Taking on 2013 and hoping to revitalize my life

Posts tagged ‘attitude’

Month 12 Check-In

December has been over for a few days but figuring out my wisdom for 2014 took longer than I thought it would. Who knew that I had learned so much? Anyway, here is my final check-in for 2013, in case you were wondering if it was coming.

I’m not really sure what happened in December. I remember frantically getting ready for Christmas. I remember baking with the kids and us attempting to decorate a gingerbread carousel. I remember present wrapping and unwrapping. I remember last-minute errands and visiting family. I remember arguments, laughter and love. But the rest is just a whirlwind of busyness.

I wish I could say I wrote, ate healthy and exercised. Well, I did write, just not my book… Ah well, there’s always 2014.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – I’m quite sure there were days in December where I didn’t eat one fruit or vegetable :(. I also put some weight on for Christmas. However, I am still down 10 pounds for the year so I’m happy. I just need to eat better!!

Exercising – I think that the only exercising I did this month was one session of yoga and several sessions of shovelling. I also made it to badminton one time this month. As I’ve already said, there’s always 2014. I did find out that there is a free skate at lunch time 3 days/ week close to where I work, so I’m going to try to get there at least one day/ week in the future. I’m not a good skater but every little bit helps.

Blog 4 times/ week – As 2014 came to an end I struggled to meet my blogging goals but I have decided to continue on and keep blogging. Yay!  I think I will aim for 2-3 times/ week as opposed to 4 but we will see what happens as the year goes on. The reason I decided to keep blogging was really because of the Winter Solstice Ritual. It was really great to look back over everything from the past year. It made the learnings more tangible and made me feel like I really accomplished something so I will soldier on and see what 2014 brings.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I had one friend lunch this month and the work Christmas party and New Year’s eve so I did OK with putting myself out there. Plus I hung out with my big, old family and that was awesome.

52 Actions – I tried to make December pretty easy and I did OK with my weekly goals. I think I’m going to keep them up for 2014, I may even re-use a few. But I also think that I will try to do less each week. Working full-time makes it a bit trickier to get some things done but I’m sure I can manage some small actions.IMG_20131231_204109

General happiness – Am I happier? Yep. Why just today I marvelled over a beautiful sunset, some deer I spotted on the way home and the great deal I got at Wal-mart. I was even pretty happy about the warm hot chocolate I drank while trying to warm up from the cold. And look how happy I look (even if I’m a little fuzzy).

2013 was a great year!! I declare it complete!

One other thing I like from the Winter Solstice Ritual is taking the month of January as a time to dream and then starting the new year in February. So there will be no goals or actions for January, just a time to dream and think of the possibilities for the rest of the year. Thanks for following my exploits in 2013, and here’s to more learning, love and laughter in 2014.

The Wisdom I’m Bringing Into 2014

2013What a year 2013 has been for me. 

I have always wanted to blog, and guess what? I did it. I blogged for a whole year, 198 blog posts in 2013. Wow!!

And during this blogging adventure I have learned some new things, changed the way I look at some things and really made progress towards living a happier life by myself. Recently, I participated in a Winter Solstice Ritual and because of that I’ve taken a quick review of 2013 (and by quick review, I mean I took 3 days to read every single one of my blog posts). From this review I have taken stock of some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned and will carry forward into 2014 with me.

The whole year was not one big ray of sunshine but I’m starting 2014 with some positive energy and personal strengths that will serve me well in the new year. So here is the Wisdom I’m Bringing into 2014 (and there is a lot of it, 52 weeks worth):

  1. You CAN choose your thoughts – once upon a time I didn’t think this was true and just let my thoughts get carried away on tangents that weren’t all that healthy. Now I know that by simply acknowledging the thoughts and redirecting them, you can change your thinking. It’s a powerful tool that I am happy to have discovered.
  2. Micro-movements or baby steps are the key to success – I have often felt overwhelmed by big tasks and then avoided them or told myself that I couldn’t do them. But this blog is proof that micro-movements can turn into big things. 198 blog posts weren’t written in one day and if I had thought I needed to write 198 blog posts on Jan 1, 2013 I may have given up before I started, but one post at a time brought me to post 199 which I’m writing today :). And SARK has helped me realize that you can break your steps down into tiny, little movements if they aren’t small enough the first time.
  3. Perspective can help you stay positive – not every day is a  bowl full of cherries, but my life is pretty good in the big scheme of things. I have a nice place to live, a regular income, 2 great kids and I’m pretty healthy. Lots of folks don’t have any of those things.
  4. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends when you need someone to talk to – this one is pretty self-explanatory.
  5. Personal change takes time and effort – change is often not a quick option, it takes practice and effort and commitment.
  6. Take the time to review what you have accomplished – often we are quick to say that we haven’t done anything in our lives but if you really think about it you will find that that isn’t true at all. Sometimes we need reminders.
  7. Be generous – sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to help others. It doesn’t take much effort to be nice or lend a helping hand or to donate to a worthy charity. Be generous with your words, thoughts and actions, it helps make the world a better place.
  8. It’s OK to look after yourself – for many years I put my kids first and ignored doing things for myself. This really isn’t good for you. It’s important to pursue your own happiness and joy. No one can live your life for you.
  9. Live in the Now – be present for your experiences. Spend less time regretting your past and worrying about your future. Focus on the beauty that is your life right now.
  10. Always take time for fun – plan fun activities. Plan silly and crazy activities. Plan outrageous activities. Plan adventures. Plan outings. Plan trips. Plan picnics, photo shoots, trips to the beach, walks in the woods, scavenger hunts. Then do them all!!
  11. Confidence, intelligence and a positive attitude is sexy – ‘nuf said.
  12. Unplug – take time to get outside and enjoy nature, your electronic devices will still be there when you get back.
  13. Finding your Passion may be surprising when you really get down to it – I expected my passion to be surrounded by excitement and fervour, it turned out that it was more of a thought that kept trying to get noticed but got pushed back down by “I can’t” and “later”.
  14. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends – they became your friend for a reason in the first place.
  15. Not all friendships are meant to last forever – some people are just passing through your life and teaching you lessons along the way.
  16. Make memories – spend time with friends and families, go on adventures together. The memories are worth more than material items.
  17. I’m ready for a real relationship – I haven’t found that person yet, but I’m no longer scared of making plans with someone or discussing the future. It seems more plausible now than a year ago.
  18. Some things may seem scary and hard but we can do them if we keep trying – perseverance, practice and dedication to a goal is important and when you are on the verge of giving up, try a new approach.
  19. People Will Treat You the Way that You Allow Yourself to be Treatedthis one took a couple of lessons and I’m not 100% sure I have learned it yet. Hopefully it will sink in soon.
  20. Never use the words “We need to talk” – it only makes people jump to bad conclusions.
  21. I like walking – walking makes me thankful for my strong legs. I’m looking forward to more walks in the Spring.
  22. Eating healthier and moving more will make you healthier.
  23. I am enough – I’m smart, I have skills and talents, I’m lovable and I am enough.
  24. Even negative things can have positive aspectslike being unemployed.
  25. Over-thinking causes more issues than it solves – I’m an over-thinker, is there a support group for that? Living more in the present helps with this but it is a learning process.
  26. Secrets can hold us back – let them go, it will lessen their grip on you.
  27. Negative feelings don’t respond to reason – let them pour forth and release them to the universe, you don’t need to be their caretaker.
  28. Sometimes what you ask for shows up in a different form than expected – embrace it and be thankful.
  29. Your inner-wise self has answers – ask her questions, ask her for help and have her write you love notes.
  30. Expressing your words is a form of success – speak up, be heard, write, and be happy that you have written.
  31. I’m creative and imaginative – it often sneaks up on me and I don’t even notice.
  32. I should proof-read my blog posts more – ther seem to be severl typos.
  33. Always move forward – onto new and better chapters.

That is an impressive amount of wisdom for one year! I’ll have to come back and visit this post often to remember what I’ve learned.

Month 11 Check-In

I’m a few days late getting this blog post up but, better late than never.

November feels like a blur. I was sick, my youngest was sick, I had family over for the last weekend in November so that required some prep, plus I was also adjusting to being back to work. Throw a little bit of Christmas shopping into the mix, the regular ups and downs of being a parent and bam, 4 weeks is gone.

I wish I could say I succeeded with my challenge for the month, however, the catching up on my writing course was limited in nature and so was the healthy eating. As a matter of fact, my diet is a disaster area these days. I need to bring it back into a better realm of healthy.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – There were some smoothies this month, of course, but not as many as there should have been. However, if chocolate was a food group I would have it covered. Somehow, I am down one pound which is a total of 14 lbs for the year. I seem to have plateaued at this point but luckily I’m not putting any weight on so I will take it.

Exercising – Exercise has also declined as the month passed. I haven’t been to badminton for the last 2 weeks as I’ve had my kids during that time and the last walk I took was only 15 minutes because it was so cold out. I’m supposed to play squash tomorrow night, so barring any cancellations maybe that will help motivate me to get back to exercising.

Blog 4 times/ week – I’ve struggled to meet my blogging goal for the last 3 months and as the year is drawing to a close I’m wondering if I will continue blogging into 2014. I haven’t made any decisions yet but I am thinking about letting it go. We’ll see, still a few more weeks before the year is over.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I’ve had a couple of lunches with co-workers this month, I also had lunch with a co-worker from my last job and dinner with another. It’s funny how hard it is to coordinate things when you no longer see each other every day but I will keep trying, it is worth it. And as for Sven, it’s been hard seeing him this month too. Between kid schedules and being sick, we didn’t see each other all that much during the month of November.

52 Actions – I wish I was doing better with my weekly goals. I didn’t fail completely this month but I wasn’t overly successful either. For some reason they are no longer top of mind or maybe they are just things I don’t really want to do. Something to think about.

General happiness – Overall, I think I have learned a lot about how to be happier during this past year. It is so important to live in the present. To stop worrying about what may or may not happen in the future and to stop obsessing about what has happened in the past. Some days these things are easier said than done but if you can stick to the present, life will be better. I think that is the key.

Only 28 days left to 2013, where has the year gone? During these last 4 weeks I will try to review some of the stuff I have learned during this past year of blogging and make plans for 2014. Not sure what they are yet, but I’ll figure it out :).

Sometimes You Can Just Trade in Your Lemons

Today, I screwed up. You know, one of those stupid mistakes that you kick yourself for afterwards?

Lemon

Lemon (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

I was at Costco at lunchtime, and rushing so I would be back to work in a timely manner. I unloaded my stuff into my trunk and as soon as I slammed the trunk shut I realized my mistake.

Of course you already know where my keys were. I’m not the first person to make that bone-headed mistake and I won’t be the last either.

I weighed my options. First I thought about calling a friend and asking them to drive me to my house, I decided against that one as I would ultimately be using at least an hour of their time in order for them to do me a big favour. The other options were grabbing a cab to my daughter’s school to get her house key and then to my house to get the spare car keys and then cabbing back to Costco OR calling the local locksmith. It turned out that both options would cost me around $60 so I opted for the locksmith.

During my wait time, the voices inside my head were quick to kick me when I was down and tell me how stupid I was. However, that was when I decided to make a choice not to let them have a free-for-all. I decided that what was done was done, I couldn’t change it, only wait for the fix that was coming shortly. I had gotten myself into a mess but had promptly rescued myself as well. It did take a few minutes for those voices to settle down but I WAS ABLE TO CHOOSE not to berate myself.

I tried to take an even bigger positive approach and see if I could figure out the top 10 things about locking your keys in your trunk… I could only come up with one, having a lot of free time all of a sudden. So even though I couldn’t turn lemons into 10 glasses of lemonade, what I did do was take the lemons and do something else entirely.

I took the lemons and traded them in for something more palatable, perhaps not delicious, juicy mango but something like a nice, crisp apple. Something that didn’t go to the extreme positive but didn’t leave me with a sour look on my face either.

I like it when I get to choose the thoughts in my head.

Month 10 Check-In

There are only 2 months left to 2013. The year has flown by.

October has been a bit of a chaotic month for me but in a good way. I have returned to work after a year hiatus (that sounds like a nice way to say it). I have written a short story and submitted it to a contest. And I am still trying to ride the happy train. I find that the hardest time for me to be happy these days is when I think about the whole boy-girl relationship thing or lack thereof. I just find that area of my life frustrating. I’m trying to let things be what they will be more, but that is difficult for me (hence the frustrating part)… maybe there is a better way to deal with those feelings.

I had a writing challenge for September and October. My plan was to write every day for at least an hour/ day. I found the challenge pretty challenging. It was hard to commit to writing everyday but I do think I wrote more than usual during these past 2 months. But in spite of writing more during these 2 months I was short on blog posts for both September and October. I was doing a different kind of writing so I’m still happy with how things have gone.

During the month of October I also discovered that I would like to write some fiction, I had no idea that this would interest me but I was inspired by one of the women in my writing class so I’m going to try something new.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – This month has not been great for the fruits and veggies. Junk food has snuck into my diet and I need to get a handle on that. Halloween sure does not help the situation. My weight is up a little this month so I’m only down 13 lbs for the year, I need to refocus on eating better and exercising as they are important habits to establish.

Exercising – Exercise has not happened as much as I would like this past month, especially during the last 2 weeks. The new work schedule is making things a bit crazy but I did manage to walk at lunch time a couple of days in there. If I can continue with those walks that will help me fit exercising into my schedule.

Blog 4 times/ week – I missed my goal in October again! I’m hoping to catch up in November or at least to hit my weekly goal.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I went for a couple of lunches with friends this month and to my sister’s for Thanksgiving. I also started a brand new job and have been trying to get to know my new co-workers.

52 Actions – I managed to purge some clothes and give some gifts but other than that the weekly goals are taking a bit of a beating. I haven’t forgotten about them but I may need to re-jig them as I have less free time than before.

General happiness – I think I am happier than I have been in quite a while. I’m still welcoming abundance into my life, I try to say what I am thankful for every day, I try to focus on living in the present, I try to write about my negative feelings when they happen and release them into the universe, and I think these things all add up to being happier with what you have. Not every day is a stellar day but a greater majority of them are and that makes me happy :).

Only 2 months to go, time to really focus on what’s important during this time. It might be a good idea to reflect on that and make sure that’s what I’m doing. I’ll try to come up with a challenge for November that encompasses that.

A Change in Attitude

I was hanging out with my sister and Mom yesterday and something interesting happened. A car pulled into the yard (it’s kind of a big yard) and the people in the car just sat there looking around.

Well my sister automatically assumed that these people were disparaging the way things looked in the yard now compared to how they looked a few years ago. And my Mom kind of jumped on the bandwagon a bit by putting negative words into these people’s mouths. We had no way of knowing what these people were thinking nor did we have any idea who they were. Eventually they went on their way.

The interesting thing that happened was the thing that I said. I said “why would you assume that they are saying negative things? Maybe they are saying something nice.” My sister (who reads my blog) was pretty proud of me and the fact that I looked at things from a positive perspective. And I was pretty surprised at the fact that I didn’t just jump on the bandwagon but actually spoke up and said that there was no reason to assume they were thinking negative things, they could have just as easily been thinking something positive.

Sometimes being happier is about changing your perspective and your attitude. I really think that I have made progress in this part of my life.

Yay Me!!

Month 9 Check-In

I cannot believe that 2013 only has 3 months left in it. How things have changed and yet how they have stayed the same. As of the 24th of October I will have been unemployed for a year. I did some consulting in there but not enough for it to feel like a real job. I have another interview coming up soon, perhaps this will be the one. As for changes, well I have been blogging for 9 months, I’m taking a writing course and I have spent a tremendous amount of time trying to find my happiness.

Am I feeling happier? Well not every day, but I have discovered some techniques that make it easier to redirect negative feelings and some techniques to focus on the positive ones. Today I’m feeling pretty damn good actually :).

I had a writing challenge for September. My plan was to write every day for at least an hour/ day. I thought it would be pretty easy as I have been blogging 4 times/ week but things seemed to change once I set up the challenge. All of a sudden I was no longer inspired and I could barely write a blog post (as a matter of fact I was short on blog posts 1 week this month).

I think that once I told myself that I had to do it then all of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t, I was resisting. I’m working on clearing up that resistance so I’m going to implement the same writing challenge for the month of October. I have sketched out an idea for a book so I need to put some effort into it. Even if it never gets published, I can leave it to my kids so they have a part of me later on. On a positive note, I have written a few things that I wouldn’t normally write this past month so that has been a fun exploration of my creativity.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – I was on and off with the fruits and veggies this month. I’m going to try to re-focus on this for the month of October. I really do love the smoothies and they are so good for me. I’m down about 1 1/2 lbs this month, so 15 1/2 pounds in total for the year. I’ve plateaued a bit but if I can increase the fruits and veggies again I should be good.

Exercising – I’ve been sick this past week so not exercising but I have big plans for badminton and boxing this fall.

Blog 4 times/ week – I missed my goal 1 week in September but I know I’ll hit it in October!

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I took two classes this month: I went to a cooking class with Sven and took an HTML/CSS one-day course called Ladies Learning to Code. I also had coffee with a friend of mine who I hadn’t chatted with in ages, it was so good to catch up!! And every once in a while I manage to snag one of my friends for lunch so that’s always fun.

52 Actions – I’m doing OK with my weekly goals. I planned a scavenger hunt in town (which I have been talking about for ages), now I need to gather up some folks and try it out!! Some of the other stuff has not been accomplished but I’m moving in a forward direction.

Getting a job – Still no job. I really thought I would have one by now. I think I’m not selling myself enough. Job interview at the 11th company coming up next week. Wish me luck!!

General happiness – The writing course that I am taking is so much more than a writing course. There are sections about dealing with your inner critics and negative feelings. All of these things are helping me feel happier these days. I didn’t feel that good while I was sick last week but now I’m mostly better and feeling happy!!

3 months left, WOW! I think I need to take some time this month and see what I really want to accomplish by the end of this year.

The Top 8 Benefits of Being Unemployed

I’ve been unemployed for 10 months now and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. This time off has been an opportunity for me. An opportunity to explore new things, to take time for myself and to re-evaluate where I’m going in life. So without further ado, here are the

top-8

Benefits of Being Unemployed:
  1. The gift of time.
    One of the things about not working 8+ hours/day is that you have a lot more free time to do other things. Of course, searching for work takes up some time but you can’t spend 40 hours/week doing that soul-sucking task or you would end up in a fetal position on the floor.
  2. Less stress.
    I’m sure that several of you are looking confused at this one. Let me clarify, some days are pretty damn stressful, when you wonder why no one is hiring you after multiple interviews, that can be pretty stressing. But I haven’t been feeling that every day. For the most part I have been enjoying the lack of work-related stress. No deadlines to meet, no lack of communication, no problems with co-workers… you get the idea. Plus, when the kids get home, the evening rush of homework and activities is a lot less rushed and a lot less stressful.
  3. Better health.
    I have lost 14 pounds during the last 8 months. It has not been due to dieting. It has been due to eating better, less stress, more exercise and an increased focus on self-care.
  4. An opportunity to try new things.
    During this period of unemployment I have embraced blogging, tried meditating, learned about chakras and life energy, completed some small challenges, reached out to friends new and old, and signed up for a writing course. Plus, I learned a lot about happiness, positivity and gratitude, started playing badminton, and spent some time volunteering.
  5. Did some things I did not previously have time for.
    I’ve done a lot of reading, purged some stuff, organized a get-together, scrapbooked, did more yoga, taught my youngest how to ride her bike, planted a flower garden and a few vegetables, went on some day-trips, did a little dating, and watched too much TV.
  6. Explored options for my future.
    This time off has given me an opportunity to assess where I am in life and where I want to go. It did not happen quickly but after some soul-searching I have become a lot more serious about writing a book. I think I needed to go through certain steps to get to this point but I am excited about writing and I want to see what I can do in this field.
  7. Improved a friendship.
    I have this friend who I liked but we didn’t hang out that much. We both got laid off together and it was a bonding experience. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders in the whole blogging adventure and job search process. I really appreciate her support and I ❤ her. Thanks Regan!!
  8. Made new friends.
    Blogging has put me in touch with some people I never would have connected with before. I like that I have readers and I like reading other people’s blogs. Plus the writing course has added more people to my life. I’ve only been there a short time but they seem like a super supportive bunch and I am excited to get to know them better.

I know that these are my benefits, but if you’re unemployed you can make some of them yours too. Don’t spend all of your time feeling sorry for yourself. Put yourself out there, take risks and do something that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Of course, don’t give up the job search but keeping busy with things you like will help you keep a positive attitude and that will help in the big scheme of things.

I AM Enough

I feel like I am always waiting to be good enough.

I’ll just read one more article on the topic before I can speak intelligently about it. I’ll just research one more piece of information before I can make a decision. I’ll just get one more opinion before I can decide if this is the right path for me.

I have never felt like the expert. I undervalue my worth, my knowledge and my experience. I know that part of this comes from being a woman. Rochelle Schieck is quoted in Lisa Bloom’s book, think, as saying,”One of the most paralyzing things for a woman is her doubt.” and I believe that for me, this is true. I’m concerned that this is coming through in my job interviews. I feel like I’m a jack of many trades and a master of none. And perhaps my insecurity leaks into my interviews when it should not. When I should be proving that I am the best candidate for the job.

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

My insecurity presents itself in other ways too. Recently, I have been mulling over book topic ideas. And again, I feel like I could write a little bit about a lot of subjects but not enough for a complete book. I know that I can always research the rest but it is nice to have a solid foundation. So I end up with a bunch of possible ideas and nothing that calls to me or presents itself as the best option. In the past I would have given up at this point, feeling overwhelmed and not up for the task.

But this month is different, at least as far as the book idea goes, for this month I am writing. I am just going to write each day on whatever topic I like. Much of this writing will become future blog posts, but I also plan to start attacking some of my book ideas by putting actual words on paper. I plan on fleshing out some stories, I plan on getting involved in the writing community that I have joined, and I plan on doing instead of thinking.

I may not know how to write a book and I may not know how to get it published but I do know how to write a sentence and that is enough for today. I AM enough and I can do this.

Month 8 Check-In

I’m 2/3 of the way through this project and it has been a learning process. I have enjoyed writing and sharing on this blog. I’m not much of a Tweeter or a status sharer on Facebook but I have been committed to writing here. I’m enjoying the process and I have been tossing around the idea of trying my hand at some type of book. Eep.

I had a meditation challenge for August, I certainly didn’t do it every day of the month (esp on my vacation) but I have made progress. I wouldn’t call myself good at shutting off my thoughts but I think I have made a tiny bit of progress. I’m going to keep at it and see if I can’t figure it out eventually. I’m thinking about some type of writing challenge for September but will let you know for sure tomorrow.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – I’m up 1 pound this month due to vacation and a giant bag of chocolate covered almonds. Remind me to never buy one of those bags at Costco again. I’m still enjoying my smoothies, they seem to be my go-to food when I don’t want to cook (unless there is junk food in the house).

Exercising – I did a lot more yoga this month, plus I still love walking :).

Blog 4 times/ week – Still on target here, I had to do a bit of catch up after the vacay but I made it.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I spent a week hanging with my family and I went to a cooking class with strangers. I already have a great relationship with my family so that probably doesn’t count but did I mention cooking with strangers??

52 Actions – I’m doing OK with my weekly goals, I wouldn’t say I have made stellar progress (I still have not painted my bedroom) but I’m hacking away at them as best I can.

Getting a job – Still no job. I had an interview this past week, it’s something a little different than what I have been doing but I think I would be good at it so I am crossing my fingers for a 2nd interview.

General happiness – My vacation week was good for my soul but the no job thing is hard on it. I am hanging in there and doing my best.

I can’t believe there are only 4 months left until the end of the year. I still have so much left to learn and do :).

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