2017 – Be Excellent to Each Other

I saw an article yesterday that said 130 celebrities had died this year. I may be riddled with flu but I was stuck naming more than a handful besides the few that died this week. I’ve seen arguments on both sides about how much grief one should have about a celeb death and how much with that grief has.

On the other side, sadly I can name more than a handful on my Facebook friends list who have lost family and close friends (and I’m including the pets in this) which is  a bit more close to home.  While it’s sad for anyone to die these mean more to me because I’m seeing my friends (no matter how long it’s been since I saw them last) suffer.

Facebook and Twitter seem to be awash with negativity and various polls, elections and votes have given results that have stirred up anger even more to the point that people are viewing this as one of the worst years ever. I’ve seen the twitter posts stating 1939-1945 were probably worse which is right but sometimes I think of social media as a hive mind of doom. Bad news and misery seems to be following us everywhere. There was a twitter moment regarding some good things that happened in 2016 (mostly animals coming off the endangered species) but in less than 48 hours it’s gone and we’re back to misery and political tit-tat.

We really need to kinder to each other. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t best friends with a celeb, if their lives touched you grieve away. Better than keeping the crap bottled up and struggling. If you don’t like it, unfollow that person on FB for a few weeks. Then let it all go back to normal. Let’s help each other out. If someone is upset (for any reason) give them a hug; offer them tea or just sit and chat. As someone who has suffered with depression for many years sometimes this is all a person needs.

And then maybe we can spread that to people outside our social circle. But in the secret altruistic spirit of George Michael let’s not tell anyone! Don’t tell us you gave Bob the homeless guy you’re filled free coffee coupon. Post some articles or write a blog on the plight of the homeless instead. Don’t tell us about your volunteering somewhere – raise the profile of that charity instead. Let’s share the different ways to volunteer and help people rather than making it all about us.

(However if you’re after the money for charity, promote away. I may be doing that again if I decide to do the St Gemma’s Midnight walk again.)

We need to make 2017 a year where we’re not counting down the hours wishing it to end but one filled with as much positivity as possible that we’d be quite happy to do all over again the following year.

Let’s just be excellent to each other x

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2016 in list review

I wrote another blog about how my year has gone from the perspective of changing jobs and my financial progress. I did however make a list of things I wanted to achieve

  • I wanted to increase my blog followers: I aimed for 150 on my book blog and hit it just this week. I wanted 75 on my travel blog and got 65. And I wanted this one to 200 and am at 186. However I have probably paid more attention to my book blog so going forward I need to make sure I post more and see if I can hit next years growth targets
  • I had some self employment goals. I wanted to finish courses in Life Coaching (I’m about 95% there), CBT (haven’t started), hypnotherapy (abandoned as not one I want to continue with as a business practise) and Angel Therapy (Yay I finished one). I wanted to start practising and did for a short while until other life factors took hold. I’ll look at it again in the new year.
  • I wanted to get out more. I wrote a whole blog about this and what does getting out more actually mean. Getting out more I’ve made progress but there’s still work to be done.
  • Reduce sugar: I lost 10lbs in weight this year giving up sugar. I’ve probably gained it back again however. 2017 needs to have massive concentration on my diet and health. I’m unhappy with many things but they won’t change unless I do. I know I can do it when I put my mind to it so I have to do this and stick to it.
  • I wanted to record 150 books as read on Goodreads. The current total is 165 and I think I’ll have finished one more before New Years Eve.
  • Stop overthinking: Failed at this one in a big way! I’ll add it to 2017’s list
  • Sort out love life: Yep failed that one too
  • Increase 10,000 steps a day regime: Ending on a positive note. I probably average around 7000 a day taking into account weekends where I might do very little. I need to get it a little higher next year. I’m looking at various exercise techniques. Without making excuses I’m still recovering from having a frozen shoulder/RSI and a trapped nerve all in the same arm. I still get the odd pains and my arm is very weak compared to the strength I had pre-illness so I’m wary of certain things. However walking will not affect my arm so that will be my starting pioint

Here’s to a happy healthy new year for everyone 🙂

Thank you for reading my posts in 2016 x

2016 in review

Most of my year can be summed up by these two previous blogs Road to Promotion and Budgeting in review

The new job is going well. It’s all completely new to me and a steep learning curve but I’m doing ok and constantly learning new things. I’m looking forward to some new challenges and the chance to grow further in the new year.

My attempt at self employment, while I can’t call it a failure, didn’t take off as I got the promotion and have been concentrating on that. But you have to try these things and how will you know if something is right or not if you don’t? It’s something to think about more in the new year and I may just offer my services on a voluntary basis for now.

And I’ve reawakened a love of travel. I’m still tried by budgeting  but through work and also day trips I’ve got out and about far more than in previous years. I’ve a few ideas for 2017 which hopefully will pan out.

So it started off bad, full of pain and self doubt but thanks to the second half of the year it’s one I’m quite proud of and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store

Achievement Jar

About 18 months ago after a bit of sulking on how my life was going I decided to keep an achievements jar rather than a gratitude jar. I’ve emptied it today to free it up for my 2017 goals and thought I;d take a look at what I’ve done

Self Employment

I’ve given some thought (and written a few blogs) on setting up as self employed. I was pretty much ready to go then got a promotion in my day job so decided to put everything on hold to get to grips with the one that pays my wages. Hopefully at some point in 2017 I’ll revisit as everything is set up to do so and I enjoy it.

I found in the jar:

  • I qualified as a EFT therapist
  • I qualified as a crystal therapist
  • I qualified as a Angelic Reiki therapist
  • I’ve almost finished both my Business/Life Coach diploma and when I find some enjoyment again for it my hypnotherapist diploma.
  • I’ve started a course in CBT
  • My house was redecorated to enable me to work from home. I got the insurance and all the equipment.
  • I got a promotion.

There are also some Get Out of Debt achievements in the jar:

  • I gave my debts to Stepchange and set up a repayment plan
  • I read Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering book and too action by de-cluttering the house. I went through my precious bookcases and gave up any book that I did not love and would not read again, I traded them in and used the money to pay towards bills
  • I did the same with the shed and my wardrobes. I took part in a number of car boot sales and made myself a little money.

It’s not a huge list but it’s still god to be able to look back and see some of the good things I worked on in the last year. I’m looking forward to seeing what will go in the jar in 2017

Good news versus bad news

I’m currently reading a book called Weight Loss for People who Feel Too Much while I’ll review shortly but there’s a part in it that made me think about our actions and the way we talk to others.

In the book one of the recommendations is to live life more simply by cutting back on the amount of negativity we subject ourselves to. By that I mean reading less gossip magazines, cutting down (or out) of social media, less news article and trying to reduce the amount of negative conversations we have.

I can do most of that and apart from too much social media. I spend a lot of time on public transport including trains and it’s an easy way to pass the time. Even though I have a kindle to read I often flick between that and social media more than I need to. So in that I need to cut down.

It’s the negative conversations that struck me though. How often do we spend time chatting with our friends and it’s all about how bad our day was, what traumas we overcame that day and what gossip we had found out. How often do we ring or text our friends and say ‘Do you know I’ve had a lovely day, some good chats with work colleagues and the bus was on time to get me home…’ or whatever happens. I think we are often far too quick to moan and not celebrate the good things.

I don’t think myself and my friends do it enough. I think we can do better. Although it’s not all doom and gloom. Myself and my best friend are having a detox week – her with caffeine and me with fizzy diet drinks. We’ve been texting daily with how well that’s going and how we are overcoming cravings or planning for any self sabotage. There’s been lots of encouragement and ideas flowing over how we can move forward with the next stage in what we both need to do in a dietary for our positive mental health (less caffeine and sugar). Now those are positive conversations.

You can’t ban all negativity though. Sometimes you have bad days and need to vent to your friends or significant other. Not talking creates even more negative mental health and as my depression came from this I would always advocate talking. It’s finding the right balance between talking about issues and becoming an energy vampire. Do you make a rule to only discuss issues at a certain time or never during the evening meal? I’m going to chat this over with my friends and see what rules we can come up with for our group.

But I am definitely going to work on my balance and concentrate on not overwhelming people with negative thoughts.

2016 budgeting year in review

Last year I had to take out a debt repayment plan after finally admitting my debts were out of control and I couldn’t cope. This year I decided to set myself some money goals to see what difference they would make.

My first decision was to take the advice of  www.moneysavingexpert.com and switch suppliers of various things. (He also has lots of advice and support of people in debt that have mental health problems). Swapping my broadband and phone contract plus the house insurance saved me 20 pounds per month 

Next, after bingewatching 10 series of Supernatural in a row I realised how much I did not miss regular TV so my sattelite channels were the next to go. I do watch some TV but by letting the Sky box switch to a freeview(ish) box (it doesn’t have all the channels of freeview) and getting a Now box for a few other things my bill went from 35 pounds per month to just 7. Huge savings. 

About this time I took part in an excellent 3 week course run by http://www.capuk.org who helped me put together a budgeting plan, see where I could save money and see where I was missing essential things I should be spending my money on (like life insurance which I can now afford). Whilst I used the charity Stepchange for my debt plan Capuk have fantastic debt support themselves and whilst mine is done over the phone and internet; Capuk are excellent for that face to face service. I used them a lot in my old job and both companies are so supportive. It’s important to note they are both charitable organisations and would never charge. Don’t ever let anyone charge you for debt advice when the honest support is out there. 

What else? Well I failed at everything I tried to do. Swapping jobs at easter to a desk job did originally start saving me cash but then I went and got promoted. Sounds good except I often work away and I’m still trying to find the right balance between working away and sticking to budget and wayhey I’m working away let me buy everything!!!!!

I’m a  work in progress….

(In  all seriousness the promotion has been great for finally helping me get on top of things. Once I stop hotel boredom eating to go with the already abandoned magazine buying for the train journeys I’ll be laughing. And I’m sorry but a 3 hour train journey and I’m taking the sweets! I just have to remember to buy from Aldi and not the train station. Life is good and getting better)

And nothings actually a failure, more of a need to review the situation a little further.

I was also meant to start a Christmas savings plan. I didn’t however this is the first year in my memory that I haven’t borrowed money to pay for anything so it’s a plus point. 

I tried to switch my shopping to weekly but it didn’t feel quite right so went back to monthly. I think that’s a piece of advice I was given that’s a bit personal and people will have to see what suits them best. 

So! What to do for next year??? Well I’ll keep an eye on the utility switching. My mobile contract is up in 12 months so will look at that. I am going to start a Christmas fund…honest. I want to clear one of my small debts. And most importantly I’d like to have a week where I don’t think about money at all. I think that’s do-able.

Smal steps that’s all I need and eventually (Jan 2020 fingers crossed) it will all be over x

Getting out more…

A few months ago I decided I needed to get out more. I’d just got a new job with a bit of extra cash and so it seemed like a good idea to re-start life in a few different ways. 

Well so far I’ve mostly pottered around the country; sometimes through wortk and sometimes through coach trips but that’s it. I’ve done nothing else. Looking back at various things I’d done over the last few years I realised I’ve only been to the cinema four times in two years. For someone who used to go twice a week that just shocking. Actually twice a week is shocking too but I had a monthly pass so got my monies worth (or not depending on the film) but I digress.

It’s all got me thinking – what is “getting out more”? Tweny years ago this woud mean more pubs and drinking and while I still could do with some of that I want to talk to people, meet new people and chat in a  civilised manner. So how do I do that in this age of technology and people being more interested in their phones (or so it seems). Therein lies my problem. 

I’ve made it my mission to see at least 6 films at the cinema next year. That won’t fix the problem but it’s better than waiting for DVDs and just talking to myself. I have a few female friends who will happily sit in pubs on their own with a drink and a book. I’m the type of person who won’t go in a pub unless  know someone else is there already. I was that fashionably late person for years for that very reason. So start small; baby steps – I will spend more time in coffee shops looking cool, mysterious but approachable 🙂 And probably not my local supermarket cafe or Mcdonalds. Not being snobbish but it’s not normally the place for lounging away an afternoon even if their teas are cheaper. 

I’ve also been looking through our sport and social catalogue. I’ve found a craft club which looks interesting but I carry enough junk around with me on a working day without adding knitting needles and wool. That’s a maybe. Then right at the bottom I saw we have a dance group! I do love me some Strictly Come Dancing so I’ve emailed them to see what kind f dancing and is there any lessons. Now though is it “getting out more” if it’s still on work premises?? Do I have to revise my wording? 

I was going to some book clubs but had to give them up as they clash with my new work hours. I might look for another one or maybe I’ll reset up an old one I used to do with a friend. I haven’t looked into that properly yet. But what else? What do people do these days??? Time to get my thinking cap on. Any ideas most welcome