Tag Archives: choose

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.



Filed under action, change, confidence, excuses,, fear, goals, happiness, hope, instincts, plans, positive, progress, success, timing

How To Customise Your Christmas and Cut the Stress

Do you sometimes feel it’s all too much?

Do you feel caught in a Christmas trap?

I used to. I worried about every aspect of the approaching ‘Festive Season’, feeling far from festive. And then my son, who knew how I was feeling said this:

‘Mum, why don’t you choose the parts of Christmas that you like and leave the parts you don’t like? You don’t have to do all of it!’

I was reminded of when I bought my new Mini.

I knew the colour I wanted but that was it. The salesman had to talk me through how I could customise my new car. He explained which features came as ‘Standard’ and then presented me with choices for all the rest of the spec. Bit by bit I built up the picture of the car I wanted, choosing fabric or leather seats, interior and exterior colours, automatic or gear shift and so on.

The Mini I collected bore very little resemblance to the one in the brochure because I’d chosen how I wanted it to be. I’d ‘customised it’.

You can do this with the Christmas holiday.

 There are no rules apart from the fact that we all celebrate (or not) on the same day. You do need to be positive and assertive (not arrogant) but with a bit of practise, you can do this!

What comes as ‘standard’?

  • A day for giving gifts
  • Food
  • Decorations
  • A tree
  • Cards
  • Family time
  • Parties
  • Carols

You will want to add more to my list but let’s look at the first three.

How to customise.

  • Gifts.

You need to get ahead on this one, if you’re going to change from the ‘standard’ requirements. If you want to change who you buy for, perhaps only for children and not for adults, let people know your intentions well in advance, to avoid embarrassment or upset. It’s not easy to change a long-established routine but it is possible to do it if you are sure that’s what you want to do.

You could write down what you’ll say and even practise saying it until you’re confident.

  • Food

Ok, so the turkey roast followed by Christmas pud, mince pies, large amounts of cream and custard, is fairly ‘standard’. But you can customise!

Christmas food should be special. That get’s hard to do when we have the ridiculous amounts of ‘special’ food in the shops all year round.

One way to customise your Christmas food is to choose your favourites. If you love fillet steak but it’s a rare treat, or your mother is coming and her favourite is steak and kidney pie then that’s what you have! Try to have the food that’s a ‘treat’ for as many of your guests as possible.

If you choose to spend the day with your OH then it’s easy to have your favourite food but it can still be done with the family. Not everyone wants turkey when they can have it on any day of the year.

  • The family.

Not so easy to customise but not impossible. Here are a few suggestions:

Decide, well in advance, where you and your family want to be for Christmas. At home? On holiday? At your parents? Your parents at yours? Once it’s decided, stick to it. A few feathers might be ruffled but there’s no rule that says you have to do what you always do. You can change the habit, if it’s a habit you don’t like…

Do you spend much of the holiday driving your children to see step – parents, grandparents, divorced parents, so much so that everyone’s bad-tempered and the children hate it? If it’s what you want to do, and most importantly, if it’s what the children want to do, fine. If not, decide how to customise.

It’s about forward planning. It’s about taking the ‘I ought’ out of the equation and replacing it with ‘I’m happy to’.

I was delighted, and still am, with my beautiful blue Mini. Every time I drive it I smile. (Except in snow.) It suits me fine but I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s choice.

You can customise Christmas, to suit your capabilities, needs, emotions and stress levels.  It’s not selfish in a bad way, it’s simply deciding what you can cope with. As my son said, so wisely, you can include the parts you love and leave out the parts that concern you. That way, you might even enjoy it!

How do you deal with the varying ‘obligations’ of the Christmas season?

Are you changing things this year?  

 Have you ‘customised’ Christmas?

Do pass on your hints and tips.


Header by cursedthing, post image by the mullett, on Flickr.


Filed under action, adjust, anxiety, change, expectation, fear, hope, plans, positive, progress, success, timing

How To Stop Putting Up With Stuff You Don’t Want To Put Up With

‘I can’t believe you never exercise!’ 

‘Why on earth would you want an i-phone?’ 

‘You really should drink more water!’ 

Hold on a minute! 

  • You’re over twenty-one!
  • You get fed up with people telling you what you should do or not do!
  • You feel undermined!

So what do you do? 

  • You sit on it.
  • You put up with it.
  • You keep your mouth shut.


  • Because you hate confrontations.
  • Because you want to stay friends.
  • Because you always do…

OK, Spinners! Here’s…   

How To Stop Putting Up With Stuff You Don’t Want To Put Up With 

from bret polok on Flickr


Problem: You’re worried that you’ll find  yourself agreeing to go to your sister’s again for Christmas.. 


  • Sit down quietly and decide what you want to do.
  • Write down exactly what you want to say.
  • Set aside a time to speak to her, in person or on the phone
  • Stay calm and state clearly what it is you want to change.
  • Start with a ‘positive’, like ‘I do appreciate the hard work you put into Christmas.’
  • Then: ‘We’ve decided to have a quiet Christmas here this year. ‘
  • Then:  ‘We’ll arrange to get together as soon as Christmas is over/in the New Year/in February…

Problem: You always end up buying the clothes items  your dominant friend suggests. 


  • If she tells you she doesn’t like your choice, simply smile and say, ‘ I can see you don’t like this coat/dress/sweater but I love it and I’m buying it!’

Problem: You’ve allowed the situation to escalate. Your friend is used to you always going along with her plans. 


  • Decide to put a stop to it.
  • Next time she tries to ‘organise’ you, step in and make it quite clear you’ve decided what you’re going to do.
  • When she invites you to go to the cinema/meal/coffee shop, say, ‘I’ll get back to you on that’ or ‘That won’t work for me. Can we leave it for a week or two?’
  • When she suggests you should do more exercise, drink more water, buy a more up to date phone, tell her it’s your choice to make.

Problem: You find assertiveness difficult. 


  • Watch people when they’re being assertive, on TV, in a film, anywhere!
  • Note how they behave and practise copying them, their body language, speech, attitude.
  • Practise saying what you want to say, in the car, alone in your home, out for a walk, until it comes more naturally to you.

 Remember this: 

  • You have a right to an opinion.
  • You have a right to a choice.
  • You have a right to be heard.
  • You have a right to be ‘different’.
  • You have a right to disagree.

Don’t put it off! 

Make your voice heard there and then, next time you think about ‘putting up with it’, without anger, without fear, calmly, confidently and assertively. 

Do not put up with stuff you don’t want to put up with. 

 I read this over on my friend’s blog: 

 ‘The shoe that fits one person pinches another. 

There is no recipe for living that fits all cases.’ 

Carl Gustav Jung 

Over to you! 

What are you putting up with? 


What are you going to do about it? 

Header image: thanks to cursedthing on Flickr


Filed under action, change, excuses,, expectation, fear, happiness, persistence, plans, positive, success

99 Achievements You May Have Overlooked ( Not To Be Read All At Once)

from Turkuu


Going into space.    

Our achievements seem to pale into insignificance compared.  


Bad word.  

Every achievement stands alone.  

We can all list our achievements and believe they ‘don’t count,’ if we compare them with being a successful astronaut.  

The point is, there is no comparison. It’s impossible to compare.  

On Tuesday I asked a question about achievements and one of our Spinners commented that  

she had no achievements to be proud of,  

and that made me sad.  

As a result, I decided to compile this list of  

99 Achievements You May Have Overlooked (Not To Be Read All At Once)  

Each one has been achieved by a person I know, or know about,  and some of mine are in there too.  

1.   You create a cottage style garden, from scratch  

2.   You get out of bed in the morning when you’re severely depressed  

3.   You travel to London to work when you’re blind  

4.    You take up belly dancing again after a long break  

5.    You undergo chemo when you’re 6 years old  

6.    You undergo chemo when you’re 60 years old  

7.    You choose breast reconstruction  

8.    You choose not to have breast reconstruction  

9.    You pass your driving test after 13 attempts  

10.  You travel in a lift when you’re claustrophobic  

11.  You bring up your child alone   

12.  You are a carer for an elderly parent    

13.  You give up a well paid job to care for your sick child  

14.  You keep a ‘gnome’ on display in your garden, although you hate them, because it was a precious gift  

15.  You become a regular hospital visitor  

16.  You befriend a difficult neighbour  

17.  You teach your teenage son how to budget  

18.  You read Lord of the Rings without skipping any of it  

19.  You produce a Bat-Man fancy dress costume with 2 hours notice  

20.  You keep taking driving lessons although your hands leave damp patches on the steering wheel  

21.  You lose 8 pounds in weight in time for your son’s wedding  

22.  You help a child to make cup-cakes without losing your patience  

23.  You pay off your credit card  

24.  You cut up your store cards  

25.  You take a flight in a micro-lite, despite a fear of enclosed spaces  

26.  You go snorkelling despite a fear of deep water  

27.  You go up a long spiral staircase to the top of an ancient Italian tower despite an acute fear of heights  

28.  You leave your abusive partner after years of trying to do it  

29.  You climb a proper mountain for the first time  

30.  You give a talk to a large group of professionals in your field, despite your natural shyness  

31.  You go on holiday abroad by yourself after recovering from agarophobia  

32.  You walk a marathon with a friend for charity  

33.  You walk through a field of cows despite your fear of them  

34.  You go to adult swimming classes   

35.  You have an article accepted by a national magazine  

36.  You join a gym despite not liking exercise and go twice a week for 3 months  

37.  You pick up an enormous spider without showing your fear to your husband who’s petrified  

38.  You give up alcohol for a month to show you can  

39.  You drive on the motor way for the first time, despite your fears   

40.  You take control and sort out your difficult housing situation  

41.  You help an unemployed friend to update his CV and, as a result, he gets a job  

42.  You leave your comfort zone and fly abroad for the first time  

43.  You successfully learn to play golf so you can see more of your OH  

44.  You cure yourself of your chocolate addiction (well, almost)  

45.  You visit a friend in Intensive Care despite feeling very scared  

46.  You ask a child to teach you how to skateboard in the park  

47.  You painstakingly research your family history back to 1700  

48.  You go to the dentist for the first time for years  

49.  You sign up to a writing class and discover a hidden talent  

50.  You make jam for the first time and it sets!  

51.  You learn how to take excellent digital photos  

52.  You apply for a part-time job, now that the children are at school, and you love it  

53.  You go to assertiveness classes to help with bullying in the workplace  

54.  You receive one of the largest ‘office leaving collections’ ever  

55.  You are a ‘stubborn optimist’ (you know who you are!) despite being on dialysis for ten years  

56.  You are dyslexic and achieve your degree. You’re considering a Ph D to follow  

57.  You take a risk and get your ‘purple wallet’  

58.  You start a successful antique market stall with no previous experience  

59.  You complete your promotion exam for the prison service despite being severely dyslexic  

60.  You bravely decide to drop out of your uni course after a year of doubt and despair  

61.  You choose not to wear a wig when your hair falls out after chemo  

62.  You decide  to travel abroad by yourself so you go off to China with ‘Just You’ (for solo travellers)  

63.  You undergo a 30 minute MRI scan despite your claustrophobia  

64.   You adopt a mistreated cat from Cat Rescue  

65.  You perform Karaoke at your daughter’s party in front of a room full of strangers  

66.  You  sit with your father in hospital on his last day on this earth  

67.  You go horse riding for the first time since childhood   

68.  You achieve a 2.1 degree at 43 years old  

69.  You jump in the deep end and take Copyblogger’s 7 Link Challenge  

70.  You book up for piano lessons at 60  

71.   You write your autobiography and have it published  

72.   You travel to Canada to find your birth father  

73.   You hand in your notice for the job you’ve been unhappy in for ages  

74.   You take your cat to the vet knowing it’s his last journey  

75.  You finally learn how to make a decent cup of tea for your fussy MIL, despite never drinking tea yourself  

76.  You play the piano with your feet because you have no hands  

77.  You handle an enormous python, to prove you’re cured of s snake phobia  

78.  You stand up for yourself against a bullying boss  

79.  You sign up to take A-Level Art with your daughter at her college, and you get an ‘A’  

80.  You survive a stroke at 50 with great courage  

81.   You learn how to make Christmas pudding and it’s as good as his mum makes  

82.   You bravely remove the heads and tails from a plate of prawns to conquer your squeamishness  

83.   You decide to stop being a people pleaser and learn to say ‘no’ when you want to  

84.   You decide to take control of your children’s difficult behaviour and make a realistic plan to achieve it  

85.   You set aside a whole day every week to be you and stick to it  

86.   You make up your mind that you’re not just a housewife  

87.   You decide to stop harming yourself by pulling out your eyelashes. It’s not easy but you achieve it.  

88.   You join an internet dating site with confidence  

89.   You buy Dr Phil’s Book, Life Strategies, and start to follow his brilliant advice  

90.   You press publish on your very first blog post, despite the butterflies  

91.    You  hold down a job you enjoy despite 4 hours daily commuting  

92.    You speak up at a business meeting despite worrying that you’ll look foolish  

93.    You run a successful Parenting Course, overcoming your self-doubt  

94.    You spend nearly a year writing a book, finally seeing it published  

95.    You put your child’s needs before your own, always.  

96.    You walk through a flurry of bees on the lavender path,although you’re terrified of them  

97.    You go into the anaesthetic room with your daughter without showing her your fears  

98.    You decide to start a blog to show your readers that Positivity can be found all around us  

99.    You complete writing/reading this list!  Phew!  

Still believe you have no achievements?  


When you have a few hours to spare, write your own list.  

I guarantee it will be a long one.  

Why not add your most important achievement, in the comments?  


Header image by abyreed, on Flickr 


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

Go With The Flow? No! Start Your Own River…


That’s how it felt, seeing wild animals in their natural habitat.

Watching those majestic, gentle zebras as they wandered across the grassy plains in South Africa  is a sight I’ll never forget.

Every day we saw them, one behind the other, following their leader.

Ducklings do it too, don’t they, walking  behind their mum, trusting that she knows where she’s going.

And then there are the ants, in a raggedy line, hurrying across the woodland path, heading for, well, I hope they know where.

Followers are in vogue on the web too. We can be followers on Twitter, Facebook and even on Plinky, a new site that helps inspire bloggers to write.

It’s easy to follow.

No decisions to make,

no choices,

no responsibility.

Just follow the one in front and all will be well.

But will it? Be well?

What if the leader takes you somewhere you don’t want to go?

What if he chooses the wrong path?

What if the mother duck gets run over? What will the ducklings do then? They’ll be lost, aimless, and in danger. 

One day, they’ll be the leaders, having to look after their ducklings. Taking responsibility.


Which are you at the moment?

Are you a follower?

  • Are you going along with something,  just because it’s easier?
  • Are you saying ‘yes’ when you know you want to say’no’, because it’s easier?
  • Are you staying stuck in a job/college course/relationship/stale friendship/’draining ‘relationship, because it’s easier?

We are leaders or followers at different stages of our lives.

But when we follow, we should not do it simply because it’s easier.

We should follow because

  • we choose to follow,
  • because we believe that the leader knows the way,
  • because we trust that the path is the right one for us.

If you’re a leader,  you’ll like this quote_

‘Don’t go with the flow – start your own river instead.’

Dr Phil McGraw, ‘Life Strategies’, page 181.


What about you?

Have you  started your own river?

Would you like to go against the flow for a change?

Do tell!



Filed under action, change, expectation, fear, goals, hope, instincts, persistence, plans, positive, progress, risk, safe, success

7 Signs That You’re Past Your Sell-By Date


It had to be done.

Can’t even remember when I last did it…

It was time….

to sort out my food cupboards.

I stood on a chair to get to the top shelves and took everything out and put it on the work top.

I had a bag ready for all the tins and packets that I no longer use but I wasn’t prepared for what I found-

02/2005, 09/2007, 12/2009 –

 just some of the ‘sell-by-dates’ that I found.

And I even found a dead fly…. shock! horror!

How could I not have noticed the fly!!!

The plastic bag that waited to be filled was soon replaced by a much larger one and I was so relieved that no-one saw me on my way to the dustbin.

I began thinking about how easy it is to not notice stuff.

And then I began thinking about how easy it is not to notice when we’re past our sell-by date…

Here are my 7 signs that you might be past yours…

  1. How long have you had the same hair style?  Too long? Can’t remember?  Oh dear…
  2. Do you always cook the same meals each week because… well, because it’s easier?  Oh dear…
  3. When did you last wear that dress/suit/lacy blouse/short skirt/tee shirt/sequinned top? (yes, men too)  Oh dear…
  4. Do you always choose books by the same authors at the library/bookstore?  Oh dear…
  5. When did you last listen to some music from a different genre? Can’t remember?  Oh dear…
  6. Do you always go to the same restaurants because…well, because it’s easier? Oh dear…
  7. When did you last sort out your books and take some you’ll never read again to a charity shop?  No idea?  Oh dear…

Writing this post has made me realise that I, too, am well past my sell-by date.  I’d better stop writing and go and sort out some clothes… particularly a certain sequinned top…

What about you?

Anything you want to tell us about?

Or are you too busy going through your clothes and your book shelves?

Which reminds me. I need to make an appointment at the hairdresser’s…


Filed under action, change, excuses,, positive, progress, realistic, success, timing

Try This and See What Happens!

Immaculate suits, scruffy shoes, plugged into i-pods, clutching a bunch of flowers, glum faces, excited faces, dowdy, trendy, dressed to impress, (not succeeding…) yes, they’re all here…

Pouring out of the station at 6pm, on their way home from school, college, office, lab, hospital and  goodness knows where…

Each one fascinating, a story to tell, a heart to break, a mother to love, a cat/dog to greet them, an empty flat to return to, a luxury car to travel home in…

And I have no idea what any of these people ‘do’, how they spent today, will spend tomorrow, or how they spent yesterday. 

They are simply interesting, intriguing,  to me, waiting in the car park for my husband to come home from what he does every week day.

I’ve been thinking.

Why is it that all that people seem to care about when they meet us for the first time, is what we ‘do’?

You know the scene-

A drinks evening.

A  room full of strangers.

The hostess leads me across to one of the guests and she says-

‘Will! I’d like you to meet Linda! She’s used to teach and now she writes.’

And I’m supposed to say,

‘Hi, Will! And what do you do?’

And Will starts to be tedious, telling me he works for local government (yawn) and used to be an estate agent (yawn, yawn…)

On holiday in Greece one year we met a friendly couple and visited  tavernas with them most evenings.

But, from the start, we decided not to talk about our work. We would reveal our exciting (!!!!) occupations at the end of the holiday or even hazard a guess.

It was much more fun talking about other stuff and, no, we didn’t guess right!

I received my newsletter today from Jeffrey Tang over at


and to my surprise and delight he’s writing about exactly this topic for his contributors.

So I decided to write my thoughts about it too.

He suggests one way to introduce ourselves is to say what our life’s dream is and in return to ask  the stranger about theirs.

Great idea.


I’d like to add these for you to try next time you are introduced to a stranger.

Why not ask…

  • What have you done today/this week/ this month for the first time?
  • What’s on your ‘Things to do before my next birthday’ list?
  • Tell me about your most proud/embarrassing/hilarious/mind blowing/mind numbing /scariest/ moment. You choose!
  • Have you ever done anything as a child that you’ve never owned up to?

I’m going to try Jeffrey’s idea (I’ve told him my life’s dream) but I’m also going to try some of the above.

Do try one of these and let us know how much fun you have!



Filed under action, change, expectation, positive, risk, success