Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Time to Step It Up

Whenever I've had a long gap between blog posts I've always gone against my politely English instincts that scream at me to apologise.

Blogs are such a self indulgent (of the good variety) practice already that, surely, apologising to your "readers" for not supplying them with your weekly opinions is a tad bit... I want to say 'up your own arse', but I'll settle for pretentious.

But today, and this particular blog, is a whole different kettle of fish. I've recently started a grown up job, moved away from home and basically tried to sort my life out. However, this has made me a lazy bum on the updating front on this, week 4 of TYSIC.

I've been reading nearly everything that has been posted and blogged, but just "haven't had the time to post anything myself". Immediately reading that back makes me feel ridiculous as people all around me in Watsonia (I MAY or may not have made that title up) have been able to keep up with it while caring after a new born baby, writing novels, creating beautifully crafted fan forums or performing gigs at the O2. So to you, I am sorry.

No more excuses.

I've slowly plodded along with my challenges. Naturally starting my new job has caused me to do a heck of a lot of smiling, genuine or not. But I do seriously believe that making yourself smile can lead you to feeling happy.

I have a 30 minute cycle to work and each day I've had a wet and windy journey. It would have been easy for me to have a face like a horse while getting pelted with frustrating droplets, but I kept on smiling. In no small part down to last week music find: Some may find it depressing, but it makes me grin.

And, in a convenient link to my next challenge, it has urged me to not be fussy, thus "trying to enjoy things I dislike". Ultimately it has just lead me to wretch over the sink ruing my old foes Coffee and Red Wine. But I'm trying.

I've continued to send my letters but there's a chance they may be reading this, so I shan't be giving away any names.(Ooh you can just feel that tension, can't you reader?)

Anyway, not much to report on the writing front, still plugging away working out who's who, what's what and where's where and hopefully soon I'll know where I want to take it.

Cheers for reading, I hope you're all well, and good luck for your tasks!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Steady Progress

I have a tendency to get carried away with things I'm passionate or excited about.

So when I first heard about TYSIC I was scared to look forward too far ahead, in case it slowly petered out and came to a disappointingly premature conclusion.

However, I feel at the start I may have totally underestimated Mark Watson's drive and ability to pull together such a jolly group of enthusiastic strangers. The amount of blogs and posts available must give Mark a very warm feeling, and as a "lifer" myself, I feel really relieved that people are taking the bull by the horns and getting stuck in.

I was one of the lucky 8 to have been short-listed for the iPod competition this week (Well Done Anna!) and I although I now have to find another way to get my girlfriend a new mp3 player I couldn't stop smiling at the concept of the competition. For non-TSYICers, Mark basically posted a blog a while back about the loss of BBC6 Music and how an iPod can actually be more entertaining as it's like being in control of your own radio station. The blog ended with Mark challenging everyone reading to leave a comment explaining why they feel they deserve a new iPod and the most convincing argument would win themselves said mp3 player.

I didn't win, but the fun isn't going to stop there. We now have to get the iPod from Mark to Anna, via all 8 finalists and as many TSYICers, in both Britain and wider Europe, using any mode of transport possible. Amazing.

Anyway, as we're now in week two it's time for an update. Like last week, and hopefully the many more to follow, I have been attempting to continue progressing through the five steps/challenges I've set myself.

Unfortunately the first (and ultimately most challenging) one, writing a book, has suffered a bit this week. Writer's block has kicked in, but rather than completely avoiding the subject, I've merely placed the pen down and formed some ideas in my head. Lulls at work provide the perfect thinking space. Plus, in a way, I'm getting paid to think about my novel!

The next step was sending a letter, and although I started off with an ambitious one to David James (England goalkeeper) I've chosen someone closer to home. Without bringing the mood down, a friend of mine past away when we were 16 (8 years ago). I stay in touch with the family on the anniversary and his birthday and they say they appreciate we still think about him. But I was thinking the other day, why do we only say nice things on predetermined dates? There's now a letter in the post to let them know he's always on my mind.

Number three on the list was smiling more. Some people have read previous posts and if they see me not smiling, they tell me I must. So that's a helpful motivational tool!

I also told myself to enjoy things I don't like so on Saturday evening I forced a glass of red wine down my throat. I managed to keep the vomit down, but I think I'm going to have to keep plugging away at that one. Hopefully in 9 years and 11 months time I can celebrate a successful decade (or drown my sorrows) with a whole bottle. Vomit or no vomit.

And finally this week's music discovery is Fat Freddy's Drop. I recommend Flashback It has a relatively slow start but his voice just makes me want to be in a Hollywood BBQ montage. See what I mean?

Hope everyone is happy and if you're reading this as a non-TYSICer I implore you to check out Mark's blog at

Friday, 12 March 2010

One Week and One Day

Excuse my latest and the lameness of this blog.

One week and a day has past since TYSIC all kicked off and it seems like we've all been busy.

The week has been wonderfully busy for myself, so much so I didn't get to post my progress on here. However, as it was the first week, I decided to cover the topics I planned on here, on a blog I write for my local newspaper (

The thinking behind it was I could simply direct anyone who reads this to that page, and as I know more people read that one, I could drum up new TYSICers.

I hope that makes sense and I shall be more informative next week!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

One Small Step

TYSIC started today and although I've been busy learning lots of information about my exciting new temporary admin job, it's been the only thing occupying my mind.

Personally I'm over-the-moon with how many people are getting involved in this, so I can't imagine how thrilled Mark is. And despite everyone's challenges being ways for them to improve themselves, I can't help thinking the world will be a slightly jollier place.

Some people are planning to do something every day, every month or spread it out over 10 years but I've taken decided to work on my goals every week.

I'm going to get cracking on the ol' novel and weekly letter writing at the weekend, but today saw me overcome what I think is my toughest goal: Liking things I dislike (coupled with my other challenge of smiling more).

Whenever I've sat in a training room surrounded by 12 other people raring to go in their new jobs, I've always sulked in the corner awaiting the cringe-worthy ice breakers and team building exercises.

But not today. I walked into the waiting room with a smile on my face, introducing myself to everyone. Oh yes, I was the person I'd usually avoid on my first day of a new job. I may have annoyed people, but the type of individual who thrives in group sessions tend to have less wrinkles and quicker days.

As I sat down waiting for it all to kick-off, my closest friend from school turned up and joined the circle! I couldn't believe it. Last week I was expecting a long two days, but five minutes in I had a friendly face to keep me company.

Now, I'm not saying that TYSIC acted as some kind of divine intervention and sent me an angel to spend the day with, but, well, yeah, I guess I am. There can't be ANY other explanation. Can there? I thought positive thoughts and TYSIC delivered. Marvellous.

I have a few ambitious targets I want to send my letter to this week and am looking forward to completing some form of synopsis for my book. Both goals would have seemed out of reach yesterday, but with TYSIC watching over me I intend to think happy thoughts and hope for the best.

I hope all of your days have been productive and I'll see you in a bit.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

It All Kicks Off

Mark Watson's Ten Year Self Improvement Challenege (TYSIC) kicks off tomorrow, so I thought I'd whack out a blog today.

I'll keep it brief but as the description says over there ---->
Mark set us a challenge of picking areas we would like to improve or tasks we'd like to conquer in the next 10 years.

He's leading the way by trying to be more optimistic and write a blog every day for 10 years at (do check it out).

I guess I've always had goals I want to achieve, and we all have elements we can improve, but I did grow up in the MTV spoon fed generation who needs a kick up the rear to do anything. And who better to do the kicking than a Welsh comedian?

I've set myself challenges including writing a book, sending a letter to someone I know or would like to know every week, and striving to like things that I dislike.

If you care, I'll be chronicling (good word) my journey on this blog and would encourage anyone who is taking up the challenge to start one and stay in touch with each other. C'mon.

Good luck to all, and see you in a bit.