Stop the roundabout….I want to get off!

Life Is Tough Quotes Life Is Tough Quotes When Life Gets Tough Quotes The QuotesHave you ever felt like life is too fast-paced, there’s to much going on, or there’s too much coming at you from lots of different directions. Like you’re on a roundabout and you feel like it’s going too fast, you feel a bit sick and disorientated, and you need to get off. You can’t focus, and you’ve lost sense of the direction of your life? Yep, I’ve been there.

Sometimes, life can get a bit crazy, and you can feel like there’s too much to cope with. The key is about how you cope with it. Get too overwhelmed by it all, and you risk getting anxious, feeling out of your depth, and completely losing perspective. So what can you do?

  1. STOP! Take a breath, and some time to think. Reflect on the situation – why do you feel like you do? What is it that is really making you feel out of control?
  2. BREAK IT DOWN. Write down all of the things that are bothering you – you will likely find that by doing so it actually makes you realise that some of them are irrational and can easily be fixed.
  3. TACKLE AND PRIORITISE. Look at each item on your list and establish what is important and what can be forgotten. Order your list of things that need to be dealt with in priority order.
  4. TALK TO SOMEONE. Sometimes just talking about how you’re feeling can make you feel so much better. You may not get your answers, but just getting how you feel ‘out there’ really helps. And who knows, that person may just be able to help.
  5. MAKE A PLAN OF ACTION. This can be really simple, and can focus on tackling one or two things at the top of your priority list (you’ll likely find that by doing so the other items may just sort themselves out), but should give you the impetus to get perspective and focus on dealing with the situation rather than being overwhelmed.

It’s important to just stop sometimes in life, and take a breather. We can often get so caught up and carried away with life and all it’s dramas that we forget what’s really important to us. I’m guilty of this, particularly with work, and I’ve found recently that I’ve got so immersed in the stress and pressure of corporate life, that I’ve let it take over my personal life, which is never good. Luckily for me I have some level-headed straight talking people around me, who recognise when this happens, and work with me to flag it.

Life is tough, we all have many priorities and activities to juggle every day. The trick is to remind yourself what is important and focus on your end game. Life is happening right now, and we need to focus on enjoying the experience we are privileged to experience. Life is tough my darling, but so are you!

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It’s never too late!

its-never-too-late-and-youre-never-too-old-to-become-better-motivational-gym-quotes

Do you ever hear yourself saying ‘if only I’d tried something different……or taken a different path…….I wish I could be a…..what if I’d just tried to…..’ etc. etc.

We often lust after things we don’t have, or want to be something else in life, or try something new – but quite often we create excuses as to why we can’t do it.

Why? What’s stopping us from trying that new hobby, making plans to start a new career, just getting out there and doing whatever it is we want to do?

In this current world of social media, there are so many ‘perfect looking lives’ out there – pretty young women, or chiselled young men depicting their busy, happy, clean-eating, varied-exercising hobby-filled perfect lives all presented in perfect looking ‘unfiltered’ natural looking photographs. Now in reality, we all know that most people will take 100 selfies to be happy with the one to post, and then it will be filtered and even if they are having a rubbish day, they will still smile and look like life is wonderful. However, being reminded that youth, beauty and all round perfectness is key in this world, it does dent your confidence (well it does mine) most of the time, and it makes you question whether you really can change, take the risk, have a go and do something you really want to.

Mostly in my case it comes down to confidence, but often I do have this niggling thought at the back of my mind that maybe it’s a bit to late to take a risk, which I know just sounds silly. It is NEVER too late to try something new!

 

 

I often hear people say ‘it’s too late for me now, I’m too old to change career, or to try that new hobby’ because they are fearful that they will fail and they will do so in the company of those beautiful young people who look like they are enjoying the career change or hobby they hanker after. I confess, I have heard myself think it in my head, and whilst I don’t believe it, it is a nagging doubt that is another dent on your confidence.

And then I look around me, and I see people going for it, taking the risk, trying something new. And what happens? They enjoy it! Even if they fail, or realise it’s not for them.

You are NEVER too old to try something new – as long as your heart is still beating and you are still breathing, the world is full of possibilities! Life is short and it’s meant to be enjoyed. Take the risk, make a change, be brave – and enjoy the result!

PS I’m going to take that advice 🙂

Dwelling on what we don’t have

We often go through life thinking about all the things we don’t have, dwelling on what could have been, or craving things we can’t have. It’s such a waste of time and energy, and we should really all be focused on what we have and be grateful for the good things and people in our lives.

dwellingIn the last couple of weeks I have found myself being envious of others’ lives and the things they are doing, the choices they are making and the outcomes these have resulted in. Not once did I sit and think that they may also be having the same thoughts about my life, because I do have a pretty good life. My wake-up call came last week when I caught up with an old friend. We had a good old-fashioned catch up on the phone for an hour or so (when was the last time you did that and didn’t have a long conversation over text?!), and shared our recent news. She recently received some great health news after a particularly tough time, and was making positive plans for her immediate future, and I am so proud of her, and extremely happy for her.

I talked about my big life changes that had happened over the last year and she was very happy for me, and talked about how amazing it all sounded. We talked about how we had let work get in the way of life in the past (we had worked closely together for a long time), and that once you had a chance to take a step back and look at things differently, it totally changes your perspective.

Focus-1It did get me thinking about how I naturally dwell on what I don’t have, can’t have, or have lost. And it made me realise I should focus on what I do have now, the opportunities I have available, and how I can realise those dreams. Quite often the things I don’t have but want have come from a lack of confidence in myself to just ‘do it’, and I need to ask myself whether I really want it – surely if I wanted it that badly, I would pluck up the courage and go for it?!! Dwelling just creates negative energy and drains the body. It will drag you down and avert your focus from the positive things in your life. It makes you miss out on what could be a happy moment!

So I’m getting in the zone – focusing on the good, forgetting what I can’t have (it’s not meant to be), grabbing some self confidence, talking about those dreams to others, and planning for the future.

Watch this space……

 

Can you be big and fit?

I’ve just watched a really interesting interview with a lady called Louise Green who was talking about how society views larger people and automatically stereotypes them as ‘unfit’, and it really struck a chord with me.

womanonscale638x425Louise is a larger lady and was really interested in getting fit, and made herself go along to a class a number of years ago, but recalls feeling like she would be out of place, she would be the biggest, the slowest there, or that people would look at her and think she was in the wrong place. However, she stayed and enjoyed the feeling, and to cut a long story short, Louise is now a personal trainer and is helping others to enjoy fitness, even if they are not the stereotypical ‘small, fit size’. Louise is indeed herself ‘overweight’ but you can see that she is fit from the videos she promotes, and from the endurance activities she talked about.

The interview was really interesting and there was a lot of live comments from viewers who said you can’t be ‘fat and fit’ or ‘fat and healthy’ and there was some debate around whether promoting that it is OK to be overweight or obese was dangerous. I agree to some extent that telling people it is OK to be fat and unhealthy is not appropriate, but what Louise is saying, and I fully believe myself, is that you can be slightly overweight but have a healthy lifestyle, and be fit and enjoy exercise if you are a bit larger than average (what is average these days?!). The danger only comes if you believe that you can be overweight/obese without any thought or action with regard to your fitness and diet and that approach is healthy – that is not OK.
fit-and-fat-artI really liked the advice given in the interview, which is something I have been saying for years. I have struggled with my weight forever, and really given myself a hard time over the years. I am not a perfect size 10 – far from it. But I’ve learnt to love myself and accept my body, and be extremely proud of what it has achieved. I will never be that size 10 again (I was once), nor would I want to be. Yet I am physically fit, love exercise, am a qualified personal trainer and nutritional advisor. I’ve run a marathon, numerous half marathons and endurance races, I’ve climbed mountains, cycled from Edinburgh to Scotland in 5 days, lifted weights and pushed myself to my limits a lot over the years. But I also love my food and socialising. My philosophy has always been ‘everything in moderation’, and don’t deny yourself. Don’t focus on your weight or the scales but try and be healthy. Life is too short.

So yes, what Louise said is so right – move your body more, eat reasonably well as much as possible, and be positive rather than giving yourself a hard time. You can be bigger than average and fit – and most definitely enjoy exercise. I’ve just ordered Louise’s book too, and am really looking forward to reading it!

Spring – the opportunity for a fresh approach

Here in the UK, the clocks went forward at the weekend, making it lighter in the evenings for a bit longer. Spring has finally sprung, we are enjoying some sunshine and warmer weather, and best of all, we are seeing flowers and plants bloom again. It’s just beautiful to be outdoors.

Whilst my favourite time of the year is  Autumn, as I love the colours and I am more of a cold air ‘wrap up warm’ kind of girl, I love the sense of opportunity and new beginnings that Spring brings. After a long Winter when many of us have spent a lot of time indoors, with shorter darker days and sometimes miserable weather, it’s a real treat to see the sun shining, trees budding and flowers blooming. It lifts your mood, instils a sense of anticipation and excitement, and generally makes you feel happy.

This time of year always makes me want to sort things out and clean up – I guess it’s a bit of ‘Spring cleaning’. It also makes me want to try new things and focus on what I can do to improve things. So I’ve been busy about the house painting, clearing and cleaning and having a good sort out has really made me feel good – almost cleansed!

springcleanfitness_headerAnd I’m taking a similar approach to myself – focusing on how I can improve my well being, health and general outlook. To do so, I’m cutting back on sugar and looking to up my running distances (and using my Garmin tracking app to give me stats and focus). And one more thing I’ve decided to do is to challenge myself by incorporating one body weight exercise a day to my routine for the whole of April – I’ve decided on press ups. I’m going to start with 10 a day and build it up each day. Small changes, one at a time.

Spring – it’s time to bloom and progress!

Your mind is your strongest ‘muscle’

The inner drive to want something is what initially motivates us to do something, and physical fitness or power plays a key part in getting us there. But it is your mind – your mental power – that will determine whether you make it there or not.

56553818297a453ffe25acfd36895a91Take a fitness challenge – like a race or an obstacle course, or climbing a mountain. You need to be physically fit to complete it, and most people will normally follow some kind of specific plan. But if you aren’t in the right place mentally, or can’t pull on your mental strength to get you through the tough parts, it can all fail at that point.
It’s so important to make sure you focus your training on the mental side as well as the physical. But how do you do that? A few things that work for me:

  • Recognise progress
    You need to see progress in your training, and remind yourself how far you have come each time. Give yourself that pat on the back for getting through a stage, and focus on the positive elements of your progress.
  • Identify the negatives
    Yes, look at the negatives, but focus on how you can learn from them and work out how to deal with it when it happens again.
  • Look out for the signs of your mental weakness
    Learn to notice the signs of when you are feeling mentally weak during your training, and think about how you overcame them – or how you can do in the future. This will help you in the hard moments of your challenge.
  • Talk to yourself
    Listen to that inner voice, and use it to its full effect. Tell yourself you are good, you can do this, and you will feel proud at the end. This really works! You can do it our loud if you really want to 🙂
  • Visualise the end
    This really works for me. During a tough moment in a run, or when I have climbed some tough mountains, I’ve visualised myself at the finish and thought about how I will feel. And I ask myself how disappointed I will feel if I don’t push on.

And finally – Dig Deep! When you start to feel the ‘pain’, dig deep and believe in yourself. you know you can do it. As my husband frequently tells me ‘It’s all in the mind’. And it can make or break your determination.

One small change…..

Making a decision to change something can be daunting, and quite often we bite off more than we can chew and end up failing. With good intentions we make statements – either to ourselves or publicly – saying we’re going to make a change and totally transform an aspect of our lives.

I’ve been here, and seen others do it. ‘Right that’s it, I’ve had enough, I’m going on a diet and I’m going to be two sizes smaller in six weeks’…’and I’m going to do it by cutting all the bad stuff out of my diet and exercising for an hour every day’. And sometimes I’ve been so determined that I have succeeded for a few days and maybe even a week. But the habits have always crept back in and I’ve usually ended back where I started – rather disappointed in myself.Practice-One-Small-Change

Over the years, I’ve realised that you need be realistic about goals and how to achieve them and one thing I’ve found that has helped is to do things one thing at a time – incorporate one small change at a time and build on it.

It takes 21 times to change or make a habit, which means if you can make a small change daily for three weeks, it should start to become ingrained in your normal processes. So rather than trying to cut everything bad out of your diet, why not try cutting out crisps for three weeks, and then try something else after that.

I did this with trying to up my water intake a few years ago – I started having a pint of room temperature water every morning as soon as I got up. It worked! After a few weeks of making myself do it (and I did need to make sure I had a post-it note on my cupboard to start with), it became a habit. I still do it now, and it has encouraged me to drink more during the day.

Small-Changes

So don’t give yourself a hard time about needing to change things – do it one small change at a time, and give yourself a pat on the back for trying. Celebrate the small successes – they all lead to bigger and better things 🙂

 

Don’t let life get in the way of living

We all do it, and I have been more guilty that others recently – letting the daily grind get in the way of doing things I love, and generally ‘living’. It’s been a busy few weeks, and I’ve just focused on ‘getting what needs to be done, done’ which has meant I haven’t done as much of the good things I like to do – once again seeing them as luxuries rather than requirements for my happiness. So I haven’t run as much, I haven’t seen friends and been out socialising as much as I wanted to, I haven’t baked as much as usual, nor been creative round the house (favouring the need to just keep it clean and tidy in the time I had), and I also haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks – which makes me sad.

So I’ve given myself and good talking to, and realised that I need to MAKE TIME for these things, and give myself a break – do the things I enjoy more. After all, life is too short. It’s also good for your mental health to do things you enjoy doing, and look after your well being. Don’t look on it as ‘spoiling yourself’, look on it as ‘looking after yourself both physically and mentally. A saying I heard the other day really hit home with me, and as I continue to go through quite a reflective period in my life, I’m going to try and use this as a reminder (I may even get it printed out and framed on a wall!). The saying is:

‘Don’t let your search for a happy life get in the way of living’

7018-Ralph-Waldo-Emerson-Quote-Life-is-a-journey-not-a-destination.jpgSometimes we all get caught up in our day to day being and just existing, so that we can have a good future, that we often forget to enjoy ourselves along the way. As I am sure you have heard before ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’ and this is something I truly believe.

So take time to appreciate the good things in life every day, spend time with people you love, do things you enjoy more frequently, and look around you – there’s lots to smile about along the way, if we just give ourselves the time to acknowledge it. The other stuff will still be there tomorrow…….

Just ‘let it go’…

let-it-goSometimes things don’t work out quite as you planned, and how you deal with it can have a huge impact on the rest of your day and most definitely your mood! I had a day a bit like this yesterday, with lots of things planned out and a to-do list of things I wanted to get done. I was really motivated and woke up with a spring in my step.

The first major task of the day was where it all went wrong, and I actually surprised myself with how I felt about it and dealt with it. I decided to take my two children to a playgroup session which I regularly attend with a friend – this would be the first time I went on my own and I tried not to think about running about watching two of them at the same time without back-up! Anyway, it took me longer to get the two of them out of the car, in the buggy and into the play area in the building, than it did for my son to decide he would have a meltdown resulting in me deciding to leave -after just 15 mins!! I then had two hours of meltdown to deal with whilst trying to keep calm for the other one, so my plans went out of the window.

The rest of the day kind of followed suit – I couldn’t do some of the jobs I had planned as my son decided not to sleep at lunchtime, and continued to test me throughout the day;  the dog carried a whole load of mud into the house and decided to roll it on the cream rug (that DID test me!); I spilt a whole carton of milk on the floor (I know ‘don’t cry over spilt milk’!); my son decided he didn’t like any food put in front of him; and then my daughter had teething issues and didn’t want anyone else but me at bedtime, which meant I couldn’t go out to play netball.

let-it-go-disneyI could have had a meltdown myself, and got annoyed, but I actually stayed calm and just decided to ‘write the day off’ or in the words of that famous Disney movie (Frozen) ‘Let it go….’. I decided that I would just have to let it go and deal with my to-do list and every other plan tomorrow. But, one thing I did decide I needed to to to help me with that, was ensure I did one thing for myself that day – because that would help me feel better and I wouldn’t feel I had totally lost it. So, I enlisted the help of my mum for babysitting duties and I went for a run, and I felt so good for doing it.

So if you can do one thing for yourself, something that makes you feel good – read a book, go for a walk or run, take time out to watch your favourite film or TV programme, have a bath etc. it will help you re-focus, put things into perspective and ‘let it go’. everything else will still be there tomorrow and you will have done something for you 🙂

Blue Monday…pah!

So today is being billed as ‘Blue Monday’, mainly by the media and anyone else who wants to breed negativity. Apparently we are all feeling really miserable by now for a number of reasons:

  • Christmas is over
  • Most people haven’t been paid since Christmas and won’t be for another couple of weeks, so we’re all broke
  • Christmas credit card spend hits our bills round about now
  • It’s cold outside
  • We’ve given up on New Year Resolutions

and there’s more I’m sure….blue-monday
So, essentially we have a choice – we could  listen to all that depressing negativity, or we can use today as a day of reflection and turning things on their head.

  • So Christmas is over – get over it, there will be another one. Think of other events that are coming up and write them down so you can look forward to them.
  • It’s a while until pay day. Work out what money you have left and look at what things you can do for free until the end of the month. Use today to rally friends and plan a get together at home and have a cheap catch-up. Get planning!
  • We have bills – get them all out, write down what debt you have, and work out how to repay them. Being honest with yourself and getting it all out in the open will make you feel better than hiding those bills.
  • It’s January, it’s meant to be cold, and will be for a few more months yet so get used to it. Think of things you can do in the weather and wear dress appropriately. Get outdoors for a few minutes each day for fresh air and sunlight – get your Vitamin D. I promise you it will make you feel better.
  • So you may have had a wobble with your resolutions. Don’t worry, don’t beat yourself up and most definitely DON’T GIVE UP! Think again about why you’re doing it and re-prioritise yourself. Read my blog about resolutions to re-focus yourself.

Be stubborn and kick those negative vibes been thrown about by the media today into touch. Don’t let yourself believe it – re-focus, be positive, count your blessings, and enjoy your life!