Page 5: Gratitude

Gratitude underpins happiness. When you’re grateful, you’re appreciating and grateful for what you have right now, sometimes physically (like having a roof over your head, food to eat, money to provide for your family), but most importantly mentally (like feeling loved by your family or partner, being at peace with your body, laughing with your friends). Noticing those things and giving thanks to them – not constantly looking at what you don’t have or what you do want or what might be wrong – will exponentially increase your happiness.

It’s a practice. Nobody is grateful all the time, although some may be more well-practiced than others. When you feel ungrateful, resentful or unlucky, say, it’s about turning your mind in those moments towards what you’re grateful for, what you already have. It’s also about taking quiet moments to yourself and talking yourself through what you’re grateful for, perhaps when you wake up, before you go to bed, on a walk or whatever works for you.

And whilst this shouldn’t be a driving factor of your gratitude, it’s important to realise that someone out here in the world wants exactly what you have. So don’t waste it or take it for granted. Enjoy it, live it, breathe it, and be thankful for it.

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Page 4: Rules of Commitment

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Remember those resolutions you made in the New Year? Your last birthday? Beginning of the month? Last Monday?

It can be really difficult to stay committed, stay motivated and stay on track to achieving your goals and building the life you envision for yourself.

Do you ever ask yourself why you failed? I recently did and noticed that I had unrealistic ideas about goals, habits and commitment.

So I’ve made some new rules of commitment to help me go further on my journey towards success, and I wanted to share them with you in hopes they might help you too.

Commitment one: Do your best

This rule erases so many common pitfalls, namely striving for perfection and comparing ourselves to others. When we do not (and cannot) meet expectations we have for ourselves, we quickly lose enthusiasm and give up. Instead of perfection and unrealistic expectations, we should strive to do our best. And that might be different each day. As long as you’re doing something towards your goal, it doesn’t matter whether it’s as good as what you did yesterday or as good as someone else might do. Just do your best and keep at it.

Commitment two: Get back up when you fail

When it comes to my goals and habits, I can often have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. For example, at the moment, I am trying to cut out all sweet treats, because that’s how it works best for me. But inevitably, I sometimes cave. In normal circumstances, I would have just given up if I failed. But instead, I’m just trying to start over whenever I fail, so I can keep going towards achieving my goals. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Don’t give up when you fail. Every day is a brand new day to be better and do your best.

Commitment three: Have big dreams, realistic journeys

Everyone should have big dreams. But it won’t happen overnight, and if you always have your eyes to the sky, you’re bound to trip up on the ground. The best way to make progress towards your dreams is to break them down into small, realistic steps you can take and accomplish. That way, you’re also motivating yourself by achieving quicker wins that are helping you get to that bigger dream.

Commitment four: Stick to the decision

I have a bad habit of scheduling in the time to do something, making the decision, and then bailing when it comes to actually doing it. So when I made decisions, my brain was already expecting me to not follow through. Now, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to stick to my decisions, to retrain my brain and actually achieve the things I set out to do. I encourage you to do the same.

Do you have any rules of commitment? Tips on how to stay motivated? Share them in the comments!

Page 3: How to minimise stress

Stress is a symptom of too much pressure. It can stem from work or school, in family or society. A minimal amount of stress can help us perform at our best, but too much can quickly debilitate us – in worst case scenarios, lead to burnout and other health problems. It should not be a state of mind, an aspiration or a badge of honour.

I do not want to be the type of person who doesn’t prioritise their health. This week, I’m going to implement these strategies, which I’ve used in the past, into my daily routine:

Getting organised

Keeping lists of what I need to do at work and what I want to achieve to progress my goals helps me to track my workload and schedule my time. Key to this is prioritising, being realistic with what you can do in a day and scheduling in time for breaks or buffers between projects. When we’re realistic with our time, we achieve what we set out to do and can feel good about it.

My commitment: Create a to do list every morning before anything else. Prioritise the three most important tasks, and if you accomplish them, that’s a job well done.

Taking breaks

Being ‘always on the go’ may sound glamorous but is not maintainable. You can still work hard and take breaks – in fact, we often work much better when our mind is not tired. Some of my favourite ways to take a break at work, for example, is taking a walk in the neighbourhood, getting a coffee from the local coffee shop, meeting friends for lunch. It often helps to remove yourself from the work environment.

My commitment: Schedule in at least 30 minutes at lunch time away from your desk.

Nourishing the body

Eating well, exercising and pampering the body can work wonders for the mind. Giving your body the nutrients it needs gives you the energy you need. Exercising helps release the tension built up during the day. And pampering the body by taking a bath or doing a face mask helps slow the mind.

My commitment: Be a conscious eater; exercise at the gym three times this week; practice some yoga

Sleeping well

Sleep can be one of the first sacrifices we make with a busy lifestyle. But it shouldn’t be neglected. Ways I try to help my body get the rest it needs is going to bed at a similar time each night, listening to piano music before bed to signal to my brain that we’re soon going to sleep, and keeping work life out of the bedroom (if you work at home, have a separate space for work outside of the bedroom).

My commitment: Put your phone on airplane mode at 9pm; turn the light off at 10.30pm

I’ve also heard excellent things about meditation and mindfulness – I cannot vouch for them as strategies but this week I’m going to get up each morning and do 10 minutes of mindfulness.

Got any of your own tips, habits or commitments? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. I’ll let you know how I get on with mine.

(Image: Pinterest)

Page 2: Accepting change

Change can be unsettling. From leaving home for the first time to switching jobs to learning something new, change is unknown and uncomfortable.

I found out today that a colleague is moving on to another role. Not only am I coming to terms with the fact that I’ll be saying goodbye to a friendly face in the office, but it will mean taking on new responsibilities and adapting to a new workload. It’s unknown and uncomfortable for me – and I’m sure for my colleague too.

But change is also possibility, opportunity, destiny. It’s about new beginnings, making mistakes and learning from them. It’s where the magic glows and strength grows. We should always be changing, even if it’s just the little things like our route to work or morning routine. It keeps our minds active, receptive and thriving.

I’m going to be less afraid of it, and instead, embrace it.

(Image: lukbeautifood)

Page 1: The journey

We’re all on a journey. Sometimes we map it out on paper, but we cannot always follow it on the road. A fallen tree. A fork in the road. A dead end. A mountain to climb. A dark night. There are twists and turns that drive us off course. And that’s ok. We cannot control everything around us.

But what about the times when the only thing in our way is ourselves? It happens to me all the time, even if I talk myself into thinking it’s not. The self-doubt. The procrastination. The high expectations. These can be crippling to the pursuit of my passions and goals. Maybe yours too.

I know I can do better. And that’s what I am going to commit to doing. These pages are my way of sharing my story, the mistakes and the pitfalls, the lessons and the successes. For me and for you.

(Image: miriadna.com)

7 ways to lift yourself when you feel down

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We all process our sadness, anxieties and problems in different ways. Sometimes we choose to face them head on, with a sword or a shield or empty-handed. Other times we want to bury ourselves away, letting ourselves pretend for a little while that our problems don’t exist, and maybe even hoping they’ll disappear for good.

Whatever your preferences, here are a few tips that may help you lift yourself back up when you’re feeling down:

Write it down or talk it out
Letting your worries out of your head onto paper or into the universe actually helps you to find the root of the problem. Relieving it from the inside gives you perspective on the outside and gives you the chance to figure out ways to solve the problem. Find a notebook or grab a friend and let it out.

Take a gratitude walk
Taking a walk around my neighbourhood really helps me release my negative energy. Instead of allowing your mind to circle around the negative thoughts, try listing everything you’re grateful for, no matter how small. It helps put the situation or your mood into perspective.

Switch up the environment
It’s tempting to sulk and wallow around at home alone when you’re feeling down, but your troubles are weighing you down there. Try and get out of the house; go see a friend or take a trip to your favourite coffee spot. Surround yourself with people. Sometimes we just need a little distance.

Accomplish something, like exercise
Focusing your mind on something completely different to what you’re going through, like an intense workout, is enough to make you feel good about yourself – or at least achieving something you set out to do. Exercise is a bonus, as it is proven to boost your endorphin levels, which increases happiness.

Transport to another world
Listen to your favourite music, crack open a good book, or put on a funny TV show. Your mood can instantly lift when you distract yourself enough to put some distance between you and the problem before coming back to it with a fresh pair of eyes.

Sleep
I know that I always feel worse towards the evening, when I’ve had a long day and am feeling tired. It can really screw up your perspective. Go to bed early and remind yourself that it will feel better in the morning. Wake up refreshed to tackle your troubles.

Remember…
All darkness passes and the sun rises. Everyone has bad days. Your problems won’t last forever.

(image: LD Fleming)

10 habits you can implement into your lifestyle

We can be the best versions of ourselves and live our best lives, but only with consistent action. Here are some of the habits I’m trying to implement into my lifestyle this year lead a healthier life:

Wake up earlier – Make the most of your mornings, whether it be to get a headstart on your to-do list or to have a mindful morning and take time for yourself.

Practice discipline – Get into the habit of making your bed in the morning, picking up after yourself, and resisting those chocolates in your kitchen cupboard. Becoming disciplined with small things in your life helps you practice discipline for when you really need it.

Gratitude journal – Reminding yourself about all the amazing things you have in life sets everything else in perspective and helps you get through the harder days. I like using the 5 Minute Journal, which is available both as a book and app.

Recite affirmations – Show yourself some love by telling yourself how awesome you are and set the tone for the day. Sit quietly before getting ready or say them out loud in front of a mirror. affirmyourlife.blogspot.com is great for finding affirmations that speak to you on a whole range of subjects.

Have a productive commute – Wherever you’re going and however you’re getting there, listen to a podcast or read a book to keep learning and keep the mind inspired.

Plan your week – We all have big goals, but unless we take small actions towards them, they’ll always seem far away. Each week list the actions you want to take, no matter how small, and write them down in your calendar so you know when you’ll be getting them done.

Track your finances – It’s amazing to list all your expenses in a week, because you realise the places you’re unnecessarily wasting money. Something as simple as making lunch or coffee at home instead of buying out can save hundreds of pounds a year!

Meal plan – Eat more consciously by taking the time to plan out what you’re going to eat during the week. This will cut down unnecessary spending, reduce snacking and impulse eating, and help you nourish your body.

Schedule in relaxation – Whilst endless motivation and drive is fantastic, make sure to take time to yourself, to relax and rest, whether you have half an hour each day where you treat yourself to a bubble bath or having a leisurely Sunday in your pyjamas.

Get enough sleep – We hear it all the time, but it’s much harder to do in practice. We need sleep to recooperate and rejuvenate, otherwise we’ll burnout and crash somewhere along the journey. Sleeping is healing for both the mind and body.

What are you trying to do more or less of this year? Remember, you don’t have to change everything all at once!

(Image: Pinterest)