Tag Archives: Goals

My Bullet Journal

I’ve never been able to stick to writing a journal. I couldn’t do the ‘dear diary’ thing all the kids of TV shows were doing when I grew up. I was never very good at getting my thoughts out of my head. No wonder I have trouble expressing myself. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to start a blog as I wanted to share what I was doing and how I felt about things in a creative way. I am not the type of person to write and then edit. I say what I want to and hit publish, simple.

However I have always been a huge fan of lovely notebooks and funky colourful pens. I loved being in school at a time when computers were still only used for IT classes. I still find if I need to remember something I have to write it down. So all my lovely notebooks have often just had scribbles of random projects I’ve been working on over the years. However there has been a change in the last few months as I decided to have another go at a bullet journal.

So as I embark on starting a brand new Harry Potter Moleskine beauty of a notebook I thought I would share my set up for May with you.

Lets just take a moment to appreciate the stickers that are hidden in the pocket of the notebook and that I have chosen to stick on the very first page (you know the page that is attached the cover so is not really a usable page? Yeah that one.)

I start my bullet journal with a a date and key. I keep it as simple as possible and have chosen symbols that I already use when taking notes in work. I can always add to it if I need to, but after a few months I’ve found these are the ones I use.

Next up I like to have a view of the whole month. I like to know what I’m committed to already so I can plan my time well and make sure I get enough downtime to enjoy the fun things. I use one main colour per month and the other colours will pop up as nice bursts every so often. This way I can easily see which pages belong together if I ever need to look back.

The next section I include is a gratitude journal. I’ve always had trouble keeping up with these if I’ve kept them separate to my calendar, but have found this works really well. I limit myself to a sentence at most, but some days it’s just a word or two. It’s nice to look back on, but the use I get from this is that it makes me pause for a minute and think of something I’m grateful for. I also try to put down something different each day, but don’t worry about looking back at the previous months.

The next section is my master to-do list. This is for the big stuff I need to do each month. It might include the stuff I don’t have to do regularly, or one off things, or things for later in the month I might forget about otherwise. I keep the day to day stuff in a later section and I also have an app on my phone for reminders so I’m pretty well covered.

I then move on to some trackers. First up is a mood tracker. I find this really useful to remind myself how my mood fluctuates and that all feelings are temporary. I added a simple note section to this month as found it useful to look back on when talking to my therapist about any sudden dips and the possible triggers.

The next tracker I have is a habit tracker. I have chosen to pick four each month and see how I get on. The aim is not to do each one every single day, but look at routine and relate back to my mood tracker. This month i am going back to basics on a few things to bring back some good habits and also work on one (getting up) that has been a stumbling block this last month. This is also where all the colours come out!

I think I’ve put the next section in the wrong place and will rectify that next month as it is not really a tracker and I think should be at the start of the monthly section, rather than in the middle. I’ve been doing a monthly reflections page for the last few years as it is a nice way to spend half an hour with a coffee and just look back and forwards in order to focus on the now.

The next tracker is all about the money baby. I’m working really hard on curbing some unnecessary spending habits as I want to build an emergency fund and save for holidays and other fun stuff. I’ve found since the widespread use of contactless has happened I have become lax in keeping an eye on my spending. I’ve got my spending spreadsheet, the banking apps on my phone and use Money Dash Board, but right now find backing those up by writing each expenditure down makes me think things through. I used this tactic in university and it work really well, so I’m bring it back for 2017. It’s quite time consuming, so I don’t think it’s a permanent thing, but a useful tool to pull out of the box every so often.

I then have a section to focus on my blog. I’ve scaled my blogging down in the last year and my aim is one post a week as I really enjoy it, I just don’t always make the time with my job being busy. This allows me to think and plan ahead and it works really well.

The next section is also one I find extremely useful. I used to have my therapy session and then move on to something else and was getting super frustrated with forgetting what I’d been talking about the week before. Then I saw something like this somewhere I can’t now find and made it my own. I now spend 5-10 minutes after my session just noting down a few things and then before my next session I can recap.

Then comes the biggest section – the day to day bullet journal. This is where I note down anything I want to each day. I haven’t set myself a limit and just let myself free flow and go based on what I need each day, which means some days have 2 lines and others take up a page. I take a look in the morning to note down anything I need to do and then return in the evening to check those things off and note my thoughts/feelings/questions about the day. Like I said at the start I keep it simple and make it work for me.

The one thing I have found that the bullet journal doesn’t work for me with is random thoughts or working through things to make decision. So I also have to have a separate notebook to do this. I find this work for me as it also means I can use my phone notes section for random thoughts and not feel it must be transferred to the bullet journal.

There is loads of inspiration out there on what a bullet journal could do for you, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. I cannot be arsed with an index as I know I won’t keep it up to date, therefore I also don’t need to number the pages! I’m breaking the rules, but who cares, I don’t have enough fucks to give for that kind of thing.

Video analysis take two

Screenshot 2016-02-29 16.58.03

This week I went back to my swimming coach from last year – Jason at South West Swim – and had another video analysis session. I was mean to do this after my Solent swim, but had a niggle in my shoulder so put it off and the next thing I know it’s 4 months later!

This time round I got to swim in an endless pool – side note, I’ve added one of these to my wishlist for what I want in my next house! It was a weird experience, but I picked it up quite well and was able to swim properly straight away. It’s like a treadmill and to begin with I kept trying to keep up with the speed as Jason adjusted it to get me in the right position in the centre of the pool. Once I got used to it and stopped worrying about being sucked into the motor, I was able to swim normally and then work on some drills.

I swam for a warm up and then a couple of filmed sets so that we could see what I was swimming like after a good few months of limited swimming. After that we looked at the video and recorded our conversation so that I can watch it back afterwards to remind myself of what I need to do. We looked at the things I need to work on to be more efficient and the ways to correct some issues, again to make me more efficient.

Screenshot 2016-02-29 16.58.39

We also looked at comparisons to some elite swimmers. As you can see below the angle of my arm is a bit different from that of Rebecca Adlington’s – something to aim for!

Screenshot 2016-02-29 16.58.58

What I need to work on:

  • Catch at entry – I have the tendency to push forward, then down, rather than back straight away. I corrected this last year so with a bit of focus this should be a quick win.
  • Breathing rhythm and head position – I seem to lift my head, mainly on one side, so we looked at my head position as I look forward quite bit, so I need to look down more, which is another quick fix.
  • Angle of arm on the pull through – as you can see from the screen shots above I sweep my arm quite close under my body and I need to adjust this so that my fingers point down towards the bottom of the pool.

Once we had looked at the video and also drills, I got back in the pool to give the drills a go so I could take them away with me to practice, all from the Swim Smooth coaching technique. If you google these you will find out more about them I’m sure, but I’m not going to risk copyright by telling you how to do them (Sorry!).

  • Unco (or uncoordinated)
  • Skull 1
  • Skull 2
  • Skull 3
  • Doggy paddle

Those are the main things and I have a number of drills I am going to focus on over the next month, while I work on my fitness, to correct those. I also need to do a CSS (critical swim speed) test to see where I currently am to be able to compare to in a month’s time. So I’ll let you know how that goes!

We also had a quick chat about the Bridge to Bridge marathon in August as I am taking part in that as part of the South West Swim team and Jason is going to help us by outlining the distance we should be doing by when, which is what I really need.  I’m feeling good about swimming again, which is nice. I’m stepping away from the swimming club to do what I need to do to train and focus and that is good right now.

I also need to get back into the lake soon. It’s currently around 4 degrees Celsius and I missed the last Chilly Dippers swim as I overslept, so it will likely be some ice breaker swims for the start of the season at the end of this month. I feel cold already!

What happens when we want to change?

I’ve never been one to fear change, get a little nervous maybe, but not in way that has stopped me from going for what I want. I find though that I when I am worried about changing anything it is usually because I am thinking about what other people might think, which is really stupid!

I’ve felt my life changing for the last 6 months. I’ve been promoted to a new role and really want to make the most of this opportunity to prove to myself what I am capable of and continue to progress in the next couple of years. I’ve been being more sociable over the last year than I was when I created the life I currently hold myself to. I’m also not trying to do everything fitness wise anymore, but rather picking one goal and working towards it. I still want to lose weight, but I know it’s the food that makes the difference, not the exercise for me, so need time to cook more often.

So why am I finding it so hard to leave the clubs I joined?

I needed them at the time and have loved being a part of a running and swimming community, but now they just don’t fit with my life. I feel I am forced to go or if I chose not too I feel guilty for missing something I have paid for.

I want to switch things up and re-find my love of being active without the pressure to fit in. I keep meaning to go to the local circuits’ class, but can’t stand the thought of booking myself up every evening of the week. I want the flexibility to cook, read, blog, or even go swimming when I want to, not when the sessions are. I want to swim at the lake more and become part of that community more than I have been. I want to use my weekends to explore and see friends, not to catch up on sleep!

I want to change!

But I’m worried about what other people will think. That is what is currently holding me back. I’m known for trying. I’m known for giving everything a go. I’m known for doing all sorts of activity. So, stopping or reducing my involvement could be seen as going in the wrong direction. I think I partly believe this myself, which is why I keep thinking that is what other people will think.

For me this is changing for the better. It is freeing up my time to do things I want to do. It will reduce the stress I cause myself through the internal struggle I go through every time. I still have goals to lose weight and swim a bloody marathon! They don’t go away just because I stop being a member of a club. I’ve absolutely hated the club politics I’ve been on the edge of this last year too and when you are volunteering that is not how I want to spend my time or waste more time worrying about it.

When I look at it, it just seems silly to try to keep the life that no longer serves me. I want to adapt to a new life that serves what I need right now. I then want to change things up again when that is no longer what I want.

I want to keep changing and evolving as a person throughout my life!

That is what is important to me. Wow, I just feel like a weight has been lifted just from writing this post. It’s helped get my thoughts in order and work out what was really bothering me and what I really want to do.

So that’s it. I’m going to not sign up to running club for this year (I’ve been procrastinating on this since the start of the month) and I am going to at least reduce my swimming with the swimming club. I don’t think I can fully stop this one as I’m not a fan of public sessions, so will see how it goes.

That feels better.

2016 Swimming Challenge

This year I have set my 2016 challenge as the Thames Marathon Bridge to Bridge –  a 14km swim down the River Thames from Henley Bridge to Marlow Bridge.

However I currently feel the training is my biggest challenge!

I’ve been struggling to get back into regular swimming for a good few months now and felt last year I was very inconsistent with my training. I gave myself January off this year and just swam when I could as I was away a lot and it was birthday it just felt like the wrong time to put pressure on myself.

So I thought February would be my 2016 start and I made it one full week of sessions with my swimming club, before being away and then not feeling up to it with a dodgy shoulder. I just don’t feel that into swimming club anymore. I also feel the same about running club. Both feel restrictive to me for some reason. I almost feel like they have served their purpose and now I am moving into the next stage of my life where the things I once needed are no longer right for me.

I want more freedom and flexibility in my life and to stop feeling guilt for missing sessions I planned to go to. I also want more time to focus on my career and other loves. I want to read more and blog properly. I want to learn about coffee more and travel to new places. I want to cook nice meals that are healthy. I want to spend time with my cats and train them better to go outside more often. There are so many things I want to do!

And yet I feel guilty for not wanting to be part of these clubs anymore. Why is that?

I love the friends I have made. Perhaps I am worried I won’t see them anymore if I stop going, but I know that won’t be the case for all of them. Perhaps I am worried of what people will think of me if I no longer do the things I am known for doing. Overall I am worrying about what other people think, rather than what I want.

When I think about it I want to swim more at the lake. I’ve bought my membership. I can swim earlier then I can at the pool (when it’s lighter) and there is more space and less people. I want to get to know the people I’ll be doing the Thames Marathon with. It feel right and exciting, which is what I don’t get from swimming club anymore. I am currently thinking of going down to one club session a week to keep in the loop, and focus on the lake swimming. I’ll also be looking to step away from coaching in the summer as then I will have helped for 3 years and would be happier to be cover, rather than full commitment.

I’m still in thinking mode about this, but need to decide soon so I stop fretting about change. I just need to be happy with my decision and then it won’t matter what anyone else thinks.

Swimming across the Solent

My Solent Swim recap and 1000th post!

It’s taken me a while to sit down and write this. I think I’ve been so glad it finally done that it’s taken me a time to want to sit down and relive it.

I swam it in 1 hour and 19 minutes and covered a distance across the Solent Channel of 2.25 miles. It was both quicker and shorter than I thought and trained for, but it was still hard work. I think this was mentally more than physically.

The day started at 5am leaving the hotel in the dark to get to Haslar Marina to catch the boats out to the starting point.


At the starting point the swimmers had to transfer to the shore in the kayaks. This was a chilly bit as we had to leave our dry stuff in the boat for the other side. My parents were in the support boats so I got some good photos of the swim.


Everyone was waiting on the shore for the go ahead from the ahrbour master and coast guard.DSC02505

I was feeling nervous and just wanting to start at this point. I met my kayaker and we sorted out how we would position it so I could just follow her navigation. She was so lovely and I feel so awful that I have totally forgotten her name – it’s a complete blank! I do know she was the wife of Jonathan the organiser – thank you both so much!


The sun was trying to come out as we were waiting to start and the water all the way across was calm and flat. When we got the go ahead we started in three groups. The slower ones going first and so on. I was in the last group – I hate being a good swimmer sometimes!


This was my group ready to go. I’ve got the orange tow float attached to me as I wanted to stand out to my parents.


My mum was in the speed boat and got some good swimming actions photos in the middle of the swim. In the background is one of the old forts out past Portsmouth.


Once I was in swimming I just decided to keep going. My kayaker indicated to me when we were half way, but otherwise I just kept swimming. I noticed overtaking one kayak and one swimmers, but otherwise didn’t see anything going on around me. It was both weird and good at the same time. I was worried I would freak out if I looked up and saw a boat or realised how far we still had to go. 




My dad was on the bigger cruiser boat so wasn’t able to get as close up, but he did get some good shots of the boats around us at the time of swimming – I’ve very glad I didn’t notice the ferries!

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I landed on the other shore 6th out of the group of 12, which means I overtook 4/5 people as there was one from my group already there as well. I was so happy to get to the other side and be finished and be able to put on my dryrobe.


We had a group photo and then single ones on the other side.


Once we finished we had to transfer back to the boats by kayak and then sped back on the speedboats to the marina where hot showers awaited us. Most of the group then went out for lunch and got our hoodies (purple yay!). I then spent the day with my parents exploring Portsmouth.


I feel great about doing this and smashed my fundraising target by raising £965 for Aspire!

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