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?

Inspire by Doing; Inspire by Being

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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!

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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!

On Success…

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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”.

Halfway Through

Whoa. Whoa. Whoaaaa! Half way through the year already? I really need to step this way up. My goals for this month:

2. Complete Insanity challenge – Once and for all I NEED to cross this off and move on to another exercise challenge!
5. Participate in the Pinehill Dairy Fun Walk – I’ve told my Dad my goal and we’ve agreed to doing walks on the weekend to gear up for the big walk
6. Write an article for Caribbean Beach News Magazine – The magazine is on break till December, so in the mean time I’m gonna jot down those topic ideas and get to writing
7. Read at least 6 books – I’ve completed 3 books so far, and have a ton on my computer and in physical copy to read. Gonna make a list and focus on one book at a time
8. Get at least 3 clients for Social Media Business – I have spoken to Sean already about Speaking Roses, so I am going to get cracking on that. He needs a marketing plan as well. I also saw a job posting last night, I will apply for that as well, would give me some great experience (and extra cash)
11. Make manicures and pedicures a habit – I’m gonna try to add more colour to my nails
12. Wear makeup regularly – I have most of the supplies, just need to make the little extra time daily
13. Drink 4 litres of water daily – Commit to it!!
14. Keep a daily gratitude book – I need to order those notebooks!
15. Try one new recipe each week for Slice o’ Paradise blog – Start off with something… ANYTHING! It’s almost been a year since I bought the domain name
17. Join St. Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS) – Give them a call
24. Practice Paleo eating – Read up on what Paleo eating is and do a blog post on it
28. Floss everyday for a month – Get started again
30. Accomplish things in idea book
40. Start a photo blog with photo challenges each month – This month’s challenge is supposed to be ruins… Sort out flickr account
41. One blog post per week – TLA: Confidence; Paleo Eating; Goals for June || NB: hairspiration; length – youtube vides on hair growth || ASOP
42. Perform 5 minute plank – Start off time????
45. Lose 35% body weight

Almost Half Way Through!

I have drafted or had the thought to draft a number of posts for this blog. We’re in the fifth month of the year and a lot has happened, and yet still a lot has not. I really need to step things up!
Last month I crossed off number 25 off my list. I VISITED BARBADOS FOR THE FIRST TIME! It was just what I needed! I’ve been feeling stressed and anxious jobwise. I felt refreshed renewed and revitalised after. I think that feeling was due to the following:

* Being outdoors more often
* Exploring new places
* Taking lots of pictures
* Meeting and interacting with people
* Sexercise
* Watching movies at the cinema
* Having a few lazy days in bed

I think going forward I need to incorporate these into my life more often so that I don’t become stressed and anxious all over again. I can feel it creeping in and I need to nip it in the bud.

Okay so: Bucket List Recap!

I’ve accomplished 3 things off my list: 

20. Start an IRA

21. Start a Saving for a Home

25. Travel to a country I’ve never been to before — Barbados!

I’ve made a dent in the following goals:

7. Read at least 6 books – Completed two

22. Have the equivalent of 6 months rent in savings – Have 8% saved

39. In March start The 19 Photo Project – Started, just need to complete

This month I am going to work on the following goals:

2. Complete Insanity challenge

5. Participate in the Pinehill Dairy Fun Walk

6. Write an article for Caribbean Beach News Magazine

7. Read at least 6 books

8. Get at least 3 clients for Social Media Business

10. Publish Dining Guide Magazine on a regular schedule

12. Wear makeup regularly

13. Drink 4 litres water daily

14. Keep a daily gratitude book

17. Join SLAPS

34. Create homemade hair pomade

39. In March start The 19 Photo Project

40. Start a photo blog with photo challenges each month

41. One blog post per week

42. Perform 5 minute plank

45. Lose 35% body weight

So my thinking is to set some target activities each week that would lead me to achieving my goals. Here goes!

Why Hello March!

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. — One of my favourite quotes. A close friend of mine (incidentally the same friend who called me a little acorn) told me this years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since.

I’ve been repeating those words to myself more often lately. I just feel like it’s the start of the third month (also the month of my birthday) and I feel like I have not accomplished much, other than a fierce desire to change.

I’ve also been making a concerted effort to be more patient with myself. More mindful of negative thoughts. If it’s one thing I’ve learnt is that negative reinforcement does not work with me. So I’ve been treading lightly.

The bucket list (BL) was a pretty good idea. It’s helped to align my goals into doable but challenging activities. This month I’m going to focus on the following BL items:

2. Complete Insanity challenge – already started! And though my thighs feel like two uncooperative pieces of lead, and it hurts to sit/stand up, I had the most sound sleep last night, and it hit me that I haven’t slept this well at all for the year!

6. Write an article for Caribbean Beach News Magazine

7. Read at least 6 books – Finish read All the Rules & Switch

10. Publish Dining Guide Magazine on a regular schedule – Well… at least work on business plan, and get started

28. Floss every day for at least a month

30. Accomplish things in idea book – Must first get idea book

37. Finish read and put “All the Rules” into practice

39. In March start the 19 Photo Project – Can’t believe it’s already 12 days till my birthday

40. Start a photo blog with photo challenges each month.

Pretty ambitious, yes? Possibly. Maybe.

In many cases I may not fully complete these within the month. Most of my BL items are a work in progress type thing. Not sure as yet if that’s a good thing or not. But we’ll see!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step — Lao Tzu