30 January 2013

Goals re-visited: January


This year I decided to blog about my monthly goals in an effort to hold myself a little bit more accountable and to encourage myself to stick to them. I think its also really important to review personal goals regularly - it keeps you on track and gives you the chance to see what's working and what isn't, re-prioritise and re-focus. So, here goes....

In January I chose to:

1. Be more single minded - I don't think this is ever something that can be crossed off a list - its far too subjective. Sometimes I sit down to do something and end up thinking of a million other things I need to get done. This usually means I start a few of them, get distracted by something else and wind up getting next to nothing done. I'm sure this is a common problem, right? I found that keeping a notebook next to me when I was trying to work was really helpful for keeping my mind on track - I just made a note of things as they came into my head and carried on with what I was doing. That way I wasn't going to forget anything but I didn't have to stop what I was doing to sort it out. I also stopped trying to multi-task. Maybe some people can multi-task, but I find that I get things done a lot quicker if I just do one thing at a time. Some little things I found that helped with focus:

  • Only having one tab at a time open when I'm browsing the internet (I'm a tab fiend... 50 is not unusual for me...)
  • Keeping my desk clear of everything but what I'm working on at the time 
  • Writing a list the night before of things I need to get done the next day 

2. Work out 3 times a week - Hahaha. No. The first couple of weeks of January I was getting out running, and I was feeling so good for doing it. Then I came back to Uni & the combination of revision and snow made exercising less of a priority. BUT I've walked to and from Uni every day this week so although I haven't been actively excercising I have been active. Kind of completed.

3. Make time for the things I love - Usually I'm terrible when I'm revising. I get super-stressed, grumpy and am generally not a happy bunny. This year I decided on a cut off point (8pm) and regardless of how much I'd done that day I stopped and did something else. I blogged, read, watched tv, browsed Flickr, knitted, sorted my room. It was time off that my brain desperately needed and I felt far less stressed for it. I'm planning on (trying) to maintain this for the rest of the semester because I work far more productively when I give myself time to be creative and unwind a bit.

4. Make lunch rather than buying it - SUCH a success. I had to buy lunch once, but as I wasn't expecting to be out for very long I'm not really counting it. In fact, I'm kind of glad I had to buy lunch out because otherwise I would have missed the MASSIVE mistake in my dissertation. Which obviously would have been bad. When I take my own lunch I tend to eat a lot healthier & it makes such a difference to how much money I have left over at the end of the week!

5. To keep journalling - I've tried to keep journals a million times and never quite succeeded. I haven't written every day and I don't always write much, but I have kept it up. I love having this blog as a record of my life, but there are some thoughts I just don't want to share on the internet! I think taking the pressure off to write every day has made it something I enjoy doing rather than a chore that needs to be done. I tend to write more in the mornings rather than last thing at night - all I want to do when I get into bed is sleep! Its a nice way to start the day though, and if I wake up in a bad mood for some reason I'm finding that getting it down on paper tends to make it disappear.

So, January was pretty successful!

Did you set goals for January? How did they go? Or are you a resolutions person - how are they going so far? 

28 January 2013

Monday Motivation: little things

April 10, 2010

Recently I've been feeling incredibly uncertain about the direction I want my life to take. I have so many options open to me & although I know that I'm incredibly lucky to be in this position, the decisions are hard. The deciding is hard. I'm a planner by nature, I like to know where I'm headed and what I need to do to get there. I like to check the steps off one at a time until I've achieved what I needed to, got to where I wanted to go. There are lists I could write for each option. Steps to take, actions to complete. But first I feel like I need to decide. To commit to a path and start walking it.  Head or heart. Soul or sense. Passion or profit. 

I found this image browsing flickr this week and it resonated with me, as quotes often do. Nothing can stop time from carrying me forward & past experience has taught me that I'm usually pretty good at making the right call when it comes down to it. I don't have to make sense of absolutely everything that's going on around me as it happens - and its probably best not to try.

So this week I'm not going to stress about the future, I'm not going to lie awake at night weighing up pro's and con's and trying to reason everything out. I'm going to take a deep breath, hold in all that confusion for a second or two, and then just let it go. Find some peace and just be for a little while. Things will work out. They always do. 

How do you cope when you have difficult life decisions to make? Are you an obsessive over-thinker or are you able to just go with the flow and see what life brings?


Motivation Mondays is a series where I share images, quotes, videos or whatever else I find that really gets my brain going and/or my creative juices flowing. Being on a motivation/inspiration high is such a beautiful feeling and I want to really push myself to discover it every. single. week.  Ideally every day, but no-one's that positive, right?! 

25 January 2013

happening here #12

Snow 2013 IV
The valley was unbelievably beautiful covered in snow & morning mist 
 photo _MG_4522_zps921741e9.jpg
A couple of dog walkers but otherwise untouched. So worth getting out of bed for.
Snow 2013 VI
I've never shot a panorama before... but I'm so pleased with how this turned out! I love how every roof is covered with snow.
Snow 2013 V Snow 2013 III

Yes, more snow pictures (I'm not sorry, not even a little bit).  Most of these were taken Monday morning, I woke up a bit earlier than usual, got up to put the kettle on and pulled the blind as normal. It was snowing when I went to bed & I was expecting a bit to have settled overnight but it must have snowed hard - all I could see was white & the poor tree in front of my window looked ready to snap! The best part? Hardly anyone had been up & about on our street so the snow was virtually untouched. I grabbed my camera, chucked some clothes on and headed straight out - I was determined to photograph the park & out over the valley before the snow got 'ruined'. I even left my tea (this is very rare). It was freezing, but gorgeous & so, so worth dragging my butt out of bed for.

I've spent the rest of this week revising for the exam I sat on Thursday (all over now, so happy!) and getting ready for a pretty intense week next week (a module in a week? Lets do it). We celebrated the end of exams with wedges & a pint in the union, then a movie & drinks in the evening. My kinda night. I think I've eaten soup for dinner pretty much every single day & tonight I discovered the liquid awesome that is rice-milk hot chocolate. Its unbelievable. Seriously. Tonight looked a a bit like wine, candles, Bon Iver, sorting through pictures, watching more snow fall & chatting to my brother on the phone. All good stuff.

Have a good weekend folks (:

21 January 2013

Monday Motivation: Inspirational failures

Hi guys!

It may be Monday, it may be exam week and I may be stuck inside revising instead of playing out in the snow BUT I am feeling incredibly happy, inspired and so, so, so positive right now. You know sometimes you have conversations with people that are just really good? Last night I was chatting to Mum and we started talking about something that's been in the back of my mind for a long time, but that I've only recently started considering seriously. I'm going to apologise right now for not sharing what that is (sorry!) but I need some more time to figure things out and explore my options before I commit to anything.

Now, I've possibly probably definitely mentioned this before, but I am a huge fan of motivational quotes, videos, songs, pictures etc. I love them. This morning I came across this video....

Okay, so... wow. Did it get you? Because it most definitely got me. 100%. I'm scared of failing - I think we all are to an extent. From an early age we're taught that the 'best' people are those that get it right all the time - especially in school. School teaches us that failure is a negative thing - anyone ever fail a test at school and get praised for it? Sure you didn't (unless you went to a pretty awesome school). We're given conflicting messages - advised to take the subjects we're "best at" when we pick GCSE's and A-Levels so we maximise our chances of success. Whilst simultaneously being told that we can follow our dreams and do what we love. Its a pretty confusing message to be sent, because the two aren't always compatible. We're not always best at the things we love the most, but does that mean we should stop doing them?

Hell no. 

I'm starting to realise now that failing at my dreams may be a far more fulfilling option than denying them completely. Its not going to be the end of the world if things don't work out how I want them to. It might feel like it, but it won't be. I never want to look back at my life and think "I really wish I'd gone for that" or suddenly realise that I let the path choose me rather than the other way around.

So maybe your life won't be 'conventional' and maybe people won't understand. Maybe they'll think you're crazy, or dumb (or even both). Maybe it won't work out. Maybe you'll fail.

But maybe it will 

We only get one shot at life. May as well enjoy it, right?

What did you think of this video? Do you let fear hold you back or are you a go-getter? Are you denying your dreams in favour of the 'safe' option? Let me know - I'd love to hear from you!

Motivation Mondays is a new series where I share images, quotes, videos or whatever else I find that really gets my brain going and my creative juices flowing. Being on a motivation/inspiration high is such a beautiful feeling and I want to really push myself to discover it every. single. week.  Ideally every day, but no-one's that positive, right?! 

18 January 2013

Snow globe world

Revision breaks today came in the form of sledging. Originally we were just going to go out for a walk in the snow, but then Hazel reminded us that she'd never been sledging... so obviously we had to rectify that. I mean, its sledging. We headed to the park behind our house - there's a kids playground there that's dug into a hill so it has (kinda) steep sides. It was all going really well until I realised that I'm really really bad at steering sledges...

Sometimes being vertically challenged can be a good thing. For example, it prevents decapitation by playground. Then this really sweet guy who was out walking his dog pointed us in the direction of some steeper hills that would be far better for sledging. So we moved onto more advanced slopes...

... but clearly none of us have progressed to 'advanced' sledging yet. Nevertheless, our experience taught us the following:

Important discoveries made whist sledging

  1. R is capable of landing on one wrist with minimal damage. Obviously he has magic bones.
  2. Hazel can sledge upside down and backwards on her head (I'm not sure how this is possible either)
  3. If I fall off a sledge, bounce and land entirely on my right butt cheek... it hurts later. 
  4. I should learn not to bite my tongue when falling. 
  5. We should clearly listen to Holly and not sledge down ridiculous hills...
  6. Rock are very bad for sledges... 

Another sledge was purchased on the way home & the plan is to do it all again tomorrow (just, maybe with less injuries...) I love snow, and I really love these guys.

17 January 2013

Little things #1

1// my new desktop background from Lovely Indeed {thanks to Kate for the heads up!}
2// Green tea with blueberry - Mum got me started on this and I can't get enough of it! Tetley do a great one if you want to try it... 
3// Constantly refreshing the BBC weather page to find out latest snow reports
4// Being constantly inspired by amazing pictures on Flickr (my favourites are here if you're interested)
5// This playlist... its my current favourite & I'm listening to it all. the. time. 

Study I by Vicky S on Grooveshark

15 January 2013

Snow days

Snow 2013 I Snow 2013 II

I adore snow. I love how it makes the whole world look like a Christmas card. I love how it covers the grey of the roads and leaves everything white. I love the magic. Especially when it snows at night & opening the blinds in the morning is a huge surprise. I even love the type of cold that snow brings, when the air burns your lungs & you lose feeling in your ears.

I don't particularly like it when it melts, and freezes - because ice is not my friend. My balance is sketchy at the best of times so slippery pavements don't improve my chances a whole lot!

That said, I'm sad that its going & I'm really hoping it snows again this week.

Has it snowed where you are? Are you a snow-lover or a snow-hater?

14 January 2013

Happening here #11

Sunrises in the winter always seem more vivid than any other time of year
This weekend felt like it lasted forever. Seriously. Saturday I got up & took Zak for one last walk before I headed back to Uni. I took my camera with me with the intention of taking pictures of the frost... turns out they work a whole lot better if you don't leave your memory card in your laptop. Who knew? I did have my phone though, and what I thought would be a pretty uneventful sunrise actually turned out pretty stunning.

We had to make a minor detour to the garage on the way back when the car decided we weren't allowed to open the petrol cap... but other than that it was a pretty uneventful drive back. Mum & Kev gave me a hand unpacking food & then left me to get everything else sorted. Which ended up being a whole evening spent re-organising my room & getting absolutely no work done. So productive!

I spent Sunday revising, making full use of my new kettle with copious amounts of tea & finishing up by teaching myself to crochet in the evening. All in all? A pretty good weekend.

11 January 2013

dog walk snaps

Zak II Rushes Morning Twilight Woods

I've taken my camera out with me a couple of times this week when I've been walking the pup. I'm trying to push myself to look for inspiration in the familiar - something that's pretty hard to do. I seem to find things less inspiring when I'm seeing them all the time - it's the same for all of us I guess but I'd like to try and change that if I can. Today was my last day at home before I go back to Uni & I've spent it hanging out with mum, visiting nan, buying too much food and packing my stuff up. Going back is always a bit bittersweet, I love being at Uni but its always a bit of a wrench to leave home.

Still, I'm looking forward to getting my dissertation handed in (finally!) and exams over with!

What are you up to this weekend, anything exciting? 

09 January 2013

beach pup


This little guy is my favourite. My brothers cars broken so I've been driving him to work the last few mornings & yesterday I decided to chuck Zak in the car and take him to the beach after. I was happy to see the sea and he was happy to run around like a complete maniac. So everybody won.

08 January 2013


These words are so, so perfect for me right now. I've been thinking a lot recently about ways I can simplify my life, slow down a bit and live with real intention rather than just going with the flow. I think I found my new favourite quote. 

05 January 2013

Goals: January

January is an odd month to set 'specific' things to achieve. I've got a big deadline, an exam to study for and a crazy week at Uni where I'm doing an entire module in one go. I used to be such an advocate of multi-tasking, but I'm realising more and more now that it doesn't actually help me get anything done. Concentrating on one thing until its done is a far better way for me to work - but its hard. Have you ever just sat there and 'listened in' on your brain? Try it. Its amazing how many different thoughts you can have in such a small space of time. I'm trying to work on tuning out these distractions and just focusing on the task at hand, I'm getting so much more done. Lunches are a practical one... I'm trying to save as many pennies as I possibly can ready for my big adventure this summer & buying lunch out is expensive (and lazy).

I often find when I'm stressed about work and exams that I don't take time for myself - to do the things that I really enjoy. Finding a balance isn't easy but exhausting myself just isn't fun. This definitely  includes exercising - I feel so much more energised when I'm running regularly and my body is moving. So much better. Towards the end of last year I started keeping a journal, and as much as I adore this blog - it isn't quite the same as putting pen to paper and scrawling thoughts across a page. I have this little fantasy of having a stack of notebooks on a shelf one day that document the whole of my twenties. Crazy? Maybe. But that's how I like it. 

I hope the start of 2013 has been a good one for you! 

04 January 2013

In 2013 I will 'choose"

I'm not a big fan of New Years resolutions, I prefer to set goals rather than resolutions - something more tangible and with a shorter time frame. This year I'll be continuing to set my goals monthly - I did this all through last year and it worked so well for me. Even bigger things need to be broken down & I find it easier to keep motivated about things if they're short term (tiny attention span much?!). I also find that it encourages me to break down the 'big' things into smaller, more manageable tasks because I don't like to set goals that I have little chance of accomplishing.

Something I'll also be doing again this year is choosing One Little Word that I want to keep in mind for the whole year. Last year it was quite obvious to me what I should pick - I felt like I'd got myself stuck in a bit of a rut and the best way I could see out of it was to 'go for it' a bit more. This year... This year I struggled to choose a word - many came to mind but none of them felt quite right, they didn't fit with my vision of this coming year. This is going to be a year of big adventures and big decisions. Big, big decisions. So this years word is choose.

Elise, one of my favourite bloggers used 'choose' last year & I really loved how she incorporated it into her monthly goal setting with text on pictures. One of the things I wanted to work on this year was keeping more of a personal record on this blog - when I read back through my posts from last year I noticed a shift towards more personal posts and it was so much nicer to read back over. So this year I'm (aiming) to share my goals & report on progress - both as a record and for accountability purposes.

This year I choose to choose. It's a gentle reminder to myself that regardless of what happens, I can always choose how to respond to it.

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