I’m completely revamping my monthly recap format, to make these slightly more interesting, from now on.
For almost 2 years now, I’ve been sort of journaling online. I’ve certainly never felt it had any interest to anyone but me, despite sharing nuggets of wisdoms every now and then. These were probably buried too deep in the rest, to get even noticed.
However since the beginning of this year, I had this feeling that it was probably not that wise to continue to journal online. I don’t know where it came from, there is no particular reason, no incident or else, that prompted such feeling. Not that I know off at least.
So I’m revisiting the format.
I’m not stopping entirely monthly recaps because writing these had great value for me. They have always been sort of assessment on my side. A review of what had gone well and what got derailed. Part goal setting as well. But I’ve recently felt that I was giving too much details on the things that were happening, in my non interesting life.
Sure, I’ll still share some things which might not be so interesting to you, but overall, I think I want to use my monthly recaps to talk about personal improvements, things I have managed to implement, things I failed at.
I hope this will be more interesting to you.
Nugget of wisdom for the strong independent women out there
It took me a long time to consider myself as a truly independent woman. I’ve been working independently for over a decade now, amongst other things. And yet, it didn’t feel “independent enough”. I think one of the reason is that I didn’t feel secure financially. I’m now getting there.
Precisely when I started feeling proud of it, I saw a bunch of instagram posts about how independent woman are not born that way but made by disappointment and the feeling that people let them down repeatedly.
These reels were basically telling me that I’ve become an independent woman, as a pity reaction to mostly men’s behaviour. It kind of crushed my soul.
So I thought and thought about it and no, I can’t agree. Maybe it started as a reaction to a disappointment. But the most important part is that I f@cking worked my ass to get there! I made conscious and repetitive decisions, to push myself and do things, to learn & to grow. I took actions, I took risks. Just like all independent women.
It is so belittling to consider the single event, thought or reaction that lead to a whole journey, as the most important point.
When you decide to loose weight, make money, learn a new skill… is the most important part really the decision, or is it the constant efforts you make to reach such goal? I hope we can agree it’s the later.
So here we are, I felt for another well meaning voice over type of reel and I’m not too proud!
Why did it happen? Why did I take it so personally? Why did I feel “attacked”? I thought about that too!
Well first of all, Instagram algorithm is weird because all I want to see is vintage bikes, puppies and eventually misbehaving cats and instead it showed me that! It also showed me reels about how independent women frighten men! The wrong kind of men and their fragile masculinity, etc etc… I’m not looking for a man and mine is happy that I’ve fixed his vintage car brakes, so I’m ok. Thank you for taking up my brain power, to think about such topics!
Most importantly, why did I react to this, as well? Do I like torturing myself? Yes, maybe. But I’m pretty sure that it’s because once more, these reels pictured women in a certain way and… with men’s reaction and men’s view in mind. And it pissed me off when I understood it.
Women become strong independent bitch because of men and then, they can’t get any men! So women should be aware of the risk when taking this path and they probably should remain where they are instead, accept to be disappointed and so on… That’s the underlying message isn’t it?!
Well, I don’t give a damn and neither should you because it’s BS!
Let’s all become strong independent women and live our best lives, shall we!
Christmas, New Year celebrations… These feel like they were decades ago. And yet the effect they had took a while to dissipate.
If you ate a little too much chocolate, or just too much in general, over the festive season, don’t beat yourself up! I’m with you. Accept and reset. If you haven’t done so yet, it isn’t too late.
I took 2 slow weeks early January. I exercised, I eat well, I drank lots of water and tea, I pampered and yes, I slept a lot. After 2 weeks, I felt refreshed. My skin looked better, I was sleeping better, my scale had started going back down and I was happy.
Unfortunately, life got in the way but what is interesting here, is to see how a little commitment, to simple improvements had such a great effect.
You may think you can’t take 2 weeks off and that’s ok, because this is not what I did, not what I recommend. As you may have read before, beginnings of quarters are always super stressing to me because I have to issue my invoices. So I didn’t take time off, I continued to work, I issued my invoices and did all my accounting… But I took care of myself better, in the process.
This was partly enabled by the following.
Reaping the reward of improved systems
The last couple years have been transformative for me. I’ve said it times and times again, I know! One of the reason is that I have experimented with a lot of things and have dedicated time to continuous improvements.
And you know what?? Continuous improvements does come with compound benefits.
As stated above, I was able to better take care of myself in January because I had been working on streamlining a process that enables me to handle my invoices, accounting, budgeting and investing more efficiently. Less time on administrative tasks meant more time on self-care! Simple.
Yes, it took me time to create the files needed to streamline my invoicing process for example, but now that it is done, I’m reaping the reward and it’s honestly liberating.
I’m taking it a step further in February and March, as you can read below in my plans.
I didn’t want to go back to London, it was so hard, but I had to.
On being grateful for even the smallest achievements
There is nothing that you can’t consider an achievement when it took you effort to manage.
Not only small achievements can pave the way to bigger achievements, but they are valuable on their own. As stated above, small improvements can produce compound benefits.
Here are some examples of my small or not so small achievements and since it’s January, I’ll start by stating a couple things that are from last year.
I’m grateful for reaching my goal in terms of investments. To some it would feel like baby steps, but considering how I handled my finances in the past and how I had to fight my fears, it’s a huge win to me.
I’m grateful for my work and the fact that I was able to enjoy a Christmas and New Year break without much interruption from my clients. It made me so happy. One of the reason for it, is that I had been slightly more firm on what could be expected from me during this time. I had set boundaries and they mostly respected them.
I’m grateful to have a partner who doesn’t stop me! In the past, he was far more critical as I was too. I was hurt that he wasn’t more supportive. I’ve grown out of it and found the strength to be my own cheerleader (independent woman in the making, refer to the above!). On the way, he also grew and instead of maybe seeing me as a threat, got challenged to set the bar higher for himself too. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that the more I’m becoming myself, the more peaceful our relationship is. Years of small improvements here!
I’m grateful for our apartment which now feels like home. A very new feeling! I didn’t want to buy, the process was nerve wrecking and when we moved in a year ago, it felt like an unfinished AirB&B. This feeling lasted for months. There is so much I had to do and learn including drilling in concrete and installing lamps. Every lamps got me closer to feeling home, even if I didn’t know it. Every other improvement I made, got me closer as well.
Just some examples but I’ll discuss other things next months!
And then it happened and then my flight got cancelled and I got to test a ‘Airport hotel’.
Looking forward to my February and March experiment!
Disclaimer: I just finished reading Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear.
You know what I like most about finishing a book? The prospect of starting a new one! 😉
But you know what’s the most important step to take after reading this kind of book? Implementing something from such a book, obviously!
Since I’m not quite sure what I really want to change about my life, for now, I’ll experiment.
And since I’m not going to be home a lot in February, I think my experiment needs to be over the course of 2 months. Will see how that goes.
So what is this experiment? It has to be about building new habits? Yes, obviously.
So in February, every day I want to:
- Do something for my wellbeing: work out, light therapy, massage, hair mask, face mask… I already do these things regularly, but I have to be more consistent. So at least one of these activities per day.
- Do something for my brain: German lessons, read, learn about a new topic… I have a goal to read one non fiction book per month this year. Absolutely doable but I have not managed in the past year.
- Clean something every day: it’s a no brainer and I already do it but I want to be mindful about it. This is typically an activity that reaps benefit when comes the weekend!
- Do something for the apartment everyday: Our apartment is still not finished and I’m not even talking about decorations. This section isn’t about cleaning and maintenance, it is about finishing the work to be done and optimising. This could include finding a light fixture, ordering it or installing it. It can be decluttering, installing a shelve in the basement, it can be planting something on the terrace, painting the curtain rods… Still plenty of small and bigger things to handle.
- Do a little extra in relation to my work: It can be improving my filing system, it can be following up with a client on something where they could use my help, it can be attending a workshop or just learning about a new regulation…
- Show kindest: to my partner, my dad, who ever… 🙂
- Be grateful and write it down. Journaling is already a habit so this should be too hard.
The goal with such experiment is to improve, ever so slightly, every day. I know there will be days, especially when I’m away, where I won’t be able to do much of some of these. Honestly when I’m at my dad, if I have to chose between a German lesson and riding Minty, the decision is easy! Minty will always win!!
It’s ok, it’s an experiment and a continuous improvement exercise. Will see how that goes in a month…