How to make perfect whole wheat bread…

If you know me, chances are, you know I love food. But instead of going out to the grocery store or out to the restaurants all the time, I’m a big sucker for making food from scratch, using simple ingredients. Cooking is not only a great, healthy pastime for you to enjoy, but it’s an amazing gateway into social situations and dates, giving you a great excuse to have people over. After all, who doesn’t love food?

One of my favourite foods to make is whole wheat bread, due to the ease at which you can make it, and the variety of different ingredients you can add in to spice it up. It’s also something most people like to enjoy in some form, and always feels like a rewarding baking process. So today, I’m going to be sharing with you my perfect, zero sugar, whole wheat bread recipe, and teaching you simple ingredients to add in to turn your whole wheat bread into a party.


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat bread flour


  1. Pour all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Knead ingredients together using your hands until it forms into a nice ball. Add more flour 1 tbsp at a time if dough is too wet, or 1 tbsp of water at a time if dough feels too dry.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and wrap bread in pre-wrap to let rise for 30 minutes. Carefully flour the outside of the pan.
  3. Using your hands, gently shape and stretch the dough into the shape of the bread pan or cooking appliance of choice. Lightly flour the outside of the dough again along any sections sticking to the pan. Cook for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F. For a little crispiness on top, broil for 2-5 minutes at about 525 degrees F.
  4. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Then use a spatula to get around the outside and release from the shackles of the pan. Put on a cutting board and carefully cut into slices. Enjoy while the bread is still warm!


One of the best things about making homeade bread is that it is incredibly easy to add additional ingredients into the mix, while keeping the base recipe above the same every single time. Here are some of my favourite special twists, to spice up your bread recipe.


Add 3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, 3/4 cup of raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg.


Add in 1 cup of chopped spinach.


Add in 1 cup of cheese, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp thyme, and 2 tbsp minced or green onion.


Use only half whole-wheat flour, then half bran flour in the recipe.


Start by mashing two-three ripe bananas, then add in the rest of the ingredients.

So there it is! My perfect whole-wheat bread recipe! Be sure to check out more from my Food & Nutrition section, on your quest to become the very best version of yourself. Thanks for reading and see you soon!


How to embrace your masculinity, without being toxic

Aren’t men just the worst?

About once a week, I here my co-workers say something along the lines of “Men are the worst.” Feeling the awkwardness in the room as the only full-time male staff member, I tend to reply with a simple “I agree.” Now tell us how you really feel, Rhys…you might be saying. And well, it’s true. This is how I really feel. Most of the men in my life have massively let me down, and the majority of my scars in life come from the insufficient care of men with far more fragility than they’ve ever been willing to admit. The vast majority of opportunities I had to establish positive male role models in my life involved heavy handholding from my own father, who couldn’t allow me to participate in anything without being front and centre as a part of it himself. I love supposedly feminine things like fashion, cooking and dance, and I hate supposedly masculine things like fighting, violence, and the culture around sports like American football and hockey where “manliness” is projected by how hard you can hit or how long you can play through a concussion. I prefer to interact with and befriend females, out of the exact same reasons why I often hear the women in my life proclaim “men are the worst.” This is all to say that those bro-ey type of guys…the “Chads and Brads” as my co-workers would call them, just aren’t for me. And yet, I’m completely masculine.


One of the greatest problems that I see with our current conceptions of masculinity, is that it excludes the vast majority of men, and focuses solely on a select few bad Adams apples who have given all men a bad reputation. And to be honest, that is totally fair. It’s difficult to argue with a “men are the worst” comment when throughout time, men have done some pretty horrible things. But there’s dialogue that exists in feminine circles and beyond where it seems as though all men have been lumped together as one big evil machine. This is contributing to a few problems for the shall we say “nice guys”, who are only becoming increasingly fearful to lead, dominate and initiate. As fear strikes the quivering boots of these nice guys, the actual idiots who desperately need changing, continue to live blissfully unaware that they are a problem.

Men don’t know where to start when it comes to getting in touch with their “masculine” side, because the misconceptions around masculinity have caused them to believe that being masculine doesn’t fit who they really are. Most men think they don’t fit the “masculine” mold, which suggests to me that we need to redefine what masculinity truly is, and help men understand how they can get in touch with their masculine side, without ever being afraid of stepping over a line and engaging in the toxic behaviours that they would already never engage in. So, after the longest introduction in the history of introductions, here is how to be a true masculine man, without being toxic.


When it comes to dating, social situations, work life, and really any context, you as a masculine man should be confident leading, initiating and dominating. This doesn’t mean that women can’t lead, initiate and dominate things like conversation and dates. Instead, it means that you as a man should be prepared to do these things too, and know when to step forward and when to step back.

Over the past few months, I’ve had conversations with several men about how they are fearful to lead, dominate and initiate…and not only in a dating context. I’ve had women tell me the exact same thing. Even just today, a friend told me a story about the time she travelled to Miami with her best friend, looking fly, looking good, expecting guys to approach, and not a single one did. She said to me that most men aren’t willing to lead and initiate, and that dating is becoming increasingly tougher because it’s rare to find someone who actually wants to take control of the situation. I’ve seen this first hand with male friends in my life. In fact…I was the exact same way.

When it comes to dating specifically, it’s biological and rooted in tradition of thousands of years for the man to lead the courtship dance…much to the chagrin of the man reading this right now. There are not only unfortunate gender roles but laws of attraction that we simply cannot escape from. We could escape from this and just sit back and wait for things to happen, but in doing so, we’d sacrifice our level of attractiveness and our ability to actually get anywhere in the world. So the first step to being a confident, leading man, is to first become confident and comfortable with yourself and your abilities. That’s easier said than done, but it’s a step that cannot be skipped. You can’t go from Wonder Women to Superman over night. That just wouldn’t make sense. But once you’ve gone from Wonder Woman to Superman over the span of several nights, go ahead and fly. Start leading and initiating in all aspects of your life, and you will become a man that others want to be around.

Another really important step when it comes to leading and initiating goes along with what many men are afraid of: offending others and saying something wrong. And while I don’t care if I’ve offended you in writing that, don’t get me wrong. Don’t be a prick. But remember who I’m speaking to here. You – the man who is so cautious and careful with your words that you are rarely ever going to actually offend someone or make a derogatory comment that would get you into trouble. So with that, don’t be afraid of confrontation. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and perspectives, don’t even be afraid to offend someone. Go about it in a way where you’re not being homophobic, racist, ageist, sexist, abusive, etc. That’s toxic, not masculine. But at the same time, you don’t have to shy away from making your voice heard. Establish yourself in any context by being a leader, being a vocal presence and by trying to make an impact on the environment around you.

Then when you realize how awesome you are, Superman, and start to positively impact the lives of others through your positive persona and intentionality in your conversations, don’t go flaunting it about. Don’t brag about your exploits or seek the validation from others to tell you that you’re awesome. Awesome people don’t need to prove to anyone else that they are awesome. They just naturally are awesome. And those are the men that are often most in touch with their masculinity…because they know how to exude their confidence, without overdoing it.


In addition to leading and initiating, masculine men need to understand when to take a step back, and hear out other peoples’ perspectives. Men tend to be very action and goal-focused, and are often wrapped up in what they’re going to say next, neglecting the actual words being said. LIKE YOU RIGHT NOW, probably thinking about something else, as you’re reading my words. Stop thinking, and start listening. Take a step back and actually listen to what is being said, how it’s being said, and what the deeper, underlining meanings behind what is being said represent.

When having conversations with people, make eye contact, nod your head and show that you are listening through your body language (i.e. leaning forward, shoulder relaxed, hands calm). Don’t interject, don’t think about yourself or what you’re having for dinner…listen. Listen to what is being communicated, and the message that the other person is trying to convey. And if you can’t comprehend that from the conversation itself, ask questions, or even paraphrase what’s been said to you in a new way. Paraphrasing for clarification will allow the person talking to you to tell you even more details about the topic, without you needing a hot and ready question to keep the conversation going.

To establish an even greater connection, you can mirror the body language and tonality of the person talking to you. So if they’re sounding really excited talking to you, it’s best if you use the same enthusiastic tonality…even if this sounds feminine to you. If someone is excited to talk to you, you should already be naturally excited anyway, so really, you’re just being authentic.

Then when it comes to being a masculine, master listening and empathy skills, and hear out other people’s perspectives without constantly feeling like you need to interject your own. It’s fine to disagree and stand up for yourself (see the first section), but you shouldn’t be going about it in a way that puts other people down and makes them feel of lower value to you. A real man pumps others up, not bring them down. In order to pump other people up, you need to listen to them, and understand what makes them tick.

If you’re really willing to take your masculinity to the next level, start by listening to your friends, peers, co-workers and family members after asking them one simple question – “Do I engage in any behaviours that could be considered toxic?”


This may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the most common characteristics of masculine, manly men, is that they are all in touch with their feminine side. Let’s quickly start off with a brief discussion about fashion and grooming.

When it comes to fashion and grooming, some men think of it as being “girly” or “feminine” to look good and dress well. This is not the case. Being sloppy in your appearance says to the world that you are willing to be sloppy in other areas of your life. It’s just not a good look…literally and figuratively. Ask anyone with any degree of femininity who they find masculine and attractive, and they will probably give you some myriad of men who dress well, are well groomed and who look after their bodies. This doesn’t mean that you need a beard to be masculine (or that you have to be 6’4 with muscles). But there’s nothing particularly masculine (or attractive) about someone who doesn’t maintain their physical appearance. So as a masculine man, you need to start prioritizing your physical appearance and make an effort with clothing, skin care, facial hair, and hairstyle. Don’t get lazy in thinking that being good in one area means you don’t need to try in other areas. I thought I was a good dresser in high school, but a lot of the time I didn’t even wear belts. I also wore socks that had holes in them. My complacency in thinking I was a good dresser caused me to overlook some of the most important parts toward actually being a good dresser. Silly high school me.

In your path to be the most masculine, confident version of yourself, check out more of my fashion and grooming tips, and then get out there and explore what looks good on you.

So, we now know that masculine men understand how to dress and groom themselves well (which shouldn’t be typed as feminine but here we are); but what else? Well, a lot else. Masculine men…

  • Know how to be friends with women without seeing them as sexual objects or mountains that need to be climbed.
  • Know how to communicate in a way that is inviting and inclusive to all, without saying things like “no homo”, “that’s so gay” or any other derogatory remarks.
  • Don’t blame their faults or shortcomings on “being a guy”. But actually take ownership in their failures, and actively make efforts to work through them.
  • Don’t play into strereotypes of what a man should be, and aren’t afraid to engage in stereotypically “girly” activities.
  • Are emotionally available, and intentional in sharing their thoughts, emotions and vulnerabilities to the world.

Out of all of these, I have to unpack the last one on the list in particular. Suppressing how you’re feeling will only lead to more trouble, more pain, and continuous cycles of problematic patterns. Getting help when needed is far more beneficial than you suffering on your own. So recognize trauma from your childhood that could be causing you to have emotional or behavioural concerns into adulthood, and work with a therapist, psychologist or life coach to address those concerns. One of the greatest signs of a tough man, is someone who knows when to seek help, versus when to truly tough something out and do it on their own when the circumstances are right. How do you know when the circumstances are right? Well, usually at that point you’ve been given guidance and help from knowledgeable others. Seeking is help is not a sign of weakness, but strength. The same goes for vulnerability. Not only is vulnerability actually more attractive than you realize, it establishes a greater connection with others, and allows you to showcase a true, authentic version of yourself. So as a masculine man, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your emotions in a totally “feminine” way. Embrace both the feminine and masculine in you, and you’ll easily be able to jump from Wonder Woman to Superman in no time.


Being a masculine man is all about being confident in your masculinity, without being overbearing or unwilling to get in touch with your “feminine” side. It’s about knowing when to lead and initiate versus when to take a step back and listen. Perhaps most importantly of all, it’s about working hard to go about things in the right way through being intentional with your words, messages and actions. Masculine men don’t need to be strong, 6’4 alphas with beards, but they need to self reflect everyday as to how their behaviours could be problematic and how they can do better to be the best version of themselves.

So there it is! How to actually be masculine, without being toxic. Be sure to check out more articles on your quest to become the very best version of yourself, and follow on social media via the links below! Thanks for reading and see you soon.


Becoming the best you (Part 3 – Improving your work life)

“Work, work, work, work, work” – Rihanna.

Rihanna might be different from you and I. She is after all, a multimillionaire celebrity. But Rihanna, just like you and I, knows that hard work pays the bills (that’s what that song is about, right?). If you aren’t willing to work hard, you’ll never get anywhere in life. But at the same time, you cannot work yourself sick. Everything needs to achieve equilibrium, and be able to balance on one leg with your eyes closed in tree pose. So with that, this is Part 3 to our Becoming the Best You Series, in which I give you all the tips and tricks you need to become the very best version of yourself. Today, is all about work.


When it comes to a balanced, happy work life, finding the right fit is absolutely essential. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you are not a one-trick pony, and that you likely have many different options for career paths and jobs that could hypothetically be a good fit for you. So why not get out there and explore what could be the best fit for you? You never want to settle for anything less than the best in life, whenever possible. You wouldn’t want your kids or your parents to have anything less than the best, would you? So why settle for anything less yourself?

If you are stuck in a rut…if you hate the thought of going to work…if you feel like it’s not personally meaningful or challenging or setting you on the path that you want to be…what are you doing? Taking a leap and changing paths can be a scary thought. But life is inherently scary. If you think there’s nothing better out there for yourself, you’re wrong. If you think your abilities are holding you back from having your dream job, you’re doubly wrong. In fact, it’s your mindset holding you back. Not your KSA’s.

When I worked full-time in the soccer world, I was making about five dollars per hour. I was taken advantage of. I was told I wasn’t good enough. I was devalued. I was verbally and physically abused. Yet, I had all of these positive things going for me. Kids loved working with me. I kept them in the sport year after year, wanting to return, wanting to play soccer, wanting to sleep next to a soccer ball because they were so excited to play. I LOVED being a major part of the development of athletes not just in a soccer sense, but in helping them become the individuals that they are, and will one day be. I had constant internal validation of why I was doing a good job from the cards players would make, the pictures they would draw, the kind words of parents, the gifts…the smiling faces! I also had external validation from the types of roles I was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. I was the youngest ever person to be on the board of the district league in town. I was the youngest ever person to be in a Technical Leadership role at my club, if not all clubs in the region…ever. I also loved the more hardcore side of the sport – the pressure, the competition, the way the success of your group of players can be directly related to how well you do as a coach. It fueled me. It felt personally meaningful. And even more – I was entrenched in it – to the point that I still have ties to many of the people and things I thought I made the decision to leave behind already. To the point where my garage resembled a lonely run-down soccer store. It was my life. So I suppressed the fact that I wasn’t happy and that I was heading down a path that could lead me toward serious nothingness in my life.

I thought ‘If I just go to this other club or do this other role, things will be different.’ But it was the same everywhere I went – especially the financial side of it. Even a professional organization couldn’t pay me minimum wage for the amount of work I was doing. I wasn’t able to afford the cost of living, and I was told by one guy, who saw me coach one time over a video, that I wasn’t ready to achieve a license that would allow me to start the process of making more money in the sport. So I left. I left what I had built for eight years. And I have never been happier. Why? Because I’m now in a situation that is a better fit for me…in fact…the best possible fit for my current life right now.

Within minutes of starting my new job, I felt valued and respected. I immediately hit it off with my co-workers. I immediately bonded with the participants. I was challenged. I was asked to do tasks completely out of my normal realm of comfortability, and I loved every minute of it. I still love every minute of it. And if I hadn’t dated a girl from a city nearby for a month, I might never even have thought to apply for this job. It’s funny how life can work life that. But the point is – don’t settle for something that isn’t bringing the upmost value to your life – whether that be financial reasons, personal reasons, or a mix of American Horror Stories. Take my Canadian Horror Story turned Heroes’ Journey as an example of what could be possible, and never think that you don’t deserve something more, or that you can’t accomplish something more. It all comes down to mindset, and your willingness to make change happen in your life for the better.

Finding the perfect fit also isn’t just about the job itself. It’s about the people, the culture, the energy, the vibe. It’s about the organization – what they stand for, who they serve, how that contributes to the world in a way that’s meaningful to you. It’s about your happiness, your financial security, your competence and confidence in your role. It’s about so many things. So this is not an easy task. But going on this journey could be the most rewarding thing you ever do, if you do in fact find that perfect fit.

So now let’s talk about how to actually find the best fit for you. The first thing I want you to do is to write down the five things that you enjoy most in life. Seriously. Stop reading, grab a pen and write.

If you can’t think of five things that you enjoy, you need to add self-reflection into your daily routine. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down to just five, that’s a good thing. It likely means you’re versatile and capable of working in many different places and spaces. For now, you can exclude things that you don’t think you’d want to build a career out of. In other words, just because chocolate cake is one of your five favourite things in life, it doesn’t mean you need a burning cake desire to open up your own bakery or to work in the dessert section of a grocery store. Beyond that, if you’re STILL struggling to narrow it down (like I would be), ask yourself this impossibly difficult question – “If I could never have _ or _ in my life again, which one would I choose?”

Once you’ve done that, think about where in the world you want to live and where you want to work. If you’re open to anything, that’s amazing. But if you want to stay in your current city and keep your life relatively the same beyond this change of career, that’s also amazing. You just need to know that before you start looking, and before you start thinking about what jobs fit the billing for your five things. Once you’ve established that, literally go to organizational websites, go to Indeed, go to LinkedIn, and search for these things in not only job descriptions, but the search bars themselves. Let’s take my recent career change as an example…

For my personal path, those five things would be some version of helping people, personal development, writing, being physically active, and coaching/educating. I’m also open to working anywhere in Ontario…maybe even in Canada…so my job scope is not limited by location. So knowing that, you might instantly say that being a phys. ed teacher would be a great fit for my desires. You’re probably right. But I know that I want more than that in life. Nothing against teaching, but I want to change lives of not just individuals, but communities, groups…the world…(is that too ambitious?). Right now, I’m working at a community centre in a low-income neighbourhood, leading youth recreation programs, and trying to help inspire kids in this neighbourhood to live a better life. It’s amazing. I know that this isn’t the be all end all forever, and there will come a time where I look to progress forward in my career path and be in even more of a leadership role (leading is definitely my #6, just ahead of soccer). But I genuinely feel right now that it’s the perfect fit for me. It relates to aspects of coaching/educating, to helping people and to recreation – combining three of my five favourite things in life.

So beyond dating the girl from the city nearby, let’s talk about how I found the perfect fit for me and how I came to be in my current role. First, I searched for keywords and phrases that would directly apply to my interests. As cool as it would be if the words “helping people” turned up 50,000 job results nearby, there are better terms to use that will yield better results. When I was searching for my perfect fit, I scoured the internet for jobs relating to ‘Recreation’, ‘Sports’, ‘Community’, ‘Leadership’ and even ‘Writing’ – keeping my options open to all of my interests. I even created job alerts for these terms, set to be sent directly to my inbox on a weekly to biweekly basis. During this time, I also identified my ideal city to be in the middle ground of my old city – London, and the place to be in Ontario – Toronto. So I searched specifically in about five cities within that scope, upped my resume and cover letter game, and eventually, after over a hundred job applications, found the perfect fit for me. You might be saying to me right now – “Rhys. That’s a lot of freaking work.” Well, your happiness is worth any amount of work…freaking work even. So go through the steps of identifying what it is that you want, putting yourself out there, and then taking the leap.

You need to understand that when applying for jobs, the market is crazy. You need to put your best foot forward with anything you can use as leverage. I’m talking your cover letter, your resume, your physical appearance, your hygiene, your networking, your everything. Reach out to knowledgeable others already in the industry. Ask them what it takes to land that dream job. Maybe you’ll even gain a crucial connection or a job offer along the way. Little things like this can matter a lot in today’s market. Give yourself that leverage and expand your horizons by applying for as many jobs as possible. Go through the experience of applying, writing cover letters, and interviewing. Gain as much experience and exposure to it as you can. You’ll start to develop a rhythm for how to answer questions, for what stories you want to tell, for how to sell yourself, and even for how to reframe yourself as the prize. You likely won’t even hear back from 50% of the places you apply for. Don’t let that discourage you. It’s always worth applying for that small chance that you do hear back, that your interview goes great, and that you land your dream job. Shoot for the freaking stars and you might shine brighter than all of them.

Then when you conduct interviews with organizations, actively scope out whether or not they are a good fit for you. Don’t just sit there thinking “Am I a good fit for them? Am I saying the right things?” No. You are the prize. You are the one in control. You need to figure out whether or not they are a good fit for you. And don’t get me wrong – whether or not they like you will be a big part of your happiness at work. So you still want to ensure the feelings are mutual. But this is ultimately about you finding the best fit for you. So you don’t have to take the first job offer that comes your way. Even after taking a job, you don’t have to stay if you realize it was a mistake. So long as your chasing your calling, and being true to who you are, you’re going to be on the right path toward finding the perfect fit for you, and making the most out of your work life…for life.


Now that my novella is over, let’s talk about work-life balance. If you’ve even read this far in the article, chances are, you’re a workhorse. You are likely someone who works tirelessly, and always puts your best foot forward, probably even with a bit of a ‘work-first, my life-second’ kind of mentality. Squash that right now like it’s a butternut. Even if you’ve found your perfect fit, you need to have a positive work-leisure/work-life balance in order to achieve true happiness at work.

So let’s talk about how to accomplish a favourable work to life balance. As much as you might want to make your entire world revolve around work, you need to have other things going for you, and other things that make you unique beyond work. You need to take time for yourself and practice self-care. Whether that be in the morning before work, in the evening after work, or both, you need to find the time for you. You need to do things that you enjoy, that feel personally meaningful to you. This can be difficult to accomplish. Even if you make plans to see people after work, by the time work finishes you might not feel up to going out again. You may even already have other responsibilities, like being the personal taxi driver for your kids. But no matter what, try and set aside some time, by getting into a routine and setting boundaries for yourself.

One key way to carve out the time, is to know your work schedule and stick to it like glue. If you’re working for an organization, this should be relatively easy for you to achieve. If you’re the boss of your own work life, make sure you set yourself a specific work schedule that you stick to. Once you get into the routine of knowing what you have to accomplish each week at work, you’ll begin to have more time for the balance outside of that. If you work from home, you should also have separate spaces for where you work and where you live your ordinary lounging life – ensuring they stay separate. Further, when you’re not working, stop thinking about work! Stop answering work emails. Stop reflecting on all that needs to be done tomorrow. You’re just going to burn yourself out.

Finally, if you work with other people, make time at work to be social, and connect with your co-workers. For example, rather than eating at your desk, eat lunch with your co-workers. This could release the burden to be social when you finish work, whilst fulfilling that social need in your life. If you’re still struggling to achieve a work-life balance after putting all of these steps into motion, consider coaching to help get you out of your rut and achieve a greater equilibrium.


In the quest to make time for you outside of work, consider following your passions all the more. Ponder those five things I had you write down earlier, and think about if any are currently missing from your work life. If something’s missing, I urge you to think about how you could incorporate that into your life, in a way that makes you money. Developing a side hustle based around one of your greatest passions will allow you to have something to look forward to when you finish work. It might even help you financially, and allow you to literally make money in your sleep. This will naturally enhance the value that you bring to the world, and the level of meaning you assign to your life. I always have three to four personal projects that I’m working on at any time outside of work. It keeps me busy, but that’s the way I like to live my life. And it doesn’t have to be starting a business or making a website. It can be taking a course and learning something new. It can be training for a sports event/competition. It can even be reading articles like this and going through the steps of becoming the very best you. So if you can manage the time, why not chase your wildest dreams? That’s where I’ll leave you for today.


When considering how best to go about establishing a positive work life, it’s all about finding the perfect fit for you, achieving a work-life balance, and making time to focus on your personal projects and passions beyond work. Even regardless of the other core principles to becoming the best you, if you can focus on your work life in all of these different areas, you will be on a stellar path toward feeling your most confident self, and living your best life. If you have any questions or want to learn more about becoming the best you, feel free to contact

So there it is! Improving your work life on the path to becoming the best you. Be sure to check out more in this series, and follow on social media via the links below. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…

  1. Part 1 – Improving your social life
  2. Part 2 – Improving your health
  3. Part 3 – Improving your work life
  4. Improving your KSA’s (becoming the best you)


Developing a growth mindset…

Over the past eight years of working with kids, one of the biggest things that I’ve noticed is that they are often hyper-aware of their own abilities and inabilities, particularly what they seemingly cannot accomplish. Whether it be through not wanting to try something new because they think they won’t like it, being afraid of new challenges out of fear or anxiety of it not going well, or even criticizing themselves for their perceived lack of skill, kids often overestimate how much they can grow with a little bit of time and effort. But what I’ve also noticed over the past eight years, is that kids are not alone in this. This is a massive mindset problem for adults too, in fact – people of all ages. We often view the world with a fixed mindset.

I know I’m terrible at art, so in the movie of my life, I always portray myself as some hopeless art loser the moment I thrust myself into an art project. The reality of the situation is that I’m actually totally fine at drawing, painting…even dare I say…colouring…especially when given the right tools or the right level of instruction. In fact, if I had ever stepped out of my hopeless art loser shell and took say…a painting class, I likely would have developed useful knowledge, skills and maybe even new attitudes, that could have transformed my entire art mindset for life. Our abilities are not fixed in time, and can change with practice and help. So it’s important to approach any challenges or perceived inabilities with a growth mindset, and positive self-talk. That’s why in this article I’m going to be giving you some tips and tricks to establishing a growth mindset. And cut the scene.


As the critical beings that we tend to be, we’re often hyper-aware of our imperfections and faults, to a fault. It’s all well and good to acknowledge all that needs to improve, but problems arise when we embrace our faults as part of our identity, without making any active strides to change. Instead of just accepting that we’re good at some things and bad at other things, we need to be willing to challenge our imperfections and work to improve all areas of our lives. We need to learn how to ask knowledgeable others for help when necessary, or even take the risk in attempting a difficult task all on our own. And if we receive feedback or even criticism, we need to challenge that feedback head-on, and use it as an opportunity to improve. There is always a point in trying to accomplish something that you perceive as being difficult, even if you fail. Think of how much better it will feel when you actually accomplish that thing, rather than your art loser life of not even bothering to try. Challenging our imperfections is about winning the battle before it even begins.

Besides, your inability to perform a task is far more mental than it is reality. If you focus on developing a positive attitude and mindset toward any task you strive to accomplish, you will likely perform far better. Instead of saying “I’m an awful swimmer”, challenge yourself and boisterously proclaim “I haven’t learned how to swim well, yet. But I want to learn.” Now that’s a growth mindset.


One of the best ways to actually inspire growth in your life is to actively work on the areas in which you need improvement. This is obvious to say, and chances are, you probably already do this with many areas of your life. But, let’s face it, you’ve likely written yourself off in so many other areas of your life, by telling yourself you can’t…or even worse…that you suck. How dare you. For instance, take my art example. I’ve always told myself that I’m bad at art. But have I made strides to improve? No. Instead, with every picture I’ve drawn over the past twenty-four years, I’ve told myself that I suck at art, as I’m drawing. What a healthy mindset.

So with my sarcasm in mind, part of “growing” is about actually “doing”. If you want to improve at something, like for example, all areas of your life, you need to not just read my articles on how to be a better person, but actually get out there and practice what that looks like.

That mean seem daunting to you. But you need to stop caring about what other people think of you. If anyone wants to judge you, they’ve instantly made themselves a worse person in that moment. And that’s their loss. Not yours. So believe in your abilities, and take the risk of accepting a challenge head-on, even when you know that you have no faith in your ability to accomplish a task. I’ve had this running joke for a while where I tell people that I’m “bad with hand stuff”, which is super true…to an extent. But I always give those type of handyman activities a go, even if the outcome ends up being embarrassing. Why? Because I don’t need the approval of others to make me feel good. If I do a good job on the task, I can be proud of my efforts. If I do a bad job on the task, it’s a valuable learning opportunity for next time. Having a growth mindset is all about getting to a place where you are completely okay with failure. It’s about getting to a place where you don’t see negative outcomes as embarrassing, but worthwhile experiences.

I may take hours more to set up a barbecue than the average guy. I may even break a few glow sticks along the way (don’t ask)…but chances are from doing those simple activities I’ll have learned valuable skills, gained knowledge on barbecues and glow sticks, and be able to perform those tasks to a greater ability next time. People may laugh and ridicule me for how many glow-sticks I break (I swear it was only a third), but I don’t care, because I now know how to only break a sixth of them next time. Now that’s a growth mindset.


In helping you put this all into action, consider setting yourself some goals. One thing that I like to do is to set myself a task to accomplish over the course of each week, centered around anything I know that I’m desperately terrible at….or that I haven’t learned how to do better yet ;). This keeps me accountable toward actual improvement. If I fail at my task, I don’t allow myself to move to a different goal until it’s been completed. This may be small like flossing every day of the week, or bigger, like going an entire week without spending a dime. One week I made an active effort to remember to say “how about you?” whenever I was asked a personal question. Another week I told myself I had to tell the truth one hundred percent of the time, focusing on complete transparency and honesty in all aspects of my life. Regardless of what you improve, it’s important to remember it as something that can be improved with effort and time. Stop telling yourself “I’m terrible at __.”, and start telling yourself “I haven’t made an active effort to improve at __, and this week I’m going to prioritize my improvement.” Then set yourself a goal related to that quest, and get it done.

So there it is! How to develop a growth mindset! Be sure to check out more on this subject, such as Focusing on the positive…, and A word on taking chances…. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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Becoming the best you (Part 3 – Improving your work life)

If you aren’t willing to work hard, you’ll never get anywhere in life. But at the same time, you cannot work yourself sick. Everything needs to achieve equilibrium, and be able to balance on one leg with your eyes closed in tree pose. So with that, this is Part 3 to our Becoming the Best You Series, in which I give you all the tips and tricks you need to become the very best version of yourself. Today, is about all work.

Do this when you’re feeling sad…

Have you ever had a day where you’re just feeling blah, and you don’t know why? Well, chances are, something is going on with your psychological and/or biological make-up that’s making you feel that way. Duh, right? But when it comes to feeling better, recognizing potential triggers for your sadness is an essential starting place. Here’s how…

Focusing on the positive…

We as humans have a problem. Well…many problems. But one of the worst of our problems, that often only leads to more problems, is that we tend to focus on our problems in a negative light. We tend to focus on the negative and not enough on the positive. So today, I’m going to be sharing some strategies as to how you can focus more on the positive, and develop a positive outlook even when things get difficult.


Getting over a breakup…

And for now, you can hate me. One day, you’ll maybe turn a little soft. Think back and remember us as a big win, a little loss.”Barcelona by Winnetka Bowling League & Sasha Sloan.

Breaking up hurts. BUT, bouncing back from a breakup presents a chance for you to go through the greatest transformation you could ever imagine for you and your life. When you are rejected by someone, it’s time to forget about them, focus on you, and become the very best version of yourself. If you’ve found this article on this very website, a website focusing on self improvement and personal development, you’re in the right place toward taking that leap. So let’s jump right into this article all about how to heal post-break-up, and go through the biggest WIN you’ll ever have, even if right now everything in your world feels like a massive loss.


The first step to getting over someone and healing post-breakup is to focus on you. You can reflect on what you could have done differently and how you might do better next time, but chances are you will only drive yourself crazy dwelling on the situation if you take that approach. Use the negatives as positives to fuel you and your transformation, in changing those negative habits or behaviours that may or may not have caused your relationship’s demise. During my last break-up, for months I was saying to myself “I wish I made that mistake with someone else, so that I knew better and didn’t make it with ___.” This is not a healthy mindset. Mistakes are learning experiences, regardless of when they occur. The biggest wins in life often come after our greatest failures. Even if it might not seem that way for you right now. So stop focusing on the negatives, stop punishing yourself for your mistakes, stop putting that person on a pedestal, and start focusing on you and all that makes you YOU. Start building yourself back up, and becoming the best version of yourself in all of the four major areas in which you need to go through to accomplish life-changing transformations.

Following my most recent break-up, I only started to think of the breakup as a win, when I stopped putting the other person on a pedestal, and I started focusing on clear actions that could take my life to the next level. It turns out, a lot of things needed fixing. But once I started to focus on building myself back up, my confidence hit the roof, and I accomplished wonders in completely forgetting about that person romantically. I started to treat myself like the prize, rather than pining over my ex. And that’s when a funny thing happened. I realized I was no longer even attracted to that person romantically. Because when the break-up hit, I was made to feel like a loser. I was made to feel worthless. But over time, I realized I was actually the one with value. I wasn’t a loser. I was the winner in the situation. My mindset completely shifted, and I realized, the other person was the loser for ending it with me, and for making me feel the way I did. And as a person of value, I wanted to surround myself with other people of value. This mindset change completely transformed my outlook on the break-up and allowed me to easily get over the biggest hurdle (more on that to come).

Another important step to focusing on YOU after a breakup is to be patient when it comes to jumping back into dating. I guarantee you that you are not ready to jump back into any kind of a relationship, casual or serious, in the weeks or even months after a break-up. No matter how right your new relationship might feel. Chances are, you’re only going to be hurting someone else. Chances are, you’re only going to make things worse, and continue to put your heartbreaker on a pedestal. We often compare present relationships to past relationships. Even if we don’t want those thoughts to enter our minds, they are always readily available. So jumping back into another relationship only makes you think about your ex more, while simultaneously limiting your ability to focus on building yourself back up. Beyond that, your heart is still emotionally attached to your ex, and seeing someone new will only cause more stress and heart-ache to your painful situation. So stay off the dating apps, don’t jump into something new, and focus on all that you can do to make yourself a better person instead.


Going hand and hand with the last section, you need to focus on creating positive distractions for yourself following a break-up. If you’re a human reading this rather than a cyborg, chances are, everything reminds you of your ex right now. This is the biggest hurdle you need to get over when suffering from a break-up. In fact, it’s the main reason why people often jump straight back into relationships and start dating other people. Those people are trying to replace something that’s gone. Whether it be their best friend that they’ve lost, the supposed love of their life, or even just someone they envisioned a longer future with. But what those people (and you) need to realize after a break-up, is that even if there’s a chance of you getting back together, the relationship that you had as you knew it, is dead. It will never be the same. Even if it can be repaired, you will need to treat everything almost as though it’s your first time meeting that person again, if it’s actually going to work. So what you need to do right now is realize that it’s over, and squash any thoughts of fixing the past or changing the future of that relationship. Stop listening to heartbreak music, stop googling ‘how to get your ex back’, and start creating meaningful and positive distractions for yourself that don’t remind you of your ex.

Focus on building back relationships you’ve neglected since you got together with your ex, and focus on developing a social circle full of new friends. If you’re seeking the kind of affection and affirmation you craved from your ex – the person that likely refused to give you those exact two things – use your support systems in place to get out of that mindset. When you spend time with friends, don’t spend all your time talking about your ex. Talk about other exciting things going on in your life, the transformations you’re undergoing to become the best version of yourself, and the new possibilities available at your fingertips. Remember that as much as close others might want to help you post-break-up, you are ultimately the only person that is going to get you to feel better about things. This is why it’s so key to start developing a new social circle, to go along with this new (or more or less improved) you. Your new friends will only know THIS you, and not what you were like in that past relationship. Once that happens, you’ll embody this “new” you, and forget about the “old” you. Focusing on friendship, particularly new friends, is a great place start.

Even more – focus on things that you used to do for fun, that you neglected during your relationship. When we’re in deep with someone, we tend to focus a lot of energy on making them happy. We forget about some of the things that we enjoy, and push them aside. Get back into those activities and get your life back! If you were already good at balancing your independence within your relationships, consider taking up new hobbies or interests, and start to live a more interesting, exciting life. One way in which you can do that is by travelling to a new place you’ve never been to before once a week. This is one of the number one things that cleansed me of all negativity post-break-up and allowed for my transformation. Why? It provided a meaningful and positive distraction, where I began to think about myself and my new beginnings.

If travelling isn’t your thing, consider getting out and exploring your own town. Visit restaurants, coffee shops or even tourist attractions in your own environment that you’ve never been to before, at least once a week. Set yourself a goal of something you want to achieve, and then go out there and do exactly that. As an example, one of my goals post-breakup was to cook or bake at least one new thing every week, that I had never tried making before. Not only was this a great way to spice up my diet and add some variety, it was a useful distraction and something to look forward to every week. Adventures and avenues like this created some of my most positive experiences post-break-up, beyond just creating the best distractions. Another great thing about trying your hand at new beginnings and exploring new places is the people you can meet along the way. Maybe one of these people, when you’re ready, will even turn out to be your next long-term relationship. So with that…let’s talk about deciding when you’re ready to get back out there.


After a break-up, you will crave the affection and affirmation of close others in helping replace what’s been lost. It’s crucial to get that from friends, rather than from any new romantic relationships, and to take your time in getting back out there. Again, you’re simply not ready…even if you think you are.

But you might be wondering – how do you know when you actually are ready to get back out there. There’s a great How I Met Your Mother episode about this, where Future Ted talks about how everyone has a different metric for how much time it takes before you are truly over someone and ready to get back out there. For some it may be half the time of the relationship; for others it may be when you can think about dating someone new without the thought of your ex entering your mind. For me, I believe you know that you’re ready to get back out there when you’ve accomplished three things. You need to no longer find your ex attractive and suitable for you romantically, you need to fully believe in your break-up as a win rather than a loss, and you need to become you 2.0, which will only help you achieve the other two mindsets. So let’s break this down in further detail.

First, the best thing that you can do following a break-up is focus on becoming you 2.0. So when you feel like you’re on a good path toward getting there, and that you’ve started to figure out the four core principles and get your life in order, you’re usually very close to being ready. But there will always be set-backs. For any relationship that you were highly invested in (usually one that lasts longer than two months), a minimum of thirty days is an absolute must. There’s a lot of research out there that suggests the twenty-nine to thirty-one day mark of a break-up is the second toughest span of time after the initial few days, and the time in which you will miss your former partner the most. It’s why ‘get your ex back’ supposed “experts” talk about a thirty-day no contact period between you and your ex following a break-up, if you want any chance of ‘getting them back’. The theory behind this is that you’re going to be hitting them with a message at the point in which they miss you most and have (somehow) forgotten about all the negatives of the relationship. I won’t bother to link these “experts”, as you’re better off focusing on you, rather than how to get someone else to like you. You will naturally attract the people you desire once you become the best version of yourself. Besides, most of these “experts” will actually legitimately tell you exactly this anyway. They’ll tell you that if you want your ex back, you need to focus on yourself, and not your ex. But my reasoning for this long-winded tangent is to tell you that there are legitimate, scientifically studied highs and lows of a break-up that have been studied for years. Even if you feel like a brand new person one day, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from hitting that twenty-nine day mark and missing your ex uncontrollably. And this is why the “thirty day no-contacting your ex” period of time is legitimately stupid. The entire time, you’re thinking about your ex and what you’ll say when that period is over, rather than focusing on you and all that you can do to forget about them. No contact works in not making things worse for yourself if you really want this person back in your life, but beyond that, it’s useless to put a definitive time period on it. My best friend has a quite harsh, but completely understandable perspective on this. He says that once it’s over, you should never contact that person ever again. This, of course, is unrealistic and practically impossible. But it’s also completely valid and often the best approach. But a funny thing happens when you eventually do reach out to your ex after a while, and this is why I think contact at some point is absolutely essential.

Once you actually reach out and contact your ex, chances are, they will respond in a negative way. You may be fearful of that, but that’s actually one of the BEST things that can happen. You’ll quickly realize that they are not someone you really want to be around, and that their behaviour is not all that attractive to you. When you’re no longer attracted to your ex, and you don’t think only love goggle thoughts when you think of them, you are more or less ready.

In other words, knowing when you’re ready is about going through a span of time in which you have no bad days. No set-backs. No tears. No “I miss you” thoughts. It’s about going through a span of time in which you actually forget they were ever even in your life. Right now, that may seem difficult. But it’s super possible once you start focusing on yourself and all that you can do to become the best you. Throughout that process, it’s important to remember that there is no linear process to getting over a breakup. The length of the relationship, your attachment to that person, and the various things you shared (from small things like intimate moments to big things like kids and a house), can all play into how long it takes to healing your wounds and putting yourself out there again. But regardless of these factors, it will take time. As cliché and annoying as that is, you need time to heal. It’s just about what you do in that time, and hopefully all of these tips can help you spend that time wisely and get to a place where you no longer think of your break-up as a loss, but instead, a big win, that set you on the path toward your biggest life transformation yet.


When it comes to healing after a break-up, there is no linear process. It’s important to focus on building yourself back up through intentionally focusing on all that you can control and all that you can do to be the best you, rather than focusing on anything to do with your ex. If that’s troubling for you and you can’t even look at water without thinking of your ex, work to create positive and meaningful distractions – like travelling, hanging out with friends, or setting yourself new goals. Once you start on a path toward self-development, you’ll start to gain confidence in a host of areas, and your mindset about the situation will inevitably change. When you can get to the point where you start to treat your break-up as a win, rather than a loss, and you no longer find that person attractive, that’s when you know you’re ready to get back out there. In the end, remember that you are a prize and that your ex was wrong for treating you how they did. Thanks for reading and see you soon.

So there it is! My best tips, tricks, and mindset shifts to getting over a break-up and becoming the best version of yourself. Be sure to check out more from our Dating & Relationships section, and continue to become the best you by checking out more of our Personal Development articles. If you enjoy this kind of content, be sure to give a follow on social media using the links below. Thanks again, and see you on the other side.


Becoming the best you (Part 2 – Improving your health)

For all that it has taken away and destroyed, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with an opportunity to reflect. And not just about the world we live in and all that still desperately needs fixing, but about our own lives, and all that still desperately needs fixing. That’s why in this four-part series, I’m going to be giving you tips and tricks to becoming the very best version of yourself. In part one, we took a look at how to develop a more active social life. Now in part two, it’s all about how to channel your inner beast mode, and become healthier than a kale-spinach salad mix. This is how to become the healthiest you that you’ve ever been.


When it comes to becoming the healthiest possible version of yourself, working on your physical health and developing an exercise regimen is always a good start. While other lifestyle changes like eating right and stepping up your fashion game may be more palatable, there’s no denying that hard work pays off when it comes to focusing on your physical health. Exercise is associated with a countless amount of benefits that you likely already know, which you’ve probably been told throughout your life. So really, what are you waiting for? Some people shy away from hard work. If you want to become the best you possible, to the extent that you’re ready this article, chances are you’re not that person. Maybe you don’t have a friend to go with? Two things. First, read our article on developing a social life, and I guarantee that will change. Second, going to the gym or being physically active by…say joining or sports team or club…will inherently give you friends to go with. So the only other excuse that you could possibly have at this point is that you don’t have the time. When it comes to prioritizing your physical health, you need to make time for it. Let’s face it. You probably make time for the things in your life that are important to you. So, if you’re not a physically active person, you need to focus on making exercise a priority for you…something that your body simply doesn’t want to go a day without. The best way to do that? Exercise. Cigarette smokers don’t get addicted to smoking without ever having smoked a cigarette. It’s the same with exercise. If you can get your body to not just want, but crave these healthy health habits like exercising and eating right, you need to train your body to get to that point.

When it comes to being physically active, there is also a sport or activity for literally everyone. Maybe you don’t want to run around a field and get tackled by middle aged men, but maybe you have really good aim and could take up archery or golf. Maybe sitting on a mat and meditating, doing yoga or challenging yourself one step further with some pilates is more your speed. Maybe you really like to drive and could take up go-karting or a motorsport. Maybe you love to be out the wilderness and could try your hand at orienteering or even the lesser known rogaining. And if you’d rather work out in the comfort of your own home, Peloton is putting out some great resources right now, and there are a countless number of phenomenal personalities on YouTube that can easily whip you into shape with no equipment required. My favourites include Tiff x Dan, Heather Robertson and Pamela Reif. But I definitely encourage you to search for the kind of workout you want (i.e. kickboxing, five minute abs, indoor cycling, etc.,) and go from there. Anything is possible, so investigate the options that are out there, particularly within your own environments and your own city. Looking at local recreation and community centers to see what they offer is always a good start. If you’re in high school and university, your job in finding a good fit is all the easier. Chances are, there’s a club or team for that…maybe even both. Then there’s local gyms, martial arts studios, yoga studios, and likely plenty of trails and walking spots in your hometown to check out.

The opportunities here are endless. So once you’ve found your activity, make it a priority in your life by setting yourself a routine and staying consistent. You can grab a friend to hold you accountable in doing it, but be careful in skipping days when your friend inevitably can’t do it with you. And obviously, life gets busy. Chances are, there might be a day where you’re working late and then unable to wake up at 5:30am to hit the gym. That’s fine. See if you can fit some other form of exercise in throughout the day.

Beyond exercise, also consider investing in (or even making your own) standing desk. Sitting (especially for prolonged periods of time) has a host of negative side effects you might not realize. While finding a way to constantly move while you’re doing work (i.e. walking, swaying, cycling, etc.) is better than standing, it still beats sitting in the game of rock, paper, scissors nobody is playing. You can also take regular breaks (e.g. every 30 minutes) to move around if there’s no way around it for you, and take the stairs rather than the elevator wherever you go.


As I said in the intro of this article, you probably don’t need me to tell you how important food and nutrition is to your overall health and wellbeing. To steal a line from every TV mom ever, you need to eat your vegetables. And to steal a line from every bottled water campaign, nothing hydrates better than water. So you should be drinking 8-10 cups a day…or way more than that because that seems awfully low. Whole grains, fruits, and protein rich foods like nuts, seeds, beans, eggs, poultry and fish are other essentials. But again, this is all stuff you’ve heard before. So let’s talk about some advanced tips to take your food and nutrition game to the next level.

First, you’re going to want to spice up your life by incorporating variety into your diet. If you just eat the same foods for every meal of every day, you’re going to be missing out on some vital vitamins and minerals. Simultaneously, you could be overloading yourself on a select few vitamins and minerals, to a near toxic level. I like to rotate through various foods and meals that I enjoy, but I usually don’t make the same thing for lunch or dinner more than once a week. It’s also just more fun that way! Then when selecting foods, look for organics, raw and natural foods and ingredients, rather than packaged foods loaded with sugar and trans fat. Skip the fast food, minimize your alcohol and drug consumption, and prioritize healthy eating.

Another thing that you can do is get your blood work done and identify missing vitamins and minerals. Chances are, there’s something you’re missing in your diet. And if you’re low on even one thing, it can affect your mood, energy, and overall wellbeing more than you might realize. Being low in iron for example (found in red meat and green leafy vegetables), can leave you tired and even short of breath. Being low in calcium over time can eventually lead to osteoporosis – which is associated with bone loss, diminished bone density, and an increased risk of fractures. That’s one more reason why you need to eat a variety of foods – so that you can tick as many boxes as you can. The key takeaway? Get your blood work done and find out what your body needs more of, then identify what foods you can add to your diet to compensate for that loss. The results could be immediate.

So what about eating unhealthy foods? When it comes to unhealthy eating, just about anything can be okay in moderation. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to cut down on things like sugar and trans fat. A lot of people say that unsweetened applesauce tastes way better than sweetened applesauce, and that’s likely to do with the lack of artificial sugar added into the mix. Restaurant-goers often want lean cut meats, because they are less fatty…cough…taste better. And guess what, they’re healthier too. Especially if you can go extra lean. You might also learn that 1% milk tastes the exact same as 2% milk, but doesn’t have any trans fat. It’s that easy to make a change. Look for low-sugar and low-fat options in any non produce food that you buy, and even consider changing brands from your usual crowd to seek out those healthier options.

Then the less and less sugar, trans fat, etc., you eat, the less and less your body will crave it, and actually, the more your body will reject it. Obviously it’s unrealistic to cut sugar entirely out of your diet (although some people do). But it’s super easy to be careful of your sugar intake, look for low sugar options and switch brands when necessary. When baking your own desserts, you’d be surprised about how many recipes taste exactly the same even if you cut the amount of sugar in half. But beyond things like sugar and trans fat, you don’t want to be driving yourself crazy in scrutinizing over your daily food intake. Calorie counting may only lead to an eating disorder, and you ultimately want to have a healthy relationship with food. Besides, if you never eat unhealthy foods, you’re going to be a nightmare to hang out with in social situations. There is a serious stigma that still exists around healthy eating…even though we all know it’s the way to go. So be careful, but don’t drive yourself crazy in thinking you need to eat healthy 100% of the time.

Finally, if you don’t love food already, you need to develop a love for food. Consider buying cook books that have an emphasis toward healthy eating, like cookbooks for athletes, vegetarians or vegans. Then get in the kitchen and start cooking! Even if cooking isn’t your forte, you might realize how fun it can be to make your own pizza dough from scratch, or how simple it is to make your own soup. Invite a friend to cook with you, and experiment until you find your new-found healthy faves. If that sounds challenging for you, consider seeing a dietician or even a psychotherapist to help you develop a healthier relationship with food. It’s worth reiterating that I often feel my worst when I’m at my hungriest. Not just in terms of energy and mood, but often even in terms of cold-like symptoms such as headaches or loss of appetite (strange isn’t it). So if there’s one thing to remember from this section, it’s that making a conscious effort to eat healthy won’t just be life changing for the future, but also for the short term in helping you get through the day to day struggles of life.


At this point, you’re probably starting to see how all of these things fit together as one big puzzle piece. For example, allowing exercise and nutrition to become a priority in your life often leads to positive mental health outcomes like boosted mood, energy levels and that feel good factor. But it’s also important to actively focus on your mental health and seek help when needed.

Many people say they don’t have time for a therapist or a life coach, but as we’ve said before, people make time for the things they care about. And so if you actually care about enhancing your mental health on the quest to becoming the best you – consider finding a psychologist or a therapist (maybe even a psychotherapist) that can help to transform your life. If you don’t think you have the time to add one more thing to your ‘in-person’ routine, why not try therapy in the comfort of your own home? There are plenty of awesome online resources like that can match you up with a therapist perfect for you in minutes. And this is not an ad.

Another great way to prioritize your mental health is to practice the art of reflection. Keeping a reflection journal is one way that you can do this, but another way is simply to reflect on your world during one of your ordinary, daily activities. I like to reflect on all that’s going well and all that I need to improve on my early morning runs. I’ve had friends tell me they do the same when going for walks, when showering, while doing a puzzle or crossword, while cleaning or doing the laundry, or even for five minutes while they’re laying in bed, either before they start their day or before they fall asleep. You might even find that writing down your thoughts, writing poetry, or doing a task that you enjoy (e.g. playing guitar, painting, etc.,) can be another therapeutic way of coping with stress, alleviating unwanted feelings or getting suppressed feelings up to the surface.

It doesn’t necessarily matter when or where you reflect, but it’s a useful and important practice that can help you be more mindful of your every day actions. And beyond that, when done right, it can help you focus not only on what went wrong and what can improve, but also all that is going well. So take some time out of your day to be alone, reflect, and focus on you, free of distractions.


Unless you’ve been living in a clothes-less time loop (and even then), you’ve probably heard the phrase “dress to impress.” But what often goes underreported, is that you should dress to impress yourself, more than anyone else. You might be thinking – ‘I don’t care how I dress. I just want to be comfortable.’ But, little do you know, Julia Michaels, is that you can be completely comfortable and stylish at the same time. Dressing to impress yourself is a great way to boost your self-belief and confidence. You’ll start to feel more and more confident in your own skin – as though you can accomplish anything. And not only will you feel confident all on your own, but you’ll likely turn heads and get external validation from others telling you exactly how good you look, or even just the lingering, whispering eye and nod of self-respect (you know the one), which can be an equally nice feeling. You don’t need to rely on the compliments or lingering eyes of others to feel good about yourself, but chances are people will take notice, and that will feel good.

It’s the same thing with a fresh new cut, or flattering change of hairstyle. Think of how badass you’ll feel after walking out of that hair salon, looking fly as all hell. When you start to look cool, you’ll start to feel cool, and that can do wonders for your well-being. Our physical appearance and the way we look is an underrated aspect of our physical and mental health. What’s more – it’s actually one of the easier things to maintain. Smelling nice, dressing nice and looking nice isn’t all that difficult when it comes down to it. You just have to find what you like in each of those areas by going out and exploring different scents, products, clothes and styles. Sure, it might be one of the more expensive of the life transformations discussed in this series, but once you get good at it, it’s really easy to maintain that for the rest of your life.

If I haven’t done enough to convince you, consider the countless amount of studies that suggest you have a mere seven seconds to make a first impression on someone. Don’t you want to at least look nice for those seven seconds rather than a bag of trash in your clothes-less time loop? I know I do. So dress to impress not just others, but also yourself.

Even regardless of the other core principles to becoming the best you, if you can focus on your health and fitness in all of these different areas, you will be on a great path toward feeling your most confident self, and living your best life. If you have any questions or want to learn more about becoming the best you, feel free to contact

So there it is! Improving your health on the path to becoming the best you. Be sure to check out more in this series, and follow on social media via the links below. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…

  1. Part 1 – Improving your social life
  2. Part 2 – Improving your health
  3. Part 3 – Improving your work life
  4. Improving your KSA’s (becoming the best you)


Ten foods that have more sugar than you think…

Sugar is unavoidable. Nearly all foods and drinks have the sweet-tasting carbohydrate our bodies love and crave, and so cutting it out completely is simply impossible. However, anyone striving to become the best version of themselves should be conscious of their sugar intake in order to have a healthier diet and perform at the highest level. Here are ten supposedly healthy foods that have more sugar than you might think.

1. Yogurt

Yogurt has several health benefits, and is one of the healthier snack foods in existence. However, yogurt is by no means perfect. It already has some naturally occurring sugars from the milk, and even more when you add things like fruit or granola. Then when you add processed sugar to that, like many companies do, yogurt can be a sugary nightmare. Greek or Icelandic unsweetened, plain yogurts are typically lower in sugar than any other kind. But the ones packed with artificial flavours should be avoided to get the benefits of yogurt without the detractors.

Suggestion: When possible, buy unsweetened, plain greek yogurt and look for ones with less than 7g of sugar per serving.

2. Cereal

Cereal is one of the most commonly consumed breakfast foods. Everyone is aware of the dangers of sugary cereals like Froot Loops, Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes. But even cereals that are supposedly healthy are packed with far too much sugar. Just about every top cereal brand has a product with 20-25 grams of sugar per every 100 grams…even the ones that market themselves as healthy.

Suggestion: For healthier cereals with low to no added sugar, see the Organic Foods section of your grocery store.

3. Juice

Juice is one of the worst offenders when it comes to sugar. Although 100% juice products have loads of Vitamin C and fulfill a few other health requirements, they’re one of the most highly consumed sugary foods. Just about all juices have over 20g of sugar per serving. It doesn’t matter that the sugar is “naturally occurring” such as in 100% fruit juices. Your body still processes it in the exact same way as processed sugar. Those who purchase juices with added sugar, such as cocktails and blends, do themselves even more damage.

Suggestion: Look for sugar-free juices, or swap the juice for the fruit itself.

4. Oatmeal

Incredibly healthy when made at home (with low to no sugar of course), store-bought oatmeal might be one the most surprising unhealthy foods. A tiny packet of oatmeal can contain anywhere from 9g to 12g of sugar. There is even a type of oatmeal called “brown sugar”, yet some people still think it’s good for you. When done correctly, such as when made at home, oatmeal can be amazing in many ways. But the store-bought, packaged oatmeal’s do far more damage to your diet then needed.

Suggestion: Make your own oatmeal using old-fashioned or steel cut oats. If needing extra flavour, add fruit like a banana or berries, greek yogurt, 100% nut butters, or cinnamon.

5. Bread

Although lower in sugar compared to most of the other entries here, bread can have more sugar than many think, and not just white bread. Just about all breads contain some kind of processed sugar. And it’s not just bread. We’re talking bagels, pitas, tortillas, English muffins, and more. Whole-wheat bread and whole-wheat grains in general have loads of health benefits, but those consuming them need to be aware that even these products are not sugar-free.

Suggestion: Seek out bread with no sugar added, and minimize consumption of white bread. Stick to 100% whole-wheat/whole-grain products whenever possible.

6. Canned Soup

Soup is another food perceived to be extraordinarily healthy, and often given a reputation as a magical healer of illnesses. However, canned soups often contain copious amounts of sugar. In fact, it’s almost always one of the first three ingredients listed, and that’s without even mentioning the corn syrup or glucose-fructose along the way too.

Suggestion: Look for low-sugar, low-salt soups. Or even better, make soup from scratch at home using simple ingredients like low salt vegetable broth, olive oil, lemon juice and vegetables.

7. Salad Dressings

Another food that can be so incredibly healthy when made at home without adding sugar, it’s practically impossible to find dressings without added sugar in the store. Some of the sugar in salad dressings may naturally occur from ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice. But many dressings have much in the way of unnecessary added sugars, that turn the healthy salad into an unhealthy nightmare in an instant.

Suggestion: Make salad dressing at home using simple ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and garlic. Even better, skip the dressing and try leafy greens with foods like quinoa, canned fish, hummus, guacamole and eggs.

8. Protein Bars

Likely one of the less surprising entries on here, protein bars are still perceived by many to be healthy for athletes to consume, particularly in replenishing energy stores. Protein bars, like energy drinks, are so much worse for athletes to have as part of their diet than just about anything. Yet, they are specifically marketed towards athletes, who are supposed to be convinced of their merit as a method of replenishing fuel. Although the average protein bar might have 10g of protein, they usually have about 20-30g of sugar per bar. It’s simply not worth it.

Suggestion: Look for protein bars that are high in protein but low in sugar (1-2g is enough). Even better, eat lean, unprocessed meat, 100% nut butters, or fish for higher levels of protein without the added sugar.

9. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce has loads of sugar already from the high amount of tomatoes needed to make sauce. But then sugar is often added on top to enhance the flavour. Encouragingly for us in this low-sugar quest, it’s easier to find low-sugar or no-sugar sauces than most of the foods on here. And guess what? They taste much better too.

Suggestion: Shop for sauces in the organic foods aisle where the ingredients are often kept to a minimum – tomatoes, spices, oils and garlic. You can also easily make a nice, sugar-free tomato sauce at home.

10. Crackers

The slightly more nutritious cousin of chips, crackers usually aren’t what they seem, despite their appeal. Many cracker brands have a bad reputation for their high salt content, but the fact that they pack in unnecessary amounts of sugar often goes underreported. Crackers don’t need sugar to taste good, and many can be found like Triscuits that have no sugar added at all. Other than graham crackers, crackers aren’t supposed to be a dessert, so there really is no reason why they need the extra sugar.

Suggestion: Look for crackers with 0g of sugar per serving or toast a piece of whole-wheat bread instead.


Sugar is practically unavoidable, but we all can do a better job at reading the nutrition labels before buying products, ensuring that our sugar intakes are kept to a minimum. When possible, homemade options of all of the above can make for healthier alternatives, as you can easily control the amount of sugar added (if any at all). If buying these products in store, look for low sugar or no sugar options. The foods on this list do not need to be avoided altogether, but people buying these foods can make smarter choices on which brands or types (e.g. “no sugar added, “100% __”), to ultimately select.

So there it is! Ten foods that have more sugar than you think. Be sure to share your thoughts on other sugary foods that we missed in the comments below or on Twitter @desmondrhys. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…
-> Ten foods that are healthier than you think…
-> How to make healthy pizza dough from scratch…


Ten foods that are healthier than you think…

We all know the health benefits of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and eggs, but many healthy foods often go underreported. Following up from our article – Ten Foods That Have More Sugar Than You Think, here are ten foods that are healthier than you think!

1. 100% Nut Butters

Often given a bad reputation for the sugary, non all-natural types and their usage in desserts, 100% (all natural) nut butters are just about one of the healthiest non-vegetable foods you can eat. The trick is to avoid nut butters that are not 100% nuts, as they incorporate added sugars. With a mix of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates, all natural nut butters are a perfect breakfast food. They’re also a high calorie food, which is something often needed for those prioritizing their physical health in the form of exercise and physical activity. Importantly, most have 3-4g of protein for a single tablespoon, which is just about as close as you can get without eating meat. As a result, it’s a perfect food for vegetarians and vegans, but also anyone looking to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Suggestion: Try all natural peanut butter with a banana on a whole-wheat pita. You’ll never look back.

2. Beef

Underrated as a result of being a major component of the popular fast food dish – the burger, beef is much healthier than people give it credit for. It’s no chicken or fish, but beef has loads of health benefits. Probably unsurprisingly, beef has around 25g of protein per 100g, and 6g of monounsaturated fats. But what you might not know is that beef is incredibly high in iron, which is integral for athletes to perform. It’s also high in most B vitamins, particularly B12, which is crucial for helping the body function and preventing fatigue.

Suggestion: Use extra lean ground meat to make meatballs, then add to whole-wheat spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce.

3. Potatoes

Often given a reputation as a “starchy” product and sworn off by those who avoid carbohydrates, potatoes are the only vegetable to make our list, as they continue to be undervalued. Potatoes contain significant amounts of fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. Further, the “starch” in potatoes is actually one of its best qualities. Potatoes contain what is called a “resistant starch”, which have been shown to reduce excess sugar in the blood. When done right, even French fries can be healthy.

Suggestion: Mix potatoes with garlic, basil, salt and pepper, then add to chicken and fire roasted tomatoes for an amazing wrap combination.

4. Canned Fish

Probably more underrated for their taste than for their health benefits, canned fish products are one of the more under-utilized healthy foods. Other than the high amounts of mercury found in some types like tuna, they’re just as healthy as other preparations of fish…and often go better in salads and wraps. Furthermore, they often don’t include any breading or added ingredients that frozen fish might. All types of fish are loaded with healthy fats, like omega-3, and also have plentitudes of protein, iron, and vitamin D. Just beware of those that add things like mayonnaise to the mix.

Suggestion: Mix canned fish into a salad with leafy green vegetables and tomatoes. Or, mix with beans, chickpeas and rice.

5. Pizza

Everyone loves pizza, but everyone assumes that pizza is bad for you. And when purchased at fast food restaurants, it usually is. However, when made at home, using whole-wheat flour and minimizing use of cheese, pizza can have incredible health benefits. Tomato sauce is far from bad for you, especially when low-sugar options are sought after. A whole-wheat crust with healthy toppings like chicken and vegetables, can be amazing for your overall health. Other than the cheese, which spoiler-alert – might make an appearance here, there’s nothing really unhealthy about homemade pizza. When buying from a restaurant, healthier options like “deluxe” or vegetarian can always be found as well.

Suggestion: Check out our whole-wheat pizza crust recipe. As for the toppings, include tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, chicken, goat cheese or skim-mozzarella for the low-fat content.

6. Applesauce

Sweetened applesauce is just as unhealthy as a dessert, but unsweetened applesauce is just as healthy as the fruit itself, and often more convenient. Like most fruits, apples contain antioxidants, and soluble fibers, which are crucial for lowering bad cholesterol levels and improving heart health. The trick for applesauce is to find ones that incorporate only apples (or other fruits mixed in). Obviously no added sugar, but also avoid those that incorporate juice and flavouring due to the extra sugars involved.

Suggestion: Make whole-wheat applesauce pancakes with banana and blueberries.

7. Coffee

Coffee is by no means perfect, and, as we all know, contains high levels of caffeine. But as a result of its popularity and fast food appeal, coffee is given a bad reputation that it does not necessarily deserve. From the countless amount of studies conducted on coffee, we know that the drink can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, liver and heart complications, and mental health diseases as you age like Parkinson’s disease. On top of that, it’s a proven energy booster, helping you avoid unnecessary snacks like energy bars or energy drinks.

Suggestion: Skip the sugar and cream, and enjoy a cup of black coffee instead.

8. Tea

While tea doesn’t have quite as bad of a reputation as coffee, many lump it into that same sort of unhealthy, fast food-esque type of wrong opinion. Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. It’s basically water, with antioxidants (and delicious flavours) mixed in. What’s not to love? What’s more is that tea works to improve brain functioning, while simultaneously reducing risks of cancers, heart diseases and bone loss. It’s also often used correctly as an immune booster for those feeling under the weather, and some studies point to it being even better for rehydration than water.

Suggestion: Find decaffeinated green tea with lemon in the grocery store.

9. Cheese

I’ve often been one to be against cheese, particularly because of its trans-fat. But many cheeses can be found that do not have any trans fat at all. Also, certain types like swiss, goat cheese or skim-versions of various cheeses have low fat content in general. Like some others on this list, cheese needs to be rationed and portioned more delicately to take full advantage of the health benefits. But when kept to a minimum, cheese is a great source of calcium, protein and Vitamin A. For athletes looking to replenish their salt without eating salty snacks or energy drinks, cheese is also one of the safer options.

Suggestion: Add goat cheese to a salad for extra flavour, or a bean burrito with avocado and lettuce.

10. Bread

White bread is often thought of to be the enemy, but there are far worse things you can put in your body. Although whole-wheat products or freshly baked breads with no preservatives should always be preferred, all breads have health benefits. Bread incorporates the obvious nutrients and minerals that all grains do (carbohydrates and vitamin B’s). But it can also have surprising levels of iron, protein, calcium and fiber. Obviously there are individual foods that can be found higher in each category, but very few foods tick as many boxes. Just like we mentioned for cheese, bread also contains good salt content without going overboard, so it can be another great option for replenishing salt in favour of energy drinks and salty snacks.

Suggestion: Make a grilled chicken, tomato and avocado sandwich, using olive oil rather than butter on the pan.

So there it is! Ten foods that are healthier than you think. Be sure to share your thoughts on other understatedly healthy foods that we missed in the comments below or on Twitter @desmondrhys. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…
-> Ten foods that have more sugar than you think…
-> How to make healthy pizza dough from scratch


How to make healthy pizza dough from scratch…

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Looking to make pizza from scratch? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here is my healthy, whole wheat pizza crust recipe, using just five simple ingredients. The recipe should yield a medium-sized pizza of about eight slices, and is perfect for anyone looking to have a healthy, balanced diet.


  • 2 1/2 cups 100% whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water


Mix ingredients together in order. Begin to knead the dough together using hands. If too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time. If too dry, add more water, one teaspoon at a time. Keep adding minimal amounts of flour or water until a perfect balance is met.

Once kneaded into a circular shape, cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature, to let the yeast rise. If not using right away, refrigerate. If not using for more than a day, put it in the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator when ready.

After the dough’s been given enough time to rise, flour a flat surface and a medium-sized pizza pan. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough in a circular shape and then transfer over to the pan. Make sure enough flour is on the pan to avoid the crust sticking to the surface. Once the dough is shaped onto the pan, spread tomato sauce and other assorted toppings.

Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes depending on how crispy you want your pizza.

For a larger or smaller pizza, see the below ingredient adjustments.


  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups water


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  • Sauces: Tomato or Pesto
  • Cheeses: Goat Cheese or Skim-Mozzarella
  • Chicken, Tomato, Spinach, Mushroom
  • Chicken, Basil, Tomato
  • Chicken, Broccoli, Potato
  • Spinach, Egg, Green Onion
  • Pineapple, Mushroom, Green Pepper
  • Green Olives, Red Onion, Green Pepper

So there it is! A healthy alternative to buying pizza from the store, with our very own whole-wheat pizza crust recipe. Be sure to share your thoughts on what kind of nutrition content you’d like to see more of in the comments below. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…
-> 10 Foods That Have More Sugar Than You Think
-> 10 Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think


Do this when you’re feeling sad…

Have you ever had a day where you’re just feeling blah, and you don’t know why? Well, chances are, something is going on with your psychological and/or biological make-up that’s making you feel that way. Duh, right? But when it comes to feeling better, recognizing potential triggers for your sadness is an essential starting place. Here’s how…


It sounds obvious to say, but whenever you’re feeling blue, you should think about the events from your day up until that point – and pinpoint anything (often a combination of things) that could be the cause of your dismay. Maybe you feel guilty, ashamed…maybe someone hurt your feelings…maybe you were embarrassed about something, and maybe, you didn’t even realize. Recognizing this will help you to rationalize coping mechanisms as to how you can feel better about the situation. For starters, if you’ve forgotten about it to the point where you’ve needed a long hard think to identify it as a potential sadness starter, it should be easy to squash and forget about. It’s likely not that big of a deal after all. Recognizing the source of your sadness here will also be key to your ability to go on and reflect – helping you avoid future sad times through making the same mistakes again.


If you can’t pinpoint your sadness to any one event, perhaps something deeper inside of you has gone wrong. For starters, are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you feeling ill? Are you potentially low in a vital nutrient? Whenever any of these occur, it can affect our entire mood. That’s one more reason why prioritizing your physical health is so essential to becoming the best you. When we’re tired, hungry or ill, we’re not as good at regulating our emotions and keeping ourselves in check. It becomes easier to mysteriously fall into a slump, even if we are normally positive, happy people who love living life.

Recognition and awareness of the problem are instrumental to our quest to go from sad to happy, or happy and sad at the same time Kacey Musgraves styled. But there are quite a few other things you can do to push past the pain of a mistake, or hunger, tiredness, etc.


When you’re feeling down and blah, go somewhere and do something that you enjoy! While curling up in a ball and taking a nap might help with our tiredness, it won’t necessarily cure our sour mood. The #1 doctor recommended cure to sadness? Going out into the world, maybe even outside in nature, and doing something that you enjoy…maybe even around people that you enjoy! Not to sound like a yoga teacher, but this does a number of wondrous things for our mind, body and soul. From distracting us away from whatever’s making us sad, to reminding us why we’re awesome, doctors definitely aren’t lying when they recommend this. 

We often speak about how it helps to have passions and interests that you can go to when times are tough. It helps all the more if these passions and interests naturally boost our spirits through the release of endorphins. Exercise is one such thing, as is spending time immersed in nature. So too is spending time with positive people, animals, or having romantic encounters. This is all to say that – you have options. Even if it seems like you don’t.


Although easier said than done, being able to compartmentalize your sadness and turn that frown upside down through your own willpower is better than any banana flavoured medicine a doctor could ever prescribe. As we mentioned already, once you’ve recognized the root cause of your problem, you can then begin to rationalize why it’s probably not that big of a deal. That should then help you to forget about it, and focus on reasons why you’re awesome, and why you’re stronger than your sadness. There’s a great quote from How I Met Your Mother that perfectly sums this up…

“When I’m sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome instead.”

– Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)

Sure, this may be easier said than done. But whether we’re hungry or tired or just had our heart broken, we all have the capacity to reframe our mindset, and start to look at things on the bright side. The toughest situations in our lives almost always bring the opportunity for a tremendous amount of growth and learning. So rather than focusing on the pain and sadness for months on end, see if you can reframe your mindset to focus on the growth and learning that can be done. I’m certainly not saying that will be possible for any situation, but it is definitely possible for single-day sadness, and the vast majority of long-standing sad situations. To give you a deep personal example…

As much as the two months after my most recent break up were two of the toughest months of my life, I now look back on it as two of the most transformative months of my life – the most growing I’ve ever done in such a short amount of time. What felt like a massive loss at the time, now feels like one of the biggest wins. A lot of that came through intentional mindset shifts toward all the positives of the breakup, and the strides I made to become a better me and improve all areas of my life in response. I spent time reflecting on what I could have done differently, but (after a while) I stopped dwelling on all that I could have done differently. In the end it was a case of mind over matter, and I was able to get to a point where I know I’m better off and happier than I would be had I stayed in that relationship. The same can be said of single-day sadness. You just have to focus on the positive, focus on what you can control, and focus on what you can do to solve the sadness, such as confronting those feelings head on, or giving yourself a distraction with something you enjoy.

For more tips on how to have a positive outlook even when times are tough, see our article on Focusing on the positive.

So there it is! How to turn that frown upside down and start to feel better when you’re feeling down! Be sure to check out more from our Personal Development section, and subscribe via email to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!