How To Prepare For 2016

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It’s actually crazy how fast this year has gone.

It feels like only a few of weeks ago that I was waiting in the tinsel-covered checkout line at kikki.K, new diary in hand, feeling so hopeful and dreamy about 2015 – and now it’s nearly October!

And that brings up the question:

What should we do with this final quarter of the year? The quarter that is the least inspiring, the least productive and the easiest to neglect.

We could:

  1. just write it off (because we feel like we have to wait for that annual ‘clean slate’ before we can start doing something new)
  2. decide to relax and enjoy the silly season (ain’t nothing wrong with that)
  3. keep working on our 2015 goals if we can even remember them (and if this is the case for you then you are amazing!)
  4. start preparing and creating some momentum for what we want to achieve in 2016 (which, as you might have guessed, is what this post is about)
  5. all and none of the above (i.e. not make any decision about what we’re going to do)

I’m writing this blog post because I realised that I’d ‘chosen’ what I described above as option 5 – indecision.

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Smart Twenties Book Club | Wild by Cheryl Strayed

SMART TWENTIESBOOK CLUB (3) I’m one of those people that has to read the book before seeing the movie.

So I have to tell you – the real reason I decided to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed was actually because I really wanted to see Reece Witherspoon’s new movie (if you’re also the kind of person that has to read the book before seeing the movie I’m sure you understand).

But I definitely don’t have any regrets – there are so many reasons I loved this book:

Firstly, Wild is an amazing ‘lost to found’ story and those kinds of stories just give me so much comfort and hope. Secondly, this book made me so keen for my trip to Peru to hike the Inca Trail (which is kind of weird because this book definitely doesn’t glamorise hiking and I really don’t want to lose any of my toenails). And thirdly, I love the way Cheryl writes and that she knows how to keep a story moving.

But I didn’t start the Smart Twenties Book Club so I could write book reviews (and I’m not too sure I should be the judge of whether a book’s good or not – there are a lot of shitty books that I love and a lot of good books that I don’t).

So instead, I’m going to share what I took away from Cheryl’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail or ‘PCT’.

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Meditation: Why You Should Try It & How To Get Started

Meditation It seems like everyone’s meditating these days. And maybe you feel like you want to get on board too.

But you have your doubts: you just aren’t the kind of person that can stop thinking.

I mean, how are you meant to stop all those thoughts that constantly run through your mind? There’s your to-do list, dreaming about the habit that the perfectly-disciplined version of yourself is going to start on Monday, thinking about what you’re going to eat next, rehashing an offhand comment a friend made to you four days ago – oh and you just remembered that link you need to send your best friend.

And that’s just the start of it.

But let me tell you the good news – meditation isn’t about not thinking. 

You’re not the only one that has this problem of ‘thinking too much’. Almost everyone has it, including many people who’ve been meditating for years.

Meditation is a practice – which means you’re not going to nail it the first time you do it.

And, by the way, I think this whole ‘wanting to be amazing at meditation the first time’ thing is totally fascinating. If we’re trying a new sport, we don’t expect to master it on our first attempt – we know we’re probably going to suck and we’re not totally disheartened when we do. We know there’s a learning curve. But when it comes to meditation, we think we should be able to sit down and just ‘not think’ for 20 minutes. Totally fascinating to me.

But anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s a practice. And that means that the first time you sit down to try this whole meditation thing you’re going to have thoughts popping up left, right and centre – and that doesn’t mean that meditation isn’t for you. That’s ok, that’s completely normal. Don’t get disheartened.

If you have any doubts about your ability to meditate because you ‘think too much’, please put that baby to rest.

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How To Become A Morning Person

how to become amorning person (1) Let me just say this up front – if you hate waking up early and yet you’re here trying to find out how to ‘become’ a morning person, read no further. This post isn’t for you.

I’m a huge believer in working with what you’ve got. And if loathing mornings is what you’ve got, then why fight it? Why not focus on making more of those night-time hours when you actually enjoy being awake? Why not embrace the fact you function better later in the day? If you hate mornings – don’t try to become a morning person (it’s nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds). 

But I digress.

I’m one of these mysterious ‘morning people’ and I’m here to share how I do it. This post is for people who love the idea of being a morning person and are really suited to it too, they just struggle to get there. And this post is about waking up earlier than you ‘need’ to so that you can get a few amazing things done before your day ‘starts’ (like doing some exercise, reading a book, meditating, journalling or just relaxing with a giant mug of coffee and a few of your favourite blogs).

So if that’s you, here are my tips:

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Should You Start A Blog?

Should You Start A Blog- Maybe you’ve been asking yourself whether you should start a blog.

You’re obsessed with reading them (you check for new posts everyday) and follow your favourite bloggers with the same level of fascination that the media follow Miley Cyrus. You refer to them by their first name and feel like they’re your friends (and you’re positive that if you actually met in person, they would be). You love reading about their monthly favourites, what books they’ve been reading and their skincare routine. You even love hearing about the extremely boring parts of their life too – like taking their greyhound Reggie for a vet check-up and going to a mid-week dentist appointment.

And these bloggers are all normal people, people like you. They didn’t have to wait for someone to tell them they could start a blog – they just started one. So it gets you thinking, maybe you should start one too…

And then, almost as soon as you’ve decided you’re going to start a blog, the self-doubt kicks in. And it is relentless.

That excitement you had when you first had the idea to start a blog? That quickly becomes embarrassing. How could you have actually thought that anyone would care what you have to say? And you’re not even that good at writing. And what are you even going to talk about?!

I’ve read a lot of posts about blogging, and very few (if any) talk about the self-doubt that comes up when you decide that you’re going to put yourself out there and start a blog.

Because let’s be real – blogging can (and will) bring up a lot of self-doubt.

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3 Sneaky Little Ways We All Procrastinate

3 sneaky little ways we all procrastinate (4) We’re often told we live in a very impatient culture, but I mean, do we really?

I think we can be pretty damn good at waiting for things (read: procrastinating).

We’re really good at making plans, but those plans are often put on hold – we’re just not ready yet, we need more experience, we need more time, we need more money, we haven’t ‘figured it out’.

And these reasons feel super legitimate, but in my experience they’re not. Nine times out of ten they’re just our sneaky little way of procrastinating.

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Smart Twenties Book Club | The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

#smart twenties book club (4) The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is one of my favourites. I read it way back in October last year and I’ve been crapping on about it ever since.

I will admit it’s taken me quite a while to finally sit down and type out my thoughts on this one (this was the book for March… sorry about that). But I’m so glad I’m finally doing it because I’m completely obsessed with the ideas in this book.

So what’s The Slight Edge about?

The book cover will tell you that The Slight Edge is about ‘turning simple disciplines into massive success’ and I have to say that description is pretty damn accurate. Accurate and boring.

But please don’t let the boring description deter you. Yes, this book is about something that’s pretty common sense but it’s also about something that we completely overlook.

Since the point of this whole book club thing isn’t for me to ‘review’ the book but more to tell you what it had me thinking about and doing, here are two of my favourite lessons from the book (I chose these two because my other favourites are way too hard to explain in the length of a blog post):

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