Tag: new year’s resolution

5 Most Useful Fitness Accessories

5 Most Useful Fitness Accessories

Welcome back after the short Christmas break! I hope you had a lovely time with your nearest and dearest!

I’m sure most of us still have some scrumptious leftovers from Christmas feasts. But at the same time, we’re now fast approaching the season of making New Year’s Resolutions. I probably won’t be wrong if I say that at least half of those who make resolutions will include – in one way of another – being physically active, improving their fitness level, hitting the gym, or just generally trying to spend less time on the sofa, in front of the TV.

Last year, I was among those who decided to work out in the New Year. I decided to do it every day and, to my surprise, I actually managed to stick to that plan for about 10 months. Let’s have a quick look at how it went! I will also include a list of most useful fitness accessories which helped me stick to the plan.

Continue reading “5 Most Useful Fitness Accessories”

New Year’s Resolutions – January update

New Year’s Resolutions – January update

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.

Skincare

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.

Extras

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? 🙂

Book of the month – January – Northern Lights

Book of the month – January – Northern Lights

Hello 🙂

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read (at least) one book each month. The book I chose for January is Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, the first book of His Dark Materials trilogy. This is not the first time I’m reading it, but it is the first time in a very long time.

It’s a young adult fantasy novel from 1995. The main reason why I’m reading this trilogy from the 90s now (besides the fact that I simply love it, of course) is that last October, 20 years after the release of the original trilogy, a new book set in the same universum came out and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

The trilogy is full of magic and fantastic creatures, features a battle between the good and the evil over an original and rather difficult subject (which makes the book more suitable for young adults+ than kids, despite the seemingly fairy tale-ish feel, at least at first glance) and shows the main characters struggle with hard, often heartbreaking choices and decisions. It’s an absolute masterpiece in the world of young adult fiction and I can’t recommend it enough. I don’t want to spoil the plot, so this description has to be enough.

Now a little rant regarding this trilogy… there was a film made, based on the first book from the trilogy. A horrible, shallow film, which completely ignores the deeper meaning behind the story. It also looks like its creators had known how bad it was going to turn out before they even started working on it; the last scene in the book brings an explanation to some events as well as a cliffhanger to make the reader eager to jump into the sequel. And the film completely ignores it – the entire scene is cut out from the story which, as a result, ends prematurely. Wow. In contemporary cinematography not using the chance to indicate that there’s something more to await clearly means that even the creators know that no one’s going to fund filming the sequel. I’ve always preferred books over films, and this title is one of those stories that were ruined in their movie versions the most. It’s even more surprising and disappointing when we look at the cast. So many prominent, famous, acclaimed actors – Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee are only some of them – and they managed to produce such a flop! That deserves some kind of a medal, almost.

Anyway, I’m going to enjoy this winter afternoon with a lovely book, some hot chocolate with marshmallows and Christmas gingerbread biscuits (have I made too many? it’s the end of January… hmmm…) 🙂

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New Year’s Resolutions 2018

New Year’s Resolutions 2018

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Hello.

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!

Breakup anniversary

Breakup anniversary


Feeling lonely? Prepare in advance and smash it with a simple plan!


Happy New Year everyone! I need to start by saying that the Christmas time was extremely busy for me and that’s why I took a short break off blogging. There was no new episode of my You are what you eat series last week, but it will be coming tomorrow. Now, however, I’d like to talk about something else. I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog my failed relationship. Today, it’s been exactly a year since the breakup. And on that occasion, I thought I’d share the story with you.

I have to admit I used to be one of those believing that love only happens to everyone once and lasts a lifetime. I thought it was simply impossible to stop loving someone. Sadly, now I know how wrong I was.

I was in a relationship for nearly 3 years. We had both good and bad times, like every couple does, but I was convinced it would be the relationship for life. Unfortunately, with my caring nature, I soon got into the giver’s spot in that relation, while my ex-boyfriend stayed on a receiver’s position. And although I didn’t mind giving the loved person all the best, it wasn’t a balanced situation. Before I realised, it got to the point where all my effort was taken as a given and I couldn’t expect anything in return. Not that I had high expectations, but when, from time to time, I hoped for something small or asked him to do me a favour, it either went unlistened or was done with a lot of suffering and complaining. And each situation like that only led me to lower my expectations even more, ending up being left without any. Now I clearly see how bad it was, but even then I had that thought somewhere in the back of my head.

A month or two before Christmas 2015, I started to feel that the relationship was slowly but surely heading to its end. I didn’t want to believe in that and I was trying to push the last bits of hope to the top of my mind, but deep inside I knew it was going to end. I still loved him then, and I loved him many months after. But the day I found out he didn’t love me was the coldest day in my life, for many reasons. November 2015. Me, my ex-boyfriend and his best friend were hanging out in town. The plan was to go to a bar or two and just chat and enjoy ourselves. However, the two got a better idea mid-evening. They had a friend who then worked in a small petrol station in the suburbs – they wanted to go and visit him there. On most days I wouldn’t mind that. But that day was the beginning of winter, the weather was awful and the temperature was very low. And I was not prepared to spend the evening outdoors (the station only had a small cabin for the employees, we couldn’t all get inside). I have to say here that my cold tolerance is far below average – I’m the kind of person who often wears a jumper in 30°C cause it’s not warm enough to take it off. In winter, I can wear the thickest clothes I can find in stores and I’ll still be shaking and turning into a human icicle. And on that day I wasn’t even wearing the thickest coat, as winter came unexpectedly after a few warm weeks. Maybe it sounds silly, but physically it was one of the worst experiences of my life – spending around an hour trapped in the suburbs of my town, literally shaking from cold, because of an unplanned visit my company decided to pay their friend. I didn’t want to ruin their time so I just suffered in silence, jumping from foot to foot and walking in circles to warm up my body just a little bit. I didn’t want to say anything out loud, but soon it became clear how hard of a time I was having. And then I saw it. My ex looked at me, and in his eyes I saw ice, colder than the air between us. He didn’t say a single word, but his eyes did. ‘Stop being cold, can’t you see I’m having fun here?’. I realise how silly it sounds. But we were 24. Mature, adults. And he saw nothing wrong in me literally freezing because of his impromptu idea for some ‘fun’ meeting.

We stayed in the relationship for a while after that event. Christmas came and our tradition was to discuss the main gifts with each other, so that we could both get something we wanted or needed instead of a bunch of random, not necessarily needed or liked stuff. He had a very specific choice of the main gift he’d like to get, but only one online store sold it at that time. He sent me a link to the item saying he was aware that the gift would most likely arrive after Christmas. That’s indeed what happened, and January came. We decided to go to a cafe, where I could give him the gift and where we could spend a nice afternoon. Also, it happened to be the same cafe we went to on our very first date 3 years earlier. And those were the only two times we were there. The first, and what later turned out to be the last date.

We’d been in the cafe for around an hour, having a nice, argument-free time, when he said he didn’t feel well. He insisted on going to our homes and meeting again the day after or so. That’s what we did.

I got back home, got on my PC. So did he. And like always, we talked there… kinda. Basically, he just wrote to me to break up.

A 24-year-old educated man with a serious job, broke up with his girlfriend of 3 years on an online chat, right after taking her to the place where they went on their first date and having collected his Christmas gift. 2 weeks later, he spent a weekend around 300 kilometres away from home, with his new girlfriend.

We met twice after that, accidentally, many weeks later, and only exchanged a few words.

Looking back and trying to be objective, I did nothing to deserve that. And even if there were situations in which I did something wrong, I still believe that no one deserves being treated like that. One day you’re happy with your partner of a few years, the next day you get dumped via and online chat and never meet them again until some awkward moment months later.

The way it all ended should have shown me his real value. But although now I can say he was an asshole who never really respected me as a person, after the break-up I was completely devastated. Like, completely. I spent the first two weeks in bed. Crying, refusing to eat anything else than my sedative pills, crying some more and getting nearly no sleep due to my heart beating as if it was gonna try to escape from my body. I would have stayed there for even longer, if it wasn’t for my finals at uni and a terrifying possibility of failing my life even more. I’d still have sleep problems and occasionally burst into tears for the next ~6 months. And even then, it only started to slowly heal.

After a whole year, I don’t know if I can say I’m entirely fine. I do clearly realise that he wasn’t worth me and my love. But on the other hand, it was my first that serious and long relationship. I had plans for the future and I have plenty of good memories, mostly from the beginning of it. It’s not something I’d like to erase from my head – I definitely learnt a lot from it. But at the same time, I was unable to smile and have any kind of fun for like half a year after it all got ruined. Also, I’m in the age when many girls get proposed to/get married or even already have their own house and a kid or two. And it feels so bad and hopeless that I’m all alone.

As I said, a few months ago I started to slowly recover from this whole situation. I changed my environment and spend time with new friends, and it feels great and refreshing. I can genuinely laugh and have fun, something that I was nearly sure I’d never experience again.

New Year’s resolution? I’d like to write a part 2 of this story next January, in which I can sincerely say I’ve recovered and, most importantly, I’m happy with my life.

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Grandmother’s Day Quilled Card

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