Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Positive Thinking Series - You Don't Have to be Perfect!

Last week I talked about taking things one step at a time, you can read that post HERE. 

It’s a wise idea to break any goal down into smaller chunks, but this doesn’t automatically make us exempt from sabotaging ourselves further along the path.

To succeed, we not only need a plan, or structure, but we need to be attentive to our needs.  If we don’t nourish our ideas, and indeed ourselves, then we can trip up at the first hurdle.

Being diligent and planning ahead, or putting in the effort when it’s needed, can be the difference between success and failure.

However, being determined could be mistaken as perfectionism.  Could you cope with a setback?  Would you fall apart when faced with a failure?  If you can’t accept that it’s okay not to be perfect, then you may risk creating a huge barrier to achieving your goals.

It’s quite freeing to be able to say, ‘Okay, I’ve had a speed wobble, but it’s not the end of the world.  I’ve learnt from it, and I’m ready to give it another go.’

I’ve had more speed wobbles throughout my life than I can remember.  Weight loss is one area I always failed at if I didn’t allow myself a naughty day.  When I used to have one too many custard creams I would feel like an utter failure, tell myself I’d nosedived beyond repair, and bury my head in a Victoria sponge cake.  Now, I don’t even see it as a slip-up anymore.  I enjoy a naughty treat and then get straight back to my healthy eating; no guilt, no more slip-ups.

So the next time you have a goal in mind, have planned your baby steps and are motivated to succeed, remember to allow yourself an off day.  Only then can you enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Positive Thinking Series - Taking it one step at a time

When I started this blog, it was to record the weekly activities of my yearlong challenge.  Fifty two challenges in fact; from weight loss to de-cluttering, and zip wires to novel writing competitions. 
Setting such a challenge would make anyone feel overwhelmed, I know I was!  Coping with any change in our life can also feel overpowering, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, redundancy or health issues. They all set up a mammoth task that can feel like it’s too much to handle.

To enable me to succeed in my fifty two challenges, I had to break this huge goal into small chunks.  I took it one month at a time.  January was all about weight loss.  In February, I concentrated on fitness.  March was a creative month, and so on.  Adopting this principle helped me see my goal as more achievable.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Positive Thinking Series - Believe in Yourself

The way we think has a powerful impact on our day-to-day lives.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at alternative thought patterns to inject a little positivity into your lives, and help achieve your goals.

Last week I talked about not being alone and having a cheerleading squad to help you.  You can read that post HERE.

Believe in Yourself

Self-doubt is a huge problem for many women, myself included.  As soon as you begin to achieve or follow a life-long dream, that little voice inside your head speaks up.  Normally it says something like ‘you’re not good enough’, or ‘everyone will laugh at you’. 
When we hear it we have two options; we can give in, listen to it and hide away, or we can believe in ourselves.  As Susan Jeffers would say, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Positive Thinking Series - You Are Not Alone

The way we think has a powerful impact on our day-to-day lives.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at alternative thought patterns to inject a little positivity into your lives, and help achieve your goals.

You are not alone.

I’ve written about finding your cheerleading squad before, and you can read that post HERE, but I must stress what an important factor it is for our positive outlook – we are not alone.  It can relate to any issue/event we are facing; divorce, weight-loss, depression, self-employment, becoming a parent/carer, grief. 

You may have found like-minded people who can support you already, if not, then prepare yourself.  All of the events I faced throughout my life enabled me to attract people in the same position.  Think about conversations you’ve had with strangers, you may have chatted with a fellow mother as you wait for your children’s swimming class to finish.  You briefly mention that you have anxiety and find out that your stories are very similar.

When I started my holistic health business back in 2008, I was amazed at how many single mothers I had on my client books.  It was like we all gathered in the same spot.  These ladies have become firm friends, and we have supported one another through divorce, life as a single parent, and getting back out there.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Eight things that being a single parent has taught me

It’s the start of the new academic year, and I’ve spent the last couple weeks stocking up on pens and pencils.  We’ve purchased the new uniforms, shoes and bags, and I’ve tried to muster some enthusiasm from my three children.  It happens every year to millions of families across the world.  Dragging unwilling children from their beds on the first day of school would surely be much easier if you had a tag team. 
Imagine the scene: Dad takes the first shift, opening the curtains and coaxing the initial groan, and then mum slides in for the second wave with the promise of cookie crisp in their favourite bowl.  The third round involves both parents, one to whip the duvet back and the other to physically extract the child from their warm, cosy bed.  Bringing back any memories?  But how does it differ if you’re a single parent?  It doesn’t, we just have to multi-task!
The prospect of being a single mum never crossed my mind as I drove away from my abusive husband, leaving my home and life behind.  We subsequently divorced, and he saw the children every other weekend if work permitted. 

I believed that, although our marriage had broken down, we could still co-parent and be the supportive focus our children needed as they grew up.  As it happens, this rose-coloured ideal wilted faster than an ice-cream in a tropical climate.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

How to find the quiet space you crave. #meditation

The school holidays are almost over, and if you are like me, you’ll have a mountain of holiday washing and grey, rain clouds to thwart any attempt to get it done.

My three children are ready to see their friends, and get back to the scheduled lifestyle we know and trust.  As much as I love the school holidays; the getting up late and pleasing ourselves, after six weeks I begin to crave normal. 

There is something strangely reassuring about a six-thirty alarm call, the scrum for the bathroom, and chatting with my kids over breakfast.  I chase them all out of the door at eight and turn my mind to the jobs I have to do before three o’clock, and the evening routine.

There is one thing I’ve noticed more this summer, and that is the inability to find any quiet space.  I hadn’t realised just how much I craved it.  I was lucky enough to go to Italy this year where we trekked around Lake Garda.  We rushed from ancient building to medieval castle, and then ‘relaxed’ with a crazy hour or two in the pool, followed by a beautiful meal in a bustling Italian piazza.  It was a fabulous week, but it wasn’t quiet. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Recharging Your Mind, Body and Soul

When I was a child, I longed for the endless summer that held the promise of water fights, sleeping under the stars, and picnics on the lawn.  I don’t remember there being as much rain as we get nowadays, or maybe I’ve repressed that memory over the years.

I’m happy to say that my three children also enjoy the outdoorsy summer activities, and don’t spend six weeks attached to the various electrical gizmos that we have dotted around the house.

The school holidays always felt like an epic adventure, waiting to happen.  Maybe that’s the writer in me, or maybe the innocence of a child’s mind.  Whatever it was, I’ve tried for many years to recreate it, without any luck.

It appears that with the arrival of a mortgage, bills, job and children of my own, any childlike glee over the summer holidays packed its bags and went away.  Until now.