morning monday… summer report card…

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Hey everyone, so it has been a while since I did any kind of goal orientated post, and what with it being the beginning of the summer holidays, and the nostalgia of the end of year school report, I thought it was as good a time as any to check in with you guys, and probably more importantly, with myself.

My resolution for this year, was to carry on trying to be the person I want to be. You know that perfect version of yourself that gets up early, a bundling ball of energy and takes on the day, with shiny hair, a big old smile, and this general aura of being calm while completely bossing it? Yeah. Her.

I didn’t set myself any specific goals with this, so the sub headings here, are the areas of my life that when I imagine the girl I want to be, these are her fundamentals. Does that make sense? Like, if I get these building blocks in tip top shape, then I’m stood on a pretty good foundation.

So without further ado, or poor confused metaphor’s here goes…

Health & fitness… Stephanie has come a long way and should carry on the good work…

Guys, I’m actually in pretty good shape. Like not perfect shape, and I’m definitely still soft around the edges, but generally speaking? I’m doing ok. Of course there is always room for improvement.

My running routine isn’t anywhere near as solid as I would like it to be, but when I do get my trainers on, my times and distances aren’t all that embarrassing. I’ve never been one for public sport or exercise. I was terrible at PE at school (apart from dance) and had one or two mean comments made about me that really stuck. Not to mention the fact that co-ordination just does not come naturally to me. So other than the odd zumba class (where everyone at least THINKS they look slamming) I’d always believed I truly didn’t enjoy exercise. But that has definitely changed. Running clears my mind, and lifts my mood like few other things can, and now I’m even thinking of signing up to a real public race. A 10k might not sound like a huge challenge, but up until a few months ago I was too embarrassed to even tell people I went running in case they asked me how fast or far I went.

Other than running, because I don’t drive, I get in a fair amount of walking, but I would like to start doing more exercise that focuses on other areas and not just cardio. I throw in the odd swim, but I really want to spend a little time thinking about my strength and toning up a little bit. Nearly every week I tell myself I’ll complete at least one online yoga class, and barely ever do. But if I want to be able to touch my toes, and carry my shopping up the stairs (not at the same time) then I need to do something about it! Not to mention the fact that I don’t want my fitness to take a nose dive when the weather turns and the days get shorter, and running around the park is just no longer a viable option. It may even be time to join a gym!

Diet wise, as regular readers will know I’ve stuck it out with veganism. Again, I’m not a perfect vegan but my attitude towards food, is now much more balanced. Even when I do indulge, it is never to the level that it was before, and this is a huge improvement. I’ve never had brilliant will power, but towards the end of last year, I’d gone beyond that and fallen into some seriously unhealthy eating patterns, which weren’t doing my body, my confidence, or my mind any good.

And that shift in attitude, is the biggest improvement I’ve seen in myself since the beginning of this year. I lost weight, but even though it wasn’t as much as I originally wanted, the confidence and perspective I gained, were double that (I spoke more about this here). What’s more is I’ve kept the weight off, and stayed at one weight for longer than I have done in years. I’m happy in my body, I still have days where I think ‘oh if only…’ but I don’t hate myself. I don’t punish myself. I know, that I am lucky to have a healthy body that can do all the things I want it to do, and looks pretty good while doing it.

I want to carry on improving in this area, and at the end of summer I intend on doing a month or so of very clean living, but I know longer see health and fitness as just an impossible goal to measure my failure by, it’s just the next step on the running track.

Career… Stephanie always works hard in class but her homework lacks care and attention…

This time last year, I was new to my day job, I was excited and eager to learn, but also nervous, and scared that I would fail. Today I can hardly believe that was only a year ago. I still learn something new every week, and I’m still finding the systems that work for me, but my confidence in myself, and the work that I’m doing has grown tenfold. In June I took on a big old project, and while it didn’t all go as smoothly as I would like, I realised that things rarely do. This job, may well end in February, which forces me to regularly reflect on what I’ve done and where I’m going. I don’t want this job to end, I still have so much to learn and I love where I work, and what I do, but the idea of going back on the job market isn’t entirely terrifying. In some ways I find it quite exciting. I don’t want to tie myself down to one area of theatre, or type of arts work, so looking for a new job, feels a bit like, looking for a new adventure. Of course if having to find a new job does become a reality, I can’t promise I will be quite as chipper about the situation but for now… I’m happy, I’m confident, I think I might even be quite successful.

I love my regular pay salary job, and I know I’m very lucky to be in a position where that job is in theatre, but I never intended to get that dream day job, and stop working on my own independent, writing, shows, workshops or theatre company, and in truth, that is exactly what has happened. I haven’t performed properly in over a year, and the new show I intended to work on, hasn’t got any further than an elaborate set of scribbles in my notebooks. I’ve found it much harder to stay motivated and driven in my independent work than I thought I would, but I guess that is natural. When you spend all day working on and in theatre, you don’t necessarily want to come home and do more! Some sort of burn out was inevitable, however, I’ve recently been rethinking this extra work, and what exactly I want my side hustle to be. In particular, working out how all the areas of my life and work sit beside one another. I won’t go into that too much here, but I’m working on a set of steps to take that should make my purpose a lot clearer, and hopefully see my blog, and my theatre work sit much closer to one another.

Blog… Stephanie needs to focus on the real task at hand…

Ok, I feel like I say ‘I don’t do this for the followers’ so often that it’s beginning to sound like I protest just a little bit too much. So I am going to be straight up and tell you, that at the beginning of the year I set myself the target of reaching 500 followers on bloglovin’ by December.

I’m not going to make that goal, and that’s generally a bit disheartening.

Here’s why: I don’t want a HUGE following because I want this to be my day job, or because I want to get cool stuff for free, or to feel like a bit of an internet celebrity, but because I want to know that what I am writing is RELEVANT to people.

At the very beginning of this year, I made myself an editorial calendar and I stuck to it. I took out some small scale advertising and I saw my numbers begin to climb slowly but surely. And then all that new year gusto wore off, life got in the way of spending three nights a week blogging, and I’ve actually seen followers, and my stats in general, fall.

For the past two months, I’ve been struggling with this a little bit. I saw this down turn in views and follows as proof that what I was putting out there wasn’t relevant. However, I’ve recently realised, that isn’t true. Those of you that do pop by this space of mine, keep coming back, I love that I have conversations and comments with the same group of people, because what that means, is that what I’m writing may not be relevant to the masses but it is to a handful of bloggers out there who if they lived down the street would probably be some of my best friends. Which HEY GUESS WHAT! Is EXACTLY what I really wanted this space to be about.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a couple of you in real life, I email more of you, all the time on my lunch breaks, and I love that. Moving to Blackburn where I knew nobody meant that blogging and you guys, really were a life line. So I guess what I’m trying to say is THANK YOU! And if you pop by here regularly, and we haven’t spoken, please feel free to get in touch.

Now I’ve done the soppy bit, what action have I decided to take about all of this. Well, I’ve got rid of my editorial calendar, so that when I do post it is because I truly have something to say. And to those 4 people that unfollowed me on Bloglovin’ (yup, it was only 4 people and I nearly scrapped the whole thing) that’s cool, maybe you don’t want to invite me round for dinner each week, but lets still meet for the odd coffee every now and then?

Relationships… Stephanie get’s on well with her classmates, and her friends are a credit to her…

At the beginning of this year I did a fair bit of reading about mindfulness and happiness, and everything I read and watched talked about the importance of strong personal relationships. At the end of last year I think I’d started to shut down a bit, and even though I still spoke to my amazing friends, all the time, I was never really TALKING to them. This is something I decided to change at the beginning of this year. I put my irrational fear, that they didn’t really care to one side and just told them everything that had been going on with me. It will come as no surprise that I instantly felt a thousand times better.

I’ve spent a lot of time this year, being really honest with people, and making sure that those people that are really important to me, are regularly a part of my life. There isn’t as much face to face time as I would like, and there are a few friends a bit further away that I want to just call more often, but generally speaking, it’s quality over quantity with my friends. I have a handful of amazing friends, that I see a handful of amazing times a year.

Of course the other thing is that I have a boyfriend now. This was never a GOAL as such, but I don’t think it is a coincidence that as I worked on myself, and started to fix all those software glitches I’d been experiencing, I started to become more open to the possibility of meeting someone, and eventually did.Getting a boyfriend wasn’t a goal, it was a happy by product, and being in a relationship is already teaching me a lot about myself, and who I have become. I’d quite like to keep learning in this more one on one way please!

Growth… Overall Stephanie has made a lot of progress this year, with just a bit more hard work, she will be well on track for a good 2016…

Final category, I promise (well done if you’ve made it this far!), and this one is a bit of an amalgamation of two things:

1. Being a grown up
2. Personal growth.

So firstly, being a grown up, is probably one of the areas, I have the most work to do in. Especially when it comes to my finances, bills, and flat. I’ve started paying more attention to what I’m paying when, rather than letting the direct debit do it’s thing and hoping for the best. I’ve also set myself the challenge of paying off my credit card off by February (to coincide with the possible change of job and circumstances). This isn’t a huge figure, but so far summer has being seriously expensive, and when you combine that with one or two unexpected bills, it’s enough to make a very sensible mans daughter begin to panic a little bit!

The other thing is me rented flat. Which generally speaking is fine, but there are a couple of things I’ve been putting off calling the landlord about, and actually they need to be dealt with. Like the ceiling peeling in the bathroom, and the wardrobe that never stood up properly in the first place.

Finally on the grown up front. I NEED to learn to drive. I’ve never been behind the wheel of a car and for 3 months now I’ve said I will book a lesson. But then something else (that I’d rather spend money on) popped up and I put it off. No more excuses though, because my parents have paid a bulk of lessons for my birthday, and I have to get them booked by, well, today actually.

The second part of this category, is personal growth, which I guess makes for a pretty good conclusion to the end of this lengthy post, which essentially is entirely about how I’ve grown so far this year.

At this point of the year I think I’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting for becoming the person I want to be. I could still get up earlier, and I will always want a better morning routine (or any morning routine), I will always want to read and learn more. Write more, create more. But these are small tweaks I can make every day. Little steps like cutting down my screen time, and working on getting a night time routine, so that I’m awake enough to tackle a morning one. I’ve journalled much more this year than I’ve ever done before and found myself becoming much more interested in mindfulness and meditation. Which in turn has has made a positive shift in my attitude, something which I credit for making everything else I’ve spoken about in this post possible.

August is just around the corner, and writing this post has made me realise, is that what I really need to do, is to use the remainder of the year to keep up the good work, and polish off the edges, so that come 2016 I feel ready to go even further. In truth becoming the person you want to be, can’t be done in a year. It’s an ongoing project. I’m an ongoing project, and one, that in all self indulgent truthfulness, I really enjoy working on.

How does your summer report card read? This one is certainly better then my year 5 one which said I was a bossy little madame, and caused months of upset!

Live Life & keep working on it x

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morning monday… fill your cup…

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Morning everyone, how are you today?

Let me ask you something, if this week was a coffee cup and you could, within reason fill it up with anything that you liked, what would it look like?

Would you put your work in as it normally stands or would you filter it? Would you add a dash less or more tv time? Would you make sure you got your brim full of electronic devices? Would you make it a grande? An extra strong? To go or to stay?

What I’m asking is, have you put as much thought into what you’d like this week to be like as you would your morning beverage of choice? Or has you beverage choice and your week become routine? Something you order and consume without really thinking about it? Do you still sip on your latte and enjoy it? Do you still take a moment every morning to let that hot water refresh you? Do you see each Monday as a new start?

Ok, that’s a lot of questions for a Monday morning, probably more than your local barrista gives you, and god knows sometimes making just that much of a decision can be too much. But we shouldn’t see it that way.

Lately I’ve been going through the week, as if it was dictated for me. As if my cup came with a foam stressy topping, regardless of whether or not I wanted it too, and in the past couple of days, I’ve realised that just isn’t true. It’s Monday morning, and my cup is empty and I can fill that cup, with whatever I like. It’s my order, and if I don’t like it, there is only me to blame. Sure that is a scary amount of responsibility to take on, but it’s no more of a responsibility than making sure you get your coffee the way you want it.

This is how I want my cup filled.

I’ll take work, but with the stress, than I often create myself filtered out. It’s in a big cup, because this weeks going to be a long one, so I’ve added an extra shot t keep me going. I want to stay motivated and efficient, but calm. A latte rather than an americano, a week to be sipped and savoured, and thought about. A week of intention. I might add in a syrup for the evenings, something sweet like making sure I have frozen bananas in the freezer so that I can eat banana ice cream after a long day and not feel bad about it. I’m not going to add in my usual amount of screen time, and instead replace it with my trainers, there isn’t huge amounts of room in the cup but I can squeeze that in. What little screen time I do have, I want to make it dedicated blogging and writing time. If this weeks latte has the right effect that motivation will spill over after 5pm and continue into the evenings, I want to make the most of that. Finally Saturday and my topping of choice, a sprinkle of something with a kick, maybe cinamon rather than a shot of liquer and good conversations rather than drunken ones.

I’ll take my extra long, extra hot, double shot, latte in a cup to go, but I’m not leaving right away. I’m going to sit and take my first few sips of the week, this morning, calmly and with intention. Because it’s all well and good to take your week to go, but if the lid isn’t on right, you might just spill your coffee down your clean shirt. And that would be no good start to the week at all would it?

Live life & take your weeks like you take your coffee, as you ordered x

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monday lunch…

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Happy Monday everyone! How are you?

Did you have a good weekend? Mine was spent in Manchester with friends and a spot of wooden spoon puppet making on Sunday.

This week I’m all about acting out on good intentions.

What with the sunny weather, and being super busy at work, I’m full to the brim of good intentions at the moment. Intending to eat well, go running, work on my own theatre stuff, get up early. The list goes on. If I actually saw any of these good intentions through, I would be a ninja.

But I am not a ninja, right now, I’m a slightly groggy, slightly frustrated with myself, Stephie.

Here is what will happen.

I’ll be walking home from work, the weather will be nice, I’ll have a happy tune on, and I will think ‘Oh I think I’ll go for a run when I get in’ then I get in, see the washing up to be done, and the empty cupboards and think, ‘Or I could sit on the couch and watch Game of Thrones’ and 5 episodes later (did I say 5, I meant erm… nope, I meant 5) it will be later than I intended to go to bed, I’ll have had toast and jam for dinner, and I will go to bed telling myself ‘tomorrow will be better, tomorrow I’m only going to set one alarm, as I always wake up before it anyway, so if I just get out of bed I won’t need it.’

Guess what happens tomorrow?

I sleep in.

I know this post seems in complete juxtaposition with the post I wrote just over a week a go about having got my bum into gear, and even with my post on Friday which said I wasn’t going to pile any extra pressure on. But hey guess what I’m an emotional hormonal twenty something year old, and I’m annoyed at me for being me right now.

So maybe something else is going on, that I haven’t quite figured out yet, or maybe I’m being too hard on myself, but I’m sure whatever it is that’s put me in this itchy mood, will be lessened if I just quit whinging and procrastinating and actually followed through with just one good intention.

This week I just need to believe and like myself, and I find that much easier to do when I’m edging more towards the ninja end of the scale than the Mr Bean one.

Live life & don’t leave your good intentions at the door x

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