loader image
Every day is a fresh start

Every day is a fresh start

I love January! I think I like it more than Christmastime, although both come with their own set of rituals, demands and expectations. It’s important to remember that we can make a fresh start any time, which I’ll cover here, but as it’s the New Year…

Every day is a fresh start, but 1 January is extra special

For some reason, New Year has always served as my reset point; my joy-and-motivation initiator – my reminder that every day is a fresh start. Certainly, that may be cliché, but I’m sure others see it the same way.

I also know I’m not alone in scrapping the whole ‘resolutions’ and ‘goal setting’ business. January 1 is a holiday, my uncle Doug and cousin Liz’s birthdays. The only pressure I want to experience is the cork popping out of a bottle of bubbly!

How to do January (or any time, for that matter) stress-free but with maximum impact then?

I’ve been practising for a few years and have simplified my start-fresh ritual.

Here’s what I’ve learnt:

Read

A book, that is. I’ve spotted a pattern throughout my year – when I’m perpetually emailing or mindlessly scrolling Facebook each evening, I’m less happy than the times I’m engaged in a good read. I’m more of a non-fiction gal myself, but it doesn’t matter what your preference is. Find time to read. It’s too easy to fall out of the habit of reading books, but the practice has proven health benefits including improved memory and reduced stress.

Tip: Not sure where to start? Ask for recommendations on Facebook or talk to friends. Take it one step further and join a book club this year (there are countless options, both on and offline).

Listen

We are blessed with thousands of free interesting, inspiring and motivating resources at our fingertips. If you’re short on time, try the Blinkist app that summarises popular books into 15-minute sessions; or start a routine of listening to a Podcast once a week. Breathe and Calm are fabulous apps that will get even the most resistant amongst you into healthy meditation and mindfulness habits. The most accessible of course, is YouTube, with more hours of content than we can consume in four lifetimes. Much of it is even very good!

Tip: Sign-in to YouTube with your own unique account, so you can personalise your experience.

Talk

Make this the year you engage a coach or mentor. Since I opened up to this, my life has changed. I used to think I had to do it all on my own, but now I know for sure that surrounding myself with guides is wise.

To clarify, I see a ‘mentor’ as someone to look up to; whose footsteps I’d like to follow in, and who shares helpful advice. A coach, is usually someone who talks you through questions that help you come to a conclusion or solution that’s right for you.

Tip: Don’t worry if you’re not sure who these people might be in your life. If you’re on the lookout for a mentor, you’ll know when they appear. Or try Google – coaching is big business now.

Thank

Lean on gratitude as a tool moving into the New Year. Set an intention to consistently recall the things you’re grateful for. By giving energy to the good, you’ll attract more of it.

Tip: Start a habit of writing down five things you’re grateful for each morning and watch what happens.

Write

Pick a tool, any tool – pen and paper, or an app like Evernote. Write down the things you want. It’s that easy. Think big; limitless. The power of putting it on paper is renowned, and for good reason. Many of us have seen the things we write down come true.

Tip: Don’t be too manipulative or specific. Instead, write down how you want to feel. For example, ‘I want to feel respected and be abundantly compensated for doing what I love’. Often what you ‘want’ comes in a form that you hadn’t imagined, so be open to the possibilities.

 

How do you see it? Let us know in the comments about your New Year’s rituals that work.

 


				
					
Is your life goals list making you miserable?

Is your life goals list making you miserable?

It began with something called a ‘happy planner’ that promised to keep me on track with my life goals list. The year, that is – I started off so well, planning ahead in my bright yellow hard-covered book that’s trimmed with gold and artistically decorated with beautiful landscape photography.

All my goals, neatly listed, poised for New Year’s success. Maybe you relate?

The un-happiness of a life goals list

I spent time working through my planner’s activities which included noting intentions, and rating my happiness in various areas of life with a view to taking action on anything that felt lacking. On a glance back, I see I also filled in the ‘reverse bucketlist’ pages, where instead of writing down all the things I wish to achieve, I listed those things I was already proud of accomplishing (a very nice activity, if you need a boost today).

While I did initially make the most of my ‘happy planner’, it has actually been sitting on top of a pile of half-read books since May!

The bright yellow HAPPY cover serves as a reminder each morning of the possibilities ahead. But in the evenings, it came to prompt panic over all I’d intended to do but not yet acted upon.

According to the internet, this is now a thing – ‘FOMOMG’ (fear of missing out [on] my goals).

What on earth is FOMOMG?

What to do then, if we feel like we’re not where we intended to be now? That is, if we haven’t saved the money we wanted to, got the job, bought the house, discovered the romance, finished (or started) a project we’d hoped to have in hand.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like we’re missing out, and some might agree it’s especially so at this time of year. Keen to not fall victim to this so-called FOMOMG, I resolved to lessen the pressure I admitted placing on myself.

Types of goal setting, not goal-setting or indeed not giving a f*ck!

I’ve been reading some of Sarah Knight’s work – she’s the author of the No F*cks Given guides and presenter of a TED talk on the ‘magic of not giving a f*ck’ that’s reached over four million people. Clearly, many are curious to know if it’s ok to shed our excess ‘stuff’, and Sarah’s now famous for spreading the word on how to let go of things you really don’t need to care about.

Akin to decluttering your home, we’re encouraged to do the same with our minds. You can start this today by writing down a list of all the things that are taking up space in your head, then carefully considering which items you don’t need to care about. Really. For example, are you worrying that you’re not as caught up in your career as your friends are (well apparently, according to Instagram)? Let it go. It’s likely to work out the moment you begin to clean up your thoughts and focus on the things that truly matter.

Life goals to set for yourself: choose wonder not worry

I’ve also been dipping into Amber Rae’s Choose Wonder over Worry (another one stashed in my bedside pile of books). She helpfully points out that it’s not the things we don’t care about that are hard to let go of, but it’s letting go of all those things we DO want to achieve, plan for or create, that is so hard. To choose ‘wonder over worry’, means doing just that – letting some of the stress and pressure go, and focussing on the thing that is the most important to you.

Looking ahead, it’s time for me – and you, perhaps – to find joy in the moment. Embrace, don’t stress, over your dreams and goals.

Make time for a festive break; consider the good in your world, and your achievements; play with your kids or pets; focus on ONE thing you’re looking forward to pursuing next year. Let go of the clutter and embrace with me the understanding that setting goals is one thing, but realising those goals can change is the real key to happiness.

How do you see it – do you set goals anymore, or focus on intentions? I’d love to know – please drop me a line in the comments. 

 

First published in the December 2018 issue of Get it Magazine, getit-magazine.com.au

 



 

Discovering fitness confidence and the benefits of Reformer Pilates

Discovering fitness confidence and the benefits of Reformer Pilates

I regularly share thoughts in Australia’s Get it Magazine, and this month it turned out to be high time to try a new exercise routine which is how I discovered the benefits of Reformer Pilates. If you’re looking to start a new exercise class and lacking confidence to get going, maybe my story will help you.

The benefits of Reformer Pilates: starting from scratch

Neatly drafted under the date ‘December 31, 2017’ (a good ten months ago), are a few resolutions for the year to come, including one that jumps out at me now, ‘join an exercise class’.

It’s something I wanted to try because classes have provided me with positive fitness structure in the past. I remember that first week back in January, keenly researching suitable options like dance, Barre, and the benefits of Reformer Pilates – things I was never game to try.

I was geared-up to get along to the initial sessions of the year, believing all newbies would start then too.

As the hour drew near however, the internal dialogue began: ‘Good God, you’re too old to join a dance class!’; ‘You won’t even make it through the first ten minutes without needing a sit-down and a bucket of water’; ‘Imagine how awesome everyone else looks in their designer active-wear (and how idiotic I’ll look in my eBay specials)’.

I panicked, realising exactly how many years it’s been since I survived a group fitness class, let alone be in the routine of attending.

For the past year I’ve maintained independent gym visits when I can, walks and Yoga, but I’m aware the body gets used to repetitive activities and we start to see that our efforts don’t really reap rewards. Something must change, although I’d still not gone to a class!

Getting to class and discovering the benefits of Reformer Pilates

Cooper – my fitness-fan, fun-loving other half, bit his tongue for the past year. I’ve only just learnt he’s reluctant to divulge certain truths to me. Apparently about five years into this 17-year thing we have going on, he told me he didn’t think a shirt I was wearing out one night suited me.

The wrath that ensued meant he thinks twice before sharing such insight. Of course, despite me having no recollection of said event, I insisted I’ve grown since then, and promised that honesty is the right way. (probably).

He proceeded to share a flyer found at his gym promoting a special deal on Reformer Pilates classes, reminding me that I had been interested to get into a class activity. The proposal was positively received (much to Cooper’s relief).

Reformer Pilates had always been something I knew would be beneficial, garnering similar results as Ballet which I loved, well, until I was 16. But the idea of figuring out the ‘apparatus’ (a ‘bed’ attached to springs that move a carriage along the bed’s frame – thought about too deeply, it may resemble a form of torture depicted in The Tudors), freaked me out.

Finding confidence to give a new class a go

In a headspace to give something new a go though, I signed up for a 10-class pass.

The beauty of this situation, for me at least, is that I need to use the class passes within a certain time-frame, must book the sessions in advance, and if I bail at the last minute (typical ‘me’) I lose the investment, because these come with a 48-hour cancellation rule. Seems I’m motivated by money, or loss of it, so I show up!

The first class was challenging, but not intimidating as I’d feared. The instructor set up my reformer, and explained each exercise, as has been the case in subsequent classes.

I left that first time with wobbling and shaking sensations in muscles I didn’t know existed! I still go to each class with excuses in my head about why I’m too tired, too busy and too uncoordinated to attend, but there’s something new going on now. I know for sure, that at the end of each class I’ll be glad I went.

After about five weeks I noticed the benefits of Reformer Pilates showing up – some nice tone, which has led to body-confidence I thought was long gone.

Full disclosure, I’m just back at work following a break of nearly two weeks, and I’m aware I need to leave my wine-loving-holiday-happy vibe behind and return to a healthier lifestyle. That said, I’m proud I pushed myself through significant years-old blocks to embrace something that works for me, now. Make or break your habits, one step (or class) at a time – studies show it’s how we genuinely accommodate new, better behaviours. I feel I’m finally there, and I’ve signed up for more! It’s not torture, really.

 

Are you a convert on the benefits of Reformer Pilates or do you have tips on starting any new exercise class? It’s daunting, I know! Please do share your insight in the comments below.

 

First published in the September 2018 issue of Get it Magazine, getit-magazine.com.au
Glamour cue (not saving your best for special occasions)

Glamour cue (not saving your best for special occasions)

A little learning on not saving your best for special occasions – find your glamour cue each and every day 👑

Not saving your best for special occasions: the story

Once upon a time I lived in tiny and expensive flat in a huge city overseas.

Competition for a roof over your head continues to be high in many places, and out of naïve fear I’d accepted the first unaffordable rental a real estate agent sold me on.

This apartment block housed a young, international set, mostly fortunate students who curiously didn’t work but had way more fun-funds than I did.

The experience wasn’t the homeliest I’ve had, and my pay packet stretched only as far as rent and a bit of food.

Trash, treasure and a splash of glamour

That’s why the communal corridor near the ‘bin room’ was such a treat.

You see, every time this transient crowd shifted in and out of the building, they’d leave unwanted goods in that space. Furniture, towels, blankets, cushions, kitchenware, shoes, lamps, kettles, storage boxes, trinkets and clothes would appear every few weeks. All in good condition, nearly-new! The little hallway offered a treasure trove of goodies that saved me loads of money.

One special day I was on my way to work when I spotted a fresh pile of pretty things left for the picking. Sure I needed to catch the train, like, ten minutes prior, however, I was captivated.

Unceremoniously dumped amongst a pile of women’s accessories, was a stylish black leather Kate Spade tote bag!

A Google search later indicated it would retail for more than (AU)$700. My bag’s former owner (someone with more money than sense) had abandoned it still full of her old gum wrappers, crumpled tissues, used cosmetics, and it was stained on the inside with what looked like leaked nail varnish. With a loving clean, it was nearly good as new.

Not saving your best for special occasions: living a glamorous life now

From that moment on, my Kate Spade tote and I were inseparable. I’d never owned an expensive bag before. I’m a fairly low-maintenance kinda girl, however carrying it around made me feel glamorous. It was just a bag that I’d retrieved from the trash, but it did add sparkle to my days.

Indeed, the word ‘glamour’ is derived from Scots (the old English language as spoken in Scotland), when in the early 1700s, the Scottish altered the English word ‘grammar’ to create ‘glamer’ or ‘glamour’, meaning ‘a magic spell’.

What is glamour?

Glamour. A little bit of magic, a feeling that things are in the flow and all eyes are on a sassy version of you. Enchanting, don’t you think?

More reasons to not be saving your best for special occasions, like weddings, formals, awards shows or a jaunt through Vienna.

Glamour can be accessed every day. My Kate Spade handbag made me realise that the spell is in the detail, if that detail is special to me. I still don’t seek designer gear, but I make sure that I implement touches of glamour in my life that serve as a cue to walk tall and approach my to-do list with grace and ease.

Glamour cue: be your happiest today

Your daily dose of glamour might mean ensuring your nails are manicured, wearing a fabulous hair accessory, getting fit and healthy, or brightening up your home with fresh flowers. Maybe the glamorous life to you, means the removal of excess, making space for calm, simplicity and the got-it-together confident you.

When the tragic news of designer Kate Spade’s death popped up as a notification on my phone in June, I recalled how the creation that bore her logo had brought me joy. That bag was my icon of glamour, the reminder to smile warmly, flick my hair a little, and to radiate the bright energy I intend to share with the world. Little had I known, I did not need a big budget or to be in attendance at a fancy event in order to ‘be’ glamorous.

In a reflection on the meaning of glamour, Financial Times journalist Susie Boyt says that, “your best self is not about pampering, but working on that song-in-your-heart mood”. How charming, and true. Find your glamour cues this month, and access daily, because a reality we can all agree on, is that life’s too short to save our best things for ‘special occasions’.

 

Read the latest issue of Get it Magazine, getit-magazine.com.au
How to stop pleasing others: time to take a minute

How to stop pleasing others: time to take a minute

Having the Last Word in Get it Magazine on how to stop pleasing others, why we need to stop excusing ourselves and people-pleasing:

For your own health: how to stop pleasing others

One evening when my nephew was very small, he dramatically stood up at the dinner table to declare, ‘Mummy, I need a moment’! Kids are hilarious.

Unfortunately as we grow older, we tend to drop the naive honesty, and when we really do need a moment, we rarely request it.

Can you relate to worrying excessively about managing other people’s wants over your own needs, saying ‘yes’ on autopilot, and over-explaining why you need to say ‘no’ to something?

Would you like to stop pleasing others all the time, even when you feel it’s not right?

People-pleasing dilemmas

With Mother’s Day upon us mid-month, I feel it’s pertinent to be one who stands up against ‘people-pleasing’.

Mums are renowned for putting themselves first, which is why this topic is top of mind.

That said, please do not take this editorial as a generalisation – I will not stereotype because there are people in my circles (yours too, I’m sure) – men and women – wearing all sorts of hats and still uncomfortably squirming at the table tagged, ‘people pleasers’.

I used to think the only way forward was to always do ‘good’ by others, at my own expense. Thankfully I had my unhealthy people-pleasing habits pointed out. Severe symptoms you may recognise are saying yes to everything including things I felt uncomfortable doing, and when I was totally exhausted, all to keep everyone else pleased.

Taking ‘me time’

Last month was buzzing with positive energy on the GC – an extra-long weekend and the Commonwealth Games. Fun times (especially when Prince Charles waved at me… honestly)!

By the same token, I dare say many of you were like me and scrambling to fit it all in – events with family and friends, the never-ending trail of life admin; travel for some, work for others and even moving house (I empathise with a fellow Get it girl who spent her holiday on that task).

Then there’s the nerve-racking life stuff that involves not just physical input but emotional investment too, like taking care of unwell loved-ones or saying farewell to those you won’t see in a while.

A scroll through Instagram and Facebook unsurprisingly showcased our good-time stories, but not the reality of the anxiety and over-commitment issues I was witnessing (then, and on-going for all of us). The familiar strain on faces across town reminded me that we need to practice balancing the line between self-care and selflessness.

Drop the ‘yes’ habit

Being very unhappy due to a long-term ‘yes habit’ and putting others first (even your most beloved) at all costs is not setting a positive example, but instead, sets a negative precedent.

There was a time when people-pleasing generated tears and havoc in my life. It’s why I feel for those around me when I recognise the tension and unnecessary lengthy explanations about not being able to say ‘yes’; or for those who regularly over-promise their time but always cancel on plans at the last minute (not a good look).

Take a moment. What’s the worst that can happen if you just say, ‘no’?

Help a friend out

As friends and colleagues too, we need to look out for each other. Don’t let another people-please for you, if you’re honestly aware they may not have the capacity right now.

I still struggle to say ‘no’. I actually get excited about a lot of things and love to say ‘yes’! But, I’ve made peace with a few things in this regard: I can’t please everyone, but I’m finally ok with that. I can do it all, just not all at once! I can say no, in my own way by managing expectations and understanding my priorities. If there’s guilt, then I just have to deal with it. Keeping all people happy all of the time is rather impossible, and I’ve actually realised a ‘yes habit’ can lead to your good intentions and time being taken for granted. Ouch.

I’ve learnt that saying ‘no’ is not necessarily selfish, and saying ‘yes’ to compromise and setting boundaries is wise. Offering a thoughtful ‘no’ will give you greater peace and better position you to support others in the long run.

How do you see it? Share in the comments below or find us (Get it Magazine or Sarah Blinco) on social media.

 

Read the May 2018 issue of Get it Magazine, getit-magazine.com.au