Thanks for your support so far

This week I reached 100 Likes on my Facebook page. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you for liking my page so far.

Which category do you fit?

You’ve probably Liked my page for one of these reasons:

She may not be able to lift me up by my feet anymore, but she still supports me in every way she can.
  • You’re totally into self-improvement and keen to keep up with my news, tips, offers, and random thoughts
  • You’re my family member or friend and feel obliged to Like my page so that we don’t have an awkward moment next time I see you…
  • You’re a friend of my mum’s and feel obliged to Like my page because she asked you to (thanks Mum!)

Don’t need improvement?

It’s very possible that you’ve totally got your shit together and don’t think you need any personal development. Here’s why I want you to stick with me anyway:

  • Those of us who DON’T always have all our shit together NEED people like you to tell us how you do stuff! Engage with the content on this page and tell us what YOU do to make your life happier or easier.
  • There are people you know who may be quietly struggling with their own motivation, self-discipline, or goals. Share the content on this page and help them find me. I stumbled across ONE blog many years ago that helped me start turning my life around. Maybe I can be that person for someone else.
  • I believe that no matter how great we are, or how smoothly things are running for us, we can ALL work on SOMETHING to improve our functionality and wellbeing. Whether it’s habits, kindness, self-discipline, motivation, or some aspect of your personality. Stick with me, check out my blog posts, and spend a little time reflecting on yourself.

What is the point of Fly Life Personal Development anyway?

Fly Life Personal Development is all about helping people get unstuck. We’ve all been there.

  • Unsure about what we’re doing with our life

    You know there’s gotta be more to life than this.
  • Scared about what’s coming next
  • Bored with where we’re at but not confident enough to change it
  • Unmotivated to do what’s gotta be done
  • Motivated but lacking the self-discipline required to achieve something
  • Or just feeling blah about ourselves and wanting to start feeling like we’re really living.

Fly Life Personal Development will help people through the blog and through coaching services and workshops. The more you engage with my content on social media or on the website, by Liking, Commenting and Sharing, the more my business gets out there, hopefully reaching the people who are searching for someone like me to help them.

So I wanted to thank you again for already liking my Facebook page. I hope you’ll stick with me, help me help other people, and in the long run, help me support my own little family by making my small business successful!

Judgmental or Courageous?

I came across a post on a Facebook group for mums that really got me thinking… This post isn’t about having the answers. It’s just a question I think is worth thinking about.

When should we mind our own business and when should we have the courage to step in?

The poster was asking for advice. She had witnessed an older woman in a store being really angry, harsh, and aggressive with the three children that were with her. The poster’s own child had become unsettled and frightened by the woman’s behaviour. She felt uneasy about what she had witnessed, but didn’t know what she could do. So she just looked away and went home. But hours later the experience was still nagging at her. She was wondering what other mums would have done in this situation.

The response she got from so many other mums, in this supposedly “supportive and non-judgmental” group, was that she was being incredibly judgmental and she should mind her own business.

Many people commented that she had only seen one part of this woman’s day and didn’t know what else she was dealing with. Others said that if the kids looked physically okay (well dressed, not bruised etc) then she should mind her own business.

WHAT?

Would people still say she was being overly judgmental if:

  • The older woman was in fact a paid family day care provider and not a family member?
  • The adult with the children was a man instead of a woman?
  • The woman was in her late teens and dressed poorly?

Now don’t get me wrong. I can’t stand how judgmental some people can be. And I’ve noticed it more than ever since becoming a mum. So I’m all for telling people not to judge too quickly.

I’m dead certain that one day I will lose my shit at my kid in a shopping centre. It’ll be a long day, he will have asked me for something one too many times. I will be so tired of him giving me attitude when all I’m trying to do is be a good mum. I’ll yell at him and grab his hand a little more firmly than necessary. He will look like a sad and scared kid because he didn’t get his way and he’s realised he pushed mum too far and now she’s cranky. And when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

But this kind of parent-child interaction is pretty common and generally doesn’t send people home feeling sick to their stomach. The situation this Facebook poster described was far more than a frazzled mum or grandmother trying to control her unruly kids.

So what’s the answer?

Stepping in to ensure the safety of a child requires courage.

When is it okay to dismiss poor treatment of other humans because we don’t want to appear judgmental? Is it okay to ignore abuse and not get involved because it’s not our business? When is it time to have the courage to step in? And how can this be done in a way that is sensitive and careful?

There are too many stories in the world of unthinkable child abuse. But most of these stories don’t come out until the children are grown and the damage is done. Or worse, we only hear about it after the child has been killed. And then everyone cries, “why didn’t anyone do anything?”

I am by no means suggesting the woman in the store was definitely a child abuser. I was not there to witness the interaction, and even if I had been, I still probably wouldn’t have enough information to make that definitive judgment. But I do know that it was enough to disturb one woman for hours, to the point that she put herself out there on social media, only to be shot down for being judgmental.

What would you do?

I think it’s worth considering whether you would have the character to step in if you truly felt someone was being mistreated. And how would you go about it?

I like to think I would be able to remain calm, kind, and compassionate. Perhaps I would approach the woman and comment that it looks like she’s having a hard time. Maybe I’d be able to offer some assistance and get a better feel for what was really happening. It’s possible that a simple kind gesture from a stranger was all this woman needed to reset her day. Or perhaps her reaction would give me a clearer idea of whether I thought these kids were in any danger.

Until we’re in the situation it’s hard to know how we would react. Have you ever gone to someone’s aid when you thought they were being mistreated? How did you handle it?

When you want to quit your goal

Six years ago, I set myself a goal of completing a university degree. Six thousand times since then, I thought about quitting. And this week I graduated.

I want to share with you some of the obstacles I faced, and why I did not quit my goal.

He told me I was useless

My ex-boyfriend, who I was with when I started this degree, was not supportive of my studying. He told me I was wasting my time and money. According to him I was useless and I would probably fail or quit anyway. He repeatedly accused me of thinking I was better than everyone because I was studying. But he generously brought me down to earth by reminding me that everyone in town thought I was just a stuck up city girl who thought I was something special.

There were times that I started to believe him. And I thought about quitting.

But then I thought of my family, my friends, and my colleagues who were all so excited about my goal. They didn’t seem to think I was useless. In fact, they encouraged me and cheered every time I got my results back. They rolled their eyes every time I got a high distinction. Because they expected the high distinction. They had no doubt in me whatsoever. And so, I continued.

Remember the people who have your back. Surround yourself with those people.

I left everything and started over

As you can see from the previous section, my relationship wasn’t happy or healthy. So, one day I left. I had a bag of clothes in my car and left town. Leaving behind my job that I loved, my friends who I adored and had been my support network, and my house that I had put all my money into building.

I was back living with my parents. I had no job, not much money, and no energy. Having quit everything else, I also thought about quitting my degree. It was just too hard to focus on it now. And what was the point?

But then I thought about the fact that one day I would be able to help other people. One day I’d have the knowledge and the qualifications to help people believe in themselves and set their own direction. But only if I continued. And so, I continued.

Always remember the big picture.

My new life was busy

I may have been glancing at a textbook when this photo was taken.

I got a new job, fell in love, made new friends, joined a local Rotary club, and started experiencing a more active social life. My new relationship was the opposite of my previous one. I was previously living a relatively isolated life inside my relationship, which gave me plenty of time to study. My new partner was so adoring and wanted to spend all his time with me. While being supportive of my study and being a student himself, he had a very different approach to study and didn’t quite understand how hard I needed to work at it. Throughout the remainder of my degree (even after we got married) this caused a lot of tension.

I thought maybe he was right and I was spending too much time with my head in the books. Maybe I really was sacrificing too much social time because of my study. I knew I couldn’t do any less work and still understand the subject enough to pass. So I thought about quitting.

But then I considered how much time, effort, and money I’d already put in. I was achieving great results and I knew that I could do it. It was only a bit longer. I just had to maintain enough balance for my relationship to survive until the end of the degree. And so, I continued.

Think of what you have already invested and sacrificed. Don’t waste that.

Cancer struck my family

My grandma and my mum were both diagnosed with cancer within a couple of months. It was the year leading up to my wedding and the two women who I worshipped and adored were both sick and undergoing treatment. Between work, my community service commitments, and my study, I felt unable to support them or be there for them. So I thought about quitting my degree.

But again, I considered how far I’d already come. I remembered what I could do with the knowledge and the qualification once I had it. And I thought about how proud my grandma and my mum would be when I eventually graduated. And so, I continued.

Make them proud.

Pregnancy brought me unstuck

The following year, I fell pregnant. I had a difficult pregnancy, with a suspected miscarriage in the early days, followed by hyperemesis gravidarum for the remainder. Which basically means I constantly vomited for nine months. I would be up several times in the night to be sick, then drag myself to work where I would discretely scurry to the bathroom several times a day to throw up. I had no energy because I couldn’t keep much food down and wasn’t getting much sleep. The sickness wore me down until I was badly depressed.

I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to get an assignment submitted on time and discovered weeks later when results came out that there had been a technical malfunction and it didn’t submit. The course convenor said I could fail the subject OR I could get medical evidence to say I couldn’t complete the assignment, and then I would have to do a completely new one to replace it. I just couldn’t face the thought of starting all over again on a different topic and going through the stress. So I thought about quitting.

But I only had a few subjects left. The end was in sight. And so, I continued.

Look to the end. Have a countdown. Keep your eye on the ball.

My tiny human didn’t care for my goals

He was little but loud!

My heart exploded with love every time I looked at my baby boy. And my head exploded with stress every time I thought about my assessments that weren’t getting done. Archie had reflux, and we had a lot of problems with feeding and sleep. He was a very unhappy baby for the first five months of his life, and he only wanted to be in my arms. I would explain to him that I was very close to finishing my degree and would have plenty of time for cuddles after that, but he was not willing to wait. And so I thought about quitting.

But I knew if I stopped now, it would only get harder and harder to get it finished some other time. I’d be back at work AND have a child to raise AND still have uni work to do. It was better just to plough through and get it finished while I was on maternity leave. And so, I continued.

Now may be the best time. Just get it done.

I got there in the end

A proud moment… but I was really just praying I wouldn’t fall down the stairs.

As my name was called and I walked across the stage, I blinked back tears. I was grateful for every person who supported me and encouraged me. And I was even grateful for those who made it more challenging. It was because of them that I felt so proud of my achievement.

Get in touch

Have you fought through obstacles to reach your goal despite wanting to quit? Tell me about it in the comments.

Want more personalised and tailored support to get you through your obstacles? Please contact me to chat about how I can help.

How to build your confidence without feeling like a fraud

I grew up with an extroverted and very talented older brother. Didn’t matter what he tried, he was good at it. He was popular, entertaining, and adored by his family and peers. This is not a story of jealousy. I worship my older brother and I’m so proud of his many achievements.

This picture sums up my childhood. My brother is relaxed and cool, and I am … not.

This is a story of the kid who was introverted, not very talented, and a bit boring. The kid who followed her brother and his mates around because she didn’t really have a tribe of her own. (She was instructed by said brother to remain at least 10 paces behind so as not to cramp his style, and she dutifully complied). This is a story of the kid who tried really hard to be as entertaining as her brother, but came off a bit weird and awkward.

Growing up, I watched how easily my brother did everything. How easily he made friends. How easily he made people laugh. How easily he just walked into a shop and bought whatever he wanted, chatting with the shopkeeper like they were old mates.

These things were not easy for me. Wherever we went all the other kids seemed much older or much younger than me. Or just much cooler. So I was too shy to approach them. I was terrified of having to go into a shop and make a purchase on my own, because I didn’t know what I should say. What if I made a fool of myself? Or what if I got confused with the money? What if the shop keeper thought I was stealing something because I was a kid and some kids steal?

I had zero confidence! Because everything that seemed so easy for my brother, seemed so very difficult for me.

When it all began to change

It was only in my late twenties, when I started to consciously work on my own self-development, that I started to gain some confidence. And the results have been huge. I started getting great jobs that I loved. My salary increased. I left a terrible relationship and ended up in a loving and supportive marriage. My friendship circle increased and became more interesting.

I still feel terrified before a job interview, but then I go in there and (usually) nail it. Public speaking doesn’t frighten me like it used to. And thankfully I can now go into a shop and chat with the shopkeeper like we’re old mates.

If your lack of confidence is holding you back from living a fun and free life, I feel you! I’ve been there. I still struggle a lot with my confidence. But I’ve found many strategies that work for me, and I want to share them with you.

How to be confident

Recognise your strengths

What do other people often compliment you on? Be sure to think about all the different ways that people show admiration. Sometimes it’s a straight-out “Wow, you’re so good at _____”. Other times admiration is shown by asking for your advice or opinion. And sometimes admiration is subtly displayed by jealousy. In any case, consider all the different things that other people might admire you for and write them down.

Next, think about the things you’re proud of, and write them down too. Don’t worry, you’re not going to show anyone this list. Toot your own horn in your sound-proof bubble. Write it all down.

Now keep this list somewhere you can look at it often. The more often you remind yourself of all your great qualities, the more likely you are to start believing that you’re actually pretty great. And when we believe that we’re alright, we start to feel more confident. You might even start honing in on some of those strengths and building on them.

Use your body

Strike a pose and feel the power of confidence

This one was a game changer for me. I have always had terrible posture. I hunch my shoulders, I cross my arms and legs, and I touch my face a lot when I’m a bit nervous. All these things make us LOOK timid, but they also make us FEEL more timid. Standing tall with your shoulders back and your body open allows you to breathe easier and changes your physiology. Your body language alone can help you to feel more confident. I urge you to watch the TED Talk by Amy Cuddy “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are”. Practice the Power Poses she talks about. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel like a real weirdo when you’re doing it, but it will have positive results.

Be your own bestie

If your best friend called you and said she felt like a failure, or that she was thinking of cancelling her date, or that she felt fat and ugly, would you agree with her? NO! That would make you a jerk. You’d tell her how amazing she is and remind her why you love her. You would build her up to the point that she was strutting out her front door ready to take on the world.

So be your own bestie. Have a little pep talk with yourself. Speak lovingly, encouragingly, and positively.

Celebrate your wins

No matter how big or small, when you start acknowledging your achievements you start feeling more confident. As you feel more confident you try more things and you achieve more things. It’s a positive cycle! Take five minutes each week to think of all the good things that happened through the week. Do something nice for yourself to celebrate.

Step outside your comfort zone

Push yourself to do something you normally wouldn’t do. I’m not saying it will be easy or free of anxiety. But when you realise you can do it, it’ll boost your confidence. It might be attending a networking event, putting yourself forward for a promotion, or introducing yourself to your neighbour. It might be skydiving, or going to a Zumba class, or joining the gym. Whatever makes you a little uncomfortable but could be a great experience, take a deep breath and give it a whirl.

Join groups

Whatever your interest or lifestyle, there is a group or a club out there for you. These people are grass enthusiasts. Who knew?

Joining groups that have common interests can be a huge confidence booster. As a shy introvert, I find this really hard, but usually very rewarding. Once you get over the initial discomfort of putting yourself in a situation where you lack confidence, you’ll start to connect with like-minded people and feel more at home. You’ll open yourself up to new experiences, learning opportunities, and the chance to share your knowledge or interest with others. Joining my local Rotary club was the best thing I ever did.

Subtract negativity from your life

Whether it’s your own negativity or people around you, you don’t need it. Practice turning your negative thoughts into positive ones. Politely tell your negative-thinking-self to shut the hell up. If possible, avoid people who are constantly bringing you down. If avoiding them is not practical, maybe you could gently bring it to their attention that they come across very negative. Chances are they are not even aware of it.

I’ve been told before that I’m very negative, which took me by surprise because I thought I was being funny! I now try to be aware of how I’m coming across and pull myself back a bit if my dry sense of humour or my fact-stating might be coming across as overly negative.

Take on the world

All these strategies might feel very uncomfortable at first. Do them anyway. This is not about faking it or pretending to be someone you’re not. This is about celebrating who you are and genuinely increasing your level of self-confidence.

Because sure, you can “fake it till you make it”… that works for some. But for others we just come off a bit weird and awkward.

So continue to be your spectacular self. Celebrate your spectacular self. Share your spectacular self with the world. And set in motion the positive cycle of increasing your confidence and achieving great things.

Let’s chat…

How is your confidence holding you back? Do you think you’ll try any of these strategies? Do you have other strategies that you use? Tell me in the comments!

You might consider hiring a personal coach to help build your confidence and start living the life you want. Contact me for a free initial consultation and let’s chat.

 

One simple habit to improve your productivity, health, energy, and mood

There are many habits I’d like to build into my life, and I’m always working on improving my habits. But there’s one simple little habit that makes everything else easier. It makes me feel more energised, it leads to me making much healthier food choices, I feel happier, I move my body more, and I get so much more done.

When I tell you what this one little habit is, you might be inclined to roll your eyes and close this article. Maybe you think you’ve heard it all before, or maybe you don’t think it’s for you. But please read on anyway. I have tips for how to build it into your life, even if you’ve tried a hundred times before.

This habit has been a tricky one for me. It comes and goes. When I’m good at it, I’m really good, and everything in life is much better. But when I’m bad at it, like I have been lately, I’m really, really bad. I suffer in Struggle Town for way too long before realising that I’ve let this habit slip. So I’m about to work on building it back into my life, and thought I’d see if anyone wants to join me in the challenge.

We’ve all heard over and over again how we should drink 2 litres of water a day. Ugh. You may as well ask me to drink an entire swimming pool! If you’re not already a big water drinker, 2 litres can feel like a huge amount. But I promise that once you have built this habit into your day, you’ll get through 2 litres of water without even thinking about it.

How the drought began

Before I fell pregnant I used to easily drink 2-3 litres of water a day. But then I was Little Miss Chucky all through my pregnancy and I couldn’t keep much down at all. My water-drinking habit died off, along with my good humour and my will to live. And then I had the baby and was breastfeeding so there wasn’t enough water in the world to keep me hydrated. I was SO thirsty! But the water I drank through this period was more out of necessity than good habits. As soon as I finished breastfeeding I rediscovered two great loves of my life: coffee and wine. I needed ALL OF THE COFFEE to get me through the days. And then I needed a little wine to give me something to look forward to in the evenings. With a demanding little dictator now running my life, there’s not always time to pee when I want to, so I didn’t want to waste any bladder space with anything that wasn’t caffeinated or wine.

But now I find myself tired, grumpy, sluggish, looking a bit (okay, maybe a lot) haggard, and making poor choices. Like, eating milo balls for breakfast, skipping breakfast entirely, cheese & wine for dinner, KFC for lunch… you know, not great energy-boosting choices!

I’ve been in this place before and managed to make water drinking a habit, so I’m going to do it again. And I’ll tell you some ways that I’ve made it work for me in the past.

How to increase your water intake

Set a target

2 litres is sort of the standard recommended amount for adults to drink. But maybe 2 litres seems far too much to start with for you. Or maybe you’re really quite active or sweat a lot and you think maybe you should be drinking more. I’m sure there’s a formula out there that calculates how much you should drink for your body weight etc, but I’m not getting too scientific here.

Use easy measurements

If my target is 2 litres, then 750ml drink bottles make me crazy. I need a 500ml drink bottle or a 1 litre bottle and a glass. This way I can easily track how much I’ve had and how much more I have to go. Maybe you’re not as neurotic as me, but I like to have accurate figures to track. The best method that works for me is a 1 litre cordial bottle filled with water and chilled. I then sit that and a glass beside me and drink away. As soon as the glass is empty, refill it. The glass I use is quite big, so it only takes about 3 refills to have one litre finished. Then refill the bottle straight away and swap it for a chilled one. This works if I’m sitting in one place like my desk. If I’m on the go, a 500ml bottle works better.

Set some rules and/or incentives

When I was a kid we had a rule that we had to eat all our dinner before being allowed dessert. I’m glad my parents taught me this, because now I have a rule that I have to drink ALL my water before being allowed any wine. Or anything else for that matter! I allow myself one cup of coffee when I first wake up, but after that I can’t have anything else to drink until I’ve finished my 2 litres of water. Every time I’m tempted to have another coffee or a cup of tea, it reminds me to drink water first. Rules work pretty well for me, but you might like to think of it more as an incentive.

Track your progress

Whether you use an app or a handwritten log, keeping track of your intake can motivate you to keep going. It will also help you realise how much your intake affects things like your mood, your productivity, and your health.

Add a little flavour

Personally I don’t do this, because it’s an extra step and it doesn’t work for me. But I know a lot of people are more likely to drink their water if it has some flavour added. Infuse your water with some cut up citrus fruit, cucumber, melon, or mint.

Change your vessel

Have you ever noticed how a glass of wine is just so nice to hold and to bring to your lips? Suddenly the wine is gone and you’re ready for a refill! You might feel silly doing it, but drinking your water from a wine glass or a schooner glass can make it feel like more of a treat. You might raise some eyebrows if you try this at work, but in the privacy of your own home or even if you’re out for dinner, I don’t think there’s a problem with this.  It doesn’t have to be a wine glass – just any cup or glass that you enjoy drinking from.

Bottoms up!

We all know the benefits of drinking water, right? So why don’t you join me in trying to increase your intake. Who couldn’t do with a bit more energy, a clearer mind, and clearer skin? Let me know in the comments if you think you might try any of these tips, or if you have other suggestions for increasing water intake.

Get out of that funk and deal with the minor setback

I’m going back to work in a month. I will be running this business alongside my other part time job. There’s still a LOT of work to do in setting up Fly Life, and I know that it’ll be hard work once I return to my other job. But that’s okay. I’ve been studying at uni while working full time for the last six years. I know I can handle a full workload.

Plus, I’ve planned ahead. I organised to put my baby in day care one day a week for the last six weeks of my maternity leave. This would give him (and me) a chance to adapt to day care. It will hopefully mean that I’m not crying after dropping him off when I’m on my way to work. I would get a full day each week to focus completely on my business. I also knew that babies tend to get sick when they first start day care, so I figured we should try and deal with at least some of that before I’m back at work.

He had his first day there a couple of weeks ago. A couple of days later he had conjunctivitis, croup, and a terrible cold. Ugh. Kids are so gross! And then of course after several sleepless nights and a germy baby rubbing his slimy face all over me, I got sick too. So we’ve now had a week and a half of sick baby, sick mama, and life passing us by.

Sick baby, tired mama

I handled the first week okay. But then the baby started seeming better and I’d feel hopeful that things were getting back to normal… and then he would crash again. I was so convinced he was past all the yucky contagious stuff that I took him to visit my family. And then last night he seemed gross and gunky and germy and miserable again. This sent me plunging into despair.

I’m mostly upset that we’ve probably now passed germs on to the rest of the family, when I thought we were beyond that. But I’m also just so tired and want things to be back to normal. And then there’s the fact that I’ve neglected so many things I need to do because I’ve been busy cuddling a baby and washing everything constantly to try and reduce the lingering germs. Panic is setting in as my return-to-work date rapidly approaches.

I was a complete misery-guts last night. And it took my darling husband to point out that some things are beyond my control, but I can control how I respond to it. I wanted to smack him for being so rational.

It’s all about re-framing

You’ve probably heard the term “re-framing” before. Re-framing means looking at a situation from a different perspective. It’s a key component of building resilience.

When something is … well… shit, try and find genuine positive points about it. It doesn’t stop it being shit, but it takes a bit of the stink out.

So these are the things I’ve been thinking about since my husband’s gentle lecture.

I’m grateful it’s not worse
There are so many families out there with seriously or chronically ill babies, and I just don’t know how they do it. This is just a virus, and while it’s miserable and tiring and hard work, I know it will pass eventually and things will be fine.

At least my house is getting clean
This has forced me to go on a bit of a cleaning rampage and it’s kind of nice to know that things have been washed that I would normally postpone.

Bonus cuddles
As my maternity leave comes to an end I’m feeling sad about missing out on time with my little guy. While he’s sick all he wants is cuddles, so even though this can be frustrating when I need to do other things, I’m grateful for every second I get to hold him.

Work can wait
I am so excited about this business, and have several new services in the pipeline that I’m keen to launch. But at the moment, I am not completely dependent on the income of this business. I have not had to miss any client appointments, and have not let anyone down. Really, it’s just a minor setback and I will be able to catch up when things are settled down.

Getting on with it

My baby and I are back in quarantine until I’m sure we are definitely well. But instead of sulking about it, I’m focusing on the positives and just trying to do whatever I can with a baby on my hip. I’m feeling much more rational and in control.

Because my husband is right (don’t tell him I said that): you can’t control the situation, but you can control how you respond to it.

And as I would say: you can’t change it from being shit, but you can take the stink out of it.

 

Battling the Winter Blues

Part of me thinks I’m lucky to live somewhere that has four distinct seasons. As much as I think I would adore living where it’s warm all the time, in reality, I’d probably miss the period of change in each season. I quite like the first few weeks of cooler weather. I come home to a cosy house and put my Ugg boots on, and it’s all a bit of a novelty.

You might find this image comforting, but all I see is COLD ANKLES! Get this person some ugg boots!

…And then the novelty wears off and I begin to resent having to leave the house. I just want to stay curled up under my doona. As winter wears on, the blues really start to sink in, and it used to become a pretty serious depression for me. But now I am aware of it and I take conscious steps to battle it before I sink too low.

Often in winter we tend to gravitate toward whatever brings us comfort. That’s usually comfort food, and warm cosy blankets. Curling up on the couch with my doona, a bowl of nachos and a glass of red wine? Sign me up! But as comforting as that is, it’s hardly energising. We end up feeling fat and lazy and tired. Our homes might get a bit neglected, those projects remain undone, and we start to hate on ourselves for not achieving anything. And because we feel a bit down about it all, we seek comfort in another bowl of crap food and another episode on Netflix… and so the cycle continues.

You’ve probably heard of a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It’s a genuine clinical condition which is basically winter-induced depression. It’s thought to be caused by decreased light exposure. SAD is often characterised by increased appetite, weight gain, and increased sleep. Now there’s two different levels I’m talking about here: there’s the winter blues where we feel a little glum and uninspired, and there’s full-blown depression. If you think you’ve gone beyond the blues and you have depression, please speak with your GP or a counsellor.

Don’t be a winter glum bum!

The first winter that I actually enjoyed was a few years ago. I was really dreading it and already sinking into the blues before it even properly started. But I was working on a lot of self-development and identified that this was a challenge I needed to face head-on. I decided to set some winter goals, with the mantra: “Laugh in the Face of Winter”. Writing it out like that, I realise that maybe it’s a bit weird. But it got me through winter without a hint of depression. And the following winter I didn’t have the same feeling of dread. Here are some of the steps I took that year to make it more bearable:

Exercise

You knew that was going to be in the list, didn’t you? If the thought of going to a gym or going out in the cold just has you disregarding the idea of exercise altogether, I get it. I was the same. But that winter, I joined the gym and forced myself to go in the mornings. It was bloody cold. And it was hard to get out of bed. But I would repeat to myself “Laugh in the Face of Winter” and I would drag my frozen butt in to the treadmill and work up a sweat.

I found that on the days I started with a good workout and raised my body temperature, the cold didn’t seem to affect me as bad for the rest of the day. It’s like my body coped better with the colder temperatures after being warmed up in the morning. I don’t know if there’s any science behind this, and maybe I should research it… but for now, you’ll just have to trust me that increasing your body temperature with exercise can help the days feel less bitterly cold.

These days I don’t have a gym membership. But I’ve been making an effort to get out and go for a walk on the sunny days. Canberra is bitterly cold in the winter, but we are so lucky to have a lot of gorgeous sunny days. As long as it’s not too windy and I’m dressed appropriately, a quick walk in the sunshine lifts my mood considerably.

You don’t have to carve out a whole hour for a workout or a walk. Even just fifteen minutes, if that’s all you can manage, will make a difference.

Dress appropriately

This should be a no-brainer, but it still amazes me that I forget about it sometimes. This winter I’ve been struggling to enjoy my walks outside, even when it’s nice and sunny. I get home and I’m frozen through to my bones. This is the first winter that I’ve had a baby to think about, so before we go anywhere I spend about 20 minutes making sure he is all rugged up and toasty warm. And then, because I don’t want him to overheat inside with the billions of layers I’ve dressed him in, we get the hell out! And it’s only once we’re out and about that I realise I forgot to dress myself warmly!

My mum loaned me a coat a few days ago when I was walking home from her place. I marvelled at how much warmer I was and how the walk was actually pleasant when I wasn’t trying to hug myself and push the pram at the same time. And then I thought about it. I have coats. I have many coats. I just need to leave one by the door and pull it on as we’re leaving the house and it takes, like, zero seconds. And then I can be comfortable!

Same goes with gloves. Personally I just find them irritating because I have to take them off anytime I want to do anything. But the fact that I can actually do things with my fingers because they’ve been kept warm by my gloves is pretty great!

Invest in warm boots, a coat, some gloves, and maybe a warm hat if you’re not too precious about your hair. You’ll wonder why everyone’s complaining about the cold – what cold?

Seek out the sun

Even if it’s cold, if the sun is out, try and soak it up. Open your curtains and let the sun stream into your home. Go for a drive and enjoy the warmth of the sun coming through the windows of your car. Seek out a sunny spot in a café. If you’re brave, dress appropriately (see previous section) and enjoy your lunch or a coffee sitting outside. It doesn’t have to be for long. Whenever you can, try to soak up some sunshine and consciously appreciate it.

Keep healthy sleep patterns

It’s tempting to stay in bed for a few extra hours on the weekend. Oh, how I fondly remember those days when this was even possible (before I had a baby that demanded I get up). But try to avoid the temptation. Get up at a reasonable time, open the blinds and let the morning light in, make your bed, and get on with your day. The longer you stay in bed the harder it is to get up and get motivated to have a productive day. Promise yourself that if you’re still craving your bed you’ll give yourself an early night.

It’s so important to have healthy sleep patterns and to get enough sleep. But too much sleep can make you lethargic and lazy. Force yourself to get up and get into the day.

Aim for small changes…

When you’re already feeling a bit blue, it’s difficult to go and completely change a whole heap of things at once. It’s great if you can do it, but it might be unsustainable. So why not just pick one or two things that you think you can have a go at today to make winter a bit more bearable.

I’d love to hear how other people get through the winter blues. Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

Is perfection blocking your path?

One of the things I was looking forward to in running this business was the writing aspect of it. I liked the idea of having a blog where I could share my thoughts with you. I have a lot of ideas of things I’d like to write about.

I was also looking forward to learning a lot. I know nothing about websites or blogging, so it was a whole new world for me to explore, and I love to learn.

I’d be okay with my writer’s block if I could make my hair look like this

But I made a mistake. I did some reading about how to write good blog posts… and I got completely STUCK. For the last couple of weeks I couldn’t write. All the ideas I’d had floating around were suddenly gone because they did not fit the template of a “good blog post”. They didn’t include a list of “how to” or they didn’t tell you in the title why you were failing at something.

Now sure, the tips I read were all important to consider. I’ll keep them in mind, and occasionally I may write a list for you (if I really think it might be useful). But I realised yesterday that by trying to get it perfect right from the start, I was not getting anywhere at all.

So for now, I’m just going to write my posts for you the way I want to write them. Over time my skills may develop to the point that my posts are likely to be shared and to bring more traffic to my website. But right now, I’d like to focus more on developing some consistency and letting you get to know me through the way I write, not through yet another “Thirteen Ways You’re Failing at Life” post.

Here’s the reason I’m sharing this with you: I want you to think about whether there is something that you’re stuck on simply because you only want to do it perfectly. Is perfection blocking your path? I’m curious to know what sort of things YOU might be stuck on. Share with me in the comments.

 

Reset your goals

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for New Years Resolutions. It gives me a buzz to think of the possibilities that the new year is going to bring. I know, I should get out more…

Anyway, by the time March rolls around I’m still kinda half-heartedly working toward my goals. Then April brings some cooler weather and all my focus turns toward surviving the Canberra winter. By the end of June I’m just peeking out from the top of my doona to see if it’s over yet.

But there is something very special about the end of June…

The first half of the year is over, and a NEW half is about to begin! The first day of July is like a BRAND NEW START! So find a nice spot to settle down for a little thinking time. Don’t have a nice spot at the moment? Go to that cluttered mess that’s supposed to be a nice spot, chuck everything in a box out of sight for now (don’t worry, we’ll come back to that later). Pour yourself something delicious, and crack those knuckles (actually, don’t do that bit – my grandma will rouse on you).

This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the first half of the year and think about where you’re at now. Did you set any resolutions at the start of the year? Have you stuck to them so far? Have you changed your mind about them now?

July is the start of the financial year, so some like to focus on setting financial goals. But you can also take the opportunity to reset your general goals, or re-commit to the plan you had at the beginning of the year. Here’s how I do it:

 

Reflect on the first half of the year

Think about all that’s happened in the first half of the year:

Where were you on New Years’ Eve and how did you feel at the time?

What goals or intentions did you set?

How long did you stick to them?

Where are you now and how do you feel?

 

What have you achieved so far?

Think broadly about what you’ve achieved so far and note down anything that went really well. It doesn’t have to be specifically related to your goals – just anything great that happened.

Pull out your diary and calendar and flick through the last six months. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve done that you forgot about.

 

What challenged you?

Your diary, calendar, or journal might jog your memory on the things that got in your way.

What stopped you from achieving the results you wanted?

Are those challenges still in your life? If so, is there some way around them?

Was it your own self that got in the way? Why?

 

How do you want to feel?

Focus on how you want to feel. Really – stop what you’re doing right now and imagine feeling that way. Picture yourself displaying that feeling. Now what’s it gonna take to feel that for real?

This is a BIG question. And the answer might seem impossible. But it also might be simple. If it feels really big and hard, then just break it down. What are the things that need to change, big and small?

 

Identify your goals

Working out how you want to feel should help to identify some important goals for you. Sometimes we have goals that are actually in conflict with how we want to feel. So if you have goals already, I want you to really think about how you’ll feel when you achieve them. Does it match what you identified in the previous section? If so, great! If not, well… you’ve got some thinking to do… and that’s for another post. Or contact me in the meantime if you find yourself in this predicament.

Note down your goals. What is the big thing you’re working toward?

How far do you think you can get toward that in the next six months? This is what you’re going to focus on now.

Where do you want to be at the end of this year? Be specific: on 31 December, what do you want to have achieved? It might be part of a goal or an entire goal. But be very specific.

 

Break it down

For each goal that you’ve identified, break it down to pieces and smaller time frames.

What are the baby steps involved in achieving this goal?

What will half-way look like?

What steps will you achieve in the first month?

What are your weekly tasks associated with achieving this goal?

How will you see you’re making progress?

 

Use your diary or calendar

If you use a diary or a calendar, use it to mark out your goals and your tasks. Even just writing your goal at the top of each month can help you focus on taking steps toward it. Whenever you go to schedule something else in, you’ll be reminded of what you’re working toward. When everything else gets so busy, being constantly reminded of your goals will help you to prioritise them or at least squeeze them in.

Set a review date

By now you should have finished that drink of something delicious (and possibly had another one… but I won’t judge). You’re feeling clear (-ish, depending on what you were drinking) and focused and ready to take on the second half of this year and turn it into something great. Take one second to remember how you felt earlier… a bit dull, a bit vague about life, a bit blah. You wanna feel that way again in a few months’ time, after all this work you’ve just put in? No. You don’t.

Set a note on your calendar or in your phone to do a review of your goals.

I recommend having a weekly check-in. This only needs to take 5-10 minutes and doesn’t have to be anything formal. But you need to be reminded to think about what you’re working toward and why, so set a reminder.

Then, at the end of each month have a bit more of a sesh. Maybe spend 30 minutes looking at the past month and planning out the next.

Every three months you should try to find time to go through this whole detailed process and reeeeaaaallly look hard at what’s been going on and what’s coming up.

 

Reset the year

Whether you’re working on something major or just a bunch of little changes in your life, you can start anytime. Don’t let winter and the mid-year blues hold you back. Use this time as your launch pad, your starting block, your fresh start. Set aside some time to work through the process above and let me know if it works for you.

Of course, if you want some more individualised and guided support, I would love for you to get in touch for a free initial consultation.

 

9 Ways to Get Motivated and Do That Boring Thing

Just get started

You know that thing that’s been popping up on your to-do list for way too long? And now it just irritates you every time you see it? Or that mammoth task that is just overwhelming and soul-crushingly boring that even if you did know where to start, you just don’t want to? It can be so hard to get motivated and get these things off your list.

Sometimes it’s something so simple and menial that it just never reaches the top of your priority list. An example might be cleaning out the pantry. Or it might be something that’s just too complex and time-consuming that you just can’t find the time to get into it.  A uni assignment or a report for work might fall into this category.

Either way, it’s slowly nibbling away at your happiness – or maybe it’s taking huge greedy gulps – so let’s just deal with it and let you get on with the good stuff in life.

Here are nine ways to get motivated and just get it done:

Stick a note somewhere prominent

Do you find yourself just forgetting the task because other things are more important or more fun? Then stick a big fat reminder on your bathroom mirror, on the fridge, on the front door, or on your hand. Every time you get distracted or start to procrastinate, you’ll remember what it is you’re supposed to be doing. And you’ll have a sense of satisfaction when it’s done and you can tear down that annoying note!

Visualise finishing the task

Whenever I submitted a uni assignment I would feel a crazy wave of relief that it was over, and excitement that I could now move on to something else. Despite often spending waaaaay too many hours sitting at my desk and way too few hours sleeping as I approached a deadline, I would be filled with energy after submitting the assignment. So when I was feeling stuck or unmotivated, I would try to visualise hitting the submit button and feeling that awesome rush. It was often enough to push me to keep working.

Think about WHY you must do it

Using the example of a uni assignment again, I’d often feel resentful because the topic wasn’t interesting or the assignment seemed pointless. So I’d remind myself of the big picture. I was completing a degree that was important to me because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of other people. That assignment, however boring, was contributing to my overall degree. Using the example of a menial task around the house, I think about how having a clean and organised home makes me feel happy and helps my family to function easier. Thinking about the big picture can often help you to either appreciate the importance of the task, or at least just grit your teeth and get it done.

Set a timer

We often overestimate how long something boring or difficult is going to take. I sometimes think I don’t have time to empty the dishwasher, but in reality, it only takes me two minutes if I stay focused on it. I know this because I can empty the whole load in the time it takes my oats to cook in the microwave! It’s when we get distracted (hello Facebook) or start procrastinating that these tasks take forever.

See how much you can get done in 15 minutes and allow yourself to stop once the timer goes off if you feel like it. You’ll often find that once you get started it’s easier to just keep going, but even if you stop after the 15 minutes, you will have achieved so much more than if you hadn’t focused for that time.

Even if it’s a huge task and you know it will take hours, setting a timer can help keep you focused and get more done. One of my favourite tools for staying focused is the Pomodoro technique. This is where you work on the task for 25 minutes, and then have a 5-minute break, then work for 25 minutes, then another 5-minute break. During the 25-minute focus zone, whenever I think of something else I want to do, I just jot it down and then do it during the 5-minute break. You can have a CRAZY productive day working like this.

Break it up

If, like me, you love the satisfaction of crossing things off lists, then break the task up into smaller chunks and write them on a list. As you do each part you can cross it off and see that you’re making progress. Or if lists don’t excite you, you can at least make progress on the task in smaller chunks, so you don’t feel like it’s taking up all of your day.

Reward yourself

Plan a nice reward for yourself once the task is done. It might be a relaxing soak in the tub with a book, or a night out with the girls to celebrate. Whatever you choose, it should be something that you don’t normally do and something that you’re not going to indulge in before the task is done.

Pair it up with something enjoyable.

Having time to listen to a podcast uninterrupted is a very rare treat for me these days, so if I have stuff around the house that needs doing, I find it’s actually more enjoyable if I can listen to a podcast at the same time. For something like an assignment or a work report, try doing it in a different environment like a café or by the lake.

Set a deadline

Tell yourself that by 5pm Friday this task is no longer going to be haunting you. Even if the task already has a set deadline (like a uni assignment for example), bring that time forward so you can get it done sooner and move on to something else.

Think about what’s stopping you

Is it that you don’t understand the content or process? Or you don’t have the right equipment? Are you afraid of failing? Are you worried about how long it will take? Is your environment dragging you down? Work out what it is that’s making this task so unappealing, and see if you can find a way to address that.

Get in touch

Feel free to comment on this post or contact me about which boring or difficult tasks you’re struggling with. Or let me know other tricks you use to motivate yourself. And then… just get that thing done and move on with your life!

If you need some more targeted and individualised support with getting – and staying – motivated, consider hiring a coach to help you.