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A Review of Goals & New Experiences for 2016

By Books & Authors, Happiness & Joy, Life, ThinkingNo Comments
goals-and-adventures-large Goals for throughout the year:
Unticked Box Read & Review at least 20 books.
I have read 19 books this year and reviewed 17 of them. The two books that I have not reviewed yet, will be reviewed in January 2017. See my Book List 2016 for a list books that I’ve read this year, along with links to reviews I’ve written for each book.

Unticked Box Watch & Review 6 films.
I can remember watching at least 5 films this year, they include: The Giver, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Good Dinosaur, Star Trek Beyond and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. However I’ve not done a review of a single film this year.

Tick Box Bullet Point To create more time for creative projects.
I am more than happy with my creative output this year. I’ve reduced my working hours, so that I can still afford to live, but so that I have more time for creative projects. I have also been careful about how I use the limited time and energy I have to get the most out of it. This combination of working less and using my time and energy better has significantly increased my creative output.

Tick Box Bullet Point To complete 2 creative projects.
I’ve completed 12 creative projects this year. This is a massive achievement when compared with my creative output in previous years. For more details of my creative projects see: 11 Creative Projects That I Never Intended To Do… This Year and The Finished Project (candle making project).

Tick Box Bullet Point To get up-to-date with my financial obligations and continue to reduce the balance on my debts.
I am up-to-date on my mortgage and other household bills. I have continued to reduce the balance on my debts. I have paid monies back to family that I owed monies to.

Unticked Box Save up for and buy a new rug and corner sofa for the living room.
I still need to do this. The sofa is getting in desperate need of replacement. Both of these will be goals for 2017.

Unticked Box To give up smoking.
I’m still working on this on a semi regular basis.

Monthly Goals

January
Tick Box Bullet Point Start a new creative project.
I published my latest short story Soulmates, here is an excerpt:
Soulmates-by-Antony-Simpson-Short-Story-Excerpt

I also wrote two blog posts that I’d been thinking about and planning to write for at least the last few years: 5 Wise Quotes from Albus Dumbledore and A Tale Of Overcoming Adversity.

Unticked Box Take it easy.
This didn’t really happen. This year has was exceptionally busy. Most of time due to circumstances beyond my control.

February
Tick Box Bullet Point See Mary Poppins with Mum, etc.
Done. I blogged about it here: Mary Poppins Live at The Palace Theatre, Manchester: Marvellous, Magical and Magnificent.

March
Unticked Box Treat yourself to a reiki treatment.
I haven’t had a single reiki treatment this year. At the start of the year it was due to lack of money. Towards the end of the year it has been due to my Reiki Pracitioner changing where she works.

April
Unticked Box See a sunrise.
This has been a goal for the last few years. I think I need to take a day of annual leave off work to experience this next year. So this will be a goal/new experience for 2017.

May
Tick Box Bullet Point Celebrate your 30th in style, including a night out in Newcastle and a family meal.
I didn’t manage the night out in Newcastle, but did do the family meal which was wonderful. I blogged about the family meal here: My Thirtieth Birthday.

June
Tick Box Bullet Point Visit Chester Zoo Islands Exhibit.
I actually did this in May, as part of my birthday celebrations. See A Day Trip to Chester Zoo.
Tick Box Bullet PointStart a new creative project.
One weekend in June I wrote, edited and then published an article on The History of the National Health Service (NHS). It was a creative project that I have been thinking about for sometime and I was proud of myself because I had finally done it.

July
Tick Box Bullet PointSpend time in nature. Go for walks in places of natural beauty.
I visited Astley Hall Park with my friend Simon. I would have liked to spend more time in nature during July, but the variable weather influenced what I was able to do.
Tick Box Bullet Point Visit a botanical gardens.
I visited Southport Botanic Gardens (Churchtown) with Simon in August.

August
Tick Box Bullet Point Visit a castle, one that you haven’t been to before.
Okay, technically I didn’t visit a new castle this year. But I did do a tour of acient sites along Hadrian’s Wall with Simon. See The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure (Part 1) and The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure (Part 2). A goal/new experience for 2017 will be the finishing off of The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure, meaning that Simon and I will have followed the wall from one end of the country to the other.

September
Tick Box Bullet Point Read in the horror genre. Maybe some Stephen King.
I read Under The Dome by Stephen King, which I reviewed here. I also read The Stand by Stephen King, which I reviewed here. Although I’m not sure that either of them was in the horror genre, I’ve ticked it off as completed.

October
Tick Box Bullet Point Celebrate Samhain.
Celebrated Samhain in style with my friends Simon & Chrys. Great food, drink, fire, music and company.

November
Tick Box Bullet Point Take it easy.
I tried to do the bare-minimum in November. This was probably why there were only a few blog posts in November.

December
Unticked Box Bring people together to celebrate Yule.
Yule fell on a Wednesday, which made it difficult to arrange a get together. Perhaps I will put this on future goals when it lands on a weekend.

This year I’ve completed 14 of 22 goals/new experiences for 2016. That’s over half and not at all bad when you consider the 12 creative projects I’ve completed this year, along with how busy the year has been otherwise.

Blog soon,

Antony

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11 Creative Projects That I Never Intended To Do… This Year

By Creativity, Gay, Health, Inspiration, Life, ThinkingNo Comments

At the start of 2016, I had all my creative projects for the year planned out. So far I’ve done zero of those planned projects. But instead I’ve done 11 Creative Projects that I never intended to do this year. Here they are in date order (older to most recent):

11. My short story Soulmates
I published my short story Soulmates. In Soulmates Robert and Lucas keep missing each other. In fact, they’ve never met. That is until a disembodied spirit assigns himself Robert’s case. Can this spirit create the perfect opportunity for these two potential Soulmates to finally meet? And if they do meet, how will it go?

Here is an except from Soulmates:

Soulmates-by-Antony-Simpson-Short-Story-Excerpt

10. My Tale of Overcoming Adversity
I told my tale of overcoming adversity. This was a post I’d wanted to write for a long time. And when I say a long time, I mean at least over the last few years.

9. Five Wise Quotes from Albus Dumbledore
I put together 5 Wise Quotes from Albus Dumbledore:

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8. A Series of Blog Posts about Creative Writing
I wrote and published a Series of Blog Posts on Creative Writing, see: Beginning, Middle & End.

7. This Mother’s Appreciation Day Poem:

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A Poem I wrote for and about my Mum for Mother’s Day.

6. A Series of Blog Posts on Inspirational Quotes
I collated and presented in image format Inspirational Quotes on Gay People, Love, Self-Love, Friendship, Life and some quotes from yours truly.

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Inspirational Quotes on Gay People.

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Inspirational Quotes on Love.

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Inspirational Quotes on Self-love.

inspirational-quotes-on-friendship

Inspirational Quotes on Friendship.

inspirational-quotes-on-life

Inspirational Quotes on Life.

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Some Hopefully Inspirational Quotes from Yours Truly (Antony Simpson)

5. A Mind Map: What Makes A Good Nurse?
I wrote a blog post entitled Mind Map: What Makes A Good Nurse? with this mind map:

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Mind Map: What Makes A Good Nurse? (Click for Full Size Image)

4. The History of the National Health Service (NHS)
I wrote this article on The History of the National History Service:

Click here to display content from docs.google.com

Download (PDF, 233KB)

3. Fifteen Lies That Depression Would Have You Believe
I thought about when my depression was really bad. I decided to write this blog post: 15 Lies That Depression Would Have You Believe. Here’s the blog post:

Here are 15 lies that depression would have you believe:
15. That it is bigger than you.
It’s not. It just makes you think this so that it can keep in control of you.

14. That it would be better if you never left your bed/room/house again.
It wouldn’t. You have so much to offer the world and you would miss out on so much if you never moved again. On days you feel like this practice self-compassion. Be kind but firm with yourself. Set yourself a small achievable goal. Force yourself into action to achieve this goal. Achieving a goal, no matter how small the goal is, will help you to feel better.

13. That you’re a failure.
Firstly you can’t be a failure. Failure only comes by attempting to do or achieve things. Failure is no bad thing – you learn more through failure than you do success. Don’t believe me? watch this TED video where J.K. Rowling talks about the benefits of failure.

Depression likes to magnify experiences in your mind. It focuses on only the negative aspects of an experience. Most experiences are a mix of positives and negatives. Try to put experiences into perspective. Examine the positives. Try to practice balanced thinking and self-compassion.

12. That you’ll never laugh again.
You will and often. People can and do recover from depression. Feeling okay doesn’t mean that you’re in recovery, starting to feel good again does. If you’re just feeling okay, go back and see your GP.

In recovery you will start to experience a number of long lost emotions such as happiness, joy and elation. When you do, greet them as old friends and experience them fully.

11. That being physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted is a normal state of being.
It isn’t. You might be sleeping for 18 hours and wake up still exhausted or you might be suffering with insomnia. But people usually have a stable amount of energy throughout the day and should sleep for a recommended 8 hours.

Depression is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, but if you go to your GP and get the right treatment (see my blog post on treatment options for more details) things will improve.

10. That you’re pathetic. That you have no right to feel the way you do. That you are a disappointment to all that know you.
Shame and guilt are two emotions that depression uses to try and control you. Let go of any shame and guilt you feel. Accept how you feel now and know that it is temporary, almost fleeting compared with you life. Be confident knowing that how you feel now will change with the passage of time.

9. That the physical, mental and emotional pain you feel is all that there is.
There’s more to life pain. There’s care, love, happiness, joy and so much more. Just hold on. You have experienced the more-than-pain emotions before and you will again.

8. That you can’t do anything right or well enough.
My mum has lots of wisdom. She once said that all anyone can ask is that you try your best. Remember these words.

Remember that depression likes to magnify failures and things that didn’t go as well as you hoped. On days when you feel like this, practice self-compassion, use balanced thinking and try to put things into perspective. What where your intentions? Did you kill anybody? No? Well then, it’s not the end of the world.

7. That you are worthless.
You are unique. There has never been anyone exactly the same as you and there never will be. You are priceless and beyond value measures. Don’t listen to this lie, instead remind yourself that you are special and remind yourself what makes you, you.

6. That you’re going mad, mental or loosing your mind.
No you’re not. Your brain is just overwhelmed with cortisol – the stress hormone at the moment. Take a break and stop doing anything that you don’t need to. Practice relaxation techniques and be kind to yourself.

Remember that among the great and the good are people who’ve experienced depression. Even at the height of their success.

5. That everything is too much effort. That just getting up and out of bed is too exhausting.
Set yourself a small goal each day and try your best to achieve it. The goal might be as tiny as having a bath, calling someone for a quick chat, changing your bedding or going for a short walk.

Despite how you feel, get yourself to your GP and get treatment. If this seems too ginormous of a task, break it up into smaller steps. Ask family members or friends to help you to do this.

4. That your soul or higher self is being destroyed.
Your soul or higher self has survived several lifetimes and the accompanying reincarnation processes. It can and will survive depression. Depression is tiny and insignificant in comparison to the challenges your soul or higher self has already experienced.

3. That everything is hopeless.
You may feel this way, but it is not and will never be hopeless. According to The Royal College of Psychiatrists people can and do fully recover from depression.

2. That life isn’t worth living.
Here’s a plea from the heart: darling you might feel this way now, but how you feel will change. If you are feeling suicidal please visit your nearest A&E Department for crisis support.

1. That you’ll never be happy again.
You will. It will just take the right treatment and time.

(From: 15 Lies That Depression Would Have You Believe.)

2. A List of Famous People with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and/or Dyscalculia
Following on from my tale of overcoming adversity, I came up with the idea of doing A List of Famous People with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and/or Dyscalculia, which I did.

1. The difference between a House and a Home
Home has always been really important to me. But I noticed that people tend to use the word house and home interchangeably. So I wrote a blog post about The difference between a House and a Home.

My creative output has dramatically increased. Which is brilliant, especially considering how exceptionally busy 2016 has turned out to be so far. I’m already working on the next creative project, which I hope to share with you soon.

Take care,

Antony

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5 Wise Quotes from Albus Dumbledore

By Books & Authors, ThinkingNo Comments
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for sometime, you will probably know who Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is.

But just in case you don’t he’s the fictional Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter book series by J.K Rowling.

Dumbledore is known to be intelligent, sage-like and wise. So here are five wise quotes from the man himself:

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Blog soon,

Antony



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A Random List of Things I Like & That Make Me Feel Good

By Happiness & JoyNo Comments

Here’s a random list of things I like and things that make me feel good:

  • Quality time with my family & friends.
  • Reading – being transported into a different life or world by an Author.
  • Being Creative.
  • Writing.
  • Having an adventure – such as the one I’m having at the moment in India.
  • Spending time walking in nature on bright and warm Summer’s days. Places like Rivington an Wales.
  • Watching shows, performances and gigs.
  • Laughing.
  • Making others laugh.
  • Caring for others.
  • When people write ‘Love you Always’ in a card.
  • Receiving a message that makes me smile.
  • People smiling.
  • Complements.
  • Small acts of kindness.
  • Waking up pain-free.
  • Having such a good conversation that I loose track of the time.
  • Watching a film that makes me so happy or sad that I cry.
  • Easing another’s suffering.
  • Sunshine.
  • Warm weather.
  • Blogging.
  • Sunbathing.
  • Naps.
  • A long, hot and relaxing bath.
  • Listening to music in the bath.
  • Birthday cards.
  • When someone says: ‘I just saw this and thought of you.’
  • New notebooks, especially Paperchase ones.
  • Seeing a sunset.
  • Uni-ball pens in various colours.
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
  • Intimacy.
  • Pop music.
  • Lit Yankee Candles.
  • Low lighting.
  • A new hair cut.
  • New clothes.
  • New technology devices.
  • Playing Civilization 5.
  • Dancing.
  • Imagining having tea with Gandalf, Dumbledore and Mary Poppins.
  • Waking up after a good night’s sleep.
  • Having no where to be and nothing to do.
  • Watching Victoria Wood, French & Saunders, Lilly Savage, Jack Whitehall and Russell Howard stand-up again and again. To the point where I know the script word for word.
  • Colouring in – focusing on staying in the lines.
  • Carrot Cake.
  • Nice coffee – in particular a Starbucks hazelnut latte or Douwe Egberts.
  • Cinnamon buns.
  • Looking through old photos.
  • Looking through Memory Boxes.
  • Unexpected, spontaneous dinners and meals out.
  • Chocolatey goodness.
  • Cinema trips.
  • Sweet Popcorn.
  • Finding a pound in the pocket of your winter coat, the first time you come to wear it as the weather gets colder.
  • Imagining that I live in the countryside, in a nice small cottage with a well-stocked larder.
  • Imagining what I’d do if I won the euro millions jackpot.
  • Re-living happy memories in my mind.
  • A brew.
  • Doing a good job, in whatever I’m doing.
  • Films that capture my imagination or make me feel something.
  • Watching musicals.
  • Imagining being able to fly.
  • Crystals.
  • Dinosaurs and everything dinosaur-related.
  • Minions and everything minion-related.
  • Watching wildlife documentaries, where animals show love and care towards one another.
  • Writing lists.

What are some of the things you like? What makes you feel good? Leave a comment below.

Blog soon,

Antony



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