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Turning over a new leaf: Books to start 2020

As I prepared to start into 2020, I reflected back on the amount of reading I had done in 2019. Ten books or so later, how much wiser was I and how much time had I spent deliberately improving myself. When I lounged on the poolside in Bulgaria last July, I consciously worked my way through two of those as my toes faintly tanned. This reignited a like for the past-time that I’d left after me more recently.

Reading is a massive part of my self-development plan, see? Apart from the fact that it takes my ever-busy mind away from multiple screens and social media, it allows me to learn from people who have been there, done that.

Last Christmas, my team bought me a book voucher which actually, helped spark such a keen interest in building my reading. Secondly, the personal and professional life change I saw in 2019 spurred me on to strengthen my knowledge in whatever way possible. Finally, in order to become a better writer, it’s true that aside from actually writing, it’s important to build ideas and vocabulary from absorbing other writer’s content.

This year, I’ll work through at least twenty books. Here’s to hoping it’s doable and well, I’m off to great start so far.

Books I’ve read so far in 2020 (kicked off at the end of 2019) are ‘Everything is figuroutable’ by Marie Forleo, ‘What would the Spice Girls do?’ by Lauren Bravo and ‘Who moved my cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson M.D.

My top recommendation is ‘Everything is figuroutable’ by Marie Forleo. Picked up while rummaging through Barnes and Noble in Utah at the end of the year, I spotted this read. When I started as a freelancer in 2011, I watched a lot of Marie’s videos as I wanted to learn how to be the best marketer and entrepreneur possible. Fast forward to when I bought the book, it’s been a nice reminder of her brilliance.

Marie Forleo is a self-made, self-motivated life coach who quit her high-paying job to embark on a ten year journey to successful entrepreneurship.

Her book covers the fundamentals of how to reach her definition of success. This includes time management, managing your inner critic and tangibly working towards your goals with tips and examples throughout. It’s practical with actual written work you can partake in after each chapter. As I worked to adopt new habits, it is a book that is super motivating and will drive you to take action towards what you want right NOW.

‘What would the Spice Girls do?’ is not only entertaining but as a 30 something year old, it resonates deeply. As a young teenager, I was a huge Spice Girls fan and can relate to the influence this girl band had on my peers and I. They not only founded the concept of girl power, they also showed young women that they could be what they want (especially if that related to being a Pop star). Lauren Bravo writes about how the Spice Girls impacted our generation and generations thereafter.

Thirdly, my manager gifted me ‘Who moved my cheese’ which is a best-seller and has sold over 1 million copies. As I mentioned it to a few friends, they were mostly surprised that I hadn’t read it due to its popularity.

It’s a short read which I completed in a day and a half (as a slow reader) and keeps things simple. When navigating through change, we have two choices – either to stay where we are and not adapt or to move forward and accept that we will be forced out of our comfort zones. Spencer uses a straightforward analogy of mice looking for cheese. When the cheese is moved, the mice have two choices – to stay and hope the cheese returns or to move on in the hope of finding more, to potentially even better cheese.

Moving throughout 2020, I’m looking for further recommendations. Feel free to share yours across in the comments field below or by reaching out to me.

Five Ways To Start Preparing For 2018 – Now

I’ve said it before. Who cares about new year’s resolutions? If you’re going to make a change, why not now? I’m guilty of it myself. I’ve got a busy couple of months ahead with Christmas in retail and so, it would be easy to throw my fitness plans to the side. However for many reasons, I will push through with them now. I need to get the benefit of it now (not in three months from now) and besides, it’s better to start sooner rather than later. In three months from now, I’ll have wished that I started today.

Considering 2017 as a year, it hasn’t been bad. It also hasn’t been the best year of my life. There have been so many things I’ve said I’d do and they haven’t happened. I wanted to see more of the world – that was limited. Meanwhile, I had some health challenges and had some personal situations pop up that hadn’t been invited around. It all worked out and I feel on track however I can’t help but think that 2018 needs to be better. The way for me to do this is being pro-active and being clear on where I want to be.

As mentioned above, I’ve taken a better stance on my fitness. To be honest, I haven’t had a choice. Visiting a physio again last week brought me and my sore back right down to earth – I need to take care of myself. Other goals have been to grow this blog (yes, again) and thirdly, I want to travel more. Hence why I booked my first holiday of the year for April next year (watch this space). It doesn’t need to be a challenge, it just needs to be organised and realistic.

So there’s a whole new year ahead, have you thought about what you want it to be like for yourself? Are you a planner or do you like to take things as they come?

*Firstly, the reason I got planning for next year was financial. For one, I realise that booking holidays super close to the time means that I spend way more on the trip than I need to. Sometimes, this means I don’t go at all as I don’t want to part ways with lots of cash. So basically, planning for 2018 now will save some cash.

*Being clear on goals means you aren’t flapping about in the dark. I am personally happiest when I know where I stand and where I’m headed. This is why I know what holidays I’ll take, how fit I want to get and how much money I want to save. These are all the areas for me to work on so these are the examples I’m using. For yourself though, perhaps it’s to do with diet, a career move or a hobby you’ve been dreaming about? Get journaling, planning and taking action NOW.

*Is there something you need to put in place now in order to reach a certain goal in 2018? Perhaps, you need to enrol in a course, put down a deposit on a trip somewhere or start researching something that will move you in the direct of your calling.

*How many times have you worked on this before? Did it work out or has it left you at square one? If there’s a goal you want to reach that you’ve failed to reach before, learn from your mistakes. Why didn’t it work out? What can you change this time? You know your self better than anyone.

*Work on yourself and everything else will follow. I’m a huge believer in the self-help movement. I believe if we work on ourselves and how we value ourselves then we’ll be more likely to reach our goals. If you’re not feeling as great or as confident as you could – spend some time on the why. Read some books, watch Ted Talks or discuss with a life coach. I promise you’ll be glad you did – no matter the reason.

Whether it’s for 2018 or right now, being clear of goals and intentions is more likely to move you in a direction that suits you.¬†

#thelittlethings: Four Small Changes I’ve Made Lately

“We become what we repeatedly do.” – Sean Covey

It’s an ongoing journey and sometimes, a battle. There’s so much to juggle, so many people to stay in touch with and at the same time, an information-rich world bombarding us with the latest ‘must-dos’ to stay on track and be “our best selves”. We want to have it all and, feel it all while at the same time, looking like royalty with the perfect abs under our perfectly ironed shirts.

At this stage, it’s nothing new to read my thoughts on habits and the journey to changing them. Baby steps are of course key and this blog post won’t tell you any different. Lately, I’ve had to remind myself that small changes are going to get me there (wherever there may be) and any action at all is progress.

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Over the past few months, I’ve fallen off the wagon when it comes to certain habits. These include my eating habits, exercise and self-development. For a while, routines weren’t the same as before as I started into a new position, got super busy and needed to focus on loads outside of myself.

No regrets as I’ve (as always) done what I needed to do at any given time. The past couple of weeks have seen me getting back to those little daily actions that I know make me feel good and performing at my best.

1)Cutting out caffeine.

I work in retail and so, the end of last year was a mental time for me. Coffee was something I consumed daily and so, I pulled back from the decaf and instead opted for extra shots of whatever the baristas could give me. As 2016 came around, I reconsidered my step back to caffeine and decided to start back on decaf bar a little matcha in the mornings. My presses are empty of coffee and when I go to the coffee shops, I opt for options such as ‘Chai Lattes’ and other fancy stuff.

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2) Making exercise more relaxing

I often feel pangs of guilt when I don’t go to the gym. I know I need to exercise and I feel better for having gone to some sort of class or even a jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Feeling super busy and tired when I get home from work, the excuses have crept in over the last while. As I started to recognise this, walking has become a priority. I’m between houses (moving next week, yay!) therefore this makes the most sense for me. Literally, baby-steps are being taken in the area near the estate. The gym will come calling again in a couple of weeks again but for now, walking will do.

3) I’ve micro-blogged more

Just because blogging everyday can’t happen, doesn’t mean micro-blogging can’t, right? What do I mean by micro-blogging? Basically, snippets of writing and helpful tips get shared via my social media channels –Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. While I’d love to be writing more and more, I feel like I at least have the chance to connect with readers via those platforms in between posts.

4) I’ve given myself a break

Today, I was off after a busy week. It was super-productive and positive and lovely… but busy. I took the morning today to chill out, watch endless episodes of ‘Girls’ and be lazy. It was something I found a challenge as I love to get loads done on my days off. Of course, I took the afternoon to do some cooking and blog work (after my nap). Knowing when to rest is such a little thing but it’s a little thing that can make all the difference.

Keep an eye on the details that work for you.