September Prize Draw Winner!


…and the winner is…

Lynn Perry!

Congratulations Lynn, you are my September winner!

Your prize – Switch by Chip & Dan Heath is waiting for you to claim, so don’t waste any time, email me from the email address you used to sign up and let me know your postal address and your prize will be winging its way to you!

You have 14 days to claim your prize, so don’t delay! Continue reading

Owning Our Stories

Stories_1It’s painful being transparent. My last blog post had a difficult history. A history where procrastination, stalling and pain were the overwhelming feelings as I wrote.

To be able to write that post, I had to face up to my stories and own up. And let’s be honest, it’s hard to admit that you’ve failed or even just not reached the targets or standards that you’ve set for yourself. We’d all rather hide our mistakes, faults and failures away from curious eyes in case they somehow come back to make fun of us or gloat at our misfortunes.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Brene Brown

But let’s be honest here, how much harder would it have been to ignore the obvious and carry on towards the end of the year without acknowledging the changes that were going on around me? Running from my ‘real’ life, the one with the “warts n all” was never going to set me up for longer term success. Instead, it would have been the elephant in the room that would have become increasingly more difficult to get around.

I wonder how long it might have been before someone noticed that I had not in fact made it to New York or delivered on my goal of reading all 18 books that I had planned for 2015. You are kind, my readers, in turning a blind eye to these omissions, but, in the end, the truth will out!

So this was something that I was troubled about as I gave in to the necessary review. How would you, my readers, react to the changes…reductions…that I was making? Would you see me as a fraud? Someone who can’t deliver on their promises?

I pondered and worried about this as I wrote my review and new goals, but, the truth is that the responses I’ve received have been positive and supportive.

“But It’s Boring!” She Cried

I had to work really hard, emotionally, to accept that I needed to be realistic as I planned out the last few months of the year.

Ha! Realistic! Reality! Real!

Stories_2These are words that I don’t easily accept when it comes to setting my goals, plans and aspirations. Now, imagine a whiny child “Whaaaa! I don’t want to be realistic!” who’s stamping their feet. You should now have a fairly clear vision of how I look as I try to reduce my goals to something that may actually be achievable in the three to four months remaining of the year.

And it’s not just the relatively short amount of time to consider, it’s also the other commitments I know are likely to surface. There are things that weren’t even on the horizon when I set my original goals way back in January that are now very likely to come into play. These cannot be ignored. (The bold italics are for my benefit, you understand, otherwise I’ll keep telling myself unrealistic stories 😉 .)

Consequently, it’s been really hard to admit that I had to let some things go.

Because, for me, my new goals just don’t seem particularly exciting for the next few months. At the beginning of the year, I wrote out my goals with enthusiasm and excitement, imaging how my life would look in December if all these things came to pass, and this really fired me up! I can even remember a conversation which included the words “Imagine how it would feel to achieve all this!” and indeed, even now, as I write these words, I can feel the excitement of the possibilities bubbling up inside of me!

But, life has a sneaky way of not going to plan and we must adapt, review and renew if we want to reach our destination.

Let It Go (At Least For Now)

It might seem strange, but it’s painful to let go of something you’ve never had. There are many things on my original goal list that I didn’t achieve and therefore didn’t experience. So how can it be true that I’m missing something I never had?

Well, in a lot of ways, I’d already experienced my goals. I’d lived their achievement through pictures, websites, forums, visualisations, conversations, progress updates and mostly, my aspirations and excitement at their fulfilment. So now, it feels like something of a wrench to let them go…at least for now.

Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day! Steve Maraboli

In some ways I guess I’m lamenting their passing. The things that meant so much to me at the beginning of the year, and, if I’m honest, still mean a lot to me now, are mentally passing through a process, loosely akin to mourning. The stages of

• shock/denial (this can’t be true, I’m sure I can fit it in somewhere),
• anger (where did the time go and why did I let those other things get in the way?),
• bargaining (if I give up showering, can I fit it in?!),
• sadness (yes, I’m still sad at letting go), and finally
• acceptance (I’m not quite there yet)

are to some extent recognisable, but, dwelling on what-might-have-beens isn’t going to get me to where I want to be. Only being present now and working towards my renewed goals will bring about the changes, experiences and achievements I seek.

So onward it is.

I can’t change the past but I can look forward to the future with renewed enthusiasm to match my renewed goals.

Just imagine how life will look in December when I’ve achieved all these wonderful things!

Photos: Anne Adrian , Christine Szeto ,

Goals Review & Update

Goals_Review_1Way back in January I published my 2015 goals on this website and declared (eek!) that I would write a progress report each month. A-hem, well you might have noticed that there’s been a bit of a gap and that my last progress update was up to the end of May.

Oh dear….

Well, clearly it’s time to get this show back on the road, and there’s no better time than September, a month when the season turns (I love the change of the seasons).  September feels like a time to get back into some kind of routine and it’s also a good time for a general goals review, since we are nearing the end of the calendar year – just 4 months to go!

In January I (thankfully!) wrote:

This will be a year-long process, although, of course, I intend to have completed some of these goals long before the end of the year. I may also add, amend or change goals as the year progresses to recognise any changes and remain flexible.

…because, over the summer months my circumstances and priorities have changed somewhat and so there is a need for a thoughtful review of my goals. In doing this I need to reconsider their relevance at this particular time, the timeframe available for their completion and their likelihood of success, given other priorities and commitments.

So with this in mind this is a dual-post which will give a brief update of progress on all my goals and will finish with a list reflecting my revised goals for the remainder of the year.

Goals Update

I can’t believe it’s been three months since I’ve written a progress update…tut tut! June, July and August have been busy months although not all of the busy-ness has been goal-related. Consequently I’m a little nervous about writing up my progress as I don’t think I’ve made as much progress as I’d hoped. However, any progress forward is good progress.

And we all need to remember, it doesn’t really matter how slow we go as long as we keep moving forward!

Here we go…

Personal Growth

Read 18 Good Books (31/12/15)

Progress 1 (Total so far = 3 of 18)

In August I read The Life Plan by Shannah Kennedy.  I read this book very quickly as I found it entertaining and I also picked up a few tips for goal planning and achievement.

Attend a Personal Development Seminar (31/12/15) – COMPLETE!

Complete my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Course (31/8/15)

Currently on hold.


Generate an extra £10,000 of income (31/12/15)

For the three months June to August, extra income generated amounted to £479.08, bringing my YTD total to £956.64 (that’s actually more than I thought it was!).

My annual goal is now unlikely to be reached, so I’m adjusting downwards.  The revised figure is in the list below.

Increase our net worth by 15% (31/12/15)

Our cumulative increase in net worth to the end of August is around 4.8%, so again, this goal has been revised downwards and is shown in the list below.

Health Fitness & Wellbeing

Bring my weight to within 9 stone 2 pounds/4 pounds (128-130lbs) (31/3/15)

At start: 10st 7lbs (147lbs), Was 9st 7lbs (133lbs), Now 10st 0lbs (140lbs)

Oh, dear, it seems not only have I fallen off the wagon, but the wagon’s gone and left me too!  Seriously though, I’ve really lost focus in this area and am just thankfull that I haven’t undone all my good work and put all my losses back on again!  There’s work to do here so I’ve revised my goal, which you can see in the list below.

Maintain my weight within this band (R & O)

N/A at present.

Participate in a fitness-related charity event (30/9/15)

No progress yet.  This goal will be shelved.

Practice my morning routine (meditation, affirmations, reading) 6 days/week (R & O)

This goal has mostly remained on track.  I’ve had the odd day here and there where I haven’t been able to practice my morning routine for various reasons, but for the most part, this is now an established habit and something I miss if I don’t do.


Grow my website subscriber list to at least 1,000 subscribers (31/12/15)

No change to report and goal currently shelved.

Set up and launch an AYBL Youtube channel (31/12/15)

Although I have technically launched my AYBL YouTube channel, I haven’t made the progress I’d hoped for by posting up a few more videos.

To enable this goal to be considered complete by the end of the year, I am therefore going to make it more specific by re-stating the goal as ‘Post one Personal Development Video by 31st December 2015’.

Clearly this has been a lesson in the need for goals to be clear and specific, otherwise, as in this case, we don’t really know whether we’ve completed them or not! This change in wording will make it completely clear whether this goal is successful or otherwise in my stated timeframe.

Write and launch my second eBook (31/12/15)

No progress yet.  This goal will now be postponed

Post relevant and appealing content to my website at least twice/week (R & O)

Well you may recall that May was my best month to date for blog writing and posting with 8 blogs out of a possible 9 posted. So that result kind of makes June, July and August look quite shabby with just 9 blogs posted over the three months.  Looking back, July was the month we took a holiday and I think my writing output had dried up somewhat.

In light of this and future commitments, I’ve decided on a revised goal (in the list below).

Fun, Adventure & Relaxation

Continue and complete our 12 UK Cities in 12 Months Bucket List Challenge (31/10/15)

As I write this post, our total city visits has now climbed to 10, so further updates will be posted soon!

Review my Bucket List regularly for opportunities to take action (R & O)

There’s a potential big-ticket item which might be crossed off my BL in the next couple of months.  I don’t want to say anything just yet, but will post an update as soon as I can!

Take a 2-week summer holiday (location TBD, but somewhere hot!) (30/9/15) COMPLETE!

I’m going to give this one a ‘Complete’! Even though we didn’t manage to get out of the country to ‘somewhere hot’ and even though it wasn’t a full two-week holiday, we did manage to get away!

We took a mini-tour and headed off to Scotland via The Lake District. Our trip included a stop off at Coniston village and lake, famous for the water speed record attempt and horrific fatal accident in the Bluebird in 1967. A beautiful place and a lovely tribute to the history of both the boat and Donald Campbell in the museum situated there.

We then spent a few days relaxing and touring Dumfries and Galloway. The weather was beautiful and we even made it to the beach! Our trip was rounded off with a few days in Edinburgh – an amazingly ‘alive’ city and one we’re determined to visit again!


Take a trip to New York to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary/significant ‘0’ birthdays! (31/10/15)

Due to other priorities and commitments, this goal will be shelved for 2015.

Maintain and improve regular contact with family and friends (R & O)

After missing a few birthdays in May, I’ve been on the ball in the last quarter!  It’s also been a good period for catch-ups with friends too :) .


Volunteer to help in whatever way needed at at least one charity event (31/12/15)

Due to other priorities and commitments, this goal will be shelved for 2015.

Contribute to local causes by sponsoring local activities and events (31/12/15)

I’ve sponsored a few friends and colleagues during the summer months and will continue with this goal until the end of the year.

Phew!  So there it is, for better or worse!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there have been a number of changes in my priorities over the summer months, consequently, having reviewed my goals, I have shortened and amended my list to cover the remaining months of the year as follows:

Goals September to December 2015

1. Read/listen to 4 good books
2. Generate an extra £1,500 of income (includes total so far this year)
3. Increase our net worth by 7% (cumulative for the calendar year)
4. Weigh 9 stone 8 pounds or less by 31 December 2015
5. Practice my morning routine (6 days/week)
6. Record and post 1 personal development video on my YouTube channel
7. Post great content to AYBL website at least once per week
8. Complete our 12 UK cities in 12 months challenge by 31 December
9. Maintain and improve regular contact with family and friends
10. Contribute to local causes by sponsoring local activities & events

Photos: Jelene Morris

Your Personal 212

212_1aReaching Your Boiling Point

For anyone who’s interested in athletics, you may recently have been enjoying the Athletics World Championships held at the spectacular Birds Nest Stadium in Beijing. A host of athletes, competing for the top honours in their field, their sights on the gold medal.

But what does it really take to claim the gold medal? These athletes are, after all, world-class, so doesn’t that make it ‘easy’ for them? Well, maybe, if your name is Usain Bolt, but we’re not all built for running 100 metres in just 9.58 seconds!

It’s somewhat fitting, I think though that 212 degrees, being the boiling point of water is a great analogy for reaching the peak; for achieving success… for reaching our own personal ‘boiling point’.

Because, how often do we set out on the road to reach our goals only to fall short?  Somehow we go off the boil at some point during the journey. We lose interest or momentum and it can be nigh on impossible to re-kindle our enthusiasm and to get going again.


“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
— Roger Bannister

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