No regrets

No Regrets

You see it written everyone. Personal development blogs and motivational quotes often push the live life with no regrets mantra.

Here’s my take on it. It’s bull. Rubbish. Crapola.

I haven’t met a person who doesn’t have a regret (or two). At 18 perhaps you may not have regrets (though I doubt it) but at 48 (yes that’s my current age) I think it’s downright impossible.

Trying to implement a life with “no regrets” could be seen just as harmful as trying to have a “perfect life” since neither of them exists. [click to continue…]

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iStock_Do You Need to Reconnect with Old Friends

I had breakfast with a friend recently that I hadn’t seen in ages.

I didn’t realize time had gotten away from me and I hadn’t seen her in a year. I was shocked when I realized how long it had been.

We had a wonderful time. It was lovely catching up with her and hearing all about how her life was going.

It was a big wake up call for me.

As regular readers will know last year wasn’t the best year for me. For various reasons I spent a lot of time alone and didn’t see some of my friends as often. I lost touch with a lot of people.

Consequently, I’m on a mission to reconnect with some of my wonderful friends.

Here are my tips on how you can do the same.

Make the effort

I wasn’t making the effort last year. I definitely had my reasons but now those reasons have resolved themselves. It’s time to cast off those unpleasant memories and move forward.

Making the effort could mean contacting friends more than once.  Don’t just ring a friend, leave a message and then dismiss them if they don’t ring back straight away or at all for that matter.  We are all busy, we miss messages or we hear a message and think I must call them back, then get busy and forget.  Reaching out to people means taking that into consideration. You might have to make a concentrated effort to get in touch with them.

Be patient

Just because I’m ready to see more of my friends doesn’t mean that they are going to have tonnes of time to spare.

I need to work in with their timetables as well as them working in with mine. Be patient and realize that give and take is required. Don’t expect people to drop their plans for you (especially if you haven’t seen them for a long time).

Don’t do all the talking

When you haven’t seen someone for a while it can be tempting to tell them everything that has been going on.  That’s great but remember not to be the one doing all the talking.  Exchange back and forth is the best way to go because you want to hear about all everything they’ve been up to as well.

If you do all the talking, all of the time, people will start to doubt how interested you are in them. Listening to people is a great way to truly connect.

Make a real effort to connect

Be sincere. Whether you are making new friends or reconnecting with old ones be sincere. Don’t try to fake caring about people. Don’t spend time with people just because you are feeling lonely.  Spend time with people because you genuinely care about them.

Don’t use people

Let’s face it the world is full of users. I know that sounds negative but it’s also a fact. Don’t be a user and don’t allow people to use you. Full stop. No exceptions (yes that applies to family as well, just in case you were wondering). Being related doesn’t mean you can use people.

Don’t overwhelm people

You want people to feel like you want to spend time with them, not like they are being stalked. Some relationships can resume like not a day has gone by, you can virtually continue where you left off.

Others don’t quite work that way. Others you need to build your relationship again.

Don’t ask probing, intimate questions if you haven’t seen people for a while. Spend time with them and rebuild the relationship first.

Choose wisely

Before you start sending emails off to every person you haven’t spoken to for a while you might want to consider another approach. Instead of a scatter gun approach trying to connect with everyone – pick out people you really want to reconnect with and focus on them.  Basically don’t spread yourself too thin.  Go for quality over quantity as least in the beginning then you can build momentum and reach out to more people.

Of course if you want to connect with lots of people all at once, get them to the same place and have one hell of a party!  That will work too!

Do you have some old friends that you want to reconnect with?

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Are Your Goals on Track for the Year?

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s March already. Two months down for 2014.

Two months in and I have an important question to ask you - How are your goals going for the year so far?

Are you on track with your monthly goals or have your swerved off track?

Here are some things to consider.

Monthly goals

If your first thought was – what monthly goals? – well there’s your problem right there.

Hopefully you set yourself goals for the year. I am also hoping you wrote them down.

But did you take the next step?  Did you break your big kick-ass goals down into monthly tasks? Did you know exactly what you had to get done in January and February to reach your yearly goal? If you didn’t, now is the time to do the work, put on your thinking cap and get those goals sorted.

Stop reading this right now (make sure you come back though!) and write down your monthly goals.

Take a deep breath

If like me you wrote down your monthly goals and yet for reasons out of your control they didn’t happen, it’s time to take a deep, long breath in and out.

It’s time to chill out, take a step back and realize that stressing about what you haven’t achieved yet doesn’t help.  Motivation and adrenalin are great.  Too much anxiety will kill your goals from the get go.

Make a new plan

My February goal was blogging related. I had big plans for this blog. I had it all worked out. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I was going to achieve it. I had a comprehensive plan.

I sat down on the morning of February 9th filled with enthusiasm and inspiration. I was ready. I was pumped.  I was up for the challenge. As I went to touch the keyboard, my phone rang.

It was a family member calling with terrible news. My step dad has passed away overnight. I went into a spiral of shock and grief. To be honest, I was originally going to write a post about this topic but it’s all far too raw, so best left for another time.

It goes without saying I suddenly had other priorities that were much more important.

Sometimes we have no other choice but to set our plans aside temporarily while we deal with whatever life throws at us.  With this particular goal it was simple, none of my blogging goals have changed I merely moved the due date.

The truth about goals

I am starting to understand something important.  Achieving goals isn’t about life being perfect or stable so that we can get things done.  It’s not about the right time or having enough time.  Achieving our goals is about getting the important stuff done amid all the everyday chaos that is life.

Life is chaotic.  Achieving our goals despite everything that is going on is hard. That’s what makes it so special when our plans and dreams come to fruition.

To those of you who have achieved your monthly goals to date, congratulations!  I’m proud of you and you should be immensely proud of yourself as well.  Keep up the great work!

It’s March folks, what is your big March goal?

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends. You never know who you might motivate or inspire.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

While I am talking about comments, I wanted to send a quick apology to anyone who has left a comment recently since I haven’t gotten back to you. I will do my best to respond to all comments shortly.

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Stop Picking People to Pieces 2

I was out with some friends recently when I noticed the conversation take an unpleasant turn.

Every time someone walked in the door the people I was with would critique them, picking them to pieces if they didn’t like their clothes, hair or shoes etc.

It was a tad unsettling.

I love people watching. I love seeing all sorts of different people. I find it fascinating. Of course I have had negative thoughts about how certain people look but I tend to keep those to myself.

Criticizing others seems far too common and in some cases a bit of a team sport.

Here are my tips on how to be less critical of the people around you. [click to continue…]

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The But Challenge that has Nothing to do with Diet and Exercise

Years ago I worked with a woman whose husband would regularly win trips through his work to 5 star resorts.  This couple went to some amazing places, yet when I asked the woman about her trip the answer was always the same.

His response was ‘it was a great – but’.  She was a lovely woman but the more time I spent with her I came to realize something. There was always a but, always some flaw in whatever she had experienced no matter how incredible it was.

How many times have you heard someone say something like – it was wonderful but?

How many times have you said something like this yourself? [click to continue…]

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Do You Believe in Magic?

Originally I planned to write a post about how we can bring more magic into our lives.

Then a question dawned on me – do we belief in magic?

I’m not talking about the magician rabbit out of a hat variety or even the supernatural spell kind.

I’m talking about magic in our everyday lives.

A quick Google search defines magic as ‘wonderful, exciting’ and gives the example of ‘what a magic moment’.

Going on that definition alone, someone washing the pile of dishes currently on my kitchen sink would, to me, be both wonderful and exciting, but that probably won’t pass as magical to most.

As a reader of personal development blogs I often see this word used (I’ve probably whipped it out here a few times myself) yet I wonder if people interrupt the word the same way. I wonder if some people scoff or grow cynical just at the thought of it.

I fully suspect that magic means different things to different people. The big question is what is your own version of magic.

Is magic a moment of spontaneous pure joy? It is when we cry tears of happiness or laugh until we cry? Is magic like beauty, all in the eyes of the beholder?

Whilst we might experience a magical moment while admiring a beautiful sunset in an exotic location, does magic exist in everyday life or do we reserve it mainly for the big-ticket moments?  Does it exist at work for example? It is in our living rooms at night after a hard day?  Does magic exist in daily routine or do we only find it in the extraordinary?

Perhaps your interpretation of the word, defines whether you believe in it or not.  Perhaps your definition determines how much of it you experience in life.

I suspect magic is a bit like love. It’s everywhere but if we don’t believe in it, it makes it that much harder to experience.

Perhaps magic comes to those who believe.

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I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.

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Do You Know When You Are Lying to Yourself?

In my last post I stated that in the New Year my new posting schedule would be Monday and Thursday.

As it turns out on the first Thursday of the year, I had to take my baby boy (who I have written about before on the blog) to the vet after work. It was distressing for the both of us.

During the day, I kept telling myself that I would publish a post when I got home from the vet. Considering there was no post on Thursday, I think we all know how that turned out.

In essence I had been lying to myself.

Deep down even as I said the words to myself – I knew they were a lie.

With a post still to write, I turned my attention to Friday evening. It was a simple enough plan – go grocery shopping, come home after work and publish the post. I might even have a relaxing glass of wine first – how much harm could that do?

Clearly my willpower had deserted me to even be thinking about a glass of wine.

An interesting thing happened as I turned on the computer, checked my blog stats and had a quick look at my Write Change Grow Facebook page – I was honest with myself.

I admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to write the post tonight. I knew it wasn’t going to get done and I stopped lying to myself about it.

Have an honest think about this one. How often do you lie to yourself?

Look at just a few of the basic lies we tell ourselves.

  • I will stop smoking.
  • I will start eating healthier
  • I will start exercising more
  • I will get out of a bad relationship
  • I will work less
  • I will spend more time with family
  • I will spend more time writing and creating (yes that one came specifically from me)

One good way to tell if you are lying to yourself is by checking yourself for an excuse. Often without realizing, we will already have our excuse lined up and ready to go for why we didn’t deliver.

You can imagine how endless our excuses list can be. When we are good at lying to ourselves – we also become an expert in excuses.

The odd thing about lying is that many of us can easily spot when someone else is lying but are completely oblivious to when we are lying to ourselves.

So how do we stop lying to ourselves?

We need to start with awareness. We can’t actively stop a behavior if we are not aware of what we are doing in the first place.

Admit when you are lying to yourself.

Challenge yourself for a week. Listen to your thoughts and words and really start pulling yourself up on them. Understand the difference between when you are lying to yourself and when life genuinely gets in the way.

I knew waking up this morning, I was going to get this post done today.

I knew this time – it wasn’t a lie.

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The Joy of New Beginnings

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind! First there was liver surgery, then recovery followed by an exciting new beginning.

So what’s my new beginning?

I’m back working in a full time administration role.  I’m happy to report I am totally loving it!

New beginnings can be fraught with uncertainly but they are also filled with incredible joy and possibility. Think new job, new relationship, getting married, new house, new baby. All pretty exciting stuff.

Here are some of my initial thoughts on new beginnings. [click to continue…]

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Gratitude Love and Healing

This is my first day back writing after surgery on the 9 October 2013.

Thankfully I am on the mend and healing well. Every day brings a small improvement whether it be less pain, more movement or a more positive attitude.

Post surgery, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Here are a few things I feel extremely grateful for at the moment. [click to continue…]

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What To Do When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

Sometimes life is truly magical and other times its well……not.

As much as I would love to say my life is in a magical phase unfortunately its the other option.

To be honest it’s been a rough year so far.

I have been job hunting for six frustrating months now. There are jobs around but there are also a LOT of people looking for them. Financially it has been a struggle.

There have also been a few health issues to deal with.  I haven’t been talking about it much here on the blog but I’ve been having some tests done in the background.

An ultrasound (checking something completely different) picked up a lesion on my liver in early 2012. It was decided nothing needed to be done but that it should be checked again further down the track.

Fast forward a year, ultrasound, expensive MRI, CT scan and blood test later and I found myself sitting in front of my specialist last Monday. I was expecting to be told everything was fine and that I should come back for another check up in 2 years.

Instead I was told that I should get a second opinion from a surgeon. [click to continue…]

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