July Goals

2020, fitness, goals, writing

Hello!

Another month, another set of mini goals to work towards! Having reviewed my goals for the year and looked back on my June goals, in July I’m really working towards stripping things back, focusing on what’s important to me right now and setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound… I think).

Hopefully with the weather being a bit brighter and restrictions easing things might feel like they’re a bit closer to getting back to ‘normal’, but I’d rather be safe than shopping so taking things day by day!

Hopefully my July goals are SMART enough to make some progress! These are my goals for the month:

  • Start Couch to 5k again – it’s been over a year since I stopped the Couch to 5k program and I think I’m ready to start again. I’m going to aim for the three runs a week that the program suggests and even if I just start by doing laps around the park just to stay flat (there’s a lot of hills where I live) trying is the important bit. I’m nervous but determined!
  • Weigh less at the end of the month than at the beginning – hand in hand with the running, I’m going to try and do some at home workouts, be more mindful about what I eat, stop snacking and generally train my body into healthier habits. Lockdown has set me back almost to my heaviest weight in 2018 (which I’m trying not to beat myself up for) so I want to make some positive change.
  • Declutter my desk work space – our little house isn’t really designed for at home working but things have gotten so cluttered that I feel more stressed about it than it helps me get work done. I want to try and do a little bit every week to make the space less intimidating and more productive, even if it just means tidying it up a little bit.
  • Writing challenge – 36,000 words – every other month this year I’ve been setting myself writing challenges working towards NaNoWriMo in November (an online challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days!). Each month I do a writing challenge the goal is a little bit higher to get myself into the habit of writing a certain number of words per day. May’s challenge went really well so I’m hoping for the same kind of success in July, but simultaneously not putting too much pressure on myself. I have a Camp NaNoWriMo profile if anyone else is participating!
  • Craft goals – sew four face masks, finish knitting project, start new cross stitch project – I’ve written before about how handmade sewing related crafts, particularly cross stitch, have brought me such joy in lockdown so I thought setting myself some little goals would help keep me focused. Taking the decision element out of anything means I’m more likely to do it so rather than being faced with a box of embroidery thread and no direction, having something to work towards will definitely help me relax. At least, I hope it does…

And then my ongoing monthly tasks of have a date night and read at least one book still stand but I’ve managed six months with date nights and I’ve read 26 books so far this year so I think these two will be okay.

My motivation has been pretty bare minimum last month so I’m hoping to try and work to more of a routine in July. But with the world being so uncertain and changing so much, being adaptable and not putting too much pressure on myself is the main focus.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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how I’m cutting down my screentime

2020, books, creativity, lifestyle, mental health, writing

Hello!

I know that I don’t need to reiterate that quarantine is hard, we all know that, but one thing a lot of us have inadvertently spent a lot more time doing is looking at screens – from scrolling through Instagram, to working from home with a less regimented schedule, to Netflix to video games; so much of our entertainment is on screens.

Something I’m noticing more and more recently is that spending all day going from my phone to my laptop to the TV and back isn’t doing me any good – I don’t think it’s helping my sleep and I know I feel better when I’ve spent some time away.

I thought I’d collate a little list of the off-screen things I’m really enjoying at the moment so I can come back so it when I’m feeling a bit uninspired and maybe it’ll give you some ideas too!


  • cross stitch

I bought one of those little kits from Hobbycraft before everything closed and then ignored it for weeks. So when the weather picked up I sat outside with my cross stitch and it was lovely – I’ve been doing it on and off and I’ve nearly finished it now. It’s lovely to sit down and follow a pattern and make something creative – something that takes just enough brain power to keep you occupied but not enough brain power that it’s too hard. I’ve just bought a new kit from Etsy and I’m really excited about it.

  • knitting

I swear I have other creative hobbies that aren’t related to sewing. In my house I have one set of knitting needles and one ball of wool, but my mum sent me a pattern to make ‘ear savers’ which is essentially a headband to make face masks more comfortable for front line medical staff so I’m learning new stitches and hopefully I’ll actually be able to make something useful. Once you’ve nailed the new stitches it’s very therapeutic too!

  • making lists with coloured pens

Post-quarantine lists, things to do in quarantine, daily to do lists, weekly meal plans – everything is more exciting when you use coloured pens.

  • skincare

Spending even 5 minutes just to look after your skin and moisturise, maybe doing a face mask or a foot mask – it feels like a nice to make that time to treat yourself! Go all out and have a bath if you like, I have to wait for our new bath plug to arrive though and that’s a bit anticlimactic.

  • reading

I know I’ve been banging on about reading a lot this year but considering my goal for 2020 was 12 books and I just finished my 20th and I’m feeling more creatively driven by reading and writing than I’ve felt in an awfully long time, I’m justifiably excited about it. With the weather being typically British (unpredictable), reading is the perfect activity for sitting out in the garden catching some of that vitamin D or snuggled inside while the wind does its best to tear the trees down. So many of us have an ongoing ‘to be read’ pile and we might as well make the most of trying to cut it down a little whilst we’re encouraged to stay indoors.

  • gardening

I don’t necessarily mean landscaping your garden to make raised vegetable beds and only eating your own homegrown produce this summer! I mean making the most of the space you have (a windowsill, a balcony, any outside space) and growing something – there’s so many lovely indoor plants that can flourish at this time of year.

And it doesn’t have to be expensive – I bought a bag of soil, a small set of pots, a selection of flower seeds, some basic tools and gardening gloves in my weekly Asda shop for less than £20 and the joy of watching the seeds I planted turn into little shoots and flourishing is so satisfying and going out and watering them every day is incredibly therapeutic. I have to resist buying more every time I go shopping!

If you’re not sure where to start, I believe you can buy kitchen windowsill herb kits and grow the seasonings you use to cook! Our kitchen doesn’t have a window so I’ve opted for flowers this year but I definitely want to try tomatoes, peppers and courgettes next year!

  • journalling

If the world feels a bit big right now, I can’t express anything more therapeutic than getting all your feelings out on paper. It usually makes me feel like a weight has been lifted from my chest, sometimes it’s just a little bit so I can take a slightly bigger breath and sometimes I feel light as air but getting your feelings out of your head and onto paper is so healthy.

Then if you want you could even destroy the paper – I think I’m going to ceremoniously burn my journal when I’m finished with it. I can pretend it’s symbolic about a ‘chapter of my life ending’ but let’s be real; 1) a fire pit in the summer with friends is the best so might as well provide some kindling, 2) same applies to a BBQ, 3) there’s some parts of my life documented in that journal that I would really enjoy destroying and 4) it probably would be quite symbolic and provide a nice sense of closure.

The destroying isn’t the key part – it doesn’t even have to be on paper; you could make a private social media account that’s just for you, you could do it on the notes app on your phone or have a document on your computer. You can do it however you want in whatever medium you want, but I thoroughly recommend it.


If you’ve got any hobbies or activities that you’ve taken up during quarantine – whether to spend more time offline or to help your mental health – leave them in a comment below! We can make a big master post of ideas!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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March Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

Every time I start writing a goals post I get a little bit baffled at how time is going so fast and how this is the third post of the year?! I feel like I’ve missed most of January and February so let’s dive head first in what I want to achieve in March!

[ M A R C H   G O A L S : ]

  1. I want to book my driving test!

I’ve been learning to drive for about six months now and I’ve started practicing test routes and reaching the end of my teaching and I’d love to be at a point that I’m ready to book my test by the end of this month.

2. Work 2 full days a week

I know this seems absolutely ridiculous to set myself the goal of working two days a week, but hear me out – I’ve always had the option of working for my mum’s business and I recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate to be in this position HOWEVER I’m incredibly stubborn and driven. So in a way, to me it feels like if I accept working more with my mum it’s almost as if I’ve given up hope of having a career job and this is it for me. It feels like giving up or defeat and I know that’s silly and I’ve enjoyed working there last month I just need to get over it in my head.

There’s also more lenience with this one because sometimes they don’t need me for two days in the office so I’ll try my best to complete both days whether it’s from home or in the office but that might not always be the case. Lil disclaimer there!

3. 1 workout a week / start running?

The question mark is very big on the running! I think I can definitely focus on one at home workout a week, whether it’s a FitBit one, a Nike one or just one I’ve found on YouTube – doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 30 minutes, I want to get back into more of a routine because I’m determined to stick with this and I’m not giving up just yet.

Running I’m a bit reluctant about because I want to use the NHS Couch to 5k app but it means committing to running three times a week and I just don’t know if I have time for that right now, so it’s a maybe but it’s something I definitely want to try at some point.

4. Refine career skills

I know one of my goals for last month was to make more specific goals and this is the complete opposite but this one has three sub-goals (wow, I’m taking this too seriously).

  • learn more about the core skills of photography – I know how photography works and I know the terminology and equipment I just don’t think I know it well enough because it was always skimmed over in my photography teaching at uni. So I want to spend time really reading up on it and making notes so I can understand why my photos don’t always look how I want them too.
  • copywriting work – what these last few months has taught me is that I really love copywriting, whether it’s news article writing, blog writing, creative writing, I just love writing and if I can get some remote freelance work that would be an amazing thing to do in the interim between now and (hopefully) getting a career job (or going back to uni but I’ll talk about that another time).
  • have one ‘learning’ day a week – there’s so many free online courses I’ve found that can fill in the gaps in knowledge I have for the career I want so I want to set aside one day a week to read through a few classes and put what I’m reading into practice. Maybe it’s silly, maybe I’ll realise there’s no point, but I want to make time for it.

5. Make time for knitting again!

In January it was my goal to make time for hobbies and I really did make a good crack at knitting and though I didn’t even finish one square, I really enjoyed it and it was really therapeutic so this month, I want to stop taking my laptop into the living room in the evening and I want to make time for knitting again. Just to help everything slow down and relax a bit more.

And that’s what I’m focusing on this month. February was a big turning point and I need to try and improve on that in March – tell me all about your goals and focuses for this month!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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