I love hitting the reset button this time of year. It’s September, it’s back to school season, the final quarter of your work year and it’s time to shake off the summer and get serious about what you want to do with the rest of 2019.
My seriousness focused more on 'me' than work for a change. Work offers me many wonderful experiences and opportunities, but it can come with equally as many challenges. So I decided to do something for me for the next 3 months.
First: I signed up for a 14 day writing program, the aim to write solidly for 14 days with the support of a young and enthusiastic journalist. My personal aim is to see if writing is for me, as I have so many stories in my head, but when faced with a blank piece of paper I feel strangled.
My passionate and enthusiastic young tutor checks in with me every morning at 5am by email- which I discovered after only 3 days, allows me the luxury to procrastinate by simply red flagging the email for later - and I am now 5 days behind.
Second: I also decided I needed to hone up on my cycling skills so joined a ladies group- 'Easy Riders' (please note the word 'Easy')
Setting the scene for this particular courageous goal: I live in Peebles in the Scottish Borders, which has been tagged as the fittest place in Scotland due it's growing mountain biking fraternity and it's young fit families moving into the town. Ha! I think to myself- an opportunity to be brave and dare myself to join this elite culture.
So I dusted down my bike from 4 years of winter wood chippings, chased the spiders out of my helmet and set off to meet Vicky(a down hill mountain bike champion- so in the care of extremely skilled hands!)
After 2 hours of extreme(now's the time to reflect on the 'easy' part of the title) up hill, down hill, passing the gauntlet, figure of 8 on a steep hill, my 'easy' cycling lesson cumulated in falling off, landing in dog poo, and my backside in tatters. I now declare myself truly initiated into the local cycling culture - now debating my attendance again this Friday.
Third: I decided I would like to re connect with the outside world. Being self-employed has its advantage, but one disadvantage for me is the loneliness when I am not out and about coaching or working with groups. So I made a list of colleagues and friends I had not seen for a while and got in touch, so I had at least one social friend to meet every week. I like planning!
My first catch up was yesterday, a wonderful friend for over 20 years from my civil service days. We only meet once a year, but that one day together is enough, we spend the whole day catching up on all areas of our lives, family, husbands, kids, holidays, the crap stuff and the good stuff (wine included).
My day was such a tonic, my gloomy wee self was replaced by a happier self( + a wee hangover), with a more positive outlook on life, and feelings of being enough and cared for.
I feel it’s time to get serious about one thing that every human being needs - friends and the feeling of being connected. Loneliness is an epidemic right now. So if you are feeling lonely, you’re not alone and it’s something to get serious about changing. I don’t have to tell you that studies prove that friendships are a big blumin deal because feeling lonely in your life sucks.
And let’s face it, it’s hard to make new friends as an adult. Everyone seems busy and they already have their squad. I get it. It’s different now that you’re older. You were handed a pack in high school and college. You’re so busy now, you rarely see the people you used to hang out with.
That’s why I want you to try two things this autumn, that may sound a little weird but will make you happier.
Sign up for something new. Take that improvement class. Join a training group for a race. Push yourself off the couch and out the door. It will force you to ditch Netflix and meet actual real-life human beings.
Make a list of 13 people you’d love to see. Then reach out to them and schedule a time between now and the end of the year. An empty calendar creates all kinds of mental issues, having dates to look forward to creates momentum and positivity.
So back to my seriousness. Yes I will take my own advice, get off my backside and complete my writing and my cycling, and continue to stay connected with those I care for and who care about me.
I love the frank sassy approach of Mel Robbins when it comes to taking action with her #5-4-3-2-1, so here's a wee video clip that you can keep highlighted on your phone or computer to motivate you to make the most of 2019.
Please don’t wait to feel like it. 5-4-3-2-1, this is an opportunity to hit reset and reclaim your power. Take your life seriously and make yourself take the steps that will change it for the better.
So together let's do something positive for ourselves over the remaining months of 2019.
✓ Do It Anyway
Finally, keep mantra in your back pocket at all times - #DoItAnyway.
When you make that list of 13 friends, and then start to question whether or not you should text them, #DoItAnyway.
Changing your habits requires what scientists refer to as activation energy. You have to push yourself. I can’t be there to push you out of bed. I can’t reach out to your friends or sign up for that improvement class. You must do it. Your life. Your responsibility. Stop thinking about what you need to do and get it done.
2020 is just around the corner. You have to power to make the last four months of 2019 something you’re proud of. You have to power to connect more deeply with what you want. You are courageous, so do it. I dare you!
Warmest wishes Heather x
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