1 December 14 // New Beginnings

Slightly cliché, somewhat fortuitous: today marks a new beginning. In the past few weeks, some unbalanced moonbeam inside of me leaked and was causing all sorts of messes and chaos inside my mind and body (I’m not trying to excuse my absence, but I feel that an attempted explanation would not go astray). Somehow, the fact that the First of December has coincided with a Monday has meant that the various spider-silks making up the different aspects of my life have been woven together and the moon-leak has been set right.

Namely, I was struggling with finding inspiration and motivation to:
Physically: go to sleep and wake up early, stretch, exercise for more than 30 minutes a day more than 4 times a week, eat as well as my body deserves, challenge myself.
Mentally and Creatively: read as much as I had promised myself I would, find the joy in days that were difficult, keep up with friends, challenge myself to create more art and more writing, clarify where I am and where I am heading at this point in my life.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to be sharing my goal-setting strategies with you, as well as some of my specific goals and projects that will hopefully arise as a result thereof.

In the meantime, I have read a few books recently that I will list below, with a few words on their content and my opinion on them!

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje: After having read In the Skin of a Lion for my HSC English Advanced Course (Module B) and falling in the deepest oceans of love for Ondaatje’s prose, I had very high expectations for TEP, especially given its rave reviews. Whilst still beautifully written, and I do really recommend reading it, I don’t feel that TEP captured my breath the same way ITSOAL did; I didn’t find it quite as convicting; it didn’t require so much of an emotional input from me.

Nefertiti, Michelle Moran: A bit slow to begin with, this piece of historic fiction paints a different image of Nefertiti than I had in my head – but still just as powerful. I do have a deeper interest in Ancient Egypt than perhaps a ‘normal’ (what is that, though?) teenager, but it really is a page turner! I stayed up until 12:30am to finish it!

Memoirs of A Geisha, Arthur Golden: Another winner. Also a little bit slow to begin (especially considering I had no knowledge of what this historical novel was really about/where it would be leading me), MoAG was a thrilling read for me; and as it picks up speed, you really get carried along with it; finding yourself connected to certain characters without even realising it!

See you very soon, loves xxx

Where does it come from, Where does it go?

Well, let me preface this post by highlighting the irony that is me writing this at this specific moment in time, having put-off preparing for English Extension 1 all day and still promising myself I will do just a little bit of exercise before I go to sleep tonight.

Having been an avid procrastinator pretty much my entire secondary education life (for lack of a less concise term), motivation was always an illusion to me; a mirage hovering just above the horizon that seemed a very, very, very long way away. However, I decided that at the beginning of my HSC year (October, 2013) that I needed to get my act together and Start. Doing. Things.

It sounded daunting: the promise of actually completing my homework the night I was given it, of beginning my assignments as soon as I received them and not leaving them until the night before, and of waking up early in the morning to get my exercise for the day done and dusted.

Experts say that it takes 2 weeks to make or break a habit, and I personally found that to be the case (from what I remember). After I set myself a daily schedule, making lists and setting intentions, I began to find it more and more easy to stick with what I was doing. In all honesty, I was thriving on that routine (and I hope to return to it more or less after this Thursday [!!!!!]).

Motivation can be a very fickle thing, as I’m sure most of you know. If you seek it without yourself, it will eventually fail you. No matter how many pictures of Candice Swanepoel or Karlie Kloss you stick above your treadmill, no matter how many quotes about learning and succeeding and achieving are pinned up around your room and above your desk, none of that will work in the long run unless you feel it within yourself. Of course, vision boards and image and quotes can be inspiring, but ultimately, your ability to succeed in whatever your goals are comes down to you and you alone.

That being said, I’m not pretending to be an expert here – heaven knows I’m not motivated all the time. But (and this brings me to my next point), as long as there is a strong desire for change within you, it is possible for you to persevere. Some days during STUVAC, I didn’t feel like studying at all. But I knew deep down that I wanted to do my best in the exams, so I pushed through that feeling and just began with some really banal work (for me: biology notes and revision).

I wasn’t necessarily feeling motivated, but I pressed on and I did it anyway – I persevered.

I feel like these days, the illusion of motivation has become really prevalent: we see success and idyllic lives constantly, on our Instagram, Facebook and other social media feeds, in advertising and in media and in the blogosphere (wow, that actually read as a word), but I can assure you that this motivation is not constant, even amongst the most dedicated of people.

What sets those we deem successful is a mélange of a few things:
Their own personal criteria for what success looks like for them.
A desire deep within themselves to thrive at what they do. This could also be defined as motivation.
An ability to continue even when the going gets tough and motivation is dwindling. This could also be defined as perseverance (this also differs from pushing yourself to exhaustion – listen to your body and be careful of and gentle with it).

This fusion is easily cultivable within our own lives – it just takes some intention setting, a bit of scheduling, some planning and a lot of faith in who you are and what thriving/success looks like for you.
Manifest your own reality.

“A warrior feeds her body well. She trains it, works on it. Where she lacks knowledge, she studies. But above all, she must believe in her strength of will and purpose and heart and soul.” – David Gemmel

*Featured image from Move, Nourish, Believe