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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Setting Goals

1. Understand Yourself
Goals should be personal to you. Make sure you are aiming for something you want to do and not something you are expected to do. Sometimes your mind can get so clouded with other people’s opinions and suggestions that it becomes difficult to hear your own voice. Take some time out for yourself and discover yourself. Ask yourself some questions such as who are you; what are you good at; what do you enjoy; what can you see yourself doing. These are important questions that will help you understand your goals better.

2. SMART Goals 
Use the SMART strategy to achieve your goals. SMART is an acronym, standing for ‘Specific’, ‘measurable’, ‘achievable’, ‘realistic’ and ‘time-orientated’. Most goals cannot be achieved overnight and so break it up into achievable chunks. For instance, if you want to write a book this year, give yourself enough time; write out a plan for the story and start writing your story. Make sure that you are able to track your progress – is there a certain point of the story you wanted to get to; did you want to write for a certain amount of time, etc.. However you want to do it, make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself- achievable chunks is the key.   

 3. Research Resources 
We are fortunate to be living in 2018, i.e the Age of Information. The internet has a lot of useful information and this is a wonderful tool. Be sure to use this to your advantage and make sure you make full use of all the information available. Find out if there are any courses you can sign up to which will help you get on your way to achieve your goals. Is there any online forums, where people can talk about their experiences. Use all the information you can find to help you with your goals.


4. Make Time for Goals
If something is important to you, you will make time for it. If you find you are struggling to make time, schedule it in. Things are hard to do when it is out of your routine and you are already busy with everyday demands. To make sure you are able to stay on top of your goals, make sure you put some time aside to put towards your goals. You could do this by putting a reminder on your phone- or if you're like me, you can make a note of it in your paper planner. 

5. Take Regular Breaks
Don't exhaust yourself by doing too much in too short of a time span. Taking regular breaks is a good way to reenergise and refocus yourself on your goals. This also allows you to objectively see how you are doing. Sometimes, when we are too involved in a project, our vision becomes obscured and it becomes difficult to see how we are doing. Also by taking regular breaks, you are less likely to get demotivated. 

Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year, New You!

New year, new you....yes, I said it. I am that person who gets excited by the clock striking twelve, ringing in the new year. The beginnings of a new year feels like a fresh start- time to change the calendar and start a brand new diary/planner, letting bygones be bygones and starting to think of ways of self-improvement, more productivity and personal growth.

Sure, somewhere along the way, things happen and we tend to lose focus on our goals and resolutions and our attentions get diverted. But that’s okay. It’s not about being good all of the time; it’s about being good most of the time and having a goal to focus on.  

Or maybe this year you don’t have a goal; that is okay too. Perhaps your goal can be to improve on the things you’re doing already. Be more organised, more focused, more aware, alert, more engaged....basically be a better version of you.

New year, new you....or new year, better you. Whichever way you want to think of it, I want to wish you all a very happy new year. I wish that you achieve all you want to for this year and become a happier, better person in the process.

With all that said, I shall end this blog post with three simple words you probably are all tired of hearing already....Happy New Year!!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Growth is an uncomfortable ordeal that we all need to go through to get the most out of life. In adulthood, it’s so easy to slip into the place of comfort zone, where all 0our days stay the same, life becomes stagnant and there is no internal growth or life progress. Here are some ways to make sure you aren’t getting stuck in your comfort zone.

1. Do something independently
Is there a new film out that you really want to watch or a restaurant that you really want to eat at; but you keep putting it off because you have no one to go with you? Don’t wait for anyone to be available for you. Be available for yourself and take that independent step. Dine out on your own and watch a movie by yourself. When doing things alone, you get to do whatever you want to- you can sit where you want, eat what you want, be as slow or as fast as you want. No compromises and polite conversation-making. Only downside to this is that it may make you so independent that you avoid meeting new people, which swiftly takes us to the next tip....

2. Spend time with new people
Meet new people. You can do this online or in real life. Use the sources you have available to you to meet new people. Go to clubs, bars, pubs, social events and make a point to talk to someone you’ve never met before. Worse case scenario, you’re bored and at best, you make a friend for life. A lot of my good friendships have started from random conversations. 

3. Learn something new
You may be in full time employment and your student days may be something of the past; but you are never too old to learn something new. So enrol yourself in for that language course you’ve been meaning to. Or get onto a dance, self-defence, creative writing course. There is no shortage of things you can learn about. Picking up new skills or gaining new knowledge is great for you; not only are you picking up some new information but you’re also developing a better brain in the process. When you learn something new, your brain fires electrons to the synapses. This creates new networks and pathways in the brain- something very powerful to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in later life.

4. Try something you don’t like
Is there a hobby that everyone seems to love but you just don’t get; like listening to music, reading a book or watching a movie? Force yourself to try something you’ve ruled out before because you’ve found it boring and it’s not your cup of tea. Chances are over the years you’ve matured a little and appreciate the joys of things you didn’t before. However, if you’re still unable to enjoy yourself, revisit said hobby in a few years’ time. You’re on a mission to push yourself to do things that you don’t enjoy or that you’re not comfortable with so you can grow and develop in a smarter, sophisticated, better and more mature you. 

5. Apply for a job that’s out of your league
At best, you land an interview from the application, the interviewers fall in love with you and hire you on the spot. Worst case scenario, you don’t get the job- instead you get to see where you are falling short of getting your dream job so you know what you need to work on. So, it’s just a win-win situation all round.

6. Do Something Good for You
Get into the habit of regular exercise or join an exercise class (self-defence counts). Do something that is good for you but is annoying to do because it requires patience and commitment. Challenge yourself to do it and really stick at it. You’ll be amazed at just how much you’re capable of.

7. Get out of your Routine
Change up your routine every now and again if your find yourself getting comfortable with your schedule. Use your free days to explore places you’ve never been to before. Or if you find yourself getting bored of life, why not take up running? This will break up the monotony of life while giving you something healthy to do.

8. Do something you’ve always meant to
Life is too short to wait for the things that you want from life. If there is something that you have always wanted to do, now is the time to make things happen. You have one life and you owe it to yourself to make it the best life possible.

9. Break the Rules
Some rules are worth breaking and that’s why this blog post only has nine tips instead of....
(Psst...I’m being ironic by breaking the rules of blog posting and I’m no finishing the sentence. Ahhh....the joy of being a bad ass rule-breaker!!)

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Top 5 Attractive Qualities in Women and Men (As Told by Science!)

Despite being a feminist and being so aware of the fight women have had to get some sort of equality, I can fully understand that men and women will never be equal. This being said, I am not saying one sex is better than the other but merely the two sexes have different traits and so offer two entirely different things to a heterosexual relationship. Men have always been seen as the protector; he is the main earner and provides for his partner and their offspring. Women, as the gender that holds the child for nine months, have a more nurturing role. And it is these very gender roles that base the attractive qualities the two sexes see in each other. Here are the top attractive qualities, as told to us by science (evolutionary psychology to be precise):

Five Most Attractive Qualities in Female:

1. Neotenous facial features
It has been found that men find small, round features to be more attractive in women. Softer features make women look more approachable and men would prefer this when looking for an ideal mate.

2. Symmetrical features
Symmetry in features, particularly facial features is an indicator of good health. Good health is an attractive quality that men want in women as it indicates the women will have good fertility and her offspring will be a healthy child.

3. Lighter complexion
Generally people’s skin tone darkens as they age so a lighter skin complexion (apparently true across all races) is an indicator of youth. Youth appeals to the opposite sex as it is a sign of fertility.

4. Waist to Hip Ratio
In females, a 0.7 Waist to Hip ratio has been deemed as most attractive by men universally. Of course there are cultural variations to this but this figure was the mean of all the ideal female shapes across different nations and cultures. This is also due to fertility. When women have a narrow waist and wide hips, it is a sign that the woman can bear children and this is what men are looking for.

5. Intelligence
Studies have found that men are more attracted to intelligent women and they deem intelligence as a sought after trait when looking for a long term partner. Intelligence in women has been linked with good parenting skills, good companionship and also dependability. 

Five Most Attractive Qualities in Men:

1. Tall and broad shouldered
As mentioned earlier, a man’s role in a traditional, heterosexual relationship is to be the protector. A woman likes her man to be tall and broad so he can physically defend her if a situation arises where the woman needs to be protected. 

2. Symmetrical Features
As with men, women are also attracted to men who have symmetrical features. Symmetry indicates good health and this means the offspring will get good, healthy genes and all women are a sucker for good genes.

3. Strong facial features
Men who have strong features and square jaw lines are considered to be more attractive. Strong features indicate to women that the man will be able to protect her and their offspring from any external threats and so increasing her and her children’s chance of survival.

4. Deep voice
Women get drawn to deep, manly voices. Deeper voices are associated with a larger frame and a larger frame means the man will be able to protect and defend the woman and their offspring. 

5. Intelligence (Well educated/professional)
 Man has come a long way since the hunter-gatherer days. These days intelligence is a highly sought after quality that women seek in men. Those who are highly intelligent are far more likely to get high paid jobs and so is likely to be able to provide a woman and her offspring with a better quality of life. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

How to Win at Small Talk

The best part of meeting someone new for the first time is that you have a blank slate and you can be whoever and whatever you want to be and that’s what can make your initial small chat go from bland and boring to exciting, intriguing and full of mystery. Here’s my top tips on winning at small chat:

1. Use your imagination
Be creative and let your imagination run wild. The stranger your story sounds, the more intriguing and funny it’ll end up being. Introduce yourself as an undercover cop, working in a mental asylum for ex-convicts. The trick is to say things that are so absurd both you and the other person know you’re fibbing. These lies are acceptable. These lies are jokes. Lies are lies when someone is pretty sure you’re serious and that’s never okay.

2. Be agreeable
Say yes to any suggestions. You don’t have to actually follow things through (make sure the other person knows if you’re not serious). If you’re asked to fly to the moon, just shrug your shoulder and say ‘sure- no big deal’. If you’re asked about your ability to swim with sharks, say you do it all the time. Whatever you’re asked, the answer is always a yes.

3. Keep some mystery
Small talk is all about fun banter without giving anything away. If you’re asked a question you don’t want to answer, smile mysteriously, answer the question with a question, change the subject, laugh…you have free reign to do whatever you want. Just remember to keep the conversation light hearted and engaging. The heavy things can wait till later.

4. Be outrageous
You’re having fun so just be outrageous and throw caution to the wind. Say whatever you want and be whoever you want. I love to think I am Tina Turner and I may have at some point claimed to be a super star singer. That’s okay; I’m not going to be tested on my singing abilities so I can get away with anything. And if I am asked to prove how good I am, I’ll just tell them to buy the tickets.

5. Let them be outrageous
If you are claiming to be the best cook in the world, then accept it when they say that they are the best singer in the world. You won’t win at small talk if you’re being cocky; you’ll win at it if you are fully embracing yourself and whoever it is that you’re talking to. As far as you’re concerned, you’re both super amazing people and the rest of the world are in awe of you.

6. Keep it short and simple
Small talk is supposed to be small talk so keep things short and sweet. No need to elaborate on things just yet. Elaborations and deep talks can wait till the next time you meet the person. For now, it’s all short sweet and fun.

 7. Stay positive
Winning at small talk is all about being happy and being optimistic. If you’re engaging in small talk, it is probably the first time you’re meeting someone new and so you want to put your best foot forward. Smile, be engaged and engaging and be your happy, positive self.

8. Be interested
Small talk is only boring when you’re genuinely not interested. Don’t bother talking about the weather or about the price of milk. Keep things interesting and make the conversation fun- talk about what their superhero powers would be if they could choose or what you’d do with the pot of gold when you get to the end of the rainbow. 

9. Be Comfortable
The best small talks are the ones where you are completely comfortable and can be yourself. If there’s something that’s putting any doubt in your mind, you can politely excuse yourself and not continue with the talk anymore. The more at ease you are, the better the small talk will be. Your main goal is just to have fun.

10. Don’t be nervous
Small talk is all about having fun. You’re not promising marriage and you may or may not even see the other person again. Anything you say or do is just a bit of light-hearted fun. Don’t let nerves get to you. Smile and make your approach and have the best small talk ever.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Having a Healthy Body Image

It’s a badass thing to love yourself and have a healthy body image in a day where society makes profit from how you look and in particular your ‘low’ self-esteem. I personally think it’s wonderful to have people of all shapes and sizes representing true beauty and we can thank social media, especially Instagram, for this. Here are a few ways we can all ensure we have a good healthy body image:

1. Know your BMI
While I do think all shapes and sizes are beautiful, it is important that you know your BMI (body mass index) and keep your weight at a healthy level. A healthy BMI range is from 20-25; anything less than this is considered underweight and anything over is overweight. A BMI of over 30 is classed as obese. This is a guideline of a good weight. Anything less or over the recommended BMI range ca have adverse effects on your health. If you feel you are severely underweight or overweight, speak to your GP or a dietician. Suddenly changing your lifestyle can have some serious consequences and these needs to be monitored.

2. Wear What You Want
Far too many people have too many opinions on what other people should wear based on their figures. I firmly believe that people should throw out the rule book when it comes to ‘dressing for their shape’. Own what you have and wear whatever you want. Your body and you make the rules. Besides, if you are dressed in what you like, the confidence will show through and that beauty cannot be denied.

3. Exercise
When you exercise regularly, you get to see what your body can do when pushed to its limits. This alone makes you see your body in a different light and you will start to embrace it more. Exercise also gives your day structure. And it feels good to work out and just be active.

4. Ignore the Haters
If you truly love your body and you are of a healthy weight, ignore all negative comment that comes your way. No one in the world has the right to comment on your body (except the doctor) and them doing so is usually just them talking about how they feel about their body but they are using your body to reflect their insecurities. Keep your head high and strut your stuff because you are perfect and no amount of ‘you need to lose weight’ comment will change that.

5. Take a selfie
Take a selfie and put it up on social media (I love Instagram....did I mention that already?). Hashtag your picture and wait for the likes to kick in. I know I should not admit this so publically but there is something about a 'like notification' on Instagram and Facebook that gives all girls a sudden boost in confidence- afterall, it is a virtual confidence. So, if you're feeling a bit down about your body, take a photo and wait for the likes to come in...