SMALL VICTORIES – NOVEMBER

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I have probably chosen the worst time to write my November ‘Small Victories’ post as I’m tucked up, ill, in bed. However, it is one of the few spare moments I’ve had recently to actually just pause and reflect for a while.

Last month’s aims were reached, really. I downward dogged a little more often, I made sure to write lots, kept on top of my blogging schedule and I explored the city a little more… okay, that one’s a lie, but I would like to. I really would. This city has a deep-rooted place in my heart and I need to get to know it more. Will try to find the time to do just that.

These are the things I hope to achieve by the time December comes around…

1. Get bookish

As a child, I was rarely seen without a book under my arm. I was a bit like Matilda and I promise you, just as annoying. Since the whole internet thing happened, however, I find it so easy to browse the same websites day after day as opposed to delving into a good story. So I want to change that. I’ve already set off on my mission to read more and have just started The Two of Us by Andy Jones and I love it. At just 99p a download, it has reminded me to really think about the books I buy and has encouraged me to search beyond the bestseller lists for hidden treasures… book review to follow.

2. Get it checked

I need to take my health more seriously. Cystitis, an ear infection, back pain, lumps, bumps and everything in between… whatever it is, get it looked at. Doctors become doctors because they want to help you, so go and see them when you need to. That is what they are there for. And they are amazing. Just the other night I needed antibiotics after the surgery had closed. My GP called me and issued them over the phone. I popped my first pill at 7 o’clock that evening.

All hail the NHS.

3. Wear less on my face

I am so BORED of spending so much time getting ready each morning. I love my sleep and would much rather shower, dress and go. Instead, I put on primer, highlighter, foundation, bronzer, blusher, eyeliner, mascara, lipliner and lipstick. The only place I’m heading for five days a week is work, so why bother with a full face of Nars makeup which costs a fortune in the first place? I want to wear less on my face and have more time (and spend less money on face wipes).

4. Prepare for Christmas

No, it’s not too early.

If you’re an Aries, like me, you’ll know that to be as organised as everybody else is, you have to be quite anal about it, otherwise it won’t happen. Truth is, if I don’t prepare presents now, the party season will arrive sooner than I can say “Rudolph” and I’ll be lost to a haze of mulled wine and hearty food with the gifts that I was intending to buy for my family and friends left on the shelves of stores around London, never to be bought. Once party season hits, around the second week of January, I am lost to the glitter and the mistletoe, so November is my only chance to avoid writing I.O.U notes to loved ones and investing in those naff, last minute panic buys.

And that’s it. That’s what I’d like to accomplish.

Let me know what you’d like to achieve over the next few weeks, but remember, remember, this November, to make your goals constructive, achievable and inspired!

SMALL VICTORIES – OCTOBER

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Am I on fast forward? Is the earth spinning faster? I’m starting to get worried. How have thirty days passed since my last Small Victories post? And how the hell is Halloween just around the corner?

Starbucks have released Autumnal paper cups, I’ve been wearing scarves to work and shops are selling Christmas goodies – apparently September just ceased to exist – but did I achieve what I set out to over the last four weeks?

Yes.

And no.

I worked my butt off, inside and outside of the confines of my 9-5, but I could have done – and want to do – better.

So, this month, I will be staying on the road to job-fulfilment bliss, but with a couple of added extras thrown in for good measure. So here goes.

1. Keep at it.

By ‘it’, I mean blogging. Writing. Hustling. It will all pay off, I know it.

2. Stretch.

I could probably count on one hand – or even finger – how many times I have taken to the mat this month. And I can feel it in my mind and in my muscles. Yoga is my valium. Yoga is my therapy. And I am in desperate need of both.

3. Explore.

This one is harking back to August when I promised to enjoy everything that London has to offer, but ‘never got round to it’. Although the weather might not allow for outdoor expeditions as such, a scarf and a hat are more than enough to get me to a gallery. No excuses.

4. Spend time with friends.

Trying to balance a new job, a boy, a blog and my friends over the last month has proved challenging. I have had no time for anything but sleeping and eating, so as October rolls in I’m hoping I’ll be able to stop for a moment and spend time with the most important people in my life…

And there we have it. My small victories that I am reaching for this month, which I will probably fail to achieve because LIFE IS MOVING SO GODDAMN QUICKLY post-25.

But anyway, aside from pinning down a ticket to Glastonbury and nailing the perfect Halloween costume, what would you like to achieve this October?

Whatever it is, make it constructive, doable and inspired. Good luck!

SMALL VICTORIES – SEPTEMBER

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And with a whizz, whoosh, and a wham-bam-thank you-mam, August was gone.

I did listen to my dad when he told me on my 21st birthday that life would fly by from thereon in, but this summer has been something else, don’t you think?

Although I’m sad to say goodbye to warm nights and bare legs, I’m glad that it’s time to head back to reality. There’s something about this time of year – as holidays come to an end and leaves fall to the ground – that fills me with ambition and drive. September always feels like a second chance at a new year and a fresh start as the heat dissipates from the city. A transitional season that welcomes change and calm. 

But let’s look back for a second. Because my August Small Victories weren’t victories at all and I feel I should acknowledge that.

Although I stuck to number 1 (to write more) and number 4 (to work on working out), I didn’t travel anywhere new – aside from Beckenham – and I didn’t surround myself with beauty or explore the art world, although I blame the rain for that one. Instead, I took the time to not try for once. After a year or so of rushing things, I decided to relax, treat my soul to some chicken soup, stop forcing things and instead just enjoy life for what it was. Or is. I actively chose to embrace each day as it came. To let things go. To enjoy my friends. My family. The summer. To just be.

But now that it’s September and I am well rested from a lazy August, it’s time to start fighting for the dreams that I sometimes (regretfully) neglect. People would kill to be 26 again or get the chance to live in London, so it’s my plan to make sure I don’t take these things for granted. The regret of wasting time is not on my agenda.

So, September, what are we waiting for? Let’s have a look at our plans, shall we?

1. Graft.

I pressed the reset (panic) button this summer after a busy – and quite frightful year – with a plan to come back fighting. And I have. With a very clear goal in mind for my future and a determination to work my butt off until I get there. (As they say, ‘Dreams won’t work unless you do’.) So, although it might sound like a nightmare to some, I’ll be using every hour that I’m not at work to focus on my own projects. I might be a little tired though, so bear with me.

2. Save.

I used to be so great with money; spending a fiver a week on food and never really buying new clothes meant that I probably had more money as a student than I do now. So I’m going to save what I can for grown up things. And Topshop dresses. And grown up things.

Ahem.

3. Focus.

I knew months ago that my August calendar would be bursting with things to do. And, although I don’t regret a single house party, dinner or evening with friends, I was hoping for a quieter September.

As it happens, it’s just as busy.

But I will focus. I just need to channel a ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ mentality, which can’t be that hard, right?

*

I don’t wish to tell you about my big plans, dreams or ambitions because I see them as a little bit like wishes: if you even whisper them into someone’s ear, they won’t come true. And I can’t risk that.

One of my favourite quotes goes something like, ‘If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs’. It’s my favourite because it’s something that is so easy to forget to do. So I want you to think of it as you head into work in the morning. I understand that we all have to put the hours in to survive, but make sure you fight to keep your own dreams alive beyond the 9-5. I might be exhausted as I attempt this and it might take me a while to get there, but I am confident I will achieve what I want to- with a lot of hard work and heaps of determination, of course.

And so can you.

September is a time to reach for the stars. So what are you trying to achieve this month?

Whatever it is, give it all you’ve got. Good Luck!

SMALL VICTORIES – JUNE

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“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!