5 Tips For Starting A New Job

Starting a new job can feel daunting. Even after going through an interview process and researching the company as much possible, there’s still no real way to know how you will feel until you step through those doors and get stuck into it.

Over the last year, I’ve started 2 new jobs since graduating and it’s really made me think about what kind of mindset is most successful when going into a new working environment. These tips are aimed mostly at those that are just starting out in their career, but I hope it will be relevant/helpful for anyone of any age too.

Embrace Criticism

When I started my first job after graduating, I wanted everything to be perfect. It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending hours creating a flawless piece of content, but that’s unrealistic and time doesn’t always allow for it. The truth is that when you’re starting something new, it’s inevitable you will make mistakes. We all have to learn to receive feedback and, most importantly, act on it. So if you feel like you’re a little vulnerable to criticism, practice building a harder outer shell before landing a job, because people will always input opinions on how you can do something differently – they’re not attacking you as a person; they want to help you and support your professional growth.

Ask LOTS Of Questions

This is something I found a little more difficult when starting new jobs. I always feel like I’m bothering people if I ask too many questions, but in fact it’s the only way to learn and to fully understand the role and what is expected of you. It doesn’t mean you’re incapable if you’re asking for help – it just means you are willing to learn the right way of doing things. And if you stay quiet, how is there any room for improvement?

Have Confidence In Your Ability

I would bet that this is one of the defining factors when it comes to job interviews. If you don’t believe you can do it, then those around you won’t believe it either. I’ve struggled, especially during remote working, with doubting my ability and questioning the value I give to a company – it’s easy to do when you’re so far removed from the people you are working with. It felt like I hadn’t fully integrated into the working world yet, but I’m finding that being in the office is helping a lot more with that.

Have faith in what you can do and believe you are capable of doing great things. You may not be great at everything and you may not have the same qualities as the colleagues around you, but that’s why you were hired – because your unique qualities are needed. We all worry sometimes that we’re not doing something well, but remember to back yourself, always.

Speak To Everyone (If You Can!)

When entering a company as a newbie, you may feel like a bit of an outsider, but the more people you speak with, the easier it is to integrate. From a working perspective, it can be useful to chat to all the managers and directors of different areas of the company when you first join, such as Sales, Marketing, HR. They can give you an overview of what they and their team do, which gives you a great all-rounded view of how everything slots together to deliver the end result. Plus, you never know when you’ll need to collaborate on a future project!

Don’t Forget To Have Fun!

Getting a new job and integrating yourself within a new company is always going to involve hard work, but don’t forget to enjoy it too! The average human spends 35 hours a week at work, so make the most of it. There’s always going to be elements of a job that you find tricky or don’t particularly like, but treasure those parts that you really feel passionate and excited about, because those are the parts that make it worthwhile.

I hope you found this post useful if you’re starting a new job, or can relate to some of these points based on past experiences.

What would be your No.1 piece of advice for starting a new job?

Let me know in the comments below.


Reading Books: Expectation Vs Reality

What makes you pick up a book? Is it the cover? A recommendation? Or do you pick up a random one and give it a shot?

Books have become so much more than just the writing itself. Once you’ve started it, that’s all that matters, but before that there are so many other considerations that take place, whether we’re aware of it or not.

People always say, in marketing and advertising, that you often have to see something 7 times before you think about buying into it. Have you perhaps unconsciously bought a book because you’ve seen it so many times it just makes sense to give it a go? Or maybe you are more easily convinced, by simply a cover or a friend’s recommendation.

I’d like to share my thoughts on the book buying process and what leads me to eventually pick up a book – perhaps some of you can relate!

How Beautiful Is The Book?

If I said I’d never bought a book just because I loved the cover, I’d be lying…

There are some really well designed book covers out there, and the publishers know exactly what they’re doing – drawing in those who appreciate the visual and aesthetic side of reading. Because having something that reads well and looks good on your bookshelf is the best of both worlds, right? The problem is, they sometimes aren’t a very good read at all…

I’ve fallen into this trap many times before, and I still fall into it time and time again. The irony is that I never end up keeping the book even if it does have a beautiful cover, because what’s the point if I’m not going to read it again?

4 Star Rating? Let’s do it!

If you’re also an avid reader, you’ve likely got Goodreads, and you’ve also likely spend hours scrolling through, exploring books, sorting through ratings and reviews. I definitely have.

However, sometimes I place a little too much trust in Goodreads ratings. I see a rare 4 star rating and I think, this has to be a good book. And it is a good book, for majority of people. But sometimes it’s easy to forget that you won’t necessarily fall into that majority too!

There aren’t many 4 star books I’ve read and felt hugely disappointed, but I have read a couple and thought: I’m not sure I really understand what everyone else is seeing here. But that’s the beauty of art – we all see something different in it. If anything, we look for parts of ourselves within it. And it’s natural to not feel connected to every book, in the same way that we wouldn’t feel connected to every person we meet either.

“You HAVE To Read This”

We’ve all had the classic recommendation from a friend or family member, or maybe even from a stranger, where they claim they have the perfect book for you. Do you believe them? Can you trust their book taste? Is it worth the shot or will it just lead to an awkward conversation of “It was good, buuuut…”

I never know whether to follow up on recommendations, so often I head back to good old Goodreads and see what everyone else is saying about it too. The more opinions, the better, right?

However, I think every now and again it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone and try a completely different book to your usual read. I can’t say I’ve had much success with this yet (*cough cough* horror that wasn’t scary *cough cough* confusing sci-fi that made no sense). But, I’m still willing to give it a shot.

Do you relate to any of the above?

Why do you think the reality of a book is often so different to the initial expectation?

I’d love to know what you think below.

How To Live More In The Present Moment [The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle]

Over the last couple years, as I’ve taken an interest in self-development, I’ve been drilling into the areas of my life where I can improve and grow. One of these is my instinct to live inside my head. As many writers likely do, I have an imaginative and overactive brain, so it’s constantly whirring with thoughts. Sometimes it’s hard for me to focus on what is happening in the here and now because of it. I’m physically walking or cooking or brushing my teeth but my thoughts are way off in another place, thinking about other things.

I think it’s a natural human instinct to be like this – we all do it. We all enter autopilot when we are doing something we can almost do off by heart. But that doesn’t make it healthy or good for us. Being mindful of the things we are doing helps us be mindful of our place in the world and how we act within it.

Since I know this is an area I need to improve, I’ve recently started reading The Power Of Now, which is a self-development book all about learning to live in the present moment. It has some really fascinating and enlightening insights into how paying attention to the wandering mind and the emotions inside of us help us reach a sense of peace and acceptance. When we are in conflict with what is going on in our minds and our bodies, this is when issues and illnesses begin to creep up on us.

But, most of all, this book talks about the leaving behind of the past and the future.

Eckhart Tolle says:

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.”

Psychological time is essentially “made up time”. It’s when our minds start thinking back to past scenarios and future possibilities. It’s when we lose sight of what’s happening right in front of us, because we’re too busy dwelling on what has been or what could be. Of course, psychological time is necessary for many situations, from planning ahead for holidays or creating personal and work goals. The past is often helpful for us to learn from our mistakes. However, when we start living in this psychological time for no logical reason – perhaps we are overthinking or daydreaming – then we are denying the Now (the present moment). And if we are denying the Now, then it is as if we are telling our body that we don’t want to exist in this moment.

When I read this part of the book, it was such a fascinating insight for me, and it made a whole lot of sense. If we are living in the present moment, of course we will have no worries or stresses, because only this moment, right here and now, matters. Anything else going on in our brain doesn’t exist. We’ve conjured it up for no reason. And it’s harming us in the process.

When I think back to moments in my life that I’ve felt the most happy, they all involved me being fully present in the moment. I wasn’t scrolling through my phone, I wasn’t thinking about the future or what has been, I was really enjoying the here and now. And I noticed that these moments always occur when I’m around other people. Why? Probably because I’m not alone letting all my thoughts take over my brain. To replicate these moments in solitude doesn’t come as naturally, as I’m sure it doesn’t to most people, since our minds are always loudest when we are quiet, but it is something I am slowly progressing on.

The feeling I get when on holiday, of detaching myself from any everyday worries, is always such a calm feeling. That’s when the power of now has the most power within me. But what if we, as humans, could detach from this without changing our exterior surroundings?

I think there are everyday habits all of us can implement to help us get out of our own minds and focus on the present in order to overcome any unnecessary stress. For me, I’ve found that yoga has been the most beneficial. I’m focusing on my breathing and the poses so much that I’m tuned out from the world. The same occurs when I’m learning something new, like a new recipe or a new song on the piano. If we can enter a state of “Flow” in our lives, in whatever form that may be, we will find some sense of release, because we are in a continual stream of focus on a task, everything left behind as we conjure up something new and exciting and real and revelationary.

What do you do to help you live in the present moment?

Have you read The Power of Now too?

Let me know in the comments below!

How Niraj And I Became Friends Through Blogging! [Blog Collab]

Today’s post is going to be a little different from usual, as I’ve been working on a blog collab with Niraj from Niraj’s Blogs!

When I first started blogging years ago, I was initially drawn to the friendliness of the community, but I didn’t expect to make genuine friendships through it at all. A while back, just after we’d graduated, Niraj sent me a spontaneous email and we got chatting about blogging and university. Since then, we’ve met up in London a couple times and become really good friends, continuing to share our blogging goals and life goals too. We thought this post would be a great way to share how blogging played a huge part in our friendship, and the power of the lovely WordPress community too!

As a heads up: this post was written between the two of us, so you can find the exact same one over on Niraj’s blog, which you should go check out over here!

We first spoke in about July time last year, just after we both finished our university degrees. We were both already familiar with each other’s blogs, having read them beforehand, so that was a good starting point for our discussions.

As expected, we initially bonded over our common interest in blogging. It’s not something a lot of people have as a hobby, so we really enjoyed sharing our passion for blogging with someone just as enthusiastic. Although we both write on completely different topics, and have different goals for ourselves, blogging is something we both really care about and it was so motivating and inspiring to be able to share our blog ideas and goals with one another. Naturally, this helped us both with our confidence in our writing too.

However, what became apparent from very early on was that although the blogging conversations would continue, we also began to talk about other things such as our university experiences. This led to us both becoming friends where we could confide in one another about our worries, rather than just talking about blogging. As a result, we began supporting each other not only in blogging, but in our individual journeys of self-development too.

When we realised we both lived in the South East, we decided to meet up in Central London, once in October of last year, and once in April of this year. Both times we explored different places in Central London, such as Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge. We enjoyed embracing a change of environment and escaping our everyday routines, especially during the times of remote working and staying at home.

Since we both have a growth mindset and enjoy reflecting on things, meeting up in Central London, where there is a lot of nature and good views gave us the perfect chance to catch up and reflect on how things have gone. Whilst nature gives that element of space to breathe and sit in the air of your own thoughts, equally having someone there to listen and support is just as crucial. These moments certainly helped strengthen our friendship, as face to face interaction makes it easier to open up to each other and beats video call any day!

Overall, blogging is a continuous journey and you never know what is around the corner or who you’ll meet along the way. Perhaps you can relate to finding an unexpected friendship, or meeting your blogger friend in person for the first time. It’s a really rewarding and fulfilling experience.

The beautiful, sunny view in Trafalgar Square!

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and got to know us a little bit better.

We’d love to know if you’ve had a similar experience – did you also meet a friend through blogging?

Let us know in the comments below.

I Wrote Something Everyday For 5 Years… [One Line A Day Book – Review]

Just over 5 years ago, I was given one of the best presents I’ve ever received – a “One Line A Day” book – and it’s been my little companion through the most influential stages of my life. From finishing A levels, to starting university, to graduating and starting a new job, it has helped me track not only the vital stages of my life but the ages where I grew the most as a person and overcame the biggest challenges. And because of this, I want to share a mini review on how it works and what I’ve learnt from it.

How Does The “One Line A Day” Book Work?

As simple as it is, you really do just write one line everyday (or in my case, as many lines as can fit!). You can share whatever you like – a quote, something meaningful, what you did that day. For me personally, I wrote a brief description of everything I did that day as if it was a diary in shortened form.

The unique element of this journal is that each page has 5 text blocks for 5 years, so when you return to that page the following year, you can see what you wrote on that exact day the year before, and the year before that etc.

What I Love About The “One Line A Day” Book

It’s simple, easy to use, and most of all, it’s just really fascinating. We go about our lives everyday and often we forget about the simple things that happened, but sometimes they’re the most impactful of all.

Sometimes, I’d go to write in the journal for today, and I’d notice that a small event had recurred from the previous year, such as seeing the same friend on the exact same day the year before, or eating the same meal. Sure, it was a coincidence and didn’t particularly symbolise anything, but it’s funny how small things like this can line up.

It’s also such a great way of remembering past memories. Before writing the journal for that specific day, I’d really enjoy reading back on the previous years just to see what I was up to. And often it was very different – as I changed as a person, my habits naturally changed too. It was so interesting to see my progression as a person and how that reflected in the actions I took in my life.

How Did I Manage To Stick With It For 5 Years?

This is a question I often asked myself too, but I think when something becomes so meaningful to you, it naturally becomes a habit. I’d sit down for 5 minutes every evening to fill it in before bed, and it’s not any different than using that 5 minutes to scroll through your phone. Plus, I liked the challenge – once I start something, I try my ultimate best to follow through with it, and this felt like such a big but rewarding challenge. And I’m so glad I stuck with it – having 5 years packed into one tiny book feels so so special.

What Did I Learn From It?

The biggest, and perhaps really obvious, conclusion I drew from using the “One Line A Day Book” was that people change a LOT in 5 years. Even in 1 year. Even in a month, a week, a day. Reading back on past entries I’d written, I not only noticed the different events and situations I placed myself in, but the change in mindset too. A lot of my earlier entries were shorter and kind of negative too, but I felt like I had so many defining moments in the following couple years where I really morphed my mindset and my health into a much better place. Having this within the diary feels so important to me because that was a really important moment in my life, where I felt like I really became myself, accepted myself and learnt about the power of self-developing and seeing the world in a positive light.

I also learnt that, if I put my mind to it, I can do something that seems initially impossible. Writing something everyday for 5 years? Well, that would seem daunting to pretty much everybody, and at the start I wasn’t sure I could do it. But like anything, if you want to achieve something, you make time for it, you prioritise it, and you make it happen.

I think, more than anything, it’s also a huge reminder that everything is temporary. What I was doing, how I felt, the way I looked at the world and the people in it the year before, is so different to now. And it will be the same the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that too. As humans, we naturally progress. There is no stagnant waters. There is hope that you can become whatever you want to be in the future. It just hasn’t been written yet.

Have you tried the “One Line A Day” book or anything similar?

Or perhaps want to give it a try?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Do You Feel Guilty About Relaxing? (+ 4 Tips To Overcome It)

Are you the kind of person who loves to be busy? Do you pride yourself on productivity? Do you feel bad on those days when you’ve slumped on the sofa and not done very much? Well, perhaps you’re also one of those people who feels guilty about relaxing.

We now live in a world that glamorises being busy. We think that the more we can do, the better. If we can be successful at work, have a family, do 3 hobbies, meet friends every weekend and work towards all of our goals, amongst many other tasks, we think that’s what equals being a good, functioning human being. We say “I’m busy” like it’s a wonderful thing, and in some ways it is, but not if we are sacrificing our wellbeing at the cost of it.

I admit, I am a bit of a productivity-addict. I love to commit myself to lots of projects on the go because I find it fun, exciting and a great learning opportunity too. But, I can also admit that, as a result of it, it has made me feel guilty about relaxing in the past. And over the last couple years I’ve learnt that relaxing isn’t just a reward, it’s a necessity.

When the mind has created a thought pattern, it’s very difficult to get out of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I think those days when I would feel guilty about relaxing, I would have thoughts such as: “I’m wasting my time” and “I could be more successful with my goals if I got up and did [said task].” The truth is, relaxing is never a waste of time if you use it wisely.

Strangely enough, I’ve found it a lot easier to relax since I’ve graduated. Perhaps other university students can relate, because when you have a schedule that is not 9-5 and you are expected to produce assignments and do extra research outside of studies, it does make you feel like you should be working 24/7. Even the university library is open 24/7, as if it’s promoting students to stay up all night.

However, after university, I’ve found it easier to switch off after the end of a work day. No one is expecting me to work then. And I don’t feel guilty about not working on the weekends because it’s totally normal not to, whereas at university I often would.

If you have or have had similar struggles with feeling guilty about relaxing, know that you aren’t alone and there are many ways you can start to tackle it so that you get that much-needed rest.

Try these 4 tips to help you feel less guilty about relaxing:

  • Remind yourself of your achievements – If you struggle to relax, you’re likely always looking ahead at the next step, rather than valuing everything you’ve achieved so far. So, bask in your achievements. Don’t feel bad about doing so.
  • Give yourself a “logging off” time – Whether you’re working 9-5, studying at university or running your own business, set yourself a specific time each night to completely switch off. And you can even turn off your phone too. After this time, you’re allowed to relax. Nothing will stop you.
  • Think of the long term – In the short term, relaxing may seem like a waste of time, but in the long term it is releasing tension, boosting your wellbeing and putting you in a more positive and productive mindset for the following day, so you can actually achieve more than if you hadn’t relaxed at all.
  • Try active-relaxing activities – For those who find it hard to sit still and relax, choose activities that are relaxing yet also feel a little bit productive, such as going for a walk, meeting with a friend, or reading a book.

Do you feel guilty about relaxing? What tips do you use to overcome it?

I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.

How To Believe In Yourself (Actionable Steps)

When was the last time you truly believed in yourself?

When was the last time you had complete faith in what you were doing and where you would end up?

The truth is: a lot of us struggle with belief, whether we like to admit to it or not. Whether we are super confident or quiet in nature, we often get that niggling doubt that seeps in at any given moment. It’s like something is sitting on our shoulder telling us that we could be wrong. Sometimes we give in to it more than we should. Sometimes we let it control our lives.

But we don’t have to.

If I was to explain what it felt like to have complete faith in myself, I don’t think I could explain it. I don’t think any of us could. I don’t think anyone on this earth has ever been 100% certain of what they’re doing 100% of the time. We all have doubts.

However, I think to live the life you want to live, you can come close to it. You can work at self-belief to the point where, yes, you still have those moments of doubt, but you’re better at tuning in to the process, at ignoring that negative self-talk and at having confidence in yourself as a unique being.

We’re all on a journey of self-belief, whether we realise it or not, and I’d like to share some actionable steps for how you can become more confident in your ability to simply be you!

Practice Positive Self-Talk

This is the most important step you can take towards working on self-belief, but, unfortunately, it’s also the most difficult! With our brains working at a hundred miles per hour all of the time, it’s not an easy task to control our thoughts. Sometimes we may feel like they are, in fact, controlling us.

Practicing positive self-talk is the best method of eliminating negativity and all the emotions that appear alongside it. It’s something I’ve been working on personally over the past year, and I can say from experience that it helps enormously. However, you can’t expect to make the jump overnight; it takes time.

Try these two methods of practicing positive self-talk:

  1. Positive Affirmations – Speak positive phrases out loud to yourself in front of the mirror (or mime them, if you’re worried about anyone hearing!) – “I am successful, I am confident, I can do this” etc. It feels super strange and unnatural at first, and will most likely make you cringe, but it is a great way of securing positive words into your thoughts. The more you say them, the more you believe them.
  2. Reframe Negative Self-Talk – Every time you notice yourself speaking about a situation, a person or yourself in a negative light, reframe it. Change your perspective to the positive/realistic side of the situation. For example, instead of beating yourself up for getting something wrong at work, remind yourself that you’re human, that it’s okay, that it’s a learning curve for the future.

Remember Your Achievements

Often, in life, we forget about all of the amazing things we’ve done. We’re constantly pressured by society and education into thinking about the future – what we’re going to do next – that we forget about everything that came before that. As a result, we often gloss over our achievements.

TASK: Try writing down all of your achievements (both big and small!) It could be as simple as starting a new hobby, to as great as getting a promotion! At first, you may think the list will be small, but you’ll be surprised at how many things you have achieved. And it’ll motivate you to go out and do more too!

Embrace Your Unique Self

Sometimes, it’s really difficult to accept ourselves for who we are. In a world of constant comparisons, we often define our value based on other people – whether that’s how we view them, what they say about us, or what we think they think! At the end of the day, it’s only about perspective – and this is changeable!

TASK: Challenge yourself to write a list of your best qualities. These are qualities that matter throughout your life, that are consistent and at the core of who you are as a person. It could be kindness, a good sense of humour, intelligence or modesty. These qualities are the reason you excel in communicating with those close to you.

Many of us struggle praising ourselves, but it is only when we acknowledge our strengths that we can have true belief in who we are. Ask family and friends to help you if you’re feeling stuck. There are so many good things about every single person on this planet. You are no exception.

What steps do you take (or want to take) to help you believe in yourself?

Feel free to share your experience and/or tips in the comments below!

The Power Of Gratitude Journalling (And Why You Should Try It!)

It’s been 1 year since I started gratitude journalling and, no word of a lie, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

When we hear of the task gratitude journalling, many of us may think: but I’m already grateful for everything in my life, so I don’t need it.

However, gratitude journalling is for everyone, regardless of whether you’re grateful for your life or not. It is not just about being grateful; it is about forming a positive inner dialogue and focusing on the good moments of life, rather than succumbing to the struggles – something which we all like to think that we do, but most of the time is a lot more difficult to master than we think.

I’d like to share a few tips on how to start gratitude journalling and how gratitude journalling has positively affected my life. I hope it will be helpful for anyone who is looking to reduce stress/anxiety, or simply live a happier and more positive life.

How To Start A Gratitude Journal

  1. Choose a notebook to start your journey. I would recommend picking one that you really love as you’re more likely to gravitate towards using it!
  2. Place it beside your bed with a pen, so that it is in easy reach for you to fill in before you go to sleep.
  3. Every evening, carve out some quiet space for yourself, without phones or other distractions, to reflect on your day. What did you do? What conversations did you have? What went well? What didn’t?
  4. There are many ways you can go about writing in your gratitude journal, but I would recommend the following sequence, which is inspired by Dr Chatterjee’s book Feel Better In 5:

3 Things That Went Well Today

Write down 3 things that went well for you today, focusing on gratitude and embracing the feelings that arise. It can be something as small as someone saying good morning to you on your walk, or as big as receiving a promotion at work. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you write down how it made you feel.

For example: When I went on my morning walk today, a man stopped to let me know that I could walk in the adjacent field rather than the path so that I’d avoid the mud. It was so lovely and thoughtful of him to stop specifically to help me out, and I really appreciated his kindness.

Reframe A Moment

It’s inevitable that there are moments in our day that don’t go as well as we’d hoped. Perhaps we snapped at someone, spent too much time on our phone, or didn’t do that exercise class we said we would do. Pick one moment in your day to write about and reframe it. Explain what didn’t go to plan and what you will do next time instead.

For example: I would like to reframe the moment I reached for my phone whilst chatting to my friend. I wasn’t listening properly to what they were saying. Next time, I will give them my undivided attention so we can really connect over mindful conversation.

TOP TIP: Always write in a positive tone of voice, even if you don’t feel positive. The more you practice it, the more you rewire your brain to think in this manner.

The Benefits Of Gratitude Journalling

Gratitude journalling is one of, if not the most, effective way of feeling genuinely appreciative for your life and everyone/everything in it. In our busy day-to-day lives, we often forget to take time out to think about what we like about our lives, what we don’t, and what we want to change.

Gratitude journalling decreases stress/anxiety because it helps put situations into perspective. Often, when we have a particularly stressful or anxiety-inducing day, we go to bed thinking about how bad we feel. However, if we are gratitude journalling, we are forced to recognise the good parts of the day, rather than wallow in our struggles. And if we’re focusing on the good, in true law of attraction fashion, we then attract more good and positivity in our lives.

For me, personally, gratitude journalling has really helped me rewire the voice in my head. Every time I’ve had a difficult situation, it’s encouraged me to flip it on its head and see it as a learning opportunity for growth. A month ago, I tried a different kind of journalling – writing out all my bad thoughts to get rid of my negative feelings – and found that, surprisingly, every negative thought I wrote down I was counteracting with something positive. I had officially trained my brain with gratitude journalling so much that I actually couldn’t write down a fully negative piece of writing. I was shocked, but I also felt proud of the progress I’d made.

Perhaps you’re reading this and love the idea of getting started on your gratitude journal. Perhaps you’re reading this and you’re a little bit sceptical about whether it could actually be effective…

Whoever you are, I would recommend starting with a month, or even just a week. Give it a go, and notice how you feel.

It only takes 5 minutes out of your day, but 5 minutes can make all the difference.

Have you tried gratitude journalling before?

Or are you willing to give it a go?

Let me know in the comments below!

Reviewing My 2020 Goals!

At the beginning of this year, I put together my goals for 2020. I honestly forgot I even made these until I started thinking about my goals for 2021, so it was really interesting looking back to see what I wrote!

In this post, I thought I would share what they are and my reaction to whether I completed/progressed towards them. Feel free to share your 2020 goal review in the comments below too – I’d love to hear them!

My goals for 2020 were as follows:

  • Start (and finish!) a novel
  • Read 12 books (not including university books)
  • Get a full time job
  • Create a morning routine
  • Continue using my phone less

I honestly haven’t looked at these goals all year until right now, and I’m amazed at how well I managed to stick to these just because they were subconsciously at the back of my brain.

Lockdown helped enormously with finding the time to write the first draft of my novel – I’m still in the process of editing, but I’m proud I managed to actually write something!

Getting back into reading also went a lot better than expected – my goal was 12, but I’ve read 42 this year! Now that I’m no longer reading books for educational purposes (in the traditional sense), I’m enjoying it a lot more. It now feels odd if I go to bed without reading even just a page!

Securing a job was something that at first proved difficult, what with the pandemic and a really odd end to university, but I’m now 5 months into working a 3 day week in a marketing job I’m really enjoying and I never would have expected this to happen so quickly after graduation.

Creating a morning routine is still something I’ve been experimenting a lot with this year. During lockdown, I started doing morning yoga before breakfast, then more recently I’ve been doing meditation as soon as I get up. I haven’t fixated on one method yet, but I’m enjoying the journey figuring out what works best.

I’m really glad that I’ve been using my phone less this year. I think during the first lockdown I definitely had more of a slip up, since it was the primary way of contacting people, but since working, I find I’m very much in focused mode and barely touch it. It’s definitely helping me stay in the present and make effort to meet up with friends or video call them instead.

Overall, I’m super glad I made these goals for myself because I feel like it steered me in the right direction this year. I’m looking forward to setting my goals for 2021 and seeing what is in store for the new year.

Did you make any goals for 2020?

Let me know in the comments below!

6 Things I Learnt From 3 Years at University

Earlier this year, I graduated from university and, what with lockdown and no proper graduation, it’s been an odd end to 3 years, but an end nonetheless. Looking back, it’s hard to put 3 years worth of memories into a singular blog post, so instead I’ve decided to write about 6 key things I’ve learnt during my time at university – perhaps some of you can relate!

1. How To Be Responsible

This is an obvious one to start with, but it is what university teaches us all to do – how to become independent and live apart from our family. For some this is more difficult than others, but for all of us it’s new territory. I remember the first night staying at university and it felt like I was in a hotel, yet all of my stuff was there. It’s a scary moment for us all, but then the food shopping, utility bills and renting rooms becomes normality, and quicker than we know it, we become adults.

2. Who I Am As A Person

I think most people have some sort of idea about who they are as a person before university, but during university is when you truly experiment with hobbies, societies, meeting new people, and you learn how you react to all these fluctuating circumstances. I think we all try out at least one different version of ourselves at university, just to see what it’s like, whether that’s pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone or befriending someone we wouldn’t usually talk to. Eventually, you figure out how you actually want to spend your time, and I felt like I left knowing a lot more about who I am and who I want to be.

3. Self-Discipline

It’s no surprise that university teaches you how to take control of your life. Because no one’s going to do that for you. The teachers no longer spoon-feed you exam content, and no one is there to tell you to study. It really is down to yourself to manage your time effectively to get work done. I think this is something I was already fairly good at, but it did help me set up a schedule and be more proactive in seeking help and guidance when I needed it.

4. Who Your Genuine Friends Are

As cliché as it sounds, university makes you realise the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. It’s crazy the amount of people you meet when you first get there, and it’s so different to anything I had ever experienced, but it was so interesting seeing the similarities and differences between everyone. I often found myself in those stages of “friend acquaintances” and not knowing who was a proper friend and who wasn’t. But ultimately, it’s those that still make the effort to contact you and who are there when you need support. I’ve always preferred having a few really close friendships than lots of surface-level acquaintances, and I found that by the end of university, even after experimenting with both, I was back to my roots.

5. Confidence

This one plays a massive role in my time at university. I used to be a really shy person (and still can be, in some ways), but exposing myself to so many new people and new situations, which were way out of my comfort zone, really helped me become more confident. One of the things I learnt during university – mostly towards the end – is that it’s good to do things that scare you. That’s how you overcome those mental limitations you put on yourself. So now I am actively trying to do things that scare me, and letting myself lean into them with confidence.

6. The Importance of Self-Development

The university fresher in me would look at this one with utter confusion, but I think that’s a statement as to how far I’ve grown since beginning university to now. Particularly in my third year, I realised how important it was to work on my self-development. After struggles throughout university with my mental health, alongside falling ill in the middle of second year, I learnt that overcoming these difficult moments in life require self-care, self-acceptance and a desire to take action and make positive change. Self-development is called self-development for a reason – only us, the self, can do it. And when we put our mind to it, we can achieve a lot more than we think.

We take steps, not knowing where we’ll go or where we’ll end up, but knowing one day it’ll mean something.

Have you also been to (or currently go to) university? What have you learnt during your time there?

Let me know in the comments below!