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Are you expecting a perfect relationship?

Are you expecting the perfect relationshipDo you recognise this kind of perfect relationship…?

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a princess.

This princess had lived her whole life waiting for her prince charming to arrive.

When he came for her, she knew that he would sweep her up in his arms, kiss her like she’s never been kissed before, and would create with her a life of love, laughter and the creation of nothing but happy memories.

She knew that when she found him, everything would be perfect.

They would be soul mates.

They would be lovers.

They would be best friends.

They would agree on everything.

He would never say or do anything that would upset her.

She would never say or do anything that would upset him.

They would never argue.

They would have a perfect house, a perfect relationship, perfect children, and a perfect life.

…and she knew they would live happily ever after.

Fairy tales like this have got a lot to answer for.

Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast…take your pick….the gist is pretty much the same.

The ‘perfect relationship’ format

Girl wants boy.

Boy finds girl or girl finds boy.

Someone or something gets between girl and boy.

Girl and boy overcome the someone or something.

Girl and boy live happily ever after.

Three words that simultaneously say nothing and everything …and that set our childhood expectations for relationships.

Happily. Ever. After.

The trouble with these kinds of fairytales is that they often end at the point where the relationship really begins.

As little girls we filled in the blanks as to what ‘happily ever after’ meant. Our own idyllic vision of what a perfect relationship would be.

Do you believe in the perfect relationship?

But we don’t really believe in this kind of happily ever after, do we?

Unfortunately, although the prince might have become a stockbroker, the princess a marketing executive and the kingdom houses more Starbucks than gingerbread houses…one of the challenges with modern day relationships is that we still believe in the fairytale.

We might not admit it to anyone, least of all ourselves, but most women are out there looking for ‘the one’.

…and what exactly do we mean by ‘the one’?

The one who won’t break my heart.

The one who won’t leave me.

The one with whom it will work perfectly.

The one who I can have happily ever after with.

The question is, what does happily ever after mean?

Given that we left our childhood stories right at the beginning of the relationships, what did it mean for our princesses?

What did Cinderella do when Prince Charming left his socks on the bedroom floor?

What did Sleeping Beauty do when she found out that Prince Phillip snores?

What did Ariel do when Prince Eric noticed a pair of shapely legs that weren’t hers?

Did Snow White and the Prince have an argument over whose turn it was to do the washing up when the 7 dwarves came for dinner?

Often we equate Happily ever after with “the perfect relationship”.

What does expecting a perfect relationship cost us?

The downside of looking for, hoping for or expecting ‘perfection’ in a relationship is that at the first sign of an imperfection a lot of modern day princesses hitch up their ball gowns, kick off their glass slippers and start running to catch the nearest pumpkin.

“He’s obviously not my prince charming, I’d better high-tail it outta here so I don’t miss the real deal when he shows up…”

Most of us aren’t even aware that we’re aiming for perfection…it’s not something we’re conscious of.

It comes as an extension of expecting perfection from ourselves.

We expect ourselves to be perfect…we have standards for ourselves that are way higher than for most ‘normal’ human beings.

If we don’t have the perfect relationship, then we take it as a personal failure of ourselves…I’m not perfect enough to have the perfect relationship.

The ironic thing in all of this is that our perception of the ‘perfect relationship’, is more of a nightmare than a dream come true.

Who wants a relationship with someone who won’t ever challenge you and your thinking? Who wants a relationship with someone who agrees with you on everything? Who wants a relationship where you never argue, never disagree and never learn from each other? Who wants a relationship with a ‘Stepford Hustband’?

Not me, that’s for sure.

So how about a perfectly imperfect relationship instead?

In relationships, as with people, the best ones are perfectly imperfect.

So what is a perfectly imperfect relationship? …and how does it differ from our idea of happily ever after?

A perfectly imperfect relationship is a partnership between two perfectly imperfect people….a partnership that is chosen by both of them.

A perfectly imperfect relationship is real.

It’s fragile.

It’s honest.

It’s open.

It’s vulnerable.

It’s a living, breathing, growing entity of it’s own.

It has good times and not so good times.

….and the not so good times make you appreciate the good times even more.

It needs nurturing, understanding and effort to flourish.

In a perfectly imperfect relationship there is no guarantee that it will be there tomorrow, so if you want your partner to continue to choose you tomorrow, you need to put in the effort today.

A perfectly imperfect relationship has arguments, has laughter, has moments you’ll never forget, it has challenges, it has smiles, it has learnings, it has misunderstandings, is has passion, it has appreciation, it has miscommunications, it has love.

It has the whole range of human emotions, because it involves two people who between them are capable of the whole range of human emotions!

If you have a masculine person and a feminine person in a relationship, there are going to be misunderstandings, there are going to be disagreements and confusions, because we are so fundamentally different.

What makes a perfectly imperfect relationship work perfectly is when both people are actively choosing the other. When both people appreciate the differences between them. When both people want to learn and grow together. When both people seek to understand the other. When both people want to know how to make the other happy. When both people are prepared to go first.

When both people are on the same team, working together to create something that works perfectly for them.

So rather than looking for happily ever after, I invite you to look for perfectly imperfect.

That’s what I’ve got, and I love it.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Would you like to know a secret that EVERY woman should know…?

Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stA few weeks ago I had a conversation with a very dear girlfriend of mine that really upset me, until I realised the problem…she didn’t know the secret.

It’s not big, or complicated…but it is true for every single woman on the planet.

Do you know the secret?

I meet women every week who are frustrated, stressed or downright fed up…all because they don’t know the secret.

…and then it occurred to me…maybe YOU don’t know the secret either.

So what is the secret?

So today I want to share the secret with you…and ask you to share it with as many women as possible.  When you watch the video, you’ll understand why…

The thing with this secret is that while most of us know it, we tend to forget it (or even worse ignore it)….continuing to set expectations of ourselves that would leave even Wonder Woman calling for a ‘time out’.

So take a moment today to check-in…are you expecting too much of yourself?  Are you trying to be perfectly perfect, instead of perfectly imperfect?  Are you putting demands on yourself that you wouldn’t dream of putting on anyone else?  Are you trying to please everyone else, to the detriment of yourself?

Remember the secret…

If the answer is yes (to any of the above questions), then just remind yourself of the secret.

Having high standards is great…just remember that being kind to yourself is equally important too.

…and please take a moment share the secret with at least three women who you know that could use a little reminder too.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Perfectly Imperfect Action is Better than Perfectly Perfect Inaction

Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stSo here it is…Claire raw.  No makeup, no jewellery, hair just scraped back…perfectly imperfect.

So many times over the last few weeks I’ve been talking to people who have wanted to do something or share something but have been waiting until it’s ‘right’.  They’ve been waiting for perfection.  So today I wanted to share with you how important it is to understand that Perfectly Imperfect Action is Better than Perfectly Perfect Inaction.

I usually take a couple of attempts to do these videos, but today I made a commitment that no matter what happened, I would do it in one….watch the video to see how it panned out…

As it turns out, for some reason today the logo isn’t in the position that I would normally put it…but I’ve put the video out anyway…because it’s perfectly imperfect and a beautiful demonstration of what I’m talking about!!

I’d love to hear about being perfectly imperfect, so please leave me a comment below to share your thoughts…

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Everything is perfect…but it’s OK for it to hurt at times too…

Happy SadFollowing on from last week’s newsletter article, I had an interesting conversation that prompted me to write today’s article.

The person I was speaking to had read last week’s article about the fact that “Everything is Perfect” and they asked me a very interesting question.

The conversation went something like this:

“I read your article about everything being perfect, but aren’t there times when something happens and that you just get caught up in the emotion of the moment, and you feel angry or sad even though you know you should be thinking positively?”

I am so grateful to the individual who asked this question (you know who you are)…because it occurs to me now that reading my post from last week you might think that I’m this impossibly happy and positive person who relishes every upset as an opportunity for personal growth.

…and I do believe that every upset is an opportunity for growth …eventually!

But in the moment, I feel all of the raw emotions the same as everyone else does.  It’s natural.  It’s human.  It’s the way we’re built.

Not only is it natural, but it’s necessary.

You see, if a situation comes up where you get hurt and you don’t acknowledge and honour that emotion, instead trying to move directly onto the ‘positive aspect’ of it, the emotion will stay with you.

It might be buried or ignored for a bit, but sooner or later it will pop up again and say hello…or a greeting that is much less friendly!

I’ve had an experience this week that has really reminded me of this.

Over the weekend I was relying on a very good friend of mine to complete some crucial work for a part of my business.  There was a deadline that couldn’t be moved and it was fundamental to a project I was working on.

I had offered to find an alternative solution last week if it wasn’t going to be possible to complete it and less than 24 hours before the deadline I received confirmation that it was in progress and it would be done.

So when said friend dropped off the radar with no communication and no warning that it would not be completed at all, I was completely shocked.

The deadline came and went with no word, and the work was not completed.  At the last minute I had to find an alternative solution myself so as not to let down people who were relying on me.

In that moment, and for several moments after it, there was a lot of emotion.

It was raw.

It was intense.

It was overwhelming.

I felt hurt, let down, angry, disappointed…and a whole lot more too.

I reached out to friends.  I vented.  I cried.  I allowed myself to feel it all completely.

Because once it had been felt…it was possible to release it and let it go.

…and it was also possible to see the gift in it.

I got to prove to myself that when I’m in a difficult situation and the pressure is on, I am able to find a solution.

Also, there have been several occasions in the last few months where I’ve been presented with opportunities to show compassion to, and actively help, people who have hurt me.  This was another one of those opportunities.

Not making what they’ve done OK, or ignoring it.  Acknowledging, expressing and facing how they have made me feel, but still choosing to show compassion for them in spite of that.

Because as hurt as I had been by it, I know that the intention had always been to help.  …and as disappointed as I was to be let down by a good friend, I knew that they weren’t a bad person…they’d just made choices that had led to a situation that caused me to feel bad.

I found a quote that really summed the situation up “Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting someone’s apology, it means understanding fully that a person made a mistake but is worthy of a second chance” ~ faithlovestoreblog.

But as much as there was a ‘silver lining’, it was just as important for me to acknowledge, feel and experience the intense feelings as and when they came up, as it was to eventually see the gift in the situation.

…and when in that moment of feeling and experiencing those intense emotions the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you is to allow yourself to be with it, feel it…but avoid reacting from that place.

Let the intensity of the emotions release before you act and you can then choose to respond rather than react.

As you know, one of the core aspects of femininity is to be emotionally connected…so in order to really embrace our feminine we need to also embrace, embody and experience our emotions in order that they can freely flow into and out of us.

That way we can honour them, without holding onto them…and we can then eventually see the gift.

Stay fabulous,

Claire x

Everything is perfect…but do you really believe it?

PerfectHow many times a week do you have one of those “Oh Cr*p” moments?

Where something appears to go ‘wrong’.

You miss a train, forget to call someone, miss a deadline?

Or something even worse happens…someone steals something from you, you get ill at a really inconvenient time, or someone breaks your heart.

In the moment, when it happens you feel sick.

Your stomach lurches, you get angry, or upset, or both.

Frustration bubbles to the surface and a raft of thoughts pass through your mind:

“Why me?”

“How could this happen?”

“Why now?”

“This is awful”

“It’s happened again”

“This is the worst timing ever”

Things haven’t worked out the way that we planned them, wanted them to or expected them to…and we react.

Look at 2012 for me.

At various times this year it felt like the bottom was falling out of my world.

The man who I expected to build a future with left unexpectedly the day before Valentine’s day.

This left me with several technical aspects of my business that I didn’t know anything about, which I now had to handle on my own.

I was diagnosed with Labarynthitis, which left me unable to leave the house for a significant period of time.

My Grandmother suffered a heart attack.

Two of my closest friends left the country.

However, each of these moments has brought a beautiful gift.

Becoming single again gave me some amazing time and space to focus on me, it allowed me to help so many other women who were in the same position as me and even led to the creation of the free webinars that I’m running next week on “Femininity for the Single Woman” (click here for the details).

I have learned how to do virtually all of the technical aspects of my business myself, which means that I’m no longer reliant or dependent on someone else. I can get someone else to do the work for me, but if I need to or want to I am perfectly capable of taking care of it.

My stint of Labarynthitis gave my body the much needed time and space to rest, recuperate and replenish itself. The beginning of this year took it’s toll on me physically and this was just what I needed to build my health back up. It also prompted me to improve my diet, which has led to an improvement of some life-long food allergies.

My grandmother’s heart attack, while awful, led to me having some beautiful moments with her that I would otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience. She has always had the very British “just get on with it” attitude to life and has quite a tough personality as a result…but we shared some very touching, heartfelt moments together that would never have happened had she not been through that experience.

And as for my friends leaving the country, with modern technology it feels like they’re not too far away…plus I have the offer of a holiday in Spain or Beijing any time I want it! 🙂

You see, the thing that I have learned through many heartbreaks, momentary disappointments, plans going up in smoke, unexpected bumps in the road, apparent problems, challenges, disasters and tragedies is that it’s all happening perfectly…even when it feels like it couldn’t be going more wrong.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford address…you can only join the dots backwards. It’s only when you look at the path in reverse that you can see the reasons for the various challenges along the way.

Today was a great example.

Today I missed my train twice. Once by 30 seconds, once by 5 seconds.

But if I’d caught my first train I wouldn’t have been able to get the week long train pass…which would have cost me an awful lot more. I ended up having to cancel a meeting and move another…I’ve no idea why…chances are it’ll become apparent at some point.

The second missed train I have no clue about…it has meant that I’m not going to get home until about midnight, having still got work to do and needing to leave home again at around 5am to make my morning appointment back in London…but I am absolutely convinced that it is all happening perfectly. I may not know how, or why, but I am sure it’s working out for the best.

There have been too many occasions where it felt like things were going wrong (but in reality they were working in my best interest for me) not to believe that’s true.

So I’d like to invite you today to think back to some of the moments in your life that felt like they were awful, and see if you can see the gift in them.

What happened as a result?

Who did you meet?

Where did you go?

What decision did you make?

What did you learn?

…and when that moment comes where you say “Oh Cr*p”…just remember to take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s all happening perfectly…and if you’re anything like me, grab a chocolate bar to take your mind off things… ;o)

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

The day I fell apart…

Falling ApartOver the last few weeks I’ve been hearing the same comment on a regular basis….”you’re dealing with your breakup really well”.

Sometimes it’s said with surprise, sometimes it’s said with an element of hope…at other times with a slight hint of dismay.

At a lunch meeting a while back, a colleague mentioned to me that I was one of these women who seemed to always have it together…and she wondered if I ever have days where things just get too much.

Well, I do 🙂

I’m just like everyone else in that sense.

So today I thought I would share about one of my more ‘challenging days’…so that you can see that I have them, just like everyone else.

As you know, a couple of months ago I went through a difficult breakup when the boyfriend I was living with left unexpectedly the night before Valentine’s Day.

I shared a bit about my experience on my blog to help other women who might be going through a similar situation.

Unfortunately it was never going to be an easy split because he was involved in some technical aspects of my business…so as much as it would have been easier at that point to have had a completely clean break with no contact (at least for a while until the wounds begin to heal), this wasn’t the reality of my situation.

Over the past month or two we have had to stay in touch to try and work out the details and come to a conclusion about how things will be resolved, including a few financial issues.

So it has been challenging, but all in all, I’ve been doing pretty well. There have been good days, and bad days, but I’ve followed my own advice and felt whatever emotions have come up in order to begin to release them. I’ve had some health problems along the way, but generally I was doing OK.

…until last Tuesday.

Now, I love social media…it’s a great way to stay in touch with my many friends across the world, but there are times (like this) where I really wish that we weren’t so connected.

On Tuesday I had a phone call from a friend.

Unfortunately due to a problem with my friend’s phone I wasn’t able to have a proper conversation with her….I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me…so I just had to listen, sat on my own in a venue in London.

She told me that few days before, through the magic of Facebook, it was announced that my ex was on holiday with his new girlfriend.

I felt a rush of emotions all at once….hurt, angry, betrayed, used,…you name it, I felt it.

I completely fell apart.

The challenge with this was that I got this information literally minutes before a meeting in London that I was supposed to be leading.

The women walked into the room to find me in tears.

A few years back, I would have ‘pulled myself together’, put on a brave face, and powered through.

Not on Tuesday.

On Tuesday I allowed myself to share what had happened. I was completely open, I was completely vulnerable and more importantly I allowed these amazing women to be there for me.

It didn’t stop the hurt, but it certainly did help.

What was interesting was the more I shared…the more the ladies there shared that they had had similar experiences…and it helped to know that there were others who had been where I was in that moment.

That completely honest connection with another person where you understand each other’s pain, you’ve walked in each other’s shoes, creates a bond. It gives a real sense of understanding, strength and hope.

So I’m sharing this today for one reason. I know that there are other women out there, perhaps you’re one of them, who are going through a situation like this.

It’s OK that it hurts. It’s OK that it’s painful. It’s OK that you don’t always have it together. It’s OK to sometimes have a hard time dealing with things. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK if you need to fall apart for a little while. It’s OK to lean on others….even if you’re supposed to be doing the leading.

We’re human.

None of us are perfect…myself included.

So the next time you have a moment when it just gets too much…give yourself permission to lean on the people around you.

You do so much for them, that it’s good for them to have the gift of giving back to you…especially at the times when you need it the most.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

The Feminine Way to Business Success – Perfection – Day 22 of the Youtube Challenge

Day 22 of the Youtube challenge!

We women can sometimes be so focused on things being perfect, that it can get in the way of the progress of our business. Watch the video to find out more:

So, in the past have you been a little too focused on making things perfect? What difference do you think that allowing things to be perfectly imperfect would make to the success of your business?

I’d love to know how you will be perfectly imperfect in your business, so leave me a comment below, drop me a message on Facebook or tweet me “@Feminine1st”.

Looking forward to sharing tomorrow’s tip with you…

In the meantime, Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

P.S. If you missed yesterday’s video on “Positive Feedback” you can find it here: http://feminine1st.com/youtube-day-21/

perfectly-imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect.

I came across this video by the brilliant Jesse Rosten last week and I have to say that it struck a chord.

It reminded me of the Dove Evolution video below from a few years ago.

I love the different approaches that these two films have taken.

The Fotoshop by Adobé uses humour to poke fun at the beauty product ads which we are all too familiar with. The part about the “pro-pixel intensifying fauxtanical hydro-jargon microbead extract featuring nutritive volumizing technology” was pure genius.

The Dove Evolution film takes a more emotional, impactful approach. They use only a few words; they don’t need to use any more…the footage says it all.

The message from both of these videos is clear.

The media today is promoting a completely and totally unrealistic idea of beauty.

We know this.

But how often do we find ourselves buying into it?

How many times a day do we see some impossibly perfect woman and compare ourselves to her?

Magazines, Television ads, billboards…it’s relentless.

It’s all about perfection.

Or is it?

Because if you ask me, perfection is not about being flawless.

If life were ‘perfect’ by the media’s standards, how boring would it be?

There would be no contrast.

No light and dark.

You need the dark to appreciate the light.

The blemishes are what make us individual.

The imperfections are what make life interesting.

This scene from Desperate Housewives shows how important being imperfect can be:

None of us are perfect.

…and I am quite happy being perfectly imperfect.

My features aren’t perfectly symmetrical, I have bits that wobble, and I have scars that tell the stories of my past.

How about you?

Are you fed up of ‘fotoshop’ beauty?

How are you perfectly imperfect?

Stay fabulous!

Claire x

P.S. Remember to like this post if you agree that life is better when you’re perfectly imperfect! 🙂

resolutions-list

Six Steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way – Part Two

resolutions-listSo in Part One of Six Steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way we talked about ‘What is your Why?’, Being Realistic, Focusing on the next step and enjoying the journey.

And here, as promised, are the final three steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way:

4. Take time to recognise and reward

When you do something, anything, towards your resolution or goal, take the time to feel good about it. Recognise what you’ve done, and reward yourself even if it’s just with a smile and a metaphorical (or physical!) pat on the back. It is so important for your momentum to take the time to recognise the progress you’re making (big or small) in order to stay motivated. Be proud of what you’ve achieved and take the time to acknowledge yourself and your actions.

Remember, nurturing is a key part of your femininity. So many women focus their nurturing nature externally and forget that the most important person to nurture is themselves. So make sure you nurture and support yourself by recognising and rewarding yourself as you go along.

5. Don’t persecute yourself!

The flip side of the previous point is to remember to be kind to yourself along the way. Sometimes things won’t work out exactly as you had planned, or your won’t achieve what you wanted exactly how or when you expected to. That’s OK. What’s important is for you to be OK with the fact that it’s OK.

To give you an example, my first big thing for 2012 is to sort out my morning routine in order to set me up well for the rest of the day. I have other goals which relate to my business and my personal life, but I figured if I get my morning routine sorted it will give me more time and energy for those other things later on.

So my aim this morning was to get up, and do some writing, a short meditation and some exercise before I sat down to work for the day.

I set my alarm for 5.30am last night in order to give me time to get it all done.

When the alarm went off, I got up immediately (yes, I was shocked too!) and went next door to do my morning writings (a technique I’ll share with you in a later blog post). I then had a 20 minute meditation before getting ready for my run. A half hour run later I came back to shower, wash my hair, change and get ready to sit down to work.

However….there was a small issue.

I had wanted to be sat down to work by 8am.

I wasn’t ready to start work until about 8:40am.

At this point I had a choice.

In the past, I would have taken this as an opportunity to berate myself for not getting things done the way I intended, and being late in sitting down to start work.

But having learned my lessons on this, instead I decided to allow myself a moment to feel good about achieving all of the things I had wanted to do before starting work. I felt great from the run, and was really pleased that I’d got up when I planned to and got straight on with everything I’d wanted to do.

So I was a little later than intended, but I can always adjust as the days and weeks go on. The main thing for me was to feel great about achieving what I had set out to do and allowing myself a moment to acknowledge that.

6. Buddy up!

It is so important to have support when you’re trying to make any change in your life. If you feel like you’re doing it alone it feels that little bit harder than if you have people who are rooting for you along the way. So in order to give yourself the best chance get yourself a buddy. A buddy can be anyone. It can be a family member, it can be a friend, it can be a person from work, a person at the gym…anyone. As long as they can and will fulfil the following criteria:

  • They will keep you accountable. This means they know what your goal is, they know what you’re doing to achieve it, and they will do their best to keep you on your path by positively supporting you.
  • They know your why. You have explained to them what you are doing AND why you are doing it. They know why it is important to you, what benefits you will experience from achieving it and can use this information to support you along the way.
  • They will positively support you. They will be your cheerleading squad every step of the way, recognising and acknowledging all the steps that you are taking.
  • They will remind you of your why if necessary. If you appear to be wavering on your path, they will use questions to remind you about what you are doing, and your reasons in order to re-focus you. It’s often good to actually give your buddy the questions you would like to be asked if you appear to be having a difficult day.
  • Ideally you will also be able to be their buddy. Buddies work best when it is a two-way process. It’s much easier to receive support if you are also able to give it…and vice versa. It is also easier to know what support will help your buddy if you are trying to achieve something and need support yourself. You don’t have to have the same goal…you just both want support in what you are setting out to achieve.
  • They will celebrate with you when you reach your target! 😀

Make sure that you choose someone that you can trust to meet all of the above criteria (there’s no point having someone who will support you when you’re doing well and who will criticise you if you make a mistake!!) and if you can support them at the same time as they support you, even better.

As feminine women, community is vitally important to us, so if you can find a supportive buddy that’s a great first step. If you can find a supportive community, even better! If you want some help finding a buddy, or some support along the way then pop over to the Feminine 1st Facebook group where you will find hundreds of fabulous women who will cheer you on and offer support on your journey.

So there you have it, the six steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way! Good luck…and remember to enjoy the journey! 😀

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

resolutions

Six Steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way – Part One

resolutionsThe start of a new year is great.

You feel like you have a completely clean slate.

The previous year is past, gone, forgotten.

It’s time to start anew…create the new you that you’ve always wanted.

We create our resolutions, set our goals for the year ahead and get excited about the possibilities that the New Year holds.

We look at our lives and start to work out what we would like to improve.

We resolve to lose weight, eat better and exercise more.

We commit to becoming a domestic goddess (well Nigella made it look easy enough…)

We decide that this will be the year where our career moves to the next level.

We are determined to become the best partner / mum / friend / sister / daughter in the world.

We will give up all vices (smoking / drinking / chocolate etc etc).

We agree to finally sort out our debts once and for all and start that savings account that we’ve been talking about for ages.

The only challenge is, as women, we have a tendency to want to (and expect to) create perfection.

And when do we want to see this impossibly perfect version of ourselves? Immediately.

We start the new year off with a mountain of pressure on ourselves and what seem like impossible to achieve goals. It’s no wonder that new research has shown that the many people give up on their resolutions after less than a week!

So in order to help you to enjoy the process, I’ve created six steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way:

1. What is your why?

The first thing to ask yourself is what do I really want? It is so easy at this time of year to feel pressured by everyone (family, friends, even the TV!) into what we think we *should* be doing. We’ve already discussed the dreaded ‘should’ word here so if you hear yourself saying the ‘S’ word (be it to yourself or to other people) take a moment to have a read and remind yourself how to stay out of the ‘S’ trap.

The second question to ask is what do YOU really want? If you’re completely happy with you and your life as it is…then why change anything? If you like your job as it is, then why focus on a promotion? If you are happy with your figure, why try to change it?

If it isn’t broke…don’t fix it! 🙂

If you do want to change something, what is most important to YOU? What would make the biggest difference to your life? What would make the biggest impact to how you feel? What would make you the most happy?

In order to be connected to our femininity, we need to look after ourselves first, in order to then give the best ‘us’ to the people who mean the most in our lives. In order to do that we must focus first on the things that mean the most to us.

AND…if we’re trying to achieve something that means a lot to us, since our ‘why’ is that much stronger, we’re more likely to be successful than if we’re doing it for someone else anyway! 🙂

2. Be Realistic

Overwhelm is a major problem for us ladies. We take on everything at once, try to make it all perfect, and then wonder why we end up crumbling under the pressure we’ve put ourselves under. So rather than expecting to make every area of our lives perfect in the first two weeks of January, how about we pick the one which means the most to us first? That’s not to say that we aren’t going to do anything on the others, it just means that we’re going to look at them one at a time.

Who said that resolutions or goals needed to be set in January? You could do them every few months if you wanted to. That way you could do something for four different areas over the course of a year. The chances of success are far greater if you focus on one thing at a time rather than pressuring yourself to do everything at once.

We also tend to be quite unreasonable in what we expect of ourselves, and then end up beating ourselves up emotionally when we don’t hit our target. So first we need to be realistic with what we can achieve. For example, aiming to lose 3 stone in weight (that’s 19kg for our metric ladies!) in a month is not going to be achievable in a healthy and sustainable way. So step one is to make sure that were not setting the bar too high.

The next step is to take any large goals we have and break them into smaller, more manageable chunks. If we want to lose some weight, why don’t we start with just a few pounds in the first month? If we reach our goal ahead of time, fantastic…we will feel great about our achievement and can create a new goal (and even be a little more ambitious if we want to).

3. Focus on the next step and enjoy the journey!

As you may know, last year I agreed to start training for a marathon…so I did a lot of running in 2011. One thing about running that I always struggled with was hills. Especially big steep hills.

I realised that the challenge was being caused by my focusing on the top of the hill all the way up. The top always felt like such a long way from the bottom or the middle (or wherever I was located on the hill at the time!) When I looked at the top, the task of getting there always seemed overwhelming and would often cause me to stop running.

I then discovered a neat little trick.

Wherever I was on the hill, if I just focused on the next step that I had to take I was fine. The next step was always manageable. The next step was always possible. The next step (as long as I took it in the right direction!) always took me another step closer to the top.

So my advice to you is always to focus on the next step, rather than setting and focusing on expectations for yourself that seem overwhelming or a long way from where you currently are. If you want to improve your fitness, rather than setting yourself an expectation of doing something every day of the week, focus on what you can do today in the direction of your goal. You can then do the same tomorrow and the day after. Likewise if you’d like to lose a significant amount of weight by a date in the future, also set yourself a target for this week and focus on that first.

As long as you keep taking the next step you’ll soon be at the top of the hill wondering how you got there!

As feminine women, being completely goal-orientated isn’t a part of our core nature (as opposed to our masculine counterparts) and so focusing on the journey rather than the end point is a great way to stay connected to our femininity along the way. Even better, if you can focus on and find a way to enjoy each next step on your journey your femininity will flourish with every step!

Come back on Friday to find out the final three steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way…or if you just can’t wait until then you can receive part two later today in the Feminine 1st weekly Newsletter. To receive part two today as well as your free “First steps to Femininity” MP3 to kick off the New Year, just sign up to the newsletter here.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x