How to get around self doubt in your abilities and believe in yourself just a little bit more.

No one is YOU and that is YOUR super power

This morning I saw a quote that really resonated with me. “The light you see in others is shining brightly within you”. So simple, yet logical and indisputable. Everyone has a light within them. And all of us find it easier to see it in other people than within ourselves. This is at its most obvious when it comes to our abilities. No word of a lie I think nearly every person in the world (excluding Trump) doubts their own ability.

The funny thing is that the things we feel the least confident in the people around us,  have no doubt in our ability to succeed.

This past weekend I had an experience just like this.

I had really challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone and teach a workshop in an area I would not consider myself an expert. In front of my peers, people I know well and my wider social community I volunteered to put myself out there. And boy you can believe me when I say I was hella scared. Like heart pounding, blood pumping, butterflies in the stomach and wanting to be sick nervous. Yet my lovely Mr T, and my right hand dwarf, just laughed and reassured me. They were cooly confident in my ability to pull it off. They were, to my surprise right. And afterwards the feedback I got was great. (Whilst Mr T and the dwarf grinning as baboons both said I told you so.) Everyone loved it. I had succeeded. And yet as I think back over the whole experience I know I would be just as freaked out and full of self doubt the next time round.

This is something that happens to me, and almost everyone I know on a regular basis.

Why is it we doubt ourselves so much?

Is it due to an increase in low self confident and comparitus with the rise of social media in our lives? Possibly. However I don’t think self doubt is synonymous to the 21st century. I was alive in the analog 20th century and I  am pretty sure it happen then too. Almost everyone struggles with self-doubt at some point or another. And almost everyone thinks they’re the only one who does. I believe it to be part of our survival mechanism. Part of the system that judges whether or not we will make it through a challenge. And at the same time I see i self doubt as part of our ability to learn process. Now I know some of you out there have truly terrible and life crippling self-doubt. And if you do please reach out for support.

But is self doubt really a 100%  negative thing?

I don’t believe so. I like to see my self doubt in my abilities, as a positive trait, rather than a negative trait. As a guide and alliee instead of an enemy. Just imagine this if you will. How about you start to see your self doubt as:

  • A gut instinct telling you this is the way you need to challenge yourself to grow.
  • An acknowledgement of how much you have to learn
  • You really care about whatever it is you are doing and want to do it well.

Now when you look at self doubt in that light it doesn’t seem so negative. Right?

It is amazing of how a shift in thinking, seeing self doubt as a friend can change the ball game. Instead of being all consuming it becomes something you can work with and do something about. These days if I feel the depths of self doubt forming in my stomach I 9 times out of 10 will say yes to whatever it is that I am being challenged to do.  After all one of my life’s philosophies is:

Bravery is not the absence of fear. It is having a fear and doing it anyway

However, I know it can be hard to boost yourself up sometimes, even when you know self doubt is your friend. Its at times like this you need to see that reflection of belief in your ability that everyone else has. Basically be able to see yourself through even one else’s eyes

Confidence is all about feedback mechanism

What I mean is that in order to feel more confident you need to change the negative loop running around your brain and turn it in to a positive feedback playlist. At times like this I have 3 tips that can help you believe in yourself just a little bit more.

I am not good at …………… I am good at ……………..

This is one of the simplest tricks I have found to kickstart a positive playlist in my mind. Basically you tell yourself I am not good at …………… I am good at …………….. So if it was a Maths test I had to do (ugh – who actually enjoys those if they are not called Sheldon Cooper?!)  I would write I am not good at algebra,  but I am good at addition. It is reassuring and calming, and ultimately makes you smile!

Ask for moral support

Remember the light you see in others they can see in you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and tell people I am freaking out I don’t think I can do this. And although it is amazing to hear “you go this” It is ok to ask for more of a boost.  You can ask them why they think you can do this? Why do they believe in your ability. Its okay at this point to ask what they can see in you because you need to believe in what you can do to overcome your doubt. So callin your own personal cheerleader squad.

Dive in and do your best

Ultimately, you can only ever do your best. You don’t have any more to give. So prep as much as you can. Get your cheer squad to egg you on and take the dive. If you let self doubt be the reason you don’t do something this is going to be a life regret. No matter how scared you are the thing you are doing, it won’t last forever. At some point it will be over. You will have learnt, grown and stretched your comfort zone a little. Even if it takes you 20 times to feel good in that zone. It will get a little less scary each time you do it so just do your best.

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

So to conquer your doubts just enough to get you through remember to treat them as a friend and motivation. To create the positive feedback you need internally and externally and lastly do your best and dive in. No these are not long term strategies to curing self doubt. But at times where you are feeling challenged, like an exam, an important presentation or even daring to do something different in front of your peer group, these 3 tips will help you through. And you will find that self doubt can become your friend that supports you to widen your horizons.

How do you cope with self doubt in your own abilities – let me me know in the comments below

Have a great week <3

How I organise my life – Time management that works

For years my personal time management sucked.  I couldn’t remember appointments, struggled with daily tasks and felt overwhelmed. I procrastinated, I just accepted the negative consequences and lived in a constant state of feeling guilty.  Then I became self employed first time round and there was no-one else to pick up the pieces. I had to do everything. My work day suddenly started at 9:00 and finished at 00:00. I was constantly stresses, everything felt like work and I was even more overwhelmed than before. After five years and one too many head injuries (I get clumsy when I am exhausted) I finally had a breakdown. The business had to close and I needed to take a step back.

Today I am considered a time management expert, I still find that strange. However a huge part of my job is guiding people in how to get the most out of their 24 hours in a way that means they get stuff done and have a balanced, fun life. Learning from my mistakes I have created a simple system of time management that works for me and my clients. It is simple it is fast and it feels good.

So this is how I turned one of the most disorganised stressed out people I knew, myself, into a person who has got their stuff together, gets the most out of their day and even though busy always has time to do what they want to do. This is how I organise my life.

Step 1: Yearly Goal setting

Knowing what I want in life and how I want to grow makes life so much easier. I set goals at the beginning of each year. 8 personal and work goals. I keep it at 8 so that it is manageable and achievable. Now I do this in January for business and in February for personal goals but you can start right now. Once I have made my goals SMART I create action steps, baby progress steps,  for each of the goals I want to achieve. So a goal of I want to take care of my physical health becomes – I want to do 10 mins yoga everyday, I want to eat 50% less Junk food by Christmas etc.

I highly recommend investing some alone time into this process, with a glas or a cup of something you like and good music on in the background this can be an inspiring process.

Step 2: Monthly Goals

I group the important areas of my life into 4 sections. Work, Me, Life, Social. Basically work is obviously for work related tasks, Me is for my own personal development, dreams, or fun stuff I want to do. Life is the other stuff. Doctors appointments, organising holidays, important things that I need to do at the house or in the garden. Social is the social appointments I have that month. Then I fill out the monthly spread below in a notebook that I can close and it sits on my desk.

Some of the monthly goals are set by the calendar, Dad’s birthday, group meetings etc some of the monthly goals come from the yearly goals action steps I have created.

Step 3: Monthly overview

One of the issues I had with time management was my unrealistic expectations of how much time I really had. This monthly overview system works wonders for me. And has the added bonus of me remembering to take self care breaks.

In the form below you simply fill out first the fixed activites you have such as work, training, food shopping. Then fill in the monthly appointments, social events, such as dentist visit or girls night. After that block out a break of at least one evening after tiring social activities or weeks with a lot in them. Lastly put in stuff that you want to get done. Scrapbooking or weeding the garden. Don’t put more that one task into the 2 boxes. The top box is for activities before 17:00 the bottom on is for activities after 17:00. This helps keep the overview and reminds me what is the main focus area for each day.

Step 4: Weekly plan

Instead of creating a weekly todo list I use my monthly goals and monthly overview to plot out my activities for the week. I know exactly when I am writing an article or putting the washing away. It is scheduled not by time but by areas of the day, morning, afternoon and evening. One of the things I am really strict about is making a cut off point of my day. Basically the time where I am not willing to work over AND the time where I am not willing to grown up (ie washing, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, etc). After my break down I insist on at least a full 1 down time. In Fact these days work stops at 17:00, grown upping at 18:30 -19:00, after dinner is down time.

Step 5: Daily plan

Some people love to time block their to do list, personally I love to use the  Todoist app. Basically once I have made a week plan I plot the activities into my app and prioritise them. If you don’t time block I highly recommend prioritising your daily to do list. It helps you be realistic about what you can do in 24 hours and to plan after how much energy you have.


The biggest thing this system has taught me is to accept. Accept what I can do and what I can’t do. IT makes my planning realistic, my stress less and I am a lot happier in my life. Now as you read this you might be thinking doesn’t this take a long time. Honestly I probably use 1 hour per month on this process and considering that the average month has 730,001 hours I think it is time well spent as I not only achieve what needs doing and I  have at least 50 hours a week to invest in myself doing what I want to do. Now who wouldn’t like that?

If you would like more time management tips and hacks check out my time management tips article here!

What time management systems work for you?

Let me know in the comments below

Have a great week <3

How to create Work / Life balance by taking 5 simple actions

Getting a good work/life balance is one of the eternal questions of all post Yuppie generations in the affluent West. We all want it. We know we all need it. And yet having it is a challenge for most. This weekend my taxi driver was one such hopeful Or rather stressful. Living in a busy city he is in full time education and then works nights and weekends to make the money he needs to live. The poor guy said himself” I am close to burning out” and I could tell that he was close to giving up his education dream. As we talked I asked him about what was it he wanted and how he would like his life to be different. And, because I am that sort of person, I suggested a few strategies that might help him.

Now my driver actually vocalized one of the main issues most people have with achieving a good work/life balance. Our perception. You see my driver told me, “When I do something. I want to do it all in.” So if he wanted train then it had to be full on. Or school. Or work. And this is the major issue people often have with getting things balanced. Simply by aiming for too much all at once.

If you want to really get your life in balance you need to change your perspective and focus on the path to getting there. As I said to my driver. “The goal is not to be in training. The goal is to start”. 10 minutes each day is better than none. Once you have the habit then carve out 5 mins more. Then 5 minutes more. Often it’s not actually that we don’t have enough time it is that we are assuming that we need a lot more time than we really do to do the things we want. And therefore we don’t do them. It feels like an achievable mountain to climb. And honestly becomes an excuse.

So we have this block we need to get past. However if you can be honest with yourself and use (I am sorry to say) a smidgen of realism the way to finding work life balance can be found by taking just 5 simple actions.

Press the STOP button

So if you are also feeling that close to burnout sensation then you have probably spent a lot of time obsessing over the issues and the problems. Well that just makes them even harder to deal with. When that happens imagine you pressing an imaginary big ready STOP button. Put the breaks on. If you concentrate on how hard it is it will be hard. You and only you can pull yourself out of this negative cycle. But when you do it will give you space to think more clearly and thus take the first step to work/life balance, simply because you will have the head space to be able to start addressing the challenge.

Know what you want

So once you have pushed the big stop button it is time to fill your head with new thoughts. Solution thoughts. Take a quite coffee break brainstorm and write out the ways you would like your life to be different. What is it you actually wish you had the time to do? Give yourself an idea of what you would like your balanced life to look like. Here you can dream big. This is the space where you are allowed to describe the mountain of desires you have for your life.
Throw in the realism

The busier your life is and generally the more roles you adopt in your life, Boss, Mum, Volunteer, Team member the less time you have. You have to accept that right now this moment you cannot do it all. You cannot do 3 times a week at the gym for 2 hours at a time, or take that holiday abroad every year when you still have student debts to pay of and you are unemployed is not realistic. Yet. Now I don’t mean to say you can’t have everything you want. I truly believe you can live the life you imagine for yourself. However, part of the fun is the journey. Have a look at what you want and choose 1, 2 or 3 desires to focus upon. Make sure its something your soul really needs and will feel energized from. Remind yourself you are not giving up on the rest just putting them on the back burner for the moment.

Find the first step

So right now you are still looking at the whole mountain. Now you need to work out how you are gonna get there. Look for the first baby step you can take. So for example, if you want to start training again, decide which part of your day you can start to do 10 mins of training a day. Want more you time. Where can you have 15 mins in the week and what exactly will you do in that time? What is the first step you need to take to reduce the never ending to do list. Carve out just a little time each week to take that first baby step. You only have 24 hours a day, you can afford 10- 15 mins. Choose a first step for your desire.

Get going

Now you know what that first step is you have to take it. You have to give this to yourself. If not you can slump back into the woe is me live is so hard hole (sorry to be blunt but that’s the truth). You can either do what you can to solve the issue or you can blame someone else and feel rubbish. What do you choose? Get started on your baby steps and after a period of 4 weeks try and up the time by 5 or 10 mins. The more you carve out the time you need the more of a habit it becomes. It makes the time fly by easier and you not only feel less stressed you will feel empowered by taking charge of your life.

Manage your time

For me the ultimate work/life balance tool, and I suppose step 6, is time management. Managing your time supports you immensely to balance what is important to yourself, create healthy boundaries and maintain both self care and personal growth. There are lots of time management articles on the blog. Try starting here if you want time management tips

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And just remember the most important thing is to not overestimate what you are capable of doing in the time you have. Rather accepting the first steps, carrying them out, creating habits and then upping the bar. Slowly, slowly working your way to wards re balancing your life.

Have a great week <3

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.png

#lifelessons101 – Tell me something good – How the power of a good story can turn your day around

Yesterday my work life just went FUBAR (And for those you not in the know that means Fucked up beyond all recognition.) Needless to say it was a bad day. It has been a long time since I cried solidly for an hour. However despite how I was feeling I still had a job to do. Which meant clients that were in need of support, empowerment and inspiration. And yet there I was struggling to keep it together. (Remember your life coach is human too and sometime shit just happens). I needed to turn my energy around and get to a place of, if not happy, peaceful.

And that’s when I remembered something my BFF/ accountant / crafting compadre/ mini mom taught me. A line from one of her favorite films Me before you. And it is simply,

“Tell me something good”

I can’t remember the whole plot. As to this day I have never seen it.  (I promise I will mini mom). But for me ‘tell me something good’ up to this point had always been a way of celebrating in circle our achievements. It had always brought a smile to my face and a glow to my heart. Only there I was. In that moment not able to find anything good in my sadness and frustration. So I reached out.

Using the power of Facebook I made a post. Not asking for sympathy. Asking for stories. This is what I wrote.

Having a bad work day today and need some cheering up until I can get to through to the happy place later on tonight. So I am asking you all to “Tell me something good”

I want to hear all your good news and stories.

It always helps me when I am down to know that the people are love are having an awesome time of it “

The response was amazing.

Instead of the usual lovely hearts or hugs people send when you are having bad time. I got over 80 stories and pictures of people sharing with me the good in their lives. There was everything from spending the day with your daughter in the snow, to getting a new job, to loved ones coming home. People sharing lovely moments from their day and the things they were looking forward to. It was beautiful. Every time I checked back in someone else had posted something that made me smile. I saw conversations starting as people began to enjoy the moments everyone had shared. A from that reach out the sadness, the frustration began to transform. The good moments from everyone’s lives transformed both my dark moment and spread a good vibe into their days too.

It was so powerful. By the end of the day I was able to add my own something good story images (7).jpegfrom that day. The frown had been turned upside down and my tears to laughter.

Now I have always been an advocate of the healing and teaching power of stories. But yesterday was the strongest experience I have had of this. The transformation was so subtle and yet so powerful.

The only magic I can compare it with is how you feel when you see a small baby smile or a toddlers face light up with joy at snowdrops and puddles. It was incredibly inspiring.

And it made me want to share this moment with all of you. This is me telling you something good. Now it’s your turn. Transform your day, your mood by asking someone to tell you something good. On social media, or around the dinner table, or even a complete stranger. Let’s take the power of tell me something good around the world this weekend and see how many smiles we can inspire.

So before you go and begin this quest , please just take a moment here to tell me something good. Not because I am down or because you are. Just because sharing a good story is a beautiful thing to do.

Have a lovely weekend <3

Stories are medicine Tell me something good.....png

 

#lifelessons101 – True Love isn’t meant to be easy – the difference between romantic and real true love

If you follow my blog regularly you will know I have a source of inspiration from my vulcan-esque muse,my stoic partner and love of my life Mr T. He has this innate ability to take some of the biggest topics of debate and simmer them down with logic to an infallible, indisputable sentence. And this morning over breakfast he came with a humdinger, that just blew my mind.

We were, in the most unromantic setting, discussing my snoring. Apparently Mr T had spent half the night waking up due to my snoring and rolling me over to stop it. Now in most households this would probably spark WW3. However, knowing how Mr T already has sleep challenges I was simply truly grateful for his patience. “Bless you darling” I said “ Why is it you love me? I mean, I’m not easy” (Thinking it must be so hard to always be so patient. Mr T simply gazed out of the window saying

“Well I never thought true love would be easy. I guess that’s why so many people don’t have it.”

And of course as always he is right. Now as I said before this blew my mind. And as I pondered his statement I found a source of clarity. My whole life I had been searching for true love. Yearning for the idyllic romantic passion of films and books. And yet it wasn’t until I dropped that ideal that I really did find what I was looking for. (Albeit wrapped in a Cowboy hat, geeky gamer, extremely talented craftsmen with a passion for Vikings, Deadpool and D and D).

I thought about that phrase ‘True love isn’t meant to be easy’. And realized that this media fantasy was so deeply embedded that instantly my mind conjured up images of dramatic events pulling star crossed lovers apart a la Romeo and Juliet. However the truth and reality of real true love is a million miles away from this romantic drama. True love is patient. It is caring and understanding. It is patiently picking up the underpants from the floor beside the washing basket for the 6th time that week and not nagging your partner about it. It is the hand that reaches out and touches your leg as they drive in the car, just because. It is making tea with honey and ginger when they are filled with snot and finding them just as beautiful as when they are all dressed up for a night on the town. Or going to see yet another Marvel or Harry potter film because they love it so much and want to share it with you.

True love not being easy doesn’t always have to be about the big sacrifices. In reality it is the beauty in the smaller sacrifices, compromises and little acts of love that are not easy but make a lasting loving relationship so beautiful and rewarding. The stories tell us of big romantic gestures. And while yes there is definitely a place for those. It is not these moments that nurture true love. I have had those epic romantic relationships (as I am sure we all have) and they were complete and utter disasters. Monumental disappointments, in a few cases life threateningly dangerous and definitely traumatic. And what I have learnt is that the moment you stop looking for that romantic ideal, you become to find romance in the seemingly mundane acts of kindness your lover performs it’s then that you are able to find good honest down to earth romance and true love.

The point I am trying to make is that when you begin to notice and appreciate the things your special person does to show you they care that are not easy, the more space you give to allow true love to blossom. Now I get that I am truly blessed to have found such an amazing person to share my life with. However I can’t help wondering to myself if I hadn’t learnt to look beyond the romantic ideal and appreciate the reality, if this relationship would truly be as powerful or as long lasting as it is? Honestly I don’t think it would. Maybe the secret to finding true love is not so much about finding Mr, or Miss, Right. But rather it is about shifting your perspective to the understanding that true love is not going to be easy. However when you appreciate the effort that is made. Honoring it. You begin to see the real beauty and power, the reality of true love. Maybe if more of us could do that. To value the small moments, deeds, sacrifices and compromises. The world could be filled with more people living their happily ever after. Now wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to see.

Take a moment this weekend to truly appreciate all the not easy things your partner does to show you their love. Be grateful for them. And then do something not easy to show them you love them too.

Have a lovely weekend <3 Never underestimate the small acts of caring.jpg

What’s your Golden Buzzer moment? Making your dreams a reality

I have a guilty secret pleasure. I love to watch golden buzzer moments from Britain’s got talent on you tube. We abstain from television in our home so I never get to see the whole show. However I love these moments where the judges and the audience get surprised, raw talent shines forth and in that moment people realize their wildest dreams. I also love the stories that come with these moments. The stories of normal people overcoming everyday challenges and coming out the other side stronger, more powerful. And in those golden buzzer moments it is as if all they have been through is celebrated and honored.

Now I know that these shows are edited to emphasize this emotional moments. But I am a sucker for them. And that is because for me the essence in those moments, the real story, the real joy, is not something that can be edited. It is simply beautiful. And recently as I indulged in a five minute golden buzzer break I began to wonder, what is my golden buzzer dream? What is the moment that would take all the trials and tribulations and make all of it seem worth it?

During the American civil rights movement Martin Luther King delivered his iconic speech starting with “I have a dream.” It was a big dream. A dream still in creation. However, how do you think Martin Luther King would have felt to see Barack Obama voted into office? Would have that been his Golden Buzzer moment? We will obviously never really know. The important thing is he knew it.

We all have dreams in life. Big. Small. Middle sized. No two dreams are alike. And I believe an important part of achieving our dreams is to know where it is we are shooting that star to. To know what is our Golden Buzzer moment. It is our success criteria. The point where we know we have achieved exactly what we wanted, no matter what. Napoleon Hill said “A goal is a dream with a deadline”. And that doesn’t necessarily mean date deadline. (Although of course it helps). For me the deadline is knowing what your success looks like. Knowing where it is you are heading and what it will feel like when you get there.

If you have read this far I am guessing you have a dream. Something you want. Something you will fight for no matter what. I have a dream. It is getting my first book published. And I know that for me my golden buzzer moment will be when I hold that finished book in my hands. That will be the moment when everything I have been through, everything I have worked towards is realized. No matter if it sells a million copies or not, when it is in my hands in my mind the golden glitter will fall down on the stage and the audience will be going crazy. I know exactly who I want to run on stage to celebrate that moment with me. And even when my fears and doubts try and get the better of me it is this moment that keeps me going.

So today I’d like to invite you to find your golden buzzer moment. Just imagine yourself standing on that stage. Take a deep breath. And look deep inside. What will be the moment when the crowd goes wild?  When the stage lights up in a blaze of gold? What will be the cause of your tears of joy as you see that you have made it and your dream is real? And who will be there to celebrate it with you? See it. Play out the scene in your minds eye. Feel the joy. And when you have found that moment this is the goal for your dream.

It is this golden buzzer moment that will make your dream a reality. From here on in this is the moment you are working for.  Your golden buzzer moment is the foundation of your motivation. The thing that gets you to keep on going despite fear, despite hardship. Remembering of course that  “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”. Knowing where you are going is half the battle to getting there. And knowing your golden buzzer dream moment will make your success all the beautiful when it comes.

So what is your Golden Buzzer moment?

Let’s start today making our dreams a reality by sharing our moments in the comments below. And inspiring each other to success whatever that looks like for each of us.

Have an amazing week <3

If you want to achieve your dream You have to dream it.jpg

The key to keeping your new year’s resolutions

So here we are already at the beginning of the 3rd week of the year.

How is it going with those new year’s resolutions?

Are you still burning ahead in a blaze of glory smashing your goals? Kudos to you if you are. Or has the shine and glitter of the new you started to fade and your focus or motivation disappeared? Don’t worry you are not alone.

Week three of a year is the traditional point where most people abandon their resolutions, feeling that ‘real life’ is taking over and they don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to their new year, new you dreams. In fact this point in the year traditionally 31% have given up and by February just over half of us are still on track. Kind of depressing really. When you think about it that means that just under half of us ill be suffering will failing resolution remorse by the 3rd week of the year. No wonder January can sometimes feel so grey and bleak

But does it have to be this way?

How is that other half of us manages to keep going when so many of us struggle. Well how long is a piece of string? There are many reasons why we fail to keep our new year’s resolutions. But that is not really the important. What is important here is if you really do want to make the changes you originally decided up how do you get back on the horse and keep to your resolutions when it seems impossible to achieve? In fact is it even possible?

The answer my friends is YES!

It is possible to get back on that horse. Take it from me. In my past I was the expert in letting the new year’s resolutions slide into guilt and doing nothing. It was a regular yearly occurrence and I hated it. I let it lower my self esteem and drag my motivation down so that accepting defeat and giving up seemed like the vicious option. I felt as though I couldn’t trust myself to make agreements or believe that I would keep them Does it sound familiar?  But now after 40 years that girl is gone and I have managed to turn it around. I found the key that unlocked the secret of keeping my new year’s resolutions and since then, well it’s not been plain sailing, I have been achieving my goals and my confidence has soared. And it’s this secret, I should say secrets, that I want to share with you today.

Acknowledge & evaluate your test run

Now whenever there is a new product on the market they have a test run. The new product gets tried out, it’s consumer tested etc. This is what you have been doing with your new year’s resolutions in the last few weeks. Testing them out for size and practicality and most importantly achievability. Now is not the time to stop. It is the time to evaluate your findings and make improvements to the product so when you launch it, it will be successful. In other words make your new year’s resolution something you can achieve. So check out what is working and what is not and tweak your resolution to make it more achievable.

Pick a Year Theme

I cannot recommend this enough. A theme helps you to focus. For me this has been the game changer in my ability to keep my new year’s resolutions. It maintains my focus and my theme becomes a mantra for me to return to throughout the whole year. So for example 2019 is my year of health and happiness. I am focusing on nurturing my body and soul. Which includes doing regular exercise, eating good foods, going out in nature once a week and prioritising time at home with Mr T and the new vegetable garden. The theme refocuses me every time I don’t want to do my yoga practise or want to push myself over my limits with work. I ask myself is this going to benefit my health and happiness and if the answer is no then I don’t do it. Themes need to be simple a keyword or phrase that sums up what you want to get out of your resolutions, basically define the benefit in a word or statement. It helps to write it down somewhere. It can help to put it up somewhere where you will see it and be reminded every day.

Create your benchmarks

It is surprising in an age where there is a wealth of information on the interwebs about goal setting that people still fall into the trap of creating a new year’s resolution statement that is wildly unachievable or completely vague and ambiguous. So I am going to improve my lifestyle in 2019 or I will be abundant in 2019. Sounds great but what the heck will you actually be doing?  Use that sentence as a heading and create some benchmarks that mean you can measure your progress, keep focus and above all give you baby steps on the way to success that will keep you motivated.

So improving your lifestyle bench marks could be for example:

  • Decluttering my home
  • Have a me day once a month
  • Swim twice a week
  • Eat out once a month
  • Redecorate my bedroom

Remember to check in with your bench marks regularly, So yes, write them down. Checking them off the list will give you a dopamine boost and keep moving you forwards.

Assign time in your year planning

For each of your benchmarks assign time in your year planning. Choosing a start and finish date keeps the focus and makes your resolutions achievable. Often we try and do all 10 of our new year’s resolutions at once. And that my friend’s is a recipe for disaster. And a really great way to set yourself up for a fail. Spread your resolutions out across the year. Then you will move from success to success and give yourself the proper time to make the changes you want. So I am focusing this month on my yoga. (So far 12 days in of my 30 day challenge!)  Doing yoga is already nudging me towards wanting to eat more healthily but I am not putting my focus on that until next month when the exercise has become and habit. Slow and steady progress.

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So it’s time to grab those resolutions by the ears and give them the overhaul you need to really make the changes you want in your life. These 4 actions are really the key to achieving your new year’s resolutions. There is a 5th and it’s the one you can really plan. And that is simply getting on with it. A new year’s resolution is not a boundary you have imposed on yourself. It is a gift you are giving to your future self. So whenever you do something to achieve your resolutions thank yourself for giving yourself that gift, be awesome and get it done.

What will your theme be in 2019? Share in the comments below.

Having an amazingly awesome week

Enjoy your journey <3

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#lifelessons101 – Creating  Happiness- Designing my Happiness Project – an alternative to the New Year’s Resolution.

You do not finda happy life (1)I have made a decision. 2019 is going to be my magical year of happiness. Not that I was unhappy in 2018 in fact I think right now I feel the happiest now  that I have ever been in my life. However, whilst I am growing an business at a rapid rate, designing a new vegetable garden, writing and trying to publish 2 books, running workshops, acting as a combat trainer and of course have my wonderful Mr T and our relationship to enjoy, I am a tad busy. And when one is a tad busy it is so easy to forget to take care of yourself. And as far as I am concerned self- care is one on of the most important ingredients to a happy (not to mention balanced) life.

So I correct my previous statement. 2019 is going to be my magical year of happiness and Self-care. It sounds so good right. However in order to make this statement a reality whilst being so busy I am going to need a plan. And that I have.

I have been inspired by the imaginative (and practical) Gretchen Rubin to create a happiness project. Now for those of you who haven’t read her book The Happiness Project  ( and I seriously recommend you do), it is built on the premise that a happiness project is an approach to changing your life. A Happiness Project is made up of three parts.

Part 1: The Preparation Stage

Part 2:  Making Happiness Resolutions

Part 3 : Keeping the resolutions

Basically instead of setting a couple of resolutions for the whole year you break it down into mini resolutions of (what I call) happiness resolutions for a month that are themed.In an extremely busy life it seems to be a practical and simple system. And  I have been itching to try it out since I read the book!

Sooo I want to invite you on this journey with me. As you know on the Re:root blog the #lifelessons101 are always real examples taken from my life and the lessons I learn as I enjoy my journey. So in 2019 I am going to once a month check in and update you all on progress. Now if you are inspired by this idea of focusing life on your own happiness and want to join. Please do! The more the merrier! And to get you started here is how I approached the planning and resolutions stage of my 2019 Happiness Project.

Part 1: The Preparation Stage

Before deciding what I wanted to do to make me feel happier I followed Gretchen’s lead and created a list of commandments that are made up of my absolute Truths. This is like the Pirate Code. The guidelines for which I live my life and the foundation on which to build happiness. So I included for example

  1. Be you
  2. You are not responsible for everything
  3. Treasure the little moments
  4. Baby steps create dreams.

These might not make much sense to you but for me they are the pearls of wisdom that are the most relevant to who I am, where I am in life and most need to remind myself of.

Time to grab markers, pens and paper and set some time aside for your brainstorming phase. I basically brainstorm all of things I would like to do in 2019 that would make me happy. This included both silly and sensible things, goals I wanted to reach and areas of my life I would like to improve and focus.

Part 2:  Making Happiness Resolutions

So now I  grouped these ideas into themes and tried to make sure there was not too many actionable suggestions to each theme. It meant I had to let go of some of my babies. Very important to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.  So for example One of my themes is Dedicate. The actions I included are:

  • 30 days of Yoga
  • Bullet journalling
  • Follow budget
  • Do morning and evening ritual

Then I looked at the calendar for the year. And made the decision of which themes and actions I could do and when. Again there was some pruning here. With my life it is important to be as realistic as possible. And the end result looked something like this.

Part 3 : Keeping the resolutions

This is supposed to be the hard part. Yet, after all that planning, getting started has been relatively easy. I signed up for the 30 days of Yoga with Adriene and now I have already done 10 days!! (A little proud) I am doing my bullet journal and the habit tracker is based on my happiness project to I am getting to see what is working for rme. I am currently sitting with my accountant as we speak. And I am steadily working towards building a good morning and bedtime routine. Do I do everything every day? No. Well yes to the yoga. However I can feel that by tracking my progress and not trying to do everything at once I am am slowly making baby steps. And yes I do feel happier already!

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So I am going to keep on with my month’s theme of Dedicate and I will see you lovely people at the end of January for the next installment of Creating Happiness 2019.

Keep me informed of your happiness projects for this year and let’s support each other to have a magical happy 2019.

Have a great weekend <3

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#lifelessons 101- Shedding light on the joy in our lives – inspiration for creating your own Yuletide/Solstice traditions

Today is a special day. It is the shortest day of the year. The Winter Solstice. When the sun sets today the longest night will start and at dawn the summer sun is born as the days gradually get a little bit longer. I love the duality and the magic of this time. The idea and fact that in the middle of the dark grey winter the summer is born.  The days getting longer is truely something to celebrate. And humans have been doing it since the dawn of time.

In many spiritual paths wether its Christmas and the birth of Jesus, or the Winter Solstice and the new born sun, or you celebrate Chanuka the festival of light or Pancha Ganapati in honur of the god of culture and new begingings, in human collective world culture we all agree that this is a time of celebrating joy, light birth and new beginings.  The amount of spiritual tradtions bulit around this time of year goes to show that before the internet,  electricity and indoor toilets and way back beyond the time when you were just a twinkle in your great grandparent’s eyes the winter solstice was important to us as a species.

Today Christmas has become a holiday that many celebrate not out of faith but out of habit, family culture or just simply because they get time off work as it’s a national holiday.  It has become indesputably commecialised and many people feel that the true spirit of Christmas is forgotten about. Now what that is can spark a whole different debate so we are not going to go down that rabbit hole today. And that seems as shame to me as beyond the coca cola red santa or the pre christmas bargin sales, we all have a basic need of celeberating the good in our lives here in the midwinter.

Now I have always loved Christmas ( I am my mother’s daughter). However, the tinsel did start to be a little too guilded as I grew older. Not because I didn’t enjoy the time, I just couldn’t find the sustenance in it and that for me took some of the joy. By shifting my focus to the Winter Solsitice, to celebrating the themes of birth and light and creating my own tradtions I have found a way to shed light on the magic and recconect with the joy in my life as I do at no other time of the year, that I would love to share with you.

So how did I do it? Well I simply took inspiration from the Yuletide traditions that made sense to me.  I kept the parts I love of my childhood christmases, the tree, the presents, the eating lots of good food and combined it with other tradtions that make sense to me based on the themes of light, joy and rebirth.  By refocusing on Winter Solstice and the returning light I feel not only more connected to the world around me I feel it sheds life on all the good I have in my life,  giving me reason to celebrate and at the same time the birth of summer brings my awareness into the work I would like to do in the coming year.  My own personal cocktail of spiritual celebration and personal development work.

So instead of moaning about the commercialisation of Christmas or grumbling and stressing why not take some time this year to create your own tradtions to celebrate the light in your life now and the light to come.

Here are a few of the tradtions that I have adopted, created adn personlised that bring me joy at this time of year. I hope they light a spark of inspiration for you to find your own – Merry Solstice xxxx

Bringing in the Green

Throughout history mankind has decorated both homes and tempels with everygreen plants such as ivy, pine or holly. In some tradtions it was to keep bad spirits away, in others to encourage the return of the summer sun at solstice. To me these plants represent the coming of life and the perseverance we have to survive and evolve. Every year we go out into the forest and collect some everygreens and take them home to create decorations with hot chocolate or mulled wine. There is somthing very primal about this acvity and is a fun way to start the celebrations.

The Yule Log

The custom of burning the Yule Log goes backin time and is thought to be originally a Nordic tradition.  The Yule Log was originally an entire tree or gigantic log, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house  and decorated with ever greens with great ceremony. The log burnt for 12 days (the original 12 days of christmas) and then after the ash would be taken out and spread on the fields to bring abundance and fertility to the crips they would plant in the spring.

Every year I work with seting goals and manifestation of my dreams so I have interpeted the Yule log tradition into this process. Each year I use some of the evergreen I collect to make a sunwheel which I hang in the home all through the year and then burn on winter solstice with my yule log. Then I collect the ashes and spread them on my vegetable garden ready for the new plants and seeds in the spring.

Being grateful for the gifts in life

This time of year has been, and still is, a time of celebrating the living people in our life that we love.   A huge theme that has survived throughout history it the tradition of giving gifts. The people we give gifts  tend to be our nearest and dearest. Giving gifts is in a way a chance to acknowledge the gifts these people bring to our lives. By looking at these gifts consciously we can begin to identify not only why people are important to us but also why we need to learn the teachings their gifts bring to us. At Yule I chose one of the people who are important to me in my life and look at the gifts they bring to me or how they enrich myh life.  I then write them a letter thanking them for the gift they bring to mylife and telling them how much they mean to me.

My light in the world

On solstice night some people like to light candles to wecome back the sun. I have interpreted this in a different way. I light 3 candles but for a very specific purpose. Each year at Winter solstice I look at my personal gifts that I share in the world. And I choose 3 that I want to celebrate. I light each candle say I bring the gift of …….. to the world and I am grateful and proud that I am able to share this gift. This simple ceremony reminds me to be proud and grateful of myself. No matter how up or down life is we all give the people we care about something by being in their lives, this is a great way to celebrate and honour how great you are.

Random Acts of kindness

At this time of year I love to go a little above and beyond to share random acts of kindness around. By looking at the gifts I have in my life I feel so thankful and I want to be able to to spread that feeling of joy  around. So weather its a random donation here or donating your time there it all makes a difference and brings a smile to your lips 🙂

Inner Child day

An important part of my yule time traditions is my inner child day.  Fo me the winter solstice is the perfect time for me to connect with my inner child so I reserve one day that is for her. I do stuff on that day that I always loved to do as a child or always wanted to do. The inner child day is just a day for creating your own kind of fun and spending your time the way you love it best.

Yearly review

As I said before I work alot with goal setting and manifestation in my own life. And I see the birth theme of the wintersolstice deeply connected to this.  I don’t, however, set my goals until febuary. Instead I use the time from Solstice to feb to  prepare and plan. When the solstice dawn has come I find this is perfect time for me to review the previous year and begin to gather my dreams and thoughts for the year ahead.

Solstice night and solstice dawn

I find the solstice a magical time of year and wherenever possible I like to spend the longest night with people I care about eating good food and sharing stories, if possible around a fireplace. And then in the morning I go out to see the dawn. A sunrise is a beautiful thing but for me it is evening more magical when you know that the one you are watching is the first one where the day gets a little longer. I find it gives me hope.

I hope however you spend your holidays you take sometime to enjoy it and spread some of the new coming light into your life this year

Merry Solstice <3

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How to recover from a verbal attack and turn the pain into wisdom

We have all experienced the feeling of being insulted or verbally attacked. Whether the playground jibes, a  loved one lashing out. And often is can be easy to forgive and forget. However some insults, some exchanges affect us so deeply that weeks later we are still feeling the insult and the consequent pain. In these cases of verbal attack we often feel disempowered and are left speechless, ultimately leaving us emotionally vulnerable to the core.

It is easy in these situations to enter into a victim role. To play up the poor me. And it is perfectly natural when we feel attacked to feel defensive. But once the initial shock has worn off if you want to be able to move on and let it go, you need to turn your reaction into something positive. “Take that pain and turn it into wisdom.” and take the sting out of the words. In short turn it around by looking for the teachings.

Recently I  experienced a verbal attack that has truly shocked me to my core.  In the most unexpected of places. I place where I normally feel empowered. I was unjustifiably accused ( I won’t elaborate on the details,for politeness sake). I was left drained, shaken and feeling thoroughly disempowered. Weeks after I was still feeling the effects. The action replay. The words I should have said in my throat.And the ultimate sadness from being unjustly accused. It was horrible. However I know that everything happens for a reason. I wanted to recharge and step into my power once more. And that meant doing some digging. As I dug I discovered my role in the conflict. I unearthed insecurities that were unconsciously in play. I looked at his motivates and could see myself mirrored in those. By looking  I found teachings in the situation.and even things I could work on to grow from it. I turned the deep pain into personal power. Did it resolve all my issues? No. As there will always be an element of us that will want an attacker to apologise and own their part. However it gave me a form of peace, a way to move forward and positive action within my own life.

And the best part is when I got down to it, it didn’t take me too long to sort out. So here is my guide of how to recover from an emotional, verbal attack. Next time I won’t be leaving it so long!

STEP 1 -The love letter technique

John Gray in his book ‘Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus’, gave us a technique called the love letter. This is a structured way of free writing that helps you process and understand your feelings and your desires within an argument situation. The first step to transforming pain to wisdom is too properly understand you are feeling. Why did it hurt? Why are you angry? How does it affect you and what response from the other party would resolve this for you? As far as I am aware this technique was originally created to resolve relationship conflicts. However I have found it is a great way to process any conflict.

Here is a guide the technique

https://www.marsvenus.com/blog/john-gray/the-feeling-letter-how-to-communicate-difficult-feelings-to-a-loved-one

STEP 2 – What was my responsibility?

It takes two to tango. In every conflict we have some part. However small, that we can take ownership of. Even when we feel unjustifiably attacked when you look back there will be in some part something that is your part or your responsibility in the situation. So in my case I discovered through the love letter technique that  prior attack the other person’s presence and manner had provoked some of my insecurities. Although I was concious of these it could hvae been that the other person subconciously picked up on my vibe and reacted to that. I could have been more concious in my communications prior the attack, as the trigger for the attack was a misunderstandin through miscommunication. There is always something that is your stuff. Owning it allows us to start to look for the teaching in the incident.

STEP 3 – Why did they attack me?

Everyone knows the premise that a bully bullies because they are feeling insecure. It is the same when you are verbally attacked.

An unwarranted verbal attack can be seen as the other person projecting their fears and insecurities on to you. When I looked at my situation from the position of the other persons possible insecurities I saw clearly that to them I represent many thinks they want both professionally, and personally. The attack became more about the other person trying to make themselves feel more secure by weakening me. This part of the process really helped me detach myself emotionally from the attack. Ask yourself what about me makes them feel insecure?

Sometimes someone will attack you because of something you have done or have not done. In this situation the teaching is pretty apparant.In this case it is good to assess your actions and ask yourself why did I create this? And look for the lesson there.

STEP 4- What are the teachings ?

Through this questioning process you will have a better understanding of the whole situation. Now look for the teachings. What in this situation did you need to learn? Where is the opportunity for you to grow? Not them. You.

STEP 5 – Moving forwards

The last stage is too look forwards. Sometimes the conflict can be resolved through dialogue. Sometimes it can’t. What you can do is to choose how you move forward. How you will activate the teachings you have learnt to create personal growth. You cannot change their actions then now or in the future, However, you can change yours. Make some resolutions about how to move forwards. If miscommunication caused the attack then you could choose to work on your communication skills. If your insecurities have been highlighted you can work with them. If understanding the other person’s insecurity has given you a new sense of compassion or an understanding of where you need to set boundaries work with that.

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I recommend writing this process out. It gets you out of your head, giving you the opportunity to take a step back. Gaining an objective perspective. Verbal attacks will always hurt, but they don’t have to scar. By treating them as a learning opportunity, a chance for your grow you transform your hurt in to growth, into wisdom that will serve you throughout your whole life.

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