Okay, let’s go there...have you made any New Year’s Resolutions this January?
A huge percentage of people don’t stick to these but still make them. Perhaps you have just vowed to make the most of things this year as last year taught us not to take anything for granted!
I have _______________________________-(insert pledge or NY resolution or reason why not)
New Year’s resolutions, yay or nay?
When are the decorations coming down?
Some people get them down as soon as the turkey gravy has cooled down it seems like, or do you wait until the twelfth night?
Hopefully you got some lovely presents for Christmas and have enjoyed time with at least some of your loved ones, even if it wasn’t the standard Christmas.
But what did you get?
Let me know your worst and best presents.
Mine were ______________________________
As we trudge through the coldest month of the year and winter envelops us with her cold fingers, are you relishing those cosy night in front of the fire or are you just waiting for those first snow drops to emerge?
Are you embracing the cold winter months or is it a countdown until spring?
One of the cool things about being online is talking and connecting with people all over the UK and even all over the world.
You can now Zoom or video chat with anyone anywhere but what is your favourite accent?
Mine has to be ________________
I have a really important and vital question I just have to ask. Does chocolate go in the fridge or the cupboard?
I hope you all had a great Christmas, hard to believe it was last month now.
The last few years have been less traditional Christmases and some families chose to spend it apart to protect older or vulnerable people in their family.
For me we ____________________ (what you did Christmas)
Are you planning a delayed celebration later in the year when we are allowed?
If you are a parent, you will know that people just LOVE to give advice. But what is the WORST parenting advice you have ever had?
Everyone loves leftovers don’t they? Well, I know I do (change this if you don’t...)
I love an innovative leftover recipe, bubble and squeak is a classic, but what did you make with your Christmas leftovers?
I know it was last month now, but did anyone still circle the TV they wanted to watch at Christmas in the Radio Times? Those times are almost gone, but it is a fond childhood memory for me. What was your favourite film or TV programme you saw during the Christmas break?
Let’s talk debt!
Most people have some, maybe it’s your mortgage or a loan and it is all under control and managed or maybe it is a credit card spiralling out of control. Or perhaps you have credit card debt that just never seems to get smaller.
Here are some top tips in how to deal with it.
- Budget – write one, a realistic one, and then allocate a set amount to go off the card every month and STICK TO IT.
- Get the debt onto an interest free card if you can (many offer balance transfers).
- If it is out of hand, call them and explain you are struggling to pay and they may freeze it and
allow you set up a payment plan or give you a payment holiday to get back on track – if you
don’t ask you won’t know!
- Work out how long it will take you to pay off the debt and try and allocate an amount a
month that will pay it off as quickly as possible.
Most importantly don’t put your head in the sand, face up to it! There’s some good free advice out there so don’t suffer in silence, the sooner you face the music the better. Online you can find places like Stepchange.org and the Citizens Advice Bureau who have lots of free info and support.
Why are some days so much better than others?
When you think about good days it isn’t always that only good things happened, sometimes you can be exhausted and on paper it should be a terrible day but somehow you are productive, and it works out well.
The difference is usually your mindset! Obviously, some things will always make a day bad but often annoyances and less than helpful incidents can be handled if you approach them in the right way.
So, what are the elements of your day that you CAN control to give you the best chance at a good start?
Here are some ideas:
Wake up in good time – if you need a few mins to come round before you actually get out of bed then leave enough time to do that, don’t rush yourself.
Drink water upon waking, it can really help.
Play some music as you’re waking up to motivate you or make you smile. It can become more upbeat as you move about.
Prep the night before, if you need to make lunches and get school clothes ready, do it!
Have a good breakfast of something you like and that will give you right kind of energy.
Do some exercises or stretches, it doesn’t have to be much, or it can be a whole yoga
routine, but moving your body will help set you up for the day.
You can’t control everything that happens in your day, but you can set the scene and give yourself the best possible chance at a good one.
Do you do any of these things already?
Why is it that so many people start January with good intentions then it all goes to pot a few months into the year.
The success rates are really low for people who make changes and resolutions in the new year, but why?
One of the biggest reasons is the targets set are not specific enough. Be SMART
If you want to lose weight decide how much exactly and be SPECIFIC
Make it MEASURABLE so weigh yourself every week or measure inches.
Make it ATTAINABLE and be realistic about what you can achieve, 4 stone in a month won’t happen! And you’ll be disheartened.
Be RELEVANT, the target should be something you are really committed to doing.
Give it a TIME scale.
Did you know?
Between the 16th and 18th centuries pineapples were considered so valuable and sought after you could rent them out to carry round at a party, so you appeared rich! They were status symbols!
Two great cleaning hacks for you!
Use toothpaste to clean car headlights. – You can use a toothbrush too, but please don’t borrow your partner’s to do it!
Walnuts are great for wood! Use a walnut on wood to rub off marks. As long as they are small, they should come off! If not at least you have a healthy snack to hand
January can be a dark, cold and miserable time. Christmas is over and the nights are long. Spring feels like a long way away and you may find yourself with the winter blues!
Here are some sure-fire ways to beat the January blues!
• Keep moving. – it can be tempting to curl up in a ball and snack all winter, but exercise will boost your mood and health.
• Eat healthy meals – comfort food can still be nutritious, a slow cooker could help with this, makes sure your stews and soups are full of veg.
• Do fun things – listen to music, dance around your kitchen, watch your favourite films, create something – anything that you enjoy.
• Stay social – whether it is face to face or online stay in touch with friends and keep supporting each other.
I hope these tips help, have you got any to add?
Kitchens are the centre of any home but there is so much stuff, where do you keep it all? Small kitchens have an especially huge challenge.
Here are some ideas to help you organise your kitchen.
Mount a bar with hooks for your pans, it can be on the ceiling or the wall.
Hang mugs on hooks under the cupboards
Store roasting pans and baking trays in the oven and/or grill when not in use (just remember
to take them out before you start cooking)
Consider moving appliances into the garage or utility room if you have either. Tumble driers are especially good in a garage or perhaps the freezer if you keep small freezer space inside.
Use containers for things such as cereals so you don’t need to store large packets. Can you think of any more?
Did you eat or drink too much over Christmas? Most of us are guilty of this to some degree. Here are some ways to feel healthier and drop a few pounds while you are at it.
• Weigh food portions – often we get carried away with portion sizing and going back to basics can really get you back on track.
• Drink more water – cut out any fizzy drinks and replace with water and drink water before a meal.
• Walk every day – even if you do other exercise and especially if you don’t, a walking can really boost your mood as well.
• Don’t buy crappy snacks – if it’s not in the house you can’t eat it! Some people have good self control but if you don’t then step away from the biscuit aisle.
Who enjoys cleaning? It is a chore most people don’t particularly like, but here are a few ideas to make things a bit easier.
• Get a routine – clean one area the same day every week
• Polish your place – have one area you keep tidy every single day, like your bedside table
• Do a regular deep clean of set areas monthly
• Have a big sort out and declutter at least twice a year if not more often
• Adopt a one in one out policy for toys with your kids
• Get a robot hoover! They aren’t that expensive and can really help
• Get children involved in chores in exchange for pocket money
Do you ever speak publicly or do lives on social media? Here is a great tip.
It is powerful to pause. It gives your audience time to take in what you have said and also gives you time to think and slows it all down.
Speaking too fast is very easy to do or filling any spaces with ummm. Try a pause instead and let me know how you get on!
Did you have much time off over Christmas?
I think time off and away from working is so important. As someone who owns my own business it is easier to be flexible with time off but also a lot harder to truly turn off from work and have downtime.
Being available and online all the time isn’t healthy and long term won’t do you or your business any good.
Time away from work and time away from social media is sensible for everyone, and sets a good example of a balanced lifestyle to children as well.
Did you switch off in the holidays?
Sometimes bad or difficult things happen, and we can all be prone to wallowing or overthinking situations. But it comes to a point when you need to let go of bad energy.
Without going too woo woo about it I am not suggesting you burn sage and dance around a fire (unless you want to...) but acknowledging how you feel, forgiving someone or yourself and letting it go, is really important.
Sometimes bad feelings can fester for years or even for life if you don’t take action to move past them. No good will ever come of holding on too tightly to the past or refusing to let something go. You may want to talk to someone about it or you may just deal with it yourself but don’t bury your head too deep in the sand, let go of the negativity and make sure you move on.
Do you find it easy to let things go?
2022 – what can we say? What a year. I think it pushed most people to their limits in one way or another, even those that enjoyed quiet times or appreciated the less busy lifestyle that was enforced upon us due to the situation.
But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, or so they say. And resilience is born out of hardship. Do you feel stronger after the year we had?
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Have you ever played the dream house game? Looking at estate agents online or even just looking at nice houses in an area you have been and imagined owning one.
Some people might have a house they see regularly and dream of living in, or a list of things they would love to have like a big garden or a library.
So, what holds you back from going after that house or that lifestyle you dream about sometimes?
Perhaps it comes down to a self-limiting belief, deep down you think you don’t deserve it or can’t achieve it. And guess what, if you think that then you are right.
But what if...you started to dream big and started to believe anything was possible. Successful people don’t get in their own way, so don’t get in yours!
Most of us spent more time with close family in 2022, as we had to stay in a lot! So, what was your best family moment of last year?
It can be funny or heartfelt.
Mine was definitely when ___________________________________ (insert your own best family time of 2022)
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2022 affected everyone is some way, but do you think it has affected our children?
Time off school when they were all shut, then possibly more time off if you had any local outbreaks. Being told to wash their hands a lot, using sanitiser, seeing everyone in masks or having to wear one if you’re old enough.
Imagine babies growing up and seeing all strangers with masks on, they can’t read expressions without seeing half the face.
Could that affect development. There’s a lack of socialisation as well with less baby groups happening and obviously there were none for a period.
Many things may have a long term effect that we just don’t know yet, children are very resilient but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on children for any signs of anxiety and speak to them about how they feel. Speaking to other parents can also really help, share experiences and support each other.
Have you noticed any adverse effects?
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If you have children, do you get much quality time with them?
And I don’t mean just looking after them, but engaging and sharing in a task or game together.
As they grow older this can feel like a more difficult ask, but it has been proven that parents who stay more involved in their teenagers’ lives have less issues with them and they communicate better. That doesn’t mean monitoring everything they do, but taking a genuine interest works well, at any age!
• If they watch YouTube watch some with them, this doesn’t just have to be for safety reasons, but it will help you have things to chat about, and it is a good safety tip (also for children ensure they use Kids YouTube not the general one)
• Ask them what THEY want to do. Sometimes we can get very caught up in our own plan for fun, even if we think it will be great for the kids, let them choose, as young children especially can feel they lack control over their lives.
• Put the phone down. Most of us are guilty of it, doing one task while still replying to messages or scrolling on social media, but when you engage in something with a child show them, they are your priority.
• Commit to time together – it doesn’t have to be hours and hours. Sometimes you have to work and that’s okay, they need to understand that, but set aside quality time and stick to it and they are much more likely to let you work at other times.
Got any to add?
We all have to do lists and things we want achieve. Whether you run a business or not you will have aspirations and dreams for what you want to do in the future.
By breaking these big aims down into smaller goals that can be tracked you can monitor your progress and measure where you are.
Some days you might not feel like it though and even the best of us struggles for motivation sometimes, so who keeps you accountable?
You could team up with someone and become accountability partners, that can work really well if you do similar things or have similar lifestyles.
I am lucky to have ______________________________(coach, friend mentor who keeps you on track – if you wish to say)
When times are hard, we often wish for the weekend or even the month or season to be over. When babies don’t sleep, we long for them to be older.
But, of course, when a child then grows, we yearn for the early days to be back again. As a parent how many times have you heard from older people you will miss those days, my kids are grown up now and flown the nest and I wish they were waking me up for cuddles every night.
Wishing time away is a dangerous game. You will one day be old and wish you could be young and do it all over again.
Our lives are but a blink of an eye in the universe’s lifetime.
Learn to live in the moment and appreciate everything as it happens, not just when you are looking back on it one day.
(please do adapt wording if you are not a parent, focusing on not wishing time away in general)
When making a decision, do you:
1. Go with gut instinct
2. Make snap decisions
3. Think things through
4. Ask others