It’s hard to build new habits, but there’s two I’m finally keeping up with after years, if not months, of constant slacking, forgetting and most of all, a lack of motivation.
I’ve been attempting to learn Japanese on and off for a couple of years now. I started with learning hiragana which I memorized most of last year sometime; after relentlessly writing and rewriting them until it almost became muscle memory. In the recent six months, I’ve been using Duolingo more but hadn’t been able to keep up a streak longer than a week. I’d practise every day for a week and then give up for 3.
Today I’m at my longest streak ever of 24 days, and I’m determined to make it a month! (Hopefully more too^^).
The other habit I’ve been working on is reading a little bit every day. I learnt in my first year of uni not too long ago how important it is for any writer or aspiring writer to read as much as they can! I read a lot as a young teen, but the longer school went on the less I read and in college and from thereafter I don’t think I read a single book until I started my university course. I eased myself in by starting with a set of small books ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I didn’t manage to read every day and, in fact, I was slow getting through them.. it took me about 8 months to finish “the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy of five”. I did however enjoy the books greatly and soon after finishing the last one started the first book of Game of Thrones which I’ve read every day for the past 16 days and gotten halfway through already! (For some perspective one Game of Thrones book is about the same length as all 5 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books!) So there’s a big improvement there already!^^
I’m aiming to finish reading the first book by the end of this month so I can move onto the next one^^
6 Months ago was the beginning of 2020, a year in which most of us hoped to be a good one – a fresh start, a year full of promise and progress. Boy were we all wrong.^^” One things for sure, the world is in a much different place than anyone could have possibly predicted 6 months ago. It’s still debatable whether it’s for better or for worse but in my opinion, despite all the heartbreaking losses and chaos that has spilled across the word, I believe that it’s ending a lot better than it started. People have been spending time with their families again and learning to appreciate the little things more, as well as all that, people have been listening to nature again and finally realising how important it is to look after our environment! All I can hope for is that when this chaos finally ends (which may be soon^^) the world will become a better place again and people wont take things for granted so much.
On another note, 6 months! Do you know what that means!?
It’s time for a fun little review on how my Bullet Journal has been coming along, whats happened so far this year and whats changed. I’m going to share my progress with you all!^^
Then and Now – Bujo Progress
If you aren’t interested in Bullet Journals ten feel free to skip past it, There’s plenty more stuff after this section^^
This year has been my real first attempt at Bullet Journaling and although I have days or a week at a time where I’ll end up slacking, I always manage to pick it back up again afterwards!
As it was my first attempt, my designs weren’t the neatest to begin with. My 2020 cover page just looks like chaos to me now compared to my recent May cover page. My layouts have become a lot more ‘cleaner’ and a lot more simplistic, I really do prefer it! Not only are the layouts drawn better but my photography has really improved too! (If I do say so myself^^)
My habit trackers have also made a big improvement, to begin with it looked pretty plain and the end result was always just plain messy ^^” After a couple of months, I’d only slightly altered it so that I was using pencil instead of pen to fill it in which certainly made it look tidier, but I still wasn’t really happy. This month I’ve used a different design and I just absolutely love it! ^^
Budget – Exercise Tracker
At the start of the year I had a budget planner as part of the reoccurring monthly spread, I never really managed to use it properly, I haven’t really had much of a use for it for a few months so I’ve been trying something new each month. First I tried out having an ‘Ideal Day’ page, but that’s not really something you can put in every month… Next I tried having a Studio Ghibli checklist, which again would have been better as part of the yearly spread(although that month I watched A LOT of studio ghibli movies…) The next month down the line I’d really started to focus on my health and fitness and the Habit Tracker really wasn’t helping me encourage myself to do more exercise, so I designed an Exercise Tracker for myself!^^ And I’ll tell you what, my Exercise Tracker a long with my new Habit Tracker design have really been helping me keep motivated! I’m keeping up with it all so much better now^^
Another big change has been my 30 Day challenge, I honestly don’t think I’ve managed to complete a full months worth even once yet^^” I’ve tried making the challenged easier each month and I still just never complete them all, I can never seem to find the time. This month is actually the first I’ve changed it, I made it a daily gratitude page which I’ve already done a terrible job at keeping up to date with. I actually already have plans to change it for next month already. Ironically, I’m thinking of changing it to a Budget page…
The last big design change I’ve made in the past 6 months has got to be my Weekly Spread. I would’t say its changed much but it definitely looks a lot neater and more carefully done than it did in January, I’m a lot more proud of it now then I was then!^^
So I’ve attempted a Pixel year once before and I didn’t really keep up with it too well ^^” I think I managed about 2 months and maybe a week.. This year on the other hand, I’ve completed 5 months!
It’s been a very up and down year for everyone, a lot of horrible things have been going on and I can only hope that the remaining 6 months of this year be promising!^^
At the start of the year I decided that I wanted to try and keep track of any increases and decreases on my Social Media followings.
I’m not usually one of those people to be infatuated with social media in any way, but its become quite important for my career and seeing as I do love seeing progress in numbers I thought this simple design would work perfectly.
As you can see, although small I have been getting a few more followers across the board!^^ It may only be small, but its enough for me~
Looking back at the goals I made for this year, I now see that some of them may have been a little too ambitious ^^” For one, I haven’t been doing nearly enough on Youtube anymore to gain any subscribers so thats unlikely to happen and going to Japan definitely isn’t going to happen any time soon.
The others though are a lot more achievable, I’m only 3 weeks away from completing my TEFL and I’m due to start an OU course at the end of this year too!^^
Before this pandemic started, I was getting close to achieving a level 1 seller on Fiverr too but work really slowed down recently because of it. I still have 6 months though so theres still a chance!^^
The Biggest Changes Over the Past 6 Months
I’ve been getting a little bit stuck on this recently, so much has changed and I just don’t know where to begin! All of these changes aren’t just because of the corona-virus pandemic, I’ve been working really hard (almost) every day to improve myself and my work^^
Work and Education – What am I doing now?
At the beginning of this year I was just starting my TEFL course and two Mindfulness courses that accompanied it. I’ve very nearly finished them in fact I would have finished it by now but I got a tad distracted and fell behind again ^^” I got a really good deal on an extension with some other really useful short courses which I’ll definitely be looking through soon! There’s some life coaching ones and a course on how to start a business, maybe they’ll help me learn some more useful stuff for my blog^^
Since my TEFL course is coming to its end, I’ve been looking into what else I need to finally become an English Teacher in Japan. Originally I was going to try to get a job with just my TEFL certific ate but after looking into some really good companies that come with a lot of good bonus’, I realised I should really get a Bachelors degree already, so I am. I’ve applied for an OU course and I’m currently sorting out funding for my tuition^^ I’ll be starting my course English Literature and Creative Writing in October this year!
6 months ago I had no intention of going to university (especially with all the current chaos) I guess I forgot that Open University was a thing. I’m surprisingly pretty excited to start it even though I’m very aware it wont be an easy course ^^” I was always good at English so hopefully I wont crash and burn! I’ll be doing my course full time in attempt to finish it in 3 years so I’ll definitely suffer ^^”
(Is anyone else doing an OU course soon? What are you applying for, I’d love to hear about it^^)
Another drastic change has got to be my work focus! At the start I was always focused on working on my music, but I’ve found more enjoyment recently in working on my Bullet Journal and writing blog posts. I’d like to continue to learn and share things, I’d love to help people who are new to the idea of working from home and be able to give advice so with that I seem to have moved my focus to my lifestyle blog. I do still plan to work on some music and maybe release a song every so often, but I’m not sure its what I want as a job right now (maybe I’ll change my mind again one day)
Health and Fitness – How I’ve Improved
By the end of last year I had managed to gain an annoying amount of weight^^” so this year I’ve been trying my best to get back into regular exercise and become a lot healthier! My Bullet Journal has helped a lot with creating a routine and sticking to it each week or month. I haven’t managed to loose a massive amount of weight but I’ve definitely improved my health by a lot recently!^^ I take vitamins everyday as well as have at least one cup of green tea a day, I do a set amount of exercise 5 days a week whilst trying to hit my step goal every day too! I obviously haven’t kept this up even nearly perfectly… I still get the odd day or even a week where I completely lack motivation and can’t push myself to get a single task done. ^^”
I’m confident that I’ve made improvements! I’ve got a lot more strength and a little more endurance than I had in January, not only that but my Resting Heart Rate has gone down!! I used to have a high average on my RHR so I’m really happy to see that theirs definitely improvement there^^
I also can’t remember the last time I got sick, I used to have a pretty harsh cold at least once a month^^” It was awful. But I don’t think I’ve gotten really sick even once this year yet!
Mindfulness and Mental Health – Has it Helped?
I always used to be quite close minded to the idea of Mindfulness, I guess mostly because I didn’t understand it and I didn’t understand it until I did the two Mindfulness courses that I got with my TEFL course. I’m surprised that I found it so interesting, especially since science never was my favourite thing.^^”
I learn’t a lot about the brain and how it functions when it comes to thoughts and emotions, and that in order to think clearly about something and react mindfully, you need to allow your thoughts to pass the amygdala (the security guard of your brain basically) By passing this guard, it allows you to think before reacting. It’s a difficult thing to get a grasp on, I really had to spend a lot of time learning to meditate and breathe properly. I’m still not great at it but now I at least understand how!^^
It’s hard to pinpoint an improvement when it comes to mental health, by using some of the techniques I’ve learnt I’ve definitely learned how to stay calm and think before reacting, It’s also become quite useful in helping myself to focus on a task and actually get work done^^” This is all a major improvement for me compared to 6 months ago, I can handle stressful situations so much better now and I’m finding it a lot easier to relax every so often too^^
I’ve learnt to understand myself better and how to look after myself better, it turns out something as small as making your bed when you get up every morning really does help give yourself a small boost of motivation to then get even more tasks done!^^
There’s always a lot more I wish I could write about but if i write for too long at one time I really start to loose my focus^^”
Aside from the chaos of Covid-19, this year has been somewhat successful so far. I just hope I can say the same in another 6 months!
I hope everyone else’s year has been going well to some extent, tell something good thats happened to you so far! I’d love to hear about it^^
Thanks so much for all of the support I’ve had so far!^^