If At First You Don’t Succeed

I’m  learning not to be too hard on myself so I’ve started telling myself that everyday is a fresh start. If I have, or want, to try something I’ll try it.  If I fail, I fail. I try not to beat myself up about it and I try again tomorrow.

Some fresh starts are big and some are small but even starting a new day is an opportunity to try everything that didn’t work yesterday.

When I failed to achieve a target that I set myself I used to beat myself up. I was spreading myself too thin trying to achieve goals or not even giving myself enough time to achieve them. Then, when I struggled to succeed I’d call myself names in my head and wallow in self-pity. But, if I look back I realise that it didn’t serve me any good. How can I get up when I’m my own adversary, screaming at myself to stay down?

My desire to succeed saw me get up and try again. As a result of that I had to rethink the goals I was setting for myself. I have a looong list of things I want to achieve in life and my previous attempts at goal setting were basically: “Everything as quickly as possible”. Not gonna happen.

An effective way of goal setting for actualisation is by setting SMART targets. I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART targets. You learn about them in school, they bang on about them at college, they reeducate you at uni and even when you leave formal education they’re STILL talking about them at work! This tells me that it must be an effective way of setting goals.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, agreed and time-bound. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to break these down for you. They’re self-explanatory. However, don’t underestimate the simplicity of it. These five words will play a big role in getting where you need to be. Let’s have a look at what setting SMART targets looks like in action, here’s one of mine:

Specific

I want to train myself to run long distances

Measurable

I’ll run Luton Half Marathon

Agreeable

I’m okay this and it is something that I want to do, no one is forcing me

Realistic

I’m blessed with life and health so there’s no reason it can’t be done

Time-bound

I’ll run it in October to give me time to prepare for it

You don’t have to write your goals down and it doesn’t have to be a formal process like at work or school where you are graded against your performance on the goals you set BUT don’t forget to plan. It’s all well and good having realistic goals but if you don’t plan the right steps to get there then you never will (that’s a whole other story). I know it’s not always easy to stick to a plan, but if you don’t do so great following your plan one day you can have a fresh start on it the next.

Fresh starts can be scary sometimes; it’s hard going out into the unknown, it’s difficult pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately or fortunately, comfort, success and happiness are not synonymous and in life you have to work hard to get where you need to be (yes, I think you have to work at being happy).

So If you feel like a fresh start why don’t start tomorrow, actually, why don’t you start today and if it doesn’t go so well you’ve got the next day and the next and the next day to give it another go (see where I’m going with this?).

Speaking of fresh starts, I’m moving house this weekend!

What fresh starts are you looking forward to?

The Struggle

With so many things to write about the real struggle is where to start and what to start with.

Mental health awareness week occurred a few weeks ago. During that week, I read two articles that inspired me. The main theme that both these articles had in common with each other was courage, both the individuals had the strength to dig deep and bare their souls to the world.

In reading these articles it really hit home for me how important it is to talk. As someone who suffers with both low mood and anxiety at times; it is a skill that I have had to develop in order to save myself. For me the struggle was just opening my mouth but I have gone to from crying for fear of even opening my mouth (I have friends and family who can vouch for this) to having a small support network of friends and family who I trust and can be open with.

Why is it so important to talk?

Catharsis is “The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions.” Ever felt the need to scream, shout? That is the need to release.  Talking provides the perfect outlet you feelings, in a way it can be more beneficial than other forms of catharsis due to the fact that you have to explain and define how you are feeling. Being able to explain how you are feeling is one of the characteristics of having emotional intelligence… If you’re “feeling some type of way” but can’t describe the way then how are you supposed to deal with the feeling in question. You don’t handle sadness the same way you handle fear.

Developing your emotional intelligence is not an instant thing and like everything in life it takes time but you’d be surprised at how your relationship with yourself, and others develops as you mature.

During my third year of university my emotional intelligence was so low that I struggled to explain to my friends and family how I was feeling. There was a cloud of stress, fear and frustration around me regarding  my job, my  studies and my living situation. I was so immature that I didn’t recognise that I needed release, my soul did. My fear, stress and frustration manifested itself veiled under a bad attitude and a very short fuse. It got to the point where not many people wanted to be around me and the ones that did weren’t gonna stick around much longer. This triggered a change in me. I had to acknowledge how I was feeling and  what  it  was  doing  to me. I was so determined to succeed at work and university that I felt I didn’t have “time” to deal with the emotional side of things. My subconscious had time though.

I had to learn how to communicate my feelings, not complain . It’ll surprise you what people can and want to do for you when they understand what you are dealing with, people aren’t mind readers.

People think that if they talk about anything that they are struggling with it shows weakness but  I see strength in those that confess they are human and I gain strength from others when I confess I am human.


Why I came off the pill

Sickle Cell Anaemia and mental health