1. Did some perusing for a new car. Yes, already. Got very excited.
2. Prepared my answers for important meeting tomorrow.
3. My turn to suggest book for book club. Didn’t wriggle out of it. Going to find a winner.
1. Did some perusing for a new car. Yes, already. Got very excited.
- Went to a meeting today, brushed my hair, didn’t say anything foolish and smiled warmly at everyone in the room
- Completed one of my fasting days, one down one to go (I’m doing the 5/2 diet and it’s going very well).
- Started doing three HVAs
- Buy a fantastic convertible
Raise a happy, confident son
- Become accomplished at something, at the moment it’s either knitting or playing the ukulele
- Have a family life full of love, laughter, good food, courage and tolerance.
- Have a career which challenges me and in which I make a valuable contribution.
- Have a home that I am proud of and that I love to entertain in as well as spending nights in alone.
- Explore the world so that I always open my mind to new contexts.
- Teach my son to ride a bike (have to get him out of the house first).
It’s been a while since I’ve written the happies. That’s not to say I’ve not been happy, it’s just that they got too easy. Get me – they were the hardest things in the world to write when I started, but because it’s a bloody great idea, it actually made me happy and I got bored writing them. Since stopping writing them not much has changed in my life. I still continue on in my own little way, raising my boy as a single mum, holding down my full time job and generally being happy.
However, recently something has changed. I have been involved in a development course at work which has introduced me to some thoughts, some new ideas that have been bothering me (there will be a point to this). So although I am generally happy, things haven’t changed. Things haven’t changed. This is beginning to bother me.
It started with a book a friend recommended to me about how to be successful or some such nonsense. I read it with interest, as there were some good ideas, but came to a point where I got stuck, surprisingly stuck. One of the key areas of the book was about how to achieve your goals, and the first step was creating a 10 year plan. This had me completely flummoxed. I was paralysed by the idea of a 10 year plan. I searched my brain for what it was that I wanted, and I realised with concern that I was unable to visualise any plan for myself at all. This concerned me, as there was a line in the book that said that if you are not working towards reaching your goals, you are working towards somebody else reaching their goals. This rang very true for me as I had watched countless peers steamroller over me to success whilst I watched on happily resentful. This had to stop. I needed some goals. Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty good at achieving work objectives, helping others out and generally being very effective and brilliant. But when it come to my own personal progress, I was numb. I felt paralysed, and this very helpful book had explained why.
As the weeks progressed, I was unable to make any progress setting myself goals The only real thing I could visualise was getting a great car. I’ve always wanted a sexy convertible. I love driving, but have only ever inherited cars or bought the cheapest ugliest one I could find. I tried to visualise my car in the hope that the other pieces of the puzzle would just fall into place as to how I would earn the money to afford and justify this fantastic machine. They didn’t come. I also realised deep down in my heart that I would never actually buy a fantastic car because I couldn’t visualise being able to justify such an expense in my precarious and vulnerable life position. My boy and future security had to come first and I knew deep down that my fantasy of having a great car would remain just that. A fantasy.
Things at work started to get a bit hairy. There’s a recession on, the environment started to get a bit nasty and competitive and although I continued to deliver against everything asked of me, I could see myself slipping into obscurity, being passed over by younger more shiny people (who mostly drove fabulous cars). My very existence seemed to become more tenuous and it seemed more important than ever to get myself some goals. I still have no goals.
Then completely separately, and rather annoyingly, someone I know (you know who you are) recommended I read this book about how to make yourself irresistible to boys. Now, I don’t particularly want to be irresistible to boys, and if you have been paying attention, I am quite happy with my life. However, I am a sucker for a recommendation particularly one made with such passion, and felt I had to read it, if only out of politeness and moral justification in dismissing it as drivel.
The book was predictably poor, making me feel inadequate and my happiness levels dipped slightly. However, there was a bit in the book (a very small bit) that stopped me in my tracks. In this book it talked about becoming a person of high value. At first I skimmed over it and didn’t think too much of it, but whilst painfully trying to get my reluctant brain to set some goals, and passing many a beautiful convertible car this thought would not leave my brain, so I started to examine it a little. Here’s what I found.
It dawned on me, like a bit of an epiphany that the reason I was unable to set myself any goals was because I did not have high value. I realised that I had always thought value was something that was bestowed on you or given to you, like a great job, a big house, a fabulous husband, eight beautiful children, basically what I had thought of as ‘lucky.’ I started to study the shiny successful people around me and realised that the one thing they did have, whilst not always ability, was total belief in their own high value. I had always assumed that this had been placed on them by their wonderful husbands, accelerated career prospects, brilliantly performing children etc. It had never occurred to me that their own high value had always been there, and it was because of this, that the other things had come to them. Now I’m sure most people already know this, particularly people with high value, but I genuinely didn’t. I knew I had always lacked confidence and this was somehow connected to my perceived failure at things that I wanted, but I hadn’t quite appreciated what this actually meant. Until now.
So I sat down and thought about how high my value was. I realised that for me the important thing was always to manage, to get by. I had never met Mr Perfect, but I had my perfect son, and he placed value on me as a mother. What greater value could there be in raising a person? So what that we didn’t have a large family of our own full of laughter and noise, we had peace and were both pretty content. We were getting by. But then I started to question this. My boy seemed far too happy in front of a computer game or the telly and was developing no aspirations to be good at anything, or even to leave the house. And in terms of value, how happy was I to be valued as mother and general dogsbody. What was I teaching him?
Then it occurred to me. It was all very well learning to be happy with your lot, but what if you wanted to change your lot. What if your lot wasn’t enough? Are you even allowed to think like that? It was the car that did it. Made me realise that I would never be someone that I considered worthy of a fabulous car, and if I didn’t think that then how would my boss, the future Mr Three Happy Things or even my very beloved son ever think of me that way. More importantly, I didn’t just want to raise a child, I wanted to raise a confident one who could set their own goals and then achieve and even surpass them. It occurred to me that no one was ever going to give me these things, and therefore if I didn’t give them to myself it was never going to happen.
Well, this epiphany is all well and good but what do I do with this knowledge? Going out and buying a lovely shiny car didn’t seem to be the right answer. This knowledge certainly didn’t come with the money that I needed to buy it. I would have to do something, but of course, as usual I had no idea what.
Now I’m a smart girl. I’ve managed very difficult things in the past. I’m quite good at my job. I can achieve anything I put my mind to. I just had to work out what I needed to put my mind to. I’m still none the wiser for my goals, so I thought I would try something new. Or should I say something old. I don’t need to change my thought processes because I’m now quite a happy soul. However, I need to change my behaviours. I need to start behaving like a person with high value. This is hard for me as <whispers> I don’t have high value.
So I thought I would try to adopt the happies approach of producing three high value behaviours every day. By having to think of three behaviours, carrying them out and writing about them, I’m hoping this will help to embed these values in the same way the happies did. I can’t stress enough how hard I think this is going to be, but then I thought the happies would be nigh on impossible. So you can join me on my journey or don’t, your choice. The discipline of the blog worked for me before, so I’m going for it again. I have no idea how to do it or how it will turn out, but like the happies, I will learn as I go. It’s more than likely I will need some help along the way, so constructive criticism, feedback or advice is all very welcome. I may or may not do it everyday, I won’t include everything, as people I know might read this, I will get it wrong, and I’m hoping I won’t sound too arrogant, but let’s see where it takes me. Hopefully speeding down a country road with the wind in my hair.
Welcome to three high value actions (HVAs)
Tonight, thanks to Twitter, I was reminded of how helpful the happies are, so felt inclined to write one.
- Lovely friend at work had been looking for new jobs for me, cos she knows how much I have been struggling at work recently. Was touched by her kindness.
- Left work early to attend boy’s school Christmas bazaar. When I got to the playground, the older kids were singing Christmas songs in the playground, which moved me to tears (I know, I’m a soppy cow). Watched my boy running around trying to catch fake snow to a background of school singers. Very lovely moment, which I know I will treasure when I am old and crotchety (older and crotchetier).
- Sat on the sofa with boy and watched The Nativity which is a gorgeous film that made me laugh and cry. The boy even liked it to, and for once it was a film without puppies in it.
- Bit of a pisspoor day, but collected the boy who was laughably attempting to play tennis at afterschool club.
- In the car, boy was reading out details on a small card he had received from school. He spelt it out for me. It went like this:- “were were were” – this I was puzzled about until he started again… “were were were”… some other letters – “full stop C O M”. Did take me quite a while to get it, but totally made me smile and my day.
- Boy tried on half the mitten I am knitting, and it nearly fits.
Soz it’s all about the boy but it’s been a truly horrible day.
- Did the second day of my magic eye fixing course. This was the fun day and, no word of a lie, after 6 hours, I can see quite a bit better.
- Went for lunch with a very nice lady.
- Came home and saw my very lovely boy, who I really missed this weekend.
- Had an interesting trip to Hampstead today. Always nice to go to Hampstead, although not the train bit.
- The boy laid the table and I only had to ask him once. He was a joy to be with.
- Started up the knitting again. Have (almost) completed the tricky ribbing bit, any minute mindless knitting can commence. I forgot how nice it is to do in front of the TV. Apologies for future dull, but sincere, knitting happies.
- Had a lovely playdate this afternoon, with one of my old faves. The boy nearly behaved himself, I had great coffee and a catch-up.
- Played spies and baddies on the walk home. I was the baddy, obviously. Quite a good way to pass the time.
- Went to (very) hot yoga tonight. I could nearly do half of it, which is a great improvement. Came home feeling quite proud of myself.
- Woke up without a hangover, which was a pleasant surprise after the night before.
- Spent the day doing chores, one of which was cleaning up this computer, in the hope that it will once again accompany me, irritation-free, on my journey.
- Made a wicked curry, my first time with all of those spices. Even the boy ate it.