This week I burnt out, hit the wall, ran out of steam, had nothing, zero, zilch to give. My plan had been to post this on Sunday 3rd with a video but I chose to give myself a break instead. I say ‘chose to’ but there wasn’t really a decision to be made, the break was more of a necessity. I’ve pushed myself too hard lately and completely running out of energy is the price I’ve paid.
So the break I gave myself means that rather than a goals round-up at the weekend plus a Wednesday post, today you get this post minus the video blog I had planned to do and a smaller post over the coming weekend. What I’ve been pleased to discover is that giving myself a break doesn’t equal the end of the world – what a relief eh!
Who cares about my goals
I want to explain my rationale for these posts. My plan is to continue with these monthly goal round-ups for the following reasons:
1. They make me do stuff. Simple as it sounds. Once I’ve announced on my blog that I have set myself a goal to do something, knowing that I’ll have to post the results of my endeavors online, inevitably motivates me to succeed. (The selfish reason).
2. My hope is that as I talk about the challenges and fears I face and the lessons I learn as I attempt to achieve my goals, it will provide inspiration and information to others who are also setting themselves goals and challenges or who want to and don’t know where to start. (The selfless reason).
I don’t want these round-ups to become a place where I simply list my achievements, because nobody wants to read that. I’d like them to be helpful and inspire action in others, so if you have any suggestions for how I might better do that, please put your thoughts in the comments box down below or drop me an email on the contact page.
In addition to what I already include in these round-ups I am also going to start summarising my business goals and developments in these reports. By business goals I mean the development of this blog, which I hope to one day turn into the very thing that makes me a living and I hope that charting my journey towards that will be of benefit to others who may wish to do a similar thing.
June goals and how I got on
- To brand my blog
- To complete my de-clutter plans
- To complete an over-hang climb
- To complete the fear-facing challenge of joining my local Toastmasters group and attend a meeting.
Branding my blog
Hopefully you will have noticed that I did this one. It actually involved more than just branding. I’ve moved over from wordpress.com to wordpress.org and I’ve discovered that there are pros and cons to this. The pros are that it allows me more control over the look and functionality of this site. The cons are that with that control comes more responsibility. I now have to pay for hosting and I have to back-up the site myself as well as incorporate features that were standard on the old blog but aren’t on this one. One example of this is subscriptions. I currently don’t have an email subscription function, which some of you may have noticed because you won’t have received an email telling you that there is new content on the site. I also bought a customisable template (Canvas), which so far I’ve got nothing but good things to say about.
Having said all that I am really pleased to have a site I feel more in control of. I think I have a lot to learn in order to avoid disaster but as I love learning new things this doesn’t worry me too much.
As for the design, I simply chose my favourite colours and tried to make it as clean and as simple as I could. Limitless living equates to simplicity and I wanted the design to reflect that. I also find the colour blue extremely peaceful and a sense of peace is something I also equate to living without limits.
I would love to get some feedback on the design so please do shout if you have any comments or suggestions. Also if you like the design and want a recommendation for a great designer who can help you with your blog design then visit www.austinwebs.co.uk and Jon will give you 20% discount on any work he does for you, if you quote ‘Life is Limitless’.
I failed on this one. This is an example of me being completely unrealistic in my expectations and possibly a touch in denial about how much clutter there is in my life. I want to de-clutter my life for several reasons but mainly because I’ve recently realised how much I feel stifled by my possessions. I’ve read a lot about minimalism and where before there was a mild sense of panic around the idea of getting rid of some of my belongings, now there is a sense of excitement at being free of them.
I am going to keep this goal but rather than a monthly goal, its more likely to be a 6-12 month goal. To help me I’ve bought an amazing tool called ‘Sell Your Crap’ from Baker at www.manvsdebt.com which I know will make the process of de-cluttering my life as pain-free as possible. I will be writing more on this specific goal and my journey with minimalism over the coming weeks and months.
I just about managed this one. I should point out straight away that the climb took place on a climbing wall and wasn’t the steepest of overhangs (see picture for details) but it was something I was struggling with and that I finally conquered.
The reason I chose this as a goal for June was precisely because I was struggling to complete an overhang climb and I knew that although I was using the argument that I lacked the necessary upper body strength, the main obstacle I was facing was in my mind. I kept telling myself I couldn’t do it because I wasn’t strong enough but I knew if I set it as a goal, my internal script would have to change. Which it did. Rather than tell myself I wasn’t strong enough, I told myself I had to be and that I could do it. This obviously worked and serves as yet another reminder of just how important mental strength is.
The fear-facing challenge
Public speaking is one of those things that fills me with dread. So when I learnt that an organisation existed that helps people to become more competent speakers and leaders, I knew I had to get involved. So a couple of weeks ago I went to my first Toastmasters meeting. I was pretty nervous as I walked into a room of people I didn’t know, with no real idea of what the night would hold, but I soon realised that I needn’t have felt nervous. The people were extremely welcoming and within minutes of arriving, the agenda for the meeting had been explained to me and I was warned that I would have to stand up and speak in the warm-up slot for around 15 seconds.
Despite a mild sense of panic, I also felt relieved because sometimes the best antidote to fear for me is necessity. If I had been given the choice of speaking or not speaking, I probably would have tortured myself over the decision. As it was, I knew there was a warm-up session where everybody took turns to stand up and speak on a pre-chosen topic for 15 seconds and I had no choice but to go for it.
I loved my first Toastmasters meeting, I loved the warmth and welcome that the members of the group showed me, as well as their gentle insistence to get me speaking publicly from the get go. As well as my warm up slot I was asked to introduce myself to the group and explain why I was there and at the end of the meeting I was also asked to describe to the group how I had found my first meeting. It was not the kind of group that let you melt into the background, which is what made it so beneficial to me because that’s exactly the kind of behaviour I’m trying to move away from – no more skulking in the shadows for me! I now plan to join as a member and will be going to lots more meetings and doing lots more public speaking.
Conclusion and July goals
Overall I’m happy with my progress this month. I’ve learnt a lesson about being realistic and I’ve faced a couple of fears and that feels great. In terms of my goals for July they are as follows:
1. To become an Advanced Early Riser (AER). I’ll be following a guide written by Steven Aitchison with the aim of getting only five hours of sleep a night and feeling fantastic on waking. I currently get around 6 hours of poor quality sleep and find getting up in the morning very difficult. This guide promises to teach me techniques that will help me relax, optimize the sleep I do get and thus be more productive during my waking hours. I can’t wait.
2. To set out my plan towards living a minimalistic life. Using the ‘Sell your Crap’ guide I will spend the month of July working through the guide and putting together my own plan to sell my crap by the end of this year. I will share this journey with you by posting my experiences on this blog
3. To reveal my ultimate fear-facing challenge and the plan behind it. Still top-secret for now.
4. Fear-facing challenge for July. This is going to be to give my first presentation at a Toastmasters meeting. Because of the timings of the meetings this might creep into August but I’ll be aiming for July.
I think in light of my exhaustion in June, that’s plenty to be getting on with for now (possibly even too much but we’ll see). I will write a separate post about my business plans for this blog and then update you in future round-up posts.
If you have any goals or challenges you are facing over the next month or so please do share them by commenting. Or pop over to www.facebook.com/lifeislimitless where I’ll be asking that very question.