upgrade your lifestyle or never buy new and pretty things. I’m saying being more aware of what actually adds to your happiness, and what really doesn’t add to anything at all, could have great consequences for your financial freedom. If you learn to be happy with what you have, or if from now on you set higher standards on what you spend your money on, working full-time in the future could be just an option.

If you don’t spend the money you have now, you don’t have to work for the thing you want later in life. And if you realise that for 10 new pairs of shoes a year, a new car every 4 years, or a home-upgrade every 5 years, you’d have to work all those hours for the rest of your life, is it really worth it? Remember: what you spend, does not only influence the money you have in your pocket right now. The money you have right now, also influences what your future could look like. Money is a crazy thing, right?

Thank you so much for reading my thoughts on financial freedom. Let me know if these tips helped you out!

xx Coco

Why you have no goals, passion or purpose

Geen categorie

This blog comes with a worksheet to help you find your goals, passions and purpose.

When I speak to friends or family about this website, we often talk about ‘reaching goals’, ‘following a passion’ or ‘finding a purpose’. On the regular, we share what we love about life and how we see our future. But sometimes, it happens that the person I’m speaking to cannot really relate when they hear the words goal, passion or purpose. I can see in their faces that they don’t know what to answer when I ask them about their dreams for this year, or things they want to work on.

Sometimes they say ‘I don’t have a passion for anything’ or ‘what do you mean by “goals”?’. Of course, it’s completely fine to not strive for anything and simply be content with your life. But I suspect that in many cases, something else is actually going on. So what could be the reason you don’t have any goals, passions or purpose? These are some options.

You’re unfamiliar with the used lexicon

Sometimes, when I give people examples of what I call ‘goals’, ‘passions, or ‘a purpose’, it’s the first time people learn or think about the extent of these things. We often think way too big. We are used to calling something like ‘becoming a millionaire’ a goal. We think of passion as something only a professional athlete has. And we associate purpose with something that has to be really special, and reaches a lot of people or changes the world.

But a goal can also be just to read every day. A passion can be drawing, cooking, or being social. A purpose can be: spreading kindness among the people around me. Or: teaching kids English one day. You don’t have to do magic here. You also don’t have to focus on one thing only. Start small, be easy on definitions, and I’m sure you can find a goal, passion or purpose you can identify with.

You’re scared to disappoint yourself

Another reason people are reluctant to set goals is because of a similar experience we have with new years-resolutions. We don’t want to admit (to ourselves or others) that we want certain things, because we are afraid we won’t follow through, and will just disappoint ourselves again. Or we’re scared that if we follow through, things just won’t work out (the rest of the world doesn’t play along) anyway.

If this is something you think you’re doing, realise that not reaching a goal or not following through is not worse than not setting goals at all. If you don’t try, you won’t get what you want either. Yet if you try but fail – don’t matter, try again later. It’s only one disappointing moment and not the end of the world. Besides, you can’t lose something you’ve never had, so don’t let your fear of disappointment hold you back. Your dreams are supposed to feel like they are hard to reach – otherwise you wouldn’t have to put any effort in at all. Some people even say: if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.

Another trick is to start with small steps, and start keeping small promises you made to yourself. Once you see yourself following through on these small promises, you’ll have more faith in yourself and will be less scared to disappoint yourself again in the future.

You want few and simple things

Some people never set any goals, follow any passion or never have any purpose simply because what they want, doesn’t take effort. Or: they already have what they want. These people are often very easy-going, don’t really stress on many things, and find happiness and joy in the smaller things in life. They only need a few simple things to be happy, and they already have these things, or are likely to get them in the near future without any effort.

These people are completely content, which is why they seemingly have no goals, passions or purpose. If this is truly your nature – this is completely fine and I’m even a little bit jealous of you. If, however, you claim to be this personality, while in fact you’re struggling to hide the situation in the previous paragraph, you’re simply falling yourself short and deserve better.

You don’t believe you have any power (or don’t want to)

The last reason I can think of for not having any goals, passions or purpose, is because you simply don’t believe in or like the theory of goal-setting, striving for something, or having a plan for the future. Maybe you don’t believe in free will, or maybe you don’t believe that you can have any effect on how your life plays out. Maybe you believe in a higher entity who has the final say (or should I say: all the say?) or you are a necessarian who believes life is pre-determined.

Or maybe you simply don’t like the idea of planning, challenging yourself, and keeping your own promises. That’s completely fine too. I am partly that person. I like to think that the universe has its own plan with my life, and I just have to (and like to!) go with the flow. However, I also believe that I have some choice in what my life looks like, and I how I feel about this plan of the universe and how I react to it. There’s some balance there.

This is why I believe in journalling, meditation, manifestation and all that jazz. It’s also the reason why I started this website: to share that we at least have some say in what our life looks like, and probably even more than we often think.

What do you think about these reasons? Do you find it hard to think of your goals, passions or your purpose? Maybe my worksheet can help you out!

xx Coco

Worksheet – How to find your goals

This 8 page (36 questions) document will help you get clear on:

  • What a goal, a passion and a purpose really is
  • Who you are as a person, what are your strong and weaker qualities
  • What is important to you as a person
  • What experiences and qualities helped you to get where you are now, and how they can serve you in the future
  • Which parts of your life you want to leave behind, and which parts to take into your future
  • What your ideal life and future looks like
  • What your current goals, passions and purpose are!

Includes definitions, theory, examples and questions. Buy here.

How to find your self-worth/confidence

Geen categorie

I believe that a good sense of self-worth is really important in reaching almost any goal in life. Whether it’s a relationship, a career, or smaller goals like losing weight: a positive yet realistic view on who you are as a person and ‘what you’re worth’ is the essential foundation to build upon.

Not only will it be easier to believe these goals are actually within your reach – you’ll also only see yourself as a good reason to invest/prioritise/make an effort if you can see yourself as someone who deserves the things you want. Here are some tips that work for me.

Stop looking for validation from others

It is very obvious: if you want to love who you are, you have to stop making your worth contingent on whether other people see it or not. You have to get a sense of self-worth or confidence that is independent of external things. One way to train this sense of self-worth is to simply stop asking other people for their validation, or learn to be blind for it, and start seeing that the fact that you love/want/think something, is enough reason to stand by it.

Stop regretting saying something just because someone didn’t give you the reaction you wanted. Stop dressing a certain way just so other people will think you’re sexy or pretty. Stop showing the preferred behaviour just because you’re afraid that otherwise, someone won’t like you. If you know why you love/want/think something, that’s enough. You are the main character of your life, so your opinion matters most.

Accept your flaws, celebrate your strengths

What you focus on, expands. So don’t focus on the negatives of your looks or character. Don’t stress on the small things that you would like to change about yourself. Simply accept that they are there – and then let them go. Focus on what you do like about you, and show them extra attention or care. If you love your hair: wear it down, or curl it, make it shine, show it off. If you like your kind personality: be kind to strangers, be kind on the internet, share your kindness.

Not only will it make other people not even see your flaws, but more importantly: it will remind you of your amazing features. If you remind yourself of your strengths more often than your flaws (make lists or stick notes to your mirror if you have to!), you will automatically have a more positive view on yourself and gain confidence.

Focus on your potential and invest in it

You are unique. There’s only one of you, only one person who can bring to the table exactly what you can. And there’s a reason for this uniqueness. Let the world enjoy this special trait of you. Find out what you’re good at, or how you can help other people. It doesn’t have to be big, it can even be a small skill that you teach someone else that will add value to their life, or a feeling of joy you can bring the people around you.

Find what you can add to the world and invest your time and energy into this potential. Realize it: it will give you more confidence showing yourself that you can be successful. Having a passion project and getting excited about your future, will also make you understand why you’re on this planet, and will make you feel more thankful to be you.

Need help finding your passion or purpose? Find my worksheet here.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Delete every account on social media that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Take a break from it altogether if you need to. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, and stop spending time on people who don’t.

If people make you feel like you need to be better, or you need to be someone else, they’re simple not your people. When you feel yourself looking at other women like they’re worth more than you, or they’re prettier, skinnier, smarter than you – focus on your individuality, and your strengths.

Realise that their skinniness, prettiness or smartness doesn’t make them more worthy than you are. Our worth as human beings cannot be found in these variables. No matter how often other people validate the opposite. They’re simply focused on the wrong things, and now you are too. Rise above it.

Take really good care of yourself

And I mean both physically and mentally. Sure, self-care like taking a bath and eating healthy are really good for your self-worth. You will appreciate your body more if you treat it right. Because when you take good care of yourself, you are basically showing yourself that you’re worth taking care of.

But mental self-care is also really important. Have healthy mantra’s you repeat every day until you believe them. It is not strange and sometimes even necessary to literally tell yourself ‘I’m worthy, I’m beautiful, I’m important, even if not everyone sees it.’ Make sure the thoughts you have about yourself are positive too. If you catch yourself thinking ‘I should be smarter/prettier/skinnier’ instantly replace that thought with something positive.

Think about it: would you say this to your best friend? Of course not – it is not true and would hurt her. So why are you hurting yourself with these lies?

Bonus: Trust in a higher power

This one is not for everyone, and definitely not essential. Someone who would call themselves ‘super atheist and non-spiritual whatsoever’ can have great self-worth and confidence, not only for the reasons listed above. For me however, it really helps to be a spiritual person, and to have a sense of a higher power that watches over me or sees me and my purpose.

This doesn’t have to be very literal like a Christian god. It can also be the higher plan of the universe, or the energy that ties everything in this world together. It can even be something a little more scientific like a radical interpretation of the theory of evolution (more about this in a later blogpost) or the fact that we are social beings and we all have a place in our society. Whatever it is: connecting with something bigger than yourself is a well-known way of ‘being thrown into your purpose’. Which if we believe my third point on potential, will help us see our worth and become more confident.

I hope you enjoyed these tips on finding your worth. Just remember: your worth is not something you have to deserve or acquire, it is something that is already there. You can use these tips to simply learn to see it, or get more used to living more in alignment with it. Let me know if they work for you!

xx Coco

How I started my glow-up/transformation/journey

Geen categorie, Lifestyle 🏃🏼‍♀️

At the end of 2019, when I had just turned 28 years old, I looked back on my year and realised that I wasn’t the person I really wanted to be. I had everything I wanted: a full time job that I liked, a perfect boyfriend, a nice house to live in and a rich social life. And don’t get me wrong – I loved my life and was very happy. But I still felt like I could be so much more.

How it started

Since I started working full time, I had developed some habits that weren’t working well for me. I ate relatively unhealthy, had many afternoon drinks, had 4-5 social events a week and partied and shopped a lot to ‘compensate’ for working 40 hours. I never really wanted to work full time when I was younger, but as a young professional it was a given that I should, so I did.

And in order to keep up with spending such a large amount of my time to ‘somebody else’s dream’, as I viewed it, I had to eat quick meals in between work and blow off a lot of steam on the weekends. And so I started gaining weight, making more and more poor decisions, spending a lot of money, and numbing myself down spiritually and mentally. At the end of 2019, in this moment of reflection, I had to conclude: no more of this.

I realised that in a few years, I was turning 30 years old. I felt like this was the time to change, since I didn’t want to bring my bad habits into my 30’s, and maybe 40’s, and maybe even 50’s. I thought about dragging this stuff throughout my life, and never realising my full potential, while probably catching all kinds of addictions and diseases. That thought was unbearable to me. I was too smart, too kind, too beautiful for that life (and so are you!).

I realised that if I changed my life for the better now, I could still turn this around. I wasn’t to old (are you ever really?) to be the healthy, ambitious, thriving woman that deep down, I knew I could be. On top of that, I found out that all my life, I had actually been underperforming because deep down, I was a perfectionist and I was afraid to fail or let myself down. With this knowledge, I felt it: this was my moment to take myself by the balls.

The momentum

So I decided to finally fully commit to some goals and ambitions I secretly had for the new year. The magic of that moment was that I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t who I wanted to be, and that my life wasn’t where I wanted it to be. And I blamed that on myself. I was finally ready to make some promises to myself, and I was finally ready to keep them – simply because I was done letting myself down, and I knew I would spiral down even more if I let myself down again. And I simply deserved better (and so do you!). So I took a short course in journalling to get on track, and worked my way up from there.

First, I started keeping small promises to myself, like drinking a lot of water and not eating meat anymore. Then, I started to keep promises that I found hard to keep before, like moving my body everyday and doing some soul-searching whenever I felt down or ‘not enough’ (instead of blowing off steam in a club). I kept my journal for a year, and wrote down all the goals I had for 2020, along with the promises that I wanted to keep every month.

An important part was the monthly reflection, which made me proud of my accomplishments and helped me visualize what I wanted to accomplish next. All in all, my journal was the core of my transformation, I would say. Along with some real honesty towards myself, and a little help from miss ‘rona (who, let’s be honest, gave me a lot of me-time).

The outcome

Long story short still long: I literally reached every goal that I set for myself in 2020 (I had 15), even the ones on which I had no influence whatsoever. Some highlights being: get an indefinite contract at work, get engaged, lose 5 kg of weight (I lost 7) and read & meditate more. This year, I’ve set twice as many goals. The fun thing is, once you just start and show yourself that you’re capable of keeping your own promises, you realise that you can really do whatever you set your mind to.

These days, I set multiple big and scary goals for myself a month, since I now know from experience that when I tell myself ‘let’s do this’, the energy and motivation to do it follow naturally. And when I don’t reach a goal, it doesn’t bother me as much as it did before. I don’t feel like a failure or like I’ve let myself down again, because I have way more proof to show that the opposite is true. There really is no limit to what you can do, once you’ve joined your own team. (The only downfall is a burn-out or some overachieving, but let’s save that for another blogpost. 😉 )

I hope I inspired you to start your glow-up/transformation/journey if you haven’t already. Let me know how it goes and if you need any help. And if you’ve already started: What are some of your goals? I’d really like to know!

xx Coco

Why we stress on identity

Geen categorie

In this day and age, our culture stresses a lot on our identity. As humans, we like to see the world as black or white. We like to judge people based on certain types. At the same time we have good reasons to claim our identity as truly ours. We don’t have much room for nuance, and like ourselves and others to stick to the identity we use to describe ourselves. Think of phrases like ‘I’m vegan, so I care about the environment’ and ‘I don’t lie, because I’m a christian’. Certain identities require that we show certain behaviour, and when there’s a mismatch between the two, we call it hypocrisy. But why?


Like I said, we have good reasons for doing so. Our brain needs a lot of energy, and for survival reasons we have learned to see patterns (even when they’re not there) and use autopilot to judge many different situations. This makes that we expect certain behaviour from others, based on their identity. You are a mom, so you have to put your children first. Or: you meditate, so you have you care about sustainability.

It’s easier to understand and make sense of each other that way, and we like life to be predicable – since it requires less energy in our brain. Another evolutionary explanation is that of the ego – or the need or want for power. These apply to when we wear certain clothes or want a fancy car to match our (make-believe) identity. You drive a Bentley, so you must be rich and powerful.


However, we also like to stick to these patterns when it comes to our own behaviour and identity. This is not only on social media, like I wrote in this article, but also because we require consistency in our identity to think of ourselves as ourselves. From my studies I remember a philosopher named Christine Korsgaard, who has what I believe to be the perfect explanation: Humans as a species have the ability to self-reflect. Which means that we can have an opinion on our own behaviour, and we like to be a certain type of person.

In order to be able to live with ourselves, and in order to look at ourselves with integrity, we need to be able to attribute certain traits to our personality – continuously. The essential word here is integrity, which in latin doesn’t only mean to be honest, to be sincere and to be pure, but also to be unimpaired, or more literally: ‘together’ or ‘to be in one piece’.

This is why we want to stick to certain behaviour that is required by the type of person we are. We want the behaviour to continually match with the description we have of ourselves, in order to be able to be in one piece. When we think of ourselves of a good mother, or a good friend, we have to take care of our children and be nice to our friends. When we like to think of ourselves as a good partner, we have to show behaviour that matches with this type of person and not lie, cheat or be mean to our spouses.

So we can’t show a lot of behaviour that shows us as the opposite of how we need to see our identity. Out of fear of losing our integrity, or being called immoral or a hypocrite, we have to cling to who we view ourselves and each other to be- even when that means we have to stay within a black or white description.

The need to be us

A good example of this fear is when people constantly start or end phrases with ‘I’m the type of person who..’ or ‘..that’s just who I am.’ This fear is also the reason why ever so often, when you ask someone to describe themselves, they unintentionally describe who would like to be. Or in other words: what they need themselves to see as, in order to believe they are still ‘them’.

I hope you see how this explains why we stress on identity, especially on social media but also in real life. Moreover, I hope you see that some nuance won’t destroy your integrity or ‘togetherness’. The irony is, you are still allowed to see yourself as a good friend, partner or person even if you don’t show the expected behaviour 100% of the time. You, unlike probably many prejudices other people have of you, will not fall apart. I promise.

Let me know what you think about this theory! Does it align with how you view your identity?

xx Coco

When you hate, delegate

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Last week I realised that I was actually juggling many things at once. Besides my fulltime job, I have a number of things I want to do daily, such as meditating, reading and walking. I also just started this website, volunteer at a philosophical magazine, have my own household and a fun social life. I started wondering which parts of my life I fully ‘carry’ myself, and for which parts I actually have to thank other people. Because I realised, the reason I can do all these things is because I’m pretty good at delegating.

Why you should delegate

Delegating is not only a good idea if you want to do many things in a limited amount of time (like me), but also if there are certain things you feel like you should do, but you simply hate doing (also like me). These things could put you in a negative mood, either because you’re not good at them or you simply don’t want to spend your time on them.

If you can compromise with other people, or if you can pay someone who is good at this task to do it (and if you have the financial means of course), I believe you should delegate it. Is makes life so much easier, and definitely more fun!

How to delegate at home

For my house stuff, I delegated the part I hate the most on the first day I started working my full time job. The minute I came home from that first day, I realised that I was not going to be happy working on weekdays, and then doing all the cleaning after work or on weekends. I realised I was really glad to be able to pay someone to do it for me, and it is still one of my best decisions ever.

Even if you don’t hate cleaning or see it as a small task that just needs to be done, I would seriously consider delegating it if you have the money for it. To me, not having to worry about the cleanliness of my house does not just save a lot of time in my weekends, but also a lot of space in my head. It is simply ‘not my problem’ anymore.

You can also make rules with the people you live with. For example, my fiancé and I agreed that I always do the groceries, because otherwise he will come home with too much unhealthy stuff. In return, he always takes out the paper and glass (trash), because I dislike carrying heavy stuff down the street.

We don’t mind doing our own tasks, and this way we don’t have to feel responsible for the whole household, just a part of it. I don’t know if you could call this delegating, but it definitely makes for more time in your day – especially now that you don’t have to negotiate on who does what all the time.

How to delegate at work

At work, I delegate a big amount of tasks too. I am a project manager, so in that role delegating is something that kind of comes naturally. The reason I delegate at work, however, is not always because I don’t feel like doing it myself (although sometimes – to be completely honest – that also happens) but because someone else is better at this specific task, or could do it in a shorter amount of time. Knowing your own strengths and qualities, and acknowledging those of your colleagues, is a great tool to be able to assign tasks among you.

This way, it makes sense that I do not do certain tasks (even in my own projects), because I’m simply not the one who’s best at it. Another reason to delegate is a limited amount of time. If you really don’t have the time to do a task, even if you are the right person for the job, it makes perfect sense to ask one of your colleagues to do (at least a part of) it. Don’t feel guilty about these situations, there’s only so many hours in a day.

As someone who likes to be in control, delegating is not something I have always done. When I was younger, I always wanted to do things ‘my way’ and didn’t want other peoples flaws and opinions mixed up in my work. Nowadays, I still feel like that sometimes. But I decide to only keep it close and strictly to myself when I think it’s really, really important (like this website).

When it’s something less important to me, like cleaning the house or simple tasks at work, delegating has become the only way for me to do everything I want. And in this sense, I am very grateful to have the means and people around me that make all my dreams possible.

Thank you so much for reading and let me know if you delegate in the comments!

xx Coco