I’ve done a lot of growing in the past year.

I’m talking a lot.

7 months ago I quit my job as a waitress and went all in on my dreams of being a full time freelance writer.

3 months ago I sold everything I owned. My TV, my bed, my drawers, everything that didn’t fit in three suitcases that I brought to my Dad’s house.

Shortly after, I started backpacking the world by myself.

I walked into this new lifestyle very aware that I was about to face some challenges. I knew that  my finances would probably be tight, I was going to have to learn Spanish pretty quickly to survive my summer in Central America and I would have a serious case of FOMO as my friends spent another summer together.

These challenges were a walk in the park compared to the actual struggles that I came face to face with within the past half of a year.

I learned the hard way what it was like to consistently say good bye to old friends and new friends.

I found out what it was like to have to choose between your dreams and your bank account.

Most importantly, I realized that the only way for me to succeed turning my life upside down was if I supported myself every single day.

This sounds ridiculous at first and I understand.

We’re not used to saying “I support myself” but my most crucial lesson has been that this is a vital part to taking on any new challenge.

When you go head first into a massive life change like mine, a break up, a new job, a new city or anything that is a completely new situation for yourself we tend to forget that we are human.

Humans need love and support to thrive. We need to be told, “Hey, you know-you’re doing a really good job.”

Friends and family are impressive support systems but when it comes down to the nitty gritty the only person who can guide you through challenging times is you.

A month ago I was totally lost. Yes, I was following my dreams as ambitiously as I knew how but I was shocked to find out that it wasn’t making me happy.

Somewhere between going all in on my lifestyle goals and actually living the life I had been wanting I had forgotten to give myself credit for making it happen.

Instead of spending my days thinking about what an epic life I was living and how far I had come my only thoughts were focused on how my savings account was depleting, that I could barely work because of my lack of wifi and that I was failing.

For every job that turned me down and every dollar I pulled out of my savings account I thought to myself that I was doing a terrible job at following my dreams.

How did I ever think I would be successful this way?

I was lucky enough to wake up and see this limiting fog that I was putting over myself. Within one day I decided it was time for a change.

I started writing in a journal everything that I needed to give myself credit for. I talked myself up and explained to myself how many changes I had made in the past year. I told myself that it was totally okay and normal to be overwhelmed. Lastly, I made sure to tell myself that I loved and supported myself.

About three weeks after first cracking open that journal, I am living a completely different life. On a daily basis I make sure to tell myself that I’m doing a good job, congratulate myself on following my dreams of writing and traveling and use positive affirmations to get me through any specific situations that I’m having trouble with.

This past year has been one of pure growth. I am growing at a faster rate than ever before and this means one thing only: I must check in with myself on a daily basis and give myself the necessary support to make dreams this big work.

Life gets tough but I promise you are tougher. When you take the time to show yourself that no matter what happens, you have your back-that’s where your limitations evaporate and you realize that you can survive anything. Grab your notepad and your pencil and start telling yourself how awesome you are.

Trust me, it works.