There’s an inspirational quote that I often see shared around on Pinterest:
If you want something bad enough, it will happen.
Nonsense. It should say:
If you want something badly enough you have to get up, create a viable plan and work hard for it.
It doesn’t have the same ring to it, granted, but it’s certainly more accurate.
Things are happy. In fact, it’s the happiest it’s ever been and I was recently reminded of how life has changed when my Facebook and Twitter timelines were filled with desperate messages from teacher friends as they went back to work after the summer. A few years ago I would have been sitting in a training or data analysis session and feeling utterly miserable. Instead, I made myself a nice breakfast, snuggled up on the couch with a blanket and the cat, watched some TV and then worked through my social media management checklist, followed by a bit of Bullet Journaling in the afternoon. Bliss.
It hasn’t been easy. Contrary to popular belief it wasn’t an overnight change, with months of planning and saving beforehand and months and months of daily promotion, development of ideas and long hours afterwards as I still needed to be able to afford to pay my share of the rent and bills, but things are indeed starting to pay off. It’s been an enormous pay drop and I’ve had to make a number of sacrifices, but there genuinely isn’t a day where I’m not grateful. It’s a dream that is very slowly becoming a reality.
Everyone I know has a dream or a regret about their life choices and yet there’s only a handful that have actually done something about it.
We are essentially born as a blank canvas – a tiny bundle of endless possibilities – but time, circumstances and choices develop us into what we become as adults. As a society, we are taught a particular journey that we generally follow – job, house, marriage, kids (although not necessarily in that order) – and many have the predisposition that this is the only acceptable way to live. We take on responsibilities and purchase things based on the status that ownership brings and work in jobs that are nothing to do with our training, our skills or our passion to pay for it. We develop insecurities and fears and believe negative opinions, and the ambitions of youth dissipate as we are told that we aren’t good enough or our dreams are exactly that and will remain so.
Above all we learn to settle, often because it’s easier than fighting and we allow what we have seemingly learned along the way to dictate our present lifestyle, many with the opinion that it is too late to change.
It’s never too late to do anything.
Let’s face it, the notions of true happiness and a fulfilled life are now so overused that they have almost become cliche, and depending on your personal circumstances your journey may be more difficult than others experience. It’s easy to fall into a routine, a rut that makes it seem impossible to get out of. However, (regardless of your circumstances) it is possible to become happier and more fulfilled, once you get over one major obstacle: yourself. Our mindsets are our own worst enemy.
It’s all about the baby steps…
Stop telling yourself that you’re not good enough. Stop telling yourself that you are ugly, or useless, or stupid. Stop telling yourself that you deserve mediocrity. You are you, you have lots to offer the world, and you’re going to bloody well make sure it knows it. Start using daily mantras, write down positive affirmations, even track your mindset to gain a better understanding on the days where you feel negative.
If you’re struggling mentally and emotionally, seek guidance from professionals. Talk to people. Remember that you’re not alone.
Remove the jellyfish and the soul-suckers – the people who kill your confidence with stinging comments or who drain the positivity out of your life with their dark and dismal attitude.
Get rid of the fear of failure. The world won’t end if you fail, but you will have learned valuable lessons for when you try again.
Set your boundaries. Make it clear what you will and you won’t accept from others. Say no when you need to. Don’t allow yourself to be a doormat anymore.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Be spontaneous when opportunities arise. Try something new that you’ve always wanted to.
Work out what it is that makes you happy and unhappy. From that, create a set of goals that you want to achieve.
Do You Want to Change?
Want to change your career? This is (of course) one of the most difficult things to do, and can seem like an impossible task, but I’m a firm believer in that age has no boundaries when it comes to a job change. I started a new career in my 30’s, as has my friend after numerous redundancies in the last few years, another friend has recently changed her job in her 40’s and my mum got a new job last year in her late 50’s. My youngest sister gained a law degree and is training to be a solicitor while still finding the time to maintain a full-time job, move house, get married and have a baby. My soon-to-be sister-in-law took advantage of her redundancy to chase her photography dreams and has recently had her work exhibited in a gallery. None of us had financial help from partners or enormous amounts of savings to rely on. There is nothing stopping you from putting things in place that could help you along the way. Do lots of research. Highlight your transferable skills and the skills you need for your preferred job. Plan your finances and budget for a potential pay drop, and be prepared to work your way up from the bottom. Do some volunteer work in that field or a night class. I started blogging when I was into a long term, full-time teaching job and built it up by spending hours on it every evening and at the weekends for several years. It’s tough, it won’t happen immediately and at times its soul destroying and scary, but it is possible…
If your goal is to change your weight, start by replacing one item with a healthy option and go for a 20 minute walk in the evening. Then add in another replacement and go for a 25 minute walk. Do some sit ups. Follow workout routines on YouTube.
Want to become a writer? Start writing down ideas and short paragraphs. Research writing techniques. Attend a creative writing class. Start connecting with other writers. Write every day, even if it is just for 15 minutes. Enter writing competitions.
Want to pay off debts? Create a budget. Stop buying expensive coffee and magazines. Shop at low budget supermarkets, take advantage of 2 for 1 offers, prep meals for the week. You don’t need a Sky package, cigarettes, alcohol, a gym membership, new clothes or the latest phone. Your phone bill doesn’t need to be £60 a month. You don’t need to go on expensive holidays.
If you want to be a photographer, start taking photographs. Go into your local town, city, park, or take pictures of things at home. Ask patient family members and friends to act as models while you practise. Build up a collection of your favourite sorts of images and learn the techniques involved in creating them. Watch photography tutorials online.
What about changing your lifestyle? Don’t just plonk yourself down in front of the TV when you get home. Create time for something to do every day or every week (including if you have kids). Go for a walk, go to the park, read a book, take a bath. Research a new interest. Spend time with your partner. Look out for local events. Have a dinner party for your friends. Go to the cinema. Learn a new recipe. Do SOMETHING, and while it’s probably the last thing you want to do after a stressful day you’ll thank yourself for it later.
Want to act? Learn a musical instrument? Become an artist? Dance? Learn sign language? Learn a foreign language? Travel? Start personal training? Learn a new skill or start a new hobby? Join a football team? Do it! Find a class. Watch a tutorial. Practice. Network. Investigate budget destinations. Put yourself out there.
I’ve been accused many times of looking at the world through rose-tinted spectacles, and I’m always given the age-old ‘it’s not as easy as that.’ They’re absolutely right – nothing is ‘as easy as that.’ It isn’t easy to change your job or career path. It isn’t easy to change where you live, or improve your relationships or friendships. It isn’t easy to change yourself. But it CAN be done. Changing your life (or areas of your life at least) requires hard-work, dedication, a plan and above all, discipline. It requires you to figure out what you want and what you’re prepared to work for, and then to actually make sacrifices and put the work in… Every. Single. Day.
And the only thing getting in your way is you.
What do you think? Are there outside barriers to stopping you making changes?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks