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A Time Of Learning

I began this week with my first blog post ‘Starting the Week Right’ and I’ve got to admit, the planning I had told myself I needed to do, did not amount to much! First of all, I’d left my planner in my desk at work. When I got to work on Monday morning, I realised what a heavy workload I had and planning was relegated to the back burner. Although I didn’t sit down and plan my week out in the physical sense, I did have a clear idea in my head of how I wanted my week to do. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve challenged myself to complete Couch to 5K so I knew what I definitely had to schedule my runs in. These fell on Tuesday, Thursday and I completed the third, this morning. They’ve been rough this week, a total step up from previous weeks, but to my surprise I’m determined to make running a permanent habit. I got in the zone this week and it felt really surreal – I’m starting to get why people eventually end up liking it! I ran for twenty continuous minutes!

Writing also played a big role in my week. I think I’ve written every day and it feels so good. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but a lot of the time I put too much pressure on myself. I want every sentence that I write to be perfect and realistically, that doesn’t happen. When I put this kind of pressure on myself, I shy away from making writing a priority because I feel as though ultimately, I’m going to be disappointed with the results. I’m sure many people can relate to this. This is an issue I’ve been working on for a while and it seems as though I’m finally making some headway on it.

So there has been some success this week! I’ve come to the realisation over the last few months that I can make positive changes in my life. Those changes are inspired by the future I want for myself and can only be made by my actions. I’ve discovered that I possess a source of willpower that I once thought was lost.

On the side of things, I’ve been struggling a little bit with self-doubt and my confidence. Lack of confidence in myself and my own abilities has always and I mean ALWAYS, been a major issue for me. In my teens it had a lot to with my appearance and weight, but as I’ve become older, it’s morphed into a more internal battle. Why am I constantly doubting myself? Why, when things goes wrong, or perhaps just don’t go the way I want, do I start instantly berating myself? My intelligence, my skills, my abilities, my kindness. Literally everything. Honestly, it’s so frustrating.

These struggles have driven me to seek a better understanding of myself. It seems utterly ridiculous that I have these reactions to everyday occurrences in my life and I don’t know why. So I started doing a little reading a while back. I’m not a massively spiritual person so I didn’t want to delve into that side of the whole ‘self-help’ avenue too much to begin with. A book that leapt out at me was ‘You Are A Badass’ by Jen Sincero. I actually downloaded this as an audiobook because I was commuting at the time and I found that audiobooks were a great way to pass the time. Anyway, I listened to the book, narrated by Jen Sincero herself and it really helped me to understand all the ways I was preventing myself from pursuing all the things I truly desired and gave me a window into why I was doing it. I can’t recommend this book enough if you’re trying to get passed issues surrounding doubt and confidence. So good!

One of the most useful insights I took from this book was about narratives. The stories that we tell ourselves, many of which only serve to hurt us in the long term. We all have an idea of the kind of person we are in our minds. For a long time I’ve repeatedly told myself that I’m not the kind of person that can do exercise, that I can’t finish anything because I lack the motivation, that I’m not attractive – the list goes on and on. After so long our stories become limiting beliefs (how we become burdened with them is a whole other long story). Because I’m convinced that these traits (or beliefs, whatever you want to call them) are a fundamental part of me, I don’t believe that I can change them. This is where the hard work begins. You have to challenge those beliefs. Constantly. Every time one of those beliefs enters your mind, you have to bat it away and replace it with something that inspires instead of limits.

Obviously, there is a lot more than to it than the few sentences I’ve outlined, but you get the gist. It’s so simple and yet, so difficult! The Couch to 5K experiment has been one way I’ve tested this. Running has never been something I thought I could do. I’m not fit and before I started, I could barely run for a minute without turning into a beetroot and worrying that I was going to pass out. Week by week, I’m getting better and each time I complete a run, I’m proving to myself that the belief that I’m just not built for exercise is wrong. Seeing how challenging the limited beliefs produces tangible results is a great boost, however, like I’ve said above, it is a constant battle and slipping up from time to time is inevitable. Knowing I’m working hard to combat the whiny, destructive parts of myself is making me feel a whole lot better.

I hope I haven’t rambled too much and there is actually some worthwhile content in the post. If it’s sparked an interest in self-improvement, I wholeheartedly recommend ‘You Are A Badass’; it’s a great read and/or listen. If any of you do read it, please leave a comment and let me know you’re thoughts or any changes you’ve made in your life as a result.

Thanks for reading,

Carla xXx

Starting The Week Right

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve had a pretty relaxed weekend. I’ve caught up with a couple of friends, I went to the gym yesterday afternoon and I made a relatively healthy meal for dinner yesterday and there’s enough for leftovers today! That makes me so much happier than it should.

So my weekend was going great. I got up pretty early this morning and I thought I would take the dogs for a long walk as they’ve been a little challenging lately. Nothing major, just unsettled and general pains in the ass! So I planned to have breakfast when I got back and headed out around 8:30am. The walk was great. It’s such a beautiful day; the sun is shining and the dogs are very well behaved off-lead now. During the walk,  I was relaxed and kind of just soaking up the outdoor vibes. I took the photo below (I’m pretty proud of it!) and I was just thinking to myself ‘this is such a nice way to spend a Sunday morning’.

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Pretty cool, right? So there I was walking along and my Labrador, Mawgan, managed to find the only MUDDY PUDDLE in the entire country. A slight exaggeration, but seriously, he will find the water where you think there couldn’t be any. Usually, full of crap and he just plonks his entire body in the puddle and then stretches in it! He’s pretty much white, by the way. A very pale Labrador. As you can imagine, he was a mess. His lower body caked in mud and the top half, white.

mawgan-being-naughtyThis isn’t today’s incident (pic from last year), but pretty much a replica. See how smug he is!

Suffice to say by the time I’d got home, cleaned him up and cried at the state of my car, I was not feeling so relaxed anymore. Mawgan doesn’t like to be cleaned and it turned into a whole big ordeal that took ten times longer than it should have. George, my other dog, was being super needy and trying to jump all over my back! I had to have a ten minute time out. A couple of months ago, I probably would have it affect my mood more than it should have. Today, I took a couple of minutes to clear my head and moved passed it.

So I’m feeling pretty chill again and been thinking about what I want my week to look like.  I work Monday- Fridays so most of my week is immediately taken up with that. However, I have a couple things I intend to do and maintain the routines I’ve already set. I’m going into week 5 of the Couch to 5K. I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. I couldn’t even run a full minute without dying in the first week so I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’ve planned out the days that I’m going to run and I’m trying to be very strict with myself when I make a plan now. My favourite thing to say used to be, “I think I’m going to…..” By not making a definite plan to do something, whether that be exercise or anything else, I fell like I could get away with not doing it. Because it wasn’t really a plan – I wasn’t making the time or making it a priority. I realised that by letting myself get away with that shit, I was only hurting myself and stopping myself from accomplishing my goals.

I’m on my way to becoming a more organised person. It’s a skill and I need to develop it until it becomes a integral part of my character. So to start the week the right way, I’m going to be sitting down with a cup of coffee and planning out my week. I bought a little day planner, so when I post on Friday I’ll include a photo of my week in the day planner and I’ll let you know how well I’ve suck to it!

Thank you for reading and if anything resonates with you, please leave a comment!

Carla xXx