In light of International Women’s Day this week, I thought it was only too fitting to write a little inspirational piece for all those women out there who feel less than confident about doing whatever they want to do. Today’s post is about what I would tell my 16-year-old self today, if I could, to help her understand that everything would turn out okay.

There was a time in my life, where I was told that I was not good enough to get into university. I was told I wouldn’t be successful once I was done with university. There were a number of other hurdles that I had to get past, but looking back now I can see just how much they have helped shape me into the person I am today. So in an attempt to share some advice on how to progress your career, I’ve thought of the five things I would tell my 16-year-old self, if I had the chance to speak to her today:

Crush the anxiety within you

We have all been through it. Wether it’s finding a new, more challenging job, starting a new project, aiming for a promotion, or even picking up a new sport; so many of us have had thoughts like: ‘can I really do this?’ and ‘what if I fail?’

But we all know the answer to these thoughts:

“Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” – Erin Hassan

Never stop yourself from trying something new, just because you are afraid to fail. Sometimes, failure is a natural bi-product of living life. You must simply get up, learn from your mistakes, and try again.

You are the only person who has to believe in you

There were a few times in my life when even those closest to me believed I couldn’t do something. It never stopped me from trying anyway.

You know what they say, anything is possible. But in order to make things possible, you have to believe that they are. Belief is key to reaching your goals, because if you yourself don’t believe that you can do something, then you’ve already lost.

Don’t let other people tell you what you can or cannot do

When I was told I wasn’t good enough to go to university I could have let those words stop me, but I didn’t. I fought hard to get to where I am today. Everyone has blips in self confidence, but no one person should ever crush your dreams and tell you that you are not good enough before you even had the chance to try and reach your goal. You yourself should be the only decision maker when it comes to your own happiness, and only you should decide when it is time to give up.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint

When we want something, we want it immediately. An example would be finding a job after university. The thing to remember, though, is that you shouldn’t rush into finding just any job. You should find the job that you really want and that you know you will enjoy. This job will help you reach your goals, because you will always want to learn more, and develop your skills and your knowledge within whatever field you choose.

You should never choose a job just because it pays more, or because your friends or family tell you to. Your career is something that you should choose for yourself, because you will have to live with it.

You are more capable than you think

This is possibly the most important thing. So many children and teenagers have a lack in self confidence; be it because of teaching, parenting, or bullying experienced in their youth. A lack in self confidence can severely limit an individual’s drive to strive for what they want, because they think they will fail, or because they feel like ‘one of many’ in the competition.

Finding something that you really enjoy, however, is so important to bring out your own self confidence and your capability. More often than not, you are more capable than you think, it simply depends on what you do to bring out that capability that helps develop you in the future.

One little bonus (which I’ve decided not to turn into a sixth point) is the picture below, which I also have hanging on my wall in my bedroom:

International Women's Day: Things I Would Tell My 16-Year-Old Self Today

Dream as if you’ll live for ever because that way, the sky is the limit for you!

I hope that some of the advice in today’s blog post finds you well, and that there are some takeaways for you to consider and work on in the future.

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

In our last post on overcoming writer’s block, we explored a few ideas such as sitting in a busy cafe and listening to snippets of conversations, or people watching, to get new ideas on content to write about. In this part (part 2) of the series, we will be exploring ways of de-stressing, to overcome it all.

Here’s the thing, in order to take a step back from it all, and de-stress, you need an outlet. So what outlet is better than going to the gym for a 45-60 minute workout session during which you give it your all? How about trying something new (maybe all it takes is a new exercise class) to get out of your head? Have you ever tried any of this?

Find a type of exercise you love

I like going to the gym and getting a cardio session or some circuits in, but I understand its not something for everyone. I recommend trying different things, including team sports, and picking the one that is most fun for you. Some people like to meet new people and work out with a group, whilst other people prefer to go it alone. Find what works best for you and more importantly, find out what you enjoy and will be more likely to stick to.

Do something you would not usually do

So I’m not necessarily talking skydiving here (although don’t hesitate to do so if you would like to). Visiting a new area in your city, or booking a day/weekend trip to a city you’ve not spent a lot of time in (or been to at all) could be a great way of giving you new material to write about.

Got an exercise class at the gym that you have wanted to try for ages? Seen a new vintage shop in the city you’ve wanted to pay a visit to? All of these activities provide a great source of writing material, and should be explored!

Exercise classes for overcoming writers block

I myself have just booked a few new exercise classes to try out at the gym throughout the next week, and I’m super excited to get going with them all! Not only is it great for stress relief, but I also get to work on my body, so it’s a win-win all around!

Get planning

When you have done all of the above, as well as the tips provided in Part 1 of this series, list out your ideas and begin to plan your next piece of writing. You will start to realise that the ideas are flowing, and that you can finally put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), and just get writing.

Do you have any ideas on overcoming writer’s block or are you suffering from it? Use the comment section to tell me about your experience of it all!

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

Have you ever felt like you have so much going on in your head, that you need to make a big long list of everything that needs doing, otherwise you’ll miss something? Have you felt anxious because there is just not enough time in the day to do everything? Has your anxiety created a sense of writer’s block? Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately; the past two months have been busy both at work and in my life in general.

Sometimes, our minds are so full of ‘fog’ from our lives, we stop realising that we need to release some of the stress and tension by doing something we love. Everyone has different stress outlets, and finding the best one for you is definitely important. For those of you who blog, or write in a similar capacity, you understand that this ‘fog’ which fills our heads can cloud our ability to come up with new ideas.

For those of you who suffer from it, I’ve written some of my advice on writer’s block and how to overcome it:

Sit in a busy cafe and just listen to conversations

This is a tip I picked up from an article I read a few years ago, when I first tried my hand at creative writing. I had writers block at the time (you see, it happens more than you might think), and the article said that listening to other people talk can often give you ideas for topics to write about. People’s snippets of conversations can sometimes even be incorporated into a story you are writing, to make it more exciting or intriguing.

Overcoming Writer's Block: Busy Cafe

I tried the method and must say, it worked! I did not incorporate conversations into my writing, but they gave me ideas for things to write about. They were a means to an end.

People watch

This works well for two types of writing:

  1. Stories
    • People watching can help you form characters. Starting with looks and moving through to clothing and style, watching people and their mannerisms is a great way of building your ideal main and supporting characters for a story.
  2. Blogging
    • Again, style can help you fashion bloggers out there, particularly if you have got a particular inspiration lack for trends you would like to try.
    • People watching can also help observant bloggers pick up on establishments where food or drink was purchased – this can always lead to a review.

Note down your learnings

When you have done the above, reflect on what you’ve learned, and jot down your ideas. The most important part of overcoming writer’s block is to get new ideas, and to remember what you’ve learned. I tend to write down my ideas and my notes, either in a notebook that I carry around or (for those occasions where my bag is just a bit too small to carry a notebook), in an app on my Android phone.

Now, go ahead and try all of the above things and see what you come up with in terms of learnings. Don’t forget to note them down and wait for my second part to this series to discover more tips on overcoming writer’s block.

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

During the first week of July, I wrote a post on going back to the gym and getting back into blogging after a break of three weeks. Unfortunately, I have not been able to fully commit to either of these, and so it is time to reflect and move forward. As part of my reflection process, I wanted to write down some things which each and every one of you could benefit from reading:

Don’t beat yourself up

Everyone fails. You will fail. I don’t mean this to sound defeatist, but accepting your failures will help you learn from them, and move on. The key here, is not to beat yourself up about it, and to move on.

The number of times I have failed to get back on track with my fitness, or my blogging comes to mind at this point. It can happen fairly quickly; life just takes over and times runs away from you. What is important, is that you recognise it, you reflect why you started, and whether the hunger to continue still exists within you. If it does, then you can slowly begin to get yourself back on track.

Don’t give up

Sometimes, giving up seems like the only option. Actively scheduling in time for the gym, blogging, or whatever else it is that you are trying to achieve over a longer period of time can do a world of difference. Providing a structured approach for yourself can be just what you need to get back on track.

I have not been blogging, or going to the gym properly for almost a month. Thinking back now, it is most likely because I have not actively planned out a way of getting back into my routine. I have had more of a ‘I will do it tomorrow’ attitude, but having this attitude does not always help get you back on track as quickly as you would like. Having a ‘I will do it slowly but I will start today’ attitude can make a much bigger difference in getting back on track. So here’s my advice, moving from July into August:

  1. Start today: Whether it’s a 10 minute brainstorm for blog post ideas, or a 20 minute run, starting off slowly can work wonders when it is done proactively and sooner rather than later.
  2. Plan: Whether it’s planning 1-2 hours a week for blogging, or a 1-hour workout three times a week, planning out your first month to get back into the swing of things can really help you get back on track.
  3. Take it slow: Progress takes time, and there will be some hurdles along the way. Take your time and allow yourself to get back on track. Rushing it will only make you want to quit faster from exhaustion.
  4. Don’t do it alone: If you’re looking to get some ideas for blogging, speak to a friend. If you’re looking to get back into the gym, get motivation from others. I joined a group of women participating in a fresh start with Kayla Itsines’s BBG workouts. We use an Instagram hashtag to motivate each other (check out #bbgcrushmode for this).

BBG Week One - Back on Track

Once you stop putting things off, and you start to plan, and seek motivation, you will get closer to where you want to be. You will find that the structure will help you mitigate time wasting.

Don’t become impatient

You know what they all say (and yes it’s a cliche), but Rome wasn’t built in a day. That rhymed slightly more than intended, but it does ring true. No one said going to the gym religiously and keeping on track from day one would be easy. No one said it was a bad thing to fail. What is bad, is to fail over and over, from making the same mistakes.

So relax, take time to reflect on your journey, and remember why you started to begin with. You will find, that you have already made much more progress than you’re giving yourself credit for. Acknowledge your progress, reward yourself for it, and move on to get back to the path you want to be on.

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been a little slow with my blogging, and I’ve had some trouble getting back into my gym routine. I started a new job and have been getting to grips with things there, trying to get into the routine of that, so I put other things on the backseat for a bit. Now I am back and this weekend marks the first weekend of adding things back into my routine, such as the gym and my blogging.

Going back to the gym

I began with some cardio yesterday, and I felt good afterwards. I felt like I had accomplished something more than just leaving the house on a Saturday. I thought it would be good to start off light, rather than going into the gym at full steam after a bit of a longer break. I did not want to over exert myself after all.

After feeling so good yesterday, I decided to try one of Kayla Itsines’s BBG guides today. I can feel that I am much less fit than I was when I was giving them a go in January, but I also know not to get myself down, and that it does take time to build strength and stamina back up.

One thing I would definitely recommend for those of you trying to get back into the swing of things, is waking up early on a Saturday and Sunday morning, and getting in a nice healthy breakfast. Once you’ve done that, put on your gym gear, rather than your usual Saturday clothes.

Going back to the gym with all the gear

You know what happens next? You just leave the house and get yourself to the gym, nice and early. This whole routine stops you from putting off the gym because you’re feeling like you don’t have enough time in the day. It leaves ample amounts of time for all those other things you love to do on your weekends.

I recently wrote a guest post here, about how to motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little sluggish about going to the gym. Give it a read, I am following all of my own tips (as hard as following my advice can be), in order to stay motivated!

Going back to healthy eating

For me, healthy eating can be a bit of a sticking point. My relationship with food is not always the best as I tend to eat more when I am stressed or angry. Emotional eating is never a good idea. It brings out more anger down the road than it does happiness in the short-term. I try to eat things which don’t leave me feeling bloated and wanting more. I try to avoid sugar as much as I can, as it can be like a form of poison. I also like to venture to Whole Foods in Kensington to buy some ‘posh peperami‘ as I like to call it, seaweed thins, and other yummy snacks which bring variety into my diet. I am also an avid user of Graze, as their snacks (provided you choose the right type of box) are fantastic for that mid-afternoon slug:

Going back to healthy eating with yummy snacking salami I am trying, on top of all the above, to add more protein such as chicken and salmon into my diet, with brown rice and vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. I am also trying to eat healthy fats and fibres where I can.

Healthy meal from Whole Foods

Going back to blogging

I have put blogging on the backseat for a couple of weeks, because when I start a new job, I like to get into a routine first and then add the blog in a little later on. This is mainly because blogging is almost like a part time job. It takes a lot of TLC and effort, and I would not want to jeopardise the quality of my content by trying to create rushed posts, just to keep my blog updated. I like to provide content which is interesting and insightful, when I can.

I don’t see a problem with giving up some things for a little while, to get back into the swing of other things. As long as you pick everything up later down the line, it is perfectly fine to have a little break!

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x