Since I have been tracking my habits on a daily base, I have become aware of a few obstacles that could stall my progress. The habits I am tracking are exercise, sleep, alcohol intake, just to name a few.
To be precise, these obstacles are examples of self sabotage that unfortunately stop me from getting ahead. By tracking all kinds of things in my daily life, I have become alarmingly aware of some of my ‘lesser’ thoughts and actions. They must have been around for most of my life and I see how they have affected many aspects of my life.
My worst obstacles in a list
1.The first BIG one is procrastination. I realised that tracking and making daily notes, helps to reduce procrastination. As soon as I do not track, whatever I plan for next week is on dangerous grounds. Whenever a more urgent matter pops up, it seems to get more priority. Even if I write my intentions down, it is sadly not a guarantee I will do it.
Once certain behaviours become a solid habit, I tend keep to them as I don’t want to break the chain. A relevant example is doing daily steps. I have now been doing a minimum of over 5000 steps per day since the beginning of February. It has become part of my day and I don’t like to see a day with only 2369 steps so I make an effort.
2. That bring us to the next one – priority. I probably don’t give enough priority to my dreams and as a result they remain just that – dreams. Typically, I plan around a few aspects of these dreams but I don’t seem to make real progress. To be honest I am still not really clear why I do this but it is a stubborn recurrent pattern.
I feel that I let everything that ‘seems’ more urgent, come in the way of my goals. As if I ‘found’ an excuse not to have to commit. I say ‘seems’ because as a matter of facts I can say no, but often I give in and don’t. This not only refers to external requests from other people and situations, it also concerns my own choices. Will I write a blog post tonight or watch Netflix? Will I do yoga or sit on the couch? Familiar patterns to all of us, I am damn sure!
3. Number three has to be ‘feeling overwhelmed‘. I obviously want to do too much and have not a clear oversight of what I want to achieve. Maybe I need a coach! That kind of bugs me as I am always coaching other people successfully so why would I need a coach for my own stuff? This has to be a flaw of many coaches and counsellors. After all, if you can help others you must be able to help yourself, right?
I wonder if that is really the case. I am in the middle of all my thoughts, plans, intentions and dreams and as a result I obviously lack overview as I am part of it. So how do you create sanity in this chaos that you are part of yourself? How do people do that?
So obstacles or not, here is a quick recap – I have made 2023 a year of planning and creating the ground work for a future online business. And here I am making a fuss about not being able to ‘see the light’ in March. Do I ever learn? No wonder it does not make sense
4. So that brings me to the next obstacle – impatience. There is a wonderful quote by Tony Roberts about this.
Putting it in perspective
Instead of working steadily on this plan, I obviously imagined to have it ‘done and dusted’ by the end of March. That is quite ridiculous. So to put it in perspective, I have done a quarter of this year and so far I have worked on my health. I make sure I have a regular sleep pattern, minimise alcohol – in fact it is virtually zero at the moment. I do my daily steps and work my muscles, I meditate 4-5 times per week and I journal daily. All these things have become part of my daily routine and are no longer cut short by any obstacles. Not a single thought of procrastination in sight! An interesting take on how to beat procrastination is described by Mel Robbins. She reckons that the cause is avoiding stress.
If the above were the achievements from another person, I surely would applaud them. Yet, I don’t do this for myself and I wonder if how common this is…..
So to sum this up, I am in motion and I am making progress. Quarter 1 of 2023 was all about health and awareness of my physical condition. Now I have to plan what quarter 2 will be about – my gut says defining my NICHE.
January is usually the month where many of us tend to review our habits. Full of hope we set New Year’s resolutions and we hope to become a better version of ourselves. Unfortunately most of us will have forgotten about our good intentions by the end of the month.
Lately I have seen a new trend where people object to setting New Year’s resolutions. Instead they decide to set intentions and hope they have more chance of getting a successful outcome.
Believe it or not but intentions don’t seem to work either. None of these things are effective unless you back them up with measurable goals and a solid plan of process.
I also have set New Year’s resolutions in the past and forgot about them soon after. Looking at my goal setting history, I realise I may have to make a few changes to my approach if I want to be effective.
Therefore, I have decided on the following. Instead of setting goals and focus on the end result, I will concentrate on the process that I will need to go through. In addition, I am going to assess my beliefs and habits and see if they are congruent with the outcome I am aiming for. I am pretty sure my beliefs and habits are not as helpful as they could be. Consequently they may need a bit of ‘reframing’.
The plan is to do this with the help of the famous book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. I have been wanting to buy this book for a long time and for some reason it did not come my way. Until recently when I found it at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
I started following James Clear almost a decade ago. At the time he was a photographer, a blogger and a body builder. Looking at his track record, he is walking the talk when it comes to creating new habits or getting rid of unhelpful ones.
Habits and identity
What appeals to me most is what he writes about the role of identity. This is not the first time I hear this but it comes down to the following. If you want to achieve certain things, you will have to become the type of person that is capable of achieving such things.
An example close to my heart is alcohol. If you are interested, you can read my blogpost ‘What is the best decision you made in 2022’ right here.
For instance, if you want to stop drinking alcohol, you will have to become a person who does not drink alcohol. It is not enough to remain someone who tries to stop. Another example that interest me is creating a successful online business. In order to do that effectively I have to become the type of person who knows how to create and market an online business. I obviously won’t be successful if I have have a go at it without having the necessary skills, strategies and timeline.
I have a few ideas for an online business. My intention is to explore how to become the type of person who is capable of setting up an online business by the end of 2023. I intend to reflect on that process once per month in a blog post. Writing about it will hopefully help me to keep on track and may give you a few ideas to act upon for yourself.
I hope you’ll find it inspiring to read and follow my experiences.
Have you ever dreamt about relocating within your country or abroad? Chances are many of you may be perfectly happy with where you are. On the other hand there will be some of you who can’t help having an image of seeing yourself living in a different state or country.
Longing for a different and better life is often an inspiration for a move to a different location. Maybe you like a cultural or climate change or want to immerse yourself in another language or just crave for an adventure.
Relocating from a romantic perspective
Many people from the ‘New World’ countries have a romantic expectation about moving to older cultures. Australians tend to see spending a period in France or Italy as one of the ultimate achievements in life. Many retired Americans move interstate, to Mexico or to Europe for a longer period to find out whether such a move could be off permanent nature. British people have a reputation of seeking out a new beginning in many South European countries.
Such moves are usually driven by positive motives. Yet on countless occasions more critical reasons come into play – war, recession and wanting to escape a political regime can all be reasons to move elsewhere.
The practical reality
Aside from the romantic notion, the practical consequences of ‘relocating’ can be daunting. As a matter of fact settling in another state may separate you from loved ones. Moving countries could strip you from your professional credibility and your qualifications may not have the same status as they have at home.
If your new country has a different language, it is likely to cause you severe stress. It will frustrate you that you don’t know how to do things. Your new local community might not immediately accept you or with great hesitation. Obviously, these are just some of the ‘issues’ that may arise after settling in a new country.
Whatever your motives are for relocating it is wise to spend time reflecting on a couple of essential things. Moving requires a lot of preparation, organisation and the willingness to start from scratch. In other words, take your time to prepare yourself mentally and physically.
Challenge yourself before relocating:
Firstly, take time to assess your big ‘WHY. Brainstorm your motives, emotionally and rationally. Assess the things you will lose or gain and how you and your family will handle that.
Secondly, plan a temporary move. Rent a house in the location of your choice. Live the local life for 6 months and see how you fit in.
Thirdly, consider the practical and emotional consequences for you, your partner, your kids, your jobs and other essential things in life.
Having gone through a handful of moves myself, I urge you to take the above tips seriously. In conclusion, explore your motives, consider the consequences and try it out without committing or burning bridges.
I can totally see that moving abroad seems attractive to many people, as I have done it five times myself. Our last move was in 2017 and we moved from Australia to France. As we are originally from Europe, it felt a bit like going home although France is not our home country.
After more than 5 years in France, we can conclude that our move was successful. We have settled in a lovely small town in the Aude surrounded by vineyards and gorgeous countryside. There is plenty to do in this area although Covid through a huge spanner in the works.
People have asked WHY we left, as Australia is an attractive country to visit and settle. It certainly is or maybe better, it was. We arrived in Australia in 1991 and at that time, it was a great country but it has changed and not entirely for the better.
Our reasons for leaving Australia
Cost of living
Since we migrated to Australia, the country has become increasingly more expensive. Consequently, a reason why we left was the high cost of living.
Easy to settle
France is part of the EC and that makes it relatively easy to settle there. At least for me with a Dutch passport and it would have been for my British husband before UK left the EU. Fortunately, he has been able to get French residency status because of being married to me.
Being able to see other countries and spend longer periods in other EU countries was part of our decision to leave Australia. Distances in Australia are huge, and it takes time to get a change of scenery. The landscape is stunning but relatively similar and it usually requires a plane trip to immerse yourself into a different type of landscape.
Closer to family and friends
An important factor was to see family and friends more regular although we found out that travelling in Europe is not without hiccups. A flight from Australia to Europe takes 24 hours if you are lucky. As a result, you don’t hop over for a weekend. It requires planning and realistically you may see loved ones only every couple of years. A few people came to visit us, but we often heard that a visit was too costly or would require their total annual holiday.
If you like it hot, you can have it that way Down Under. After having lived through 17 subtropical Brisbane summers, I can honestly say that I had enough.
What you must consider before moving abroad
Understandably there is a lot to consider before moving abroad. A mistake many people make is not knowing how they could support themselves. It is important to know to find out in advance if you are allowed to work and if there is work available.
If you are thinking of setting up a business, you must find out if there is a demand. Since we moved to Limoux, the offer of holiday accommodation has at least doubled. For example, a bed and breakfast business is not an automatic ticket to success.
Those who plan to retire, they need to check whether it is possible to receive your pension. Do your old country and the country you are going to, have an agreement to pay out pensions. Many Australian have found out that they won’t be able to receive their pension in France.
All in all, moving abroad can be an exciting adventure but it needs realistic planning. You need to assess your reasons why and become clear about the things you will leave behind.
I hope that give you some food for thought!
Feel free to reach out if you want to explore this further.
As a matter of fact, I can and ……..I am proud that I made it.
Curious? Here we go. In April 2022 instead of flying to London I spent unexpectedly a day in hospital on a heart monitor. Consequently I found out that I had a few heart rhythm issues and that I would need an operation. The cardiologist muttered almost mischievously that of course drinking alcohol was not the best thing to do. While saying that he was doing a scan of my heart and did not even look me in the eye.
In France there is a joke that if the doctor asks if you have been drinking and your reply is – ‘No, nothing at all’. He would say: ‘What, not even wine?’
I decided to take the cardiologist’s advice rather seriously. Maybe because deep down I felt that I would love to drink less regularly. In fact I had been thinking about it for some time. I looked up causes of the heart problems I had and there it was – cause number one, alcohol and number two, coffee. Two of my favourites!
The best decision in action
Moving forward 6 months, I am still drinking a few coffees per day. However I have almost removed drinking alcohol from my life and against expectations, it was not hard. To be honest, it almost went by itself.
This made me think as I never before had a real need to stop having a glass of wine. Despite the fact that I felt that I rather would not have the habit. This time the urge to have a drink was gone and I slowly became indifferent about it.
Throughout the summer I explored zero alcohol beers and I discovered they are getting increasingly popular. Furthermore there are some tasty ones out there and I tried a few different brands. When Autumn came and the weather became slightly cooler I did not fancy a cold beer.
Then something interesting happened!
Imagine coming home from work on Friday. You feel like a drink to reward yourself and to finish of the work week. Instead, I felt more and more that that drink was not going to give me that feeling of reward anymore. In fact a cold glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon had the same effect. It seemed that the association of alcoholic drink and reward had become less strong.
It went even further and even if I poured myself some wine with a meal, I forgot to drink it while I was eating. So why have it then, was the logical conclusion. I am not sure what exactly happened but without me putting any effort into it, I had reduced the association between wine and enjoyment. To be honest I am thrilled that it happened like that.
My best decision made
Now I tend not to drink during the week and have a bit when socialising with friends or going out for a meal. I am happy to sit hours on the tiniest glass of wine and usually end up pouring it into my husband’s glass.
And one more thing – no more bad wine, please! If I have some, I would like a wine I appreciate. For instance there are a few local cafes where they serve rather mediocre cask wine. It definitely is less attractive going there since I made this decision.
Can you relate to this at all? I am sure there are many people out there who wish they could do this as well. Yet it never seems the right moment. In my immediate circle of friends there are at least a handful of people who have made the same decision during the last year.
Ever thought about what would be your perfect lifestyle? I certainly have. In fact it started in my late teens when I wanted a summer job abroad. One of my high school friend’s worked a summer season in Switzerland and that seemed the ultimate dream to me. So I found a summer job in Zurich and returned for five summers while I studied in The Netherlands.
Working in Zurich created a hunger in me for exotic and foreign. Switzerland seemed to have better summer weather, the scenery was more appealing and it was foreign. A long story short, I had planted the seeds that caused me to change my lifestyle several times.
What is my perfect lifestyle
Without realising it before, I discovered that nature was important to me and so were sunny days. Growing up in The Netherlands, grey skies, drizzle and wind is part of life. I was no fan.
Jumping ahead several decades, I have moved abroad a handful of times. I have lived in Switzerland, UK, Australia and had some shorter stints in Greece and Norway. Nowadays I live in southwest France. The reasons for moving vary but work, opportunity, relationship and lifestyle choice have been some of them.
I grew up in the Netherlands and went for summer jobs to Switzerland. I joined a man in London and with him I created a new life in Australia. 25 years later we moved to France for lifestyle purposes. And believe me, I don’t think we are not done yet!
I feel we are still on the search for the perfect lifestyle – one that would suit us. I say ‘us’ as not everyone will have the same idea about ‘perfect’. Admittedly we are still searching but are finding more answers with every adventure we have.
Some of our recent adventures have been housesits in different countries. We have added working online, managing a holiday rental and a guardian role for a large French property . While doing such things we discovered what we like and don’t like. Above all we learned new things about ourselves.
We love France and have been here since 2017. Being Dutch, I can live in France while my British husband qualifies for residency because of being married to me. Understandably Brexit caused a little stir for the Brits that live abroad in Europe.
Although we love France we are still looking at other options. Unfortunately, if we stay in France we cannot receive a retirement pension from Australia. Yet, we can if we move to Spain or Portugal. For some reason France and Australia have decided to cut strings when it comes to pensions.
There are a few disgruntled Aussies in France who may not have been aware of that. We knew but as it was so many years ahead we still bought a house in France and settled there. After living here for 5 years we realised that the sun is not always shining in this part of France. The winters can be quite nasty and do really not differ that much from those in Northern Europe.
Climate change seems to be for real. Many places in the South of Spain have become unbearable during the summer months. Even in France where we are, the temperatures rise to high thirties for days on end.
What we have discovered….
While doing housesits and jobs in different locations we slowly find what our perfect lifestyle should and should not have. We have discovered the aspects that are important to us. Consequently we are now researching locations in Spain and Portugal on increasingly more factors. Examples are weather, unpleasant winds, sun aspects, proximity to medical services, public transport, work and costs.
There is obviously no perfect fit for everyone and people differ in needs, likes and dislikes. However after seeing ourselves and others make mistakes, we learned a few lessons. So start with considering the following.