Let’s be honest—self-help books can get annoyingly fluffy, often to the point where trying to decipher the incessant psychobabble prevents you from actually internalizing any of the advice you’re reading. That’s fortunately not the case with motivational coach Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.
As soon as we picked up the New York Times bestseller, Sincero’s honest, funny and down-to-earth take on tackling life’s challenges kept us turning pages, especially with chapters like “Your Brain Is Your Bitch” and “Fear is For Suckers.”
A badass is someone who goes after what they want and exudes confidence. A badass is a person with an open mind, who owns up to the responsibility they have over their circumstances. A badass is exactly what you need to be during life’s biggest changes, and Sincero gets you there step by step. We chatted with the author to break down ten ways to start taking charge of your life now.
1. Make an active effort to be more present.
“It’s important to dream and plan for the future, just as it’s good to look to the past so you can work on yourself and your negative patterns. The problem is we give the present very little airtime!,” Sincero said.
“I’d suggest to anyone who wants to stay present whilst moving up to make a point of practicing it. Focus on staying present and make it habit, just like anything else you want to accomplish. Put up little notes and reminders (dorky, I know, but it works), breathe deeply, feel and remember you have a body. Decide to become more aware. Once you take the time to consider how much each moment you have to be grateful for, blown away by, learn from, etc., you won’t want to miss it by staying in your head all the time.”
2. Avoid comparing yourself to others—especially on social media.
“Most people are omitting their ugly bits and only posting the stuff that makes them look like rockstars on social media, so there’s that to be aware of,” the author said.
“Even if everyone was totally rocking it, take it as living proof that what you desire is out there, and if it’s available to someone else, it must be available to you also. Use it as inspiration, as healthy competition. You always have a choice when you look at something. So make the choice to perceive others’ victories as something to aspire for (instead of as proof that you suck).”
3. Don’t let your life revolve around your job.
“I’m sure there are some people out there who are perfectly happy doing nothing but working (are there?), but most of us, no matter how much we love our jobs, need variety, new inspiration, a break so we don’t get burnt out,” Sincero told us.
“I find the more I let myself do all the things I love to do, the more productive, the more energized, and the more excited I am to get to work. Plus, what’s the point if it’s all work and no play?”
4. Celebrate taking the right steps, not just the end result.
While using trying a new fitness regimen as an example, Sincero explained, “Remember that just showing up is huge, no matter how well your workout goes. Salute yourself for taking the time to take care of your awesome body. Listen to music that inspires you while working out.”
“Meditation basically helps you detach from your thinking brain and connect with your intuitive self,” the author explained. “It helps you drop the ego and come from a place of joy, not neediness, in relationships. It helps you get clarity and serenity with your work. For your health, meditation helps you let go of the spinning and stressing and moves you into a state of relaxation and calm.”
6. Rather than aspire for perfection, get specific about identifying your values
This is particularly true when it comes to dating. Sincero encourages breaking down the idea of “perfect” into parts you can understand. “Specifics set you free, so get clear on what a perfect soulmate means to you,” she said. “If you’re creating someone in your mind who isn’t even human (aka flawless), it’s important to notice that so you can start looking for someone who actually exists. What are your non-negotiables? What flaws can you live with? And then get ready to be surprised – all the planning in the world may not prepare you for who you wind up falling in love with.”
7. Stop believing fixed ideas.
For instance, that everyone is destined to have one true “calling” for a career. “Some people know exactly what they want to do and build their careers and lives around that. But most of us have several careers during our lives.” The author continued, “There is no right or wrong here, the goal is to enjoy what you do and to feel like you’re making a difference. If you don’t enjoy it, know that you are gathering information about what you’re not meant to do so you can get closer to your calling.”
Other fixed ideas to ditch? That you are too old or inexperienced to start a new job path, that you can’t afford to quit, that you’ll never lose weight, that you hate exercise, that men/women can’t be trusted, that you “suck” at relationships, basically, any thoughts that make you hesitate to take a much needed leap.
8. Love yourself.
This simple mantra was repeated at the end of every chapter in You Are a Badass. “Do things that bring you joy often. There’s nothing sexier than happiness,” Sincero told us. Whether you are looking to jump into a new relationship or move up in the office, self-love is a surefire way to stay grounded.
9. Maintain a strong support system
“Remind yourself how many people already love you for exactly who you are,” Sincero said. “Keep it light. Keep it fun. Only get into relationships with people who appreciate who you truly are,” she continued. This also applies in the workplace, “Surround yourself with creative people in your field who inspire you to keep growing, expanding and enjoying what you do,” she said.
10. Embrace affirmations
Among Sincero’s key tools are affirmations, or positive sayings. You repeat these to yourself to get into the right mindset to achieve goals. She shared some to try, below.
For a career change
“The perfect job is out there waiting for me to discover it.”
“I am awesome, I am good at what I do, I can get any job I want.”
“I am an attraction machine and I attract the perfect job right to me.”
“I am lovable, loving and loved.”
“My heart is open, I give and receive love freely.”
“My perfect person is out there looking for me too.”
“I love being in an intimate relationship.”
“I love feeling strong, healthy and in shape.”
“I love taking care of my beautiful body.”
“Working out is fun and makes everything in my life better.”