Form Lifelong Good Habits | Become the Best You (Chapter Six)

**For details on why I have decided to publish Become the Best You on the blog, please read this. Should you wish to buy the book, you can do so here** 

How to form good habits

bad habits

On the surface big problems can seem overwhelmingly difficult to get passed. They are so much easier to tackle by being broken into small pieces and dealt with one at a time. When we make our problems smaller they become more manageable and simpler to conquer. None of us are saints, and part of breaking the cycle means overcoming bad habits and facing our problems head on.

In this chapter we will identify what things need to change, and how you can successfully change them. In the same way that you’d write a list of New Year’s resolutions, I’d like you to create a wish list of all the things you would like to change about your life. Everything from overcoming a classic ‘bad habit’ to wanting to find a new home or job. These will be your personal goals.

Form good habits by devising a list of personal goals

To give you an example of how this would work in real life I have written what my own list of goals would have looked like when I was going through this process, along with all the things I had to do to achieve them. They are listed in three phases because although it wasn’t clear to me at the time I now see that my goals were all linked.

My first goal was to cut down on drinking. It’s now plainly clear to me that without doing so I would not have been capable of achieving the rest of my goals. What I had to do and what I would advise you to do is pick the biggest, scariest one first because you will probably find the rest will naturally follow and things start falling into place after you have conquered it.

good habits

Cut down on drinking

After Reykjavik I realised I needed some time completely off alcohol, and when I first embarked on my period of abstinence I had no idea how long it would last. I wasn’t sure if I’d pushed the boundaries so far that there would never be just a couple of social drinks ever again. I fully embraced abstinence though and it was exactly what I needed to start thinking clearly and making better decisions.

Three months was enough of a break for me. After that I slowly reintroduced alcohol over the following three months by going out occasionally and having one or two drinks. It was during this time that I properly the learnt the self-control I desperately needed.

It was tough but over time I got out of the mindset that I was drinking to get drunk, and began enjoying good quality red wine or a well-made gin and tonic.

Stop spending time with people who add no value to my life (drinking and clubbing buddies)

Once I stopped drinking I realised how much of my time was spent socialising with people who did not enhance my life, so I simply excluded them from it. They were surprisingly easy to cut out and didn’t fight very hard for my friendship.

Once I told them I wasn’t interested in partying anymore they stopped inviting me out.

I used to feel immense pressure to be sociable at work, but even this was easier to cut out than I thought it would be. After I made it clear I was off the sauce my colleagues soon lost interest in me. I thought this would upset me, and I’d feel left out, but it was a welcome relief.

Stop taking drugs

This naturally followed the two points above. Once I had removed bad influences from my life and stopped drinking, I had no interest at all in going out clubbing. This meant not taking drugs anymore.

Instead I spent lots of time at home. I read books, watched great TV, reconnected with good friends and most importantly became happy with my own company.

The first few months were really hard because I knew that I’d hurt people and in the cold sober light of day I felt embarrassed and ashamed of my behaviour. This was an essential part of the process though because it allowed me the time and perspective I needed to figure out who was worth keeping in my life.

good habits

Eat better

I had fallen into the trap of buying most things pre-prepared due to lack of time so I went back to basics. I started ordering my groceries online, planning what I was going to eat for the week and cooking everything from scratch again. Not going out drinking and clubbing meant that I had loads more time on my hands for the important things in my life.

I also started taking my own food into work which as well as being healthier saved money.

I quickly had more energy and didn’t feel tired all the time.

Start exercising again

I found some suitable DVDs and set aside a few time slots per week to establish a home work-out routine.

It quickly became a part of my weekly schedule and I fell in love with exercising, whereas I had previously seen it as a chore, something I should be doing but didn’t particularly enjoy.

It gave me a great confidence boost when I most needed it.

Stop wasting money on unnecessary things

I naturally saved a fortune when I stopped going out partying.

I started shopping for clothes and other essential items in charity shops or heavily reduced sales. I became mindful of weighing up my wants against my true needs and realised that I didn’t need a lot of the stuff I thought I did.

I still buy clothes second hand nowadays. Not only does it save money but it’s friendlier to the environment.

good habits

Find a new job

I stayed in the same job for seven months after the Reykjavik incident. Not because I wanted to but because I was not capable of doing something new until I had conquered the first phase of my list.

During this time I did a lot of thinking and realised what I wanted more than anything else career-wise was to work for myself, so I set up a small food business. Looking back I rushed into it, and I paid the price by being left bankrupt and having to liquidate the company within its first year. I view this as a positive experience overall, though. It taught me some very valuable life lessons, especially where money is concerned.

I went back to admin afterwards and have been working part time since having children. I currently work two days a week in a job that I enjoy for a company that values me. I still aspire to work for myself again someday, but next time I’ll ensure I have a water tight business plan.

Form good habits by becoming dedicated to the cause

Making my changes and establishing good routines took me about six months, during which I learnt that patience really is a virtue. My list was quite a tall order and trying to do it all at once would have been be near on impossible. I focused my energies on one goal at a time and I’d suggest you do the same. By working on them this way you are more likely to succeed.

To stay on track ensure that you continually recognise your efforts and reward yourself justly. Begin by setting yourself daily targets, and progress to weekly targets once you are comfortable with what you need to do. Think of a nice little treat for yourself when you meet or exceed your target, as you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals. By doing this you are holding yourself to account as well as recognising your hard work. This is another way to make yourself feel good and will provide a confidence boost.

Here are a few tips for staying on track

Ensure that your targets are high enough to count but low enough to attain as it will help keep you motivated. If your targets are too high, or you try to do too much at once you could be setting yourself up for failure. This in turn could lead to losing interest in your goals altogether. Don’t trip over the first hurdle and fall for this common mistake.

Whether you are in the market for a new job, home or hobby ensure that you do your research and find out as much relevant background information as you can beforehand. You can never be too prepared for a job interview, so do your best to woo your potential future employer with your knowledge on the company and role. These small details make all the difference at the hiring stage.

Rejection is tough but you must not be beaten by it. There is always work for people willing to put in the effort. Someone will always let you sleep on their sofa if they can see that you are serious about changing your life. As long as you are honest and have integrity most people will want to help you as much as they can. Recognise when you are being given a lucky break and make the very most of every opportunity.

The best thing about ditching bad habits is that it frees up space in our lives to form good habits. Ultimately we want positive habits that boost our self-esteem and make us feel great, not habits we wish we didn’t have hanging over our heads making us feel rubbish about ourselves.

good habitsForm good habits by eating well

When I was growing up I ate a diet consisting mainly of processed junk. I was that kid scoffing chocolate and drinking coke on their way to school. Not knowing the first thing about cooking I ate budget ready meals and fast food for years when I left home. After seeing the photos from my 21st birthday party, and being shocked by how much weight I’d put on, I knew it was time to change my eating habits.

It didn’t happen overnight but during the next couple of years I taught myself how to cook, and moved towards cooking from scratch being the rule rather than the exception. Nowadays I create recipes and write about them on my blog. Good food is an integral part of my family’s life; I love to cook and never see it as a chore. I view uninterrupted kitchen time as therapeutic and calming, something to truly look forward to.

Ask yourself whether you eat well or have fallen into bad habits with food? Do you cook from scratch or buy everything pre-prepared? Do you eat lots of sugary treats and processed carbohydrates? What we eat can have a huge effect over our entire wellbeing, and a diet consisting mainly of natural foods will provide energy, wake up a previously foggy brain and help us think straight. Once you get into good habits where food is concerned it quickly becomes second nature and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been eating this way all along. I have yet to meet a person that hasn’t benefitted from cleaning up their diet.

I am not a qualified food expert, however, having been on both ends of the spectrum I feel that not knowing how to do something as important as cooking is not a good enough excuse. If you need inspiration it can be found everywhere by watching celebrity chefs, reading food blogs, watching YouTube videos and buying cookbooks. Local councils in the UK often have free cookery courses available to all, so it’s worth checking out your council’s website. If you’re a complete beginner you will almost certainly have some kitchen disasters along the way, but don’t be put off by them. As long as you learn from every single mistake you can put the knowledge to good use next time. As with anything else in life, persevere and you will get better.

good habitsIf not having the time is what’s stopping you then make the time by ditching the non-important things we discussed at the start of this chapter. Batch cooking and freezing is a fantastic way to ensure that you always have good food to hand without having to cook every day. You can pick up tin foil disposable containers from any supermarket. Set aside one afternoon every other weekend to be in the kitchen, make several large pots of food and freeze them into ready meals that can be pulled out whenever you need them. Choose easy recipes that will cause you the minimum amount of stress. Simple soups, stews and curries are a great place to start, and can be economical too, saving you a fortune in comparison to shop bought equivalents.

Fat burning: Get your body to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar by swapping the carbs at breakfast time for something more nutritious and substantial. When our body burns fat it stabilises our blood sugar levels which (among other things) means not getting hungry again so quickly. One of my favourite meals to start the day with is two scrambled eggs with half an avocado on the side. Why not try it and see how long it keeps you going for?

Snack swap: If you are quite partial to sugary treats and processed snacks in between meals, opt for more natural alternatives. Nutrient dense foods such as organic nuts or plain live yoghurt will provide you with energy for longer.

Read carefully: Live by the rule ‘the fewer ingredients the better’. Start scrutinising every single label of every item of food you buy that isn’t in its natural state. Once you see how many unnecessary added ingredients are sneaked into processed food it is likely to be a massive turn off.

Form good habits by exercising

The happy hormones (endorphins) that are released while exercising are a brilliant way to start feeling great about yourself. There are plenty of things you can do to gently kick start getting fit, but you have to be disciplined. Set aside three time slots every week, at any time of the day that suits, solely for this purpose. Once it has become a good habit you’ll find that it has blended into your weekly routine. Below are some suggestions of how to get started. Please ensure you always wear appropriate clothing and get the go ahead from your GP before you start a new exercise programme.

Walking: Using your legs instead of the car or public transport is a great head start to give yourself. It’s completely free and kind to the planet; what’s not to like? Also try taking the stairs instead of using the lift wherever possible.

Running: If you’ve always fancied running but never had the legs for it, check out the Couch to 5k running program. Running is a great way to get your endorphins flowing, and like walking costs zilch! The secret of the success of Couch to 5k is its gentle introduction to getting started. When you first physically get off your couch you alternate between walking and running very small distances. This slowly builds up your capabilities and after eight weeks you will be able to run 5k or 30 minutes non-stop.

good habitsCycling: If you already own a bike then use it. If you don’t but quite like the idea of it then borrow one or pick up a second hand bike to see if it’s for you.

Going to the gym: Especially if you are able to access a subsidised membership, going to the gym is a great way of staying out of trouble. Make sure you actually use it though and get your money’s worth.

Classes: From Yoga to Zumba most local areas have sports and fitness classes run from leisure centres and halls. Some even offer a free taster session to see if you enjoy it. Make sure you are serious before signing up for a block of lessons though, otherwise it will end up being a waste of money. Check out local directories for details. These classes are usually low cost and can be further reduced if you are studying or out of work.

Boot Camps: Many parks have boot camp classes being run from them, usually by independent personal trainers. They are often not very expensive but they’re great fun and can be really effective. Do a web search to find one near you.

DVDs at home: If you can find a DVD that you like then exercising at home is another great way of getting into shape. Once you’ve paid for the DVD it’s completely free, and no-one else is around to watch. Search online to find the perfect workout for you.

Take up a sport: Whether you really enjoyed playing sports when you were younger, or want to take one up from scratch, connect with a local team and see if you can join them next time they train.

Allow extra time: If you’re having an off day and feel you just can’t be bothered try putting on your running/training/gym clothes and see how you feel then. Perhaps you just need a little extra time to warm up.
Work out with friends: Team up with a group of friends and start your own boot camp in the park taking it in turns to lead the class. With the added incentive of not wanting to let the rest of the group down, you can keep each other motivated.

Variety is the spice of life: Give something new a go every now and then. If running is usually your thing try a bit of yoga. If you take classes at the gym try something different at home to see if you like it.

good habitsForm good habits by making further lifestyle changes

Smoking: A basic internet search will present you with the various techniques designed to help you give up smoking. Your GP will also be able to talk to you about local quitting programmes that are often completely free of charge. In addition to whichever one you choose, why not try putting the money you would have spent on cigarettes into a jar each day and reward yourself with a nice treat after six months? If you currently have a 20-a-day habit there will be a sizeable amount in that jar. Maybe even enough for a little holiday somewhere.

Drinking: Speaking from experience, my drinking buddies were also people I had to disassociate myself from when I became serious about changing my life. Often these people are the reason we go out drinking or partying all weekend and end up spending the following week feeling like crap. By distancing yourself from the toxic people in your life you won’t be going out with them and therefore won’t spend the week feeling rubbish. Toxic relationships are just another form of bad habit to break, we will talk about them more in the next two chapters.

Giving up vices: If you have real addictions that are ruining your life then you will need to get specific help. As you are reading this book I’m going to trust that you want to change. Now you need to put everything you have learnt to good use and actually do some changing. Find a rehab centre, counsellor or group therapy session to suit your needs. Above all else learn self-control.

Money troubles: If you are stuck in a financial rut, spending everything that you earn and then some, you will need to devise a strict budget and start living within your means. Think about the bigger picture and how the stuff you think you need makes you feel once it’s been purchased. Needing something and wanting it are not the same. Learning to distinguish between our wants and our needs is a useful life skill to have. Once you are able to do so you will probably come to realise that you didn’t need a lot of the things you originally thought you did. You just wanted them. If you are in debt and concerned about paying back what you owe, speak with a free debt advisory service. They will be able to guide you through your options, and help you to formulate a debt management plan.

Hobbies: If you want to channel your energies productively then blogging can be a great hobby. It’s completely free and can lead to endless opportunities. You could start a blog about becoming the best you. It could document your progress, acting as a fantastic keepsake to look back on and be proud of.

good habitsA suggested plan of action

Devise a set of personal goals that you would like to achieve, and get serious about making them happen. Remember to break them up into bite-sized manageable chunks, and keep your targets realistic. Think of a suitable reward to treat yourself with when you achieve your goals.

How long it will take you depends on your starting point, but over time learn how to cook good food from scratch. Once it is a regular habit it will start becoming easier.

Exercise regularly and get your endorphins flowing. Whether it’s going for a short jog, taking a class or training in a gym, moving in any way is almost always better that not moving at all.
Don’t beat yourself up for the occasional calorific meal or a couple of missed work outs, as long as it’s not too often. It’s important to allow yourself to have a blowout every now then and a little indulgence once in a while can serve as a great pick me up. Especially if you are sharing the moment with loved ones.

Become the Best You: The Cycle Of Dysfunction (Chapter One)

**For details on why I have decided to publish Become the Best You on the blog, please read this. Should you wish to buy the book, you can do so here**

Question: What is the cycle of dysfunction?

Answer: A negative pattern of behaviour passed on from parent to child, which will continue indefinitely unless the person at the end of the cycle actively breaks it.

My mother had a rotten childhood. Her father was killed in a road accident when she was small. He left behind my pregnant Grandma who was carrying their sixth baby, along with five kids aged between one and ten.

They were living in the United States at the time and she came back to London where she raised her family alone. She worked six days a week to provide a roof over their heads and food on the table, yet her kids all resented her for it.

They would have preferred to have had a mum who was home more, but she thought she was doing the best thing by working. While Grandma grieved for her husband and threw herself into her job, the six of them were largely left to their own devices and brought each other up.

cycle of dysfunctionMy mother and her siblings are classic examples of a dysfunctional childhood. As adults, the four women chose their men badly and suffered affairs, violence, emotional abuse and loneliness. Although the men chose their partners well, they both had their fair share of issues.

All six had two or three children each, and the last time I saw any of my cousins it was clear that we were all (in some way or other) still reeling from what we had gone through. None of us were spared our parents’ dysfunctions.

My mother was deeply affected by her childhood and she emerged from it knowing she wanted a better start for her own children. There was no way she would go out to work all hours leaving her family behind once she was a mum. She wanted a family desperately and felt that constantly being present would be enough to ensure her kids grew up happy. Unfortunately, the reality couldn’t have been further from what she had intended.

Rather than dealing with the past, healing herself and gaining some life experience, she rushed into having a baby with my biological father when she was 18. A man who abandoned her to marry the woman he was engaged to throughout their brief affair.

She then did the exact same thing less than two years later with my step-father. She’d only known him for a few months before falling pregnant with my half-brother. My half-sister came along three years later even though they were not a proper couple.

From my earliest memories I knew my path was straightforward. I would not just talk about how my kids would have a better childhood than the one I had yet still rush into having babies anyway.

I knew I had to do everything in my power to become emotionally stable before bringing children into the world

Once they were here I would ensure I did not repeat history. In my early twenties I honestly didn’t think I had a maternal instinct. I was far too busy experiencing as much of what life had to offer to be getting broody.

For me, breaking the cycle of dysfunction meant finding true happiness within myself. I then had to settle down with a suitable partner before even entertaining the idea of starting a family. I found my husband long before I found inner peace, but both were firmly in place before falling pregnant with our eldest daughter.

Now as a mum of three, one diagnosed autistic, I know with absolute certainty that I did the right thing. I would have never been able to cope with the trials and tribulations of motherhood had I not fully dealt with my demons and put the past to rest before having my children. I also know that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without the support of my wonderful husband and amazing friends.

the cycle of dysfunction

This is a chicken and egg situation, because without becoming the best me I would not have kept hold of the fantastic people I have in my life

I believe most negative behaviour patterns lead back to a cycle of dysfunction, and you can apply the rule to almost any negative situation. The hardest part can be realising the cycle exists in the first place. Once you are able to recognise the cycle and are committed to breaking it, you’re half way there.

You have to be willing to unlearn things that have been passed down from your family, and shun deeply ingrained thought processes. It’s time to start truly thinking for yourself.

If you have a cycle of dysfunction to break yet do nothing to actively break it, you will almost certainly pass your dysfunctions on to your children one day. The cycle has to stop with you to ensure they are given the very best start to life that you can possibly offer them. If you are already a parent then please do not feel the opportunity has been lost. As long as you are 100% committed to the cause, the cycle can be broken at any time.

Today is a good day to start your journey.

More examples of the cycle of dysfunction

Emotional and physical abuse
– Growing up in a violent environment, then going on to become violent yourself or having a partner who is violent towards you.
– Growing up watching one parent always putting the other one down, destroying their self-confidence with every comment. You may do the same as an adult or have a partner who is derogatory towards you but feel you do not deserve any better.
– Watching a parent be cheated on and generally treated badly by the other, then going on to treat your own partners badly or being treated badly yourself.

Health Issues
– Growing up around alcoholics or drug addicts and developing addictions yourself. It’s imperative that you wake up to these addictions and seek help as soon as possible.
– Having a bad diet as a child which has led to weight and/or psychological problems as a result. If you were never taught how to cook and are still eating badly you are likely to be struggling with these issues well into adulthood.
– Some minor health complaints can be completely fixed and avoidable in the future through eating well and looking after our bodies.

Other examples
– You may have felt you were a disappointment to your parents when you were growing up which has led to having low self-esteem. If your parents expected too much from you as a child, this could lead to feeling that nothing you ever do is enough.
– Not being good with money and getting into debt while you are young is a curse. If your parents were bad with their cash then you have never known any other way of life.

cycle of dysfunction

What separates the cycle breakers from the cycle repeaters?

This is of course the million pound question. What is the fundamental difference between a person capable of breaking the cycle of dysfunction, and a person who goes on to repeat history and continue it?

The answer is of course complex, with too many variables to pinpoint any one defining factor. I believe there are three core steps we need to go through to break the cycle. We will look at each of them in depth throughout the book.

Step One: Awareness
It can seem so much easier to just ignore our problems in the hope that they disappear, but they never do. In fact they become harder to deal with as time goes on. To break the cycle you have to acknowledge the cycle exists in the first place. Self-reflection can be a bitter pill to swallow but it is absolutely necessary during this process. There will be lots of looking long and hard at yourself, and the company you keep, to assess the changes that need to be made so you get to become the best you. No matter how bad your earlier life has been or how messed up you think you are, it is down to you and you alone to secure your future happiness. No-one else can do this for you.

Step Two: Determination
Breaking the cycle of dysfunction is hard work. Some people convince themselves that they don’t possess the tenacity to do the job. It is much easier to just follow in the footsteps of our parents because it’s all we have ever known, but if you want to have a different life you will need to do things differently. Waking up to wanting more is a massive step in the right direction, but you’ll have to surround yourself with the very best people in order for it to happen. A supportive partner, real friends or loving family will want to help you, not try and sabotage your efforts. People who genuinely love you would only ever want to encourage your success. You have to be strong and not let anyone take advantage of you. If certain people are bringing you down then you’ll need to be prepared to get some distance from them.

Step Three: Courage
You will have to get to know yourself, and always be true to who you really are. This means not getting swept up with the crowd, and never living your life according to anyone else’s timetable. You will need to be a ‘what you see is what you get’ type of person, not someone who changes their personality based on who they happen to be. Anyone can put on a brave face but a cycle breaker will have a truly positive attitude towards life. Once we are thinking positively we start acting positively and after a short while it becomes our natural default setting. Cycle breakers do not sit around waiting for a lottery win or dream job to fall at their feet, they make stuff happen. Ultimately it’s one thing talking about change, but actually changing is a huge challenge. You must always have the courage of your own convictions, stay focused and believe without doubt you are doing the right thing.

I hope you found this useful. Please pop back next weekend when I’ll be sharing the second chapter. 

Exciting News for Become the Best You #ad

My first book Become the Best You was self-published on Amazon in November 2014. Several months later I was offered a deal with an independent publisher, but it didn’t work out. For many reasons, we made the mutual decision to terminate my contract earlier this year. I’ve thought long and hard about what to do next, and have decided to sell the book directly here on the blog.

You can now buy the e-book version of Become the Best You for just £1.99 (£1 cheaper than it was on Amazon)  

The print version of Become the Best You is just £4.99 including UK postage* (£2 cheaper than it was on Amazon)

What’s the book about?

For those not in the know, Become the Best You details how I broke free from a dysfunctional past to ensure that my children have a dramatically different upbringing to the one I had.

I began writing it in the January (2014) when I went on maternity leave just before Freddy was born. Most of the first draft was written on my tablet while my little man feasted on boobies in the early hours of the morning. The book started to properly take shape over the summer, and after blood, sweat, tears, anguish, more tears and undergoing two professional edits, it was published at the end of the November.

With so many self-help books out there telling you what to do by qualified professionals, why should you listen to a word I have to say? I don’t have letters after my name or a rags to riches story, so why should you bother reading this book?

become the best youCan you identify with this list of demons that I had to conquer?
– Raised by parents who had dysfunctional childhoods and subsequently had one myself
– Moved house lots and went to many schools
– Suffered bullying in several schools
– Suffered sexual abuse as a child
– Left home at a very young age after not finishing school
– Struggled with depression
– Got into a lot of debt
– Had very little self-respect
– Used to sleep around
– Abused drugs and alcohol
– Put myself into unnecessary, dangerous situations

What do I hope you will achieve by reading the book?
– The ability to make peace with your past
– The ability to look in the mirror and like what you see
– The ability to find your inner strength and start respecting yourself
– The courage to re-define the rules of relationships that have become toxic
– The courage to cut ties with people who make you miserable
– The courage to break the cycle, keep it broken and become the best you

What the book doesn’t do
– Use overly complicated words or examples that are difficult to understand
– Go into minute detail telling you exactly what to do
– Patronise you and assume that you aren’t capable of turning your life around

Here’s what a Top 500 Amazon reviewer had to say about the book

“I received this book for free from the publisher in return for a review. The following is my honest opinion on this book:

Many people have a happy, well-adjusted upbringing. But plenty of us have had a dysfunctional childhood, a past that haunts us and causes us to create a repeating pattern of negative behaviour. If you feel like you’ve been stuck in this pattern of self-destructive behaviour, feel you are repeating the mistakes of your parents or just want to be able to let go of the past then this book is for you.

This book is an easy read and at 104 pages it won’t take long but the advice given will inspire anyone to motivate themselves to change. I’ve picked up many self-help books in the past and a lot of what I’ve read in this book I have already read in others, but what makes Renee Davis’ book unique is that she herself has had a dysfunctional past. The whole book isn’t written from the perspective of a therapist or trained professional who knows what to advise but hasn’t experienced it, no, Renee Davis is just a normal person who has gone through the process of breaking from her dysfunctional past and now she advises us how to do it too.

Renee is very open about her past and her own dysfunctional and destructive young adulthood. It is because of this openness that the book is really readable and relatable. While you may not have gone through the exact same things as Renee you really feel as if a friend is helping you deal with everything rather than a tone of being told what to do, which many other self-help books can be like.

Each chapter of the book starts with an inspiring quote to get you motivated.”

To learn more about the book, check out this podcast interview I did with Tim from Slouching Towards Thatcham

If you still aren’t convinced, check out these blog reviews

Leigh from Headspace Perspective 

Zena from Zena’s Suitcase

*Get in touch for a postage quote if you are outside the UK. 

Claim Your FREE Copy of Become the Best You Today #WMHD17

Would you like a FREE copy of my memoir/self-help book Become the Best You for #WMHD17?

I often question my motivation for writing, and frequently ask myself what the point of all the sharing is. I have wondered many times whether it actually makes a difference.

The short answer is yes it does.

I might not have a million plus followers, but people regularly get in touch to tell me that I’ve helped improve their well being. They say that my words have made them feel validated and heard. That I’ve brought a smile to their face, even if it’s sometimes through tears. Just take a look at the heartfelt comments on this post if you need proof. 

So I’d like to give you a gift today, for world mental health day. I wrote Become the Best You mostly for my own catharsis, but also to help others who are going through a rough time.

Become the Best You details the rocky road I travelled before settling down, getting married and having children

#WMHD17For those who are new to my story, I had a severely dysfunctional childhood, and troubled leap into adulthood at just fifteen. In the book I talk candidly about the decision to cut ties with my family.

As well as going through two mental breakdowns in my twenties, and hitting rock bottom. I talk about every thing I did during that time, to turn my life around.

I truly believe that going through this process before having kids is the only reason I am able to now cope with my chronically stressful life.

The book has 40 mostly five star reviews on Amazon, and is now available to buy directly right here. Check out this article to learn more. 

“It’s not just a self-help book, it’s a manual for life!” – Michelle Reeves

What you need to do to claim your e-book version of Become the Best You

  • subscribe to my mailing list
  • if you are already a subscriber, send me a quick email to 

Footprints on the Heart, Open Wounds and Letting Go

Footprints on the Heart, Open Wounds and Letting GoLike many others, I have met thousands of people so far. First came blood relatives and the ones I met through going to eight schools when I was growing up.

Next were the numerous work colleagues in the dozens of jobs I’ve had over the years.

Then came the houses I’ve lived in, the parties I’ve been to and the people I met on my travels. More recently I have met other local mums, as well as a ton of people through blogging.

Some have left distinct memories, but many I wouldn’t recognise in a line-up

I’ve written before about how fortunate I am to have the amazing people I do in my life. My rock solid husband, who is everything and more you could want out of a partner. His lovely family, who welcomed me from day one. My ridiculously awesome friends, who are always there when I need them.

Of the distant friends that I only interact with on Facebook, I have tons of great memories. Music has the ability to take me right back to a place and time. I get random flashes of deja vu, which will leave me rooted to the spot. I only have to think about certain people to feel warm and fuzzy.

Footprints on the Heart, Open Wounds and Letting Go

Some of the many people who have left a footprint on my heart

I enjoy hearing news through the social media grapevine. Such and such got married, so and so had a baby (two, three). More recently a friend’s father passed away – a wonderful man, who gave me a job when I was living in Melbourne.

These are the people who have left footprints on my heart. Even if I never see them again in real life, I will look back on our time together fondly

Then there are others. The ones who hurt me, and treated me badly. Toxic friendships based on lies and mistrust. Sacred bonds broken, never to be repaired.

The two boys who abused me when I was a young girl. The mean girls who bullied me at school.

The older work colleagues who took advantage in various ways. The one who tried to pin a crime on me, even though he had a security camera above his head, recording his every move.

footprints on the heart, open wounds and letting goThe family I walked away from.

The boss who literally destroyed my soul, and left me incapable of working for anyone else. Instead of getting another job I haphazardly set up a business on the cusp of the financial crisis, which led me to bankruptcy.

The raft of ‘frenemies’ over the years, who were oh so lovely to my face and downright awful behind my back.

I spent far too long allowing the ghosts from my past to haunt my present

Although time certainly goes some way towards healing wounds, letting go has to be a conscious decision. The first step is forgiving ourselves, and others who have caused us pain.

Other people’s words or actions can have a lasting affect on our confidence, but it’s vital not to become a victim. You must take back control from those who have taken it away from you.

Likewise, when we know we have been the cause of someone else’s pain, we can let that torture us, but we mustn’t. What’s been done has been done, and the best thing to do in these cases is hold up our hands and say we are sorry. A genuine apology can go a long way in helping to rebuild broken ties.

Devising a basic set of principles could help guide you through difficult times

footprints on the heart, open wounds and letting goWe are living in an age where depression is at an all time high. Failed life expectations, and not being where we thought we would be account for a lot of it. Social media portraying the very best bits, and making us think that everyone else is having a better time than we are doesn’t help. Don’t put off conquering your demons.  

The best way to stay happy in world full of sadness, is by living as authentically as we can. I have three guiding principles that I try and adhere to, which keep me on track when the going gets tough. They speak volumes, and have helped me tremendously.

“I will be true to myself today.”

“I will be kind to myself and those around me today.”

” I will make good decisions today.”

Always aim to leave footprints on people’s hearts, not open wounds for them to have to heal

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