“Don’t deny giving yourself credit for accomplishing something, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time.”
My friend Imani made a potato salad for a BBQ we went to in Victoria Park on Saturday. She berated herself for not using enough salt and kicked herself in the shins for forgetting to add the spring onions. She claims she can’t cook. However, the dish was delicious and the sausages she brought were bang tidy; she could’ve won an award for being her own worst enemy that day. But after feeling downbeat about some spuds for all of twenty seconds – and ever the optimist – she reminded herself of what Helen had told her about the importance of ‘Small Victories’.
As Imani’s house mate, Helen would tell her (every time she turned down the opportunity to cook something other than pasta for fear of failure) that she should take baby steps to becoming the next Nigella. What she meant by this was that Imani should forget the Foie Gras or the Soufflés for the time being, and try making simpler dishes in order to build confidence in the kitchen with each culinary triumph.
It made a lot of sense. In fact, it was some of the simplest – but best – advice I’d heard in a long time. Which is why I started thinking about how I could apply it to my own life.
When you’ve set yourself a goal that is larger than a NASA space station, the steps to achieve that target can get a little overwhelming. So I’ve decided that instead of focusing only on the one thing that will take time and is somewhat out of my control, I would focus on three or four things each month that I’d like to achieve alongside the bigger picture. Nothing major, nothing extraordinary. In fact, quite the opposite. But these are successes that I can be in control of as opposed to aiming to achieve something that is out of my hands entirely.
So, as it is the first month I’m doing this, I’m starting small. But so what? I’m a tiny human on a very small planet and sometimes the simplest things in life give us the most pleasure. Except for when it comes to man-bits, of course- sorry, I couldn’t resist.
So here they are, my four targets that will become four victories by the end of the month of June:
Number 1: Organise My Music Collection
No, I’m not talking about sifting through my dusty CD shelf that pretty much consists of Sonique and The Cure’s Greatest Hits. I am talking about making better use of my Spotify account. I am currently in the habit of adding every song I like to the same ‘Summer 2013’ playlist. If you haven’t noticed, it’s now June 2015 and I don’t always want to listen to Kasabian. And there’ll be days where Bon Iver just won’t cut it. But because they’re all lumped into one playlist, I don’t have a choice and shuffle can be torture. So now is the time to make personalised ones to suit all occasions. I’ll delete all the ones I have so far (dating back to 2010!) and start afresh, but I’ll be sure to share them on my Facebook Page, so look out for them if you’re stuck for something to listen to.
Number 2: Get Ready for Glastonbury
I am not a happy camper. Gone are the days of appreciating the wilderness and the rough and tumble of sharing a tent with three of my nearest and dearest. I don’t use public toilets at the best of times and mud is not my friend. However, I am not a diva. I almost enjoy not washing for five days and have hair that copes with all climates and, as much as I don’t like camping, I don’t wish to avoid it altogether. I just need to strike the perfect balance between Glamping and… Bear Grylls. Easily done, right? From blow up beds and She Wees, to ALL the alcohol and dry shampoo, I want to make it as pain-free as possible. So for the next three weeks, I will do all I can to prepare.
Tips and suggestions more than welcome.
Number 3: Blog Loving
I love this space on the internet that I call home, but between work, friends and boyfriends, planned blog posts can easily get swept under the carpet for a rainy day. This is something that makes me unhappy, because I love everything about being a blogger. So I have promised myself that I will post at the same time each week (on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, for those of you interested) in the hope that the routine will keep me on track.
Number 4: Become a Yogi Bear
I don’t care how much of a twat this makes me sound, but: I . LOVE . YOGA . The stretches, the poses, the breathing. The hour of calm in days jam-packed with challenges and noise. I relish it all. Not only does it do wonders for the mind and soul, but – after years of suffering like a little old lady – it has managed to cure my back ache. But, like my blog or any other extra-curricular activities planned for 2015, it gets pushed to the bottom of my ‘To Do’ List faster than a bikini wax. But I am determined to master a pose or two by the end of June.
So there we have it. My first Small Victories post. Promises that are normally saved for the privacy of my own notebook, shoved up there for all to see. I’m hoping it will make me try that little bit harder, because this time I have an audience. Scary stuff.
So think about it: what do you want to achieve by the end of the month?
Make it something manageable, constructive and – most importantly – possible.
Best of luck!