Did you keep a diary when you were younger? I kept one for a few years when I was in my early teens, and me and my best friend also wrote to each other all the time (this was before the internet, people!) and I kept those letters for years and years too. I’d love to read them again now and get to know my teenage self again. I wonder what happened to them? Think of the positive life plan as the grown up equivalent of those teenage ramblings: a constructive and uplifting way to keep track of all aspects of your life and maybe even make a few changes along the way too. Here, we’ve listed five reasons why you should start the positive life plan. Plus, a chance to win a gorgeous personalised TOAD notebook to do it in!
1 Mindfulness equals happiness
Mindfulness is all about the here and now: allowing yourself to be ‘in the moment’ requires all your attention. Think of the positive life plan as your own few minutes of meditation, allowing your feelings to wash over you, leaving your stresses and worries behind, and then recording any useful, positive thoughts and ideas just as they come into your head.
Erica: ‘Neuroscientists have discovered that gratitude has exactly the same effect as Prozac, they both release serotonin making you feel more positive. What’s really interesting is, it’s the act of searching for something to be grateful about that does this, you don’t even have to find anything! This is further evidence that happiness really is a choice and not connected to your situation at all!’
2 Make your dreams come true
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a huge life goal like moving to a different country, or wishing you could change jobs, or something as simple as noting down the title of a book you want to read: the first step in any plan is to put it down on paper. Sometimes just the tiniest seed of an idea can turn into something fabulous, so take the time to jot it down – you never know where it might lead. Erida says ‘the act of writing something down tells the brain to subconsciously gather information to help you achieve your goal. It’s almost like having an invisible assistant to help you. It’s why when you decide to buy a white Mini, you suddenly see them everywhere – you’ve sent your brain a subconscious message to notice them!’
3 Take time out for you
We all lead busy lives, have stressful jobs, family demands, social lives, corners of clutter that need sorting… The simple act of journalling means that you’re taking time to focus solely on yourself. Performing your little life edit becomes a bit addictive and after a while, the time you take out of your busy schedule to update your positive life plan becomes really precious. And of course you can tailor the plan just for you – don’t want to focus on your work? Miss the category out. Want to keep more of a daily/weekly journal? Use the categories as prompts and write whatever you like!
4 Work out what makes you happy
It wasn’t until I started keeping notes that I started to realise how unhappy not exercising regularly was making me. The quest to find an exercise I loved kept coming up over and over again in my thoughts. I started on my couch to 5k journey honestly not expecting to like it or keep at it, but it’s been a revelation, and 7 weeks on, I find that the days I run are the ones when I feel happiest and have more energy and enthusiasm. Erica agrees: ‘I’ve revisited things I enjoyed as a teenager to see if there is anything that provides the same high today. As a result, I’ve started playing cornet again and joined a brass band, and I’ve also just joined a netball team!’
5 The power of positivity
One of the rules – in fact, the only rule – of the positive life plan is that everything you write must be positive (the clue’s in the title), and one of the great things about writing positive things down is that it makes them permanent, and available for you to relive over and over again! You just can’t underestimate the fabulous, mood-boosting power of flicking through and reading your positive life plan, inspiring you to add even more positivity that you can come back to later. I find it especially useful to flick through if I’m not having a great day – it’s an instant mood booster.
Start your own positive life plan!
To get you started, I’ve got five gorgeous TOAD notebooks to give away. TOAD produce customised diaries and notebooks that are all hand made in the UK and can be personalised to suit you (see my own personalised positive life plan notebook, in this gorgeous ‘dusk’ ombré cover. I chose wide lined pages, but if you’re a bit more of a scribbler, you can choose plain paper and there’s a choice of notebook sizes too.
HOW TO ENTER
All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell us why you want to start your very own positive life plan journey and five lucky winners will get to create their very own personalised TOAD notebook. This competition closes on Friday evening, 11th August, at midnight and the usual English Mum competition rules apply.
**This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Mrs T, Sarah Knightley, Nickie, Cluckyhen and Clair Dukes who each won a personalised TOAD notebook **