I discovered Jen Sincero in my bed one day in 2017. I lay there snuggled with my dogs, Overdrive app open on my ipad, perusing books at the library as I wondered what to read next. I searched for audio books, for self helpery, for books that were currently available, and lo and behold, the bright yellow cover of You Are A Badass popped up. I was immediately smitten, downloaded it on the spot, and it has been a yearly reading staple ever since.
Jen’s words struck me hard as she spoke about loving yourself, about living life on purpose, and about, well, being a badass. I took stock of a lot of things going on in my life at that point. I hadn’t been living on purpose, I had been existing. I loved my kid, I loved my husband, but I had not been taking stands for things I believed in. With the help of my awesome therapist I decided to become...me. Authentically me. The real me.
And then my world fell apart.
The pipes to my upstairs bathtub in the house I’d purchased just months before decided they didn’t love connecting with the faucet anymore, and that they preferred to just spray water inside the walls, which created rainfall in my kitchen and cost my insurance company who knows how much money to repair. I tripped and fell down said stairs, spraining my wrist which had held tight to the banister as I flew, banged my knees already painful from running practice, and knocked my back out of whack--again. I fell a week later while out grocery shopping in the bathroom with my tiny son, who had, while in front of me, suddenly stopped walking to peer under a stall and see if there was a friend sitting there and I had not been able to stop in time, so we both went down. A student came to the school where I worked with a gun and we were on lockdown for hours. My husband, who was 48 at the time, left me for a 19 year old student of his, who was also our babysitter and had also been my friend.
All this happened within five months of me reading the book and making the decision to become the most authentic expression of myself.
Jen warned me that it would happen. She knew that informing the universe that I was going to live my life my way would create pushback from my inner demons, who liked me just the way I was before, thank you very much.
Since reading Jen’s book the first time, I have hired a housekeeping team I like to help me with the toilets and dusting and cleaning things I just don’t get to. I hired a professional declutterer to help me clean out the garage and get the enormous amount of stuff I have under control--and was able to donate so much that I was not using, which made me feel super about helping others. I built a back house from the ground up, hiring both a general contractor and architect, and learning to navigate the city red tape. I then rented it out-- and learned how to be a fair and compassionate landlord. I have kept my house in Los Angeles County on a teacher’s salary, after purchasing it with the assumption that I was going to have a person with a second income paying half the mortgage. I have started a successful spiritual group that meets once a week, written rituals and created sacred space. I have figured out what my decorating style is, and that I prefer soft and cozy over anything else. I rescue dogs regularly. I give to charities that are meaningful to me. I am a present parent to my now 8 year old. And, I decided to publish 52 weeks of a podcast in a row to see if this sort of thing is for me.
I am living my life more on purpose than I ever have before.
When I met Jen Sincero at an author talk she did here in Los Angeles in 2019 for her book, You Are A Badass Every Day, I wanted so badly to thank her but all I could do was cry at her. She was kind, signed my book, and was not visibly responsive to my incomprehensible blubbering. Now, that’s grace.
In her newest book, Badass Habits: Cultivate the Awareness, Boundaries, and Daily Upgrades you Need To Make Them Stick, Jen encourages us to take a close look at our lives, see what else needs a’changing, and use the superpower of habits to make it so.
Jen reminds us that we already have awesome habits! For example, I am in the habit of waking up an hour earlier than I need to so that I can practice yoga, meditate, and drink tea while sleepily listening to the waking birds singing from my backyard. It took years and years of practice before this became a habit for me, and I have never properly celebrated. So, yay me! I did a thing. Acknowledging this--the habits we already are rocking, is super important, as it reinforces an I-can-do-it-ness mentality, which is super important when starting new ones.
Jen goes on to talk about boundaries, and how important they are to habit creation. If I don’t unapologetically write every single morning between 8 - 8:30, my podcast does not happen. I have made a commitment to myself to publish 52 podcasts in a row, so daily writing time is now non-negotiable.
Instead of giving a list of mantras and telling you to choose one or come up with your own, she gives thoughtful step-by-step instructions on how to authentically create a personal mantra that lights you up. Fantastic stuff.
What I love most about this book--besides her snarky wit and ability to talk to me, personally, through the pages--is the second half, the 21 days to Badass Habits. She gives clear, concise bits o’ wisdom for us to follow daily, for 21 days, and encourages us to merrily be our best selves. You know I’m into that!
Finally, Jen encourages us to be authentic and treat ourselves with compassion and grace and love. This is so important in everything we do, and ending a book on building habits with this reminder of our humanness is a great example of why Jen is such a badass herself.
If you’re looking to change a habit, it’s great. If you just want to read some fun, snarky ylet uplifting writing, it’s also great. Jen Sincero is great.
But greater still, are intentional habits that make you feel good and support your happiness and health. And that is what I want for you.