Is it possible to supercharge one area of life while feeling disenchanted in another?

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Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Earlier this year, I was feeling dreary.

I was living life on autopilot. My job felt rote; I was bored. I had stopped learning. One day blended into the next. I felt stuck and unable to work on my passion, writing, or my side hustle, professional speaking.

I was snacking incessantly throughout the day. After losing 30 lbs on the keto diet, my weight loss had stopped. But more importantly, I felt out-of-control with food. And then there was the isolation of the global pandemic.

I read countless articles about how to circumvent the bleakness of lockdown. I went for walks — but felt unable to do it consistently. Although I live in downtown Vancouver by a beautiful seawall adorned with mountains and crisp, blue water, and dotted by fresh foliage, I found myself unmotivated to venture outside. …

Goals need to be measurable to keep us motivated

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels

For most of my life, I’ve been trying to lose weight.

When I was younger, vanity was my motivation. I wanted to wear beautiful clothes and be noticed by boys. As I got older — and took myself off the market through my wedding vows — I became more concerned about attaining optimal health.

Don’t get me wrong. I still aspire to strutting about in small, finely tailored designer clothes. But as I get closer to 40, I am more concerned about staying mobile, building endurance, and preventing disease.

I see older people in their 60s and 70s— including my own parents — developing health problems due to a lifetime of poor eating habits. You can try to right the ship in the sunset of your life — but there’s only so far you can move the mast at that time. …

Targeted advertising in the real world

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Photo by Ranurte on Unsplash

I recently listed my apartment for sale online.

After my realtor posted it through our local multiple listing service, it was re-posted across the local net by various eager real estate agents.

A few days later, I started receiving brochures in the mail from moving companies.

At first, I was confused. How the heck did they find out so fast that I was planning to move? I felt uncomfortable and spied upon.

And then it struck me — they track online real estate listings to identify warm leads. Of course! If you’re a moving company, wouldn’t you do the same?

If someone has listed a home for sale, chances are that they are planning to move. Even if the home is an investment property and occupied by renters, they may still need your services if the new owner asks them to vacate. …

And other ridiculous stereotypes about women who work

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Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

When I interview people for jobs today, I know there are certain questions I must never ask.

These include political leanings, religious affiliations, sexual orientation, cultural background, and marital status.

The intent is to eliminate potential biases from hiring and, of course, to keep things professional. Our workplace laws and regulations in Canada protect candidates from discrimination based on factors that have nothing to do with their ability to perform the duties of the job.

Sadly, this isn’t the case everywhere in the world.

In my mid-20s, I worked for two years in Pakistan. …

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Photo by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash

I had been chasing a prospective client for several months.

Finally, she agreed to meet with me. She suggested after-work drinks at a local restaurant in downtown Vancouver.

I prepared for the meeting for days. I was going to wow her with my intellect, preparation, and confidence. I read every article on her and her business twenty pages into a Google search. I knew the awards she had won, where she liked to ski, and what causes were close to her heart.

And so, when I walked into the restaurant a few minutes shy of our 6 p.m. …

When men have the voice, it’s their duty to use it

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Photo by Rajesh Rajput on Unsplash

A friend’s brother — let’s call him Ahad — is very protective of his young daughter. My friend and her brother are Indian and grew up in Dubai before immigrating to Canada as teenagers.

When they were growing up, sexism ruled their lives. …

Sometimes, you need quick wins to keep going

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Image by Karley Saagi on Pexels

Conventional diet advice tells us that, when it comes to weight loss, a slow and steady approach is best.

Create a caloric deficit by eating healthy, whole foods in moderate quantities. Focus on exercise. Eliminate one bad habit at a time, such as swapping sugary sodas with fresh juices.

This is great advice for sustainable, long-term weight loss at a modest clip of 1 lb per week. Small changes can compound over time.

And yet — in over thirty-five years of life, this advice has never worked for me. …

When one set of keys opens the door to everything

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Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash

A friend, Adam, recently got robbed.

It started at the gym. When Adam was setting his locker combination, another gym-goer with nefarious intentions was looking over his shoulder.

Adam’s locker contained his wallet and his house keys. Once Adam was busy with dumbbells and bench presses, the thief ransacked his locker. He then found Adam’s car in the parking lot — not very difficult when it announced its presence with a loud beep as soon as the thief pressed a button.

Once inside the car, the thief looked up ‘Home’ on Adam’s navigation panel — which took him right to Adam’s house. It was the middle of the workday so no one was home. Using the garage door opener, the thief easily made his way inside Adam’s house and walked away with everything he could carry in Adam’s car. …

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Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels

When it comes to health trends, intermittent fasting (IF) has been gaining popularity in recent years.

The idea is that you go for extended periods of time without eating and condense your meals into a narrow daily window. IF flouts conventional dietary guidelines that you must eat small meals frequently throughout the day to keep your metabolism kicking.

Some people think IF is an extreme diet, however, it offers quite a bit of flexibility to tailor your eating window to your lifestyle. The circadian rhythm fast is the easiest version, where you fast for 13 hours from dinner until breakfast.

In a more extreme version of fasting, you deny yourself food for 23 hours with a 1-hour feeding window. A slightly different version is the 5:2 fast, which allows you to eat normally for 5 days per week as long as you completely abstain from food for 2 days. …

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Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

Earlier this year, when the pandemic forced us all indoors, I decided to tackle a longstanding bucket list project — learning French. I downloaded the Duolingo app and started squeezing in lessons during breaks in my hectic workdays.

Although Duolingo is a do-it-yourself language learning platform, they gamify the experience by having players compete against each other in a weekly leaderboard. You earn points by completing lessons, and slowly advance up a series of ten ‘leagues’.

In the beginning, competitive juices flowing, I was highly motivated to do as many lessons as needed to advance every week to the next league. …


Hurriya Burney

Immigrant sharing stories about the beauty and beastliness of culture. I write personal stories and reflections on diversity, and women and minority experiences

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