Thursday, 18 December 2014

Finding Your Feet in the Blogging World

Friends come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Some are small and perfectly formed; some are tall and can help you pop the star on top of your Christmas tree.  Other friends are a collage of pixels crammed into a postage stamp sized photograph – yes, I’m talking about our online friends.  Tweeters, bloggers and our Facebook friends are just as important as our face to face contacts.

This blog will celebrate its second birthday on the 1st January 2015, and its success is thanks to a mixture of people.  My holistic health spa clients who enjoy my ramblings, my family who gets to find out what I’ve been up to and my friends who support me in everything I do.  Then there are my fellow bloggers; the army of online buddies I have made along my journey.  A ‘like’ here, a ‘comment’ there, a re-blog, a Facebook share and a tweet.  The blogging community is one of the most supportive groups I have ever had the privilege to be a part of.  If you were contemplating starting a blog as a New Year Resolution – don’t think, just do!

Over the past two years, I have watched my fellow bloggers closely.  I have read their posts and commented, I’ve shared their links and words of wisdom.  In return, they have reciprocated and taught me how to improve my content and marketing.


“When the student is ready the Teacher will appear.” The Buddha.

In 2013, this blog was home to my crazy year of challenges.  Twelve New Year Resolutions completed over twelve months.  From fighting flab to zip wiring through Sherwood Forest.  It was a whirlwind of blogging content and became the basis of my debut non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year.

In 2014, my challenges were over but I was having so much fun blogging that I didn’t want it to end.  I spent a year sharing my interests and writing accomplishments.  It was fun but lacked direction and in recent weeks I have been pondering!  I didn’t even know I could ponder and yet here I was pondering!  What was next for Resolution Challenge?

I turned once more to my online friends.  My ‘favourite blog’ list is quite varied; I follow many authors and writing blogs, and I enjoy personal development and inspirational blogs.  I have also been known to frequent the occasional beauty blog.  One thing they all have in common – they know where they belong, and they offer their readers a perfected product.

My blog has bobbed along quite happily throughout 2014; I have shared many stories that received positive feedback and some posts that were a total brain dump.  What I didn’t have was a clearly defined direction.

In 2015, I shall be taking yet another leaf out of my fellow bloggers book (I do love a good cliché).  I’m finding my path and I’m excited about the future of my blog.  I hope it will be able to help many people over the coming years.

Running my holistic health spa and teaching my motivational workshops puts me in the ideal position to share my work.  We all need a helping hand occasionally - that may be learning how to manage our time or to set our goals, creating a vision board or discovering a new skill.  These personal development topics are needed all year round – not just in time for our New Year Resolution list (oh but I do love a good list!)

·         Fear busting

·         Inspirational reads/blogs

·         Slow living

·         Learning to laugh more

·         Turning your life around

·         Journaling

·         Me-time

·         Meditation

·         De-stress techniques

These are just some of the topics I will be covering in 2015.  I do hope you will join me for this journey of discovery. 

Over to you – What would you like to see here on the Resolution Challenge blog?  Do you have a topic in self-help or personal development that you would like to know more about?  Maybe I’ve covered something in the past that interested you, and you’d like to know more?  Let me know in the comments below, and we can make 2015 our best year yet.

Thank you to all my readers for staying with me over the last two years, I look forward to sharing more with you in the future and getting to know one another better.  You can also interact on the Resolution Challenge Facebook PageShelley x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Smile With The Stars

On the 12th December 2010 my cousin, Lee Johnson, went to sleep and never woke up.

Lee died from SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy) at the age of 24.  He was an incredible person who lived his short life to the full.  As a child, he played for Leeds United youth team alongside James Milner, a position he had to give up because of his condition.  He continued to play for his local team and was also an outstanding cricketer. 

His passion for sports was well known.  Lee had successfully undergone a soccer training assessment course which was to be the start of the next stage of his life - as a soccer coach on the West coast of America.

His death touched so many people.  Neither Lee, his parents Simon and Vicky or his sister Becky knew that Epilepsy could take a life.  Following Lee's premature passing, a campaign to raise awareness of Epilepsy and reduce the stigma surrounding the condition was launched.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

List Writing For Pleasure - It Is Possible!

December is upon us, and the frenzy of festivities has begun.  My children have told me what they would like this year via lists that I found stuck on the fridge!  It appears my obsessive list writing disorder has rubbed off!

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without an array of lists.  There's one for the food shopping and one for the gift buying.  Then we have a name and address list for sending Christmas cards and even a packing list if you are lucky enough to be jetting off to sunnier climes this winter.

A list is a helpful tool to keep you on track with jobs, tasks and anything else that fills your brain on a day to day basis.

As a single mum who runs her own business and writes in her spare time (whatever that may be) list writing is what keeps me organised and calm.  If it's not on the list, then it doesn't get done!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

How to be Thankful Every Day of the Year

Being thankful is a full time challenge.  When I was building my life back up following my divorce I spent a lot of time thinking about all the things I was thankful for.  It was tough.  Those days were very dark and finding a sliver of hope needed work. 

Photo courtesy of Nurture Store

Ten years later I find it easy to be thankful every day.  Each evening my children and I sit down to dinner and we go around the table asking what our best and worst things are of that day.  This is also a wonderful way to find out what's going with your family.  I've discovered test results and arguments with friends this way (teens can be so guarded!)  They feel safe to voice their concerns as part of their 'worst' bit and we can discuss it as a family.  We then turn this into a positive by saying what our 'best' thing was.  This could be a simple as a sunny day or as monumental as an A* exam result.

Journaling is one of my favourite self-help tools, and jotting down three things you are thankful for can do so much for your well-being.  I write my list just before bed. Last night I wrote:

Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Great Great Grandad Was Who? Genealogy for Beginners.

Genealogy is a fascinating subject and as a beginner I can lose hours, if not days surfing the net for long lost relatives.  I’m sure there are quicker ways to get results, but I’m having so much fun on my detective mission nonetheless.

As it happens, I discovered this week that my Great-Great-Grandfather on my mother’s side was in the Royal Engineers 223rd Field Company in WW1.  Having visited the incredible memorial at Tower Bridge in London, I found the realisation that one of my ancestors was in the thick of it quite overwhelming.  Tears were shed.  God help me if I watch the Sainsbury’s advert again!

During the same session, I found out that my other set of Great-Great-Grandparents were born in Dublin and Mayo and travelled over to the UK in the 1800’s.  That must have been quite a trip.

The storyteller in me was buzzing with the; who, what, where, when and how’s of it all.  To work in this field and be able to piece together the puzzle of someone’s life must be so rewarding. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Taking a Step from Motivational Non-Fiction to Magical Fantasy

This week I watched my non-fiction book How I Changed My Life in a Year reach the number four spot on Amazon's Best Seller list for self-help. 

I hit the 'screenshot' button so fast I nearly dislocated my finger.  Within thirty seconds I had uploaded the photo to my Facebook page to share my news with the incredible people who have supported me throughout my writing journey.

The experience of self-publishing this book has been so rewarding.  I continue to receive emails, tweets and messages from people telling me how much they enjoyed reading it and how it has helped them in their life.  Priceless.

On Thursday I hit my 50,000 word target for NaNoWriMo and I had to switch my writing brain from motivational non-fiction to young adult fantasy. 

I have always had a passion for fantasy books, films and TV shows.  During the lowest point of my life there was one young adult in particular who taught me I could survive to live another day - Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer.  She certainly knew where to shove the pointy end of a stake!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Guest Author Interview - Douglas McPherson

Today I am joined by journalist and author, Douglas McPherson.  Douglas was the man I turned to for advice on turning my Resolution Challenge blog into a book.  His response and subsequent support were a huge factor in building my confidence.  I am thrilled that he was able to join me for a chat.  Over to Douglas.
The Fun Five:
1.  What part of the world do you come from?
I grew up in South London, not far from Wimbledon Common.  I currently live out in the countryside beneath the big Norfolk skies.
2.  What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to do something creative and actually began my working life as a graphic designer.
3.  List three words to describe yourself.
Nearly always writing.