Bring on 2019!

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Christmas has become overwhelming once again for me.  Not because I do my daily gold envelopes revealing Christmas activities for the kids, and not because I’ve stupidly succumbed to the Elf on the Shelf craze, but because of outside influences!  Christmas for me is about me and my family creating memories, so I don’t want the extra pressure from school in particular with their daily requests of donations and different activities that I need to prepare for or at least remember, work with its crazy hours so we can finish in time and all have Christmas off, except for the likes of me that have volunteered to still work over Christmas to keep the place ticking over, and the endless, “We must meet up before Christmas,” invites I’ve allowed myself to commit to.  All of these things I could have said no to, or slipped past a teacher pleading I’d not received the text, e-mail AND letter they’d sent.  But eager to please, as I always am, I’ve pushed myself too far once again! 

 

But next year is going to be different, because I’m going to get into healthier habits and reduce my stress.  I’m adamant it’s going to happen because I have a plan, as laid out to me in my new read ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin.

 

I first heard about this book from listening to the podcast ‘Happier with Gretchen Rubin’, a podcast that I’m sure was recommended in a book on happiness.  This is why I am such a strong believer in reading for personal development.  Every book I read leads me on a new path of discovery, and after listening to references to this book for months on the podcast I in turn went out and bought the book.

 

I am only a couple of chapters in, but already I understand the plan and have constructed my own version for me.  Gretchen’s own happiness project consisted of her splitting her year into twelve subjects to develop healthier habits in to promote happiness, and each subject to be split further into sub-projects.  So I have planned my 12 subjects for improved happiness as follows, and will update throughout next year:-

 

  • Thoughts
  • Eating and Exercise
  • Friendships
  • Marriage
  • Family Sleep and Routine
  • Life Purpose
  • Community
  • Creativity
  • Organisation
  • Adventure
  • Home
  • Meditation and Spirituality.

I don’t know what order I am going to put each subject in as yet.  I’m not ready to stop letting my adorable 4 year old climb into my bed in the middle of the night.  I do not have the energy to do the return to bed method at this stage of my life.  But I know realistically I can’t have her still doing it when she’s 18, and she shows no signs of sleeping through the night of her own accord!  I want to work on my home later in the year after some extensive work planned which will involve moving a boiler out of the playroom to become a second bedroom for my youngest so the girls no longer have to share a room.  They’ll lose their playroom in the process, but they’re desperate for their own space.  So until that work is done I don’t feel I can plan too much in my home.  But after the work I will have a lot of fun re-designing that space and planning the next stages of renovating our home.  I think community will come towards the end of the year as I am aware being part of a community is very important to mental well-being, but with the constant dramas at school between mums, and a close-knit village community that don’t always look after their own, I need to be in a different place mentally to tackle that one.  At the moment I feel the need to keep my head down and keep myself to myself, but as I build on my happiness throughout the year I hope I’ll feel ready to get back out into the community and find some projects to be involved in. 

 

But I’m going to start January with focusing on friendship, and I’ve split the subject into the following sub-projects to work on:-

 

  • EXPECTATIONS.  I know I fail massively with the expectations I put on my friends.  I think because I would do anything for them that they would do the same for me, and when they don’t it knocks my self-esteem and I question what I’m doing with these people.  As I quoted in a post recently on my Instagram ‘We all need a variety of friends with different qualities:- the friend we can ring at 2am with the drama keeping us awake, the friend that has our back no matter what, the friend that tells us the truth, the friend that makes us laugh.  No one person holds every quality, so know your tribe and value their individual qualities rather than pondering their flaws’.  So I want to start the New Year not putting those expectations on people and just taking them for who they are, and accepting whatever they want to contribute to the relationship.
  • CONTACT/ARRANGEMENTS.  I have lots of friends that I never get to see because we live far apart or we have different interests such as my football pass-holder friends that have commitments every weekend throughout the season.  And those are the people that I always intend to meet up with and then before you know it a year has gone by.  I want to really focus on having something in the diary with these friends, and if that’s not possible, to at least have regular contact.  Sometimes I avoid contact because I know I can’t see them for a good few months and I don’t want to get into that conversation of saying we can’t find a mutually convenient date.  But that shouldn’t stop me dropping them a text just to check how they are and keeping the lines of communication open.
  • PUTTING MYSELF OUT THERE.  I’ve been hurt, let down and screwed over badly by friends, and I know I’ve changed as a person and stopped being the organiser, or answering invites straight away, or just generally being the person that everyone knew of as being the one that would be up for an adventure.  It turned out that was the thing that annoyed a couple of people.  And while I know in my own mind that was down to their own jealousy and need to compare and feel inadequate because they didn’t have the time and/or money to keep up with me, I know I was doing nothing malicious, and there were people ten-fold that loved that part of me.  We all love the friend that’s not going to say no to a night out!  They build our self-esteem for a start!  So I need to go back to being that person and not questioning if someone is genuine or not, but if I like them invite them round for a coffee or a drink after the kids are in bed and build on relationships from there. 
  • SEEING THE GOOD IN PEOPLE.  This goes back to the point before.  I need to not tarnish everyone with my previous experience of one or two people.  I need to realise that not everyone has an agenda, an ulterior motive, or issues they’re going to push onto me, and just put myself back out there believing that everyone is a good, fun-loving, kind human-being until they prove me otherwise.
  • NOT BEING RELIANT ON PEOPLE.  When I had my children I fell into a very intense friendship group because we were going through the same thing at the same time, and I think we all felt our previous friends were at different stages of their lives and perhaps would be bored by our new priorities.  It was the worst thing I could have done.  I should have kept a variety of different people in my life.  Instead I was so involved with these 8 or so girls that we did everything together from daily activities with our kids, to even going on holiday.  And the conversation on our WhatsApp group was constant, to the point that everything in our lives went through that group.  The conversation did not stop all day and all night!  And when it all fell apart I was lost and realised I was now too scared to do anything on my own again.  I recently went into a bar and had a drink on my own just because I challenged myself to do it.  I was terrified, but I missed going for a quick drink while my daughter was in cheerleading class because I didn’t have those people to go with anymore.  I felt so self-conscious doing it, right up to the minute I left the bar, but I felt that once I’d done it I could do anything on my own.  And I think once I take the focus off people having to be with me to enable me to do an activity it will be a game-changer.

 

So they’re my challenges for January, the idea being that once I get used to these as the norm I start new challenges on new subjects each month.

 

So wish me luck because

hopefully 2019 is going to be the positive change I’ve been building up to all my life!

 

 

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Podcasts – an inspirational friend in my ear!

So a little while ago a friend told me to listen to podcasts, and like most things people suggest, you become resistant to the idea the more they harp on.  They just didn’t interest me.  Besides, when would I have time to listen to one with two small kids and a near enough full-time job?  Then one day, and I can’t even remember how or when, I started listening to one at work.  I have the type of job where we can sit with music or the radio on our headphones.  I know – amazing, huh?  And I remember quickly becoming addicted!  I soon went through every available episode and craved a new show to listen to as not only did I find I was working faster and hitting my targets more as I couldn’t chat to my colleagues whilst I had one on, but I just felt so uplifted by them!  And they were free.  Even better! 

I’d recently become interested in the law of attraction and manifesting what you want in life, and on my list constantly was, ‘Please bring inspirational people into my life’.  Now like Aladdin and his magic lamp I perhaps should have been more specific and added ‘in person as new friends’ but what ended up in my life was podcasts.  And it wasn’t long before I clicked that these were the inspirational people I’d prayed to find in my life.  They may not be friends, but they were real and they were out there doing good in the world.  They restored my faith in humanity, inspired me, gave me new ideas and different paths to follow, and most importantly were the little positive voice in my ear that I so desperately needed. 

So here are my top 3 favourite podcasts:-

Buddhist Boot Camp Podcast

I had the book and kept it by my bedside table to lift me up when life felt hard, and the podcast was no different.  In fact a lot of it is chapters from the book.  It’s just the author, Timber Hawkeye, discussing everyday situations and feelings, and ideas on how to re-think and deal with what’s thrown at us.  It’s so simple you’ll kick yourself that you never thought of analysing situations as Timber Hawkeye does.  He really is inspirational and down to earth and human.  A lot of what he talks about is situations he’s been in and how he’s dealt with them, and I just felt such calm after listening to each of his podcasts, like I could deal with absolutely anything with peace and dignity.

The Lavendaire Lifestyle

I quickly became addicted to this podcast and listened to every episode, even ticking a list off on my desk so I knew I hadn’t missed any.  She interviews a lot of very inspirational people, and I just felt so motivated by each and every one of them.  Even if I read the blurb and didn’t feel especially inspired, I often felt so different by the end of the interviews!  She’s calm, she’s authentic and she really is inspiring.  She also has a You Tube channel that I love to watch too!

Style Your Mind

This is my new latest treat of a podcast.  I love, love, LOVE this girl.  I want to go for a drink with her.  She’s a life coach, and whilst a lot of her work is aimed at female entrepreneurs I just got so much personally from listening to it.  She made me feel strong, confident and able to do anything.  In fact she’s been the person that has really kick started me to set up this blog; something I’ve thought about for ages but felt overwhelmed at the thought of.  She made me believe I could do it, and 2 days ago I didn’t even know how to set up a blog, so her words really have motivated me!  I have literally sat and cried at my desk at some of the things that she’s said that made me think, “Yes, somebody gets how I feel and understands what I see in the world!”  And she’s just so bubbly and positive you can’t help but feel amazing after listening to her. 

So they’re my current favourites.  And whilst I initially thought listening to podcasts would be hard to fit in, I’ve come to love them so much I’ve started playing them in the car on my drive home from work and round the house whilst I’m doing housework, on top of listening to them whilst I work.  I really do find them inspiring.  And what’s even better is that every time they interview someone on their podcast I find new people to follow and listen to.  My Facebook and Instagram accounts are no longer filled with attention seeking randomers I may have gone to school with, worked with once upon a time or are friends of friends eager to up their friends list.  I’m following authentically real positive inspiring people.  And you know what they say, “Raise your vibe, attract your tribe!”  I feel so uplifted after I’ve listened to them that I can’t help but spill that out into the relationships around me. 

There’s a podcast on every subject you could imagine, so you don’t even have to stick to self-help/life coaching-type podcasts.  Listen to something funny and have a giggle.  That’s got to make you feel great!  And if you don’t feel you have the time to listen to them, think about all the times you are bored, using public transport, walking to the shops, lying in bed waiting to go to sleep, waiting for your kids to come out of their dance class.  You’ll soon find the time when you find one you enjoy.  It’s a great way to learn and feel connected to other people, and I find myself spouting out random facts I’m learning from them when I’m with other people, so they’re great for conversation inspiration too.  So let me know what your favourite podcasts are and why.

 

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