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

The Journey to success starts with the decisionto take thefirst step.jpg

 

#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

NEVER underestimate the importance og having fun (1)

 

#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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#lifelessons101 – How to cope when you have to be around people you just don’t like

At some point in time, we all have to spend time with people we just don’t like. Whether it’s a family member, colleague, in-law, best friends boyfriend or even that toxic person you really can’t drop due to circumstance. It’s crappy and it is a fact of life. I recently spent some time in this situation with not one but many people I don’t like, click with and/ or generally bore me beyond the point where pulling out teeth without anesthetic would be preferable. It happens.

However, this last session really got me wondering how the heck am I going to continue to cope with this. Because of the circumstances, I cannot simply drop these people.(Even though I know that is the best and safest policy with toxic people). So I have to put up with these occasions resurfacing, and I simply can’t play the sick card too often. So what to do? How do you cope when you have to be around people you just don’t like? How do you keep both your sanity and integrity in these situations?

As always I turned to the internet for support. And as usual, it gave me the objectivity to remember and find, the inspiration I needed. I imagine I am not the only person in the world with this particular issue so here for your sanity are the gold nuggets of the vast amount of advice out there that has either worked for me in the past or I intend to try out in the future.

Accept that you don’t have to like everyone

You don’t have to like everyone and vica versa. It really is ok not to like your husband’s sister, the colleague that shares your cubicle, or your Auntie Ida for that matter. We all waste a lot of energy beating ourselves up for things we perceive ‘we should’ be doing. Tell yourself it’s ok and move on.

Find the why

There is a reason you don’t like a person or persons. Find out what it is. Often when we don’t like someone it is because that person reflects back a part of personality we don’t like or are ashamed of in ourselves.  This is a great place to do some self-development. However sometimes we just plain don’t like them. If we know why it’s easier to deal with and do damage limitation so you don’t place yourself in a situation where those irritation buttons are likely to be pressed.

Vent in the right places

Now when you don’t like someone you often will need to vent and do an emotion dump of the frustration and irritation that person’s presence creates in you. You need to do something with this emotion and that needs to be in the right place. No bitching to your co-workers about your toxic colleague, or your husband about his Mum. It’s gonna create issues and generally will not improve your life quality or people’s perceptions of you. Have a neutral friend who you can vent these emotions with. Get it out, whether through talk or type, release these emotions so they don’t eat you up from inside.

Find the game

There is always a game. You just have to look for it. One of my favorites around toxic people is to use language to deflect their passive aggressive or manipulative comments. So if for example, they refuse to come to a social gathering because so and so has been invited, I will respond by saying something like “that’s a shame. However, I am sure you will enjoy the pictures”. Ping! Emotional blackmail deflected. There is always fun to be found if you look for it.

Boundaries and Breaks

Boundaries are really important when it comes to having to spend time with people you don’t like. So choosing how often you have to do this. For example, do you have to go to all of your partner’s family gatherings or can you limit it to the major ones?  Plan a strategy for visits. Let’s say it’s a member of the family you can’t get out of seeing who drains you. Invite them over for a cuppa, but make sure you have an appointment you have to go to so that the visit is naturally a short one.

Equally, make sure to give yourself breaks. Especially after you have spent time around these people. It is energy draining so give yourself a chance to recharge your batteries. Of course, this can be more challenging if the person is someone you see on a day to day basis, say at work. However, even in a busy office, it is possible to plan some breaks. So you can keep your interactions on schedule as a part of a time management and productivity strategy.  

Choose your battles

Some battles are not worth taking. Some are. If the people you don’t like are related there are potentially many different battles that can pop up daily. Do you need to take all of them?  Check in with yourself before you push back in the fight and see if this is really important to you, or are you just being caught up in the drama of it all. If it doesn’t affect your core values, the things that are really important to you in life is it worth using up your energy on a conflict. Remember fire needs fuel to burn, if you don’t feed it will go out.

Take the conversations

Sometimes, however, you do have to take the conversation with the person/people you don’t like. Boundaries get crossed. So instead of letting it fester and rot, take the conversation. Work out what you want to say before it. And say it carefully in non-accusatory language. Try this combination: When you do X it makes me feel Y and could you do it (this way) in the future. Talking about the issues however hard will dust out the cobwebs and you may often find out that your assumptions about a person’s behavior were actually completely wrong.

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We all have a limited amount of energy. And spending time with people we don’t like does hit that I could be doing something so much better with my time frustration button. So to avoid feeling like a trapped victim when you have to be around and interact with people you don’t like, take charge. Choose where and when you use your energy, how you will use it. Trust me you will feel 100% better if you do. Why? Simply because you will be more authentic in how you are using this time. The falseness of spending time with people we don’t like is often the most draining part of the whole business. Taking conscious action about the situation removes the false factor and that in itself will bring a form of peace.

Have a great weekend <3

Conserve your energy for something worthy of it

#lifelessons101- the stories we tell are the legends we become

Before schools and tutors and universities there were stories. Stories that shaped our beliefs. Stories that taught us right from wrong. Stories that moved us, inspired us to be brave, to follow our dreams.  For me stories have been and are the school for the human soul throughout the history of humanity. This week I had a powerful reminder of this at the Viborg Animation Festival.

Now I have always loved stories, I actively collect them.  I love the folk tales and the legends of times gone by. And in a brief conversation with one of the writers of the Song of the Sea. I remembered something I had forgotten. That these legends, these tales that I love, are all somewhere once rooted in reality, in a real history, with real people, that have long been forgotten as the legend has grown and developed for new audiences. And that got me thinking.

We (as humans I mean) still love to tell stories today. We love to tell stories about ourselves, our adventures. We tell our children stories about our own childhoods as teaching tales. We love also to read about other people’s lives. And we love to share those stories, to the immense satisfaction of the tabloid press who would be out of business if we did not enjoy gossip. My point is that even though we have other institutions of learning stories are some of our prime fountains of learning. And equally, they define us.

They define us in the eyes of others. The stories we tell about ourselves are the people we become. And the legends that we pass on. Just take my Grannie for example. An amazing woman that lived to 103. She traveled the world throughout her life and had hundreds of tales to tell about the places she’d traveled, the people she met and often the food they had eaten. As a child, I would have sworn she knew the world not by a map but by restaurants. She drove through Barcelona in a taxi whilst Franco captured the city. Encouraged Portuguese women to be independent at a time when that was not the done thing. All of this made her to me and my cousins a fabulously elegant and interesting person with a kind of glamour about her. That is the legend we tell about her today. However, I wonder if that’s how she saw herself? I wonder if that was the truth she lived. I know for example that the death of her husband was something that affected her strongly. Yet as she chose to not share that tale, even that is shrouded in some mystery. She chose a way to present herself to the world and in our memories, that is who she became.

Now at the moment, I think alot about the legacy I will leave behind in the world often. (The after effects of hitting 40 and recently being dangerously ill in hospital). What will I leave behind me when I decide to shuffle off this mortal coil? What will my legends be? And as I was coaching a client today, who has a strong negative dialogue about himself, I remembered that it is actually up to me. Just as my Grannie created her legend through the stories she told about her life, I have the power, well we all do; to create the life and the legend through the tales we tell about ourselves.

Take my client today. He really believes that he is a bad person because he is “wasting his time and being nonproductive”. His entire narrative described him as a lazy good for nothing. And yet I know he is not this at all. He is a person who constantly seeks to improve himself, to get the best out of and enjoy the experience of life. Yet in his opinion that couldn’t be further from the truth, because of the stories he tells himself and others.

You see the stories we tell about ourselves are not just the anecdotes from our past. It is also in how we refer to ourselves and most importantly in the stories we tell ourselves. I can remember for many years I would call myself dumb and silly. I said it to myself. I made jokes at my own expense around other people. And sure enough years later those people remember me as a silly person. (I think the exact description was about as grounded as Phoebe from friends…) However, after working on my internal dialogue, changing it, that is not the way I refer to myself today and it is not how people see me either.

And it is equally the same with the anecdotal stories we tell from our past. I am, in many respects, like my Grannie. I have 40 years of a life with rich and varied experiences. Not all of those are good. Not all of those are terrible. Yet in my past, I have often told the stories of my troubles, the things that I have been through. Until the day that someone pointed out that it didn’t portray me as a strong person rather it often made me seem as though I was trying to make people seem sorry for me. Now not that I don’t think we should share our sad stories. I think it’s unhealthy not too. However, there is a time and there is a place. The point is to not allow yourself to be caught in the trap where all your stories flap out of your mouth without a thought.

What I mean is that you can, through the stories you tell, create the life you want and the person you want to be. Whether it’s through the stories you tell yourself or the stories you tell others, you can choose what bits of you that you want to have woven into the story of the life you are living now so that these become legend of who you are and one day of the person you were.

Personally, I want my life and legend to be one of growth, strength, adventure, inspiration and abundant happiness. These are the stories I choose to tell. Take some time to notice the stories you tell yourself and others this weekend and ask yourself ‘Is this the legend of me I want to leave behind?’ And if it’s not, start telling yourself and the world a new story and watch how the power of a story will transform your world.

Have an amazing weekend <3

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How to have an Abundance mindset during the dark times

As autumn draws in and the storms begin to rage, we begin to draw ourselves in. To prepare for our winter hibernation period. This weekend past marked the autumn equinox a time where the sun and the moon, day and night are equal. A point in our calendar that marks clearly the entrance into the darker half of the year. Most people don’t realise that this natural phenomenon affects humans on a genetic and biological level. Not only do we feel the change in the weather, we also slow down mentally and physically. And something often unspoken is that our survival instincts turn on to alert.  In days gone by survival during the winter was an uncertain and precarious thing. In Fact, it wasn’t all that long ago. It wasn’t until the 16th century that art depicting winter began to be seen. And surviving through the winter has only really been a reality within the latter end of the industrial period with the invention of electricity, major medical advancements and industrialised production and distribution of food.

Now, what has this got to do with abundance mindset I hear you ask? Bear with me, I am getting there. The point is that our survival instincts have not, as yet caught up with the extreme advancements that have made our lives easier and ultimately safer during the winter. And it is partly our survival instincts being aroused in the autumn and winter that can affect our mental health and make us more susceptible to depression and to a “poverty mindset” or a lack mindset. Basically, because we unconsciously think we are going to be in danger and not survive we begin to feel like we don’t have enough. It’s a form of panic mode. Ergo it can be harder to have an abundant mindset in the darker times than it can during the spring or summer. Especially when we are also lacking the vitamin D from the sun too.

And the irony is that having an abundance mindset during the darker times can actually be the very thing that makes those seasons easier. If you have heard of or worked with abundance mindset before, you will know that having or not having enough is not a matter of how much you actually have.  It is a matter of perspective. It is a mindset. There are plenty of people in the world who have all of the luxuries possible, yet they can’t stop buying and possessing more. Oprah said

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

So if you feel like you have nothing and never have enough that’s exactly what you have. Equally, if you feel that what you have is already enough, then anything you gain in life will always be valued and appreciated, which in turn leaves you feeling abundant.

So the challenge for us during the darker parts of the year is basically to hijack our survival instincts that are trying to tell us we don’t have enough by practicing an abundant mindset.  Which in turn will bring light into your darkness and more beauty into the colder, harsher times. Just follow this step by step guide to forming an abundance mindset and set yourself up for a beautiful autumn and a content winter.

Focus on the good rather than on the bad

Now I know this can be a challenge. However, when you really look at it in any situation there is really a silver lining. My diabetes started only 10 years ago. Not exactly something I wanted in my life. However, the silver lining was that I began to take of myself and view my life even more as a precious gift. Looking for the good and focusing on that is like turning on a light switch in the darkness. The more you look the more you find.

Appreciate what you already have

No matter what is going on around us there are always little things that we can be grateful for. Even if it is your morning coffee, the seat on the bus after a long days work or the happy greeting you get from your pet. Life is made of small beautiful moments which we often fail to notice. By practicing gratitude on a daily basis you cannot help but see how rich your life is in the simple moments that make life wonderful.

Give more of what you want  

As I write this I am sitting on a train sharing a booth with two strangers. Now I had in my bag three sweets. I took them out intending to eat them all myself (and then of course take some insulin). However, I noticed that one of the ladies looked at the sweets. And I thought to myself maybe she would like one too. So without speaking to them (it’s a quiet zone) I shared my sweets. They both smiled and that was my reward. A feel-good moment on an otherwise grey and miserable day. I would love a stranger to offer me a sweet on a long haul journey and who knows maybe one day they will. Like attracts like. So, if you treat the world the way you want to be treated sure enough the world will start to treat you that way.

Enjoy whatever you’re doing for the true purpose of enjoyment

When we depend on our outside world (such as other people and things) to fulfill us and make us feel a certain way, good or bad, we become very attached to how this outside world “behaves.”  The challenge with this is that when we cling to something so much, we lose the ability to enjoy it. We get overtaken by expectations of how something needs to be in order for us to be happy.  So even an enjoyable act as posting a happy picture on facebook becomes joyless when your happiness is dependent on the reactions of others and the likes that picture gets. Can you see how this dependency makes it difficult to enjoy the day to day processes of your life?   Make sure you check in with yourself when you don’t feel happy about something you are doing and ask- Am I doing this for the purpose of enjoyment or am do I want this activity or thing make me feel and seem better than I do right now? If you are not doing it for enjoyment then stop doing it.

Affirm your abundance daily

Around my home I have small hearts in strategic places. People often assume that this is from me to Mr T or visa versa. However as lovely as that would be, they are not. These hearts remind me everytime I see them that “Life love me and I am blessed”. A practice from Louise Hay’s book Life loves you.  It always generates a feeling of satisfaction and contentment when the words pop up into my mind. Try it and see for yourself.

Celebrate moments

As I said earlier life is made beautiful by small moments. But how often do we celebrate them ? Taking the effort to make a small moment seem even more beautiful enriches your life. Small acts such as lighting candles while you watch tv or laying the table nicely even when eating alone will make you feel abundant in your life.

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If you don’t look for the abundance in your life you will never feel it. As Wayne Dyer said “Abundance is not something we acquire, it is something we tune in to” Take some time to tune into your own abundance this autumn, enrich your journey and you will find your life is full of beautiful moments that will warm you no matter how dark it is outside

Have a wonderful week <3

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5 steps to reassess your life and live with integrity

 

There are moments in life that make you reassess everything. Moments that throw a spotlight on your reality. A disaster that reminds you that you are alive, This last week I have had one of those moments. 3 days ago I was rushed to hospital suffering from ketoacidosis ( a horrible side effect to diabetes). And now I am sitting here writing to you. Now if you are not initiated in the school of diabetes type 1 ketoacidosis is pretty serious and can be fatal. So for the last couple of days, my medical team and my body have been fighting to keep me out of the danger zone and on this planet.

I feel very lucky and incredibly grateful. Grateful of course to the amazing medical team who have looked after me but also to Mr T, my friends and family who from near and far have sent me so much love and caring. However, I also feel incredibly grateful for my life. When this stuff happens I feel it is a kick from the universe saying “Hey! You! You are alive. What are you doing with this gift?” Bad health, with a reminder of our mortality, is a great lesson, if a somewhat badly wrapped gift. For me, it has shown me what I value. What I am doing in my life that is me really listening to my soul and what I am doing that is me lying to myself. How do I live with integrity? And how do I not? It’s a hella important process. I mean we only have one life in this body, as this person at this time. Wasting this amazing gift is more than criminal, it is arrogant and spoilt. And so many of us to waste this gift by not living with accordance to our own values. So I have welcomed this opportunity to really look into my life and find my truth. What do I value and how am I living that each day? How can I live with more integrity?

Then it struck me. Why has it taken a medical disaster to make me look at this? Why do we only get motivated to check in when things go horribly wrong? Wouldn’t it surely be more beneficial to do this process on a regular basis? Would it not be more respectful to the gift of being alive, not to mention be incredibly beneficial to ourselves, to check in and see if we are living in accordance to our own values on a regular basis. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”. And I agree.

If I had died this week would my soul have been happy with the way I live? Would I have felt that I have lived a life of integrity? That I have walked my talk? To be honest not really. I mean I would be able to acknowledge the efforts I have made but in truth, there are some things in my life that I do that in no way shape or form, fall in line with my values. And there are things I really want to do that I have never done, or put off constantly. What is the point of that?

So I have decided to set some time aside each month to take a 15-minute check in with myself. It’s now scheduled in the diary as my Life integrity check-in. A 15-minute recess to reassess my life*,check in with my values and to make sure I really am living a life of integrity. What about you? When did you last check in with your values? When did you last reassess your life to see if you are prioritising or ignoring the things that are most important to you? Do you know if you are living a life of integrity?

I invite you to try the following process. It will take you 15 mins max and will help you to really see where you are, how you are living and if this really is the way you want to live. Without the bother of having to have a horrible disaster in your life!

Life Integrity check

Step 1: The question to ask yourself is this: What is truly important to me in life?

Brainstorm a list of your values as your answers to this question. Be specific. So some of my list looks like this (In no particular order of importance):

  • Mr T
  • My brother
  • My cats
  • My Parents and family
  • Mother Earth and Paganism
  • Community and friends
  • Creativity- Writing -Drawing and painting – colouring
  • Laughing
  • Dancing
  • Making memories and having adventures
  • Viking
  • Good food and wine
  • Coaching and Teaching
  • Playing and having fun
  • Good health and happiness
  • Me time
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Inspiring work
  • Love and being loved
  • Safety
  • Acknowledgement and respect
  • Honesty

There’s no hard rule for how long your list should be, however, a list in the range of 15 – 25 values is easier to work with.

Step 2: Ask your self what is a real priority for you on your list?

The next step is to prioritize your list. This is the most difficult step because it requires some intense thinking.

Identify the top value, then the second highest value, and so on until you’ve rebuilt the whole list in order of priority from the top to the bottom. So you may begin by asking yourself these questions: Which of these values is truly the most important to me in life? If I could only satisfy one of these values, which one would it be? The answer to this question is your number one value. Then move down the list and ask which remaining value is the next most important to you, and so on, until you’ve sorted the whole list in priority order.

Step 3: Now ask the question How much are my values prioritised in my life?

We may have these values but do we prioritise them? Go through your list. Put a smiley 🙂 next to those that are visibly prioritised in your life, an uncertain emoji for values you sort of prioritise and a sad face 🙁 for values that are not prioritised at all.

It’s quite interesting to look at. I found that I was only prioritising 14 of my values in my life. 9 things that were really important to me were only semi prioritised and somethings that I thought very important were not prioritised at all.

Step 4: Now ask yourself How would I like to prioritise my values in my life?

Now you can see what matters to you and what you are and are not prioritising, ask yourself “How would I like to prioritise my  values in my life?” We all do only have 24 hours in a day and of course, we would love to fill every moment of the day as we liked. But this is not always possible. So you have a choice of daily, monthly and weekly. Assign this to each of your values. Basically, you are choosing how you will prioritise your time according to your values.

Once you have assigned Daily, weekly and monthly to each of your values rearrange them in the order of daily, weekly and monthly. This gives you a new and unique perspective on your values and what is important to you.

Step 5: Now ask yourself What can I do to make this a reality in my life?

In the last step, you created a wish list of how you would like to live with integrity. Now you need to plan your action. Make a practical mini goal for each value of how you will prioritise this daily, weekly or monthly in your life. So, for example, I have ‘Making memories and having adventures’ as something I value and wish to do on a monthly basis. So I have to make sure there is a time in my calendar every month for an adventure day with Mr T, or a good friend to have an adventure and make a memory.

For the last time prioritise these goals in the order you would like to start introducing them into this month. Don’t try and do everything at once. Choose a few  (maybe one monthly, one weekly and one daily) and start to create these fantastic new habits that mean you are living a life of integrity.

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Put this month’s goals somewhere you can see them. Now, book in your calendar next month ’s life integrity assessment. Remember your values change. Maybe next month you would like to focus on something else. For example, I know that my health and Me time is high on the list this month as I need to recover. However next month it might be spending time with my Mr T. You may just choose new goals to start to fulfil from the list you make today or you may find that you make new goals. This system is as flexible as you and will change with the ebb and flow of your life keeping you true to yourself always.

Have a wonderful week <3

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind

 

 

 

( *try saying that fast it’s full of s’s!!)

How to fit fun into your busy life

I have a tendency to turn everything into work. Even the things I love to do. Just like posting on this blog. I love to sit and write to you the great and wider world. I love to spill out my thoughts and have people comment and be inspired by my words. Yet if I don’t write it on my to do list I forget to do it and make it important. The catch 22 is that as soon it’s on my list it becomes work. A chore. Now I know this is partly due to my own attitude to the to-do list but I think it is also that in a day where there are many things to do and have to be done life tends to feel like a chore. There is a distinct lack of fun in a busy every day.

I am not alone in feeling like this. There are many of us out there that have busy lives that without considered thought and a little focus can just feel like funless constant work. That is er…. No fun. (Apologies for lack of vocabulary. It is Monday). So what to do about it? Because at the end of the day the reason your days are busy is that there are so many things that have to be done and you want to do. How to find the balance between that and having fun?

Prioritise

Firstly in order to have more fun, we need to decide that fun is equally as important as work, housework and all the other things we have to do/want to do. If we don’t prioritize fun then we won’t get it.

Attitude change

Now as I said my challenge is that I tend to think of everything as work. And to be fair I have a lot of work. However, it’s as  Thomas Edison said “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”  Now that doesn’t mean Mr Edison never worked. He just thought of it as fun. I find the art of thinking something is fun without analysing it difficult. So I have looked at my daily weekly and monthly activities and identified which of these I find fun. Even though its a purely theoretical exercise, it has helped me to see that I do actually have more fun than I thought in my life.

Leave work at work

One of the greatest tricks I have found as an entrepreneur is to leave work at work. I have a signpost on my office door that I turn around for when I am working and when I am done. I have strict office hours and when it is 5 o’clock the day is done. I also do the same thing with household chores if it is not done by 19:00 then it is not getting done that day. The last 3 hours of the day are for fun, however, I need it at that time. Some evenings include no chores (apart from clearing the table). Mentally or even physically leaving your jobs in the jobs time means that you get to fee and experience having more time.

Find ways of making chores fun

Now there are not many people in the world who enjoy household chores (my mother in law is the exception). So a great way to have more fun is to find ways to make boring things fun. A friend once told me that when she scrubs the toilet she scrubs it with love. It always makes me laugh as I do this now. I have an upbeat cleaning music playlist I use to dance around in the house as I clean. Singing whilst driving to work is another great one. Or simply using your commuting time for the game you love on your phone or reading.

Give yourself time for daily fun

Set aside at least 10 minutes to have fun. I like to try and include something fun or silly on my to-do list every day. It helps me keep the fun in my life a priority.

Start your day happy

Starting the day badly can affect every moment of that day.  Make a conscious effort to start the day in a way that makes you feel happy. I use the time to do my gratitude practice and read one chapter of whichever personal development book I am reading at that particular time. It combines two of my favourite activities of writing and reading. Mr T the health nut starts his day with training.

Schedule pleasure

In a 14 day period schedule some pleasure time to do a fun activity that fills at least an hour. You can schedule a free evening if you want just to do something spontaneously fun or you can decide beforehand what would be fun to do.

Create a play box

I love this idea. As a child we have toy boxes so why not have an adult play box. Put in things that are fun activities you like to do. A play box is a go-to resource for those days where you need a fun boost. Another way is making playlists of things you want to watch on youtube or on Netflix.

On a bad day vitto a chore and do something fun

Having a bad day? Then look at your todo list and vitto something not fun for a mood-lifting fun activity. It doesn’t have to take long. 20 mins fun can turn your motivation and mood around so that a rubbish day becomes fantabulous!

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If you feel like you are not having enough fun in your busy life. Choose one of the above and make it important to do in the next 3 days. Actively seeking and having fun will make life more enjoyable not just for you but for the people around. No matter how demotivated you feel, have a go. I promise you that by making yourself have fun, life will start to feel fun once more!

Have fun this week 🙂

 

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#lifelessons101 – Frustrated? Try the healing power of whimsy

Under a fair amount of stress at the moment I am finding many things frustrate me. This week I had one particular incident with a company who has provided me with bad products and bad service. Now normally that would annoy me but in my current frame of mind, I exploded with frustration. It was like some hidden cave troll boiled up from the deep recesses of my soul and even with using anger management techniques,I could not let it go.) Until that is I stumbled upon James Veitch’s video “The agony of trying to unsubscribe” and got a great reminder of the perfect tool to stop feeling frustrated.

Whimsy

Seriously whimsy. Jame’s video advocates instead of being frustrated and annoyed with the bane, pointless, or boring points in life, that you find the game. Find the fun and whimsy and focus on that. So I tried. And instead of being p*ssed off I took the Veitchian approach and found the fun. Which actually resulted in me making myself laugh as I delighted in wasting the time of the people at the printer company who had frankly been mucking me about. (I mean who sends a printable return label to a customer you sent dysfunctional ink cartridges)  It felt great. So I thought this whimsy thing. Maybe I can apply it to other annoyances in my life. That led to an exploration of whimsy that is turning both my life and my stress around.

You want to try it? Of course, you do! I mean who wants to be annoyed when you could be smiling and light-hearted right? I adopted what I call the Vetchian Principle which is

Annoyed? Frustrated? Look for the game and bring whimsy back into your life!

Ergo whenever something really annoyed me, I would look for a fun way to turn it around. (Similar to the way the Riddikulus spell works in Harry Potter where you have to turn a fear into something funny.)  It Is BRILLIANT and IT WORKS. Here are a few of the whimsical ways I have been turning around my frustrations this week I hope they inspire you to your own ways of using the healing power of whimsy and basically having a happier existence.

Handling the illogical and frankly stupid bad customer service by turning into the stupid naive and illogical customer wasting their time and giving me a great laugh. (This one is pure Veitch!)

Making a pyramid of finished cardboard toilet rolls that Mr T leaves consistently in the bathroom to remind him of the need to take them out.

Incorporating stupid insults and gestures into arguments. So instead of yelling at each other, an argument became a Monty Python-esque battle of stupid insults and much blowing of raspberries.

Equally starting a pillow fight mid row to break the tension.

When my patience is tried by other people I have been responding to their pure idiocy with nonsensical sentences (Fry and Laurie are great for inspiration here).

Finding random and bizarre gifs to respond to annoying facebook comments.

Working in a pillow fort rather than at my desk to prove I can be both childish and a proper grown up

The ultimate thing with this principle is that it makes you laugh and diffuses tension.And we all know that one of the best stress relievers in the world is laughter. Try a 7-day whimsy challenge. Look for the game in the irritation and you will find that you, your life and your stress load is lighter. In the comments please, please inspire me by telling me how you turned your frustrations around this week by introducing whimsy into the situation.

Have a wonderful whimsical weekend <3

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