Why There's No Such Thing As A 'Right' Decision

Do you remember that Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors?

I may be stuck in the ‘90s but I tend to still use it as a reference in my life - ‘This is like Sliding Doors’, I’ll say when a friend is making a decision or when I’m confused about which option to choose.

For those who don’t remember it, the premise of the movie is a ‘what if’ scenario. In one reality Gwyneth Paltrow’s character jumps on a train home, finding her husband cheating on her and in the other she misses the train and is none the wiser.

Now the outcome of the movie is (spoiler alert) that things end up the same anyway, which isn’t necessarily my belief, but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about making ‘right’ decisions, doing things at the ‘right’ time and living life ‘right’ in general.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Libra but I’m fairly indecisive and love to overthink my way around every decision I make (and even made, past tense, sometimes). I really don’t enjoy this about my brain but I’m consciously aware of it and am working on not dwelling on each and every decision quite so much. Here’s what I’ve realised:

There is no right decision

This has sunk in for me this year and has kind of blown my mind. I was pretty certain for a lot of years that you could make right or wrong decisions but now, bar doing something really horrible in my life, I’ve realised that there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision - just a decision in itself.

How would I know what was right or wrong anyway?

I can’t do a Gwyneth Paltrow and live both realities in parallel so I just have to back myself and know each decision will lead where it’s going to lead.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I really enjoy my job. Although I also enjoyed my last job and particularly loved the people I worked with, I knew it was time for a change of industry, and felt some guilt about only staying in my last job for around 18 months. The job before that (are you following?) I’d been at for five years and I initially felt it had been a waste to move to a new one, only to move on again so quickly.

Except, if I hadn’t moved to my last job, I may never have heard about my current company and be where I am now. So rather than obsess over making that wrong decision between jobs, I can see it as the right decision quite easily. Which leads me to...

You can find good or bad in any decision if you look for it

Our brains have been trained to obsess about major decisions that need to be made, and who hasn’t heard of the good old pros and cons list?

If those lists help you, I’m all for it, but it’s also proof that you can find good and bad in any decision. It’s what you focus on that matters.

Last decade (gulp) I moved to London and, for certain reasons, had to leave my boyfriend back in Australia to do so. I could have obsessed about what leaving him meant for our relationship and where that would leave us in the long run, and, although it was difficult, I did my best to focus on what I wanted to experience in London and where I wanted to travel in Europe.

Looking back now, I would have missed so much if I’d only focused on the negative side of my decision to live there and am so grateful I was able to do it from a place of backing my own decision.

Indecisiveness stops you from making your next decision

Whether you’ve recently made a decision or are coming up to making one, spending your time in a place of worry or regret is not fun, and also not particularly useful.

What worry and regret do is keep us stuck in the past or obsessing over a current decision and, if we’re stuck, we are stopping ourselves from moving forward with new decisions.

I relaunched my website in May, and I spent a lot of time at the start of the year worrying about how I’d pull it off - I tossed and turned over whether I should have hired a designer and web developer to completely redo it, or whether working on it myself was ok for now.

After launching on 1 May, I was so happy to have the new website out there and have now been able to move on with other decisions and parts of my business - working with coaching clients, being featured in interviews on other websites and, I know in the future, I will probably relaunch again when I feel the time is right.

Are you making any tough decisions at the moment? Or are you spinning out over a decision you’ve already made? Book in a 30 minute complimentary chat with me so we can talk through it.

 

September Recap and October Intentions

Readers - I can’t thank you enough for your lovely words and messages after last month’s recap. August was a tough month and I wanted to preserve one of the purposes of this blog through that post - to show you that life isn’t perfect and that we’re all just doing our best. So thank you again for being here, I appreciate it so much.

September was an improvement and it’s a great time of year - the days are getting longer, the weather is warmer and the last quarter of the year is always full of fun activities.

I had a couple of weekends away too (see the amazing Wilson's Promontory above), which always makes for good memories and weekends that feel extra long.

Now let’s get into how I did with my September intentions:

Increase energy levels

September was a much more balanced month for me - it wasn’t perfect but I was focused on healthier foods, long walks by the river and choosing sleep over big nights out.

It’s good to regain focus after the bumpier seasons of life and taking time to plan and slow down was the way for me to facilitate that.

I also took up some good habits in September - dry body brushing (start doing this immediately, it’s so good!) and drinking apple cider vinegar and lemon water in the morning (I have no idea if this is benefiting me but stay tuned!)

Study comes first

I also did well catching up on my studies but realised I had in fact exaggerated the situation in my head. Like journaling my worries (and realising most were not true), I had blown up in my head that I was quite far behind on my course and then, paralysed by the overwhelm, was putting off delving back in.

When I finally sat down one evening to make my to do list and finalise some worksheets, I realised I was in fact not that far behind and was caught up on a few major things within the hour. I’d spent way more than an hour stressing about it and there I was - I had done it!

What are you procrastinating on or blowing up in your head at the moment? Let me know in the comments below.

October Intentions

Blog it up

In line with my theme of honesty, you may have noticed I haven’t been posting quite as regularly around here.

I’ve been busy and going through some issues yes, but I also haven’t been planning ahead with posts or spending the time I’d usually like to on the blog.

I’ve accepted that as part of this season of life, but still want to be here to serve you through my writing, and also serve myself by doing something I love to do. I have a whole list of posts I want to write so I’m going to prioritise them and carve out time each week to focus on writing.

Please let me know in the comments if there’s any topics you’d like me to specifically post on too!

Rekindle friendships

Along with you lovely blog readers, my friends have been super supportive of me over the last few months. I am trying to live by Brene Brown’s philosophy of vulnerability and it’s tough, but it makes for much stronger connections and conversations.

As we get into the busiest time of year, I want to make sure I have plenty of catch ups planned with my closest friends, not only to benefit me through fun and connection, but also to make sure I’m being there for them now that I’m starting to feel better.

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What have you got planned for October readers?

Let me know your intentions for the month in the comments below and feel free to share this post on social media if you think it will help others.

The Housework Struggle Is Real

I have a lovely visitor coming to stay with me this coming weekend and was thinking about when to tidy the house. I looked around and saw at least a dozen things that needed doing and I started to fill with dread.

Would I do it the night before she arrived so everything was fresh? Should I do it now so I don’t have to look at it all week and feel stressed? But if I do it now, will it need cleaning again by Friday night? Fun thoughts, right?

Luckily over the years I’ve learned how to quash these destructive musings and I wanted to share my strategies with you.

The pursuit of perfection

Many of us are Inadvertently aiming for ultimate control and perfection in our lives. Before we had magazines and TV to live up to, now it’s every social media channel and lifestyle blog we follow. Sparse white tabletops with fresh flowers fill our feeds, while we wonder where to store empty boxes and stacks of random papers we know we have to keep somewhere, for someday.

Are we too focused on keeping everything in order? Is life meant to be messy? Are we cleaning up to avoid spending time on more important hobbies that we might be afraid to pursue? Ask yourself these questions as you step slowly away from the vacuum cleaner.

Maternal gatekeeping

This is a concept I’m fascinated with. Maternal gatekeeping, as the name suggests, usually relates to parenting but it also includes the concept that women will limit their partner’s involvement in housework. Why you ask? Because our partners can’t do it as perfectly as us. And when they do the housework, we often criticise and question how they’ve done it. Sound familiar?

Recognising this has been a huge shift in my relationship. A while back I gave up ‘being in charge’ of the house and directly asked for help. After some negotiation we now share the housework 50/50. We are in charge of our own jobs and we rarely let each other down in this department.

Does handing over control like this make you nervous? If so, another tip is to let go of the jobs that you don’t really care that much about. For example, I like washing and hanging the laundry, but I couldn’t care less how the dishwasher is stacked as long as it gets done. Ask yourself - do you want it to be done perfectly or do you just want it to be done?

Write down all the jobs that need completing around the house (yes, all of them) and how long they each take. Then divide them up fairly. And if you don’t have a partner…

Batch household tasks

Another major shift for me. Doing a little bit here and there only made me feel like I was constantly doing chores, and also consistently on the look out for the next chore that needed doing. Now I devote around an hour or two on a Saturday and then I’m done.

I usually plug in some music or a podcast and reward myself once the time is over with a hot coffee, a cooking show (my guilty pleasure) and a cuddle with the kitten.

Try doing all your housework at once and let me know if it makes a difference to the rest of your week.

http://www.someecards.com/

Will anyone really care?

Back to the catalyst for this post - keeping your house ‘perfect’: either to impress people, or because you care what others think of you. In all honesty when was the last time you walked into a good friend or family member’s house and really cared what state their home was in? When they apologise to you for having a messy house, did you ever even notice? Seeing them and enjoying great company and conversation, so outweighs the dust we all have hiding under our couches.

If you truly dig deep, could you be happy with a tidy house over a sparkling clean one? Can you shift your focus to the fulfilling time you’ll share when that person arrives at your house, over what they’ll think of your cleaning skills?

What’s your housework mentality? Will you be trying out any of these tips? Even if you’re too scared to tell me, I truly hope this helps you loosen the reins dear readers. And if you have a cleaner, even better! 

 

Light Links: June

Happy end of June, dear readers. How was your month?

We started the month with our annual winery jaunt to Rutherglen and ended June with a bonfire at a friend's farm in Trentham. I know it's cliche but it really does rejuvenate me to get out of town and do something different on a weekend. Try and schedule some time out of your regular town when you can.

It wasn't all picture perfect winter getaways though - I had a cold that hung around for quite a while. After feeling virtuous for taking a day off in an attempt to halt the cold in its tracks, it ended up hanging around for longer than I'd hoped. It's a great reminder to stop and truly relax when your body tells you to. If you could see my wintery outfit and ugg boots right now, you'd know I'm embracing this idea.

Enjoy my favourite links from this month. 

The pressure to look good when every day is now school photo day...

Do you guys know about my obsession with watching cooking shows? Barefoot Contessa used to be my Saturday morning jam. Check out some life lessons from Ina Garten.

I am not a messy person, but have feelings of both jealousy and appreciation for those around me that are. Here's 3 lessons we can learn from the messy

How many times a day do you apologise? Things you need to stop saying sorry for

A dear friend of mine told me about a breathing technique she's been trying to help her fall asleep. The next day I spotted this article that claims to help you fall asleep in under one minute. I'm yet to try it out, but let me know your results in the comments below. 

This spookily sums up my impression of Sweden on my short trip there a few years back. I love so many of these lessons, but definitely need the one about not letting the weather stop you as we head into the Melbourne winter. 

Five Ways I'm Failing At My Own Advice

 

Over the last few weeks, I've fallen off the wagon. Exercise has taken a back seat, my work stress levels have been ascending and the thought of meal prepping on a Sunday makes me want to lie down and take a wine-induced nap. But hey, that’s what this blog is about – being OK with where you are and taking it easy on yourself. It’s also about honesty and transparency, so today I present you with the five ways I've been failing at my own advice.

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Advice #1

When blogging about how to make the most of your commute, I offered catching up on emails on the train/tram/bus to really get you ahead for the work day.

Reality

I guess with this one I have been taking my own advice, but checking emails has been causing me more anxiety than is necessary. I’ll often see mail that I want to act on straight away but don’t have the right files available on my phone. Or I’ll see an email chain that’s taken place that I haven’t been able to chime in on, then start thinking about how I’ll word the email when I arrive in the office. Arriving at work flustered and stressed is not the aim, so for now I’m letting this activity go from my commute.

Fix

My work email is right next to my personal email so I've shifted it into a folder on my phone I never use (and is located on the last screen) so I can’t access it easily and I’m not tempted for a quick peek (this never works right?!). So far, so good, which makes me more relaxed on the commute.

Advice #2

Plan your work day ahead so you feel accomplished at the end of the day. Otherwise hours can slip away and you leave work feeling like you didn't achieve anything.

Reality

Um, totally failing at this one lately. I've been saying yes to a lot of meetings, putting out little fires everywhere and am glued to my email, rather than working on more important tasks.

Fix

I am totally guilty of this but I love to change the way I manage my to do list. Some weeks I like Outlook, some weeks I need to handwrite it and for the last few weeks I’ve been using Trello, a free online organiser. I freaking love it and I think it’s definitely made me more productive. I include all of my different projects or clients as lists, then add ‘cards’ for each task. I can add due dates, archive (so satisfying to move things off as you do them) and see that yes, I have a lot of tasks, but only some are actually urgent, not all.

Advice #3

Plan for a well-rounded week – allocate equal time to all the important areas of your life – career, relationship, friendships, family, leisure, hobbies.

Reality

Does coming home from work tired and watching House of Cards all night count as a well-rounded life? Yeah, the last month has not been great for this one. I've been letting exercise go, been zoning out in Instagram instead of talking to my husband and secretly feeling happy when plans with ‘semi-obligated-to-see-friends’ get cancelled so I can do nothing.

Fix

Turning this around is so important. Last week I made an effort to get to the gym two nights after work and I left with much more energy and motivation than I came in with. I've also been making sure to spend at least 10 minutes talking through our days with my husband in the evening, and have been going out with the friends that leave me feeling inspired and full. My mood and energy have definitely lifted.

Advice #4

Practise gratitude in the mornings – list five things in your head that you’re grateful for as soon as you wake up.

Reality

Or alternatively, pick up your iPhone, check your emails, hear the cat meowing for breakfast and before you know it you’re on your way to work.

Fix

Taking a few minutes at the start of the day is so important to me for setting up the rest of my day. When I start with positive thoughts, ease into the morning and do some yoga, I’m a much more relaxed human being. I feel less stressed, can plan my day better and am more zen all around. Time to get back to the morning routine.

Advice #5

It’s ok to feel negative emotions completely. When you’re spiralling with negative self talk, set aside time to feel it.

Reality

As with any new job, I've been suffering a little with imposter syndrome as I learn the ropes. I’ve also been focusing on plans for the year ahead (read: wishing I had more $$ to travel more and fulfil those plans) and sometimes I find myself in a real spiral. I push the negative emotions away and think ‘I should feel happy. I shouldn't feel like this’. And guess what? That doesn't work.

Fix

Read The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris. I've had so many epiphanies while reading this book, I haven’t even finished it yet as I want to give sufficient time for it all to sink in (he also recommends this – reading and practising the theories bit by bit). The crux of the book is a number of behavioural techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Parts of it centre on allowing yourself to accept negative emotions and scenarios you dream up and accepting our thoughts for what they really are, just thoughts.

So although I’m revealing how I’m failing at my own advice, that’s really only a story I’ve made up. So here’s to accepting what is and making moves to get life back to where we’d like it to be – one non-judgemental step at a time.

To finish, a couple of great quotes from The Happiness Trap:

"The mind loves telling stories; in fact, it never stops. All day, every day, it tells you stories about who you are, what you’re like, what you should be doing with your life, what other people think of you, what’s wrong with the world, what will happen in the future, what went wrong in the past, and so on. It’s like a radio that never stops broadcasting."
"The bottom line is not whether a thought is positive or negative, true or false, pleasant or unpleasant, optimistic or pessimistic, but whether it helps you create a fulfilling life."

Have a great week lovely readers.

 

Light Links: February

 
The newest family member - Pickles! 

The newest family member - Pickles! 

It's the last Monday of February (and the last Monday of summer here in Australia) and we're a couple of months into the year. It's going pretty great for me so far, but there's lots of things I hope to work on in 2015, including one of my favourite things - this blog.

February was full of quality catch ups with friends and a new addition to our family, a rescue kitten named Pickles. He's pretty amazing.

Here are some interesting links I've found over the last month. Enjoy your week lovely readers.

I'm not sure how realistic this is, but here's a take on the perfect routine for your work day. Yeah, power naps still don't fly at my workplace.

Do you regularly criticise your body? I know I do. Hopefully it won't take illness to appreciate it - here's a beautiful take on how we view our bodies from Susannah Conway

A breakthrough for me in February - I deleted the MyFitnessPal app from my phone! This article reminds me why.

I forgot to share this one back during the holiday season, but it's just as relevant throughout the year. Ditch the pressure of planning an amazing holiday, stay home, stay off social media and relax

And for a laugh I'm sure we can all relate to - The 12 emotional stages of a pedicure

My new 2IC here at the blog.

My new 2IC here at the blog.


Light links: November

 
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November has been pretty intense! I started a new job and am really enjoying it. I am learning stacks, have cut my commute in half and am working in one of my favourite areas of Melbourne.

But, I’ve really had to catch myself when it comes to placing pressure on myself.

Despite always telling my new team members this, I need to practice what I preach when it comes to overwhelm. I won’t know everything straight away and I need to accept it’s going to take time to get up to speed. Leave a comment with your wise words on how to admit this!

In the meantime, relax and enjoy some of my favourite links from the last month.

Probably the most powerful thing I’ve read recently – motivating yourself by adding the date of your death to your calendar…

A fascinating article on career burnout. So many striking statements about how our careers now demand constant availability, and how unsustainable that can be.

I feel like most of us insist on a disclaimer when it comes to spoiling ourselves, in the fear of coming across as self-indulgent. Here’s why you should definitely treat yo’self.

I love a top 10 and I love a Ted Talk. I know how I’m spending my Sunday evening. So many good topics here.

And a reminder for myself going into December. ‘We all want to be all the things and we just cannot be.’