Why now, what for, what else?

I’ve been continuing to read my book ‘how to break up with your phone‘ (I wrote about it in another blog here) and enjoying the day-by-day activities to reduce the amount of time I mindlessly spend staring at social media apps.

It’s been straight forward, albeit a bit scary as I deleted all the apps from my phone that I go to automatically in moments of boredom – Instagram and Facebook being the main culprits (yes, Facebook had snuck back onto my phone after being deleted a few weeks ago) and I found the following activity in the book particularly helpful – when you reach for your phone, ask yourself:

Why now? What’s prompted me to pick up my phone right now?

What for? Is there a particular reason for doing so?

What else? What could I do to better respond to the reason why I was reaching for my phone in the first place?

What I’ve discovered in following the exercise is that I pick up my phone quite a lot out of boredom or when there’s any space in my life (like when I’m breastfeeding). It’s like a second reflex.

I also pick it up when I’m feeling a bit socially awkward – with no one to speak to or not sure where I fit in, I reach for my phone.

And I also pick it up out of FOMO – wondering what I’ve missed online.

This awareness is really helpful to reduce my time online. And what I’m discovering is that the exercise is also brilliant for any other areas of my life that have a tendency to get out of balance

  • The cake I reach for when I’m feeling anxious
  • The things I buy to fill a void in my life
  • The TV I watch out of tiredness/boredom

Not that these things control my life or are particularly dysfunctional but asking myself ‘why now, what for, what else’ gives me the option to truly respond to what is going on underneath.

And that’s always a good thing!

Intentions

I’ve got a few minutes to myself as my lovely in-laws have taken Jenson out for a walk and I’ve just now managed to sit down and look at my 2018 diary (scratch that, it’s now two days later! #mumlife). The diary is not just to remember appointments, it’s a reflective tool created by Danielle LaPorte, who is renowned for her advice about living life based on your core desires; how you want to feel.

I actually wrote one of my first blog posts about my core desires way back (so it now seems!) in early 2016 when I wanted to feel gutsy, authentic, expressive and glowing. And now in early 2018 I find myself wanting to feel brave, authentic and grounded.

What has changed?

As I reflect on the coming year and how I want to feel, I find that my core feelings haven’t changed much. But in some ways, everything else has changed. I’m now 2 years older, am a mother to a little baby boy, have bought a house, travelled more around the world, am a qualified life coach and have started a 6 month period of maternity leave – the biggest break from work since I was at university 10 years ago.

But as I wrote in a recent post, having all these changes (especially becoming a mother) hasn’t stopped me from being who I was before. I still have desires, ambition, my own identity and things I want to achieve outside of parenthood.

I thought it would be helpful to spend a few minutes reflecting on the changes in my core desires as I think there is some unpacking for me to do to fully understand why these feelings are so important to me. I hope it brings something of interest to you, dear friend.

Gutsy vs Brave

These two words mean almost the same thing but signal such a shift in myself. The semantic difference of wanting to be brave as opposed to wanting to feel gutsy is small, but is also huge. Instead of feeling I can only take chances by being a bit cheeky and a bit maverick (how I view being ‘gutsy’), I want to feel a confidence in my bravery. To feel ready to stand strong in who I am and what I want, even if there are risks attached to this. It feels really good to want to feel this way and to be surer in myself. And here’s what being brave means to me:

  • Actively sharing who I am as a coach and what I offer to increase the number of people I work with and help. I want to bravely stand proud in my coaching instead of worrying that I’ll bother or annoy people by sharing about it.
  • To say what I need from other people instead of just hinting and hoping they get the message
  • Going after what I want at work, whether that’s an idea I think would benefit the organisation, saying ‘no’, asking for a 9 day fortnight (working full time hours over 9 days) or seeking out development opportunities.

Grounded

This is a new word on my ‘core desires’ list and I think it’s reflective of the changes that have been brought to my life through all the changes I’ve experienced of late. Becoming a mum, changing jobs, becoming a coach, getting coached and making significant shifts and changes in my own life.

I know that to adapt to this new life and to not be buffeted around by all the changes, I need to be grounded. To be sure of myself and what I want and to not be tossed around by the uncertainties that this new reality will bring to myself.

What does this mean?

  • Listening to my own voice and trusting my instinct more – living in the knowledge that I’m the expert in my own life and in the parenting of my child.
  • Taking time out to blog, meditate, listen to inspiring podcasts and connect with like-minded people to ground myself
  • Keep on connecting with my husband, Gregg, to ensure that our relationship stays firmly rooted together despite all the changes going on in our life.

Glowing

Glowing is a word that I’ve taken off my list because I recognise now that it stemmed from a ‘should’ – I should make healthy food choices, I should eat less cakes, I should do more exercise. And I don’t want to feel obliged to anything in my life.

Sure, it’s good to be healthy, to not eat a whole box of after eight mints in one sitting or sit on the sofa day after day, but I want to do these things because it’s what I really want to do and not because it’s an expectation born from media images of size 0 models or the distorted view that I’m only acceptable if I’m no bigger than a certain dress size.

And part of this is accepting who I am, even if it might mean that I have to be uncomfortably honest with people about my eating habits:

  • I like chai tea with sugar in it and one of my favourite Christmas things is the festive hot drinks…especially black forest hot chocolate!
  • In fact, I really like sugar (cakes, sweets, ice cream, biscuits, chocolate) and enjoy eating them on a daily basis
  • I keep a balance and stay healthy by not eating cakes at work, having an hour of walking to get to work and having found a lifestyle (being vegan) which suits my body and doesn’t feel like deprivation to me
  • I do sometimes share a whole box of after eights with my husband in one sitting and it’s gloriously decadent
  • I love chips!

Authentic

Authentic. The one word which has stayed on my list despite the passing of 2 years. It’s still the one word I aspire to live my life by. I think this will be the word for my life. I know what it means to not live my life authentically. To hide myself so that I can please others and to push down my feelings with food so that I can mould myself into something that I think is acceptable to this world. After almost 30 years of living inauthentically, I know that the price I have to pay to live like this and I know the cost is too high. I refuse to live like this.

And so I will keep being authentic. Stay sharing honestly with you on this blog. Continue to speak out with my thoughts to others. Accept myself for the weird, passionate, sensitive, earnest person I am.

It’s the only way for me to live a fulfilled, happy life.

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg