Leo-Tolstoy-quote-small-changes

Monthly review – getting out of the winter doldrums

Leo-Tolstoy-quote-small-changes

I am pretty happy to see the end of July as it means only one more month of winter left. At the start of July, I realised I was falling into the trap of my winter doldrums. To counter this, I used a strategy that has always worked a charm with me – I plan and organise myself more!

This meant that as I wrote my Sunday night master to do list, I then planned out the key tasks across the whole week, not just for the next day. I tweaked my morning routines to give me the best possible start to the day given my current circumstances. I am unfortunately not running at the moment and this is usually the cornerstone of my morning routine, I was a bit all over the place without it so needed to fix that. I also refocused on getting to bed at time that meant I was getting enough sleep. If I am tired I am much more likely to procrastinate and do less.

These are all pretty small changes but combined they were enough to get me out the winter doldrums and for me to look back on July and be happy with how I worked, rested, and played! Never underestimate the power of small changes implemented consistently.


Read for a minimum of 15 minutes per day

Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – There is so much to learn from both fiction and non fiction books. I have a huge list of books that I have wanted to read for some time, so this year to help expand my knowledge I am committing to read more. My target for the year is to read 25 books.

Quote to connect to – “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz

July performance – I finished three books this month but would only really recommend one of them.

Between the Dark and the Daylight – Embracing The Contradictions Of Life By Joan Chittister

I really loved Between the Dark and the Daylight – Embracing The Contradictions Of Life By Joan Chittister. Chittister is a Benedictine nun, founder of Benetvision and the author of many books. In this book it looks at the common contradictions in life that make us question who we are and what we do:

There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves…It’s then, in the still of life, when we least expect it, that questions emerge from the damp murkiness of our inner underworld…These questions do not call for the discovery of data; they call for the contemplation of possibility.

Each contradiction is given its own chapter and practical meditations on how we can better understand God and ourselves when chaos surrounds us. Some of the chapters that resonated most with me were the delusion of frustration, the fragility of achievement, the emptiness of accumulation, the productivity of rest and recreation and the emptiness of crowds. 4.5/5

How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Nicole LePera

I had heard lots of great things about How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Nicole LePera and was looking forward to reading it but I was really disappointed with it. LePera covers a lot in this book but it is very general and it lacks scientific, peer-reviewed evidence. LePera is sharing her story of personal growth in the book and I am not sure that is relatable to everyone and there lacks some real concrete, science-backed steps you can take to do the work. 2/5

The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age by Claudia Hammond

The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age by Claudia Hammond was an easy and enjoyable enough read but it was an example to me of how a great idea/article was turned into a book when it really didn’t have enough content for it. It gives you plenty of ideas of ways you can rest and how it is good for you but you pretty much get the idea in the first few paragraphs, not sure it needed a whole chapter on each. 3/5

Invest one hour a week learning about our First Nations Peoples

Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – Reconciliation NSW recommends learning and understanding more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ histories, Cultures, Languages, technology and land management techniques as educating yourself is the first step in the journey towards reconciliation. My knowledge and understanding are severely lacking and I want to change this.

Quote to connect to – “Knowing is not enough; We must apply. Willing is not enough; We must do.” – Bruce Lee

July performance – I watched the following TV shows/documentaries:

  • Incarceration Nation – the high rate of incarceration of Indigenous Australians is shameful and shows how very far we still have to go in terms of healing intergenerational trauma and closing the gap on the disadvantage that Indigenous Australians experience.
  • Off country – this series follows the lives of seven Indigenous students as they leave home to spend a year boarding at one of the oldest and most elite boarding schools in Australia, Geelong Grammar. These students provide insightful commentary on what it is like to be an Indigenous person in current day Australia.
  • The Australian Dream – this is the brilliant documentary on Adam Goodes and the racism he faced playing in the AFL. It explores race, identity and belonging and really made me think about how much progress have we really made?

Volunteer on a weekly basis

Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – Volunteering is an activity where you can be of service to others and learn so much from the experience. It has been some time since I have volunteered outside of schools etc and I want to get back into it for 2022.

Quote to connect to – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

July performance – I have applied to a couple of organisations that I would like to volunteer at and am waiting to hear back when times will be available.

Spend one hour a week planning and visiting new attractions

The-Picasso-Century

Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – There are so many great attractions and experiences in Melbourne both free and paid and when the kids were younger we used to visit them frequently. Since the kids have stopped wanting to do this, I have stopped going too. But there is no reason why I cannot go on my own or with Phil or with friends!

While I have allocated one hour per week, this can be averaged out across the month as my overall aim is to visit two new (to me) attractions per month.

Quote to connect to – “Fill your life with experiences. Not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” Unknown

July performance – Attended two key events in July:

How are you progressing towards your goal for the year?

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