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

How work and debt can ruin self esteem

I’ve recently been trying to work out why my self esteem is low and how to re-build it. I couldn’t think of one particular obvious trigger that set it off so I revisited some old blogs and diary pages to see where things went wrong.

I’ve decided now it’s a combination of several terrible (previous) bosses and my debt issues. I’ve written before about recently gaining a promotion and the traumas of the 2 years before that. I was angry at the world when I applied. I was in a lot of pain, I felt no one was listening to me and had finally been put in a position where I felt I was going backwards professionally. My goal had been to write my competencies, try them out on a few applications and then use the feedback to try again. My esteem was low enough that it never occurred to me that I was good enough to get the first one I applied for and that’s exactly what happened.

Life has done a complete 180 since. I’m in a team where development is key; people listen and encourage and let you have the training your request. Frankly it scares the shit out of me. Suddenly instead of fighting to prove myself someone believes me up front and I’ve been terrified of getting it wrong.

I am calming down. It’s been three months, I’m still here and working on projects that I enjoy, travelling and meeting lots of new people. Some of my favourite things. I’m slowly starting to accept I’m where I should be.

It’s also led to a few other self revelations. During a three week training course awy from home we ate out as you have to do, we had drinks in the pub and a good laugh and it made me realise I’ve stopped going out. Yes I have days out & a monthly meal out ( see my other blog travelpalooza.wordpress.com) but I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to see a gig, had a girls night out and I think I’ve only been to the cinema once this year.Or simply sat in the pub with a friend. I’m in serious danger of turning into a hermit.

A lot of that is down to debt. First I was in an absolute mess trying to balance everything (and failing) and now I have a debt plan. It leaves me with a limited amount of cash each month. Scared of making an even bigger mess I’ve simply stopped doing anything. I don’t have enough to go out on the town several nights a week but I can do more.

Having little money though does affect your esteem. Not being able to join in you start to feel your not worthy enough to be part of anything. Especially if you already had mental health problems. Turning events down because it might mean a new dress and you can’t do it and the ones you have don’t fit any more. Or because you’re sick of being the only one nursing a pint of diet coke all night as that’s all you can do.

Don’t get me wrong. I got into this mess, I’m working on getting out of it but it destroys so many things.

Having the promotion I still have a debt plan to pay but I have enough left now to do little things. I can sit in the pub for a few hours with a friend and have more than diet coke. I’ve started wanting to feel better about myself and my appearance rather than not caring. The other week I out my earrings in for the first time in a couple of years and wearing a bit of make up. Hopefully I can make some more changes. I’m not going to be shopping in Gucci but I can buy a few more clothes that make me feel good about myself.I feel like I’m finally going forwards in life and it feels good

New job, new positivity

I am now two and a half weeks into my new promotion. And what a difference those 12 (working) days have made! The funny thing is way back when I wasn’t even sure if I should put the application in my self esteem and motivation was that low. However I also knew that the only way to change the situation I was in was to push myself; put the application in and see what the feedback was and act on it. Luckily for me the feedback was a new job.

I’ve spent so many years being told that things cannot happen for ‘business reasons’ (such as sideways moves). It’s very hard to get out of my old job unless you are promoted. But here in my new place they actively encourage changing teams to prevent boredom and stagnation. In the first 3 hours of my new job my manager was discussing the best way to get competencies for the NEXT promotion.

And that’s where the biggest change has come from. I feel like I’ve gone from small to big thinking. Whereas this promotion seemed half impossible and if achieved possibly my ceiling. Now I’m at the bottom of the next ladder looking up at so many choices. Yet I’m actually still working for the same company.

I’ve also felt motivated to do some more things for myself. There’s a gym and swimming pool onsite that I will look into once I finish a training course that will take me away from home until the end of October. I’ve put my name down to join a walking group. I try and walk 8000 steps a day as a minimum and have always fancied ‘proper’ walking so figured why not?? There’s also a knit n natter group for my more crafty side.

And to capitalise on my new big thinking I’ve joined the works library (based in London – they post the books to you) and got my first coaching book on mistakes women make that sabotage their careers. Yes careers – I have one and want to push it further which seemed impossible six months ago.

It’s astonishing what change can bring when you let go and decide to see what happens.