Simple Money

For a few years now, I have been tracking my spending in an attempt to get out of debt. Luckily, I only have a couple of debts that would seem small to most people, but they seem large to me, and although I’m not overly worried about them, as I know they will be paid off eventually, the fact that they are there makes me feel really uncomfortable and yuk. My ideal situation is to be debt free, with enough money to comfortably live on, with savings in the bank and an emergency fund. This has been my goal for a long time. However, it’s not happening. I am going round and round in circles….I spend ages paying the money back, and finally just clear my overdraft, then ugh, I slip back into the red again, and it spirals downwards, and so this cycle continues.

What am I doing wrong?

I took a good, long hard look at my money situation today, and the answer lies in my habits, or rather learning to stay in the habit of learning to love the energy of money, ie. getting into my money rhythm of asking, receiving and feeling grateful….my money flow.

I LOVE these words to describe money….rhythm, flow, cycle, abundance, attraction. To me, these words mean love, and as I am discovering, the huge and powerful energy of love seems to be what life is all about. Every time I feel stuck in a thought/feeling/situation, I ask myself how I can find love with it. So, what I am getting at here is I am now going to try a new approach to getting out of debt;

By asking love to help me

I’m sure you’ve heard of asking the universe and surrendering in certain situations. This may be something that you think is a complete load of rubbish, but for me I have done this several times in my life, and found that if I stop resisting, struggling and learn to let go and be carried, and allow the things to find me that I need to get unstuck, it usually seems to work. Ask and it is given, and what you focus on grows.

So I’m starting my money journey again. I am writing up my ‘why’ I want to be in a better place financially, and I am creating my money vision for where I want to be, along with using some powerful money affirmations. I am tracking every single penny I spend, and the idea is to not spend anything at all, unless it is essential, so of course for things like rent/mortgage, bills, food etc. One thing I do believe is hugely important to me is spending money on good, high quality food and essential products for health and well-being, such as vitamins and organic chemical-free skincare products.

What’s the plan then?

This system of tracking every penny really works for me, but it only works when I commit to it and put 100% effort and discipline into it. I hide my credit card in a safe place, and don’t go out with it. I keep every receipt until it’s tracked in my big money notebook. I follow a fantastic money blog called The Frugal Cottage where they have a Facebook group too – they regularly do a No Spend Month which is actually a really fun thing to do, especially when you can buddy up with other people doing the same thing.

One of my best friends gave me this awesome book for my birthday which I am about to re-read. It’s called The Wealth Chef by Ann Wilson, and my friend actually got herself debt-free by working with this book.

It’s all about changing my attitudes with money, realising that I don’t need to buy things just for the sake of it. The whole point of this is to keep my life simple and enjoy simple living which means simple money. I want to stop looking for things outside of myself to give me a hit or a fix and a little rush of excitement! I want to find new ways of doing this…. such as learning to just ‘be’, appreciate and enjoy what I have got.

Simple money is the way forward….please get in touch if you fancy joining me on this simple money journey. It’s about changing my relationship with money, finding the love, becoming a money magnet and saving for a bright future with the security behind my back, and it’s about losing the careless attitude, the ‘I want’ and ‘ I need’, when actually I’m fine and much happier with less.

So….are you with me on a simple money journey? I’d love to hear from you!

Advertisements

My Phone’s Gone Zen

Ok, not quite zen, but near enough….and it feels fabulous!

My phone is something I struggle with. It’s such a love/hate relationship. It seemed like the best place to start with simplifying my life, as phone checking is a bad habit which really gets me down.

I felt really frustrated. As much as I love Facebook, the constant scrolling and quick reading was making me feel anxious and depressed, and my poor husband was complaining I was on my phone too much. The way I was feeling about yet another addiction was awful, and I then made myself a new promise that I’m going to control my phone, NOT my phone controlling me!

I wanted to make my phone a positive thing. There are so many advantages and wonderful resources online to help us in so many ways. We can connect with like-minded souls in Facebook groups, we can google absolutely anything, we can feel supported, comforted, uplifted and motivated by what we read/hear/connect to. I didn’t want to focus on the negative, addictive side of my phone.

So, total overhaul later and my phone’s gone zen. Here’s how I did it.Firstly, I turned all notifications off except for phone calls, which I don’t get many of anyway. People can ring me on the home phone, and leave a message if I’m out. Then I switched the phone onto silent. Permanently. This way, I check my phone for messages when I want to, at specific times, not when my phone rings and pings at me. Life feels so much calmer and quieter now I’ve shut this little device up!

When I turn my phone on, I just see a picture, no apps. I chose this as my home screen, as a reminder.

On my second screen I have my ‘healthy and positive’ apps. These are podcasts, meditation app, photos, music and my habit app. I arrange them across the top of the screen so I can still see the picture reminding me about phone checking ( I’ve set this picture on all the screens.)

The next screen is for apps I need to check like email, Messenger, banking app, eBay and anything else.

Facebook goes on my very last screen all by itself. I’ve found by doing this, because I don’t immediately see it, I don’t check it as much.

So, the phone is silent, and it’s not giving me any notifications at all and all the apps are now arranged in order, and any I don’t use have been deleted.

This is backed up with specific phone checking times I’ve set myself. Typically, these are after 8am, at lunchtime, and in the evening before 7pm. Outside of these times I am either focusing on work, enjoying time with my husband or friends, or relaxing in my own company and switching off from the world to recharge.

At these phone check times, I decide whether a text or email received needs a reply immediately if it’s urgent, or I ask myself if it can wait until later. I also schedule a set time for a Facebook surf each evening, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out!

My bedroom is now a no-go area for my phone. It sleeps in the kitchen on a designated shelf on the dresser. The only exception to this rule, is if I plan to write a blog post or do some work to my group or page which I can only do before bed, or early in the morning, such as now as I’m writing this. If I decide to take my phone upstairs, it goes on airplane mode and sits in my desk drawer across the room, so I’m not tempted to check it!

I’ve done an overhaul on my Facebook feed. I literally only follow people/pages who make me feel good, who inspire/uplift me and add something positive to my life. I’ve unfriended negative, draining people, without meaning to cause offence, I believe this is absolutely vital to our wellbeing.

I also leave my phone in the car when I’m working, so I can’t check it easily, and I leave it at home at the weekends when I’m out with my husband and friends. That way, I can be totally focused and present.

One last thing I did is I bought a few hours of online coaching to help me gain control of my phone addiction. Getting support is a massive help, and just helps us see the way through sometimes when things seem grey.

Please don’t think I stick to this plan religiously… I still struggle, and I think I always will. I have days when it all goes out the window. But I always come back, and keep on with it, because I’m determined to make my phone an enjoyment and a positive benefit, adding richness to my life.

Going Minimal And Simplifying Everything

I made a big decision today. I’ve had enough of feeling overwhelmed by busyness, debt, bad habits, clutter etc, and the general non-stop chatter in my head. I go around in a trance-like state of noise and bustle, listening to my monkey mind and realise that most of the time I’m not even paying attention to what I’m doing/eating/buying or saying!

I’m so tired of this!

This has to stop now. For a long time, I’ve been craving a slow, simple life. When I have dabbled in this way of living for a short while ( usually no longer than a few days!) I notice how much happier I am, I’m much more focused, productive, positive and calm. My anxiety goes, I feel more inclined to practice my healthy habits, like running, yoga and meditation and leaving my phone alone!

I feel alive!!

So, as from now I am committing to a life change of slowly but surely minimising my possessions and clutter. I will focus on every aspect of my life and I will attempt to simplify and find strategies and habits to make this a permenant way of living. I am going to blog about my simplifying journey to hold me accountable.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Feeling excited to begin my journey.

Listen To The Whispers

We must listen to the whispers, for they know the way.

The energy that guides us is trying to tell us something, but we don’t always listen, because it may seem uncomfortable, challenging and scary.

We face this fear when we decide that enough is enough, and we confront our addictions. Once we make this decision, we then try everything in our power to stay on the path.

What makes you happy? Just for a moment, think of when you are at your absolute happiest best self, feeling strong, focused and content…excited to be alive and buzzing with energy.

Assuming you have no serious illness or trauma to deal with( I really hope you haven’t, and please forgive me if so….) just hold this image in your head of you at your happiest.

What are you doing that makes you feel this way?

For me, I’m happiest when I feel focused, strong, grounded and content. How do I get to feel this way?

By practicing my routines

Swallowing a big dose of self discipline

Using my special tools

Connecting with myself and others

Keeping everything simple………

and this returns me to love. Always and always.

The whispers are there because love is trying to connect and keep us on our path. They protect us from harm and self-destruction. The moment we disconnect and indulge in our destructive habits and addictions, the whispers remind us we are in the wrong place. This is when we must listen and let them guide us back to where we belong.

We must leave the guilt behind.

We must pick up the strength we receive, and move on.

There is a very fine line between pleasure and pain. As recovering addicts, it can feel like a tiring mental battle and we can easily feel overwhelmed. When this happens, we can just step back, and slow down. We take the time we need to rest, be quiet, slow down. Then the darkness passes and the light begins to shine.

If we can master self-discipline, we receive the gift of happiness and freedom.

All we have to do is keep coming back and returning to love.

The whispers will always guide us, if only we will listen.

Keep It Simple

Firstly, apologies for not writing for so long. I have been meaning to for ages, but I lost my inspiration. I went through a gloomy period a while ago, and I just felt quiet. And stuck. I don’t know why I felt like this exactly, but it often happens when I overload my brain too much with stuff, like scrolling on Facebook too much, or being in noisy environments with lots of people for too long. The answer has been staring me in the face for ages, in fact, my body has been whispering to me what I need to do, but I ignored it….until now.

I’ve changed the name of my blog to Simple Sober Life. ‘Simple’ has been tugging at my sleeve, whispering in my ear, pulling at my heart.

Now I am listening.

Discovering simplicity has had a profound effect on me. I am happier, calmer, more content and focused when I keep things simple.

I’ve been slowly working simplicity into different areas of my life.

These are:

Starting a morning routine

This involves waking early at 5am or as near as I can without hitting snooze, and going for a run or walk, often both. I meditate, have a healthy breakfast, and don’t check my phone until this has been done and my routine finishes. Doing this puts me in a positive mindset and fills me with energy for the day.

Simplifying my phone

When I turn my phone on, the first page is just a picture, no apps. I have minimised my apps to just the essential ones. All my notifications are always turned off. My phone is always on silent. Sounds drastic, but this way I’m not interrupted by constant tinging and pinging. I check my phone when I want to, at certain times of the day. I often feel overwhelmed from my phone, so keeping it quiet and leaving it alone works wonders for my mind.

Clutter-clearing

I’ve been quite ruthless and chucked out/given away lots of clothes, books…stuff that has just been laying around. I don’t need it, it’s pointless, so it’s gone.

Diet

I’m enjoying a healthy diet, attempting to remain low gluten/gluten free. I’m 5 months refined and virtually sugar free. I’m now caffeine free too. I avoid all stimulants to try and keep my mood levels constant. This is a big project I’m working on, but I’m having fun learning all the time.

Money

I’m loving living with simple money ideas. I’m currently paying off debts so I have adopted a no-spend policy unless it is essential eg groceries. I allow myself an occasional treat, but quite often I may not bother as I feel I don’t need it.

I’m learning that happiness is found within, not outside. Buying stuff I don’t need doesn’t make me happy…. it may do initially, but the novelty soon wears off.

So how do I find my happy?

I connect with like-minded souls. I read simple living/minimalism blogs. I listen to podcasts and read a lot. I run….have just discovered that running actually really does make me happy and is a fabulous tonic. I love to write. But most of all I like to stop the noise and connect.

Connect with my heart and listen to my soul.

Connecting to love.

Connecting to my husband and my dog – my two favourite people.

Simplicity returns to love, and I am just learning that….and boy am I blessed to be learning this lesson, and it is a lesson, and I’m not perfect, but I’m trying.

So I will leave you on this note by simply embracing the happily imperfectly perfectness of me, and raising a sober toast to simplicity.

Mini Habits, Clarity And Embracing Imperfection

Tomorrow I’m celebrating 18 months and a blip sober….I can’t forget that blip as it was an important lesson, and I’m certainly not going to forget the 18 months so far…wow, what a journey – sometimes high, sometimes low, but mostly fabulous and I wouldn’t have it any other way! The biggest thing I’m learning is how to control my very noisy head….it honestly sounds like a packed auditorium in there sometimes. I can have a million thoughts all buzzing around there at once…the more I listen, the more exhausted and depressed I feel.

With no end to the frustration of my extremely noisy head, I finally decided I needed to get tough on myself. After all, I am in charge of my own thoughts, no one else. I know it’s almost impossible to totally eradicate all this noise and to live in perfect zen serenity mode….but I can sure do a lot to help myself. But how?

What I needed was a strategy, a plan…..THE book with THE answer in it!!

Ok, so I haven’t actually found that book yet, but I have narrowed down my book obsession to three books. These are what I call my workbooks…ongoing books I keep on my bedside table and dip into every day.

These are:

1) Mini Habits by Stephen Guise

This book has totally changed my life…it’s about personal development strategies, creating lasting change using a mini habit strategy which is so easy and fun to follow. Stephen says ” To make changes last, you need to stop fighting against your brain. When you start playing by your brain’s rules – as mini habits show you how to do – lasting change isn’t so hard.”

This ties in really nicely with Stephen’s other book:

2) How To Be An Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise

I put a huge amount of pressure on myself, as I think many of us do to do everything perfectly, be the best and not fail. I set ridiculously high goals for myself and when I fail to achieve my results, I beat myself up. I have this awful black and white, all or nothing thinking. It’s so destructive and this whole mindset makes me feel totally self-absorbed and anxious, not to mention miserable, useless, worthless and selfish. Yuk! What a horrible place to be in.

What I needed was balanced thinking.

This book has been so powerful for me. In Stephen’s words, he says “Perfectionism is a naturally limiting mindset. Imperfectionist however, frees us to live outside the lines, where possibilities are infinite, mistakes are allowed, and self-judgement is minimal”

Wow! I am learning to embrace my imperfection, it’s good and healthy and human to be imperfect, and just realising that has lifted a massive weight allowing me to feel happier, healthier, free and way more productive.

So this brings me to my third book, my last secret ingredient of my strategy:

3) The Little Book Of Clarity by Jamie Smart

Described as a quick guide to focus and de clutter your mind, it is a small pocketbook but with a lot in it. Admittedly I’m having to read this book very slowly and go over some of the content several times, but that’s why I call it a work book..,you have to study it and just read a couple of pages at a time, digest it and come back to it.

This book helps you to focus, solve and succeed. It allows you to clear your mind automatically and think clearly, eliminate stress, perform better, achieve your goals and enjoy better relationships.

So, by using these three books together I have devised my ‘ rescue plan’.

Since ditching the wine, I have been obsessed with personal development and bettering myself. I want to be the best possible version of me, but I want to do it in a fun, focused and peaceful way….no pressure!

And my rescue plan is working fabulously!

My rescue plan consists of a large notebook which I use to record my daily mini habits…the things that are really important to me, the things that make me feel healthy and energised.

These are things such as yoga, running, not eating refined sugar, practicing gratitude, reading, being mindful with my phone, and then really mini habits like making sure I moisturise and floss my teeth every day! This system really works for me because when I see it written down as a plan, it allows me to focus, to feel motivated ( I have noticed the motivation seems to appear while doing/after the habit, not always before!) and I just LOVE ticking things off which gives such a feeling of achievement and satisfaction. If you read Mini Habits first, you will see that you start doing your mini habit by making it so ridiculously small, ie one push-up, that you absolutely cannot fail!

So, my conclusion to all this is…..

By using these 3 books alone, I feel happier, calmer, content, driven, focused, I’m nicer to be around, I’m learning to love myself more, I’m setting boundaries, feeling healthier and delving into a whole new world of mini habits, micro habits and serenity!

Oh, and I’m nearly 4 weeks refined sugar free….my rescue plan is really working!

What have I learnt?

I can do anything if I put my mind to it….it’s all in the strategy.

Sunny Days Ahead

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found this winter particularly long and gloomy, and am very relieved that Spring is in the air.

I felt really blah and yukky half way through January…..on the approach to New Year, I made a vision for myself of what I wanted to achieve in 2018. I wanted to expand my business, and be the best version of me… quite some plan!

So as I was working on my vision, and at the same time I was becoming very complacent in my sobriety. I felt I didn’t need all the support anymore, I was fine, I was fixed. For some reason I wanted to throw all my supportive groups and friendships away. I caused a lot of hurt and upset and it’s just not in my nature to do this and it was then that I made my stupid mistake. I was sitting in a pub with hubby, having a coffee as we do every weekend, and I was watching a group of girls ordering their drinks at the bar. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but suddenly I felt a bit jealous that I was missing out! I saw their happy, relaxed faces, and that’s when this voice in my head said ” Oh go on Cath, you’re over 17 months alcohol free now! You can moderate easily now, you can go back to drinking!”

I remembered the bottle of wine back home left over from Christmas. I spent a long while thinking about this decision and even talked it over with hubby…he agreed that as long as I was careful it should be fine….just moderate!

So, unfortunately I listened to that voice urging me on, and I had a couple of glasses of wine over the next three days. But oh boy did I not enjoy them! The pull in my head to drink more was so strong, I just wanted to get totally drunk and blot everything out. But I didn’t, thank God. I had this dreadful feeling wash over me that I had made a terrible move, so I told hubby that no, this isn’t right, I can’t do this…. I’m much happier sober. So I picked myself up and got back on the wagon. Big lesson learned!! I NEED my sobriety support network, my groups and my sober friends. How could I think I’d be ok without them?? I’m actually quite grateful for my blip…it’s taught me that the wine witch will never go away, she just lies dormant, waiting for any slight, sneaky moment she can get her claws in…even when you think you’re untouchable, strong and in control like I did.

Moving swiftly on from that horrible time last month… I’m cherishing my whole sobriety world like never before. The wonderful supportive people I’ve met in online groups is incredible. Sobriety is the most important thing in my life, and I will do anything to protect it. I’m currently on a no refined sugar challenge( another addiction) and I’m feeling really good now. Life is looking a lot sunnier… I’m so grateful for the wonderful things I have, a fabulous supportive husband, my gorgeous cuddly dog, nice house in the countryside and my own business, which I am now working on growing. This blip really knocked my confidence and I’ve been beating myself up ever since. I realise the way forward is not to dwell on it, just make a plan, baby steps and realise I’m not perfect, I’m working on being perfectly imperfect and happy with that. I’m running and doing yoga again which really help me mentally.

So, I am blessed. I am blessed with a hard lesson to learn and grow from. I am blessed with people that love and care about me, and I am blessed that someone is spending time reading my waffle…but if it helps someone else then that pleases me.

Go carefully on your path my friends. Things aren’t always as they seem. Now enjoy….let’s cherish those sunny days ahead.