Signs it’s time to change your life: NOW

Life: it changes every day but frustratingly, often we feel as though we are doing the same things day in, day out, and getting nowhere. Do you have big dreams and goals? The New Year is a great time to change a few things in your life around and set some great plans in motion for the year.

Here are 5 signs that you are ready to change your life. If you have seen two or more of these signs, that’s a good indication that it’s time to start making some alterations to your life, your career, your goals and your future.

1. Idea

It all starts with a great idea! Have you come up with a concept for a small business? Have you been secretly wanting to advance up the chain of command at work, but can’t find the right course that might get you there? Can you potentially see a better way of doing things in your everyday life?

One of the biggest signs that you are ready to change your life is that you feel inspired by a persistent idea. According to a celebrated Indian philosopher, Vivekananda, you should “take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”

Your idea does not have to be groundbreaking, it could even be something quite simple, such as finding a few extra hours a week to devote to your passion.

2. Identify your goals

Another sign that it’s time to stop thinking and start doing is that you have clearly identified your goals. We all have different goals and our goals shift and change throughout our lives as our priorities move.

What are your goals? Do you have a personal interest you’d like to pursue? Are you looking to start a new career? Are you hoping to gain more skills? Are you wanting to start a small business? If you actually know what you want to achieve, no matter what it is, then half the battle is already won.

Get some advice, research on line, choose a short course to get yourself into a network of people who might be able to inspire you and help you. If you have already identified your goals, then this is a sure sign that you are ready to change your life.

3. You have some time

Just about every adult claims to be “time poor”. There are even studies that show children are overscheduled and feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The truth is, we all have some free time available to us, we just need to make our goals a priority.

Fitness guru and self-proclaimed nerd, Steve Kamb has said, “Your priorities, whether you say so or not, are where you choose to spend those hours.  Make the most of them!  It’s amazing how much time you can find when you minimize the things that aren’t important to make room for the things that are.”

If you have found that you have some extra time in your schedule for whatever reason, then this could be another great indication that it’s time to make some changes in your life.

4. You feel bored with what you are currently doing

Lynn A Robinson, M.Ed., is one of America’s leading experts on the topic of intuition. She has said “Boredom is one of those messages from your intuition that change is needed. It’s a signal that your energy is being drained and that something new needs to happen.”

Are you bored with your current situation? Lynn suggests that you should, “bear in mind that the change that’s required may simply be a shift in attitude or a new way of approaching something. It could also mean it’s time to take action and make an outer, tangible change in your life.”

We all get bored from time to time with our day to day activities and tasks, it’s when this shifts from being a slight annoyance to a persistent feeling of boredom that we should take heed and start to change some things in our lives around.

5. A plan

It doesn’t need to be perfect or set in stone. All you need is the very next step! Not all of us are great planners. In fact, some people are so lousy at planning that they drift through life and never achieve any of the goals that they hope for.

Usually these people lack focus and a plan. They are ‘dreamers’ who fail to see the next step on their journey. Any goal looks huge when viewed from the end point. It’s only when we break up a goal into smaller chunks that we get somewhere.

If you have a plan, even a vague plan, that could be a good indication that it’s time to change your life. Remember, you need to have a clear end goal, but the next step is always the most important one on your life’s journey.

Advertisements
this is an artistic photo of a circle

21 Ways to Motivate Yourself (+ 1 Spare!)

You’ve got an idea. You’re excited about it. The first few weeks while you work towards your plan fly by in a flurry of activity: you organise things efficiently, you make phone calls and send emails, you start to get things moving.

Then you hit a wall.

It’s not uncommon for us to be really excited about something when we first embark upon it, it’s when we are a few weeks or months in that the real work begins. If you feel that you have become stuck in a rut with an idea, then there are ways to motivate yourself to achieve your plans and goals.

Getting stuck is nothing to be ashamed of – it happens to us all. The trick is learning how to motivate yourself when you’ve lost some of that golden enthusiasm you had when you first decided to study, take on a new project or job, or start that business.

1. Visualise your long term goals

Often when we set out to do something significant, the task seems unsurmountable. Make sure you have a clear vision of where you want to get to. Be specific. For example, if you are keen on studying accounting or beauty therapy, find a specific course that you want to do.

2. Focus on short term achievements too

A short term goal might be to simply spend a few hours researching what you want to achieve. Once you spend some quality time investing in your idea, whether it’s a business goal or study plan, you’ll feel a lot closer to the outcome.

3. Compete with yourself

A bit of healthy competition can be advantageous when the only competitor is yourself. Try to do just a little more today than you did yesterday and watch the rewards come in.

4. A bit of healthy competition

You might want to compete with others too, but in a positive way, that is! Motivate yourself by finding out what others are achieving in your industry or sector and see if you can match or better them.

5. Give yourself rewards

Rewards help to keep us motivated, so long as they are healthy rewards. Buy yourself a little treat when you finish that big study or work task or reward yourself with a long afternoon walk to the ice cream shop once you’ve done your allocated study.

6. Get a theme song!

Rocky had one and so should you! Make yourself a study or work playlist and use it to motivate yourself when times are tough.

7. Have a realistic goal

Want to rule the world? Have your own international show like Oprah? Design clothes for the future Queen of England? Start small. Many people get stuck because their goals are unrealistic. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, but work in small steps.

8. Break your goals into small tasks

Think of the things you need to sort out and break the tasks into small groups of things. If you have lots of banking or IT issues to sort out, have that in a different pile to your schedule-planning and phone calls. Study or work on one thing in the morning, another in the afternoon.

9. Get off the seat of your pants

Take frequent breaks from sitting down every single hour. Stand up, stretch and move your legs around. Even taking just one minute every hour can make a huge difference to your motivation levels.

10. Do some exercise

Factoring time to get out and about is vital to keeping you moving towards your goals. It’s preferable to get some fresh air and exercise outside, but doing a quick session at your local gym or a yoga or dance class can be just as valuable. Not your thing? Take the kids to the park and push them on the swing. It counts as cardio!

11. Make a vision board

One way to motivate yourself towards your goals is to make a vision board. Collect images that represent how you feel about your goals. Stick your vision board somewhere prominent and look at it every day. Add things to it and remove things from it as you achieve and grow.

12. Allot appropriate time to tasks

One of the biggest traps you can fall into is not giving yourself enough time. Don’t think you can sort out a complicated administration issue with one phone call and don’t think you can read a whole book or study guide in a single afternoon. Be realistic.

13. Don’t get distracted

There is so much competition for our attention these days. Make sure you train your mind to focus on one thing, wholeheartedly, at a time. Even if you just give yourself 15 uninterrupted minutes with a task, you will see the difference.

14. Turn off social media

Put your smartphone in the next room, on silent. Let your message service take any non-urgent calls. Your social media networking could have a place in your study or business planning, but don’t get distracted by meaningless chatter. Keep your mind on the job.

15. Find some ‘you’ time

It’s essential to take some time to spend quality time with yourself. Often we are so busy with friends, colleagues, family and kids that we forget to spend a few minutes of quality time on our own. Try to make some time for yourself each week. Even if it’s only half an hour!

16. Keep hydrated

Without drinking lots of water, your brain will start to feel tired and lethargic. Take frequent, small sips throughout your study period to remain fresh and alert.

17. Study, plan or work with a friend

When we spend some time working with another person it can help to keep us motivated as we bounce ideas of the other person and hear their point of view. Make sure that you factor in some solo work time but collaboration often leads to grand results. Work with someone you trust.

18. Beat your personal best

Did you mange to complete three tasks yesterday? Could you get though four today? Giving yourself motivated goals can be a great way to stay alert and energised to push through a task to its competition.

19. Break tasks up into small chunks

Group similar tasks together and tackle them in chunks. This can mean that you do all of your administration on one day and all your research on another, leaving one day for note-taking and group study or work.

20. Have a great mindset

A positive attitude can go a long way! Tell yourself that you will achieve your goals and focus on the good things you have already done. There have been studies that indicate that pessimists often have a more realistic view of an outcome, but optimists get more done.

21. Find a mentor

A good way to motivate yourself is to connect with someone you admire, or who is doing something that you one day hope to do. Here is an article on how to make connections in both your local area and more broadly online.

And the very last tip? Have fun!

One way to remain motivated is to consistently have fun. Taking things too seriously can be a downer and life is too short to always achieve, achieve, achieve. We all feel lazy and unmotivated sometimes. Often if you are really stuck in a period of feeling unmotivated, you may really need to take a proper break. Don’t feel bad – you are only human!

8 Ways to Nurture Yourself

It’s important to take some time out of our busy days to nurture and value ourselves. Often we are so busy and there are so many demands on us that we begin to feel drained and tired. Remember that you are a true treasure and that you should be treating yourself with the same love and respect that you would treat others. Here are some ways to nurture yourself that I thought you might like to try.

Speaking to yourself nicely

Do you do it? I often have a problem with negative self-talk. I don’t know why. After all, I am a fabulous person and so are you! I have many flaws and often I let these perceived flaws bother me to the point where I get very stressed about them.

I try to think of other people’s good points

It really helps me to get on in the world. I like most people and I often have to plan for lots of ‘alone’ time because I find being around other people quite draining. I like to give people lots of energy and sometimes I just don’t have it in me.

I have heard theories that we only have access to a certain amount of energy each day, and that amount is finite. It runs out. I have heard that it is important to preserve this energy and not waste it on things that are not worth it, such as stress.

Turn media off when feeling drained

There are a few things I try to do when I am feeling drained. Often I don’t know how to appropriately nurture myself. I don’t like watching TV. I have too short an attention span to watch movies. I write and read so much anyway that this sometimes doesn’t relax me. So what are some appropriate ways I can nurture myself?

I like to cook

I make sure that I choose a recipe that has lots of ‘processes’ to keep me busy. I love the challenge of putting together something new. Once I tried to make homemade tortillas and I even went to a special market to find maize flour. They were the most god-awful things I have ever tried to create and I still don’t know how I managed to stuff them up so royally. At least I had fun making them.

Go on a senses walk

this is a photo of a garden

So what the hell is that I hear you ask? Go on a walk in nature (or even a bustling city) and really try to be aware of your five senses as you walk. What can you see, hear, smell, taste..what sensations can you feel? Imagine you are an alien that has just landed on this amazing planet and see it anew.

Crochet!

Ok I am really crappy at crochet but I have recently met a crochet genius. This person practically taught themselves to crochet in only a couple of weeks. I am now the proud owner of the exciting beanie you can see in this post’s main shot and one day I hope to make my own. Sewing, crocheting or embroidering are all great, nurturing activities.

Big glass of water

this is a photo of a glass of water

I am a huge water drinker! I go though glasses and glasses every day with ease. A big glass of water is a very nurturing thing for you, your body will really appreciate it. Get big glasses too, as I find this helps. If you really need to, sweeten with a tiny bit of juice or cordial but only a tiny, tiny bit!

Cuddle!

I am a very affectionate person and I love to be cuddled. A cuddle makes me feel safe and happy and I get some of the other cuddler’s loving energy. If I feel really awful I like to be cuddled all night, no matter if it’s on the couch or in bed, I will take a cuddle as it comes. I will also dispense them freely too. I am giving you a virtual cuddle right now.

What are some ways you nurture yourself? Please share!

art mirror

Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships?

I have just finished the self-help relationships book I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway by Tracy McMillan. Life was tough for Tracy. What would you do if your father was a pimp, a drug dealer and a womaniser who left you abandoned to fend for yourself in a series of foster homes from a very young age, messing up your chance at having decent, healthy relationships with men?

One Easy Trick to Self Love

I have previously written a post on a great technique she gives to deal with the feelings of self-hatred and negative chatter that we can experience when we go through a bad relationship break up. It’s easy – and I really recommend you try it. My post summarises it, and Tracy’s book also covers it, but you have to read the whole book to get to the trick at the end!

Why You’re Not Married

Tracy McMillan became well known recently because she wrote an article called Why You’re Not Married that was published in the Huffington Post and contained suggestions such as “You’re a Bitch,” and “You’re a Slut” (oh Tracy you know me so well?!). It’s written in a tongue-in-cheek style, as the author has been married three times herself, so she admits to having messed up lots in her past and is by no means ‘holier than thou’ when it comes to making mistakes in love.

If you can, buy the book. It’s really well written and has a very interesting structure, tracing the author’s love life from her childhood through to her third divorce. As mentioned, Tracy’s father was a pimp and a drug dealer, and most notably, a womaniser and Tracy works out that she has been having adult relationships where she is trying to reconcile her feelings with her father, who is in prison. She (like others) believes that our adult relationships are just our way of attracting lessons into our lives that we have to learn – so she finds herself attracted to men that plan to leave her, just as her father did when she was a child.

Sorting Out Childhood Issues with Bad Relationships

If you are having trouble with destructive relationships, if you feel yourself drawn to the wrong type of men or women, then buy a copy of this book. Tracy tries to work out why she constantly seems to mindlessly go back to relationships to sort out aspects of herself she hasn’t dealt with, and it’s not until she leans to deal with her own emotional crap that she can finally let go of her destructive patterns.

My only issue with this is the fact that someone like Tracy should have every reason to have a difficult adulthood, having come from such a difficult childhood. I similarly don’t have that sort of excuse. My parents were (and are) outstanding, loving, present, happy and gave me every opportunity in the world – and yet I still have issues with relationships.

So I Have No Excuses – Am I Just an Asshole?

I can’t use my parents as an excuse. I have had some enormously difficult and destructive relationships, including my present one where there has been significant abuse doled out (I guess on both sides, although he’s the only one who’s been in trouble with the law) and yet, I’m still in it. I sadly can’t give the excuse that I came from a difficult childhood – I guess I’m just an asshole. Or maybe I’m just with an asshole. Either way my current relationship is problematic and my inability to leave it makes me feel that there are obviously deeper issues to be dealt with here.

Why I Love Bad Boys

My relationships have been pretty destructive from the start. I guess I like bad boys and people who are slightly crazy. Ordinary guys are so boring. I have never really gone out with someone ‘nice’. I tried to once, but we broke it off very quickly, after only a couple of months. He was very religious and had decided to abstain from sex unless he had been seeing that partner for over a year. I was very keen to get into his virginal pants. While we were courting I drove him so crazy that he was in actual, physical pain trying to restrain himself. I was not a good match for him.

Even my very first boy was a bad boy. He actually ended up gay, but when we were in our teens he was a real womaniser, dating five girls at a time. I set myself up for heartbreak and heartbreak is what I got.  Still wonder why I did that. I had no reason to pick someone so unsuitable, so unattainable. I was never very confident as a teen. I was a little heavy and I never felt attractive. It was just a phase, by age 18 I had lost all my excess weight and I was attractive and confident. But still it took a while for my mind to catch up with my physical transformation.

I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway

If you have destructive relationships; if you keep making the same mistakes; If you find yourself running towards something you think may be bad for you – read this book. Tracy McMillan is actually one of the writers on Mad Men, so she knows how to tell a great yarn. I highly recommend this book. It’s different.  She doesn’t give herself too easy a time, she is open and honest in her portrait of herself, which makes it a fascinating book.

The core messages of this memoir are quite powerful:

You are special and unique. You are worthy of Love. You deserve love and respect.

It takes Tracy forty years to come to term with those sentiments, and it’s a wild journey. Buy a copy of this book. It’s been my fave for 2013 so far.

broken umbrella

Made a Mistake? These are the 5 Things You Need to Say

Messed up? We all make mistakes in life, most of us every single day. Does it make you a bad person? An idiot? Evil? A lax worker? A bad father? A shitty girlfriend?

No – It makes you human.

You will make mistakes. Here is what to do about it.

1. Assume responsibility

Yes you – if you’ve made a mistake the first thing you need to do is to accept the blame for it. So many people shift blame when they are in the wrong, and this is never helpful, it just delays the inevitable. If you have done something wrong and made a mistake – own up to it and admit it. There’s a real strength in that. Real women and real men own up to their mistakes, children don’t.

We all make mistakes – it’s a guarantee in life.

I love this quote, “blame and excuses are the hallmarks of an unsuccessful life”. I think we all know someone who is deeply unhappy with his or her life, and it’s never their own fault. It’s always due to their crappy childhood or their overbearing parents. It could be because of circumstance or the fact that they were born shorter than their brother or into a ‘struggling’ family.

By assuming responsibility – you are taking charge. You are owning your mistakes. You are moving on. Be brave, pull your socks up, take a deep breath and assume responsibility.

  • Say, “Yes. I did that. I made a mistake”

2. Make a sincere apology

It’s important, very important. But what makes a sincere apology? How do you effectively say you’re sorry? First off, the person you need to apologise to needs to be able to hear you. They may not be able to forgive you yet, but they need to be able to let your words in.

Think about what you did that caused you to react the wrong way.

Make it genuine, and don’t try to justify your actions. Make a commitment to change your actions in the future and make sure you choose your words carefully, not expecting a conclusion that makes you feel better. The conclusion to your apology may be awkward, or not as you expect. This is ok. You have done your bit.

  • Say, “I am sorry for the mistake I made.”

3. Accept consequences

If there are consequences to your actions or words, accept them. Don’t try to wheedle your way out of anything bad that comes up. Just accept it and move on. The truth always comes out in the end – so fess up to your mistakes. Sometimes this can even help people identify with you and think of you as a better person. It takes a really strong person to accept the consequences of their actions.

Take your punishment with as much courage as you are able to. It will make you a better, stronger person.

  • Say, “I know what I did caused problems. I am aware of these problems.”

4. Make things right

If you can fix things, then do. If you have made a mistake at work or at home that you can resolve, this is a great step towards healing yourself.

It can be difficult to take this advice, as it requires you to be humble and contrite. Most human beings don’t like this – it makes them feel weak and uncomfortable. But it will actually make you feel stronger.

“Most clients say that their most trusted contractors have not been perfect, but that when mistakes were made, the contractor made it up to them by admitting their responsibility and offering either a steep discount or replacement free of charge in exchange for the inconvenience caused by their error.” Wikihow.

  • Say, “If I can help to set things right, then I will. I commit to that.”

5. Ask for forgiveness

Once you have apologised, you can ask for forgiveness. The other person (or party) does not have to give it, but you have now done all that you are required to do.

“When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” Hugh White: United Kingdom, Royal Navy.

  • Say, “I have said I am sorry, I have learned from my mistakes and I ask for your forgiveness.”

photo by kurafire