Archives for the month of: January, 2016

What a week it has been for us weather wise!

We had to toughen up from the rain, extreme winds, snow, sunshine, freezing temperatures and to us Scots it has become a strength that we all possess!  No kidding here!

We had an extremely mild October and November last year so we were absolutely spoiled!  I have never attended the Glasgow Green Fireworks display for Guy Fawkes feeling the weather as warm and mild as it was. I was very surprised by the “heat” in November as it was so unusual for us Glaswegians. We could have had a barbecue on our back garden in November and what fun that would be! I was walking around London Eye on the Sunday 8th November with my boyfriend in my t-shirt whilst we were there for our weekend break as they had the warmest November in quite a number of years. Then, on the Monday morning of the 9th when we arrived back into Glasgow, we were greeted with wild winds and rain.

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December last year was a mixture of wild winds and rain with some storms with very little sunshine. Yet we did get some warm and calm days during the festive period as Calvin, my youngest son and I took his new bike he got for his Christmas for it’s “test drive” in our local park. It was a first for both of us to be cycling in December!  We were still warmer than the average December temperature for Glasgow, Scotland. There was one or two days of frost and no snow at all so the kids were disappointed that we never got a white Christmas.

Then we were suddenly hit by the extreme freezing temperatures, frost and then snow in the middle of this month. What a huge shock it was for our bodies to adjust to! I remember my youngest son Calvin going outside to play on the Saturday morning of 16th January. There was ice on the ground to keep him amused until it started to snow on and off all day so the kids had so much fun having snow ball fights and building a snowman or three!

Our weather has become so unpredictable so we are prepared for whatever the sky throws at us yet we just love to talk about it with anyone, anywhere and at anytime! We get four seasons in one hour!

So if you come to Glasgow, Scotland and someone talks to you about the weather then you know they are from Glasgow. Join in the chat and you probably learn a thing or two about us Glaswegians yet that’s if you can understand our accent! By the way be prepared if and when you do travel to Scotland no matter what time of year you do it!

I had my wellingtons on Monday and Tuesday and by Wednesday I had ditched them for a pair of more comfortable shoes because it was like walking in ski boots. I felt like a farmer walking about in my wellingtons with my corduroy trousers tucked inside them!  I had forgot to wear my thermal socks on Wednesday when I took the bus to meet my friend for lunch so I was at risk of getting more chilblains on my toes.  Ooops! Silly me!  The number 61 bus was freezing on my way home and thank goodness I had my pocket hotties from my sweetheart to keep me warm.

I had a lazier day on Thursday so it was less of a challenge to be out and about. My S5 indicated extreme winds from the weather warning that popped up. Yet it was a calm day and I was just happy to be home after the school run.

I stayed at home with Calvin all day yesterday because he had a fever so it was another lazy day for me. No school run!  Storm Gertrude was here and some schools were closed in Scotland and many people were without electricity. There were huge disruptions to public transport and a landslide closed the A82 between Spean Bridge and Invergarry for a while, leading to a 154 mile diversion. We were fortunate to have stayed safe and well with no disruptions.  Yet the wild winds and the noise from it was more than enough to disturb us!

Today, I needed to get three important things seen to and two was in the city centre so I was well prepared for the freezing cold as I was getting the bus.  I had my Koala bear hat (from Sydney) on that covers my sensitive ears, my white cotton scarf wrapped around my neck, my soft black leather gloves on my small hands, my three in one Berghaus waterproof and windproof jacket, my thick spotty thermal socks to keep the chilblains away from my tiny toes and four pocket hotties to keep my hands warm if I need them. I had two small flasks filled with hot water to drink to keep me warm. I brought a banana, an apple and a protein bar with me to keep me fuelled.

I saw snow on the top of the bus that I boarded to get into the city centre. To my amazement, I saw a few young lads walking in the city centre with just a skimpy t-shirt on!………..in temperatures below 5 degrees centigrade and the “real feel” temperature on my Samsung S5 indicated it was minus 5 degrees centigrade. I do wonder how and why these young lads do such a silly thing!

The sun was shining bright so it helped to make my afternoon adventure out into the city centre that bit more pleasant. The bus ride into city centre was also pleasant because the heating was on and the bus was filled with passengers where I could only stand. The number 61 bus on my way home had no heating on again yet this time I felt warmer than I did on Wednesday. The rain stayed off until I got home so I was very fortunate. I toughened up today from being exposed to the elements and more of it tomorrow!

The calm after the storm today was peaceful and quiet only to be spoiled with a light drizzle compared to the rain we had this week. I enjoyed a walk to our local shop to pick up dinner and it was a delightful walk with no winds to blow me half way down the street!

Now let us embrace our unpredictable Scottish weather for the upcoming week. What do I need?

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Planking!

It was all the hype some time ago, when I was more active than I am now. I ran, well walked and jogged actually, two 10k races in Glasgow, Scotland twice a year to push myself and become stronger physically. So planking was easy for me back then.

Now it feels more of a challenge due to my giving up running after I tore ligaments on my left ankle after a nasty fall on an extremely hot day in June 2013. Then I got whiplash pain from a minor car accident and still in recovery almost two years later.

So I am practicing yoga daily at home as well as doing my physiotherapy exercises to help me recover from my ongoing whiplash pain. Yes I know, I am falling apart!

Some days I feel like I am being run over by a bus with all the pain I feel on my left ankle, shoulders, neck and recently my upper left arm. On other days I feel I can soar!

I made new goals for this new year to become more active and handle my seasonal affective disorder better than I ever had so I have been doing my best by “eating my frogs” after I read Brain Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog” earlier this month.

So planking became one of my “frogs” to eat! It was difficult as all things are at the beginning! Yet “nothing of great value is easy” as I learned from my mentor Jim Rohn.

Maintaining my strong mental power is vital for me in order to stay healthy, strong and resilient due to my depression (diagnosed in October 2008) and seasonal affective disorder which I have had since my early teenage years. Therefore exercising on a daily basis has become routine for me to remain fit and healthy.

I just accomplished three minutes and fifty seconds last night on the plank whilst watching The Ellen Show on YouTube from my iPad! Yes, I love to kill two birds with one stone even when I am exercising!

Ouch!  That burning feeling on my back and tummy is an additive kind of pain! Anyone who is into working out and exercising knows about this all too well!

Planking was more of a challenge for me back in 2014 after I got whiplash.  I would get pain in my shoulders, neck and upper arms from planking during those early days of recovery.  Yet I persisted after I felt a bit better and planked again. Then I would get more pain. Then I would stop to recover.

It has been a journey of self discovery and learning about how to handle my whiplash pain. I learned from constant trips to see my physiotherapist that doing my physiotherapy exercises daily was imperative to my recovery. So my lack of knowledge and experience in this area held me back from a quicker recovery.

For those who are not into working out and exercising, I strongly recommend that you do! Why?  We all know why we are more fit and healthy when we exercise. Yet for me, from my experiences with fitness, leading an active lifestyle and exercising, it is about maintaining a healthy mental state.

My life has been so much happier since I began running, practicing yoga, planking, doing squats, walking and spending time outdoors as much as possible. I noticed my moods are lighter and I can better handle my negative emotions. My mental health is in better shape since I began to exercise, practicing yoga, planking, squatting and spending more time outdoors.

As for planking, I have noticed my lower back is becoming stronger, I immediately notice when I am slouching, I feel the muscles in my tummy beginning to tighten, my perky bum feels firmer and I feel happier from within.

That is all from investing less than five minutes three times a week to do something that shall benefit more than one part of my body!

So I am definitely continuing with feeling that burn in my lower back and tummy! Why not?

Working out makes me feel strong and energized every time. It’s my therapy for my mind and body. By Stacy Keibler

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What does being assertive mean for you? How do we get what we need, want and desire from being assertive?

Never feel bad for being assertive, speaking your mind and putting your foot down. What you think is anger, others see as a good solid display of self worth.

I see in my daily life that the majority of people lack skills to be assertive. Men and women alike, are all living a life of not getting what they need, want and desire. These people are allowing their fear of making any sort of speech to hold them back from getting their needs, wants and desires met, as they are not making any progress for happiness and a higher quality of life.

A Story of Lacking Assertiveness

I attended my first Toastmasters meeting last week ( on my own )  for public speaking and I spoke to a number of people who are scared of making any sort of speech, so this is holding them back from personal growth and they are NOT: getting their needs met and/or getting what they want and desire.  A young man named Daniel ( who was there with his friend Paul) who sat two seats to my left told me, when I was chatting to him, that he just laughs when he is nervous about making any sort of speech. Daniel was told to stand outside of the room by an Englishman who sat on his right, by passing him a note and Daniel’s giggling was perceived as rude, whilst a speaker was giving their speech. This could all have been avoided if the Englishman had asked why Daniel was giggling, instead of just making a presumption based upon Daniel’s giggling that he was being rude.  On the other hand, Daniel could have explained to the Englishman in advance that he is nervous and he would giggle or laugh yet he is merely nervous and not being rude, in order to avoid misunderstanding and tension. Both of these men lacked the assertiveness to get to know each other at the meeting and instead they allowed their lack of confidence to create a huge misunderstanding. I saw the Englishman who was sat next to me on my left had made no effort to speak to any of the guests that was sitting next to him. He lost his focus after Daniel’s giggling annoyed him and he was on his phone for the rest of the speaker’s speech. He could have asked me to swap seats with him. He could have handled the situation more effectively instead of making presumptions based on Daniel’s giggling. This is a case of lacking skills in being assertive and it is where misunderstandings are created. Daniel’s lack of confidence in making any sort of speech has cost him dearly and he is fully responsible for taking actions to turn his life around to becoming assertive. From what I saw, the Englishman is also lacking skills to be assertive and he is the only one who can turn it around.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Who are the best people at asking for what they want? It is little children because they never hold back. When they are told that they cannot get what they want, they keep asking until they do eventually get it. Little children have such a strong desire for what they want so they stop at nothing to get what they want and it is their determination, persistence and strong will that gets them there. They just keep asking, pestering their parents for what they want and they are the best at getting their wants met. I remember I asked and asked for a bike because all of my friends and other children had one so I wanted one as I wanted to join them, riding my own bike. It took my mum several years to get the money together to be able to afford my very first bike because money was so tight at home, yet my persistent asking finally paid off. I was twelve years old when I finally received my first bike after three years of asking and waiting!  Then when I was in my early teens, I saw a pair of red Kickers boots from a shop window that I had a strong desire for so I asked my mum for them. It took me some more asking and asking before my mum would buy me them because from all of my asking, she knew how much I wanted those red Kickers boots!

What Assertiveness Means to Me

From what I have learned about assertiveness during my four years and six months of personal development, here is my definition of being assertive which will differ from other people’s definition:

Assertiveness is:

  1. Having the courage to express our thoughts and feelings to others without intentionally hurting their feelings as we do so ( if they listened with the intent to understand us then their feelings shall be less likely to get hurt).
  2.  Being courageous to show the world, without shame who and what we are from being open and honest. We drop the mask that we wear, of who and what others expect and want us to be as we become assertive.
  3. Having our needs, wants and desires met, at home, work and with friends and family.
  4.  Standing up for our rights and freedom.
  5. Speaking up for what we believe in and what matters to us.
  6. Protecting ourselves from potential harm by having clear boundaries in place and when someone steps over our boundary, we let them know in an assertive manner.
  7. Expressing our likes and dislikes with friends and family so that they get to know our true authentic self.
  8. Expressing to our partner what is bothering us, annoying us, hurting us, damaging our relationship and so on.
  9. For parents, setting clear boundaries for our children and discipline them with consequences and follow through with it by being consistent.
  10. Asking for what we want and desire outside of home.

Do you enjoy listening to life experiences that shall help you to learn how to become assertive to get a higher quality of life?  So, let’s grab a coffee or tea because I want to share with you my life experiences on what I have learned about being assertive and how it is paying off!

My Heart was Set

I was on a weekend adventure exploring Sydney whilst I was there for my first time with Calvin, my ten year old son and my boyfriend. The boys had bought ice cream to indulge in, at the beautiful Watson’s Bay, so we looked for a seat for them to sit down. We saw a pagoda that was just perfect for them up ahead. As we walked up the few steps towards the pagoda, we were bluntly approached by a tall man who was joined by a group of people, drinking alcohol and children were present. This tall man told us we were not welcomed there as they were “having a party”,  so initially we walked away. Then as I thought about it, I had my heart set on sitting at the pagoda with my companions as it was our first time there. So there was no way I was going to back down as it was a public space and I knew that we had the right to be there as much as anyone else. I also knew that even though this group had arrived at the pagoda before us, we did not require their permission to sit down there. So I walked back and said this to the tall man and we sat down so the boys could eat their ice cream. So by now,  the tall man was frustrated that their “party” had been disturbed and he was not letting go at all as he was having fun with what I said to him and that behaviour from him to me, was selfish. All the others in his group was quiet and he was the only one not letting this “drama” go as he went on and on. My boyfriend and I totally ignored the tall man’s cheeky and obnoxious remarks as it was a wise thing to do in the presence of Calvin because we were teaching him by our words and actions. I told Calvin to never allow anyone to tell him that he’s not welcomed into a public space because he has the right to be there, unless they have applied to the appropriate authorities to have the space all to themselves, which is the case in some countries. I got what we wanted, by being confident to stand up for our rights in an effective and assertive manner, without being aggressive and that was my goal. We sat there in the pagoda for a maximum of ten minutes on a warm and sunny weekend afternoon and the boys got to indulge in their delicious ice cream.

What Would You Do?

What would you do in this same situation as you have your heart set on sitting there under the pagoda with your companions?  Would you just walk away not wanting to create a scene or get into a conflict and possible fight with strangers because they got there first?  So how do you get what you want when you want it? If we never speak up for ourselves then who will? If we never express our thoughts and feelings and our rights to others, then who will? A huge number of people never get what they want because they are “people pleasing” as they never want to cause a scene, tension and drama. Then there are those who never speak up because they lack the courage and confidence to do so and this holds them back from getting what they need,  want and desire in life. They allow people to walk all over them, disrespect them and treat them as though they do not matter. I was one most of my adult life, as I blamed others for the way they treated me and neglected to take full responsibility for the way I was allowing others to treat me. I was living my life as the “victim” to life’s circumstances. This created much ill health for me and I longed for things to change.

My Past had Set Me Up for Disappointments

So until I learned that I was creating a very low quality of life for myself from having a lack of skills to be assertive and speak up for myself, I was allowing others to walk all over me. My mother controlled a huge part of my life from my early childhood and right into my late teens so I never had my needs, wants and desires met and this trained me to stay quiet and timid. I had become lazy in asking for what I wanted and desired because of my set up, mother’s controlling ways and being abused by both my parents had created so much destruction to my self worth. My dad was absent from my formative years until I came to live in Scotland at the age of eight from Hong Kong. So I never really asked my dad to have my needs, wants and desired met.  As my needs were not met, I took care of myself from a very early age and I relied on myself.  My mum had disappointed me when she promised me she would do something for me or with me when I was a young girl living in Hong Kong and I was deeply hurt by my mum’s disappointments. My mum didn’t keep her word and made excuses and said she would get it done the next day and the next day. This set me up for many disappointments and my emotions were never acknowledged by mum so I had built up a lot of resentment towards her. The resentment was never handled constructively so I carried it around with me until many years later when I worked hard on myself to turn my life around. I entered my late teens from being a happy and content child to being a quiet, timid and very damaged girl which affected my relationships with others.

An Unfulfilled Marriage

I was stuck in an unhappy marriage for fourteen years because my needs, wants and desires were not met and my life felt unfulfilled and dead from the inside. I felt enormous emotional pain which was slowly killing my soul. As I came from a very dysfunctional family where I was abandoned and my needs were not met from a tender age, I had been trained to allow others to walk all over me, disrespect me and my adult life had become very poor quality. My self worth was diminished from my dysfunctional family set up and it took many days, weeks and months of working hard on myself to achieve my goal of being an assertive woman. I gained so much confidence to speak up and stand up for my rights and freedom, to express my needs, wants and desires which enriched my empty life.  I am still learning each day as I want to improve my skills and teach my sons too. A skill once learned requires to be fuelled and that’s like building mental muscles.

Questions to Ponder

So let me ask you, how assertive are you? Are you getting your needs, wants and desires met? If not, what is holding you back? Are you standing up for your rights and freedom? Do people listen to your concerns? Is your relationship needs, wants and desires being met? Are you getting what you need and want from your job to do a better job? Are you allowing your children to rule your home? Are you blaming others for the way your life is at the moment just like I did?  Are you telling yourself that everyone is nasty to you and they need to change and not you? Here’s the important things to learn about being assertive:

  1. When we want to see an improvement in our lives, we get there by taking full responsibility and make the necessary changes.
  2. When nothing changes then we shall always remain in the same position.
  3. In order for things in our lives to change, we need to change because we have no power or the right to change others. We can only change ourselves.
  4. When we stand up for ourselves by speaking up and are listened to from being assertive, we feel happy from within.
  5. When we always do what we always did, we shall get what we always got.
  6. We live a higher quality of life when we take full responsibility for our choices.

 

 Lessons Learned from My Personal Development

I learned that if something was bothering me about what others said or did to me, I would no longer speculate or presume what they meant. I would confront them in an assertive manner and ask them to clarity what their words or actions meant. This avoids wasting my energy and valuable time on something that could be trivial. Do you ever speculate on why someone did not respond to your text message or email? Do you think over and over of why this person is ignoring your time to send them that text or email yet you do not ask them for a response and just speculate what the answer could be? Speculating about such an answer about these small stuff is wasting our time and energy when we could be doing more productive things with our time. Sometimes, we allow our thoughts to control our lives, so by being assertive in this manner, we gain much clarity and avoid sickness as we have the assertiveness to ask for the answer instead of speculating what the answer could possibly be. Many people I know avoid these “confrontations” with people who have “upset” them or hurt their feelings when their text or email is being ignored because they lack the skills to handle “confrontations” effectively. Instead, they get passive aggressive or blank their subject who upset them instead of handling it with assertiveness. Then they blame their subject for upsetting them and not taking full responsibility for their choice in not being assertive in handling the situation. This creates ill health because the emotions of their upset are being suppressed, ignored and dismissed whilst the recipient of their text or email could have a valid reason for not responding to them. It also destroys a good friendship and creates a distance which can both be avoided with some assertiveness skills.

Assertiveness for Better relationships

Relationships between two people are the most demanding thing we ever deal with in life. We have a relationship with our friends and family, neighbours, colleagues, supervisors, manager(s) and boss. So there is bound to be some kind of conflict, confrontation or tension between these people and ourselves at one point in our lives. Being assertive helps us to express our thoughts and feelings to another without intentionally hurting them. Our friends and family are the ones who hurts us the most and this can all be avoided most of the time when we have the skills to become assertive by setting clear boundaries to protect ourselves from harm. Then it is the people we work with and we also need to set clear boundaries with them too in order to protect ourselves as we spend most of our time at work other than at home. Standing up for ourselves in our daily lives helps us to feel good from the inside. Shouting or showing our anger at someone in an aggressive, violent and angry manner because they have upset us only creates tension, sadness and more emotional pain plus this creates a distance. On the other hand, when we use assertiveness and express our thoughts and feelings without accusing the other person, we are listened to with the intent to be understood more. People get defensive when we are showing negative emotions towards them and use accusing words especially sentences that begins with “YOU”. Instead when we use “I” at the beginning of a sentence and express our thoughts and feelings, they are less likely to become defensive with us and shut us off from listening to what we want to express. Most of the time, our friends and family had no intentions of hurting us when they were merely giving us feedback or expressing their thoughts and feelings. Then their are times when we have the friends and family who are the drama addicts or toxic ones who just suck the happiness out of us. So we can avoid getting sucked down to their level by limiting the time we spend with them and if it is a friend we could choose to eliminate them from our lives for inner peace and harmony.

Positives versus negatives

It is vital that we make wise choices as to what we give our energy, time and attention to as this multiplies. I learned this from the law of attraction a few years ago and I turned my life from a miserably dark one and into one that is shining bright each day. . Think positive thoughts and we attract positive thoughts to us. Think negative thoughts and we attract negative thoughts to us, multiplied. So with being assertive, we get what we give out, multiplied. If we think that by confronting someone with an issue and we are going to get a negative result, then that is exactly what comes our way. When we trust our own abilities to handle a confrontation effectively with the end result in mind, we shall receive the result we had in our mind. Our goal of confrontations is to get answers and clarity, not a fight. Many people I have come to know associate confrontations with fights and drama so that is what they shall attract. They lack the trust in their own abilities to handle confrontations effectively so they avoid any confrontations at all costs, which is never going to help them get what they need, want and desire.

The Value of Setting clear Boundaries

Conflicts and confrontations happen in our daily lives and sometimes we have no power to control them coming our way. What we can do to become more capable at handling conflicts and confrontations is from learning skills to handle them without hurting ourselves and others. Being assertive is one of the most effective ways of handling day to day conflicts and confrontations. It is vital to take care of ourselves by protecting ourselves from potential harm and pain. This is best done by setting clear boundaries as to what we will and will not tolerate from others whether they are friends and family, neighbours, associates or someone we work with. When we avoid confrontations all our life, we never learn to get what we need and want. Our desires are never within reach either and we never grow. That becomes a very poor quality of life and we lose touch with what the world has to offer us each day. Therefore, we lose out to opportunities of feeling happiness and contentment.

Taking Action to Protect Myself and My Sons

Let me share a story with you that happened to me a number of years ago. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety had set in so I was feeling very vulnerable. My youngest son was hit by a neighbour’s daughter ( Chelsea) who is the same age as him. So Calvin hit Chelsea to defend himself yet I was being bullied by both of Chelsea’s parents with verbal abuse and verbal threats for Calvin’s defending himself.  They told me in their extremely angry and raging manner that Calvin had no right to hit Chelsea which I strongly disagree with. I was not tolerating that kind of treatment from anyone so I called the police to report Chelsea’s raging parents in order to protect myself and Calvin. The police came to interview me and I told them that I do not tolerate bullying in any shape or form and I wanted this nipped in the bud. They did their job well and had a word with Chelsea’s parents. Obviously the parents were not happy with my reporting them to the police, yet this stopped the bullying there and then. So the moral of this story is, Stand up for yourself to bullies no matter how intimidating they are. It is vital that we protect ourselves ( and my children in my case) from such bullies and never allow them to walk all over us.

Assertiveness Skills

Being assertive requires effective communications skills as well as active listening. It requires patience and love to listen to the speaker. When we listen to someone, with the intent to understand them, we are showing them our love by giving them our full attention and time. How many times have you felt ignored and dismissed, diminished, discouraged and angry for not being listened to when what you expressed was important to you? How did you feel when you were listened to with the intent to be understood? Compare the two and you shall learn how important it is to actively listen to what the speaker is expressing. How many times have you asserted yourself and told others that you felt they had not listened to you with the intent to be understood, when you had something to say that was important to you?  By feeling confident to assert ourselves and express our thoughts and feelings to others, it helps us to meet our needs, wants and desires. Other people are unable to read our minds so being direct, honest, upfront and straightforward is vital to getting our needs, wants and desires met!

Emotional Intelligence

Emotions is the drive and motivation that gets us moving towards what we need, want and desire. Without emotions, we are empty, drained and dead inside. It is the engine required to push us towards what we want and desire.  Our needs are more than likely to be met when we express ourselves with emotions attached to our statement. Our desires comes from our emotions too. It is what we have inside that pulls us towards our desires. As a young child, do you remember when you did not get what you wanted from your parents when you asked for it and threw a tantrum, cried, shouted, screamed and felt they did not care about you? That’s our emotions coming through as we did not get what we wanted. Now think back to a time when you did get what you wanted from your parents. How did you feel and what emotions did you have?

Our Set Up Sets Us Up

We are taught how to be assertive from childhood by watching our parents and copying them as children are the best copycats. How did you get what you wanted when you were a child? How assertive were your parents? How did they get their needs, wants and desires met? What boundaries did they have in place to protect themselves from harm? How did your parents teach you to be assertive? All these factors shall influence how assertive you grow up to become. If you lack the skills to be assertive then it is something you could teach yourself, just like me. Our parents can be limited as to what they teach us because of the way they were taught by their parents. When a set of parents teach their child by passing on what they were taught and NOT taught, the child only knows from what their parents did and did NOT do. We learn from our parents actions, inactions and words at childhood. We pick up everything our parents did and did NOT do and we then have that in our map of the world when we grow up. When we realise that we lack a particular skill in adulthood to handle life’s challenges, it is because we had not been taught that skill from our parents nor did we learn it as an adult so it is now our responsibility to teach ourselves because no one else will.

As Jim Rohn said “Don’t ask for an easy life, ask for more skills!”

My Benefits of Becoming Assertive

I learned to express my thoughts and feelings in an assertive manner from investing time each day to work hard on myself for self development and I felt happier about myself from within. I was setting clear boundaries at home, at work and in my personal life. I no longer allowed anyone to walk all over me, treat me with disrespect and my life became so much better, brighter and bigger! The huge shift was magical as I made continuous progress. My health became so much better as I was sleeping soundly at night and I felt the energy I had each day was what I needed to see me through my daily challenges. I felt I could take on the world!

Happier relationships at Home

My relationship with my three sons became so much happier as I set clear boundaries at home of what I need and wanted them to do and NOT do, what was acceptable and not acceptable. I was respected for being assertive, whereas before, my sons had treated our home like it was there own place as they did want they wanted, when they wanted. I follow through with consequences whenever my sons step out of line and they learn their lessons well. My relationship with my friends was better too as they learned that I was no longer prepared to tolerate their drama, their disrespect and negativity. I used my assertiveness to drop friends who were toxic because their extreme toxic ways were dragging me down and it distracted me from achieving my goals. I gained much inner peace and harmony from taking actions on setting boundaries and following through with my actions.

Taking Charge of my Life

I had a close friend who had no respect for other people’s time and she was doing it to me so I put a clear boundary up with her and she knew that I meant business so she was never late in dropping her kids off at my home for me to babysit them for her. In the past she was late, thirty minutes and more, and this wasted my valuable time and I felt annoyed and angry with her poor time management. Yet I had allowed her to continually waste my time by not setting clear boundaries with her so I took charge of this and I became so much happier. People treat us the way they do because we allow them to by lacking assertiveness. It is up to us to set clear boundaries and this clearly states to others what we shall tolerate and what we shall never tolerate. Putting the blame on others for the way they treat us is highly irresponsible and this gets us nowhere other than it hurting our own feelings from the poor choices we make.

I Acknowledge What You Said

I was having an issue with my bank card a few months ago where it would not allow me to pay for my purchases in certain stores so I called the helpline number for my bank. The person on the other line advised me to visit my bank in person and ask them to fix it for me as they could not do it over the phone. So when I explained my situation to the girl at the bank, she gave me an excuse and I was not prepared to leave the bank until my issue was sorted. I said to the girl, with calmness, “I acknowledge what you said, yet I was told that this issue shall be fixed by visiting my bank in person when I called the helpline, so I want this issue fixed today”!  So with that, the girl reluctantly fixed my issue and I was a satisfied customer.

Effective Communication

There is a more effective way of getting what we want by communicating effectively with emotional intelligence. I see many adults who get frustrated when they are NOT getting what they want and behave like little children, unable to handle and manage their emotions. Emotions when not managed effectively and constructively are very irrational and our logic goes out of the window. We do not get what we want when logic has been controlled by our negative emotions and we come away drained, exhausted and frustrated. Then we rant, rave, moan and complain that the person dealing with us was this and that, when we could have handled the situation in a more calmer and effective manner.

Evaluate Who You Spend The Most Time With

Evaluate the people you spend the most time with and take note of who is assertive and who is not, as the non-assertive ones shall influence you in a negative manner. The assertive ones are those who you really want to surround yourself with to learn from them. Ask them what they do and how they do it to get what they need, want and desire. Listen and observe how they communicate with others and learn from that. Practice those skills yourself and your life shall become so much happier as you gain confidence to becoming assertive.

Resources and Tips

The following is a list of things I did and still do to becoming assertive:

  1. Reading up on books on assertiveness
  2. Reading up on books on emotional intelligence
  3. Reading up on books on effective and brilliant communication skills
  4. Reading Set Yourself Free by Shirley Smith
  5. Reading The Key to Living Law of Attraction by Jack Canfield
  6. Reading The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  7. Reading Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
  8. Reading Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic
  9. Reading The Secrets of The NLP Masters by Judy Bartkowiak
  10. Reading Make a Great Speech by Jackie Arnold
  11. Reading Eat The Frog by Brian Tracy
  12. Reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
  13. Reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  14. Reading Questions Are The Answers by Allan Pease
  15. Reading Twelve Pillars by Jim Rohn
  16. Reading Body Language by James Borg
  17. Setting clear boundaries with friends and family as to what I shall tolerate and not tolerate
  18. Limiting my time spent with my family in order to avoid having my happiness sucked away and also eliminate distractions
  19. Eliminate toxic friends from my life for happiness and harmony as well as to eliminate distractions
  20. Limiting my time spent on internet doing unproductive things and distracting me from achieving my goals
  21. Limit the time I spend listening to my neighbours’ complaints
  22. Doing my daily yoga, squats and plank to strengthen my mental power
  23. Have a list of  “things to do” written down for the following day before I go to sleep at night
  24. Practicing gratitude each day by writing in my gratitude journal
  25. Eliminate anything and anyone from my life such as the news that creates fear or anyone who focuses on and talks about their fears most of the time

 

The Payoffs

There is so much reading required for me to stay as assertive as possible in order to get my needs, wants and desires met. Yet, this is the best way to invest in myself and make continuous progress for happiness. When I have my needs, wants and desires met, I feel happy and content from within. When we feel happy and content from within, we are more positive, inspiring, motivating and we attract more of what we want into our lives. Our energy levels are higher as we feel happy and content from within, with no need to fill any voids by doing anything unproductive, destructive, or anything that costs us money that we may not have and our overall health. Our mental and emotional health is maintained by getting our needs, wants and desires met. We live a higher q

uality of life and we have a spring in our step.  We are then able to love ourselves more and give out love. Feeling happy and content from within is the key to a fulfilling life and it eliminates fear which cripples us.

With so many payoffs from being assertive, what is holding you back from getting your needs, wants and desires met?

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult!

What are you doing today for a richer, better and brighter tomorrow for a higher quality of life?

 

 

I have had the best week so far this year and that’s all due to the consistent progress I am making for personal growth and happiness. I started to volunteer at a charity shop last Friday, for one day a week to get out and meet new people which is helping to stay active. I love the adult interaction which is what I missed so much since my big brother passed away very suddenly in November 2013 and my depression came back. I was so heartbroken to lose my lifetime companion and I was carrying his pain of not having our parents at his funeral so I felt so angry back then. I needed counselling sessions on a one to one to help me get through my grieving process and I am grateful that I did.

Monday: My sleep was disturbed last Sunday night so I was feeling so tired and sleepy so I had a lazy start to my day. I did manage to do my squats, plank and yoga so I felt so much happier and more energetic afterwards. The Ellen Degeneres Show started to air on ITV2 today so I tuned in after my lunch and I am hooked now! Hehe  I started on a new blog on my iPad on Monday evening whilst Calvin, my youngest son was at his swimming lesson. I always make sure I have something productive to get on with whilst I wait for Calvin at the leisure centre so that I am making the most of my time there instead of doing unproductive things.

Tuesday: I forgot to set my alarm again and woke up to my Lumie bodyclock shining brightly at me…….again! This was the second time this week already. Thank goodness for my Lumie light! Hehe  I attended the job fair at our local job centre and found out that I could learn how to become a barista from attending a two day course at The Tenent’s Training Academy next month.  So I am looking forward to if and feel excited! Hehe I tuned into Ellen’s show again after lunch and it is such an amazing show full of laughter which is what I loveeeeeee because life is meant to be fun! Hehe   I attended my very first Toastmasters meeting in my city on Tuesday evening and it was very well structured which is helpful for me to learn all about public speaking as it is one of my long term goals. The evening was busier than usual and the room was full to the brim! Haha.  This meant that the meeting went over the 9 O’clock finishing time and I stayed to chat with the members to get to know them so I was late in getting home. As I was driving home I was stuck in traffic from the football traffic at Celtic Park, Parkhead so I took another route hoping it to be less congested. I got home in time to tuck Calvin, my youngest son into bed and I was feeling all hyped up from the evening’s meeting so I took longer to wind down for bed!  No facetime with my sweetheart this evening as I was out at the Toastmasters meeting. I missed seeing him in his white shirt and tie. Hehe

Wednesday: I felt sleepy and tired due to the late night I had the previous night. I sooo long for our spring to spring on us! Pun intended! Haha……. as the dull, dark, depressing winter with long nights is such a drag!  We are all lacking energy from being indoors so much from the long dark nights. I was touched to see my sweetheart as he rushed home from his dancing to catch up with me from the Toastmasters meeting the night before. He is always full of surprises for me! Hehe   I ate another two frogs today by getting those tasks completed! Yuck!   Yet the ugly work shall pay off real soon. I managed to complete the two minutes I had set for my last yoga pose so I felt so proud of myself. Woo hoo! Dinner with my parents, Calvin, Colin and his girlfriend Cherry at Ka Ka Lok was delicious as dad ordered a dish we had never tried before. He always gets to be the boss and orders our dishes for dinner even though it’s mum that pays the bill. So typical of my family setup and I do wonder if my mum could read, would she get to order the dishes???  I love going to Ka Ka Lok for dinner as their customer service is the best in Glasgow. They really do look after their customers and make them feel valued which is something I never seem to get in Glasgow from any of the Chinese restaurants that I have been to!  Calvin always asks to go home as soon as he has finished eating when we eat out. So typical of him so he could get onto his iPad and play Minecraft on the desktop as well.

Thursday: winter is taking a toll on my energy levels and I am feeling it each day when I get out of bed to start my day. I miss the sunshine in the mornings as we begin our day. I found a new way to snack using toothpicks so I tried it out at lunchtime and it is fartingly amazing! Haha.   I wrapped some pork dumplings for the boys snack and watched the Ellen show. I made rice for dinner for a change as it has been some time since I had cooked rice at home. I put some dried scallops into our rice as it is my favourite dried seafood and I could eat it everyday! Haha.  I do loveeeee my food and I loveeee to cook. We had leftover rice so I kept it and put it in a container to take into the charity shop the next day for my lunch. I boiled three eggs to go with the rice so that I get my protein. I had planned to attend a meeting for writers yet I was feeling tired out from the weeks events already so I stayed at home.

Friday:  my day of volunteering at the charity shop in Partick which was quiet due to the January blues and everyone is out of money from Christmas and New Year. It felt like a very long day as we were stuck for things to do so we kept tidying up the shop floor then there was donations brought in from good citizens which was what we wanted! Hehe.   I love the interactions I get here with the light minded people and I feel great being in their presence. I was tired when I got home so I took it easy and was not feeling up to my squats, plank and yoga. I had a very relaxing soak in the bath for over twenty minutes with a lit Yankee candle from my American twin which was bliss! Hehe.   I sure know how to spoil myself rotten because I am well worth it! Haha.  I had an early night due to my tiredness.

Saturday:  Oh my goodness!   I slept for nine hours solid, it was very sound and deep which is the first in sooo long. I felt so happy waking up to from a sound sleep. I had a great catch up with my sweetheart on Facetime only to be dragged away to help son Colin to sell his car and do some errands which took me a total of three hours. No more driving Colin’s car for me so it means public transport which takes longer and they never arrive on time!  The joys of public transport in Glasgow, Scotland!   I pulled a muscle in my lower back so it was causing me an amount of pain so I took a nap with my hot bottle and put it on my bed so I could have my back on it. It eased the pain so I could manage my squats, plank and yoga after dinner. I made a delicious dinner with grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli and brown spaghetti yet Calvin only ate a few mouthfuls because I didn’t make a sauce for him. So I asked him to eat it later and he did with lots of ketchup! Oh what a boy!  I had another soak in the bath after my exercises with lavender oil to help me relax as I had such an active week, I felt I needed to chill and relax. I had another early night yet my sleep was disturbed so I felt tired and sleepy!

I feel very proud of myself for having such a productive week and month so far. There are some areas that needs to be tweeted and I am working on it. I am limiting the time I spend doing unproductive things that wastes my valuable time. Chinese New Year is just round the corner which means I am needing to clean our home as much as I possible can and that requires lots of elbow grease so could you possibly come over and help me out? Hehe. I shall pay you by cooking a meal for you from scratch!  Deal?  My left arm is still feeling weak from ongoing whiplash symptoms so please help me out! Thank you. Hehe.  I had lots of fun laughing from watching funny Ellentube videos and it keeps me sane! Wahaha. So my week has been fun and productive! Now to plan for my new week ahead!  Lots of tasks to complete and goals to reach. I am soaring!  Watch me or join me!  It is your choice. image.png

 

 

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“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going!”

So what exactly is a smart goal for?  Why is setting smart goals important?   I shall share with you in this blog what I gained from setting smart goals.

First let me ask you a few questions to get your mind working, so put your thinking cap on and let’s begin……..

  1. When was the last time you set yourself a goal and did it work for you?  If not, why did setting that goal not work for you?
  2. Were you curious as to why setting your goal didn’t work?
  3. Or did you just give up because you thought setting goals doesn’t work?
  4. If you are like most people, why have you become stagnant?

I have been interacting with a huge number of people in the past four years and six months my life as I am a talkative person who loves to mingle and there is one thing that strikes me as unbelievable and that is…….the majority of those people, like myself at one point in my life, were living day to day with no sense of direction as to where they were heading. They would tell you with much clarity as to what they do not want. Yet, ask them what they do want and they become stuck! The amount of time, energy and focus they gave to all the things that they didn’t want was dragging them down, draining them, exhausting them and it was addictive.

Did you know that “A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline?” by Harvey MacKay

I first heard about setting goals in my late thirty’s. Yes, you read that right, my late thirty’s!  No one taught me about the importance of setting goals in my childhood nor did I hear about it until my late thirty’s. Or maybe I did hear about setting goals yet I never took it in at the time. You see, my mum received very little education due to her set up, she was abandoned by her parents and never met them. She was adopted and treated like a slave, which meant that she worked in harsh conditions from a tender age. My dad had primary school education and came from a very dysfunctional family. Dad was absent from my life from aged one until aged eight so my early years was spent with mum being my sole carer. Both my parents worked very hard for survival and I never heard them fulfilling their dreams, goals or ambitions from setting goals. Their main goal in life was to provide for their children so they worked as hard as they possibly could to provide the basic needs for their children and that was their responsibility fulfilled.

As a young child we are asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up”?  So we would think of all the things we could do when we grow up yet how many of those things actually become a reality in our life when we do grow up?  How many of your friends, family or colleagues that you know have fulfilled their childhood dreams? A handful, a few or none?  I know the answer to that question all too well!……….  Sadly!

I was never asked what I wanted to be when I grew up because I became the care taker in my family from the age of nine so nobody took care of my needs, wants or desires. I was merely existing for my family, taking care of their needs and thus neglecting my own. I had no emotional support from my parents and I felt unloved, damaged, diminished and destroyed from being in a very dysfunctional family. I had a dream of becoming an “air hostess” when I was in second year of high school and we needed to choose the subjects that we wanted to study in our third year. I wanted to fly to different countries to experience the different cultures and fulfill my dream of flying. Yet the qualifications required to get into being an air hostess had already put me off from fulfilling my dream. I was falling behind at high school due to my language barrier as I came to live in Scotland from Hong Kong at the age of eight so I was still trying to catch up with my English which was holding me back from my academic achievements. My parents were unable to help me to make any progress because they have very poor English skills so I relied on my own hard work. They never encouraged me to excel at school because in my culture back then, girls are not given the best education possible as it was not the done thing. Girls get married, have children and they take on their husband’s family to take care of so an education is never thought of as a necessary requirement for girls. That was what I was given as a girl so I had no goals, dreams or ambitions to pursue from my teenage years.

That changed when I finally, after fourteen years of staying in a toxic marriage, decided that enough was enough and divorced my ex husband.  He was a compulsive gambler ( he controlled our finances)  who dragged me and our finances down, drained me of my happiness and I had become very sick from being in such a toxic marriage. So my goal was to free myself of such unhappy, unfulfilled and toxic marriage even though it meant I would be putting myself through financial hardship.  I found my freedom to be who I was born to be and I wanted to fulfill my dreams, goals and ambitions from my separation and finally divorce which was my biggest achievement in life.  I was introduced to personal development in August 2011 after my cousin Denny told me about a business opportunity that I signed up for. I was unsuccessful with the business opportunity, yet from that I learned to take charge of my life, take responsibility for where I was heading and began working hard on myself with setting some goals that I wanted to achieve.

It was a tremendous struggle at the very beginning to achieve my goals as I was clueless as to where to begin and my emotions were like being on a roller coaster from the changes in my life. yet, day by day, with persistence and my determination to reach my goals, I invested time, effort and money into my future. I was beginning to focus on what I wanted from life for the very first time and I felt happy from within. I was making slow progress from my daily time of personal development. I became mentally stronger from my invested time in achieving my physical goals. I felt I could take on the world from running outdoors to train for my Women’s 10k goal I had set and I felt so much lighter from letting go of my past that had paralysed me up until then. As my mental power became stronger, I could feel that I was becoming a new person, a person whom I was loving each day yet it came with it the negative side of it. I had never lived my life as an achiever after I finished my formal education, so working hard to fulfill my goals was all very new to me and I felt overwhelmed by it all. It felt like I was taking one step forward and two steps back due to my new life of adventuring into the unknown which felt scary and daunting!  I was on a roller coaster ride with my emotions of highs and lows and having not yet learned anything about emotional intelligence, I was feeling a huge sense of disorientation whenever I made any progress with my goals.

Yet, I had the support of the people in the business opportunity to help me through this difficult transition and I was grateful for their support. Day by day, I put my valuable time to work hard on new skills and gained so much knowledge whilst I gained new experiences from reaching for my goals. With my new experiences each day came more knowledge and the more I put myself out there to experience new things in life, the more confident I had become. I was building a steady momentum which helped to lift me up as I started my day.  The initial two years of my journey with personal development was the most challenging time to success I had ever experienced because I had never achieved any goals I had set for myself until then.

I learned that so many people like myself, who came from dysfunctional families are so damaged and broken from their childhood,  that they never step out of their comfort zone to work on achieving their goals. They stay stagnant because their comfort zone is comfortable with no mental stress or tension to deal with.  Most of them had mental health issues like myself to deal with and it was holding them back from reaching for their goals because of the stigma attached to mental illnesses. They believe in their inner voice that they are never good enough to deserve the best so they just stay in their comfort zone and constantly listen and believe to their inner voice telling them that they are never good enough to deserve the best from life. They allow their inner voice to control their lives until they die which is so sad. These people are merely living day by day just working for earning a wage to pay their bills and they never make any progress with their lives. What a poor quality of life to live for!

Here’s a few more questions for you to ponder:

  1. Why would you live your life without knowing where you are heading?
  2. Why would you get into a car, bus, train, subway, boat or plane without knowing where you are heading?
  3. Why would you apply for a job without knowing what you want to work as or the skills required for the job?
  4. Why would you step into your car, start the engine and drive without knowing where you are heading?

The answers to the above questions is very simple to me. It is due to the fact that there is a lack of clarity as to what we want as we allow our past to hold us back. The lack of clarity mainly comes from when we were growing up and was told “no”. The more nos we got from our parents, care givers, teachers and peers, the more we believed in them. “No, you will never succeed with that! No, that shall never work for you! No, you are not going there! No, why would you want to do that, nobody does that!  No, you will never make it”!

So is it any wonder why our childhood dreams are never fulfilled? Is it any wonder why we never go for what we really wanted as a child when we become adults? Our childhood dreams are killed with all the negativity and put downs that we received from our childhood as it sets us up for a life of just doing what all the others are doing and never step out of our:

  1. social norm
  2. cultural expectations
  3. gender expectations
  4. stereotypical expectations
  5. traditions
  6. peer pressure
  7. need to be accepted
  8. approval from others
  9. fear (of rejection, of not being good enough, of success)
  10. distorted thinking that we do not deserve success
  11. fear of being left behind if we are successful
  12. comfort zone

Those who do set goals and achieve them are in the minority because they dare to be different from the crowd as they make progress from their successes. These are the people you really want to surround yourself with and learn from. Are you aware that we become the first five people we spend most of our time with?  So, do take the time to analyse who the first five people in your life are and what you learn from them. What are you picking up from them? Where do they have you heading and what do they have you learning?  What do they have you watching, listening and reading?  Evaluate the value that you get from your friends and what you pick up from them, as this shall determine who and what you become. We learn from our friends just like we learn from our parents because we are influenced by them, both positively and negatively.

So here’s what a smart goal is:

  • S – Specific, exactly what you want to achieve
  • M – measurable, how can you measure your progress to achieve your goal
  • A – attainable, can this goal be actually accomplished
  • R – realistic, do you have the resources, abilities and capabilities to achieve your goal
  • T – time bound, how much time will you allow yourself to achieve your goal

There are some variations on the explanation and meaning of what a smart goal is yet they all have similar meanings and I find they all work when we work with it!

When I set a goal to complete my next Women’s 10k in an hour and fifteen minutes in 2011 and I had nine months to achieve my goal, I did not put a time bound goal to it. I just wanted that goal to get motivated yet it was not enough to help me reach it. Then in 2013, I was more motivated and wiser as to how I would achieve this long awaited goal. In order to get a better result, I knew I needed to do something different so I joined a running group, I increased my nutrition intake after training ( and was more disciplined)  to help me recover faster from my intense training and I was much more focused on my end result. I started tracking my progress with pen and paper after reading The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. On Sunday 12th May 2013, I completed what was to be my last Women’s 10k in an hour and thirteen minutes. That was the only Women’s 1ok that I had taken part in where I ran non-stop. I had always stopped to get my breath back in previous ones thus slowing my finishing time and I did this last one with a friend who had never ran the Women’s 10k before and she was faster than me so I was more motivated to run faster!  That finishing time was my biggest physical achievement to date because the Women’s 10k is the toughest 10k that I had ever participated in. I felt so proud of such a huge physical achievement because I had really pushed my body to it’s limits when I was running with my running group. I celebrated my success with the friend whom I ran my last Women’s 10k with and we were both ever so proud of each other!

As I learned so much from my experiences with achieving my physical goals, I realised that in order to get a different result to achieve any goal, we need to do something different. If we always do what we always did, we will always get what we always got!  So this is why the majority of people are stagnant in life and they never make any progress as they are constantly doing the same thing day in, day out. They work in the same job, see the same people, go on the same holidays,  eat the same food,  drive the same make and model of car, they watch the same television programmes, live in the same house and same estate, they shop at the same shops, stores and shopping centres etc etc.  They stay in their comfort zone for sense of security and safety. Staying in our comfort zone is the most boring place to be in because we never learn anything new and we never grow!

Making progress is what gives us a great sense of satisfaction and thus we feel happy from within. Achieving goals is the key to feeling happy from within, without buying materialistic things to fill our void in life. Making progress equals to happiness. Those people who make progress in life and achieve their goals are the ones who never need to fill any voids in their life with money,  by buying things they do not need only to keep up with the others who are doing the exact same as them. It saves them money to pay for more experiences and they are never controlled by their possessions. The more we buy to keep up with others, the more we are controlled by possessions. This is a very poor attitude to living our lives as we are living an extremely low quality of life. Low quality of life equals to more sadness, emptiness and voids. We then need to constantly feed that need to buy more possessions and this can get us into debt as we are keeping up with the latest gadget, latest fashion trend or whatever tickles our fancy that has been brought out into the market. My ex husband was living such a life only to impress people with the money he didn’t have because he was using his numerous credit cards to pay for his purchases. He had a new phone every year, he bought new clothes that he didn’t need, he would be buying the latest gadget out on the market after hearing others talk about it, yet he made no progress with his life! Hence why he needed to fuel his neediness to purchase materialistic things in order to feel happy.

I stopped hitting the sales on Boxing Day ( which is a trend in Scotland) a few years ago, after I started working hard on myself and achieving my goals. I was putting my energy, focus, time and attention on achievements instead of what I could buy for happiness. I then realised that buying things I did not need only lasted a very short space of time then when the happiness wore off, I was itching to purchase something else I had set my eyes on. I did a “spend shift” where I used the money I had previously would use for purchases that I did not need onto travelling, books, personal development materials and training courses, seminars and getting to meet new people who had a vision of where they were heading with their lives. I slowly realised that my friends had very little clarity on what they wanted from life as they were so focused on what they didn’t want and I allowed them to affect me in the past. After reading Jim Rohn’s book Twelve Pillars,  I knew that these friends would eventually become distant because I was outgrowing them,  as I was making progress with my life from having clarity as to what I wanted from life .

So, if like me, you are stuck in a rut, learn to set smart goals and then get moving to achieve them for personal growth and progress. As Jim Rohn said:

  1. Nothing of great value in this life comes easily
  2. Poor people have big Televisions, rich people have big libraries”
  3. “The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become”
  4. “When you know what you want and you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it”
  5. “Formal education will make you a living, self education will make you a fortune”
  6. “Work hard on your job and you will make a living. Work hard on yourself and you will make a fortune”
  7. The best money you can spend is money invested in your self education. Don’t short change yourself when it comes to investing in your own better future”

 

Here is a list of books that I have read to help me achieve my smart goals and I highly recommend them all to you for your journey to making progress:

  1. The Key to Living the Law of Attraction by Jack Canfield
  2. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  3. Twelve Pillars by Jim Rohn
  4. Leading an Inspired Life by Jim Rohn
  5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
  6. Dealing with People you Can’t Stand by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner
  7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
  8. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  9. The 15 minute Rule by Caroline Buchanan
  10. Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic
  11. Set Yourself Free by Shirley Smith
  12. Assertiveness by Conrad and Suzanne Potts ( Or any book on assertiveness)
  13. Secrets of the NLP Masters by Judy Bartkowiak ( Or any book on NLP)
  14. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
  15. Brilliant Emotional Intelligence by Gill Hasson ( Or any book on emotional assertiveness)

Get a library started, it will change your life! Start developing a library. Start acting intelligent!  Some People read so little they have rickets of the mind!  All by Jim Rohn

 

 

PROGRESS EQUALS TO HAPPINESS!

Time is something we all have yet why are a small number of people more productive than others?  We all have twenty four hours a day, seven days a weeks so why do that small number of people become much more productive than the big number of people?

Have your ever been curious enough to ask yourself:

  1. What can I do today to become more productive?
  2. What do I need to become more productive?
  3. What would it mean for my happiness, health and wealth to become more productive?
  4. Where would I be when I do become more productive?
  5. What am I giving my time to that is no longer working for me?

Do you know what people regret the most when they are lying on their death bed?  Most people lying on their death bed wished that they had did the things their heart was set on yet never managed to do because their life and responsibilities got in the way. If you were told by your doctor that you had six months of good health left, what would you do with that six months?  Take some time to ponder about the last question because none of us are promised that we have unlimited time to do everything we want to do!

We are never promised that we shall wake up tomorrow. I learned this from losing my big brother Che to a very sudden death on the cold, dry morning of Tuesday 19th November 2013. I received a call from my now sister-in-law at 9.50am to inform me that she had been notified of the death of Che. I was so shocked I was shaking after we had arranged to meet at the hospital to find out how Che had died. I drove straight over to my parents without further thoughts and my emotions were everywhere.

That whole heartbreaking, gut wrenching experience of losing a close sibling who was my lifetime companion had taught me that we are not promised we shall live until we are frail, old, fragile, thin, gaunt and physically weak. We have limited time to live so we must live a high quality of life or else we suffer the consequences.

I have been working hard on myself each day throughout the past four years and six months, acquiring new skills and developing more experiences and knowledge. So from all that I have learned and experienced during the past four years and six months, how I manage my time effectively is a vital ingredient that determines my success.

I gave up the following in order to become more productive:

  1. Listening, reading or watching the news
  2. Reading magazines where I learn nothing constructive for my personal growth
  3. Engaging in small talk I.e gossip and drama
  4. Listening to toxic friends rant and rave about their latest complaint
  5. Giving my time to people who complain
  6. Reacting to others opinion and perspective of me especially family
  7. Spending time on Facebook (I deactivated my account in April 2014)
  8. Toxic relationships
  9. Checking my phone for messages 100 times a day
  10. Taking selfies
  11. Watching television
  12. Playing games on my phone and iPad
  13. Shopping for things I did not need

Instead,  I have set new habits to become more productive. I manage my time so much more effectively, constructively and productively from reading a book called “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. What we give our focus and attention to, multiplies. I had at one point in my life allowed my negative inner voice to control my life so I learned from Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, to take charge of my life to turn things around. I gradually felt great about myself from within and began to make consistent progress.

It was a huge struggle to delete old habits as I was going into a new world of the unknown so I felt overwhelming and unsettling. I was taking one step forward and two steps back at the beginning of my journey to making progress. I felt scared of not knowing where I was heading at the time. I was totally out of my comfort zone as there were a number of changes to my routine and my mind was fighting with my heart. I knew in my heart what I wanted and needed to do for my personal growth yet my mind was having such a difficult time adjusting to my new routine and my new way of life.

I believe this is why so many people give up so easily when they make any sort of progress. They want to stay in their comfort zone for the feeling of security and saftey. It is less stressful for the mind to stay in our comfort zone yet nothing shall ever grow there!  The longer we allow our mind to take control of our lives, the more difficult it becomes to step out of that comfort zone where nothing ever grows. Staying in our comfort zone becomes a boring life, a life of low quality and we have very little experiences to share with our family, friends, colleagues, children and grandchildren.

Let’s take a look at our parents, care givers, extended family, teachers and peers. We have all had a number of them telling us that:  we cannot do something, we can never succeed, we are not allowed to do something, we will never make it, it will never work for us and this next one is “nobody does that” which all put us off from going for what we want to do with our lives so we just give up. Or we get laughed at and shamed for wanting to do something that others are clearly not doing. With no support, no encouragement, no recognition, no one who believes in us, no guidance, no one to cheer us on and no one to tell us you can do this, we forget about our dreams, goals and ambitions so life becomes stagnant!

So with no dreams, goals and ambitions in our lives, we are merely operating with no clear vision of our destination. We are driving our life with no passion, no talent, no clarity and nothing to motivate us to go for it!  It is like getting inside of our car, starting the engine and have no idea as to where we are driving to. So therefore, we are wasting our valuable time doing unproductive things that are clearly doing nothing for our personal growth and we are stalling.

Would you save up your money for a holiday without knowing where you want to go and step into the travel agent and book your flights?   No, absolutely not!  You would be absolutely certain as to where you want to go for your holiday before you start saving your money and then you would start making plans for that holiday. So why do we have no clarity as to what it is we really want to achieve for our lives?  Why do we remain stagnant and stay in our comfort zone?  Why do we waste our valuable time staying in a position where there is no personal growth?

We have a habit of planning our holiday with precise detail and neglect to plan for our life, for our future, for our retirement, for our ideal career, our ideal home, our ideal partner, our financial freedom and that is a very sad existence. We tend to take planning our next holiday seriously so that we get the most out of it and in Glasgow, Scotland where I live, a large number of people are booking for their summer 2016 holidays straight after the festive holidays are over. Why?  It has become a tradition, a trend, a need, a desire and a must because of the “January blues”. January is the most depressing and dull month in Scotland because people have spent so much money for Christmas and New Year, hit the sales, back to work, the days are much shorter than nights so they are feeling depressed then all the bills are piling up. So what better way to lift up their moods than to book for their summer holidays and have something to look forward to?

Now that their summer holidays are booked they all hit the gym, start on their new year’s resolution of an annual diet,  of losing inches from their waist from stuffing so much food and drinking all the alcohol that was offered to them so that they can fit into their summer wardrobe. Come February, the diet has failed, the motivation to lose inches and hitting the gym have all disappeared and they are all back at where they began in January. Why is this becoming a trend in Scotland? What is the recipe to success?

A huge number of people set new year’s resolutions to stop doing this or that and neglect to focus on what they want to do. New year’s resolutions never work from my own personal experience. I would just become depressed when it did not work for me until I learned to set smart goals! 

  • S – specific, what you want to achieve in your area of focus
  • M – measurable, ability to keep track of our progress
  • A – attainable, not extreme yet achievable
  • R – relevant, it is aligned to objectives
  • T – time bound, it has a deadline attached to it

Do you see how smart goals are smart from the above information?

We all need clarity in our lives to guide us to:

  1. where we want to go
  2. who we want to become
  3. where we want to live
  4. what career or business we want to pursue
  5. what holidays we want to take
  6. where we want to retire at
  7. what car we want to drive
  8. what we want from our ideal partner
  9. what financial freedom means to us
  10. what we want to spend our spare time doing and who with
  11. what skills we need to develop to get the most out of our lives
  12. what we can do to fulfill our childhood dreams
  13. what our ideal body looks like
  14. how far we want to go to climb up our career ladder
  15. how much money we want to earn per year

Without clarity and smart goals, we are living our daily lives merely aiming to get through the day and look forward to heading home from work and counting the days to our: days off work, weekends off work, holidays from work and that is an existence for a low quality of life! Our time on this universe is wasted counting the days to when we get time off work. Or even when we retire and sit back to enjoy life with very little money and purpose because they have lived a life of just paying bills. That would be like a life of waiting to die just like so many elderly people whom I had a close connection with. What a low quality of life to live by day in, day out?

I have been in this position for a huge part of my life because I had no clarity as to where I was heading with my life. My parents never taught me about setting goals nor did I hear or see them achieving their own goals. It was by chance that I was taught about and how to set goals after I was introduced to a business opportunity where personal development was a huge thing. I was for the first time in my life, after attending a personal development course in Edinburgh in June 2012, planning for my life, for my future and for what I really wanted to have and to become.

I gradually became a master at what I would give my valuable time and attention to. I decided to eliminate all the distractions that was holding me back by February 2015 and that was to become a very wise choice both for my personal growth and my inner peace.  I am very selective about the friends I surround myself with because we become the first five people whom we spend most of our time with. I am aware of the distractions nowadays that holds me back from achieving my goals so I limit my time on the unimportant things such as social media and watching YouTube videos.

I use a number of tools/things that helps me to become productive each day such as:

  1. using a to do list
  2. planning my day the night before
  3. tracking my time on each task
  4. getting enough sleep each night and track the hours of sleep I get
  5. exercising each day to strengthen my mental power
  6. practicing yoga and meditation for inner peace
  7. switching off my electronic devices to get my tasks completed
  8. completing the most difficult task first
  9. evaluate my progress on a Sunday evening then set new smart goals for the new week ahead
  10. eating a healthy balanced diet so that I have the energy required to get the most out of my day
  11. controlling my inner voice and talk to myself using positive words
  12. tracking my daily progress with pen and paper
  13. recognise my strengths and weaknesses
  14. celebrate each achievement however small
  15. go to bed each night with a well done me affirmation
  16. set smart goals for the next week, month and year for all areas of my life
  17. have a written bucket list and work on ticking the list off ( I ticked off three last year)
  18. being in the presence of nature and mindfully enjoy myself
  19. taking regular breaks each day
  20. connecting with my inner child and play with her
  21. connecting with my inner teenager and allow her time to create whatever she wants
  22. having fun and laughing each day to lighten up, feel happy and content
  23. pay for experiences instead of materialistic things
  24. read my latest book before the end of the night

Do you know how much time the average person spends commuting to and from work each day? Multiply that daily commute time and add it up to a year and see how much time the average person has to learn a new skill or gain some new knowledge to broaden their mind and it would really surprise you. I make the point of having something I can listen to on my phone (currently it is Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich audio book) or have a book to read to learn something new whenever I am travelling to an appointment or doing errands that requires me to wait. Did you know that when we arrive for an appointment, the average waiting time, at reception (in Scotland) is ten to fifteen minutes?  I can read a chapter of a book in that space of time.

I have just finished reading Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy and it has valuable insight and advice as to how we can become more productive with our time at work, home and at play. I am learning to complete the most difficult task first thing in the morning before I do any low value tasks and I started limiting my time on unimportant things a few months ago because I want to make continuous progress to achieve my goals.

I feel very proud of my progress, of the goals that I have achieved and of the three things I have ticked off my bucket list last year so I have built a momentum. The momentum once built,  needs to be fuelled each day or else we shall be back at the bottom of the stairs and climbing back up is a tremendous struggle which takes forever to begin. It is like climbing a mountain, when you get to the middle of it and you stop to rest, your body begins to feel the fatigue then continuing the climb begins to get so difficult and you really want to give up. It is this that stops so many people from completing projects, ideas, important tasks and achieving their goals or acquiring new skills.

Here’s a great quote from Jim Rohn, my mentor and a motivational speaker………

If you go fishing once a year, you’ve only got twenty more times to go fishing.

So, what are your goals, dreams and ambitions? What did you wanted to be when you were a child? Where are you at with your life? What would it mean to you to have your ideal career, ideal home, ideal business, ideal holiday, ideal partner, ideal car, ideal life, ideal body, ideal health, ideal talent etc etc? What would it mean to your life now that I am telling you, you can achieve anything you want from life?

We are all capable of achieving our goals we set ourselves when we have them written down on paper, set to take action and work on achieving them. We just need self belief to see us through, the self belief that tells us, “I deserve this”! And have total faith that we are in the process of getting to the end goal. It may take weeks, months or years yet it is well worth it when we reach the top of that mountain and look down at the stunning, breathtaking view!

Let me share an adventure of mine with you which was a bucket list idea that I created and came true for me in June 2015. I wrote on my bucket list back in 2012 “To see Sydney’s famous landmarks”. I had no idea how I was going to fly to Sydney with no money to my name yet I wrote it down on my bucket list anyway without thinking how to get there. I just focused on what I wanted from reading “The key to living the law of attraction” by Jack Canfield for the second time and did all the exercises in it. I met my ideal partner in July 2014 and he lives in Sydney. So we arranged for me and my ten year old son, Calvin to fly to Sydney to visit him and our flights were booked in March 2015. Our journey to Sydney began from Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday 21 June 2015. We flew to Dubai for our connecting flight to Hong Kong and landed on Monday at 18.05. We had a one night’s stay in Hong Kong to rest then we flew to Sydney from Hong Kong on the Tuesday evening and landed excitedly in Sydney on their Wednesday morning at 07.20. The whole three day journey to Sydney was physically, mentally and emotionally challenging as I had yet to fly long haul as an adult and Calvin had yet to fly!  Yet, the wait was well worth it, the flying time even though challenging helped both Calvin and I to grow and we bonded well. I even learned a lot of things about myself that I was previously unaware of. I also learned so much about Calvin’s capabilities that I never knew about from being at home! Landing safely in Sydney with Calvin has been my biggest achievement and for Calvin too because he grew so much from his adventure and he has picked up the travel bug so New Zealand and Canada are his next destinations.

Travelling to a different country allows us to see life in a totally different perspective and we learn that all the small things become insignificant to the huge things that we are dealt with in life. We are thrown challenges during our travels that just does not permit us to take some time to think about what to do next. There is a need to make an immediate decision whilst travelling that allows us to grow and learn more about ourselves and to learn new skills along the way.  I am now planning on another adventure with Calvin and my ideal partner to Japan so that we create long lasting memories for him and us. Time is ticking each minute so we need to be very wise as to what we do with it and who we give our valuable time to. Be the person who has little regrets in life and be proud of your high quality of life that you create for yourself and your children ( if you have them)!

Here is a list of books that I have read and found valuable in helping me to become more productive with my limited time on this universe.

  1. The seven habits of highly effective people by Steven R. Covey
  2. The compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  3. The 15 minute rule by Caroline Buchanan
  4. Life without limits by Nick Vujicic
  5. Set yourself free by Shirley Smith
  6. The last lecture by Randy Pausch
  7. The secrets of the NLP masters by Judy Bartkowiak (or any book on NLP is beneficial)
  8. The key to living the law of attraction by Jack Canfield
  9. Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers
  10. Twelve pillars by Jim Rohn

So the next time you hear yourself say “but I don’t have time for that” ask yourself, how could I create the time to do that for my personal growth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

y doing nothin for our personal growth other than keeping us stalling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let

If a child lives with criticism he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame he learns to be guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness he learns justice.

If a child lives with security he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship he learns to find love in the world.

What was your childhood like? Did you feel loved and were you accepted for who and what you were as a child? Did you get praise, fairness, security, approval and tolerance?

I came from a very dysfunctional family so I received no: tolerance, encouragement, praise, fairness, security, approval and acceptance from the age of eight years old after I emigrated to Scotland from Hong Kong with my big brother and mother. My dad is a rageaholic and his temper and toxic shaming destroyed my self worth, sense of security and self confidence. He did the exact same to my big brother and mum. My mum became a huge part of him from his toxicity after we lived in Scotland and I began to resent her. This created a huge distance between my mother and I, where I was once closest to her. My inner voice is full of my parents negative words from their toxic shame yet I have learned to handle them positively instead of allowing them to control my life.

I remember days of abuse from my parents where I was physically punished whenever I did something that erupted their temper. Then there were days where I was shamed, criticised, scolded, shouted at, blamed, disapproved, dismissed and nothing I did was ever good enough for them. I felt sad and hurt, all alone in a nasty home where I longed to feel loved and accepted. As the only daughter of my family, I could feel that their was double standards from the way I was treated from that of my big brother by my mum whilst we were living in Hong Kong. Then when we lived in Scotland, I was scolded by my dad for doing things that were considered inappropriate for my name as I was being unladylike, rude, vulgar, and unrefined.  Whenever I whistled, chewed gum or sat in what he said was in an unladylike manner he would disapprove and shame me in the presence of others. I had so much hatred for my dad and his toxic shame back then. I felt he just didn’t appreciate me as his only daughter and I longed to escape. There was nothing I could ever do that he was ever happy with.

I was physically abused by my rageaholic dad for a number of years from my early teens to mid teens. He would hit me with anything he could get his hands on whenever I did something, anything that erupted his rage. I hated him for destroying me at the time and I was so scared of him when he beat me up and my mum could not protect me because dad was physically stronger than her. The physical abuse only stopped after my Physical Education teacher saw me with a massive bruise on my left arm one day after I had changed into my P.E kit and she asked me about my massive bruise. She immediately reported the incident to our headteacher who informed the police. The social workers got involved and an interpreter was called. My dad was given a warning and the physical abuse stopped yet the psychological damage had already destroyed the teenager in me.

To a child, being physically abused whenever they do something wrong or inappropriate to discipline them only confuses them and creates hatred, fear and resentment. They need their parents guidance in a positive, constructive, effective and safe environment to understand and learn as to what they do is wrong and/or inappropriate with reasoning. Physical punishment or physical abuse never works effectively for disciplining children as they are the best copy cats. They pick up on whatever their parents do and they do it to others. With reasoning, children learn to accept that what they did was wrong and inappropriate so that they learn from it and never to repeat the same actions. Yet with physical punishment and abuse, children learn to fight, resent and hate their parent(s). They lose their confidence from their childhood and they are the ones who remain stagnant when they become adults. They never make any progress in life because they believe that they can do nothing to please their parents so there is no point in achieving goals and make progress. This is what holds so many adults back from getting out of their comfort zone and make progress with their lives.

I grew up with no self confidence, no self worth, no happiness and no feelings of being loved, accepted, important or worthy of anything. I was numb to all the emotional pain I had endured as a child and teenager. The toxic shame has been passed on from one generation to the next and the massive destruction has been passed onto my three sons.

My big brother was mainly criticised by our dad for saying he could do something when he could not. My mum criticised him for the things he could not do as she had not taught him the skills to do them with. Then I remember our father’s rage erupted one late evening when everyone was sat at the dining table chatting. My big brother (aged 20) had raised his voice as he became excited about the topic we were discussing and was told by our dad to lower his voice a few times. Then all of a sudden I heard our dad shout so loudly and his face was so angry it was like thunder and lightening combined!  He told my big brother to leave, to get out and this was after midnight. I was shocked and scared, hurt and overwhelmed. My big brother had nowhere to go and was shocked as to what he did to deserve such treatment.  I drove him to my then boyfriend’s mum’s which was the only place I could think of at the time.

This event had a huge impact on my big brother’s mental health and a year later he was diagnosed with schizophrenia which was the biggest shock to him and us at the time. Then his life became more painful each year as he felt he never got the love and acceptance that he deserved from our father. He would have relapses every few years just to get the attention of dad yet he never got it. He craved to feel dad’s love and acceptance and it slowly killing him inside. He was becoming so disconnected from our dad that would eventually stab his heart each day. It was a very vicious circle. He got better from a relapse, kept up with taking his medication only to stop taking them every few years to be hospitalised and hoping to get dad’s attention and love which never worked. All it did was put huge pressure onto our mum and myself who were always there for him when he took a relapse. Our dad’s toxic shame was creating a huge distance from his wife and children and we were feeling very sick from it all.

I remember there was the most heartbreaking thing we had to do at the time when I was pregnant with my youngest son. My mum called me one morning to ask me to drive her over to big brother’s flat because she knew he was having another episode of not taking his medication. This time we needed the help of the police and paramedics to get him into hospital. He had locked himself in, barricaded his flat, did not recognise us and was clearly in a seriously confused state that required immediate medical attention. We saw how long and painful it was for the police to force his door open so that the police could get him into the awaiting ambulance. I was hearbroken to witness him being led away in the ambulance by police. There was so much shame and fear inside of me that was passed onto me by my parents. I felt so much shame that emotional day and I was drained physically, mentally and emotionally. I was upset and felt angry that our dad was not there for us.

There were numerous times of this admitting my big brother into hospital whenever he took a relapse that continued for more than fifteen years. Then eventually the last time I admitted him into hospital all by myself with the help of the police and paramedics again. I was mentally stronger by now from my personal development and all the new skills I had learned had served me well. Eight weeks after his last admission was when he suddenly died in hospital and days before he died he had asked my mum why our dad never came to visit him in hospital. That was the only time he had ever asked such a question. He died a very hurt, sad, damaged and unloved man by all the negative treatment he received from our dad. His inner child still craved the unconditional love from dad that he truly deserved yet never got.

My mum felt she was not getting the support from her husband throughout the journey with her son’s schizophrenia. She cared for the needs of her son throughout his journey with relapses and it took a toll on her health and well being yet she persevered for the sake of love. She was always a giving person never expecting anything in return yet my dad was the total opposite. He was a taker and never had compassion for himself so he would never know how to be compassionate with others. I became the care taker in my family from a very young age because of the language barrier my parents had. So I was the interpretator from the age of nine and this continued to this day. I would be scolded for not getting things done the way my dad wanted and this damaged me, destroyed my self worth and I became resentful, angry and frustrated. The toxic shame was creating so much ill health that the only escape for me was to move out. That’s what I did at the age of twenty only to get into another toxic relationship with a Chinese traditional man who also shamed me. So I “married my dad”!

The man I married also had family who shamed others and I became so unhappy and sick from all the exposure of toxic shame. His toxic ways had me keeping quiet and I slowly lost my voice to stand up for what mattered to me.  I endured an unfulfilling marriage for fourteen years before finally deciding enough is enough and I let go of our marriage to begin a new life. That was to become the best decision I could ever make for me and my three sons. I was finally free from all the toxic shame and I could start afresh and create happiness for myself. Yet , I had no idea how painful it would become to find myself again. Being in such an unhappy childhood and marriage had completely destroyed my self worth and depression had been born from my dysfunctional family’s ways.

I had picked up my dad and husband’s toxic shame and passed it onto my sons. I was picking on their faults, flaws and weaknesses. It destroyed their happiness and childhood as I was being critical of their actions and neglected to focus on their positive sides and strengths. My older two sons have been damaged yet not to my extent, thank goodness. My number two son was passing on the toxic shame he received from my younger brother onto Calvin, his younger brother. So he was influenced negatively and this is the norm in dysfunctional families. The toxic shame just gets passed onto other family members and it is usually the younger members who bear the brunt of it

I took charge of my life and invested in time, money and much effort to build myself back up over four years ago after I was introduced to a business opportunity back in June 2011. The business opportunity is very big on personal development and that was where I learned how to turn my life around. It took me many hours, days, weeks and months of hard work as I:

  1. Read self help books (over 35 in total to date)
  2. Attended a personal development course in Edinburgh
  3. Saw my counsellor for a number of issues
  4. Stepped out of my comfort zone to travel (Barcelona, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, Cologne, Sydney and Hong Kong so far)
  5. Created plans to achieve my goals, dreams and ambitions
  6. Eliminated toxic friends and associates from my life
  7. Limited my time spent with my toxic dad and younger brother
  8. Practicing gratitude daily
  9. Exercised and meditated
  10.  Listened to audio books
  11. Wrote my bucket list and worked hard consistently on ticking the list off ( I ticked off three last year)

Which all helped me to strengthen my mind, relaxing it and find inner peace and harmony. I learned so many valuable skills along my magical journey with personal development and I am still learning because each and every day is a school day. I may have completed my formal education yet my self education is what matters and everyone can benefit from investing the time to learn something new each day. I have so many stories to share and all of my life experiences along the way shall be forever with me.

It took me some sweat, tears, effort and money to learn that I do not need to react to my dad or younger brother’s toxic shame. In the past I would get into an argument with them from my reactions only to have my happiness sucked out of me and go home feeling drained and hurt. That created ill health for me and a huge distance between us.

I do not enjoy family gatherings where we eat in restaurants because my dad and younger brother shames our family. My dad shames me and mum. Younger brother shames my two older sons. In John Bradshaw’s book “Healing the shame that binds you” it mentions that the husband shouts at the wife, the wife shouts at the kids and the kids shouts at the dog. So this is what’s happening with my family. My dad’s shaming mum and me had been picked up by younger brother so he shames my two older sons and the people he knows and loves. My two older sons has now lost their respect for my dad and younger brother too due to their continuous toxic shaming of our family and this has created a huge distance between them.

I feel hurt and angry whenever I hear my dad shame my mum in public and this shall never change. However, my mum reacts to my dad’s toxic shame so she is only fuelling the fire yet she’s quick tempered and that’s never going to change. I had taken some time away from family gatherings at restaurants for a while to avoid my happiness being sucked away by my dad and younger brother as I also reacted to them. I have now learned to stay calm and ignore their shaming so I can live a life of inner peace and harmony. I only give the important things and people my time, focus, attention and this is working for me for inner peac.

I had been friends with a girl for eight years who was also shaming herself and others for their faults, weaknesses and flaws. Her two kids had picked up their mum’s  ( and their mum’s boyfriend’s) toxic shaming and was passing this on to my youngest son. So I decided last year, to eliminate her from my life and that was a huge achievement for me last year. I was being influenced by her toxic shaming in a negative manner and I wanted to put a stop to that. I was being distracted from achieving my goals from her toxic ways and the best thing to do was to cut her out of my life.

Now I have very little negative distractions from toxic shame so that I can continue to make great progress for more personal growth. I have learned that what we give our attention, time and focus on, grows. I have also learned that we do not need to react to toxic shame and by choosing to ignore it the person who shames us shall get bored and shall move onto shaming someone else. We are responsible for how we handle each life situation. We can remove ourselves from negative situations. We can ignore any negative feedback. We can choose to be tactful and ask what the shaming person means by their feedback instead of immediately reacting to it. We can choose to cut the toxic shaming person from our lives or limit the time we spend with them. So we have many choices we can take to create a better life for ourselves. Our happiness, inner peace and harmony is our responsibility so value it and protect it with our inner strength and mental power.

Remember that the people who shame us are very damaged and they have very little conscious of the impact they have on others with their shaming. We cannot change them, we can only change the way we handle them by making wise choices. So by learning effective and constructive ways to handle toxic shaming people, our lives shall become better, brighter and bigger. We all deserve to feel happy and live a life of inner peace and harmony.

Here is something to remember by:

We become the first five people we spend the most time with. So be very aware of who and what you are becoming by analyising what you get from the people you spend the most time with. How are they influencing you? What do they talk about? What they talk about is what they focus on and this affects on what you focus on.

Let me ask you, when was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? Or when was the last time you did something for the first time?

So we have all heard of “our comfort zone” and we all know to a certain extent what it is. So where are you with your comfort zone and what keeps you there? How do you define what a comfort zone is? Wikipedia says “The comfort zone is a psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control and experiences low anxiety and stress. In the zone a steady level of performance is possible”. So when was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and how did it feel?

We are all aware of the effects it has on our mental health and personal growth when we step out of our comfort zone yet, how many of us can do it for what we want instead of remaining stagnant and allowing our thoughts to control so many aspects of our lives? From my personal experience with personal growth and stepping out of my comfort zone, I needed much inner strength and mental power to do what it takes to just take that leap of faith.

The majority of us have ended up stagnant in our lives because of a number of factors such as:

  1. Taking the same route to and from work
  2. eating the same foods/ drinking the same drinks
  3. sitting in the same seat on a bus/train/boat/plane
  4. shopping at the same shops/stores/malls
  5. working in the same job for many years
  6. surrounding ourselves with the same people
  7. listening to the same music
  8. watching the same sort of movies/television programmes
  9. taking the same vacation
  10. flying with the same airline
  11. staying at the same hotel
  12. doing the same thing to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day etc etc
  13. driving the same make and or model of car
  14. buying the same brand of clothes to wear
  15. Using the same make of gadgets

So do you see the similarities from the above list as to why we remain stagnant? Yes, that’s it!  We are not experiencing anything new as we have got into a habit. Habits are great to get us to our goals yet the above list is holding us back from personal growth because there is nothing new to experience and the brain is dead. We are living life in auto pilot when we do the same thing day in day out, week after week, month after month and year after year. Our mind needs constant stimulation in order for us to be alert, mindful and remain mentally strong. Our mental health is essential to us for happiness and contentment. We also require inner strength to grow and stepping out of our comfort zone becomes easier when we have both sets of attributes.

So where does one get their inner strength and mental power from? Well, for me, my inner strength came from my:  set up, childhood, mother who is my biggest inspiration, circumstances, hardships, adversities, being a single mother to three sons, personal development, attitude for gratitude, exercises, travelling, yoga and meditation. I have achieved many big and small goals in the past four years and six months from stepping out of my comfort zone. It has been a tremendous struggle to get to where I am today yet all the hard work was well worth it because I am so rich in life experiences that money could never buy!

I took a huge step out of my comfort zone back in December 2006 when I decided enough is enough, so I am out of here. I went to see a lawyer about getting a divorce after 14 years of a very unfulfilling marriage that created a lot of ill health for me. I had lost what I had worked so hard for due to no fault of my own and I was about to lose them all again. Yet, as I had lost my sense of security before a number of years ago, losing it again was no longer a big deal for me. I had no money to my name, no where to live after divorce and no secure job yet I still knew that I wanted out of my more than miserable marriage. I wanted to get my freedom back, I wanted my sanity and my good health.  I had lost my authentic self,  my true self and it was time I brought her out to shine!

That was my biggest achievement at the time and I have learned so much from that huge decision. I was no longer afraid of not having enough. I was no longer afraid of not having financial security nor did I care for what I had. I knew I deserved better than what I had at the time and I just focused on getting the divorce in place and start my new journey as a happier mother. My health deteriorated as a result of staying stagnant for so many years in an unfulfilling marriage where my needs were never met. Thus creating so much resentment, hatred, emotional pain, anger, frustration and more. My three sons’ needs were not being met either and I had neglected them.

Due to my set up from a very dysfunctional family, I had never known or felt what a comfort zone was like from the age of nine which was to become a huge advantage for me in my adult life. Yet a woman needs financial security in order to feel good, happy and content in her life so that was why I had stayed in such a miserable marriage for 14 years.

I did not celebrate my success for stepping out of my comfort zone for my freedom into a new chapter of my life so I was neglecting to recognise my efforts, achievements and triumphs. I learned that celebrating each and every one  of our successes, achievements and accomplishments is vital because we deserve it and it lifts up our confidence.

I worked hard constantly and consistently in the past four years and six months to achieve many goals.  I have many priceless and valuable life experiences and many stories to tell which are all inspiring, motivating, encouraging and I feel very proud of myself for making brilliant progress. The most inspiring stories from my journey with success are all my travelling ones where I was heading into a new place, a new city, a new country and a new continent! Nothing compares to stepping off your flight to a new continent and ticking that off your bucket list! Hehe

The feeling of being more than capable of facing my fears of travelling to a new country and continent in June 2015 was my biggest achievement to date as I had my ten year old son Calvin with me as my companion. Calvin had yet to fly on a plane so I was apprehensive about his first experience. We talked each day about our travel plans when we booked our flights. He watched videos on YouTube about flying and I told him we would be flying on the Airbus A380 with Emirates so he looked it up, checked it out and was feeling excited. I needed to take care of him and myself during our travels to Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong from Glasgow, Scotland. It meant we had six flights to catch in total so there was a colossal amount of time spent flying. I did as much research as I possibly could about: flying long haul,  how to keep safe and comfortable, what we would need, what we could bring and not bring, how to pack for Sydney’s winter and Hong Kong’s summer plus what meds we would need. It was a long planning process and the fear set in two months before we were due to fly so I used yoga and meditation to relax and calm down my nerves.

From my personal experience with personal growth, nothing can really prepare us for the unknown although we can use all the methods available to us to feel relaxed and calm. We were both yet to experience flying long haul so that was a daunting feeling in itself. The last time I flew long haul was when I was eight years old so I had forgotten how that felt.  We can use our solution oriented mind to solve problems as they arise during our travels. We can use our positive mental attitude to remain calm in any tense circumstances and all this requires mental power that tires us out. We can use our emotional intelligence to handle our emotions when things are not going to plan. We can use effective communication skills to get what we want, when we want it. All these skills takes effort, money and time to acquire. So investing time on our personal development is the most constructive, effective and productive way to grow.

We all know that travelling long haul takes so much out of us, physically, mentally and emotionally so both Calvin and I needed to be in great health. This meant that the month before we were due to fly was crucial for us to remain in great health plus we needed to remain calm and relaxed. I cut out all sugary snacks from my diet and deep fried foods from both our diet. I made smoothies for us each day, made sure we took our multi vitamins and minerals each day and we got enough sleep each night. I brought the necessary meds to take with us in our hand luggage just in case we needed it. Yet nothing prepared me for Calvin being sick twice from Dubai to Hong Kong. He was as white as a ghost from vomiting for the second time. I had no travel sickness meds to give him before we flew as I had no idea he would be sick. I have learned from this experience and I bought him travel sickness tablets from Sydney. Thank goodness I brought packs of wet wipes with us to wipe up his vomit as soon as he was sick. Otherwise the smell would have been more than enough to put my fellow passengers off from flying!

I saw Calvin had grown so much from his first experience of flying which was more valuable than sitting in a classroom with text books. Travelling with our children allows them to learn and experience the world outside of their classroom. This is the best experience we, us parents could possibly give to our children so that they also have many inspiring stories to tell and have fond memories for life.  For Calvin, it came at a time when he is old enough to remember his first experience forever and he can express himself more effectively. He also grew from this experience due to losing his uncle from a very sudden death in November 2013. He had lost a huge part of his mum from her grieving so he was abandoned and neglected yet his first flying adventure has lifted up his confidence and he is now addicted to flying. I had the blessing of spending quality bonding time with Calvin during our travels to Sydney and Hong Kong. I learned so much about him that I would never have learned from being at home with him!

My positive mental attitude, emotional intelligence, solution orientation, effective communication skills, people skills, mindfulness, confidence and assertiveness all served us well during our first adventure aboard. I can laugh at anything, anywhere so this created so much fun for our adventure. It had been the highlight of 2015 for both of us and there are many of these to follow. Just watch this space! Haha

Now here’s some questions for you to ponder about as it is a new year.

  1. So what would it mean for you to feel free to step out of your comfort zone instead of allowing your negative inner voice to stop you from getting what you truly want from life?
  2. What would you accomplish and where would you be?
  3. Who and what would you become?
  4. What would you experience and how would that make you feel?
  5. So you still remember what your inner child always wanted to do and want were those things?
  6. what career, vacation, car, dream home, ideal relationship, ideal body and ideal business would you go for when you know you can achieve it once you set your mind to it?

Did you know that the people who take that first step to get out of their comfort zone for personal growth are the happiest people? They do not need to go shopping regularly to feel good about themselves. They do not need to buy the latest gadget out in the market to fulfil their desires. They have no desires to follow fashion trends or any other trends because they are productive achieving their goals. They are strong minded and know what they want from life so they are consistently working hard to get to where they want to be and who they want to become. They are confident in their own skin and do not need other’s approval or anything to mask their insecurities. They take calculated risks and focus on the end result with much positivity. They are great leaders who are inspiring, supportive, motivating, encouraging, positive, constructive, productive and these are the people you truly what to surround yourself with for a better quality of life!

So analyse those people you are surrounded with at present and be very aware of who is making progress and who is stagnant. Remove the people who are making no progress from your life when you know with much clarity that you are in the process of getting to where you want to be. Be in a supportive environment so that you get the support you need to achieve your goals. Be aware of the negative impact toxic people have on your personal growth. These can be your family, friends, colleagues, associates and acquaintances.

We become the first five people we spend the most time with so limit your time with people who never lift you up, support you, encourage you, inspire or motivate you. Instead, create a new circle of friends who you can go to for support, advice, inspiration, motivation and you shall grow with them. Have clear goals in mind and start working on them for your better, bigger and brighter future.

So let’s all step out of our comfort zone and start to grow to have many life experiences to share with others and inspire people whenever we go! Are you ready to grow for happiness and contentment?

Here is a list of books to read up on how to step out of your comfort zone to grow and to acquire the skills I mentioned in this blog!

  1. Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers ( an absolute must read)
  2. The Compund effect by Darren Hardy
  3. Set yourself free by Shirley Smith ( a valuable insight)
  4. Assertiveness by Conrad and Suzanne Potts or any book on “assertiveness” (vital book to read on how to get what you want)
  5. Brilliant emotional intelligence by Gill Hasson
  6. or any book on emotional intelligence
  7. The 15 minute rule by Caroline Buchanan ( helps with procrastination)
  8. Life without limits by Nick Vujicic ( I highly recommend this)
  9. Dealing with people you can’t stand by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner
  10. The key to living the law of attraction by Jack Canfield (be sure to complete all the exercises in this book to get the most out of it)
  11. The secrets of the NLP masters by Judy Bartkowiak or any book on NLP ( another must read)
  12. Make a great speech by Jackie Arnold ( this is essential for travelling)
  13. The fine art of confident conversation by Debra Fine or any book on book on confident conversation
  14. The power of now by Eckhart Tolle

 

We are all aware of the benefits of exercise, fresh air and what we gain physically!  Yet, what about all the benefits we gain for our mental health? How many of you are strong believers that moving more is what builds up our strong mental health?  I can certainly say that being a naturally active person since I was a child has had huge advantages for me until I was surrounded by people like my ex husband who where not naturally active which had a huge impact on my health and well being. My dad has never been as active as my mum so I married my dad as they say!

Up until I was diagnosed with mild depression in winter 2008 I had been a happy, positive, bubbly, enthusiastic, active girl who had a very positive mental attitude to life and all it’s challenges, set backs, issues, problems, hardships and adversities. Nothing had brought me down for very long as I would want to move forward.  Ok, I fell now and again, so what? I would get back up and continue to make progress. I picked this up from my mum whom I spent most of my formative years with. My mum is my biggest inspiration because she is the most resilient, strong minded, happy, bubbly, outgoing, helpful, giving, understanding, direct and funny person you would ever meet. Her positive mental attitude to life is just contagious and those who know and understand her shall inform so!

When you need something done, ask my mum because she has ants in her pants so she shall get things done in a jiffy as us Scots would say! She rarely sits down for any length of time and when she does, she falls asleep! She listens to the television whilst doing the housework so the volume is at it’s highest. She would be thinking about her next task even before commencing on what needs her attention next. She is constantly multitasking wherever she is! Her energy just seems to never run out unless of course she sits down, then she falls asleep because she tired herself out from moving about so much. My mum could and would move Mount Everest with her excessive energy!  She gets frustrated with people who move as slow as a snail especially when she is out shopping and is being held back by people in front of her who as she says “are dead”!

I can relate to that phrase so much as I had felt I was dead inside after I was diagnosed with depression after separating from my then husband, moving house into a temporary accommodation flat with my three sons, working a new job and juggling a new life as a single mother. I felt I had no purpose in life other than being a responsible single mum who solely depended on their mother for survival. Everyday for me felt like a huge muddle, a tremendous struggle and I was living in the past. My thoughts began to consume a huge part of my being, my authentic self and I began to lose my mindfulness and awareness as my sleep at nights were constantly disturbed with toxic thoughts.

It was by chance that I was introduced to running or walking in my case, the Women’s 10k by a colleague in my team at work. I had no idea how I was going to complete walking a full 10k yet I was more than up for it because I wanted to become active again. That was the beginning of a magical journey to build up my mental power which I had lost from being a single mum. I excitedly completed my first 10k in an hour and thirty eight minutes and picked up the 1ok bug! The atmosphere at the Women’s 10k in Glasgow, Scotland in May 2008 was electrifying! We saw men wearing kilts with bagpipes at every kilometre so we knew how far we were to the finish line. My legs were killing me after walking and then jogging a little for the first 5k then as we climbed the narrow steep incline through Pollok Park I was becoming so hungry and tired yet I felt so elated and happy because the atmosphere and all the girls’ support kept everyone moving!

I received my medal, banana, goodie bag and bottle of water at the end of the 10k and that made all my pain more than worth it! Then eight weeks later I received my certificate with my finishing time and I gave it a pride of place and it stayed on my bedroom wall for a good number of years. My mental health became so much better from this absolutely thrilling experience so much so that I signed up for the next Women’s 1ok, and the next, and the next and the next. I stumbled across some information about another 10k which took place in September in Glasgow so I signed up for that too in 2009! Then I ran the 2010, 2011 and 2012 and sadly that was my last as I torn ligaments to my left ankle after a nasty fall on a very hot day whilst out with my big brother in June 2013. I do miss running on the streets of Glasgow and especially across the Kingston Bridge where oncoming traffic are tooting their horns at all the runners and waving to give their support!  The stunning view over the Kingston Bridge shall remain with me for the rest of my life!  Now, how many people can tell you of such a sensational experience?  Then there is the view in Pollok Park in May that just gets addictive. I live in the East End of Glasgow and Pollok Park is at the south side of the city, so I only get to see Pollok Park during the Women’s 10k so I miss that too!

Whilst I was recovering from my torn ligaments I became an invalid, losing my freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I needed help with everyday things like cooking, cleaning and food shop. I even needed my ten year old son to bring the shower head down for me so that I could take a shower sitting down in our bath! I was unfit to drive for the first three weeks of our unusually hot summer so I was stuck indoors, bored to tears and I felt so guilty as I could not take my youngest son out to enjoy our gorgeous weather. Then, my mental health suffered and had a huge impact to my health and well being. I became anxious again about life in general. Having to use a set of crutches whenever I ventured outside felt daunting for me so I avoided the outdoors as much as I could. This did nothing constructive for my recovery nor did I get better and stronger. As the days flew by,  I was due to fly to Germany at the end of September for a training event for work and I knew I needed to throw away my crutches. So I went for physiotherapy to help me to recover which was the best thing I could do for myself.

The training event in Germany was extravagant and noisy with over 10,000 people so I felt overwhelmed and it was daunting for me to walk around with a limp on my left foot. Yet it felt like a holiday to recharge from a rather challenging few months. When I came back from Germany I kept up with my physiotherapy exercises because I was all fired up from the training event. Then I gradually started to do more exercises like squats and plank each day. My mental health became better and stronger as the days and weeks passed. Then I was suddenly hit with another challenge.  We got news on the morning of Tuesday 19th November 2013 that my big brother had suddenly died in hospital.

Losing my big brother at the age of 42 to a very sudden death has been the most heartbreaking life experience for me to date! My world collapsed and I felt I was abandoned, my inner child was left all on her own in this big world where her life companion was no longer present and I felt immense emotional pain for the first few months. Thankfully, my mental health was strong from all of my time I had invested in my personal development and the exercises I had been doing kept my mental health in place, strong and resilient. I was continuing with my daily exercises each evening to keep me going. I was quite surprised that I didn’t have a nervous breakdown or have an episode of anxiety. I did feel my heart was extremely heavy and my life was empty yet mentally, I was feeling strong and capable. I knew my depression would be back so I called my doctor and ask to be referred to my counsellor for a one to one. It took four months of waiting to finally get my appointment with my counsellor and by then I was becoming lighter and happier yet I still knew that my counsellor could help me to a good recovery.

I have learned from my annual challenges with seasonal affective disorder, depression and anxiety that I need to move more and sit less in order to feel happy and content so that I can become more productive. The majority of women will treat themselves to a facial, a new haircut, some new clothes or accessories when they are feeling low yet the best method to feeling happy and content when we are feeling low is to move more and sit less! The feeling of happiness from any sort of exercise is more valuable than any kind of facial or shopping trip and it costs much cheaper! Our body releases the feel good chemical called endorphinsas it triggers a positive feeling in our body, similar to that of morphine.

I was feeling tired and sleepy this morning as I woke up from a disturbed sleep yet the weather was dry and calm so I planned to take my youngest son out to ride our bikes and I did. Calvin woke me up from my nap and asked to go out which is always a great welcome!  So we had lunch then killed our legs riding up a number of inclines in our local park!  We spent  twenty minutes cycling then came home to give our bikes a bath because they were both covered with mud on their tyres. I was feeling tired by the time i managed to get both bikes cleaned up and dried so I felt like going for another nap yet my body would have none of it!  So I got a few priorities seen to as my mind bossed me around! Haha.  I vacuumed our living room, hall and my bedroom, then I cleaned our bathroom, did my budget and felt so proud of myself for being productive instead of taking another nap!  By this time it was getting close to dinner time and I was beckoned to make dinner by Calvin and it meant I needed to make a trip to our local store for some potatoes and meat.

So with dinner cooking I felt elated that I had the energy to see to many of my priorities and more!  I love being active and mentally strong. It helps me to work consistently on achieving my goals which is vital for my personal growth!

So as the new year is well on it’s way now, what do you plan to do to move more so that you sit less? Be creative and think of ways where you can multitask to save time. As you are sitting down to watch the television, do some stretches or lift some dumb bells or a can of beans. You can dance to music whenever it comes on or wiggle your bum to a movie clip that shows people dancing. De-cluttering your home is a great and uplifting way to exercise. It is relaxing to see some extra space created at home from de-cluttering and this helps us to have more clarity as to what we want from our lives. I do it every so often when I feel there is a lack of space as I live with my three sons so we accumulate so much junk. I always feel so much lighter from a de-cluttering session which is so much cheaper than shopping!  Have a good look around your home and see what things need cleaned and do it with some of your favourite music on. This is bound to get you wiggling your hips! If you have little children at home, then take advantage of this and play with them to tire yourself out. If you know any of your neighbours who have a dog then ask them to take him out for a walk. Or wash someone’s car and get scrubbing and waxing! Gardening is another great way to move more which is one of my favourite outdoor activities. You could have the brightest garden in your neighbourhood with some time, effort and creativity invested!

I am off to do my daily yoga now so let’s all get moving more and sitting less! Hehe

What would it mean for you to switch off your phone for a day and focus on the important things in your life? Would that be unbearable? What things would get completed for you that you have been putting off? How productive would you become? Who and what would you give your full, undivided attention to?

I was having lunch at a new restaurant the other day with my youngest son and there were eight tables sat with people, mainly under 30. I observed the table with four Chinese probably students from the way they presented themselves. Two males sat opposite each other and the two females sat opposite to each other. I observed them for a few minutes and noticed that they all had their heads down, scrolling on their phones. No communications made, no interactions other than being in the presence of each other and fingers on their phones. Then I saw the female furthest away from me, who had her phone glued to her throughout the entire time I was in the restaurant. She was so engrossed with her phone’s content and completely ignored the presence of her friends.

So how would you feel to have such a friend? Would you still want to invite them for a meal and be disrespected and ignored? Would you still be in contact with them? Or are you one of these friends? Do you or does your friend check in on Facebook whenever they are having a meal or a meet up with you and tag you with a photo? I had such a friend who never seemed to be present in the moment whenever we met up for a catch up. Her presence was fleeting, short lived and brief. She would check in on Facebook, announce to the whole world where she was, who she was with by tagging her friends and post a photo up. Or she would call her boyfriend and talk with him or text him.  Her life seemed rather dull, boring, depressing and overcast. I never saw her have a good laugh with us girls when we met for a catch up. She was the most serious girl in our group and we rarely got her full attention to listen to us with the intent to understand. She would be forming a reply, a reaction or a response in her mind as she is listening to us talk. Her thoughts were controlling her life and I was no longer enjoying her company.

Human beings have become so attached to what is going on in the social network world and neglecting the real world that they live in. They have lost their authentic self due to what they focus on,  with whatever they give their attention to that is unimportant to their personal growth. Their thoughts are elsewhere other than what needs their full attention. Priorities are being neglected and relationships are suffering immensely due to the 24/7 access we have to technology, internet and wifi connection. We have become so focused on what others are doing by scrolling down on our Facebook and our mind is wandering, never present in the moment, never mindful, or fully aware of our surroundings.

I was on holiday in Hong Kong in July this year and to my total amazement, most people are oblivious to their surroundings as they check their phone whilst walking along the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and this seemed rather queer to me! I was intrigued as to how these people felt safe with their heads down, walking down the escalator, then walking into the train, sit down and continue to scroll down on their phone all the while ignoring their surroundings. Some would have their head sets in, some would be talking on their phones and even mature adults my parents age had smartphones and could use them better than me! What a revolution I told myself!

Now bear in mind that the population of Hong Kong is over 7 million!  In Glasgow, Scotland where I live our population is around 592,000 so what a huge difference! Whenever we travelled by Hong Kong’s MTR, the number of people there was colossal and it felt daunting and overwhelming for me to feel safe! I had mobile data on my phone from a SIM card that I was given by my boyfriend’s younger brother, yet I never felt safe to do what the population of Hong Kong were doing as I had the responsibilities of keeping my ten year old son safe at all times. Plus, I was more alert of my surroundings due to being in a foreign city even though Hong Kong was my birth place. I had moved to live in Sootland at aged eight and this was my first visit since, so I was more than overwhelmed and apprehensive on the MTR. Yet I was 100% alert and on the ball!

I was fortunate to have the company of boyfriend’s younger brother, his partner and her daughter on the first Sunday in Hong Kong at Sai Kung beach. As us girls sat down to relax in the stillness of the beach and the men went to play with our kids, I got talking to Joey who had her phone in her hand the entire time we were sat on the sand. I saw Joey scroll on Facebook most of the time and she never initiated a conversation with me. Being friendly and polite I started talking to her and she would respond to my comments and we enjoyed our chat yet I felt it was a rather reluctant affair! I never saw Joey during our entire afternoon at Sai Kung, interact with her partner and daughter. I felt she was missing out on all the fun and on her daughter’s childhood. I can relate to this as I was diagnosed with mild depression and then I had anxiety a number of years ago. So being in the comfort of what we love to do makes us feel safe. I was disconnected with my surroundings and family too so this was a familiar experience for me.

I had missed out on many days of happiness and joy from dealing with my depression and anxiety. It was a result of the bitter, dark, dull and most challenging time in my life after separating from my ex husband, working in a new job, moving house twice within ten months which all took a toll on my well being and overall health. I neglected to take care of my own needs, wants and desires. I was living in the past and holding onto so much sadness, anger, resentment, hatred and pain.  My then two teenagers became addicted to the Internet because I had neglected them, neglected to put a time limit on their internet time, neglected to even ask them how their day at school was, neglected their emotional needs and this created many issues that still exist today. I neglected to take care of my own emotional needs too and I learned that this came from my dysfunctional family’s setup and upbringing.  The only thing I did that made myself happy was playing games on Facebook and scrolling down the page or shopping for things that I did not need.

This created many illnesses for me as I missed out on the magical, happy, joyful and delightful things that were around me each day, that money could never buy and I shall never get back those missed moments, days, weeks and months.  My sleep was disturbed each night with negative thoughts and I would log onto Facebook only to scroll down the page aimlessly. I neglected to see the good in our world and my thoughts were constantly focused on the unimportant things which drained me of my positive energy. I found it difficult to talk to people face to face. My thoughts were fleeting and my attention span was short. It was hard work to focus on my priorities.

Then when I bought my first smartphone, things just went from bad to worse as I had 24/7 access to the wonderful Internet. Oh what fun I had at the time exploring the features of my first smart phone! Facebook became my companion and best friend. It was there for me whenever and whatever I was doing and feeling. I became so attached to my smartphone that I went overboard with Internet usage and my priorities seemed insignificant. There was the advantage of having wifi at home 24/7 for me so my fingers were constantly at work, on my phone! I believe my depression took much longer to recover due to the easy access of the Internet.

As it has become so easy to access the internet from our phones, we are consistently focusing on what others are doing, wearing, saying, where they are and this distraction is detrimental to our personal growth, health and well being. We can watch, read and see the news 24/7 which is toxic to our mental health as well as creating so much fear for us, our children, our family and our daily decisions. This massive impact is creating more illnesses that anyone could ever imagine.

We have become addicted to technology as we have such a huge choice of what to do with the internet and wifi connection as we have easy access to smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops etc etc and the ones who are into gadgets want their hands on the latest one that are launched as soon as the product is put onto the market. These people are willing to sleep outside the store to grab the latest gadget and they can model their latest purchase in the presence of their friends and family. Face to face interactions have become a thing of the past as we can use:  many forms of video chat, texting, social media, emails, forums, chat rooms, instant messaging etc etc.

I had young teenagers come into my work, order what they want without eye contact with me because they are so scared of human interactions. They mumble and shuffle as they have no social skills and this is becoming a huge issue with young teenagers. Ordering anything, at anytime on the Internet has created laziness, diseases, illnesses and human beings are becoming like “robots” as I have observed, especially our younger generation.

Family gatherings nowadays have shifted so much from talking to each other to exercising our fingers together! Each child is happier with a gadget in their hand than to play with each other by using their wild imagination. How is our younger generation going to get jobs later on in life when they are not taught how to communicate face to face with others? How will they handle life when they need to stand up for themselves as adults?

My two elder sons are great examples of how addicted our younger generation have become to the Internet and gadgets. My eldest son (aged 21) has a desktop in his bedroom, a laptop, a PS3 and a PS4 connected to our living room television, a PS Vita and a smartphone of course. He works six long days a week, comes home to his desktop and is on it all night. He never gets fresh air unless it’s for things he really needs to do like banking. He never exercises so his health is less than idea for a young man his age. He eats sugary snacks whilst online and we can guess at what sort of impact all this is doing to his overall well being and health.

Then there is my number two son (aged 19)  who has a desktop too, in his bedroom. He is a university student studying electronics and all of his spare time is spend sitting. Doing what? Exercising his fingers is what I call it! His posture is poor as he hunches his shoulders and his back is suffering from a lack of exercise. His legs are weak due to all the sitting down and he also never exercises to physical exertion. His sleep is disturbed as he keeps his smart phone on in his bedroom. His communication skills is more confident than his elder brother because he speaks his mind! My eldest son asks me to book his doctor or optician  appointments for him because he has a weakness in dealing with face to face interactions.

So for number three son, due to the big age gap with his two brothers, I am teaching him face to face interactions. I ask and encourage him to speak to people whenever he wants something and it is working. He pays for his own bus, train/subway fare, he pays for his own snacks and he pays for our restaurant bill at family gatherings. He has become more confident since we flew to Sydney and Hong Kong in the summer. We taught him how to pay for his own MTR tickets in Hong Kong and he had a brilliant sense of direction. He was my talking and walking satalite navigation system when we got lost in Sydney one day. He is addicted to flying now and has his heart set on New Zealand for our next holiday! This young man has a massive talent of observation. He never misses a thing as he is a visual man!

Young children are a lot more alert and aware of their surroundings than adults because their little minds are less cluttered with toxic and negative thoughts. They are very aware of what is happening at home, school and anywhere else. They are so much more present in the moment and they all enjoy the company of each other even when they are not playing with each other as younger children have yet to develop social skills. Be very aware of what you say and how you say it in the presence of young children because they are listening! Also be very aware of what you do in the presence of young children as they are the best copy cats!

Teenagers, however are totally different because they want to belong to a group, a gang, a cult and a sense of self worth only comes from fitting in. The internet allows teenagers to stay connected with their peers, group, gang or cult so they never feel left out which destroys their sense of self. So it is important that teenagers get their internet time in order to feel happy and they are fitting in.  It is like young children going out to play with their little friends. However, a boundary and an effective time management system needs to be put in place for young teenagers so that:

  1. their homework is completed on time
  2. they study at peace
  3. they are looking after their personal hygiene
  4. they are spending time away from the internet
  5. they are connected with their friends face to face
  6. they are spending quality time with family members
  7. they are contributing to doing chores around the home

It is the responsibilities of parents to teach their children essential life skills and that can only be taught by doing things together away from the Internet. Even a swimming session at your local swimming pool for an hour does wonders for our children. They need the physical exercise so they burn their ever huge amount of energy off and they sleep deep and sound at night. The quality time to bond is priceless and they shall become happier adults with fond memories of their parents presence in their childhood. We can use our own wild imagination to make teaching our children vital life skills fun,  so that they enjoy doing the things that they feel is boring. Life is meant to be fun so be childlike and have lots of fun with your children. This creates so many priceless and valuable memories that stays with the parents and children alike!

Many of us, young and mature, are becoming so disconnected from nature, our surroundings and the people in our lives because we are now more attached to our gadgets, phones, tablets and Internet. We give the Internet more of our time, focus and attention and the people in our lives are missing out on the good and fun times. So it is any wonder that relationships are becoming a challenge more than ever? We seem to be spending less time doing activities outdoors which creates a distance in all relationships. Just a walk in our local park for thirty minutes does wonders to bond with our family, have fun, get some fresh air and exercise. We also get to be mindful without the distraction of the Internet. We can all learn to gradually spend less time on the Internet with a little self discipline. Then we shall reap the rewards and want to continue spending less time online.

I have been leaving my phone and iPad in my bedroom whilst watching a DVD with my youngest son in order to fully focus on the movie.  I have put up a boundary and our new house rule is: no gadgets at dining table when there is more than one person eating. My relationship with my ideal partner is also the same. We give each other our full attention when we are in each other’s presence. Of course there are exceptions to this rule for example, when we were on holiday in Sydney, Hong Kong and London, we would be taking lots of photos with our phone yet that’s all we do with our phones. I am proud of the great progress I have made from being addicted to Facebook and shopping to being mindful and fully aware of my surroundings and the people around me.

So for the parents who are reading this article and are also dealing with any challenges that are draining you and you are neglecting to take care of yourself and your family, get professional help to guide you through this difficult time. I want to inspire you to do it for yourself and your family because they deserve your full attention and quality time. Plus you deserve the best and never settle for anything less.

For those who have friends who are attached to their phones during your catch up or meal together, put up a boundary and set a new rule that states each of you in the group deserves respect so no phones unless it’s a call or else that person pays for the bill!

For students who need to study yet are distracted by the Internet, set smart goals and get to work on making progress for your future!