My recent experience overcoming shame, imposter syndrome, and feeling like I’m “not enough”

small child covering their face with their hands
small child covering their face with their hands
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

“I’ve noticed that you often seem to act based on what other people might think of you.”

A friend told me this recently and it hit me hard — probably because I don’t like the part of me that cares too much about what others think, and now, here is this person exposing that part.

Another reason why this hurt so much was that most parts of me believe that I’m a strong and confident person, and this new revelation seems to contradict that perceived identity.

So the words lingered in my awareness for days, eating at me and triggering…


A technique—and opportunity—for deep connection that is rare in most social dynamics

Illustration of people sitting in a circle with a heart in the middle.
Illustration of people sitting in a circle with a heart in the middle.
All illustrations by the author.

Every time I had flatmates in the past, there was conflict. The unwashed dishes. The bits of food in the drain. The uneven task distribution. The tension that slowly builds up and eventually explodes.

At the beginning of 2020, right when the first lockdowns began, I moved in with three flatmates for a couple of months.

But this time, I wanted to create a different co-living experience: I wanted us to have a safe way to communicate, stay close, make requests of each other, and avoid conflict. …


Building habits is not about willpower. The less pressure I apply, the more I feel like engaging in the practices I chose.

Illustration of dominos starting to fall.
Illustration of dominos starting to fall.
All illustrations by the author

This is the time of year when the excitement about New Year’s resolutions usually starts to fade away.

I recently wrote about why this year I am focusing on creating practices instead of setting goals: to avoid the pitfalls that make so many people quit.

One of my practices, the one I am focusing on for the first three months of the year, is to engage in daily activities that connect me to my body and to the present moment for a couple of hours.

I started really small: my first steps were to take ten conscious breaths and one…


How to make sure you get where you want to be by focusing on the process instead of on the outcomes

Illustration of steps to get where you want to be.
Illustration of steps to get where you want to be.
All illustrations by the author.

Every time I set yearly goals, I end up either forgetting them, changing them, or quitting them altogether.

Why does this happen?

My theory is that my goals are either too complex, too many, not clearly actionable or not completely under my control.

I remember setting goals in past years such as “earn X amount of money” or “get X amount of email subscribers”. When you first look at these goals they might seem clear and specific; but when you take a closer look, you find they are problematic because of the following reasons:

  1. They are outcome-focused. What are the…


Why we quit important habits, and how to get back on track.

Someone meditating in the past, but distracted now.
Someone meditating in the past, but distracted now.
Illustration by the author.

After meditating for 45 minutes a day for almost two years, I recently dropped the habit.

If you ask me why, I struggle to find an answer. Meditation is probably in my top three life priorities, which makes it even weirder that I quit.

So, what happened?

The Lies We Tell Ourselves When We Fail

I thought about all the possible reasons.

Maybe it’s because work takes up so much of my time and mental space recently. Maybe my social media addiction and my caffeine consumption removed all my concentration power. Or maybe I’m just tired and unmotivated.

So I tried all the solutions I could come up…


Tame the mental hurricane of thoughts and decisions and tasks and get back to a place of grounded action.

Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash

In a recent conversation, a friend of mine used a great metaphor to describe how he’s been feeling lately: as if he is driving a complex spaceship full of levers and buttons and decisions to make, but feeling a desire to switch to an automatic car where all he has to do is steer the wheel and remember to pull the hand break every once in a while.

The next day, a student in one of my courses said that he feels like he is always in “go” mode, always in the element of fire, and he needs more Earth…


We evolved to move, not sit, and I wanted to be stronger, more flexible, and more focused. Here’s how I got more movement in my day.

An illustration of the author doing a hand stand on her laptop keyboard.
An illustration of the author doing a hand stand on her laptop keyboard.
All illustrations by the author

If your work involves sitting down at the computer for most of the day, you probably understand the special kind of muscle stiffness that comes with it.

It’s not that you’re unfit. You exercise (kind of) regularly, and you’re in better shape than a lot of your friends.

But you still get the back pain and the neck tension. You still struggle to lose weight, despite the exercise. You still feel tired most of the time. Exercising still feels like a chore.

And the thing is, you don’t just want to be moderately fit: You want to be stronger, more…


But you need to know the right moment to stop.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

For the past two days I haven’t been feeling my best.

There have been some struggles and disappointments at work and I felt mentally exhausted. My brain couldn’t think or create anything anymore. I didn’t feel like doing anything at all.

So I allowed myself to do just that.

I allowed myself to sleep for as long as I wanted (which ended up being 10 to 12 hours each night). …


You have been together for a while.

Things are not as they used to be. You don’t kiss or touch so often anymore. You’ve gotten used to each other’s presence, and the butterflies are long gone.

You co-exist peacefully (most of the time), and you agree that you have a good relationship — better than most.

But somewhere there, deep down, you feel the disconnection that’s been gradually creeping in. Not because you don’t love them, but because time-inflicted habituation and life’s general busyness have desensitized you to the power of everyday gestures of affection.

But sometimes, when you watch…


This experiment in vulnerability can create intimate connections between writer and reader—but it is not for the faint of heart

All illustrations by the author.

My alarm rings and I get out of bed.

I wash my face, drink some water, and stretch. Then, I open my laptop, I take a deep breath, and I start typing today’s journal entry.

I might write about my anxiety and my deepest fears. I might process and brainstorm my most current and exciting ideas. Occasionally, I will analyze recent events in my life, set myself new goals, or reflect on my own character flaws. Sometimes, I just express gratitude. …

Sílvia Bastos

Habit Coach. Self-Experimenter. Find your ideal Keystone Habit here: https://journalsmarter.com/keystone-habit/

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