Since completing my Life Coaching course in 2015, I’ve been setting goals for myself each year, using Leonie Dawson’s Shining Life Workbook. It’s a great little workbook that helps you review the previous year, and clarify what you’d like in the following one by reflecting on each part of your life.
From previous years, I’ve learnt to be a bit flexible, because you just don’t know what will happen. For example, last year was challenging and many goals were derailed completely. Not only did my Dad pass away, but my husband also had his heart attack. This meant I had to focus on healing my spirit and also supporting my family.
However, saying that, I’m really looking forward to 2019. It’s a whole new year which will bring opportunities that have yet to present themselves. So whilst I have set 100 goals, I’m open to the possibility of even more goals and new opportunities.
So here are my 119 goals for 2019…
Movies to see
I love going to the movies with my son, so this is a priority for us.
- How to train your dragon 3
- The secret life of pets 2
- Men in Black International
- Lion King
- John Wick 3
- Jumanji sequel
- Star Wars IX
- Toy Story 4
Places to go
Looking after my dad meant I was very restricted when it came to travel. This year, I want to go and see all the places I’ve been planning to in Ireland, but also finally going to Iceland and doing part of the Camino Way.
- Visit Parkes Castle
- Visit the Book of Kells
- Visit Carrowkeel
- Visit Newgrange
- Visit King House
- Visit Waterford
- Visit Athlone Castle
- Visit Belfast Zoo
- Visit the Titantic experience
- Visit W5 in Belfast
- Visit Iceland and see
- The Northern lights
- A geothermal spa
- The Mid Atlantic rift
- Visit Glencar Waterfall
- Do the Viking Splash tour
- Do the Moon River cruise
- Do a section of the Camino Way
- Visit Kilmainham Jail
- Visit Giants Causeway
- Visit London Zoo
- Visit Kew Gardens
- Visit my husbands family in the summer and at Christmas
- Visit the Natural History museum in Dublin
- Visit a SeaLife centre
Events to attend
- Women’s Inspire Network autumn event
- Attend a local networking event
- Attend a national networking event
- Go to Bloom
- See “We will rock you”
- See “Dr Doolittle”
- See “Grease”
- See “Joseph”
- See 2 shows at the Gaiety theatre
- Attend a sound healing workshop
One of my writing goals is to create a Healthy Habits Journal. This is because when I was looking after my dad many days the only thing he would eat would be something with chips, from the local take away. My weight increased because of this and because of lack of exercise, so 2019 is my year to develop better habits.
- Eat a healthy breakfast for 30 days
- Walk 10,000 steps a day for 30 days
- Drink 2 litres of water a day for 30 days
- Eat 5 a day for 30 days
- Meditate each day for 30 days
- Go caffeine free for 30 days
- Have healthy soups for 30 days
- Practice QiGong every day for 30 days
- Practice self healing for 30 days
- No take away or processed foods for 30 days
When we made space for my Dad, our home became more of a nursing home and less of our personal space. The house also became really cluttered with his stuff, and we had less opportunities to declutter. We’ve been working on a room at a time, and in 2019 we will finish it off.
- Declutter bedroom, wardrobe space and en suite
- Donate or sell unwanted toys and games
- Declutter paperwork
- Declutter kitchen
- Declutter spare room
- Donate extra bedding
- Sell 20 things on eBay
- Get house painted
- Paint Healing Space
- Tidy up garden
Again with looking after my Dad, we got into a rut with home schooling, so 2019 is our year to complete some books, and put the fun back into our home school.
- Finish toe by toe
- Work on the literacy hornet
- Complete each Kiwico project
- Complete the KS3 History and Geography books
- Complete projects on China, Mexico, Iceland and the US
- Read 12 books
- Complete 52 science experiments
- Visit 12 heritage sites
- Grow 3 fruits/vegetables from seed
- Learn 12 new recipes
- Learn about keeping chickens
- Learn about keeping bees
Just for fun
- Knit a scarf
- Ride a Segway
- Have a seaweed bath
- Adopt an animal
- Read 50 books
- Do a 5k charity walk/run
- Eat something I’ve not tried before
- Go to a pop concert
- Go camping with the home schooling group
- Do a random act of kindness
- Read an old book
- Read a best seller
- Read a book for fun
- Read a book from a new author
- Read a biography
- Attend the Tony Robins event in London
- Complete the Bio Energy course and qualify as a therapist
- Learn how to use Camtasia and make my own videos
- Do a sleep out for homelessness
- Learn a new skill
- Publish the Happy Habits book
- Finish writing and publish the Wealthy Habits book
- Write and publish the Health Habits book
- Write and publish the Positivity Planner for 2020
- Write and publish the Kindness Journal
- Write and publish the Forgiveness Journal
- Write and publish the Creativity Journal
- Write and publish the Money Saving Journal
- Write and publish a book on quotes
- Re-write and publish the 13 week goals book
- Do a buy nothing new month
- Do a no-spend month
- Do a radio show
- Get a story in the local press
- Get a story in the national press
- Publish a guest blog post
- Create free ecourse
- Create signature ecourse
- Lose 52lbs by Christmas
- Do a Boxing day fun run
- Dad’s probate
- Sort out dad’s camper van
Being a Life Coach is about helping others clarify what they want, setting goals to make it happen and then taking action. And that is what I also want for myself. Looking after my dad meant a lot of sacrifices, and I have no regrets about that time, but now it’s my turn to step up and have the life I want.
So what do you want for 2019 and how are you going to make it happen?
Part of the reason for this blog is to share my journey, so that when you work with me, you get that I’ve been there. We all have areas in our lives that are extremely painful, and I wanted to share what has been the hardest declutter for me. When decluttering your home, Marie Kondo suggests leaving the emotional stuff to last. There’s a reason for it!
I’ve been gradually decluttering my house for a while, and with Dad’s stuff now looking for space, I’m revisiting each room. I’ve been decluttering even more, to pare back what we have. In doing this in our bedroom, I tackled the one box that I have avoided like the plague since I started.
The hardest declutter
It’s a box that is simply labeled “Emma”.
Emma was my daughter. She was stillborn in 2005. If you’ve ever had a child, you’ll understand that when you prepare for it’s arrival, you buy, or are given, a range of different things from cribs to clothes. Most of the practical stuff that we’d bought online, and had delivered to our house. After Emma was born, we were able to return most of this stuff to the shop. What was in the box was everything else.
This time was the most painful time of my life. So you can imagine, re-visiting the box would be like opening an old wound.
As it happens, the box contained not just the clothes that Emma wore in hospital (she was buried in a beautiful christening gown), but also the medical records, scan images and keepsake things that the midwives saved for us. I’d also kept the bag the christening gown came in and a few other things.
Focus on what sparks joy
As I went through everything, I focused on what sparked joy. Whilst losing Emma was heartbreaking, she also gave me joy. Up until that point I thought we couldn’t have kids, and in the weeks before she was conceived, we were due to meet social workers to start the adoption process. There are some people who would advocate decluttering everything, because it’s holding us back in time. And they may well be right.
However, to me that would mean not acknowledging her presence and the impact that Emma had. Unlike my Mum who had a lifetime of things that she had accumulated, there was very little evidence that Emma even existed. Up until recently, you didn’t even get a birth/death certificate for a stillborn child. It was like the child never existed. Except that as the person who carries that child, you know that he/she/they did.
In the end, I kept one outfit, Emma’s scan images and the keepsakes that the midwives gave us. Everything else was decluttered. What was left filled a box a third of the size. Most importantly though, it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be, and I can look at the things in the keepsake box and remember the joy I felt at being pregnant for the first time.
There may well be stuff in your home that holds a particularly painful memory. If you need some support to go through it, give me a shout. I know how hard it can be, and we can work through it together.
Take care for now.
You know that I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s? I love her idea that decluttering isn’t about what you let go of, but of what you keep, and that what you keep should spark joy. However, as much as I love her work, the one thing that Marie may lack is life experience.
Personally, I’ve been decluttering my home, bit by bit for the last few months. I’ve been able to let go of more and more, enjoying a sense of light in my home that wasn’t there. However, as the title suggests, my home is utterly, totally cluttered again. So what happened?
Well. My Dad happened. When my Mum passed away 2 years ago, I inherited my Dad. My sister passed away 8 years ago, so there’s just us left. About 3 months after Mum passed away, Dad decided to up sticks from sunny Devon, to come and live near us in lovely Leitrim. He bought a bungalow 2 minutes from where I live and moved in. However, he’s not in the best of health and that health has been deteriorating increasingly in the last 6 months, three of which were spent in hospital. It soon became apparent that Dad needed more support that could be provided, and that he was at risk if he stayed in his home alone, especially at night.
So, after the last hospital admission, he agreed to move in with us. We cleared a downstairs room, moving all the existing furniture and personal belonging out, and brought his own bed over from his house. In the last few weeks, we packed up all his things, and rented out his home as a furnished let.
The problem is that he had so much stuff.
My kitchen now contains lots of boxes to be sorted through with him. His bedroom is becoming tidier as we find places to put things. His most treasured items are the years of photographs he and my mum took, and his railway collection. There are loads of albums and packets of photos taken, and they can’t be stored anywhere else.
So now what?
So, my mission is now to work with Dad and start afresh, reclaiming rooms in my home as we unpack boxes and make decisions on what to keep and what to let go. It’s hard for an older person to downsize. The things that matter most are those belongings with strong memories attached, and for anyone else, the aim of the decluttering would be to make space for the new. But, when you’re coming to the end of your life, you don’t need space for new. You want to hang onto the things that are important. The cherished memories of happy times gone by. And that’s how I’m going to be approaching this task. I’ve done it before, and when we’ve finished, my Dad will have a room that he can call home, surrounded by the things and the memories that he cherishes most. What else can you do?
In the last 6 months, I’ve been focusing this blog on decluttering your home. In the process, I’ve been decluttering my own home, facing up to the stress that clutter causes. As we near the end of this process of decluttering your physical baggage, it’s time start the process of decluttering your life.
So why would you want to declutter your life?
When your whole life is cluttered, you end up being stretched too thin, unable to focus on one task because you’re thinking about all the other things you feel that you should be doing. The outcome is that you’re overwhelmed, stressed and stuck. Decluttering your life means that:
- you focus on what and who is important
- you focus your energy on one thing at a time
- your stress levels reduce
- you feel happier
- you’re able to say no
How can you start to declutter your life?
1 – Start small
Small changes over a long period of time lead to bigger changes. Use the decluttering process to look at where you are now in terms of your life. If you’d like to work through the Wheel of Life with me, give me a shout. It’ll take about 30 minutes and it’s free.
2 – Identify what’s important to you
Once you see how your life purpose, your passions and your values are connected, you can make clearer decisions. Your goals are aligned to what you actually want to do, and as you start to enjoy life again, then your level of optimism and happiness increases. If you’re not sure what your purpose (what you want to do in life), passions (what you love, what makes you happy) or values (what is important to you) are, then take some time to reflect on them.
3 – Identify time drains
When you do an inventory of where your time is spent, you can see which areas you need to work on and what your priorities should be. For some, social media will be a drain, for others it will be their email or even certain family members! What other drains can you identify?
Decluttering your calendar or schedule to make it more manageable will be difficult at first, but when you focus on what are actual priorities rather than other people’s demands, you’ll start to feel a little more able to say no.
Where Life Coaching comes in
If you’re starting from a point of overwhelm, stress or simply being stuck, then Life coaching may help you clarify:
- where you are now
- where you want to be
- how you can get there
- what support you can count on
- what obstacles you’ll face and how to prepare for them
- what boundaries you need to put in place in terms of your time and your behaviour towards yourself and others. (And their behaviour towards you.)
When you start creating goals and plans of action, then the in-built accountability will help you keep on track.
Personally, I still work with my own Life Coach, and find the process of clarifying boundaries, setting weekly and monthly goals has helped me keep striving to be better, to do more and to stretch myself in ways I wouldn’t have dreamed of last year.
Take care for now
PS If you think you couldn’t afford to work with me, then I do take on 2 pro bono clients a month, and I also have a “pay it forward” option. I give you an hour of my time, and you give an hour of your time to help someone else who would benefit from your special set of skills.
Last week, we looked at how you can declutter your paperwork, by focusing on what you need to keep and for how long. This week, we’re going to organise the paperwork you have left, so that you can lay your hand on any piece of paper, at any time you want. To do this we’re going to:
- break things down into categories
- choose a filing system to match the category
- sort your paperwork into these files by working down each hierarchy
Categorising your paperwork
How you organise and categorise your paperwork will depend largely on what you have, and this will be different for each one of us. The categories you choose should be hierarchical, so that they build up into a filing system that works for you. In our house, there is a category for each person, and a category for joint items such as the house. My paperwork is then divided into personal and work/business categories.
Alternatively, you may simply need to create a basic hierarchy suitable for your own needs, for example:
Sorting your paperwork
Once you have the categories sorted, then you can start by actually sorting through the paperwork that you have and putting them into piles. Start with the top of the hierarchy. In my case, the first set of piles is simply mine, husbands, joint and child’s paperwork. Once I have these 4 piles, I tackle each on in turn.
My son doesn’t have much paperwork, so all his stuff is filed together in one ring binder, with file dividers.
Ringer binder image via Amazon
Everything related to our house is filed in a concertina box file. There is an area for each bill: rates, water rates, electricity, phone/broadband etc. I also keep any receipts for large insurable items in this file.
File image via Amazon
My paperwork is first separated into 2 piles: personal and work/business. As my business is made up of different passive income streams, there is a section for each one, with each divided into income and expenditure. This then makes accounting for each area at tax time much easier.
I let my husband file his own paperwork. He is after all, creative, resourceful and whole.
Choosing a filing system
If there is an awful lot of paperwork that you are required to keep, then you may well require a formal filing cabinet. If you do need one, ensure that it is lockable and fire-proof.
The rest of us probably don’t need a filing cabinet, but a range of files that cover the different needs of each category. Personally, I’ve colour coded the files, so that blue files relate to my husband, red for me, purple for my son and green for the house. This means we have an immediate visual clue as to the contents of each file. With mine, I label my folders person or biz, so once I’ve sorted my pile of paperwork into two sub-piles, then I can actually start filing them away.
Decluttering your paperwork takes time, and once done, you need to organise what you have left. The main secret to a good filing system is to keep it simple. If you have too many categories, you’ll never file anything. The golden rule to keeping tidy is:
a place for everything and to everything it’s place
Once your system is set up, file whatever comes in on a weekly basis and have a clear out on a quarterly basis for example the beginning of January, April, July and October.
Like everything, it will take effort to start off with, but you will find that this effort will pay off big time when you need to put your hands on something immediately. In addition, if you have a business and need to use an accountant, having a filing system that saves them time, should be reflected in the bill you receive at the end.
Take care for now
Paperwork is one of those things that keeps building up, unless you tackle it periodically. It is also the third thing on the KonMari order of decluttering, with your wardrobe and books being the first two areas.
In normal circumstances, when you declutter using the KonMari method there are two key principles to bear in mind:
- focus on what you keep
- what you keep must either spark joy or be functional.
With this in mind, let’s focus on what paperwork you should keep. As most paperwork is unlikely to spark joy, let’s think in terms of its functionality.
What paperwork should you keep
The paperwork you need to keep will depend on the item, however, you can group these into three categories
Essentials that should never be destroyed
Paperwork in this category includes:
- your birth certificate
- your marriage certificate
- proof of change of name e.g. via deed poll
- your current passport
- your current driver’s license
- your car ownership documents
- your house deeds/lease or mortgage documentation
- legal documents such as wills, living wills, power of attorney
- social security documents and personal ID papers
- proof of ownership documents, for example share certificates, saving bonds
- proof of responsibility documents, for example loan and credit card agreements
Paperwork kept for insurance purposes
- The actual insurance policy for your house, car, pet, business etc.
- The invoices/receipts/proof of purchase for high value items where you would be required to provide proof of purchase in the event of an insurance claim e.g. engagement and wedding rings,
Paperwork kept for tax reasons
If you run a business then you are required by law to keep all documents for 7 years. (Note: this may be different in your part of the world.)
Saying this, when my husband set up a new business, this flagged up an old business that had not been closed down properly by the tax office. As a result, we were sent a tax bill for several thousand pounds. As we kept the original documentation, we were able to prove that their records were wrong. As it turns out, the correct paperwork had been filed with a different office.
When dealing with bureaucrats, it’s up to you to prove them wrong, because they will never admit that they made a mistake!
If you are an employee, then you need to keep payslips and expenses claims.
Paperwork related to home maintenance
Depending on which country you live in, when you sell your home, you may be asked for evidence of current running expenses:
- utility bills
- local tax bills
- documentation related to home extensions, refurbishments, home improvements
Paperwork related to car ownership
Again, when you sell your car, you may be asked to provide evidence of:
- maintenance and service history
- insurance band
- car tax rate
Depending on where you live and where you are in your life, this will include:
- medical records
- medical insurance policies
- bank statements
- pension documents
- letters showing benefit entitlements e.g. child benefit, state pension
- contracts of employment, changes to employment
How long should I keep things?
This will depend on the item and its use.
- 3 months – bank statements that have been reconciled
- after 1 year – documentation that is no longer current e.g. insurance policies, utility bills
- up to 7 years – anything tax related
Where you have sold an item e.g. a house, car etc, then keep the
Disposing of paperwork
When disposing of paperwork, you need to consider the impact it could have if it falls into the wrong hands. For this reason, shred absolutely everything that has your name on:
- old bank statements, utility bills etc
- old receipts where your name and address are recorded
- documentation for the things that you have sold
We accrue a lot of paperwork in our lives, and most of it we don’t need to keep, however, as you can see, there is an awful lot that we do need to keep.
Take care for now