Why I don’t choose to QUIT things,
and why 2017 is going to be my BEST YEAR EVER!

If you were anywhere near the internet between December and early January, you will have seen an abundance of New Year resolution based posts.

I haven’t set New Year resolutions… ever!

Not once has January first come around and I’ve thought “I’m going to stop eating chocolate/lose weight/spend less/only eat salad/watch less TV” mostly because I like chocolate, I don’t like the idea of ‘diets’ (my diet is the food I consume, good or bad, not a tool to lose weight).  I spend money on things I need more than what I want, I don’t particularly like salad, and I don’t watch that much TV to start with.  Resolutions have never sat right with me.

For years I suffered from depression and stress-related insomnia. Why?  Because I spent too much time focusing on the NEGATIVE.  I lived with a negative mindset, unable to be grateful for what I had in my life, instead I focused on the bills I had to pay, the debts that were piling up, how long I spent at work.  How little time I spent with my daughter and all of the things I couldn’t have.  New Year Resolutions would only add to the negativity as I denied myself MORE of things that I did have in my life.  Because of this, I did nothing.  I didn’t make resolutions, didn’t vow to give anything up.  The downside was I also didn’t make any GOALS for myself.  I just carried on in my existence, allowing life to stay the same, hoping things would get better.  It didn’t do me any favours.

What Changed?

In August 2009 I was signed off work with depression and stress-related insomnia.   I was prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping pills.  In January 2010, I was still off work, and the company I worked for were downsizing.  As part of that, I had my contract terminated.  Needless to say, this didn’t help, it was just more negativity for me to focus on.

At one of my monthly reviews with my GP, I told him that I didn’t feel any better. The medication wasn’t helping. My GP, who has known me my whole life, said to me

“It’s your choice.  I know you’re strong enough to come through this however you choose”

That was my lightbulb moment. In that moment I chose to do it myself. I thanked him for his help and walked out of the building prescription free. Instead of the pharmacy, I went to the library, and for the first time ever, I looked at the self-help section.  I read a little more on depression, what causes it, how to ‘fix’ it… I moved onto books about Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and there was one message throughout; I could CHOOSE happiness.  In my haze, it wasn’t something I’d ever considered.

My life didn’t change overnight.  This was 2010.  Almost 7 years ago. Back then, I looked at what I could do to make myself happier.  I went back to college, using this as a stepping stone to University and the course I’d always wanted to do.  This worked for a while.  I met a whole bunch of wonderful people on their own journeys and made some great friends.  Although my happiness didn’t stick around for long. I realised I was heading down a path that would lead me back to ill health.  I needed to stop that. Quickly!  In April 2014 I left my university degree (with a Cert HE in commercial Interior Design) and pursued other paths.

I decided that full-time employment wasn’t for me; I have two young children I want to be at home for. Working full time and ‘Mothers Guilt’ got me into this mess to start with, there was no way I was going back.  People judged. I didn’t (and still don’t) care. From being a teenager I always dreamed of working for myself and being my own boss.  In May 2014, still figuring out what I wanted to do, I took up an old hobby; paper crafting.

I found Stampin’ Up! and put in an order for some supplies. Before the order even got to me, I’d signed up as a demonstrator; THIS was going to be my business!  I made it through 2 years as a demonstrator, but I never turned it into a thriving business.  I loved crafting as a hobby, not a business, so I kept it that way.  I tried a few different companies before deciding that Direct Sales just isn’t for me. I enjoyed the behind the scenes/strategy side of the business far more than the sales.

At the beginning of 2016, I needed to make a change.  I evaluated what I enjoyed doing.  I missed the office, I missed the work.  I actually MISSED admin.  I looked for Freelance admin roles, deciding I would turn that into a business somehow and found The VA Handbook. Within two months of reading through the site, I enrolled in the DIY VA Course and started my business.

I wanted to learn more about building my website and running a business. I’d followed Laura Phillips on Facebook for a while.  I love the work Laura does, her values, her expertise, her tribe, so I paid for a couple of her webinars on website creation and goal setting.  Following Laura, joining her academy, taking part in the masterclasses and being part of the Mastermind group, were all great steps for me.  But things weren’t moving fast enough.  I’ve long since stopped focusing on the negative, but I still wasn’t setting myself GOALS; something that is often talked about in Laura’s community.  When I was asked if I wanted to join the Beta launch of Laura’s new programme; Fully Booked Blueprint, I jumped at the chance. For the first time, I felt something REALLY change.

I set myself some goals!

I spent a lot of the last half of 2016 listening to and surrounding myself with people talking about goal setting, going big in their businesses and in their lives; Laura and the #SavvyFamily, Denise Duffield-Thomas, Todd Herman, Gary Vaynerchuk…

I looked at what I wanted for my life and for my children’s futures.   I had a moment of clarity shortly after one of Laura’s group calls.   All the pieces that I’d thought of over the past 12 years all finally fit together into what I refer to as my “Big Scary Vision.” This is my ultimate goal for my business, way into the future.  I broke it all down into manageable goals.

What my goals are about

Firstly, Me. I’m at the core of my business.  Without me, there is no business.

I set goals focusing on self-care, health, happiness, my family. Steps to becoming my best self.  I haven’t vowed to stop doing anything.  Instead, I plan on filling my life with MORE.  More of what I enjoy, more of what makes me happy, healthy and fulfilled.

I’ve set up a daily routine that has 18-21 ‘tasks’ per day, some of them I do easily, some of them I’m working on.  These tasks combined take up less than 2 hours a day (including meals!). But they all move me closer to becoming the best version of me I can be.  I’ve also set out things I want to do more of with my family.

Before I even thought about work, I thought about how I want to spend time with my children.  The whole point of me starting this business is to be at home with them.  I’m not going to ignore that by working 18 hour days, or 7 days a week.  My time with family is important. ‘Hustle’ is not on my agenda the way it is for some.  My ‘hustle’ is limited to 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, anything over that is a bonus.

My business is still young.  Running this type of business isn’t something I’ve done before, so I focused on the activities I will need to do regularly to allow my business to grow.  It also needs to fit into my core hours, as determined by my personal goals.

I know people say your goals should push you out of your comfort zone, and I agree with that, but I’m still figuring out my benchmark.  Some people set revenue goals of 6 or 7 figures, some people want to double their income.  For now, I’m happy seeing where consistency takes me. Then I’ll start pushing for more. My only revenue goal for 2017 is to consistently cover the bills!

My focus word

I’ve seen a lot of talk about a focus word for the year; the one word that will anchor all of your goals, and be the guide you live by.

For 2017, my focus word is INTENTION.

The decisions I make and the actions I take will be done with the INTENTION of moving me forward.  I expect more from myself this year than I’ve ever given before.  I will be leaving myself less room for procrastination and excuses.  I’ve used them to hold myself back for too long.  So, whether I’m working, watching TV, spending time with my kids, eating chocolate, or even a salad, I will have made the decision to do so.

The aim of my goals

By setting my goals in the way I have, and focusing on having and doing more, I will be filling my days with good habits.  Doing this will naturally shift my behaviour, and weed out the bad habits, whilst keeping me thinking positively.  Yes, it’s sometimes boring, or tedious, and I slip up, but it’s only the beginning.  Before the end of the year, I reckon my life will be completely changed.

Tracking my goals

Just like this is the first time I’ve ever set goals, this is also the first time I’ve ever kept a journal. Each night I track my habits and my progress for each of the goals, what has worked/gone well, and what I need to improve on.  Looking back over the few weeks I’ve been keeping my journal, I’ve noticed changes and improvements that I hadn’t noticed through living my daily life.  Things are already changing for the better!

Don’t wait for New Year to make a change.  Start now.  I wish I’d started sooner.  I’ve never been happier.

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