A plume with a hue

Archive for the month “January, 2019”



As we’re approaching the end of January, it seems a fitting time to revisit our New Year’s resolutions, goals, intentions, whatever you want to call them.

By now the initial enthusiasm might have worn off; the ‘busyness’ of life tends to get in the way and we slip back into old habits.

Why not spend a bit of time this week reviewing your list and reminding yourself why you began the year with those intentions. They’re things that are important to you: perhaps for your health, or career, or relationships, or general well-being.  However, maybe something you felt was crucial to improving your life no longer seems quite as essential, or has been replaced by something more necessary. Perhaps your original goal was unrealistic and needs amending to something more achievable.

Review your list, make adjustments as you see fit, and continue building a better life for yourself.

January 1st is an arbitrary date; any day of the year is the right day to make a change.

Make that day today!

Life Lessons


One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt in life is that if you genuinely want to do something badly enough, you will find a way.  You can and will make the time, no matter how busy you are.

Other people might tell you it’s impossible but you need to remember this is merely their opinion and not a fact, and probably says more about them than about you.

Even if you think you won’t achieve something, go for it anyway; often the person who delivers us the biggest surprise is ourself.

I’ve so many examples of times in my life when I doubted myself.  I didn’t think I’d be able to get my degree whilst simultaneously working and having children (neither did anyone else and they didn’t hold back in telling me)…but I did.  I didn’t think I’d be able to qualify as a teacher (I was petrified of standing in front of a class)…but I did.  I didn’t think I’d be able to write the first draft of a novel in a month…but I did.  I didn’t think I’d be able to set up and run my own business…but I did.  I didn’t think I’d have the courage to end my unhappy marriage and move forward on my own…but I did.

The lesson I learnt from these experiences – maybe the most important lesson I’ve ever learnt – is the big picture looks daunting, the path from the safe present reality to the uncertain future dream appears long and impossible to navigate; the journey seems scary and riddled with setbacks and doubts about your ability to overcome them.  However, you only have to contemplate taking the next small step.  Focus your attention only on that next small step; focus only on doing what you need to do to take it; and then…take it.

Give yourself a huge pat on the back, revel in the sense of accomplishment, celebrate your success; then consider and plan the next small step.  Continue in this way and you will get there…eventually.

If you encounter an obstacle and feel you’ve taken a few steps backwards, don’t write yourself off as a failure and give up.  Look at how far you’ve come, remind yourself of the courage you’ve demonstrated, learn from the situation, regroup, re-plan, and then continue on your way.

As Lao Tzu says: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Take that single step today!


Dealing with obstacles

I generally set myself some ambitious goals for the year, and this year I’ve set a lot of goals, many of which people would deem to be over-ambitious.  In the past, I’ve found I start off well and then run out of steam; once I falter, I declare myself a failure and give up, or when I lose momentum, I find it hard to get going again.  Sometimes I even forget I set myself a goal until it gets to the end of the year and I work on my list for the forthcoming year.

However, I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast and reading about improving your life, and consequently I’m far more self-aware and better prepared for the obstacles that get in my way and am taking steps to combat them.

Firstly, I’ve given a lot of thought to what I want my life to be like, what I want to be like, what I want to do.  This has informed my goals for the year: they are my goals, not goals I think I should have, which are often influenced by others.  This is making them more relevant, important and fun for me.

Secondly, I’ve written them down in a dedicated journal, divided into categories, with a new page for each goal.  I’m reviewing this journal almost every day to monitor and track my progress (and so I don’t forget about them – it’s easy in the busyness of everyday life to overlook the fact that we want to go to the Globe Theatre and carve out time to do so).

I’ve also ensured that the goals, whilst in some cases being rather ambitious (write first draft of my novel), are broken down into small, easily achievable steps, which helps to keep my momentum going.  For example, 200 words a day every day is far better than 3,000 words a day from 1st to 4th January and then run out of steam and give up (73,000 versus 12,000 words).

Finally, should I falter at any point, and I’m sure I will, I’m not going to view this as a failure and come to a crashing halt.  I will instead view it as a blip and start again.

I feel optimistic that this year, with these strategies in place, I will achieve my goals, but even if I don’t quite manage this, I will still have achieved more than I’ve ever done before.

What strategies do you have for achieving your goals?

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