How to Create a Happiness Jar for 2018 #NewYear #Inspiration

It’s human nature to want to make our lives better but how do we make improvements to our life without upsetting our inner control freak?

Several years ago I began a new ritual after seeing a video on Facebook which suggested starting a gratitude jar. The idea appealed to me, but in the example you were told to write down something that you were grateful for each day, week, or month. While I approved of the sentiment, I was already adding my thoughts of gratitude to my daily journal. So, I improvised and made a happiness jar instead.Happiness Jar 1

My jar begins on the 1st January every year. Anything that I do over the course of twelve months which makes me happy goes into it. This includes big achievements, as well as the small moments, the kind people, and the instants of pride, joy, and hope that filled the year.

2017 didn’t start off well for me. The first six months were a hard slog against depression, self-doubt, and struggling in my own skin. It all hit the fan in May when I gave in and went to see my GP. She did a wonderful thing for me – she listened. For the first time that year I felt like someone understood me. It was this simple act that turned my year around. That doctor’s appointment made it into my happiness jar! When you are living in a slump, it can be tough to focus on the positives. Using a happiness jar allows you to remember all the precious moments you experience, the wonderful people who come into your life or help you along your path, and this turns negativity on its head.

On New Year’s Eve, I open my jar, tip the contents onto the table and read all the tiny slips of paper. I light a candle, make myself a cup of tea, indulge in a biscuit or two, and focus my time entirely on the positivity of 2017. By the end of this exercise I am no longer fixated on the darker side of my year, but instead, I’m filled with hope, joy, and determination that the New Year will bring more incredible experiences to overflow my jar once again.

Some examples from my 2017 happiness jar include:

  • Lunch with my friend Jane at the Rose and Crown – good company and great food.
  • Visiting the Tower of London on my own.
  • Going to Kenilworth Castle with my son so he could practice his photography.
  • FriendsFest with my daughter and her friend at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.
  • Taking full advantage of my Cineworld Unlimited pass and seeing 24 films.
  • Going to Leeds with mum and bumping into old friends.
  • Seeing a Panto with my good friend Nikki.

There are more coffee dates, theatre trips, concerts, author/blogger events, and a host of other happy moments from last year in my jar. By doing this exercise, I’m allowing myself to start 2018 with an optimistic vibe.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to start this great habit:

  • Grab an old jam jar, or buy yourself a pretty Mason jar and decorate it.
  • Keep a small notepad/paper close by so you can jot down anything that you did, or experienced, that made you smile and add it to your pot along with cinema stubs, and concert tickets.
  • Keep your happiness jar in a prominent place. Mine is in my kitchen, that way I’m always reminded to add to it over the twelve months. It’s a visual reminder of all the good things in your life when you see it filling up.

Feel free to share photographs of your happiness jars with me over on my Facebook page or leave details of other New Year rituals you enjoy doing in the comments.

All that’s left to say is Happy New Year to all my blog readers. May 2018 bring happiness, laughter, love, and prosperity.

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List Writing for Pleasure – Is it Possible? #SelfHelp

Notebook 2 (2)My children told me what they would like for Christmas this year by sticking lists to the fridge. It appears my obsessive list writing disorder has rubbed off on them!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without an array of lists. There’s one for the food shopping, one for gift buying, and another list of names and addresses for sending out your Christmas cards. A list is a helpful tool to keep you on track with jobs, tasks, and anything else that fills your brain on a day to day basis.

As a single mum, list writing is the one personal development tool that keeps me organised and calm. If it’s not on the list then it doesn’t get done! I know many of my friend and readers who hate writing lists and roll their eyes to the heavens when I start chattering on about it. Whether you love or loathe list writing, I hope the following ideas spark a little bit of creativity, a fond memory, or even a goal for the New Year.

First of all I want you to put aside your Christmas shopping list. Forget about frozen turkeys, parsnips, and picking up the cranberry sauce.

Now grab a pad and pen and give yourself the gift of five minutes to jot down a few things for each of the lists I’ve added below:

  1. List all the jobs you would love to try (yes, even astronaut).
  2. List all the cities you’ve visited and underline your favourite.
  3. List your five favourite books (ooh, that’s a tough one!).
  4. List the first three things you’d do/buy if you won a million pounds.
  5. List five things you’d save if you house was on fire (don’t count family as that’s too easy).
  6. List four people you would love to meet (dead or alive).
  7. List three wishes you would like to come true.
  8. List five nice things you’ve done for other people.
  9. List your favourite things about your family.
  10. List five things you would like to change in your life.

When I got my kids to do this exercise I was amused to find a two day school week, and five day weekend on my daughter’s list. My son added more takeaways to his. Their favourite cities were Barcelona and London, and I was very pleased to see my book, Oath Breaker, on their favourite book list – not at all biased!

Read back over your lists. Could you choose one of your favourite cities to visit next summer? If you would only save five things from the fire then do you need the ‘stuff’ in your house? Is it time for a de-clutter? What action steps can you take in 2018 to make your wishes come true? Remember all the favourite things you wrote about your family when you are all together this Christmas. Can you turn list number 10 into a New Year Resolution? Changes in your life only happen when you want them to. If they were important enough to write on a list, why aren’t they important enough to do in real life? Make it happen.

Writing a list is a hugely important part of my day, but why can’t we have a bit of fun along the way. It is the silly season after all!

How did you get on with your list writing? Pick one from each of your lists and write them in the comments.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog.

5 Top Tips for Positive Networking #SmallBusiness #Goals

Top 5 Tips for Small Business NetworkingNetworking is a relatively new thing for me. When I ran my holistic health business, I worked five days and two evenings a week, so any spare time I had I divided between family, friends, and my writing. Attending any of the networking groups in my local area was an impossibility. Once I closed that business and focused on my books and blog content I discovered a necessity to get out from the home office and speak to another human being.

Working from home, in any capacity, has a host of benefits, from holding a conference call in your pyjamas, to saving hours on a long commute. Many mums are starting small businesses from their kitchen table to enable them to keep childcare costs to a minimum and reap the advantages of being around for their child’s early years.

With this influx of small businesses, the need for friendly and supportive networking groups is more important than ever. Women empower women; it’s a beautiful thing to witness and an even more satisfying thing to do, or indeed, receive. Read more

How Planning and Organisational Skills are a Vital Tool in our Lives

How to Plan and Stay OrganisedWhen working with my female clients, I always made sure to maintain direct eye contact. I found it interesting how varied eye contact could be from client to client, but by keeping my own gaze level and my posture upright, it often calmed my ladies enough to get them to open up about any physical or emotional issues they wanted to work on during our therapy sessions.

I’ve attended numerous workshops and training sessions over the years where I’ve had to correct myself when I realised I had crossed my arms and/or legs. Notably, it was often when the topic was a difficult one to cope with. Folding in on myself was something I started to do long before I left my abusive marriage. Over time, I’ve learned how to open up my body language and slow my speech, although this is still a work in progress. By being responsive to the lessons all around me, I maintain my interest in the people I meet and the subjects I learn and teach. Read more

How to Create a Visual Healthy Eating Plan

How to Create a Visual Healthy Eating PlanSummer is fast approaching, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be in a blind panic that the only summer clothing that still fits you is your flip flops!

I have taken part in every possible healthy eating regime known to man, purely for blogging purposes of course! So, what have I discovered? Ultimately, I’ve realised that I have absolutely no willpower whatsoever – zilch, nada, nowt! I begin full of enthusiasm and dedication to the cause, but it rarely lasts. The problem here is not the regime; I know so many people who are at their ideal weight and loving a new found confidence after following a specific routine. I understand that my problem is inside my head, and unless I can ditch the self-loathing, I will never crack this. Read more

Prioritise Your Daily Tasks and Reduce Stress

Prioritise Your Daily TasksI have a confession. There are certain times when I am totally unorganised. I try to blame it on the moon cycle but to be honest, it’s all on me! At the moment, I’m trying to work on four projects at the same time, and instead of being productive, I’m procrastinating because I’m overwhelmed. Deep down I know that I’m creating a false stress because if I just got on with it, then I would be able to enjoy the creative rewards of achieving these tasks.

The ever increasing to-do list on my desk taunts me daily. I sit at my computer and work through it, but at the end of every day I still haven’t finished, and I end up adding to tomorrow’s list.

I’m stressing about it! It’s causing me to have sweaty palms and to dread opening my office door. I’m losing sleep over it, going off my food – oh, okay so I’m not that bad, but it is causing me unnecessary angst, and there is a very simple solution to reduce this stress. Read more

15 Ways to Boost Your Wellbeing #Selfcare

15 Ways to Boost Your WellbeingI’m quite a positive person, even when I’ve been knocked down, I have an annoying habit of bouncing straight back up again with an even wider smile. Walking the personal development path means I embrace all lessons – good and bad – and I learn what I can so it helps me grow emotionally and spiritually. It’s all very wonderful to have this mind set, and it certainly gives me plenty to write about, but recently I was chatting with a friend who isn’t having such a great time at the moment. They are feeling dejected, anxious and find themselves wishing the days away.

I’ve had so many moments where I feel the same way, and sometimes I bottle it all up, just like my friend. Although I love evolving who I am and putting the self-help tools I use into daily practice, I know that occasionally I’ll disappear into my inner self and forget to engage with the world, or reach out for an understanding ear. Read more