365 Day Blog challenge Day 23 – New Rules #365daychallenge

I’ve woken up a few times this week with the sing New Rules by Dua Lipa stuck in my head. This is a song about who she needs to not be taking her ex-partner back. I often get songs stuck in my head and after looking up the lyrics find some way to adapt them to something going on with my life.

 The last few years have seen big changes within my life – I found a meme about a caterpillar changing over the years.

2016 – The Caterpillar; The year of purging

2017- The Cocoon The year of restructuring

2018- The Butterfly The year of actualisation

 And it does feel that way. 2016 was a tough year full of illness, struggles with work and succumbing to my debt issues. I had to learn to let go of a lot of this, learn to adapt more and move away from the things that were toxic within my life.

2017 – definitely restructuring my life. The last few blogs have detailed this. And while I have changed many things there are still 2 key areas to work on: health and relationships.

 2018 – I’ve started the realisation process a month early in December J  I’ve talked more about the past and my childhood this year than I have in probably the last 30 years and it has brought about realisations and now I need to act on them.

 So I need New Rules to do this. I haven’t thought of them yet apart from maybe eat my fruit! It’s something I’ll be having a think about over the next few weeks.

 What new rules so you want to have for 2018?

I’ve got new rules, I count ’em
I’ve got new rules, I count ’em
I’ve gotta tell them to myself
I’ve got new rules, I count ’em
I’ve gotta tell them to myself

I keep pushin’ forwards


365 Day Blog challenge Day 22 – Day in the Life (work) #365daychallenge

I was hoping to do this but realised my work life could well be incredibly boring for most people & so this will probably be a short blog! I spent many years as a work coach for the government helping people on benefits into work which I loved but you can only do it so long before burn out so in early 2016 I put in for a promotion and was lucky enough to get through. I now spend my days delving into benefit systems analysing how they and people work within certain topics and looking for ways to improve this. Once done I write a report which goes to senior leaders who then have the ability to make the changes I suggest.
I’ve been doing the job for 15months and I probably hated it for the first 10 months. It’s been a huge learning curve. Having spent a work life time working face to face in customer service roles I was now behind scenes and away from the general public. Funny how you miss the things you once spent each day complaining about!
I had to learn Excel and PowerPoint from scratch as I’d never written any reports before. I had to learn to stop getting upset when I had to re-do sections of my reports after Quality Assessments. It took a long time for me to accept that different audiences would like things written in different styles. Why can’t everyone like my style and deal with it? Not the thing to say to senior leaders who report to Government ministers apparently….
I’ve had to learn to push myself forwards and not be a wall flower which after years of depression was my natural state. In this new department it’s all about making sure people know you’re name and good work so that the leaders and developers offer more. It’s about being visible. It’s not easy to achieve when you spend your life trying to be invisible and go un-noticed. I battled against it for most of the first year.
But eventually something clicked. I started to get into the role, enjoy the research and the presentations of the work. I might be a wall flower but I wasn’t always and it’s pleasing to see my old abilities come back even if I am out of my comfort zone for now. But it gets easier each month. I still hate writing reports but accept that tweaks and changes need to be made and to tailor to my audience. I try and find out now beforehand who the intended audience is and how they like to see things.
So hopefully who know? Maybe this time next year I’ll have even more positive things to say about my job

365 Day Blog challenge Day 21 – Gratitude #365daychallenge

A few years ago I tried keeping a gratitude jar. This year I changed things up a little bit and decided to have an achievements jar instead. It’s been a funny year. I spent a lot of it stressed and struggling with one thing or another yet the jar when I opened it today was full. We d tend to remember the bad stuff over the good stuff. Or I do and that’s something to work on next year

Going through the jar I realised:

  • I’ve repainted all the rooms in my house
  • I’ve re-furnished some parts with new carpets, mattresses and smaller items like replacing bins and lampshades
  • I finished my holistic courses
  • I restarted my degree and submitted my first assignment in 3 years
  • I started a business. While I decided I don’t have the time and energy to commit to it at present I’ve laid a good groundwork to pick it up when I am ready
  • While I’ve been on less trips this year I’ve been out more. I have had  a few drinking nights out which I’d stopped doing. I’e been back to concerts and even a TV taping.
  • While I didn’t get to go on a holiday I did get to have a few weekends away with friends
  • I won a number of competitions
  • And my friends have shown me nothing but love and support

All of which I am very grateful for.

So next year I will focus on trying to remember the good when I am feeling down and not keep it all locked in a jar. Doing a blog a day will probably help as I’ll be able to note it here. I feel like I’ve come through some big changes in life over the 12 months and so looking forward to growing further next year and counting more of all the things I’m grateful for

2017 mid-year in review

I’m a few months late really for a mid-year review but I’ve just spotted my gratitude/good- things-happening jar is 3/4 full. Without looking through it (that’s a treat for between Christmas and New Year) I’ve been thinking about the last 8 months.

Work – It’s been a roller coaster year. Some days I love my job and some days I just want to hide under the duvet and pretend it’s not there. Pretty standard with most people I guess. I’m just a Geminian drama queen so when the horrible days happen I’m telling everyone I want to quite and having mini-meltdowns (as I did about 6 weeks ago). However I’ve recently taken on the role of well being advocate so I get to put together events such as our team walking challenge. Events like that make me happy enough to push through on days when it’s not so great

Self employment – I had a push to re-start this in 2017. It’s also had it’s ups and downs to the point where I decided to take a step back to see if it’s really what I want to do with my life. Turns out I’m passionate about these things but not so hot on working for myself. I’m just not business minded. There are so many things I could be doing besides updating websites, pushing the business, and doing all that annoying paperwork. As I have a day job guess what – the boring admin jobs don’t get done. The task now then is to find ways to utilise the things I love but maybe not on a self employment basis. Or just plod along and see what the universe has in store.

House – This is an area with lots of success this year. Tomorrow I get a new hall carpet after it twice suffered through a burst boiler. I’ve talked in previous blogs about having a debt plan and little spare cash so this is a big deal for me at the minute. I’ve also repainted all the rooms. Still a little bummed that my lovely coloured walls are all pale magnolia/barest peach but if I follow through on my plans to sell up in 2 years these are the colours buyers want. If I decide to stay then Oh I m going to have so much fun repainting everything red/orange and yellow! I’ve also replaced lots of little things like lampshades, kitchen utensils, pots and pans and so on. By the end of the year the last few rooms (kitchen and cupboards) will have been repainted. I may have to give in to the idea of pale walls but I’m getting my colour in my accessories.

Health – My diet blogs are ongoing. 6lbs so far and I’m keeping up to the diet. I’ve a walking challenge on this month but I’ve been pushing the number of steps for a while now. One thing about being a wellbeing advocate. It means I have to practise what I’m preaching so less pizza more health. I’ve reconnected with a dentist and currently saving for some cosmetic dental treatments. I finally started having the money to get my hair styled and coloured on a regular basis. The second half of 2017 is all about me and these small things are going some way to not finding myself but rediscovering myself.

Fun/Life – Oh this needs work. I’ve been to a few events this year. First music concerts in a  couple of years and some drinking nights out. What I’ve discovered though is that I miss being out and about. I’m a sociable person but the debt plan is killing that. Me and my friend who lives in a different city had a heart to heart about this with the plan that we will take turns visiting each others houses per month and go out on the town. That’s one thing to look forward to. I then made a list of who I am and what I like to see how I can use it to start reconnecting with people. How do I get out without much financial investment. I’ve started at a couple of book clubs which are ok. It’s early days yet. One of the things I thought of was a night class. Instead I decided to re-start my open university degree/ I have 2 (part time) years left. That will give me the opportunity to go to some study days and connect with people on Facebook forums. I’ve a little list of some other bits to look at too.

Money – This is a biggie. I am now half way through my debt plan. I’ve managed to reduce the end date by 3 months and most importantly I have cleared 50% of my debt. Seeing the figures last month was one such a happy moment and one I didn’t think I’d see

So when I have a bad work day or a day when my mood is low I can actually look back and see actually this year has been pretty amazing. They’re all small steps but they’re adding up to one great year.

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

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