Mindset

  • 8 Journal Prompts to smash your goals in 2021!

    Journaling has always been one of those things that I’ve heard time and time again will improve my life, but really struggled to adopt the habit! 

    You can’t read a single Personal Development book without it SCREAMING at you to journal daily! 

    And until recently, I had completely neglected it! 

    Why? Well to be honest, because I just didn’t get it!

    I didn’t get the hype. I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to journal about. And I didn’t know where to start!

    How I got started with Journaling!

    But this year, journaling has become my saviour! 

    I don’t know what happened, but writing became my escape. Getting things out of my head and on to paper was the fastest route to clearing the brain fog and making sense of it all! 

    In the beginning, I was just essentially ‘brain dumping’. Writing whatever thoughts were taking up space in my head and then trying to piece together a plan of action from there. 

    And then it started to evolve. 

    I was doing more free flowing scripting type exercises whereby I would just start writing and let whatever wanted to flow, fall out onto the page. No stopping and no thinking. Just writing until it’s all out! 

    I really started to see the benefits after just a few weeks. 

    The space I was creating in my head made me feel so much clearer! It really was like blowing the cobwebs off of Pandora’s box and setting all of that hidden magic free! 

    Cosy setting with candle burning, book with glasses and rings resting on ot

    Journaling is one the the Lifestyle Changes I mention in this post about improving my mindset during the pandemic!

    I’m totally guilty of overthinking things and keeping things spinning over and over in my mind; making bigger problems out of them. But journaling really helped me to get those thoughts out of my brain and on to paper to allow me to really see what I was actually dealing with. Then I could put some logic behind how to rectify it.

    When we become too consumed with our thoughts, it’s easy to think that problems are bigger than they actually are! For me, using this method helped me put everything into perspective. 

    Now I find myself journaling on all sorts; how I’m feeling today, what I want my future to look like and how I can overcome challenges. 

    I’ve also found that it can help me gain clarity on the things I’m struggling with. For me recently, this has been my goals for the year ahead, and how I can actually make them a reality.

    Using journal prompts has allowed me to review the past 12 months, work out what I feel has gone well that I want to do more of and then create some actions in order to help me to progress. 

    The Journal Prompts for success!

    So below, here are the 8 journal prompts I’ve used to reflect on the year just gone and plan for the year ahead. I’ve also included some detail on how to answer them in case journaling is new to you, or you struggle like I did:

    What worked this year? 

    To answer this prompt, look back on the year just gone. Think about career projects, business goals, personal achievements, fitness improvements, even those new daily habits you instilled that really helped you to move the needle. List everything you can think of.

    What would I like to improve in the year ahead? 

    Here you would think about the things you want to do better. Perhaps it could be your level of consistency with working out, or prioritizing self-care. Maybe you’d like to start being more focused with your time and working to a schedule. Note down what you would like to be better at/with. 

    What did I learn? 

    This is a great question to get a bit deeper with yourself. You may have learnt that you have a habit of self-sabotaging, or perhaps you learnt that you’re never particularly productive after dinner so you need to work on any projects earlier in the day. You may have learnt that you work better than expected on your own, or that you need noise in order to focus. Really spend some time on this question to get to know yourself a little better.

    What did I enjoy? 

    This prompt will help you to get clarity on the things that light you up. You can then make sure you incorporate these things into your life regularly. We need to maintain balance in order to get the best out of ourselves so being clear on the things that make you happy, means they don’t get forgotten about.

    What do I want to achieve this year? 

    Now it’s time to start thinking about your goals for the year ahead. The questions you just answered should have helped you to understand what your priorities are, how you can best approach your goals and do so whilst having fun. Think not just logically, but also think about your desires and where you’d really like to see yourself in 12 months time. 

    Desk set up by window with Apple Mac and Apple Macbook
    Who do I need to become to make this happen? 

    This question isn’t about becoming someone else! It’s to help you ensure you have all the traits within you to make your goals achievable. So you may need to become someone more schedule-bound so you stay on track. You may need to become someone who has to say no to friends occasionally as you find you often end up stretching yourself too thin then neglect your priorities. You may need to become someone who gets out on a walk daily as you’ve realised that’s when you get some of your best ideas. Think about all the things you can embody to become the best version of yourself to achieve your goals. 

    What do I need to do to make this happen? 

    Here you would list the action steps you need to take in order to move the needle. So this could be I need to set up a dedicated workspace to allow me to work more productively. Or I need to wake up 30 minutes earlier in order to make time for my morning routine. You can then use these actions to help structure your days/weeks to achieve the tasks you need to do. 

    What do I need to have to make this happen? 

    This final prompt will help you consider what’s required to move forward. Do you need to invest in any tools or courses? Perhaps you need to work on your mindset to believe your goals are achievable? Do you need to make sure you have 8 hours sleep as you can’t function on less? Think about all the things that will help you take the next steps. 

    So those are my 8 journal prompts to help you thrive in the year ahead! I hope the explanations help you to get the best out of the questions as the deeper you go, the more chance you have of really making a difference! 

    Now you just need to grab a notebook, light a candle (I love these Crystal Candles by Hoof & Paw!) and set aside the time to go through these questions.

    Goals can continuously be reviewed don’t forget so after 3 months, if you feel things need tweaking, go back through some of these prompts and amend them accordingly!

    I’d love to hear how you found these journal prompts and what they helped you to discover so make sure you let me know! You can either comment below, email me or DM on Instagram

    Keep Shining Queens! 

    Char x

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  • 6 lifestyle changes that improved my mindset during the pandemic

    When I made my vision board for 2020, rest assured ‘global pandemic’ wasn’t one of the things I put on there!!

    Here we are – 10 months into the year and 8 months living in some form of lockdown; it’s fair to say that this year has without a doubt been one of the most challenging for a majority of people’s mental health. 

    And I’m not just talking about the low’s, I’m talking about the ability to think straight, how we deal with difficult times, and also how we go about our daily lives when you’re continuously being force-fed a narrative that doing anything except what ‘they’ tell you, will result in you, or someone else, getting sick and then dying. 

    It’s a lot for anyone to deal with and it’s meant that for a lot of us, day to day existence has become quite challenging.

    Trying to establish ways to regain our control is now essential because let’s be honest, who knows when this may end. We refer to it as a 2020 problem but rest assured, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, this isn’t all going to disappear. I wish it would trust me, but the likelihood is, whether it’s the virus or it’s repercussions, there’s still more to overcome. 

    The other thing is, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned during this time, is that nothing is certain anymore. The rug can be pulled from underneath us at the drop of a hat. So learning to be more agile and resilient, will be one of the best tools you can have in your kit. 

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve been really looking at how I can adapt to the current situation and how I can make my life as ‘normal’ and functional as possible given the circumstances.

    So here are some of the ways I’ve adapted my lifestyle and switched my mindset to feel more in control of my life as I currently know it.

    Dropping the Struggle!

    I am the absolute QUEEN of making my life feel more difficult than it actually is! I overwhelm myself with these internal tales of just how hard done by I am and how there is just so much going wrong that I start to believe my own hype. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had, and continue to have, my fair share of struggles, but when I look at the actual problems, they’re usually not as bad as the voices in my head keep telling me they are! 

    Georgie Stevenson recently hosted an amazing podcast about this and it’s something I’ve heard her speak about before but this time, it really connected with me. Because now more than ever, I’ve been super guilty of this. 

    Sometimes we feel like unless we’re struggling through certain situations, they can’t be justified however if the outcome were to be the same, whether we struggle through a situation or if we approached it with ease and logic, wouldn’t the latter be more beneficial?

    So that’s what I’ve been doing lately. Looking at the things I’m going through and seeing them for what they really are. Then using a more rational approach to take action. 

    It’s incredible how much lighter I feel now that I’ve stopped insisting to myself things are more difficult than they actually are!

    Journaling

    For someone who is such an advocate for mindset and personal development work, I’ve never been much of a journaler! I couldn’t get my head around it and it just didn’t come particularly naturally to me; I never felt I was getting much out of it. 

    But recently, I’ve just had an urge to write things down, and it’s helped me in so many ways over the last few months. 

    Sometimes I write lists. Sometimes I write down the things that are bothering me and then I ‘answer’ each issue with how it can be resolved. Other times I just write whatever’s on my mind. I find that getting things out of my head and on to paper can just make space for me to call out my own bullshit (if required) or see things for what they truly are. 

    It can also help provide me with clarity because when I write without intention and just let the words flow, sometimes I have lightbulb moments I may never have come across without the action of writing. 

    For me, journaling isn’t a formal, rigid task. It’s something I pick up when I need it. When it feels natural, authentic, and beneficial. And I journal in a way that suits the results I’m looking to achieve. 

    Embracing pockets of normality

    I got caught up in the whole ‘lockdown mentality’. For weeks I barely left the flat; I pined for my life before March and I felt like this was it. I’d got bored with just existing and felt like I was living in Groundhog Day. I think that was when I hit my lowest point. 

    People would reach out to me and be like ‘What have you been up to?’ and I started to find it really triggering because I was like ‘I’ve been up to NOTHING’! Literally, my life became a vicious circle of working from my dining table, going to the gym (sometimes), and spending way too much of the little bit of money I did have in Sainsbury’s; primarily on wine and prosecco!

    That was it! Nothing else to report!

    I wasn’t seeing people, I wasn’t going anywhere, I literally felt like I was just existing in my own little bubble of negativity and stress. 

    So I decided I needed to do something about it. And I chose to look at what I could do rather than what I couldn’t. 

    I started to reach out to friends to make plans. Got out and changed my scenery. I took myself out for lunch and just people watched. All of a sudden, things stopped feeling so bleak!

    A massive thing I was struggling with was the lack of IRL interactions I was having, and so I made a conscious effort to ditch the zoom calls and facetime, and replace them with genuine engagement where possible. 

    Re-evaluating my finances

    Around this time last year, I started to get my finances back on track. I went from being in my overdraft by £1000 every month to not touching it at all! I was working to a personalised budget and making real headway in having a much healthier relationship with money (check out my post Boujee Budgeting to find out more)!

    Fast forward and Miss Rona has affected my monthly income by around £1,800 a month. A MONTH!!! This has meant that financially, it has been a real struggle for me on top of everything else that’s been going on. 

    One of my biggest stress factors, and the one thing that can stop me from sleeping at night, is worrying about money. So I needed to take action to try and regain some control. 

    I looked at my outgoings again and decided to consolidate all of my repayments for loans, credit cards, and store accounts. Having one cheaper monthly repayment took a massive weight off my mind. 

    I also started looking at things I could reduce the price of such as my mortgage repayments and my phone bill. 

    I’m also giving up wine during the week (wish me luck, ha!)! I’m probably spending up to £30 a week on wine and all it’s doing is helping me gain weight! The same goes for the takeaways! So now, I’m allowing myself 1 bottle of wine at the weekends and takeaways twice a month. If I ever get a craving for either and manage to overcome it, I’ll put the amount into one of my savings pots so I can watch that grow instead of my waistline! 

    I’m no longer stressing about money and my money mindset is improving thanks to Tori Gaynors ‘Worthy & Wealthy Academy’ that I recently enrolled in which is helping me to tackle some of my deep-rooted money issues. 

    Taking time to relax guilt-free!

    How often have you sat down to watch something on Netflix and felt you should be cleaning the house, or working out at the gym, or working on your personal projects?

    Trying to relax when all you can think about are the things you’re not doing can be an absolute mood-killer and takes away all the pleasure you hoped to get from doing fuck all!

    So I’ve started allowing myself time and space to just ‘be’. Yes, there is always something else I ‘could’ be doing, but the benefit of giving yourself a break can be the catalyst to making everything else a lot easier! 

    Slowing down and just enjoying the moment can be where that inspired action takes form, or your body can take a moment for recovery. 

    It’s essential and just because life is not as hectic as it was, doesn’t mean that R&R is no longer on the menu! 

    Improving the quality of my sleep!

    Sleeping through the night has become a bit of a myth for me recently! I struggle to fall asleep and then when I do, I wake up at obscene times and then proceed to toss and turn until the alarm eventually goes off!

    I never feel truly rested and my energy levels have just depleted; especially now the seasons have changed and it’s permanently grey outside! 

    Something that’s always helped me get an incredible night’s sleep is using sleep meditation apps. I’d totally been neglecting these and started using them again in the last few weeks and can honestly say, my sleep has improved tenfold. 

    My personal favourites are by Mindifi but they seem to not agree with the latest iOS updates so I’m now using Calm and Simple Habit

    When I use meditation apps to fall asleep, I find that I fall asleep quicker and easier, and also I sleep a lot deeper so when I wake up, I feel like I’ve been asleep for a month! 

    These are some of the simple ways I’ve made changes to my lifestyle to improve my mindset. Essentially, now I feel more in control of my life, I feel like I’m the one in the driving seat again! Now I don’t feel like life is just happening to me, I can start to embrace it again, and try and find the good in every day!

    Something Steven Bartlett mentioned in his recent episode of Diary of a CEO, is ‘learn to contrast in the right direction’. If we keep placing so much emphasis on our ‘old lives’ (contrasting up) we’ll always feel disappointed, however, if we feel blessed for all that we do have, the things that some people may be praying for every day (contrasting down), we’ll experience more gratitude which will essentially make our lives better anyway. 

    Yes – this situation is awful, but if we can look at the fact that we have our health, our families’ health, jobs, the ability to pay the bills, the internet, and a warm home, life could be a lot, lot worse.

    So do what you can to enjoy this time, in whatever form that looks like right now, because the control is in your hands! 

    Sending lots of love,

    CK x

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  • Self-Love VS Self-Care: Do you know the Difference?

    It’s been a hot topic over the past couple of years, but do you know the difference between self-love and self-care? And do you know when you should be using them? Keep reading to get that much-needed clarity so you can start implementing it straight away! 

    The Basics

    There’s no escaping the self-love/self-care movement that’s been happening in recent times! It’s easy to get them confused and intertwine their meanings. Both are there to essentially improve your life, but knowing how and when to use each one can be something a lot of people haven’t quite got to grips with. 

    It’s so important that we take care of ourselves and ensure our lives are well rounded, fulfilled, and serve us. Not just doing what’s expected of us. We’re living in a time where we have quick, easy access to almost anything! This has seen our generation has become quite consumed with ‘stuff’ and the materialistic pleasures in life. However, rarely do they provide true happiness and even if they do, it’s short-lived and can only be replicated by more consumerism. 

    Self-love and self-care can often cost very little, if anything at all! They can also usually be available on tap when most needed. 

    So let’s find out how you can use the 2 to make a huge difference in your life!

    Self-Love

    The definition of self-love is “regard for one’s well-being and happiness.” You want to ensure your own cup is full, and that what it’s full of is truly benefiting you! 

    Self-love is taking care of yourself on all levels; mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This can mean giving yourself compassion and grace, but also knowing when to call yourself out on your own bullshit in order to move forward! 

    When it comes to the physical, this may look like getting active and eating well. It can also be knowing when to rest and not putting your body through unnecessary stress. 

    From an emotional standpoint, self-love may look like feeding your mind with positive things and spending time with people who increase your vibe! It can also be having a good cry when you feel overwhelmed to release some tension. Equally, walking away from people or situations that have you questioning yourself is also healthy and sometimes essential.

    Various skincare and perfume bottles and a candle on top of a mirrored plate

    Mentally, self-love can consist of continually challenging yourself to become a better version of the person you are. However equally, it can be recognising when you’re at the point of burnout and need to cut yourself some slack. 

    On a spiritual level, you may have more awareness of what you have to be grateful for in life! You start to believe in yourself and your self-worth more, and start living your life from a place of abundance. 

    My most important life-lesson

    One of the things I think is most important though that also falls under the self-love banner is finding self-acceptance. Dropping the constant need to compare yourself to others, feeling like you need to have achieved certain things by a certain age, and starting to celebrate your differences. You know the saying ‘No One is You and that is your Superpower’? That is something everyone could do with wholeheartedly embracing. In my own personal growth journey, THAT is what took me to a whole new level! 

    I stopped with all of the external pressures to be someone I wasn’t, to fit a mould society had formed for me. I’ve never felt more comfortable in my own skin until I surrendered and became at peace with the person I was. 

    I’m different, and I fully embrace that! Ever since I’ve started living life more authentically, things seem to fall into place a lot easier. Life finally makes sense! I’m overall happier and able to do things based on my own needs and desires. I’m no longer questioning whether it’s something I should be doing or what people might say or think about my actions (plot twist: I. Don’t. Care!).

    I hope you’re starting to see how you can incorporate self-love almost daily in so many areas of life. Also how it can provide a deeper inner connection, peace, and a more grounded outlook on the world around us. 

    So now that we’ve got a better insight into what self-love is, let’s look at its counterpart and what that consists of…

    Self-Care

    Self-care is more to do with physical acts and ways we can improve our mood and overall well-being. It’s key to good relationships and can help reduce anxiety. 

    To make the most of self-care, it should be an active choice, rather than something you stumble upon or do when you’re feeling low. Making it a non-negotiable will keep it consistent and hopefully not a necessity in order to bring you back to a more positive place. 

    We’re talking bubble baths, face masks, going to a yoga class, or a night out at your favourite restaurant! 

    Plate with waffles dusted with icing and with black cherries. Also some flowers in the image and cutlery.

    It can also be cancelling those plans that you really don’t want to go to! You could take a digital detox, or go off-grid for a minute to spend some time with yourself and your thoughts. 

    Self-care can also show up by doing those things that seem like chores but actually set you up for success! By this I mean things like managing your money efficiently or setting boundaries for yourself! Knowing when to take annual leave at work just for the break! It could also be putting structure in place for life to run more smoothly. Check out my post 10 Easy Ways to Make your Life Super Organised for inspo and tips!

    Putting systems in place and managing your life so that you have a fair degree of control can be one of the most empowering and liberating thing you can do for yourself! Give it a go – what have you got to lose? 

    Giving back is also super important and can bring so much to your life. This could be through charitable donations (currently I’m supporting Beam), mentoring or giving away your services for free. It could simply giving someone an ear to chew or a shoulder to cry on. Selfless acts shouldn’t be overlooked but also shouldn’t be done just for the potential reward. It should come from a genuine place. 

    I hope this has given you a bit more clarity on self-love & self-care. Hopefully you now know how you can implement them in your life more frequently, and has provided you with some inspiration to help you get going! 

    They both start with self because it’s as much about taking responsibility and ownership of yourself as it is about nurturing and looking after yourself; inside and out. 

    So tell me, what did you learn from this blog and how are you going to start bringing more self-love and self-care into your life? 

    Look after yourself Ladies

    CK x

    Pin for self love vs self care blog post with pink peonies

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  • How to avoid the Toxic Positivity trap!

    There is absolutely no denying right now that the hype around positivity, self-love and personal development is huge, and for good reason! 

    We’re more aware of our own mental health demons and with modern day life being such a ever increasing minefield, we need to build up that positivity muscle!

    I’m forever sharing how Personal Development has literally changed the game for me. I recently shared some of the books I credit to having an impact on that in my post Personal Development & Mindset Books to up-level your life!

    But that’s not to say I didn’t struggle with it at times! 

    Toxic Positivity: what is it?

    I’d go to events and read books, where I’d feel like I was just being told to think positive ALL of the time:

    If something good happens, be grateful and think positive!

    If something bad happens, it’s for the greater good so think positive! 

    If you’re having a mediocre time, think positive and it will improve! 

    And this ladies and gents, is what’s known as Toxic Positivity! 

    Psychology Today defines Toxic Positivity as the concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life. It means only focusing on positive things and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions.

    Now, there is something to be said about being able to see the positives in life. However, you also need to experience and be in tune to all of your feelings and all of lifes up’s and down’s. 

    Without feeling the low’s or feeling pain, as awful as they can be, we would never appreciate the highs and the good without them. As with everything, it’s about balance!

    It’s legitimately impossible to be positive 100% of the time. And more to the point, it’s downright unhealthy!! 

    You’ll see me sharing a lot about seeing the good in situations, and trying to uncover the lessons where possible, but at the same time, I highlight my struggles and my down days because there needs to be balance in life. 

    How else can it show up?

    The other way we can participate in Toxic Positivity can be in the forms of how we give advice to others, or how we go about being supportive. 

    Say for example a friend has been struggling with finding a new role recently. They’ve been applying to everything, getting nowhere and really starting to feel shitty about the whole process. 

    Then you come along, with your secure job, regular income and unimpacted life and tell them how ‘It’s all going to be fine’, ‘Something will come up soon’ and to just ‘Stay positive’ 🙃

    Can you see how triggering that may be to someone who is finding the exact opposite?

    What may be more beneficial is to understand their circumstances better, offer to pass their CV to your own HR Department and to seek ways in which you can assist in their search! 

    We need to be aware of our own ways of deflecting and minimising other people’s feelings in order to protect our own. 

    Toxic Positivity can also be used to mask other things; such as what you’re truly feeling. 

    If things have got tough, but you want to maintain to your outside world that everythings OK, you may cover up these feelings with enhanced levels of positivity. 

    As a way to downplay the pain, or perhaps shame, that you may be feeling, it’s not uncommon to be more positive than ever so as not to share what’s going on inside, or even as a way to feel like you’re not bringing others down. 

    Suppressing your emotions can lead to stress and physical reactions within the body so it is far better to unleash whatever it is that you’re feeling and start to deal with it piece by piece as you may find that it’s actually easier to deal with than you imagined! 

    If you are particularly struggling with this , it’s worth connecting with the guys at Mind. They’re available for support to help you move forward.

    How can we manage it?

    Learning to manage our feelings plays a big part in this too. 

    We’re becoming conditioned to believe that any form of negative feeling relates to a mental health issue. 

    The slightest bit of anxiety and we’re self-diagnosing! Plot twist: anxiety is a totally normal reaction! When we feel we’re under threat or we feel worried, tense or afraid, anxiety kicks in. 

    It’s when your anxiety starts having a major impact on your life that it then becomes an issue. If it starts to become a regular occurrence then it should be looked into. 

    But feeling anxious, stressed, concerned about your future etc., is all totally normal and shouldn’t be buried in positive emotions. 

    Trying to unravel the root cause of the problem and how you can resolve it will go further than covering it up with fake positivity. 

    If you are feeling like this and want to find ways to get some clarity, you could try:

    • Journaling what you’re feeling
    • Writing out your gratitude’s
    • Try some self-care exercises
    • Listing everything you’re feeling and putting action points with each one to make progress with it
    • Talk with someone; whether that be a friend or family member, or a professional such as a Doctor, Therapist or Coach

    What action can we take?

    Now is a perfect time to start being super real with yourself; because it’s OK to do that and how I pretty much approach most things! 

    Times are hard right now! We’re spending more time on our phones, we’ve got too much time to think and theres a lot of negativity doing the rounds. 

    I wrote a post recently on how you can manage your social media experience which you can find here!

    Now is the time for you to take complete ownership of what you consume and how you manage your feelings. Don’t get bogged down with the bullshit, because a lot of what you’re being fed right now is exactly that! But at the same time, don’t overcompensate on positivity to try and block those things out. 

    Just take them for what they are, form your own educated opinion and ‘file it’!

    So look, I am the biggest advocate for a positive life and mindset! What I want you to understand is the difference between genuine optimism and the issues with Toxic Positivity! 

    Seek out the positives in all situations; even if you can’t see it immediately, there usually is something to be taken from it. 

    But don’t harness all other feelings and experiences in favour of only being positive! 

    Let me know in the comments about your experiences with Toxic Positivity and lets carry on the conversation!

    Keep it real homies ✌🏽

    CK x

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