Oh, lovely food. We’re blessed to be alive in the 21st century, living in developed countries where supermarket shelves are packed with an extremely wide variety of products. We’re lucky to be able to choose between different brands and types of food. So how do we choose which item to purchase? I’d highly recommend that we read ingredient lists and make conscious, wise choices. And – hopefully, in the future – force brands to increase their standards. Reading ingredient lists can help you save money, stay healthier and avoid disappointments. Here’s why.
Do you like to sleep in? Do you often have trouble getting up in the morning and abuse the snooze button? You’re not alone! There are plenty of strange, interesting or even funny methods to force yourself to get out of bed and prevent sleeping in. There are also gadgets supposed to help with that. Let’s have a look at both!
Hello again, for the first time in 2019!
I hope you had a great night and started this brand new year on a positive note. Personally, I love this time of year. The new beginning, the empty page that we’re going to fill systematically with new memories and experiences for the next 365 days. The time when we can leave certain things in the past, labelled with previous year’s number, hidden in the deepest corners of our memory, doomed to never again see the light of day.
Hello everyone ^^
The first month of 2018 is gone. Or will be, in a few hours. And it feels strange! This passing month was probably more productive than the entirety of 2017 for me, but on the other hand I still feel like Christmas was literally yesterday, not… 5 weeks ago? Am I the only one feeling like this?
Getting onto the point. This time, like never before, I actually made a long list of New Year’s resolutions. A month has passed, so it’s a good chance to check how I’ve been doing so far – mainly to fuel my motivation (I’ve actually been very successful and I believe realizing that should work as a nice incentive to keep working).
Work out every day
Success! Well, almost. I did skip one day, but besides that – 35+ minutes of workout done every day. My primary goal of exercising was having that one strong point of my daily routine that would keep me disciplined – and that’s working really well. I’m slightly disappointed with the lack of extra benefits from it though – I hoped to fall asleep quicker and earlier and that’s not the case. Either way, I do feel like my body is a little bit stronger and less of an unruly blob, so that’s nice. And I do love the moment of finishing a workout, being exhausted and congratulating myself on staying motivated for yet another day. Sadly, I’m not one of those fitness freaks who can’t wait to start exercising and get hit with endorphins while drowning in their own sweat – it costs me a lot to start a workout and my favourite exercise is the last one. It’s good for me though and it should be worth even more in the long term, so I’m not giving up! I just can’t wait for spring – rollerblading is a kind of workout I genuinely like doing, as opposed to tedious, repetitive exercises I can do at home.
Improve my English
This is by far the most demanding of my resolutions. I wanted to learn all new words from one page of my old, trusty dictionary every day. I’m still motivated and determined to make it happen – every evening I make a list of words to learn the next day. Do I actually go through those words as often as I’d like to? Hmm… maybe not always – I’m not a robot, I’m a human who can be tired or slightly lazy sometimes, but I usually manage to catch up with my learning later on if I have a weaker moment. January list has 1494 words on it. Looks like a lot, sure. Some of the records are indeed new to me, some are there so I use them more, and some are just less common meanings of common words. Do I know all of the January words? No, definitely not, but I try to go back and revise regularly and I definitely remember a lot – vast majority for sure. I said I wanted to learn one page each day, but I actually do two pages – one from each side of the dictionary. That way I have more to learn now, but as the time goes I’ll start seeing more and more words that I’ve already learnt, so I should have a bit less work in the last months of this resolution. Also, seeing each word for the second time should be a nice extra revision.
Read a book each month
I did. I read not one, but two books and I’m now reading the third one, to finish Philip Pullman’s trilogy – His Dark Materials. I have a few books waiting on my list, not sure which one I’ll pick next.
It turned out that learning words from the dictionary and reading books (in English but without paying attention to words I don’t know if I understand the context) work great together – I actually see a lot of the newly learnt words in use in books, much more often than I anticipated. That makes me think that learning them is actually useful and motivates me to keep studying.
I’ve been a good girl and used creams every morning and every evening. Proud of myself here!
Get more sleep
This is something I’m most disappointed with. Not because I’m not trying – I do make sure to turn off the lights and put away all electronic devices much earlier than I used to for the last couple of years – around 1-1.5h earlier. And… I hardly ever manage to actually fall asleep when I’d like to. It’s certainly not because I’m not tired enough. I get very little actual sleep Monday to Friday – under 6 hours a day. I do my full time job, work out, learn a lot in my spare time – I’m absolutely knackered when I go to bed. And yet I simply can’t fall asleep for ages. It’s extremely frustrating. I’ve always been a night owl, sure, and I’d gladly switch my daily routine so that I can get up and go to bed later than I do – but that’s not an option. On most days I feel like a zombie, in desperate need of sleep, just to find myself unable to sleep when the time for it comes. I’m going to keep trying, in hopes to make my body and brain used to this new, earlier time of going to bed, but it’s really discouraging to see that even after 4 weeks it simply won’t work. Any advice? 😦
Work on potentially starting a side business in my spare time Learn new things and improve career-wise
I noticed that in this case I didn’t put my purpose in words the way I meant it, although I wasn’t far off. I want to move abroad and the main goal here is to be financially secure as well as competitive in the jobs market, able to find something soon after moving. I split this whole resolution into two overlapping parts – creating things that I can sell and working on my portfolio, which won’t get me money but should make it easier to find a job. I’ve been creating some bits and bobs to try and list on Etsy in a few months time (that certainly won’t generate much of an income, but if I can potentially make some pocket money doing something I like to do in my free time anyway, I believe it’s worth a try). I’ve also been learning 3D modelling – something that seems to be a natural course for someone who loves creative arts and crafts and also happens to be a programmer. 3D modelling is something I’d like to focus on this year, mainly cause I can kill two birds with one stone there – do it as a side freelance work in my spare time and also potentially use it in my actual career in the future. The last thing is building my portfolio and learning new stuff from the industry I work in at the moment. I managed to find an extra purpose in it and decided to create an app for my English vocabulary training – I have a basic version of it done and I already use it to revise my words in a much better and more convenient way than just reading the dictionary. I’m going to extend and improve it in the next months, using some of the most commonly used technologies – that way I should be more efficient in my vocabulary learning, and the app itself should serve as a nice proof of me being able to use quite a few programming tools.
Something I haven’t said out loud, but I wanted to do anyway – trying something new, something fun, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time or just indulging myself every now and then, especially with experiences. In all this hectic, filled to the top, ambitious routine, I wanted to stay sane and make it all more of a purposeful pleasure rather than a burden. I found time to cook and bake, I found time for some arts and crafts (whether to potentially monetize it in the future or to simply have fun), I found time to watch sports on TV along with my family and I idled some time away doing nothing, like everyone does sometimes. All in a healthy balance.
Focus on myself
One of my resolutions was to focus on myself and my self-development. If you’ve read previous paragraphs, you can probably tell that I’ve been quite successful. I stepped into 2018 with my heart shattered to a million pieces, so taking a step back and avoiding getting involved in any sort of social relations was a natural move anyway – but I’m glad I managed to turn all the negativity into an insane dose of motivation.
Have you made any resolutions? How are they going so far? 🙂
As I promised in my previous post, I’m going to go through my New Year’s resolutions now. I never used to make any resolutions, but this time I really needed to start working on improving my life and it just happened to be around New Year’s, so I came up with a plan to work on from January 1st. All of my resolutions are very long-term but with my current level of desperation I’m hopeful and truly believe that I can complete them all.
Work out every day
Yes, yes. I know. The most repeated, cliché resolution of all times. But the reasons why I decided to put it on my list aren’t exactly the same as most people have. Instead of aiming for weight loss, which I don’t really need, I want to exercise to strengthen my back – in my previous post I mentioned my health problems from last autumn, which kept me in bed for a very long time. In more detail, I had problems with my back, most likely caused by lack of exercise and fully sedentary lifestyle (being a programmer at work and a gamer in spare time surely doesn’t benefit your health 😉 ). So to prevent any further problems in the future I really, really need to exercise regularly.
But there’s also another reason why working out is a good resolution for me. It’s the only resolution that requires actual physical effort from me and when I exercise every day without exceptions it helps me immensely stay disciplined and stick to my daily plan overall. After all, if I managed to work out hard for 35 mins (that’s my daily goal), then skipping a resolution that can be done from the comfort of my chair or even bed would be stupid, wouldn’t it?
Plan each day
This is just a small resolution that, along with working out, is supposed to help me stay disciplined and make sure I don’t become lazy and try to skip any goals. Even though all of my resolutions are daily based, some of them – as you’ll see – are rather general and the exact work done on them can vary greatly between days. That’s why planning it in advance is helpful – I try to be realistic and set my agenda so that I’m actually able to do all the tasks planned and at the same time so that I get some good chunk of work done. Takes only 3 minutes a day but really helps a lot. I like to write my plan down on paper, in my calendar. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing things off to do lists 😀
Improve my English
Okay, now getting to the main points. Currently my life revolves around the dream of moving abroad and all doubts and uncertainties about it. One of them is a question that keeps coming back to me like a boomerang: ‘Do I really know the language enough?’. I’m able to read books or watch films and YouTube videos in English without any problems (even if there’s a word I don’t know the meaning of I usually understand it from the context) and I believe I’m also able to make myself understood when I speak the language myself. But as the perfectionist that I’ve always been, I want more. I’ve had this idea of learning a dictionary by heart for ages and I feel like it’s about time I did that. No, hear me out, I’m not crazy. I hope I’m not. It’s totally doable. I have that little dictionary that I got for Christmas when I was in… first grade? Obviously it doesn’t contain all words used in contemporary English but the description on its cover says it covers about 50 000 words… and I believe it’s enough for the start. Sounds scary, but I know the majority of them, so I’m not going to have to learn 50 thousand new words or expressions, don’t you worry. My goal is to learn new vocabulary from one page each day. Only one page. On average it’s about… 30 words per day? After a week I can say that it’s totally doable – with the good memory I’ve always had, learning 30 words a day shouldn’t be a problem for me, especially that the number doesn’t only include words that are completely new to me but also those that I simply don’t use enough. To make sure I don’t skip any days and to keep myself motivated I wrote a date at the bottom of each page – and it looks like I should be done in the middle of October. Considering that it’s something I’d been planning to do for ages, I’m sure that if I stick to the plan for those 10 months my future self will be unbelievably grateful. I’ll definitely update you on how I’m doing in this matter in a few weeks time. Currently my plan is to each day go through the vocabulary meant for that day and repeat words from the last 3 days. Then on weekends I’m going to revise the whole week and at the end of each month – the whole month. The first week proved successful but I’m fully aware that it’ll most likely get harder with time. Nevertheless, I still believe it’s possible. And even if I don’t manage to memorize everything, I’m sure I’ll still learn a lot.
Read a book each month
There are two reasons for this resolution to be on my list. First of all, I used to be a bookworm and I feel awful spending all my time on a computer and reading no books whatsoever nowadays. One book per month isn’t much, so I should be able to do it with close to no effort – I used to read one book per 2-3 days, so one per month seems like nothing. Secondly, this resolution is closely related to the previous one due to the fact that I’m going to read those books in English. In this case, however, my focus isn’t on the vocabulary. Instead, I’d like to concentrate on how words in books are put together to create that beautiful, vivid, cohesive, poetic style. Without paying too much attention to it though. I simply believe that the more I read the more natural that style will feel and I’ll be encouraged to construct my own sentences using more sophisticated and varied vocabulary instead of always choosing the same set of worn out, popular, overused words.
Work on potentially starting a side business in my spare time
Now here’s the tricky bit. I’m going to write a separate post about this issue, but here’s a brief explanation: if I actually manage to move abroad, having some extra source of income from my personal, freelance work will be incredibly helpful, even if I was to only make 50 quid a month. Money is often considered a taboo, but in actuality it’s something we can’t live without, and, unfortunately, it becomes even more of an issue if you plan on moving to a place with much stronger currency and – sadly – much higher costs of living. I’m currently looking into two fields – creating and selling handmade crafted items and digital 3D models, but I’m open for other opportunities as well. More on this topic in a separate post later this week 🙂
Focus on myself
This one is certainly easier said than done. The main area of life in which I need to improve on being selfish are relationships. I’m still the kind of person who will do everything to make the other person happy while also getting attached to them way too easily. I write fairy tales in my head in the very early stage of a relationship and then cry for weeks when the story doesn’t end with ‘lived happily ever after’. I do it every time and really, it’s about time I stopped. Although fairy tales do sometimes happen in real life, my statistics clearly show that they must be in the minority and if I don’t want to suffer once again I should pinch myself really hard every time I let my imagination go too far when things aren’t fully sorted and functioning. I even wrote a post about why it’s good to be selfish and I should probably finally listen to myself.
(Move to the UK)
Here it is. The main goal that’s supposed to be easier to achieve thanks to all previous ones. Now here’s how I see it: I’d like to move before the first batch of Brexit provisions goes live, which I believe is supposed to happen in March 2019. Or actually, I should probably have my life sorted there by that time, meaning that I need to have a place to live in and a sustainable source of income (so a job in my career field). What I believe should be achievable is moving around September-October, taking two months to deal with all formalities and get used to the new place, potentially doing a simple job part-time until mid December while slowly looking for a job in my field. Then I’d go home for Christmas (I know for sure that me moving abroad will be a tough experience for my family, so going back home for a couple of weeks not too long after moving should make it easier for all of us). And after New Year’s I’d have to either start a new, steady job or focus all my strength and effort on finding one. Sounds easy… but I know it won’t be, haha.
That’s the sketch of the whole process that has formed in my head. Obviously, with something so complex I have to expect unexpected and I’m fully aware of how different reality can be to the most meticulously carved plans and ideas. Either way, I still have a few months left before I need to make any serious decisions, so aside from keeping abreast of jobs and estate rental markets I don’t have much to do in this subject just yet.
Proper skincare & getting more sleep
On a less serious note… or actually, who said skincare isn’t serious? These two came to my mind while I was writing this post and I’m adding them to my resolutions. I’m always tired in the evening and usually end up not even using any cream – I can’t see how bad it is for my skin just yet, but I’m pretty sure my future self will appreciate present me taking proper care of my skin. And about sleep… I usually go to bed late, trying to use as much free time in the evening as possible. But in all honesty, I constantly feel like a zombie and the time I have is never spent efficiently. I’m not expecting miracles and I know that with my lifestyle I can’t get 8 hours of sleep every day, but I’ll be happy if I manage to get even 30 minutes extra every day.
That’s it when it comes to my resolutions for 2018. Ambitious? Maybe. Doable? Absolutely. I’ll make an update on my resolutions at the end of each month to remind myself of the goals I’ve set for this year and – hopefully – to get that extra motivation seeing how successful I’ve been. We’ll see how it goes!
For the last few years I’ve been following quite healthy eating habits – not in an obsessive manner though. When a few months ago I graduated from uni and started working full-time, I soon realised that the new lifestyle resulted in my habits getting worse – unhealthy snacks, heavy lunch meals in our on-site bar etc. I spent a while making a plan on how to improve in that field without too much effort and missing out on taste (my goal wasn’t weight loss diet but maintaining a healthy lifestyle that still contains delicious food). Here’s my list of ideas, some of them I’ve been following for a few years, the others for a few months only – but I already know they work for me and I definitely don’t constantly think that I’m missing out on something. Life’s too short to eat food we don’t like after all. 🙂