Tag: Resolutions

Why I Haven’t Been Around + Goals Update

Yorkshire Dales walk

Well, hello there! If you keep an eye on my blog, then you may have noticed that I’ve been posting less recently. For this, I apologise, but I wanted to give an explanation. You see, the last year has been pretty busy. I know, I know, everyone is busy all of the time. But sometimes, when you’re so busy that you struggle to see how you can to get through the next day let alone the next week, and you’re constantly falling behind on your ever-extending to-do list, it’s hard to prioritise what’s really important in life.

In the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of clients writing on some fascinating topics. I’ve also been working hard at growing the author side of my business: I’ve published one full-length novel (with a second coming soon in June), two novelettes and two novellas. I’ve also organised a wedding and started co-hosting a podcast.

When I look back on it, I’ve achieved a lot. But it has come at a price, and that has been my outdoor time. It’s ironic that, by writing about outdoor activities and adventure, I’ve actually ended up spending less time doing them myself. I suspect I’m not the only writer and entrepreneur to have fallen into this trap…

So, I decided on some changes. I will be continuing with my client work – no change there. (If you need a hand with copywriting or content marketing, get in touch!) And I’ll still be blogging, but not every week. I’ll post something as and when I have something I really want to write about and share with you. This will still probably be once or twice a month – I’m not disappearing completely!

I’m also going to be consolidating my social media channels in an effort to rationalise my social media addiction. I currently have two Twitter accounts, one for the author side of my business, and one for the outdoor copywriting side. Moving forward, I’m only going to be using this one, but I’ll be chatting about everything. The outdoors and writing about the outdoors is as much a part of me as writing novels or podcasting, so why should I try and tear myself in two?

Update on my goals for 2018

At the beginning of the year, I posted my outdoor goals for 2018. Whenever you’re setting goals, I always think it’s worth reviewing them every couple of months. Life changes, what we are able to do changes and, perhaps most importantly, what we want to do sometimes changes.

Ironically, given everything I’ve talked about above, my main aim for 2018 was to spend more time outdoors. I’m pretty sure I’ve achieved this, though based on the end of last year, I was working from a pretty low benchmark!

The main thing that’s forced me to spend more time outside is the Isle of Wight Challenge. In a week and a half, I’ll be walking 104 km around the Isle of Wight (over two days). I’m pretty sure this is the toughest challenge I’ve set myself, and I’ve been training hard for it. Many of my weekends over the past few months have been spent walking, come rain or shine. And until recently, there has been very little shine and rather a lot of rain, hail and snow.

I’m feeling reasonably well prepared for the walk. Or at least, as prepared as I can feel. (I don’t think you ever really feel ready for challenges like this.) I’m raising money for Mind, a mental health charity here in the UK, which is been a huge motivator to get out and train even when the weather has been, quite frankly, miserable. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so here.

My second goal of the year was to hike the John Muir Trail. My husband and I had planned to do this for our honeymoon. We may have underestimated the logistical challenge this presented… I also discovered while doing all these long walks, that while I LOVE walking, I don’t really love having to go out walking for 8 hours in the rain. We’ve also both found that we’ve missed climbing. Really missed it. With work commitments and busy lives, there’s just not the time to do everything and because I’ve been spending every weekend training for the Isle of Wight Challenge, this has meant we’ve done next to no climbing.

So, we changed our plan! We’re still planning on going out to the States, but we’re hoping to do a month long climbing trip later in the year. We haven’t been on a climbing holiday for ages so I’m really looking forward to this. 😀 I’m also looking forward to getting some strength back and exploring more of the crags around where we live.

This will also finally force me to face head-on my incapacitating fear of falling. I haven’t quite figured out how best to do this yet, but I’m working on it. More on that another time…

I would love to be a superwoman who is able to do it all, but I’m gradually coming to realise that I’m not. We all have different pressures on our lives and time and have to prioritise what’s most important to us. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that being outdoors is important to me.

Setting New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep


Happiness is a beautiful, frosty, sunny morning

New Year’s resolutions can be great. If you’re a goal-orientated person (like me!) then you’ve probably already set out your aims and ambitions for 2017. If you’re a follower of the Tough Girl podcast, you may already have committed to your 7 or 17 challenges for 2017. My Twitter and Facebook feeds are full of people setting out their resolutions for the coming year.

And I applaud you all! But perhaps take a moment to stop and think why you’re making these resolutions. Many people set themselves resolutions to get fitter, lose weight or get a promotion because they feel this will make them happier or help them be a better person. If they don’t achieve their goals by the end of the year, they feel like they’ve failed.

Or perhaps you do achieve your goals, but wonder why you’re still not feeling as happy about it as you ‘should’ be. That despite all the effort and work you’ve put in, life is still not perfect.

But is happiness something that can be pursued? Sometimes I think we try and define ‘happiness’ too much, and set too much store in trying to achieve it. Earlier this year, I came across this comic strip from The Oatmeal which I think sums the pursuit of happiness up perfectly. If you sometimes feel that you should be feeling happier or more contented, I suggest you have a read of it.

Setting real resolutions

Last year I was guilty of setting a ton of goals without actually thinking through whether I’d realistically be able to achieve them. I’m all for setting ambitious targets, but when you don’t even achieve half of them, you know you’ve done something wrong. In my case, the challenges I’d set were way too ambitious given what else I had during the year. Several of them also conflicted with each other: climbing 7c requires very different training to that needed to tackle the Cuillin Ridge!

So what did I learn from this about New Year’s resolutions? Number one: be realistic. Break down what you’ll need to do to achieve your resolution and work out what you can fit into your life. Number two: commit to it. Set aside time to do whatever it is you want to do, whether that’s reading more books or getting out running.

And perhaps most importantly, number three: do things because you find them meaningful and because you get satisfaction out of doing them. Do things you enjoy whilst doing them and not just for the outcome. And definitely not because you think achieving it will automatically make you a happier, more awesome person.

For example, if you hate dieting but want to lose weight, look at setting a resolution for the process rather than the end point. So rather than your resolution being to lose eight pounds by June, set a resolution to test out a new healthy recipe every week. Yes, it sometimes works to have a goal and endpoint in mind, but making the journey easier is a sure-fire way of actually achieving your target.

What happiness means to me

A few days ago I was running down through the forest I grew up near, on a cold, frosty but sunny morning. I had family (and a hot shower) waiting at home, I wasn’t gasping for air (unusually) and everything was just beautiful. And suddenly a thought popped into my head: this is what happiness means to me.

I do have goals written down for 2017, both for work and personal life. But for once, I have no goals relating to sport, adventure or being outdoors. I’d like to spend more time climbing, but I’m not aiming to climb 7c (as I tried – and failed – to do last year). I’ll go walking and running and orienteering, but I have entered no races or competitions. We’re planning more microadventures, but without any specific agenda.

What I’ve realised this year is that I’m happy just being outdoors and taking part in these activities. There is a satisfaction from achieving goals and ambitions, but the enjoyment is in taking part. And sometimes those moments of contentment are more significant than getting to the top of the climb, or completing the run.

Happiness is the chirruping of a robin, bouncing across a frosty forest floor. The shaft of sunlight lighting up the heather-coated hill. The breathing in of fresh, unpolluted air. The sound of silence.

So for me, being outdoors will be the place I can escape from the pressure of goals and targets, and just be. A place I can recharge my batteries to help me achieve everything I want to in 2017.

Whether you make resolutions for 2017 or prefer to just take life as it comes, I hope you can all find some kind of happiness outdoors this year. Or if not happiness, then moments of contentment and satisfaction.