19 for 2019

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my 19 for 19 goals.  Inspired by the ‘Happier with Gretchen Rubin’ podcast, I decided instead of New Years resolutions I would instead set myself some goals for the year.  These are by no means all my aims in life as I can’t afford to do everything I want to do this year.  But I have put some in there that will cost me money, some that will cost me nothing but time, some that will be hard work, and some to bond with family and friends.  So I hope there’s a good challenge that’s doable, but enough to keep me going and feel like I’ve achieved something by the end of the year.

 

So here are my 19 for 19:-

 

Night away child-free with A

We went abroad last year and I found it a massive guilt-trip to be away from the children for so long and so far away, yet I don’t want to not have a child-free break this year.  So I’ve opted for one night, maybe in the Lake District, to just relax, have a nice meal and see some sights.

 

Get the girls in their own bedrooms

The girls are desperate for their own space, but it’s going to be a massive expense and amount of work to move the boiler out of their playroom and plaster where it once was, re-lay new carpets, decorate, furnish and do all the other work involved in converting the playroom.  But it’s definitely something that HAS to happen this year, so it’s on the list to motivate me to get started.

 

Clear the loft

We’ve never used a loft until this house and having kids, and it’s quickly accumulated stuff.  I don’t want it to get to the state of my parents’ loft with a lifetime of hoarding, so I’m clearing it this year as much as I possibly can.

 

Complete my happiness project

I was so inspired by the book ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin (I know; a bit of a theme going here) that I wanted to take the 19 for 19 further and really focus on areas of my life throughout the year.  I wrote about it further in my blog post ‘Bring on 2019’, but I’m excited to get started on new ideas to improve my life as it is.

 

Have a gong bath

I can’t wait for this and it’s already booked for this Wednesday.  Now I’m not presently sure how it all works, but I know I won’t be sitting in any sort of bath, as my friends envisaged.  It’s a very relaxing experience where we lay on the floor, all comfy with pillows and blankets, whilst emersed in the sound of gongs chiming.  I’ll be able to write more after the event, but I’m totally intrigued by it.  And as the lying down under a blanket bit is my favourite bit of yoga, I thought why not do a whole session of it as a treat!

 

Get my spends out of the red

I’ve done it before but I need a little focus again, and putting it on the list may just stop me from wasting money on junk food and all the other unnecessary spends that keep me in the red.

 

Get M swimming with 1:1 lessons

Poor M has a perforated ear drum, and at 4 years old isn’t allowed to swim in case it causes further ear infections.  But at present it won’t be operated on and fixed until she’s about 11, so I want to push for an ear guard to be made to enable her to start swimming.  Once I feel her ear is a bit more protected I want to invest in 1:1 lessons so she can catch up to what stage she would have been at had this not happened to her.

 

Get the girls photographed in my wedding dress

People think I’m mad to want to get rid of my wedding dress, but it’s pointless keeping it in my eyes.  That said I want to do something special with it, so my plan is to have the girls photographed in it before I donate it to a charity that will very skillfully and careful re-sew it into burial gowns for stillborn babies.  I can’t think of a more special thing to do with my wedding dress, so my aim for this year is to get the photographs done.  Then it will be on my 20 for 20 list to get it professionally cleaned and donated. 

 

Knock down the shed

Another job I’ve been putting off, but now it’s on the list I’m more motivated to get it done!

 

Trip to London

I like to go several times a year, but for some reason we didn’t make it to London last year at all.  It’s one of my favourite places, and whether I go on my own or with friends I’m wanting to go in May and just soak up the atmosphere and revisit my favourite haunts.

 

Climb Kinder Scout

Now I really wanted to do a longer hike, something like 70 miles over 3 days, or another challenge I’ve wanted to do for ages that is 40 miles to be completed between midnight and midnight.  But for this year I will have to settle for just climbing this local mountain.  The only reason I’m not going for a bigger challenge is money and knowing I have no-one in my life right now that is up for that challenge.  But Kinder Scout is doable in a day at about 18 miles on the route I want to do.  I walk every week, but I want the kind of challenge that’s going to turn my legs to jelly for a couple of days after, and this is definitely it.

 

Go camping with K and the boys

I desperately want to take all the kids camping.  I’ve done a few trips on my own with the girls, but this year I want to take my sister and my 2 nephews too.  They’ve never really camped further than their back yard, and I have a fabulous plan to take the kids crabbing off a pier in Anglesey and then set up camp on a site with a private beach just inland Wales overlooking the Irish sea.  The hope is we can toast marshmallows on an open fire on the beach and watch an amazing sunset.  If I only do one camping trip this year that’s the one I want to do, and I know the boys will just love it!

 

Start going for coffee on my own

This is quite daunting for me, but I like the idea of sitting in a café with my laptop and getting to the stage where I don’t feel self-conscious. 

 

Sort photos and make albums for the girls and fill frames in the house

This is a mammoth task, and just downloading the latest photos from my phone took me most of Sunday morning.  I have somewhere in the region of 35,000 photos to go through and organise.  And from those photos I want to make some photo albums of happy memories for the girls as they love flicking through photo albums, and I need a broader range of frames filled in my house as I haven’t updated most since the girls were tiny.  I’m chipping away at this task every day and am determined to keep my photos under control this year!

 

Paint the kitchen ceiling

Yawn!  Another task that needs doing that I’m hoping I’ll be motivated to do now it’s on my list

 

Read a proper book with M

I really want to get M reading more as in the past when she’s found a book she loves she can’t put it down.  But unfortunately the material school send her home with has just knocked any enthusiasm out of her.  M is a rebel child (more to follow on this in a future post) so I have to handle this carefully as buying her a book and saying I want to read it with her will make her do the opposite.  But she has dreams currently to be an author and I would love for her to find the same enjoyment and inspiration in books that I have.  Life is perfect when I have an inspirational book to read, and I’m hoping we can spark that same enjoyment in her too.

 

Clear my credit cards

A massive source of anxiety for me as we went massively over-budget on an extension 4 years ago, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, and had no choice but to put the remaining £16,000 on credit cards and loans.  We’ve been chipping away and balance transferring for all this time, but the end is in sight and this is the year I’m determined to have those credit card debts gone.  We’ve never overly lived off credit, and it’s been a really difficult way to live for us.  But it’s something that was unavoidable and has been a great lesson in gratitude for living the debt-free life we used to, and that I’m determined we can get back to.

 

Do a life coaching course

I’ve already started on this one too and have bought and started a life coaching course.  What I’ll do with it I’m not sure, but I know it will be a great skill just as a friend, parent and partner to have life coaching skills.

 

And lastly…

Book a yoga retreat

Now I may not have the money to attend this in 2019, especially if I want my spends out of the red, but all I have to do is book it for it to get ticked off the list.  I’m thinking of the Lake District again, but I know I want to meet interesting people and do lots of hiking, lots of yoga and meditation, have a complete break and eat some beautifully healthy food.  It will be a massive achievement to go on holiday on my own and put myself in that social situation, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. 

 

So that’s all my tasks for this year.  And while it seems like a lot, I think it’s all doable, but enough to keep my mind occupied and life exciting.  And that’s what’s going to distract me from all the stuff that used to weigh down on my mind.  So I’m excited and motivated to get started.

 

Have you set any resolutions for the new year?  Do we even need to start at the new year?  Surely we can just pick up a pen and paper and plan a bucket list any time we want.  And does it even work for you to have a tick list, or do you have another way to motivate yourself to do things? 

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How To ‘Up-Level’ Your Life

 

love romantic bath candlelight

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

There’s a phrase I keep hearing, a new buzz word – at least it is to me; ‘up-levelling’.  I hear people that have made it saying they’ve ‘up-levelled’ their life; they only travel first class, they only drink champagne, they’ve finally got the Chanel bag that they’ve always wanted.  These things or situations make them ‘feel’ that they’ve made it.  And it got me to thinking how I could ‘up-level’ my own life.  What could I do that would make me happier, that would make me feel like I’d made it in life, that I would do or buy if I had the money to?  And what was realistically achievable from that list?  So gradually I set about re-prioritising my money to invest in ‘up-levelling’.  And it really didn’t put me any more out of pocket.  So here is my list of how I ‘up-levelled’ my life:-

 

  • I started buying fresh flowers for my house. This was something I always felt was only realistically going to appear in my house if it was my birthday or maybe from the odd generous visitor.  And in fact it did start from that.  A friend popped round with a bouquet of flowers and they lasted 3 weeks.  It made me so happy, this little thing of having fresh flowers all the time, that as some started to wilt I bought a small bouquet for about £2 and just replaced them as and when.  I continued to do this every week when I went shopping.  Such a ridiculously cheap thing to do.  For less than the price of a coffee (the currency I rank everything against) I could have fresh flowers in my house constantly!

 

  • I started having my nails done. I went on holiday, the only occasion I would have my nails done, and booked a friend of a friend to come and do my nails.  And when I met the girl who had been recommended to me I realised she was so cheap yet so accurate, that for £15 I could probably afford to keep this little treat up.  But I got so much more from it than that.  I made a friend.  I thoroughly enjoy going to her house every 3 weeks and having a real good natter.  We have a good laugh, we have a lot of mutual interests, and it turns out even our kids know each other.  So it’s become more of a social event.  And what I’ve come to find is these people that are just desperately working hard to start a little business are so eager to impress and do a fantastic job.  They’re not some number in a big corporation; their business depends on their effort.  So you often get a really good value and quality service.  I also heard on a You Tube video on law of attraction, and I wish I could remember who it was to credit it to them, that rather than saying she ‘spends’ money she is actually ‘circulating’ it; she is ‘giving it to someone to feed their family in exchange for a service or goods’.  And when you think about it like this you could almost argue that you’re supporting someone’s dreams and goals by having your nails done!

 

  • In the same way I’ve come to have a massage every 2 months. I have always kept this up and genuinely believe it to be beneficial for my relaxation and therefore my migraines and general health, so it’s another investment in me!  Again, the lady is working from her home to support her family and the value I get from her far exceeds the service I’ve had in bigger businesses.  We’ve come to know each other well and I really look forward to catching up with her and having a little treat while I’m there.

 

 

  • I got myself an ironing lady! Now in reality I’ve only used her once, but I know I can ring her again any time I get overwhelmed.  And the £12 for a massive bag of clothes was so worth it.  When I thought what £12 meant to me as opposed to losing 2 hours of my life to stand and iron, it was a no-brainer.  And she too was just a mum trying to start a little venture to earn some extra cash for the family.  I knew she’d do a better job than I would, and she far exceeded my expectations.  In fact she was so good I had to confess to my husband that I’d had some help as they were too perfectly ironed to be down to my handy work!

 

  • I signed up to a food delivery service. Wow, this has been a life-changer!  My whole family will eat nothing other than some form of frozen breaded meat and some form of frozen breaded potato to go with it.  Not the diet for me.  I love my food.  I’m a real foody.  I’m not ashamed to say that food makes me happy!  I was getting totally overwhelmed trying to cook myself a different meal every night.  So I signed up for this deal where I get the recipe card and the sauces and I buy a few fresh ingredients myself; a much cheaper option for me than having the whole lot delivered.  And the food I’ve been making is nothing short of restaurant quality!  In fact I’m almost gutted to say it attracts the rest of them to just try a bit, and I’m soon sharing my amazing food with the whole family that had no interest in different tastes prior to this!  And the best thing is that I’m eating fresh food that’s cooked from scratch, so I feel like I’m eating less processed food, which again is something I’m really trying to do to alleviate my migraines. 

 

So they’re my little perks and treats that make me feel like I’ve up-levelled in life.  And because they all haven’t really cost me any more money because they’ve just become the priority to pay for over things I used to buy, I hope I can keep adding to that list as and when I think of things that I’ve always thought were just for the privileged, but in reality I can attain myself!

 

So what could you do to up-level your life?  It could be the simplest of things, like adding fresh flowers to your home, or maybe you’re going to go straight for the ‘only travelling first class’!  Whatever it is, start a small change today and build on it.  Integrate things slowly if needs be, but don’t spend your life thinking a better life or help with the jobs that overwhelm you are unobtainable and only for people better off than you.  Do a good deed and ‘circulate’ your money to help someone else, and in the process build yourself a better, easier and more enjoyable life!