New Year, New You

This New Year’s Eve I had an epiphany whilst on the dance floor at the Minneapolis Black and White Ball. In between navigating pools of spilled beer, over-zealous revelers in 3” heels and a ballgown I had a sudden realisation. The reason I am so determined and focused with my New Year’s resolutions is that whilst most people are waking up with a sore head on the first day of the year I wake up the day after that a whole year older as my birthday is on January 2nd.

I’ve never been a fan of giving anything up for New Year. I find setting an intention to take something up is far more proactive, fun and achievable. I took up yoga seventeen years ago and still practice to this day. I remember having to take up Facebook when it eclipsed MySpace as the social media platform to be seen on. I find it exciting to step into a new year as a new version of myself and defining who I want to be. This year has been particularly special as on Saturday 21st January I had been in Minneapolis a year to the day. 365 days earlier I had stepped off a plane with just two bags and didn’t know a soul in the State of Minnesota outside of the Evine family.

Fast forward to January 2017 and my Saturday couldn’t be more different. My day began bright and early at my Miracle mornings discussion group in a local coffee shop where we watch a short YouTube video on a topic and then discuss it. This week was the philosophy of Stoicism. After the group, I drove to brunch with a writer friend whom I met when I volunteered at the Minneapolis Saint Paul International Film Festival last Spring. I just read the lead in her play and now wants me to resume the role in a short film she’s writing.

Afterwards I burned off my brunch at salsa class. My friend and fellow Evine host, Fatima, has given me the bug for salsa but she is one of, if not THE best dancer in the Twin Cities. I, however, am still stepping on people’s toes and turning the wrong way, which is incredibly frustrating as I’ve always loved to dance but that’s a whole different experience to learning to dance!

Next, I went to Uptown Minneapolis for a Soul night with a friend. It was a strange coincidence as we’d both found out about it months before from totally different people but just as I was about to ask her if she wanted to go, she mentioned it to me. Soul night was not about the musical genre but a gathering of people wanting to connect on a spiritual level. There were hugs, crystals, sageing (an ancient practice where people burn sage to clear energy) and some positive live hip hop. Lastly, my friend and I grabbed dinner before I headed home.

The reason I want to share this with you is to show what’s possible in just one year. Even as I write this I just went to an outdoor Shanty art festival on my way home from buying groceries.

As a life coach, a common question I ask is, ‘What’s stopping you?’ So often the answer is ourselves. It’s not that we consciously hold ourselves back but more that we don’t give ourselves permission to ‘colour outside the lines’ so as we get older our worlds get gradually smaller.

Something I’ve done differently this year for myself and my clients is to mind map my 2017 goals. It’s really simple. Print out a photo of yourself that you like (or photos, if you’re doing a family one). Get a big board – the foldable science fair ones work well and they’re about $5.

Paste your face into the centre of the board and then just get busy with the Sharpies and BIG ideas. Draw lines coming from you and begin to create categories like, ‘Family’, ‘Creativity’, ‘Fun’, ’Fitness,’ Community’, ‘Vampires’. OK, so not vampires, I was just checking you were still reading but, YES – vampires! Think outside the box, nothing is off limits and have fun.

Then put it somewhere where you can see it every day and keep adding as ideas pop up.

Putting your face next to, ‘Win Nobel Peace Prize’ is literally aligning yourself with it in front of your very eyes.

An even faster way that takes up zero space and you can do when you’re half-watching TV is to create Pinterest boards for your goals. I have one called Fashion Goals 2017 to achieve the perfect capsule closet (Prince Harry’s new girlfriend Meghan Markle is my current style crush!).

I can’t guarantee it will stop me from buying random things like neon pink PVC boots (but to be fair the mileage I got out of my Mum howling with laughter when I couldn’t get them off in the shop far outweighed the cost and the fact I never wore them) but it does give me a structure for when I go shopping.

I also want to travel across America this year and I’ve created a board called Bucketlist USA.

 

When I travelled back to the UK a few weeks ago, I sat next to a guy called Mike from Minnesota who is stationed in the Air Force in London. He was telling me I must visit the Boundary Waters – I’ve Googled it and it’s on the list. I have friends in San Diego, Portland, Hawaii so they’re all must-sees and the Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list forever. 2017 is the year!

 

With technology as sophisticated as it is now we’re all visual people even if we don’t consider ourselves creative. Pinterest makes everything look pretty for you but having a visual image – especially if you can put yourself next to that beach in Costa Rica – is sending your brain a powerful message of possibility! In 2006 I went on holiday to the island of Ibiza with some friends and when I came home I made my screen saver the view of the sunset from the very popular Cafe Mambo. Two years later I moved to the island, got a job at Cafe Mambo and on my first night looked out and had an emotional moment as I realised that what had become background – something I didn’t even notice on my laptop – was now not only my reality but my ‘office’ view every night when I went to work. In January 2015 whilst on a coaching course I spent 3 days being coached around the topic of moving to the US. Six months later without having done anything else, I got an email from Evine offering me a job. Don’t question the ‘how?’ just trust this stuff works!

I would love to hear your goals, plans and dreams for 2017. What do you want to be looking back on this time next year? And if like Minnesota Mike you have somewhere you think should be on my Bucketlist USA, let me know and I’ll add it to the board.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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Get out of your comfort zone!

As many of you know I’m the newest host here at Evine.  Taking the job a year ago followed many months of uncertainty and a visa process so lengthy it probably deserves a blog of its own!  I finally moved here from London in January this year.  Arriving in Minnesota in the middle of winter might sound like the worst time of year, but I had done my research, got some good boots and a big coat. With the beautiful houses and the snow it was like landing in Christmas-land!

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When most people talk about stepping out of their comfort zone, they think about doing something extreme like bungee jumping or leaping out of a plane.  But those are short, sharp shocks that are over quickly.  Moving to a new country, everything you do is new. New, job, new home, new people.  Even the car I drive (and the side of the road!) and where I buy groceries have all changed, so it takes a while to come down back to earth because there’s nothing familiar to come home to.  Plus, as there are so many decisions on a daily basis there’s no time to procrastinate!  You have to seize every moment, a way we often talk about in terms of living our lives but rarely get the chance to.

I’ve always had a love affair with America.  When I was little I used to watch Moonlighting from my bed and imagine that New York was outside my curtains.  I first went to New York when I was twenty years old and, in 2005, worked on the BBC documentary series ‘Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music’ where we traveled the country interviewing some of the most influential names in soul music.  On my travels I’ve visited San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA, New York, New Orleans and Connecticut.  I’ve always found people in the US to be open, friendly and even an exchange with a stranger in a elevator can brighten my day.

Right place, right time..

Moving your whole life is a huge, but I had so many signs that this was the right place to be.  I’d lived in London for 10 years and always thought I would move after a decade but just hadn’t decided where yet.  Then my apartment building was sold and I’d be talking to my coach about moving to the States.  I was working in Dublin and walking down a street that could have been straight from Minnesota, thinking to myself that I always thought I would live in America one day and just weeks later I was approached by Evine!

In Minnesota, people are always curious when they hear me speak. “I love your accent”  is a daily thing, or “I could hear you talk all day” to which I say that can only be a good thing as I talk for a living and tell them they can watch me on Evine!  The question I get asked the most is, “What the biggest difference?” or “What do you miss the most?”  My advice to anyone going to live in a new country is to say your goodbyes to what and whoever you’re going to miss before you set foot on the plane, and look for connection rather than what’s different.

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When I first arrived I did miss being able to walk everywhere, as well as the architecture of London.  Unlike most Brits, I don’t crave PG or Tetley tea (British tea brands); I’m more of a Pukka girl when it comes to having a ‘cuppa’.  There aren’t any TV shows I can’t get online or live without.  In terms of fashion, I was sad to leave was my beloved Topshop.  I actually cried when I saw they’d come to Nordstrom’s – to see the familiar logo I’ve loved and worn for years in an unexpected place brought up unexpected emotions!

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There’s a French expression, ‘Vive la difference’ and ‘long live the difference’ is how I feel about living in America.  I love the four seasons that we have in Minnesota, I’m a water-baby (which you can read about in my last blog) so very well suited to lake-life.  I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of making new friends with the interests and person I am now.  I adore the weather here because, although Minnesotans refer to it as a short summer, three months is a cause for celebration and very different from our wet summers in the UK!

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Here’s my advice if you’re thinking about taking plunge and moving somewhere new:

Embrace the new

One of my mottos has always been ‘I’ll try anything twice’.  I hated sushi the first time, now I love it!  If you’re somewhere new you’re not the same ‘you’ so, be adventurous – you might surprise yourself!  When I came over last year, I went to the State Fair to sample the many foods on a stick and then drove to St Paul to hit up the yard sales.  A few months ago, I volunteered at the Minneapolis film festival; both to meet new people and so that I had to drive across Downtown in rush hour!  I often set myself ‘missions’ just to get myself up and out and about.

Laugh at yourself

Taking yourself too seriously can leave you feeling overwhelmed.  Another motto of mine is ‘Lighten up and let go’.  I like to try and laugh at situations and notice my negative self-talk.  Telling yourself, “I’m such an idiot” doesn’t serve you.  Try laughing at the situation rather than making it your fault.  We can’t all be comedians 24-7, but sometimes cracking up at a situation lightens the mood and gives you a new perspective.

Let yourself mess up

Things will go ‘wrong’ but, as a life coach, I’m a great believer that the only mistakes we make are the ones we don’t learn from.  Allowing yourself to fail allows you to grow.

*Pssst! I failed my written Minnesota driving test the first time and then spent two days revising the whole Minnesota drivers handbook!*

Make it your own

I’ve practiced yoga for 16 years and love to swim, dance and work out in the gym.

I bought my yoga mats with me and joined a studio the first week.  If your life is feeling all over the place, try and create your own routines to feel grounded and move your body to get those feel good endorphins.  I love the quote, ‘If Oprah has time to meditate you have time to meditate.’ (Even if I don’t always find time to meditate! 😉

Get out there!

Don’t stay in and wait for life to happen. Meetup.com is a great way to meet people with the same interests as you.  If you’re feeling you can’t go alone, post a message to say that you’re feeling nervous!  A lot of meetups wear wrist bands or something to make it easy for you to find the group. Go for it!

 

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