I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago about one of my favourite topics; decluttering and mentioned to her that there was no need to keep so many books when you have thousands that can be downloaded free to kindle and the access of a fantastic library system in our home town Leeds. I had recently decluttered several bags of novels to either the local charity shops or to a website that buys them.
However it got me thinking. I had 2 and a half shelves full of self help style books and over 30 again on my kindle. I have probably read only about 20% of them and some I’ve had for up to 10 years and still not read. It did get me thinking though can a person (who is not in any ‘helping’ professions) have too many self help books and is reading all of them more helpful?
Let’s face it, they do’t all say the same thing. One will conflict the advice in another. There isn’t one style of help that is more prevalent or helpful than any other. It all depends on the individual reading them. And if you read one thing and the next book insists on you doing something in a different way how are you supposed to know what good or bad you are doing to yourself?
I’ve had therapy and know what my issues are, what triggers them and how (mostly) to deal with it. What I actually need to do is actually do! So my first action was to declutter these books from the shelves. So far I have got everything down to the one shelf with books I can sell and made myself about £18 in the process. Not a lot when I probably spent over £200 on these but it’s £18 I didn’t have in the run up to Xmas.
Of the ones I have left there are a couple I refuse to part with. I will be keeping my John C Parkin F**K It books as I love the message behind them, my decluttering and Hygge books as they are lifestyles I enjoy and use. I am keeping my crystal books as this is again an area of interest and a potential business area I keep toying with and lastly my Taoism books; the only spirituality I’ve ever managed to connect with. Anything else is in the bag for a charity to sell.
Within my kindle if it is on my general reading list section it can probably go. I do have a few in my documents that I downloaded fro netgalley so I will need to read them for reviews. And then that’s it. Beyond any I have left for netgalley I want to try and spend 2019 self help book free. Less reading, more doing. I’m going to stop giving myself mixed messages and try and live life in the best way that I think is right for me. It will still be a tough one as it’s my final year of having a debt repayment plan (last payment Jan 2020!) but I want to make it as stress free as possible and it looks like the best way to do that is to stop reading books on how to be stress free.
The latest Action for Happiness calendar is all about New Things November. Last month we were asked to do a number of things that were all about Optimism and seeing the brighter side of life. It was quite well times for me as there was a lot of uncertainty at work and it reminded me that there is more than work and to not bring those issues home with me.
The first thing on the new calendar is to write a list of all the new things you want to try this month. Easy thing to start with because as of today I start a new team at work. We recently restructured and I’ve moved to a new management strand so there will be lots of new opportunities to try out.
I’m a member of a craft club at work. This month through them I’ll be learning to make Xmas pop up cards, an ‘exploding’ Christmas box and some more origami so again lots of new things to try. I’m loving the craft club. Not only is it good for your mental health but it’s fun. Yesterday as it was Halloween we made lights out of jam jars and some pom pom spiders. Mine genuinely looked like a 5 year old had made them. Really not my finest hour but I’d spent an hour with glue, scissors and some like minded people and had some fun. I’m now strangely proud of my messy creations! So I’m looking forward to 6 weeks of Christmas crafting that is coming up.
I also want to go back to practising minimalism. Whilst that is not a new thing to try I’ve joined a Facebook group (which is a new thing) and hopefully I’ll pick up some new tips.
Lastly while I’ve been diligent in going to the gym I’ve really lost it with eating healthily. I’ve had far too much sugary items so I have lots of cookbooks and am going to aim to eat at least one new meal from them per week. I also have a bunch of Wii dance and exercise games and the 5 minute exercise sessions on my Sky+ (TiVo) so I can do some new types of exercise. The gym also do exercise classes so there’s even more new things there.
There we go – lots of new things. I’ve mentioned many times my money worries and the best thing about the list I’ve put together is there is no real outlay other than what I already pay for. A few days ago when I saw this was coming my natural anxiety led thought was I could never afford to do this month as everything costs money. I’ve just proven to myself in a few paragraphs this isn’t true. I’m looking forward to this month and seeing what adventures I can find.
Other new free/cheap things to trythat I will look at
More facebook groups linked to my interests
Twitter want to remove the ‘like’ button so more conversations rather than just clicking a button
Going for walks on a Sunday
Looking for the special offers on the food packets we already buy (my friend has just got 6 free cinema tickets by doing this)
Using the Bumble app to make new friends (also a dating app for anyone that wants to look at this side)
Talking to strangers
Borrow a book by a new author from the library
Listen to a new artist on Spotify (or choice of streaming website)
We did the gym measurements check in early as we didn’t want to skew the stats as I’ll be spending most of next week eating hotel food so after 11 weeks (or technically 10 as I had a week off) and bearing in mind I’ve eaten cake or wagon wheels every day this week I have lost since I joined 2.2 kgs and 5 3/4 inches which I’m pretty chuffed about.
Looking at my nerdy spreadsheet I didn’t start noting inches until I’d lost a stone but in 2018 I’ve lost 26 1/2 pounds (the half’s important) and a minimum of 18 1/2 inches (they included abs and arms which I didn’t). Who knows what it should be but I’m chuffed enough with these figures anyway. So next time I tell myself I’m a rubbish dieter I should probably look back at this post!
I haven’t done any daily blog posts for a while and was planning to do one this month as the Action for happiness calendar is Optimistic October however life has been a bit busy and so the first 4 days are going to have to be crammed into the first blog.
Day 1 was to write down your most important goals for the month. I have the usual; to work on my weight loss and health journey and to start and not get behind on my Open Uni course as this years module starts at the weekend. I also wanted to write something about work. Now I’m in the middle of a big restructure and as I’ve been frustrated in my current role for a while I’ve been doing my usual of wanting to run away and get a new job. Which is a bit daft when you think about it as I’m about to start a new job under the restructure. So my goal then is to do nothing (hard sometimes) and sit and wait to see what happens next. However I have a meeting with my mentor at the end of the month to look at my competencies as while I need to give the changes a chance I don’t want to miss out should an opportunity arise and it’s something I’ve put off for quite a while.
Day 2 was to do something constructive to improve a difficult situation. I started the day off in a bit of a bad mood (again due to work). My response was to simply get my head down and learn what is needed to do to deliver a training course next week. I also made sure that the volunteering and job shadowing opportunities I needed to book were up to date so I ended the day feeling much more positive
Day 3 – think of 3 things that give you hope for the future: I met up with one of my peer group friends from my development course and we talked about development, career opportunities and ways to save money. Plus all the usual catching up over coffee chat. I also know that I now have about 15 months left before I’m debt free. And I’ve been building on all the questioning and talking I’ve done over the year to build new friendships.
So today is Day 4 – Set a goal that links to your sense of purpose in life. This morning I had no idea how to do this one but then I spent the morning in a focus group about women’s networks in my part of the civil service and getting a group of women on board in helping me set one up for my office and it reminded me how much I enjoy moving people forward in life and giving them ways to feel empowered. I have some action points to do which kind of fit in with setting a goal as the goal is to ultimately have a successful network in my office (which holds 2000 people so a big ask).
It’s been quite fun doing it so far. I’ve not enjoyed work much this week, mostly because it’s the first one back after 2 weeks annual leave and I’ve been quite tired plus I’ve had quite a bit of learning to do. I’m ending my working week feeling quite inspired because using these optimistic goals has helped me focus on what really matters and take actions to take my own life forward