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Hello 2019!

Ah, 2019. A brand new year. A fresh start. New year, new me and all of that. A new year is usually the time for people to start making their new year resolutions, writing any goals they hope to achieve in the new year and starting a clean slate. I do love thinking about a new year and all it can bring, however it can be a difficult time for us. In this blog post, I’m going to be discussing the pressures that the new year can bring and how I, personally, don’t particularly agree with resolutions.

The problem with resolutions is that you can automatically be setting yourself up for a fall. There’s no point in me making a resolution that says ‘I’m not going to drink as much wine’ for example, because I already know I won’t be able to keep up with that promise. I love wine too much.

New year resolutions can cause you to put so much pressure on yourself to complete the things that you’ve told yourself you need to do it the year ahead, that sometimes you don’t end up doing anything at all and find yourself in a rut. I never set myself resolutions, but I do think it’s great to have goals or a bit of a plan of what you hope to achieve in the next 12 months. Emphasis on the word hope! It’s perfectly OK if you don’t achieve your goals. And if you do, well done you! That’s fantastic. Here are the things that I’m hoping to do this year;

  • Complete University and graduate
  • Save, save, save
  • Buy a new car
  • Find a full time job that I love
  • Be accepted to do my Masters degree/ start my Masters degree
  • Be more dedicated to my blog
  • Start You Tube (if I can pluck up the confidence)
  • Finish my book
  • Get my book published
  • Find my self-confidence
  • Find belief in myself
  • Get fit and healthy
  • Make new friends
  • Go on a holiday

I know it seems like I have a lot of goals, and I do. But this is just a summary of everything I’d like to achieve, but I know it’s not all going to happen in the next year. By making sure I know this, it helps to keep things into perspective and to tell myself that I don’t need to pile the pressure on to achieve them. They will happen when they happen.

Take finding my self-confidence or believing in myself for example, that kind of thing takes years to accomplish, to truly have confidence in yourself. I know that this isn’t going to happen in one year, but my goal is to put more emphasis and effort into helping myself to feel this way in 2019.

It’s hard not to put pressure on yourself whenever a new year comes around, as quickly as it always does. You see other people starting the gym, eating well, glowing and pushing themselves to do the things they want by the 1st week of January, yet you still can’t find the motivation to do any of that for yourself. And this is perfectly OK. Just because we enter a new year, does not mean you’re a different person. We don’t enter a new life when the new year begins, we carry on being us but the time moves on and we have to try and keep up.

My friends Dad is turning 60 next month and she told me something that he said, that really stuck in my head. She told me that her Dad said he isn’t worried about turning 60, it’s just another number. He said that he’s just happy to still be waking up every day, so his 60th birthday is just another day to be happy about. And this is the idea that I want to take into 2019.

If you’re reading this, you’re still here. You made it into 2019. You’re here and you’re living and breathing. Without putting pressure on yourself in the new year, just be happy that you’ve made it into 2019 and think about how fantastic and positive it is that you’re waking up every day.

Second step, think about what’s going to make you the happiest this year. Slowly but surely, find the confidence to get rid of the things that aren’t making you happy anymore. Whether that be a person, a relationship, a friendship, a job, a habit, your diet, anything! If you need to stop doing things that you did last year because they don’t make you happy anymore, then make 2019 the year that you choose to do what makes you happy. Use the clean slate of a new year to make these decisions for yourself.

Also, think about where you were this time last year and think about how far you’ve come. I feel like I was a completely different person this time last year in comparison to who I am now. I’ve grown in so many different ways and I’ve learnt so many things. And that’s what a new year should be about; learning and growing naturally without pressure.

So, less of the pressure on yourself, find your happiness in whatever that may be, and don’t feel worried if you haven’t achieved everything on your list by the end of January. I’m telling you now, that’s not going to happen. Everything is a process, it’s the beginning that is the most important part.

After you’ve read this post, please, get a pen and paper and write what you hope to achieve in a list, just like I did up there ^.

Don’t put any time limits on, this adds pressure that we’re trying to avoid.

I hope January is working out in the best way possible for you, and if it’s not, don’t worry. We have a long year ahead of us and so many changes are going to happen and things are going to work out the way they should.

I’d love to hear some of your goals for the year ahead, so let me know!

Happy 2019.

Does being a book lover make it harder to find love?

Literature is so powerful. Whether it be quotes, poems or novels, some authors are so talented that the words they write down and share with us, stay in our minds and make us want to read the same story all over again. I am a lover of books and I always have been. I love the way you can immerse yourself deeply into a story line and forget about everything for the moments that you’re reading. I have quite a few books that are my absolute favourites which I have read over and over and I could continue reading numerous times because I love way they have been written, by the most talented authors.
 
When thinking of my favourite books and characters, I began to wonder about a few different things. It’s so easy to fall in love with a fictional character, it can happen after reading a book, or watching a film. After spending hours watching your favourite series, you become obsessed with the characters and the story line. When it’s over, you feel like your life is! It can be the same with books. You can enjoy a book so much that you start to believe the characters are real, or wish they were real. I started to think to myself, does being a book lover make it harder to form relationships in real life?
 
Take Fifty Shades of Grey, for example. I’m currently halfway through the second book. After watching the films, I wanted to be able to compare the books vs films and see which I preferred. Along with the rest of the population of women, it’s safe to say that I have fallen in love with the idea of Christian Grey. He is mysterious, sexy and always in control. But when you’re finished with the books and have watched the films, you have to keep telling yourself he’s not real. Everyone wants a Christian Grey, but he’s a fictional character and it’s very unlikely that I will find a Christian Grey walking down the street of my hometown.
 
When reflecting on myself and the way I view relationships, I am an old romantic. I believe in love, I believe in falling in love and I believe that we all have soulmates. Reading romantic fiction has made me believe in love even more intensely. I was thinking to myself, by reading I am constantly comparing real life people to those amazing characters that I have found in books. And so far, not many real world people have lived up to my standards.
 
Being a lover of literature, words, quotes and poems can sometimes distort the reality of our relationships. I know for myself, reading books has given me ideas of what I want in my life and the certain relationships I want to form in my life. This can be a great thing, because it has helped me in many ways. But, it’s hard not to compare with the characters you have read about.
 
The answer to the question; does being a book lover make it harder to form relationships in real life? I think potentially, it could make you raise your expectations about what you want from people.
 
Which is not a bad thing.
 
Reading makes me so happy, and I will never stop reading. I use this as an escapism from whatever is going on, and it gives me so many new ideas about my own writing.
 
I once saw a quote that said; ‘Never apologise for having high standards. The people that are meant to be in your life will rise up to meet them.’ 
 
This is so true. A fictional character you may have fallen in love with, or aspire to be like will never be a real person. But you can use the things you have read, quotes that have stuck in your head, to remind yourself of the way to form relationships and what you deserve. Although many books can seem ‘far-fetched’, you can still use the things you read and relate them to your own thoughts and experiences, which is something I do often.
 
One of my favourite ever books of poetry, is ‘Love and Misadventure’ written by Lang Leav. If you are a romanticist like me, who is full of love and loves reading about love, then you need this book.
 
It was hard to
choose because the book is absolutely fantastic. But, here is one my favourite poems from the book;
 
All or Nothing
If you love me for what you see, only your eyes would be in love with me.
If you love me for what you’ve heard, then you would love me for my words.
If you love my heart and mind, then you would love me, for all that I’m.
But if you don’t love my every flaw, then you musn’t love me – not at all.
 
– Lang Leav
 
I hope you continue to read and fall in love with many more characters.

 

Body Confidence Journey.. If I Can, You Can Too.

Before I started writing this blog post, I was trying to think back over the past 5 or 6 years to a time when I felt confident with my body and the way I looked. Genuinely, I couldn’t think of one time! I’ve never been fully confident with my body, ever, and it really dawned on me when I was thinking about how to start this post.
When you are younger, for example, at high school, the way you feel about your body and body confidence isn’t really something that you are constantly thinking about. Well, for me it wasn’t anyway. My main focuses were enjoying my time with my friends, talking about boys and trying to stay out of any drama! I would never wake up and look at myself and think that I was unhappy, even though I probably was. I’d just put my uniform on and get on with my day. When I got to year 11, so I was 16 years old, I lost so much weight. Looking back at pictures of me when I was as small as I was honestly makes me want to cry. I didn’t lose this weight intentionally as my final year of school was probably one of the worst years I’ve had in my life so far, which caused me to lose all the weight. I became ill, the small amount of food that I was actually eating I couldn’t even hold down because every day I was so anxious about the number of things that were going on, my body physically wouldn’t let me swallow! I ended up going down to a size 4-6. I’ve always had curves, the same as my Mum, but I just lost everything. I can’t stand to look at pictures of myself like that, because I know how unhealthy it was.
When I got to college, I was back eating normally again but I still wasn’t happy with the way I looked. I would say that I was probably putting on weight, but definitely not enough. My anxiety over these two years was still through the roof, and the whole two years of college seems like a complete blur to me and not a time that I like to reflect on. At this point of my life, it became clear how much pressure is put on young women to look a certain way. I would go into college and look around me at all the other girls, who dressed up for college, and then I’d go into the bathroom and look at myself in a hoodie and leggings and feel so awful. I didn’t even have the confidence to wear what I wanted, I wasn’t the size I wanted to be and I wasn’t wearing the things I would have loved to wear.
I then moved onto University, where I started to put so much weight back on, but then I put on too much. I felt fat, ugly and disgusting, even though to others they didn’t think that at all. I was unhappy in my first year of University and stopped going to my lectures as I knew I was going to change course and start my first year again, so all I did every single day was stay in bed and eat. I was way too anxious to go out, and the thought of stepping foot in a gym scared me way too much. It was never going to happen. I could feel myself becoming so unhealthy and every time I looked at myself, again, I felt awful. But I couldn’t stop eating! I had nothing else to do during my days, I was literally waiting for the year to be over. So, food was my comfort for making the days’ pass. It wasn’t even healthy food either, I was eating way too much pasta, getting takeaways and chocolate from the shop every other day. I was a complete mess, and even reflecting on this part of my life fills my stomach with knots.
I don’t want this post to be all doom and gloom, but I needed to share my journey with you all. I’m now almost 21, and in my third year of University and I have never felt better.
I’ve gone from being a girl who was too anxious to leave the house, who never felt confident about who she was and what she looked like, a girl who was depressed, to now going to the gym every day and enjoying every minute of it. I’ve gone from wearing baggy clothes in the gym and wanting to cover every inch of me, to now feeling confident enough to wear whatever gym clothes I want, whether they be baggy or tight gym leggings and crop tops. And the best part which I never thought I would say; I’m taking part in a triathlon in a month’s time. I can’t believe it!
The whole point of this blog post is just to share with anyone who has struggled with their body image and feeling body confident, or still is struggling, that things can change so easily and so quickly. Never in a million years did I think that I would be taking part in a big sporting event. Firstly, because I didn’t think I would ever feel confident enough. And secondly, because I never thought I would be fit and healthy enough.
My first bit of advice is that you need to surround yourself with the right people. From my last year at high school and all throughout college, I had nobody around me who was trying to motivate me and empower me, which is what best friends and any kind of relationships are meant to be there for. I was left feeling like I wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone because I was allowing people around me to treat me this way. Moving into different groups and letting go of people who only made me feel worse about myself was the best decision. Even if this means cutting them off, and losing a big group of people who you believed to be your ‘friend
s’. The reality is, if they don’t make you feel great and support you, are they truly meant to be in your life?
Secondly, you have to make yourself feel better, for you and only you. Try not to care what people think of you. I know myself, it’s difficult especially if you’re an over-thinker or suffer with anxiety. I found it hard to go to the gym because I was worried that everyone would be staring at me and judging me. But the reality is, that doesn’t happen! People may look at you once when you walk through the door to see who it is (don’t we all?) but then everyone looks away and carries on with their own thing. You need to do as much or as little to whatever suits you and whatever makes you feel better. Don’t change your body for the approval of others. If you’re unhappy, it’s only you who can do something about it.
I’ve emerged the gym into my daily routine, and I ensure that I eat well because it’s me who does my food shopping. If I don’t buy bad foods, then I can’t eat them! I really can’t believe how far I have come with my body and my confidence, and although I am not quite 100% yet, I am so excited to continue improving my life and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
I also try not to kid myself thinking it’s all going to be easy. There are times when I’ve been feeling unmotivated and have skipped the gym for a week, or maybe even two when everything has been getting on top of me. There have been times when I feel down and can’t even find the energy to make something to eat, so I’ll waste my money and order a takeaway and feel even worse about myself afterwards. But you’ve just got to try and push yourself!
I know that if I can make myself feel better, generally healthier in my body AND my mind from where I started from, then anyone can. I would love to continue sharing my fitness progress through my blog, because anyone can do it.
I know you can! Believe in yourself.