New Year, No Pressure

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A couple of days before the New Year a bunch of daffodils sprung up and bloomed in our front garden – which is weird, because traditionally daffs have got at least another month or so of underground snoozing to go before they’re expected.  But nope, these guys are up and ready to go.  You know, as if they’re raring to smash 2018.  I mean, if they were human they’d have quit smoking, organised their bullet journals and vowed to go vegan by now.

And it’s not just my eager daffs, during the first week of January there’s always that pressure to get up, get going and – like a crash test dummy on their first day of work – throw yourself at 80 miles an hour into a brand new year.  There’s that fresh page right in front of us and the chance to start over and reinvent which is exciting…

…But also TERRIFYING, and comes with a huge amount of pressure (if you’re a writer then you’ll know how terrifying empty pages are!).

I wish I could say that I had the same January Get up and Go attitude that my daffodils have, but the truth is that it takes me a bit longer than that.  For me, January has always been a massive struggle.  I used to dread the trudge back to school and the old routine after spending time with my family at Christmas, and I’m always falling foul of the January Blues.  It’s a dark, cold and miserable time of year; not exactly the easiest month to feel motivated to get up early and get crack-a-lacking on those goals, amiright?

For people like me, the expectation that I’ll wake up on the 1st of January bright eyed having switched into a new mindset overnight is completely unrealistic (…the truth is that I spent the first couple of hours of 2018 with my head down a toilet… but I digress…). And yet the pressure to do that is everywhere, so it’s easy to beat yourself up when you wake up in January and just want to groan and bury your head under the covers instead.

My January Self-Care Kit: Plenty of reading material, fresh flowers to brighten up the house on dull days, lots of candles and fairy lights, hot tea, sticky buns and lots of time spent with the beardo and Bungle ♡

I’m not saying that I’m not excited for 2018, believe me, I really am (2017 was one of my favourite years so far 🙂 ).  But I’m going to need some time to ease myself into it, and January seems like the perfect month for some self care and self reflection.  I’m going to hold off on the resolutions and goal setting until February at least, and spend the month quietly feeding myself instead.  Not with food exactly (although there are still two Chocolate Oranges in my kitchen cupboard that I’m very excited survived Christmas…), but with all the things that I’m going need to inspire that fresh mindset when Spring arrives.  I want to read, I want to write, eat good food, go exploring and then come home and cwtch up somewhere warm and cosy with a cup of tea.  Unlike those eager daffs, this girl needs just a little bit more time sleeping underground before she can be expected to bloom.

What’s in your January Self-Care Kit? 🙂

About Motivation

Wouldn’t it be great if they bottled Motivation?  So whenever you were feeling stuck in that emotional rut of “I just can’t be arsed” you could just drag yourself to your local supermarket and literally stock up on cans of whoop ass that would give you that much needed boost to get stuff done.  They’d be right there on the shelf next to those silver cans with bulls and lightening bolts on them, but completely separate because let’s not confuse motivation with energy.  After all, they’re completely different things.

A slump in energy can be quickly solved with a sold eight hours shut eye or a stonking great big cup of coffee (…or tea, if you’re like me!).  Motivation though?  That’s trickier.  Motivation is elusive.  It’s unpredictable; it comes and goes and can’t be pinned down.  It can’t be summoned, and it can’t be kept.  Just like inspiration (I’m a firm believer that the two are either the same thing or at least go hand in hand), it’s got an air of mystery and magic to it – a sudden spark that gives you the jolt you need to tackle anything and everything from the moulding dishes in the sink to job applications, blog posts and unwritten books.

Motivation – when it sticks around – makes you feel powerful, invincible.  You know the feeling; it’s practically a superpower, it’s that voice inside that shouts YOU GOT THIS and just for second makes you believe that you’re capable of doing almost anything.  The problem is that almost as soon as it appears, it’s gone again.  Hopefully after you’ve finished that pisa-esque pile of ironing or bashed out that blog post that’s been bugging you, but y’know sometimes it’s been known to bugger off sooner, leaving you high and dry – something that’s not only incredibly rude, but can be incredibly depressing too.  It leaves you feeling the exact opposite of strong and capable; weak and unable.  Useless.

Perhaps that’s why Motivation’s so elusive.  I mean, if we all went around ignited by that spark 100% of the time then we wouldn’t value it as much – not to mention, we’d be bloody exhausted from taking over the world every day of the week!

Sadly, I can’t see Tesco or Waitrose bottling Motivation any time soon (but if it did it’d probably be flavoured with blood oranges and salted caramel), but there are definitely a few ways to encourage that fickle spark of superhuman can-do to return.

Rest and Re-energize

Ground breaking, I know.  But, Motivation never likes to stop by when you’re feeling run down or exhausted.  So relax, put that to-do list on hold for a while and refill those batteries.  Not by necking caffeine though – all that’s good for is a quick burst of Faux-tivation followed by a crash.

Do Something Else

Motivation likes to be inconvenient.  Just like that Hermes delivery you’ve been waiting for and watching out the front window for all morning; you know that as soon as you decide to get in the shower or plonk your bum on the toilet the front door bell will go.  A watched cake never bakes (…or something like that). So do something else; read a book, go for a walk, start binge-watching that new show everyone’s been talking about and you can guarantee that Motivation will suddenly show up unannounced and ring that bell.

Ask for Help

There’s no shame in taking a sip from someone else’s can of whoop-ass.  When you’re feeling in a rut, ask for a boost-up from friends or family.  They might have the answers you’ve been looking for and couldn’t see yourself, or be more than willing to give you a break and help with that to-do list.

Fake It

Sometimes we can’t afford to hang around waiting for Motivation to give us a jump start (there’s no AA membership when it comes to Motivation!), and during times like that you need to be able to roll your sleeves up and get things done anyway.  Everyone has their own ways of tricking themselves into feeling inspired, whether that’s bribing yourself with a reward for getting the job done, or a playlist of songs that help you feel empowered.  And you never know, maybe Motivation might sense the positivity and offer a helping hand after all.

What are Your Tips and Tricks to staying Motivated?   🙂

The Resolution Rut

When you’re sozzled on spirits and excitedly staring down the final few seconds of the year it’s so easy to make resolutions and solemn vows for the new year ahead. You fill the fridge with kale and broccoli, buy some running shoes and yoga pants, and buzz with the motivation to do better. But you know how it goes, by the end of January you’re skint and nackered; the kale’s moulding in the bottom of the fridge, the soles of your running shoes are still a pristine and virginal white and your motivational buzz has fizzled out into a dashed and depressive drone.

You’ve hit the Resolution Rut!

It happens to to the best of us, kid. And usually towards the end of January when the dark winter mornings and evenings just make us want to crawl into a ball and feast on pizza until Spring arrives (Read my tips for conquering the January Blues here) instead of getting out and conquering the world one new year’s goal at a time.

So how do you stay motivated and on track when you hit that rut?

1. Don’t feel forced into making Resolutions in January

The truth is that new leaves can be turned over on any day of the year, not just January the 1st. Don’t feel like you have to get swept up in the tide of dieting and determination with everyone else. If you’re not ready to make adventurous plans that you have a good chance of seeing through to the end, don’t. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you’re ready to commit. For example, if you’re planning to get into running maybe wait until Spring when the weather improves rather than forcing yourself out the door on dark and drizzly January mornings. Some people choose to make resolutions in September or on their birthdays or randomly on August the 3rd. For a lot of people  – myself included – that motivational mindset just isn’t switched on in January.

2. Tell EVERYONE about your goals for the year

I used to make my resolutions in secret. Every year I’d have a few goals in mind but I’d never tell anyone what I was planning, that way if they flopped or fell flat no one would know I’d failed. But I knew, and wasn’t the only person I was trying to impress anyway? So here’s a little trick I picked up when doing Nanowrimo. By telling your mum, your best friend, your boyfriend, your brother, your dog – everyone – of your plans, you decrease your chances of failure. If you know that people are watching and taking note then you’ll push yourself twice as hard to make sure you succeed.

Bonus; you’ll have someone to talk to when you feel like quitting. They’ll know about and understand your journey from drunken promise to prize and will be there to slap the metaphorical pizza out of your hand when you’re ready to throw in the towel.

3. Plot your path to success

Achieving your goals isn’t as simple as dream and do, there’s a long hard slog in between. Understanding what you need to do to get yourself there is really important and breaking the journey down into smaller steps can really help. Keep a diary and set yourself weekly or monthly targets. Make a list of all the things you need to do to get yourself onto the next step; ticking them off one by one and seeing progress is really satisfying.

4. Plenty of carrots (i.e REWARDS!)

Sometimes the reward of achieving your end goal can seem a long way off, and if you’re anything like me then you’ll need a little something to grease the wheels along the way. Small steps towards victory should be celebrated! When I set myself a target, I also set myself a bonus for achieving that target. Think of it as like levelling up in a computer game; you’re always rewarded with a little something for beating the mini-boss that gives you the boost you need to press on to the end. When I’m writing, if I finish a tricky chapter or reach my word count I celebrate – usually with a little something from my Etsy or ASOS wishlist 😉

5. Keep a picture of your younger self on your desk

Be the person you would have looked up to as a kid. Be your own superhero. And when you feel like giving up on your goals look at the picture and remind yourself of why you started and who you’re putting in all that hard work for.

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What are your tips and tricks for staying motivated?