Tag Archives: personal development

Good Days, Bad Days

Yesterday was a good day. So good it felt like nothing could ever dent my deep-seated contentment. So good it felt like there was a universal truth dangling just millimeters beyond my reach. Like maybe I was on the verge of distilling happiness and bottling it for mass consumption.

Today I woke up tired, after DIY-ing late into the night. My hands were stained black with wood tint, my hair was full of dust and my head too. I had a meeting with clients scheduled for first thing, so when I turned the tap to discover there was no water I was not best pleased. No shower to wake and cleanse me, to soak the stain from my hands, to make me fit for human contact. Grrr.

I stomped and banged about the house as I (drily) prepared myself for work. I had my meeting and it went okay but by the time I made it back home I was in a foul mood.

The dishes were stacked high on every available surface, unwashed and unwashable. Still no water. The day was hot an sweaty and I had still not fully awoken. I was tired and sleepy and couldn’t face tackling the tidying up, let alone the intimidatingly epic to-do list that awaits me in my work agenda.
So I superficially ignored the mess around me and stared at my computer screen awhile. Facebook, Twitter, news sites. Endlessly scanning, my chewing gum of the mind. Letting it all stream across my consciousness, a constant passive input.

Somehow, with a mammoth effort of will, at about six pm I forced myself to do a seven minute workout. I know, seven minutes right? A perfectly undeniably tiny amount of time that even in your busiest or tiredest moments you can squeeze in and grit your teeth through.

And grit my teeth I did. And once that was done I took the dog for a short walk and did a little training at our mini climbing gym in our garage. A minimal training session but a session nonetheless. And by the time I got home I felt better and more energized. There was still no water but at least I managed to stack the dishes neatly, clear some space and cook a healthy dinner.

And now I’m in bed, tapping out this blog on my phone. Already I feel better. Tomorrow I may just edge a little closer to that tantalizing, dangling truth. Here’s hoping. 🙂


Breaking the Deadlock

We’ve all been there. Stuck. Wheels spinning. Mind full of ideas and plans that never get past the thinking stage. To do lists that only get longer.

Right now I have a backlog of blog posts accumulating in my head and in my drafts folder that threatens to engulf me. Yet somehow I can’t quite get around to finishing any one of them and pressing publish.

I have a ton of jobs to do – personal, professional and parental – and I can’t seem to pick any one to get started on. So instead I try and start several, all at once and fail to complete any successfully.

The answer: pick one thing and do it. Be it ever so small or ever so insignificant. Do one thing and see it through to completion. The subsequent buzz of gratification will carry you through the next thing. Then slowly but surely the tide will turn and the to do list will decrease.

Oh, and also. Turn off Facebook, Twitter and all other net-based distractions while you’re doing it.

Simples. *Presses publish*

Do What Makes You Happy

Simple advice but also somehow intimidating. The incitement to ‘do what makes you happy’ resonates at a deep level but it also challenges us. To find and know what it is that makes us happy. To admit to what that something is and to dare to go for it.

Breaking it down though, it doesn’t have to be scary. Start small. We’re not necessarily talking ‘do what will make you permanently and continuously happy’ (is there even such a thing?) More like: do what will bring you joy in this moment right now and the next. Micro-happiness as opposed to macro-happiness.

Now I’ve gone to the other end of the scale in advice giving. Now my advice sounds too small and insignificant. Barely worth bothering with. But bear with me.

Each micro happiness can be a building block in the construction of your macro happiness.

A simple example. Yesterday I went rock climbing. I had a great day, got some exercise, felt a sense of personal achievement. Today, Monday, I woke up in a great mood. Positive, disposed to work and take on the world. Yesterday’s micro happiness made today better. Today’s positive attitude is helping me do things that will make tomorrow better.

So my best advice to you really is do what makes you happy. Reflect on the choices you have in each moment and choose the option that you know will make you happiest in this moment and the next. Small step by small step.




What To Do

So, having established that I can do anything the next step has got to be deciding what it is that I want to do.

Note: there is a difference between ‘what I want’ and ‘what I want to do.’ I’m talking about a call to action here.

Well, having written and re-written and deleted and re-created lists of things I both want and want to do, I keep coming back to one thing. I want to write.

I would love to earn a living from my writing. I would love to get published. I would love to feel confident calling myself a writer. I would love to write a book. I would love to make money from my blogging and to reach many people.

I want to write.

So that’s clear. Now I need to create a clear vision of what it will be like for me to do it.

For this I can draw on my previous experience of writing. Obviously I’ve written before (at school, at university, in journals, blogs and diaries) and obviously sometimes it has flowed better than others. For this exercise I need to draw upon my memories of the times when it flowed at its very best.

But that’s not going to be enough. If I’m going to do something I’ve never done before then drawing on my own experiences can’t possibly be enough to feed a powerful, complete visualization.

I need to observe someone who has already done it successfully and model their behaviour in doing so. Some research is required.

In this age of the internet and, in particular the blogosphere this task is made relatively straightforward. There are lots of writers out there who happily share insights into their processes, habits and ways.

It’s about finding the one(s) that most resonate with me. And then building my vision from there.

So I’m off to do a little digging. I would love to hear any suggestions you might have on blogs on writing and writers that are worth checking out. Or any other helpful resources or suggestions you might have.

Back to Blogging

I haven’t blogged on here in a while. Life’s been busy, I’ve been away some and my internet connection has been on the blink. A bad combination for the would-be blogger. But enough excuses. Time to get on.
I’ve been feeling a little stuck lately. Lots of plans, projects, ideas and dreams revolving in my head but what I lack is the energy, momentum and application to convert them into reality. The step-by-step eludes me.
Ordinarily I would use exercise and movement as a great tool for freeing up my stuck mental energy and getting me going again but I have been suffering with a cough for the last number of weeks and the smallest bit of exercise makes me feel breathless and rubbish, so that fall-back trick is out of action.
But I need to do something to give me a push forwards and stop me spinning my wheels. For that I am going to choose blogging. I’m going to use this little space of mine to splurge out some stuff of a morning and leave the way clear for getting on and doing.
At least that’s the plan. Join me and see if it works out.
What about you? Do you have any tips for getting motivated and moving? How do you ensure that your dreams are delivered out of your head and into reality? Any hints and tips gratefully received!

Resolution Road

In the words of the great Oscar Wilde, ‘I can resist anything but temptation.’ Which is partly why my plan to NOT make a heap of new year’s resolutions seemed so clever to me. There’s nothing like a pile of prohibitions to bring out the hedonist in me. One day I may grow up and stop behaving like a naughty schoolgirl but in the meantime it’s best to be practical and accept my limitations.

So, two weeks in how am I doing with my one simple resolution?

The simple answer is: really well. I’m contented and generally feel like I am making some small but positive changes in my life. Step by painless step. My life hasn’t changed radically overnight but that’s possibly the point. Real, lasting change is not about a 10 hour makeover. It’s about slow, steady, sustained movement towards positive goals.

Don’t get me wrong – dangle the potential of a whirlwind whisking me into effortless and instantaneous happiness in front of me and I’m as much of a sucker as the next person. Possibly more. But that is also how I have accumulated enough experience to realize that that kind of stuff doesn’t stick.

So, for example, I haven’t made any rash promises to give up alcohol entirely in 2013. However, having not given up alcohol I have found that I have barely drunk any. This has been easy, because I haven’t been focused on alcohol and thinking about giving it up…..and ergo thinking about alcohol more than usual.

I have been simply trying to focus on ‘being the uncarved block’ and trying to do what feels right at every juncture of every day. I have been asking myself the question: ‘does this feel right?’ and, crucially, stopping to listen to the answer. It’s amazing how powerful this can be and, conversely, how it deflates the power from temptations.

I may not yet have *quite* achieved Winnie the Pooh levels of ‘uncarved block’ -ness but that’s okay because it’s not about resolutions it’s about the road.


My preferred tipple of the moment – camomile tea