Category Archives: goals

4 Secrets My Snowman Showed Me About Having A Positive Spin

 

He was my first snowman.

My cheeks were red with excitement and the cold.  All he needed was a hat and I ran indoors to ask mum if I could use one  of my knitted ones. With great ceremony I put it on his head and then stood back. He was as tall as me! He was smiling, and I’d made him all by myself.

That night, while I was getting ready for bed I heard an ominous sound. I knew what it was, it was the sound of water dripping. The icicles by the back door were melting and the snow looked different somehow. I stared put between my curtains at my snowman in the middle of the garden and tears crept down my cheeks.

Next morning he was gone. Just his blue knitted hat lay on the emerging grass, with his lumps of  coal eyes.

Last week I thought about that snowman.

I thought about the snow we’d just had and how people reacted to it. I realised that my long-ago snowman had started me on the road to having a Positive Spin.

Here are the 4 Snowman Secrets to having a Positive Spin:

1.   It’s  too easy to say ‘No.’

The day is snowed heavily we could have easily said ‘No’ to going out. After all, the house was very cosy, we had stuff we ‘ought’ to have been getting on with. But out we went. What we would have missed if we’d stayed in!

Exquisite beauty, twigs transformed, a silent world, a traffic free road and childlike fun.

I’m going to try to say ‘Yes’ far more in my life. What about you?

It’s so easy to feel wary, scared, afraid of change. But when we say ‘Yes’, we rarely regret it.

2.  We must appreciate people while they’re with us.

I was so sad when my snowman ‘died’. I’d only just met him and he was gone again.

I don’t want to sound morbid, but it’s often not until people leave us that we realise their importance in our lives.We must tell them how much they mean to us, show them we value them and give them hugs, virtual or real.  It never seems to be the right moment. I’m going to try to tell them more often …

3.   We must be proactive.

If I hadn’t built my snowman that day it would have been too late. It didn’t snow again that winter. I would have missed it.

It’s the same with life’s opportunities. If we don’t ‘seize the day’, the day will be gone. When we have the chance to learn something new, travel to a new place, make a new friend, we must take it. Before the opportunity disappears.

4.   Take that risk!

We went to see the children sledging. It was a delight to see them. And then, as you know from this post, I was offered the chance to join in. It would have been so easy to say ‘No’. But I said ‘Yes’ and took the risk. If I’d waited for another day, the snow would have melted, and who knows when another chance would come? When will we next get snow?

Chances to do new things will come your way. Follow your instinct. If it feels right, do it! New course? Learn to dance? Learn to ski? Why not!

I realise that having a Positive Spin is not practical all the time. But once you start to develop the habit, you’ll be surprised, as regular readers will know.

It’s like rolling a snowball. It grows… and grows…

… until it’s a way of life.

I’ve chosen to seize the day and upgrade this blog.

There’ll be a new look very soon! I could have waited until another day, but I decided the time was right. I’ll enjoy developing  and improving it for you, I’m certain of that.

Are you going to miss out on a magical, exciting experience?

Or are you going to say ‘Yes!’ and develop your Positive Spin?

What are you going to say ‘Yes’ to in 2011?

Do tell us. We all need some inspiration…

Header by cursedthing, post pic by theirhistory, on Flickr.

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How To Achieve Your Scary Goals

Ever met a wizard?

I have. I was waiting at the station entrance and there he was. Tall, with a purple silver cloak covered in stars, a pointy, black  hat and a deep voice. And specs. The specs didn’t really ‘go’ with the wizard image but I guess he needed them to decipher his spells. They were a bit ‘station office manager’, but never mind. Even a wizard can’t be perfect all the time.

It was Wizard Week at the Preserved Steam Railway and I was waiting for my two gorgeous grandchildren.  They came bouncing along, wondering what we would see.  Witches waited at the dark entrance to their ‘cave’ with a tempting Lucky Dip, and thick cobwebs hung across the door in swathes.

It’s hard to explain a wizard to a two-year old. It’s hard to explain about pumpkin lanterns, broomsticks that fly and why witches have green faces. It sounds a bit silly when you say it, especially when you don’t want to frighten the listeners.

Zeb (two) held my finger, (he was only a little bit scared,) and Ruby, (four), ran ahead to where the steam engine was gently hissing. As it began to pull the carriages, vast clouds of steam rose into the autumn morning air and I was remembering the ‘Railway Children’ story. There was even a tiny allotment, marigolds still in bloom, for the signalman to tend.

It was scary, just a bit, for Zeb, being in the company of magical creatures, but holding my finger made it safe and it was even safer when his daddy scooped him up in his arms. He could be scared, but from a safe place.

Up on the green metal bridge that crossed the railway line we had different, amazing view. We could look down on the engine, steaming away, tiny witches and wizards waving from the platform, and grinning parents wishing they were still allowed to believe in magic. Perhaps they did. I hope so.

How amazing is this...

Ruby found  a real spider in its sparkling web, carefully attached to the metal struts of the bridge. We all examined  it, admiring its spots and sparkles and wondering at its skill.

On the drive home I started thinking about the cobwebs in our mind.

We’re so used to thinking in certain ways. We adopt prejudices, opinions and attitudes. We have ‘mind-sets’ about stuff that we refuse to change. We’re right. And that’s that…

Except… perhaps we’re not?

Here’s my Positive Spin on –

Why we need to ‘stand on the bridge … and look at the cobwebs.

1.   We saw a completely different view from that bridge.

‘I couldn’t possibly go back to work.’

Why not?

Sweep away those artificial cobwebs and take a different view.

Really think it through. Perhaps you could take a part-time job. Or start by doing some voluntary work. Whatever it is that scares you about making a change, try looking at it form a new perspective.

2.   Is it so scary?

You have a goal in mind. You haven’t told anyone because you’re scared. But you know in your heart it’s achievable. But what will people say? They’ll laugh. They’ll try to put you off. 

Or… they might support you. They might help. They might not put you off at all.

That real spider was beautiful. Delicate, friendly looking and fragile. Not fierce at all. Only scary in our minds.

 3.   Spiders’ webs aren’t all bad.

Spiders’ webs are amazing. I wonder how long they take to create? They’re so versatile, to provide a ‘home’ and a ‘food store’ for the occupant. Brilliantly designed.

Don’t try to clear away all your cobwebs at once. After all, it would be unkind to the spider if you did that, she worked so hard.  Let light in to the corners gradually, when you’re ready to make changes, large or small. Climb up slowly on to that bridge and stand and stare.  Enjoy the fresh view. For as long as you like.

What is getting in the way of your ‘view’ at the moment?

Which cobwebs are lurking in  your mind?

Are you going to get out that cobweb brush?

Tell us about that ‘goal’ that scares you, then it won’t be so scary!

 

Header image by cursedthing and post image by Bagoogoo, on Flickr.

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Found! The Secret Sign of Success

I tried hard, mum...

It was Mother’s Day.

But I was not happy.

I was trying to make a cake for my mum.  Her favourite Victoria Sponge.

What was the problem?

I’d made Victoria sponges loads of times before, to great applause from the family. 

But this was different. I had to succeed. I wanted her to say: ‘It’s lovely! Better than I could do! Delicious!’

My first two attempts were cooling off in the bin and with much huffing and puffing I got busy mixing up the third, and yes, forty minutes later…  the third cake was fine and mum was pleased.

Years later, and a mum myself, I know that my success that day was not about anything other than this:

I wanted to show mum that she was special.

It wasn’t about a cake. It was about mum knowing I cared.

And me smiling inside.

This post was inspired by Leo’s words about success, on Zen Habits.

He made me stop and think about –

What does success mean to me?  

How do I know when I’ve succeeded?

And I’m asking you the same questions.

For me, I know I’ve succeeded when I’m Smiling Inside.

Here are some of my Smiling Inside successes.

  1. Leaving the house for the first time after an illness.
  2. Writing a difficult blog post and feeling satisfied with it when it’s finished.
  3. Receiving a loving card from my daughter for no particular reason.
  4. Finally persuading the store to give me a refund.
  5. Seeing a plant bloom when I thought it had died.
  6. Hearing my cat come through the cat flap after she’d been out ‘on the tiles’ for 12 hours and I’d been calling and calling…
  7. Working out how to upload photos to this site.
  8. Having my work validated by my readers.
  9. Seeing a turtle amongst the coral when I’m scared of deep water.

For me, my successes and Smiling Inside are invisible to everyone else.

They are my secrets, and every time I recall how I felt about each success, a warm, invisible smile begins.

What does success mean to you?

Is it an outward thing? Like a trophy or an award?

Or does it stay inside?

Header image by cursed thing, post image by Aleasy, both on Flickr.

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Just Want To Share My Good News

I know,

two posts in one day, sorry,

but, forgive me, I wanted to share my good news with all you Spinners…

I’ve added this news to the side bar but you may have missed it.

I’ve been invited to write once a week for a ‘How to’  blogging site.

Needless to say  I’m very pleased and excited!

All I have to do now, is work hard to keep up with the high standard already on We Blog Better…

A bit more time in front of this machine…

But I’m not complaining…

Any excuse to write…!

So it’s cakes all round again!

Oh, go on... you know you want to!

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image by aj stephens, both on Flickr.

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Ditch Your Addiction…And Help Solve A Huge Problem

‘Oh no! It’s absolutely pouring!’

‘I’ve just hung out my washing!’ (Yes, some of us in the UK still do that!)

‘I’ll get soaked, just walking to the car!’

Sound familiar?

It’s a UK habit.

We love to  moan about our weather, especially the rain.

I want to shout, ‘For goodness sake! It’s not life threatening! It’s only water!’

Wrong!

Lack of water, and lack of clean water is life-threatening.

I read this yesterday and I was shocked:

Please make the time to go over to this site and read more about the world’s water problem. You’ll be shocked too.

Today, Friday October 15th, is Blog Action Day.

The world’s bloggers from 125 countries are joining forces and blogging about the same issue on the same day, to promote discussion and action by as many people as possible.

This year’s issue is Water.

When I read about the world’s serious water problems I wondered how I could possibly help when the problem is so huge.

It’s easy to say, ‘How can I make a difference?’ and leave it to the ‘powers that be.’

But the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me, that if everyone thought that way,  no major changes would ever happen.

By joining in with all the thousands of bloggers world-wide and posting about the water problem on the same day, at least I’m doing something, however small.

Tap water, in disguise…

In this ‘Positive Spin’ post for B.A.D. 2010, I will write about the problem of bottled water addiction.

I don’t understand why a bottle of water (the ‘correct’ brand, naturally, or should I say, un-naturally?) has become a fashion accessory.

Whatever next?

Bottled ‘fresh air’?

It’s become an addiction.

Why?

I wish someone would explain it to me…

 Every time I see someone carrying their wretched plastic icon, I want to go up to them and say,

‘Are you dehydrated? It’s not even warm today. Are you about to collapse from thirst?’

But of course I don’t, I simply glare and walk on by.

According to an article on the site above, one third of bottled water comes from exactly the same source as tap water. In fact, the ‘Big Three’ water bottlers in the US use municipal water as the basis for their product, selling it back to us at hundreds of times the cost.

And the majority of the plastic bottles cannot be re-cycled…

Silly, isn’t it.

Here’s How YOU Can Help Solve a Huge Problem.

  • Drink your water from the tap.
  • If you don’t like the taste, use a simple water filter.
  • I find tap water tastes much better with some lemon or lime slices in, and perhaps some ice.
  • If you must carry water with you, re-use a bottle and fill it with tap water or from your  jug in the fridge.
  • If you do buy water in a bottle, check the bottle can be  recycled.
  • Read about the world-wide water problem and look for simple ways that you can make a difference.
  • And finally…Ditch your addiction!

‘The jug fills, drop by drop.

The Buddha’

 

What will you do to help with this huge water problem?

There are lots of ideas on the site I linked to above.

What do you think about our addiction to bottled water?

Do tell us in the comments.

New here?

If you liked this post and would like to read more, why not join my ‘Spinners’ and subscribe for my regular posts?

Header image courtesy of cursedthing.

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How To Say ‘Yes’ To Saying No… (As Requested Last Week)

from giarose on Flickr

You know you want to.                         

It’s hard.                                                       

You worry you’ll upset them.                  

You want them to go on liking you.      

You feel guilty.                                               

You ought to say yes…                               

But you want to say no

Saying no is a dilemma for everyone.
No-one wants to rock the boat.
But there comes a time when you’ve had enough …
On Friday I asked you to tell me what you’d like to read about on this blog.
Carsma said she wanted to read about
‘How to say ‘no’ and mean it’.
This week’s  posts are  for her, but you can read them too!
 
Here’s my Positive Spin on…
 
How To Say Yes To Saying No.
 
Step one… Start slowly, with simple, non-threatening situations.
 
If you’re a passive/compliant/non-assertive person, it’s hard to suddenly change.
So start slowly.
It’s like  learning any new skill, you need to practise.
Remember when you learnt to play the recorder/piano/violin/guitar?
  • At first it wasn’t easy.
  • You made loads of mistakes.
  • You wondered whether you’d ever ‘get it’.
  • Sometimes you wanted to give up.
  • Then, next day, you started practising again.

But the key was:

You were motivated.

You wanted to ‘get it’.

And it’s the same with learning to say no.

Think of situations where you want to say no but it’s not that important if you cave in.

You could…

  • say no (with a smile) to the girl in the perfume department trying to sell you a new fragrance
  • say no (with a smile down the phone) to a casual coffee invitation but suggest an alternative date to meet
  • say no (with a smile) when your hairdresser offers you conditioner but you’d rather not have it
  • say no (with a smile) when your friend invites you to the cinema but it’s not a film you want to see
  • say no (with a smile) when your mother asks if she can come shopping with you but you’ve planned a rare and precious day to yourself

These may seem trivial examples but they have the same purpose as practising your scales for the piano: they prepare you for the more important no’s later on.

Take every opportunity to practise.

See how many no’s you can fit in before you come back to read about step two on Wednesday!

Meanwhile, please tell us in the comments, about the times you have found to practise and what you said no to.

I’ll do it too!

I’ll start my list right now. I’ll start by saying no to Mittens… she’s waiting by her bowl.

On the other hand… how can I say no to her!

 

 Header image by cursedthing on Flickr.

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I Can Try To Solve Your Problem (With A Little Help From Your Friends)

This is your blog!

 And its aim is this:

I want to try to solve your particular problem.

Tell me your problem and I will give you my

Positive Spin.

 

 

Here are 10 areas I can help you with, as examples:

  1. How to find your confidence
  2. How to say ‘no’ and stick to it
  3. How to set and reach your goals
  4. How to deal with a difficult person
  5. How to conquer your fear of driving/heights/dating/water/any fear!
  6. How to give a talk for the first time when you’re very nervous
  7. How to speak up for yourself
  8. How to not be a doormat
  9. How to deal with a difficult aged parent
  10. How to find your self-esteem

Here are 10 ways Spinners can join in and help:

  1. discuss an issue
  2. provide interesting insight
  3. air opinions
  4. ask questions
  5. toss ideas around
  6. agree to disagree
  7. provide one another with food for thought
  8. be controversial
  9. view things from a different standpoint
  10. let off steam

I have a seriously long list of  ideas to write about,

but I  want to write about what helps you, specifically!

I need you to tell me what you would like me to focus on.

I will write about your suggested  topics – they will be my priority areas.

And all you Spinners can join in and make a noise!

Please don’t be shy…

Just tell me, in the comments, about a problem you’d like us to solve for you on this blog.

Lots of heads are better than one and, as they say, it’s good to talk…

Over to you…I can’t wait to begin!

 

Just in case you’re new here and you missed yesterday’s cakes,

I have a Guest Post over on weblogbetter today.

I hope you’ll pop over to read it during the next few days and  join in the comments.

And… if you missed the cakes, there’s one left- just for you!

 

Header image by cursedthing, post picture by Helga Weber, both on Flickr

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Filed under action, change, confidence, expectation, fear, goals, happiness, hope, persistence, plans, positive, progress, realistic, risk, success