A Time for Reflection

Reflection

As much as I love this time of year there’s always been mixed feelings. I love the promise of a New Year fresh with opportunities, but at the same time I feel like I haven’t accomplished much with this year that’s ending. I never fail to get a little blue this time of year, and it sucks that I feel this way every year end, just not satisfied with what I’ve achieved.

But I know that I can’t stay here, wallowing in this funk. How do I climb out of this well? By being open and honest and facing a few hard truths.

Stop comparing apples to pears (or golden apples to oranges).
I know that how I’m feeling is greatly due to the fact that I tend to compare myself to others. It’s a really destructive habit that I know I need to break because it causes me so much pain. I compare myself to other people and wonder why I don’t have the same success that they do. Why can’t I be as outgoing as J? Why am I not as focused and determined as F? If only I could be more like K. But I’m me. And I have to learn to love and embrace who I am. (That too is another challenge of mine that I need to deal with). Breaking this habit is going to be a challenge because I do this so automatically. But I need to practice being mindful and whenever I find that I am comparing myself to someone else I need to stop and reverse that comparison with a positive statement about myself. So for instance “why can’t I be more outgoing like J” would become “I’m a great listener and an empathetic friend”. The truth is there is only one me and I need to embrace and love my uniqueness. It’s the only way to live.

Spread love
Okay so I admire J for her outgoingness (is this even a word?) Most likely J does not know of this admiration. Maybe in J’s head there is this conversation: “Why can’t I be more observant and thoughtful like H?” Maybe J is comparing herself to someone else. I can break this pattern by complimenting J. Sharing with her what I admire about her will help her feel good and by extension will make me feel good as well.

Focus on gratitude
There’s always something to be thankful for. Always. No matter how seemingly small there is always something to give thanks for. I believe that life is what you focus on. So I choose to shift my focus to things that I am thankful for, filling my thoughts with things that bring me joy and gratitude. I know this will be new and will take some getting used to but I hope it becomes natural with practice. I’ve also started to keep a daily gratitude journal, and take some time at the end of my day to reflect and note those things I am thankful for that day.

Commit to change
In the face of challenges and just not feeling like you have accomplished enough or that you’re not where you need to be it’s easier to quit and give up than to keep at it and try harder. But that’s just what I need to do even though a part of me just wants to give up trying and curl into a ball wrapped in a cloak of “I’ll never be good enough”. I need to not give up on improving and becoming a better person and in 2014 I’m even more encouraged to keep focused and do just that.

Well it’s 3 days till 2014… Are you excited yet?

Advertisements

Inspire by Doing; Inspire by Being

photo origin

Super quick post today!

This is how I want to inspire change… by embracing and embodying the change I want to see in others. Yea this is something that’s been on my mind this week because I’ve been trying to get H to wake up early so we can be super productive. But I figure the best way is to show him how much I can get done because I wake up early. Inspiration! Hopefully this doesn’t back fire… dun dun dun!

Be the change you want to see!

Getting my Mojo Back!

ahhhhhpic

I swear this is the last time I’m going to do the whole “It’s been awhile but I’m back (again)” post!

This morning I woke up filled to overflowing with the “I’ll never get my life together” feeling. It just feels like there’s way too much that needs to be changed and just not enough hours in a day to get things done. And am I the only one feeling overwhelmed by all the messages we receive daily whether it’s social media or through email? There are all these messages shaming you into doing more and all this information about being a better worker/student/mom/dad/sister; how to be more efficient in the workplace, at home, school, the gym. There’s nothing wrong with doing more and being more I’m all for that but it just feels like there’s just way too much coming at me and it sucks that I feel like the only one who feels pressured by the influx of information. So with that said, I’m going to take a step back from social media and tailor my email subscriptions so that I’m not constantly bombarded with work related emails.  I’m going to keep blogging though because it’s therapeutic for me. I am going to focus inward, and try to block out the noise of the world.

The truth that I’ve realised is that things in my life may change but my need to improve and be better always remains, and because it’s always there in the back ground I owe it to myself to strive to be a better me; to put myself out there and work towards making my dreams a reality. But I haven’t been very active on the improvement front lately. That’s about to change right now! So there are a few things I feel like my life’s missing right now, or rather a few things that I feel are sort of like a foundation for personal change. I shall share them, why I think they’re important and how I’m going to embrace these changes and ensure I’m successful with it.

What: Exercise
Why: Well for all the usual reasons that we’ve all heard of before, you feel better, those endorphins are amazing, weight loss, clothes fitting better, ability to move easier, not winded after you climb those stairs, feeling like you have super powers and you can do just about anything.
How: Mr. H and I are gonna get started with Sean T’s T25. So we’re going to be working out 6 days a week. We’re both pretty similar personality wise so we’ll both need to push each other. I’m going to make a note of how I feel after the workouts. I think doing that will be a positive reminder when I want to give up or don’t feel like it. I’m also gonna make a fridge calendar where we can cross off days as we complete them and have a visual reminder. And finally we have to think up a reward for the 2 of us when we complete the T25 Challenge; set the date and time for completion and what our reward will be.

What: Creative Projects
Why: I think that we’re all creative beings you know, but as we grow older, and life’s stresses get in the way we don’t create as often as we used to. There’s this feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing something creative you know. And I miss that. I know that if I practice being and doing creative things that it will open me up to seeing things differently, not to mention creating can be very therapeutic.
How: What exactly do I do? PHOTOGRAPHY! At least this is what I’ll start off with. I’ve always loved capturing the mood in photographs but I’ve always felt like I need to wait till I have the perfect (expensive) camera. But till then I can still practice with my lame-o point and shoot and I can also use the DSLR camera in my office. I also want to educate myself on photography. And take pictures daily and post to my auu_snap blog.

What: Hour of Power
Why: It’s so easy to live life on autopilot. I feel like that’s how I’ve been living, doing the same things every day without passion, purpose or meaning behind them. I’ve read and listened to Tony Robbins’ Hour of Power where an hour is scheduled every day to really reflect on life and what you want to accomplish. I want to make this a habit for me as I feel it will really help me take ownership of my days, and change my mentality to a positive one.
How: I’m gonna do a post on this at a later date.

So…. let’s get it!

The story that I tell myself

I was watching an old episode of Oprah’s life Class with Tony Robbins on the topic of “Living Fearlessly” – something I need more so at this moment than any other.

I learned that the story I say to myself is a big part of what is keeping me living a fear-filled life, and that to live fearlessly I need to change, and practice telling myself a more positive, confident and courageous story for my life.

What is the story I’ve been telling myself?

That I will fail. No matter what I try I won’t be good at it and I’ll fail.

So I’m afraid of trying things that I really want to achieve. This fear lines every area in my life. Most recently it has been creeping into my studies for my MBA. I’ve just been feeling like this is too intense for me. A small part of me is fearful that I can’t handle the pressure of completing an MBA Programme in 12 months, part-time while working.

So what did I learn about how to live fearlessly?

Tony suggested that doing this involves 3 steps:

1. Strategy – Identify what you are going to do to get results.

2. Story – What story/belief system are you telling yourself? Ensure that it is a positive and courageous one.

3. State – Your state determines your mindset. “Fear is physical”. So to change fear / get rid of it, you have to change your state of being. Stand taller, smile, focus on what you want to accomplish. Shout out “Yes yes yes!” if you have to.

Click to watch the video – Tony Robbins’ 3 Ways to Effect Success

So whenever I feel myself caving in, getting small and fearful about a situation I’m going to change my story to a positive one, change my state and devise a strategy to get the results I want.

Other things that caught my attention:

“The only solution to fear is massive action”. Do what you fear – just do it!

When you focus on serving others fear dissipates.

Associate with people who are better at what you want to do. People who are where you want to be, people who will pull you up along with them and not allow you to wallow in your fearlessness. People who affirm your courage and abilities.

Name that fearless part of you. Own her. Call her up when she is needed.

(And my favourite) Everyone’s life can either be a warning or an example to others, you have to decide what it will be. (And I want my life to be an example!)

I am going to live more fearlessly. I know my fear will never completely go away. But courage is a muscle.. and I plan on exercising it often.

On Success…

Image

I had drafted a blog post sometime ago, in it I mentioned that I had read somewhere that each person should strive to do better / be better than their parents. And at the time I had felt that I was not in a better place than my parents were at my age.

By 30 they were married, had had me, their first child and were well established in their respective fields. I’m not sure that they struggled to make ends meet each month, or whether there were times when they had to borrow money from their parents just to make it to the next payday,both of which I have periodically had to do.

It might have just been a case of birthday blues, but I really didn’t feel like I’ve accomplished much in the 3 decades I’ve been in existence. I felt really low.

On my birthday I started to think about it really. So what I’m not married or even in any relationship, I have other the years learnt and grown from relationships in the past. So what I’m not thriving in my career, I have come to grips with the fact that I’m not where I should be, and though I don’t know exactly how I’m going to switch careers, I’m so determined not to stay where I’m at.

Success is subjective. It might mean big houses, a car for every day of the week, lots of money in the bank for some. But I think I need to focus on my personal definition of success, and not compare myself with others. Things were very different back when my parents were 30, it’s not fair on myself to compare with their accomplishments.

So success to me is getting to that point where I’m okay with who I am. I’ve always had a hard time loving myself for who I am. I always want to be different, and while growth and change is great, it’s an awful feeling not liking who you are at the moment. Success means not having to worry about making it to the next pay day, having freedom from financial stresses. It means waking up each morning excited by what the day holds in store, not dreading the 9-5 hours. Success means doing something I’m passionate about, something that adds value to my life as well as to others’. Success means being honest with friends and family I am close to, it means being comfortable with who I am and knowing that persons I hold dear love me regardless of whether I am who they would like me to be.

I think it’s important to establish what success means, before getting caught up in society’s definition and realising all too late that you’re not happy with your “success”.

Socially Speaking

I have a confession. I am not the most social person dare I say antisocial. But the fact is I don’t live on a deserted island or in a vacuum so social interaction (particularly given what I do for a living) is inevitable.

A few weeks ago I went out for drinks with a guy. It was our first time meeting and for some reason talking with him sparked the idea for this post and the thoughts therein.

There wasn’t really that special grade of romantic chemistry between us, but we did have a good time talking and getting to know each other. He’s different. Different in a way I can’t put into words, but what I liked most about him was how unapologetic he was about it. Given the fact that it was our first time meeting, people usually dip their toe in first, test the waters, they don’t show you all of themselves, and that can be a good thing I guess. You don’t want to scare people off. But he was very bare, open and upfront, but not in an aggressive sort of way.

I got home that evening and something lingered. The thought that I should try to be more like him. More honest and upfront about who I am when meeting and interacting with people and maybe not try to mold my personality to suit whoever I’m with so much.

I had totally forgotten about all this until today when I was in yet another social situation on a professional level, and I caught myself wondering what makes people gravitate towards one person and not another. It was just one of those pivotal moments where I found myself really studying the situation to try to figure out what draws people to this person, what can I learn from her, what can I emulate?

The point here is that with any social interaction there’s always the opportunity to learn something, there’s always something to take away, an opportunity to grow and improve. Whether the interaction leaves me feeling good or not, there’s always opportunity to learn something. So whenever I’m in social situations from now on I’m going to really be attentive and take note of those characteristics of others that I’d like to see in myself. Try to hone those characteristics and make them my own.

September Squat Challenge!

I’ve had a rather stressful August. I’ve been bogged down at work on a project that felt like it just wouldn’t end. And as a result I haven’t been eating properly, eating “comfort foods”, not exercising, and not sleeping enough.

But, I finally put the finishing touches on it this morning, and for the rest of toay I tried to de-stress. What did I do to de-stress and take my mind off “stuff”? Create a calendar in excel for my squat challenge for this month. I first heard about this challenge from Hey Fran Hey! (I’ve absolutely fallen in love with her tumblr and check it almost daily!) Basically on the first of the month you start with a certain number of sqauts, what ever number you’re comfortable with, and for each consecutive day you add 5 quats. So I started off with 30 squats on Saturday, then did 35 on Sunday, 40 on Monday and 45 this morning, so far for the month I’ve done 150 squats.. Go me!

I was having trouble remembering how many squats I was supposed to do each day, so I made the calendar to help me keep track. I also added the cumulative number of squats (okay I’m a nerd and love numbers). It’s really motivating to know how many squats you’ve done so far for the month. (At the end of this month I would have done 3075 squats!) The calendar is in excel and completely editable, simply change both “30”s on the first day to whatever number you’re starting off with, change the colours if you want, print and stick it up on your fridge! Let’s do this!

Click here to download the calendar: September Squat Challenge

Oh. and. I will be posting here more often.