What are you fighting for?

Every day we wake up with many choices. Do I drink a glass or water or jump right into the coffee? Am I going to start the day with the smile or with an exhausted frown because we have to go to work once again? Am I going to be a better person today than I was yesterday? I’m sure you can come up with a million other questions you ask yourself as soon as you wake up.

The question that surrounds my mind on many of the decisions and choices I make is, what are you fighting for?

Whether it be work related, friendship related, society related, or simply a challenge you are having in your own mind – it can feel like a boss battle. It’s easy to lose track of the real mission of the fight when we’re caught up with the small demons jumping around distracting us from time to time.

When we take the magnifying glass away and replace it with a wide angle lense, we remind ourselves of the deep truth that we are fighting for. We fight for love, we fight for health, we even fight for our own ego (in fear of it being destroyed). When we can pinpoint the reason, we begin to have a higher awareness of whether the fight is worth it or not.

There are multiple fights in my life that I’m battling every day. Some days are better than others but what I do know is that, the more I fight – the better I get.

The importance of self care

To start off, I started 5 minute journaling for about a week now and it’s been great. In the midst of my busy schedule, it’s hard to find time to journal for long. I downloaded the 5 minute journal app on my phone so if I forget in the morning at home, I make sure I sit in my car before entering work to jot some thoughts down. The reason I’m telling you this is because under “How I will make today great”, I wrote write a blog post… so here I am, at midnight ready for bed – but need to finish the day right by accomplishing what I set out to achieve.

Work sometimes can easily take over our lives. Currently, I wake up at 7 am almost every day and most days don’t get home until at the earliest at 9pm, some days at around 11pm (just in time to sleep and drive right back in the morning!). My job is incredibly rewarding, and time flies during the day when I’m having fun with my clients.

With that said, burn out is real and it creeps up day after day. A few days ago, I felt my patience lower than usual, and felt simple exhausted throughout the day. My coaching was affected and mind was foggy – that was when I knew I needed to take a few hours off for self care.


I simply took a morning and afternoon off. I was away from work for about 18 hours and boy did I feel refreshed when I went back into work that evening. I made myself a full breakfast, went bouldering, went for some R&R in a float tank, and listened to podcast.

I’m back on the grind now, and will be until I head back to Austin for a short vacation mid November. I may be working from 9am to 10pm many days, but now I know, even half a day of R&R makes a world of a difference.

What are your strategies for self-care? 

Let Yourself Feel

There are bound to be days and moments of nostalgia- defined as a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a place or a period with happy personal associations. As a highly empathetic, experience-driven person, day after day nostalgia creeps up on my thoughts.

Is it healthy or unhealthy to be nostalgic? About 15 years ago, researchers would highly agree it was unhealthy to dwell in the past. It can become this habit of living in the past and can be the root cause of much depression. However, more recently, researchers have also argued for its importance in the human experience.

Greek academic Constantine Sedikides talks of nostalgia as the “perfect internal politician, connecting the past with the present, pointing optimistically to the future.” All experiences in my life are interconnected and plays a crucial part in the next, I know past experiences have only created more joy in the next.

If that’s the case, then why does nostalgia feel like I’m stuck in the past?

“Nostalgia compensates for uncomfortable states, for example, people with feelings of meaninglessness or a discontinuity between past and present. What we find in these cases is that nostalgia spontaneously rushes in and counteracts those things. It elevates meaningfulness, connectedness, and continuity in the past. It is like a vitamin and an antidote to those states. It serves to promote emotional equilibrium, homeostasis.”

I preach the importance of living in the moment and the importance of gratitude. However, I am starting to understand why with the 80% of my brain that is subconscious will occasionally shock me with feelings of loneliness and a longing to be in the past. Every time it does, I am torn in between thoughts of guilt because I should be simply thankful to be where I am and thoughts of kindness (to myself) because it’s okay to feel. In fact, according to Sedikides and Wildschut, it’s important to feel nostalgic to balance our emotional health.

In fact, this research also suggests nostalgia has a grounding effect. “In difficult situations, it appears that nostalgia grounds you. It gives you a base on which to evaluate the present as a temporary state, and in doing so it perhaps builds resilience.” 

To leave my vulnerability on the table for all the see, the above states my current state of mind. Nostalgia about Austin, about Cambodia, and many other past experiences has crept up a lot more this past year. Despite the sadness and lonelieness, I feel at the time, I am also reminded that the present is a temporary state. Whether this portion of my life experience is a year or a few years, it is temporary.

Knowing it’s temporary not only builds resilience in my growth but also serves as motivation to work towards my desired goals, work towards a place and an experience of immense joy and meaningfulness.

If you merely skimmed all the above and skipped to here….. then you need to slow down, take 4 deep breaths and scroll back up and read my post. 

For a more detailed read of research on nostalgia, read “Look back in joy: the power of nostalgia.”

Are you open to listening?

Have you ever simply meditated and thought about who you were a year ago? two years ago? three years ago? Sure, it may seem like you have the same hobbies, the same friends, or the same job- but what about your values? Your thoughts? Your attitude? Your desire to grow and learn?

It absolutely blows my mind how much I have grown in many ways. I’m not even sure how to elaborate and express my thoughts at this current moment but I wanted to write… so here I am, writing a post, attempting to dissect my growth.


Less than a year ago, I attended my first and most incredible #Daybreaker event in which I received the above card. It sits on my fridge as a daily reminder to listen. For a more detailed write up of the event, check out my post a year ago – 24 hours of inspiration.

Since then, I’ve learned to listen to my soul, listen to my thoughts, my heartbeat, and my body. Too often, we are taught to “do this or that” regardless of what happens. We work overtime and late at work because that’s what society praises, we stay up late and pride ourselves on functioning with little sleep because we can do more and show the external world how much we are getting done. Especially growing up in Hong Kong, where the city never sleeps, I had nights after nights where I’d slept merely 3 hours before work, exercise and partying all over again.

Now, on a daily basis, I have learned to evaluate my emotions and my nervous system by listening to my breathing, focusing on my heartbeat (especially in float tanks), and listening to my muscles (to prevent overtraining).

When we are open to listening to our bodies and our mind, we become aware of the messages our bodies are sending us – we can then learn to optimize what we are fully capable of. 

I’ continue to grow and learn on a daily basis. I’ve come a long way since July 2017 and I’m incredibly excited for the growth to come for years to come.

Book Recommendation:
Own the Day, Own your Life by Aubrey Marcus

If you are inspired and would like to take a step into optimizing your life on a day to day basis, you have to get Aubrey Marcus’s recent book Own the Day Own your Life. Breaking down from the moment we wake up, to the moment we sleep, Aubrey provides invaluable strategies with fascinating scientific research for optimizing our capabilities.

I’ll leave you all with a short snapshot of inspiration from the book:

“SEE YOUR FUTURE I want you to imagine yourself a year from now. You know that in a year you are going to be different, whether you do nothing or something. And the choices you make between now and then will determine that difference. But for today, I want you to imagine owning all those other days. Visualize that you wake up with purpose and clarity. You push yourself against resistance. You take control of your diet and supplementation. You turn dead time into alive time. You work effectively and aren’t afraid to power down the engines to rest. You train your body into a durable, capable machine. You connect with yourself, your friends, and the universe. You turn sex into an adventure of pleasure. You go to sleep with a mission, and actually … sleep. Imagine what a year of living like that has done for you. Walk in the shoes of that new person. See yourself through that person’s eyes. Look in the mirror at that body. Maybe the circles under your eyes are gone, and that stubborn weight has lifted—mentally and physically. See what has happened in your career, and in your family. That person is you, on the other side of Resistance. If you see it clearly enough, it will be done.”


True awareness of our body and mind

Since working at a fitness club the last few months, I have, as I should be, been exercising and working out a lot more. It feels great to get back into an exercise routine- and to bring it up a notch. For those who don’t know, I am currently in the process of studying for an ACE personal trainer certification. My goal is not necessarily to be a full-time Personal Trainer afterward, but to certainly assist my friends, family and to have the knowledge is invaluable.

With that said, I have been much more aware of my body and my movements since then. To be fair, I started feeling certain pains and tension in various parts of my body that I have felt before (but ignored). After years of simply thinking the tension will go away, I decided it was time to take care of it and learn where the pain came from.

In between conversations with physiotherapists, personal trainers, and knowledge gleaned from podcasts and books- I have learned an immense amount. Our mind and body are incredibly integrated and unfortunately, most of our lives, we are culturally conditioned to either focus on our mind (cram for exams, stay up all night, work hard party hard, etc), or focus on our body (but only when we get injured or sick).

When was the last time you let your body heal and recover?
When was the last time you allowed your mind to detox and declutter? 

It’s not easy to do both. Neither is it convenient. However, the reward of your productivity and how every single part of your body will feel (from your gut to your muscles and beyond) is worth the hard work and discipline.

A few strategies I have adopted recently include:

  • Cold Showers (Wim Hof Method)
  • Starting the day by drinking a glass of water with Sea Salt & Lemon (Aubrey Marcus, Own Your Day Own Your Life)
  • Starting the day with a 10 to 15-minute movement routine (Exercises provided by my physiotherapist to improve my shoulder stability and muscle imbalances)

Fun Fact: I started taking cold showers about a month ago and about a week ago, the hot water in my condo building decided it was going to stop working. Thankfully, I’m already taking cold showers so it didn’t quite affect my daily routine too much! 

Some adaptations are harder than others to implement, but just like how we have to spend effort and productive time exercising to gain the results we want to achieve, we have to intentionally practice cognitive awareness and functional movement. Start with one adaptation at a time, and notice how your body and your mind molds and shapes. Each person adapts differently to change, do what makes you feel the most ALIVE and WELL. 


See below for a few resources I have been listening to (podcasts are incredible if you tend to do quite a bit of driving throughout the day on your commutes. Trust me, it’ll make you enjoy your commute instead of being angry and impatient)