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 🙂

 

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Your biggest obstacle is yourself

obstacle 2We all make excuses, place blame on circumstance or events, and even other people for things not going our way. That’s because it’s easy to do, and even easier than to admit that it is down to ‘me’. It really is true when people say that the biggest thing stopping you achieve anything is yourself.
I’m currently training for a half marathon. I’ve completed quite a few in the past and I know what to expect on the day (having run this particular course a number of times). This time round, I’ve been quite good with my training, mainly because I have been really enjoying running and I’ve seen results – my times are getting quicker and I am able to cover longer distances without too much more effort. In the past I’ve had the nagging doubt that ‘I won’t finish’ or ‘I’ll look really stupid to the crowds’ or even ‘I can’t do it’. But this time I’ve realised that the only thing that will stop me (completing the event, and doing so in a manner of which I will be proud of myself), is me!

just-do-itI know I can do it, and I can do it in a good time, and I can enjoy it. I just need to keep telling myself – keep that mantra going in my head as I run, and give myself positive boosts along the way. I’ve found this really helps when I run, and in other elements of life too – stop telling yourself you can’t do it, and think of all the ways you can manage it. Don’t blame other things or people – take responsibility for your actions, the situation, and the possible outcome. And then enjoy the feeling of achievement.

If you can overcome ‘yourself’, you can do anything you set your mind to!

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 🙂

Stop over-thinking, it’s wasted energy

overthinking2

I am an over-thinker. There, I’ve said it. I spend too much time thinking things through to make a decision that I could have made in a much quicker time period, and without all the worry and anxiety that I put myself through (just ask my husband who is usually on the receiving end of this over-thinking!).

I’ve had lots of time to think lately, having the luxury of being away from the usual stressful workplace. But, for someone who usually over-thinks things, I’m surprised at how logical I am managing to be, and how my levels of procrastination are dipping (only slightly, it’s not a miracle).

93700-over-thinking-kills-happinessI’ve worked out that if you over-think, you just create negative energy which is wasted on worrying about things that may never happen. And it kills your happiness. It doesn’t mean I don’t worry about things anymore, I just tend to focus a bit more on the situation, analyse and make a quicker decision.

What I have found myself doing more of, is having conversations with myself about why I feel negative or worried about something, and trying to turn it around. It’s a bit like my blog about Blue Monday – don’t let yourself be dragged down by the negatives and turn your thought process on its head. And I’ve got into the habit of asking myself the following questions when I feel worried or anxious about a situation:

  1. Why do I feel worried about it?
  2. Who has control of the situation?
  3. What can I do about it at this present moment?
  4. What would make me feel better about it?

Usually by answering these questions I can put it into perspective and talk myself into not letting it take over my day. The key thing is about control, and taking that back. Realise that you are the only one who can control your life and the decisions you make, and stop worrying about what other people think.

It really is an attitude that I feel good about adopting, and it’s making a difference. Stop worrying and enjoy life.

Be someone’s sunshine

I know my last post was about looking after number one, but once you have that under control and a priority, you know you can look out for others. Isn’t it a great feeling when you make someone else smile?

sunshineBeing there for someone, no matter how small the task, will always make you feel good. Humans are wired to love others and naturally look to support. It can be something as small as grabbing an extra coffee for a colleague on your way into the office, or looking after your friends children for an hour so she can have a break. Or it can be buying a loved one that really special gift they have been coveting for a while. All of those things will most definitely make you feel good about them and about yourself. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

I love the saying ‘Be someone else’s sunshine when their skies are grey’. It reminds me to think about others and look out for people who may be struggling. And it makes me smile to think that I could actually help someone. Don’t you love it when someone comes to you for advice? It demonstrates to you that they value your opinion, and think you could help them, which in turn should make you feel good.

It happened to me last week and I recall feeling really honoured that my friend was asking for advice, and that I felt I could actually make a difference, even if I was just re-affirming their own thoughts. If it turns out you can help them, then that’s a bonus and you both come away feeling good – creating sunshine all round!

So go on, have a look around and see who could do with your sunshine in their grey day!

Look after Number 1

I was having a chat to someone yesterday who was frustrated about feeling unwell for some time, catching every sickness bug going round, not being able to get out for a run or go to the gym, and generally not having time for themselves. This had tipped over into her feeling like she hadn’t been able to look after her children as well as she wanted, and felt like she was letting them down.124226

As we chatted, it came out that she had stopped watching what she was eating – sometimes just grabbing an unhealthy snack, and  having takeaway a few times a week, couldn’t be bothered to put make-up on some days, and was generally not looking after herself. So she was in this vicious cycle of not feeling great, but not doing anything for herself to make herself feel good.
And it got me thinking – you can’t be there for other people or look out for others if you don’t look after Number 1 – YOURSELF!

If you look after yourself, and be the best most healthy person you can be, you set a good example, create positive vibes, feel good and therefore can look out for others. It’s so important to value yourself and look after yourself. YOU are responsible for your own health, well being and happiness – remember that.

Think about the safety briefing on an aeroplane flight – they always tell you to sort your own oxygen mask before you help others, including children. You’re no use to anyone else if you can’t look after yourself.

Be selfish – it really matters!

 

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!

 

 

Change – embrace or resist?

change-ahead

‘Change is as good as a rest’ – how many times have you heard this? And how much do you really believe it…….

Having gone through some significant changes in my life recently, I’ve really thought about this statement a few times. I am a big believer that change is good for us, and that we should embrace it, but I am also one of those people who is naturally stubborn and doesn’t like to be ‘forced’ into doing something. For example, I am a natural early riser and have been known to go out for a run at 5 am in the morning, just because I was awake. But I struggle with the thought of having to get up early because someone else is demanding it, for example getting up for an early meeting.

stubborn-5So I am therefore naturally very stubborn when change is imposed on me and it doesn’t just happen seamlessly. Which means I tend to resist to a certain point, even though I want to embrace.

I was having a tough moment with a change this week and made myself re-evaluate the situation and work out what I could do to make it work. I realised I had a choice:

  1. I could continue to get annoyed, frustrated, upset, angry and sometimes tearful that this was happening and I didn’t feel like I could do anything about it; or,
  2. I could work out what is was that was bugging me about the change, and try to find some solutions – and maybe the solutions involved reversing the change, but at least it would be a solution.

opportunityaheadI’m still working through the solutions, but I feel much calmer about the situation in question and I think that comes down to control. If I feel I don’t have control of something (and not in a control freak kind of way), then I don’t feel like I can make things right. Support for change is also very important, and I for one need to know that if I ask for support it is there.

Change is constant and will happen for the rest of our lives, so we need to make sure we have the coping mechanisms in place now, and look on it as an opportunity. We all cope differently with change, so don’t compare yourself to others. I know some people who just have a ‘crack on and accept it’ attitude which works very well for them, but not for others like me who need to evaluate, analyse and come up with our own approach.

Stop giving yourself a hard time, and embrace all the change life has to offer.

Retox, don’t detox!

We spend most of December overindulging with all the foods and drinks we try to eat in moderation throughout the rest of the year. And sure, we enjoy that period of having glasses of sparkle and wine whilst out socialising, enjoying them with canapes, snacks, cheese and sweet treats. Not to mention the boxes of chocolates that seem to be lying around everywhere – at home, in the office, even in shops at the counter, and I even saw them at the gym! Why do we think to is acceptable to eat so many of those little chocolate delights in one go throughout December?

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Anyway, by the beginning of January, I for one feel a bit sugared out and lethargic, mainly because I have over-indulged. Yes, I kept up with my exercise routine, but like many others I used it as an excuse to allow the indulgence…….Anyway, it means that for a lot of us we have depleted our bodies of the vitamins and nutrients is needs and we need to work on getting the balance back.

image2-2So many people talk about January as being a bit of a detox, with many giving something up for the month (dry January etc.). I like to think of it more as a ‘retox’ month – getting those vitamins, minerals and nutrients back into my system. I’m working on:

  • Upping my juices (natural, home-made and full of fruit and veg);
  • Increasing my water intake (this also keeps me full);
  • Cooking healthy fresh (easy) meals – my favourite being poached eggs, avocado and spinach, full of Vitamin B, Iron and Vitamin D;
  • Reducing my refined sugar intake, so swapping sweets for fruit and nuts; and,
  • Getting outdoors everyday, regardless of the weather.

It’s not always easy, but the results are worth it – clearer skin, more energy, better focus and generally feeling healthier. So give it a go – think about the changes you are making as positive introductions to your body and lifestyle, rather than depriving yourself. And don’t deprive yourself – we all need a treat now and then 🙂

Retox, don’t detox!