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Welcome to my RESET 2021 challenge.

This is the fourth, and last day in the four-day countdown to launching RESET 2021 tomorrow, and today I will be very honest in sharing why this personal challenge is so important to me and how I am going to add in an extra layer of accountability, transforming my personal challenge, into one that will help to support others.

Just a quick reminder that the three goals are:

  1. Abstaining from alcohol for 365 day
  2. Abstaining from sweets, chocolate, cake, biscuits etc for 365 days
  3. Developing a more positive work focus, where I protect time for personal interests and physical activity.

Since the thought about tackling some negative and unhelpful behaviours first popped into my head, while I was writing the Carers’ Hearts blog post about carers self-medicating with alcohol and prescription medication to help them deal with the emotional and psychological impact of the role, it has become clearer that this has become something that has been happening to me over the last few years.

It is not an easy thing to acknowledge or share your vulnerabilities with friends and family, let alone strangers. With the wonders of hindsight, I wouldn’t have made the decisions I did that have brought me to this point, but as I said yesterday, I take full responsibility for those decisions, no excuses, no regrets. However, now is the time to make different choices and take different decisions and I know as a result, there will be different, more positive outcomes.

Having now spent weeks thinking about why I want to make these changes, it became more obvious that by not acknowledging the struggles I am facing with my mental and physical wellbeing, I am adding to the emotional burden of feeling like I am failing as a carer and that is a painful realisation.

If you were talking to a friend and they told you that they recognised that some of their behaviours were hurting them and those they loved, what would you say to them? We haven’t met, yet, but I am sure you would show them compassion and support them to make the changes they needed to, without judgement or wanting anything in return, just to see them succeed.  

Until I realised that things weren’t ‘normal’, which is quite ironic in a year where normal doesn’t seem like the right word anything anymore! I hadn’t spoken to my friends and shared how I was feeling, so I hadn’t given myself the opportunity of benefiting from their support. I know they would have been there for me if I had, and I am grateful for that. BUT I don’t talk about things; I keep things bottled up inside and just deal with them.

Well, actually, I haven’t been dealing with them, not until I started Carers’ Hearts and realised that all this time, I haven’t been alone at all, but in fact I am part of a global caring family and that has given me the courage to step outside my comfort zone and share that I have decided to change the story of life, as I can’t see the current one having a particularly happy ending.  

Now having decided to make these changes, I am already starting to feel that the sadness in my heart is lifting. I know that I am learning from my research and reflection as a carer and that with Carers’ Hearts, if I am going to be able to truly support other carers to navigate this emotional and demanding journey, I need to stand up and start some of those difficult conversations society don’t want to hear, so that others can hopefully draw strength from knowing that they are not alone either if they feel they are struggling with their emotions, thoughts and feeling.

So, the reason why this challenge is so important to me is because, if I don’t stop and change these current negative behaviours now, not only will it mean they will continue to negatively impact on my mental and physical health, I will also continue to feel like I am failing my loved one, and as importantly, that I am failing myself. I want, need, for the future to be different and I am prepared to do what it takes to make the changes necessary to live a life with different, better outcomes for us both.

Yesterday I shared the strategies and resources I am going to use to help keep myself on track and to deal with the challenges that will be part of this journey. At the end of that post, I mentioned using an extra level of accountability to help me remain focused. This is going to be one of the key factors I know will keep me grounded and determined to ride the waves of temptations, so, on the 31st December 2021, I will be able to celebrate my success.

That factor is to make myself accountable in a way that is transparent and will be of a material benefit to others. I mentioned that this would involve two of the passions in life, animals and fundraising, so I am proud to commit myself to raise as much money as I can for a wonderful local charity, Thanet Disabled Riding Centre.

I will be sharing all the excellent work Thanet Disabled Riding Centre carries out for children and adults with physical and learning challenges tomorrow, as I launch my challenge and start a year of fundraising them as well.

I have shared all this personal information and at times, difficult emotions and feelings with you, because I would like to invite you to think about any behaviour or habit in your life, that isn’t serving you well in helping you to live the life you truly want. It doesn’t have to be related to alcohol, food or work, it could be anything that has shifted from being a fun, enjoyable activity to something that now feels like you must do it or couldn’t do without it. The offer is there, no judgement, no need to explain, just the opportunity to join me in thinking differently about our futures.

The blog updates and any useful resources I discover throughout the year will be posted on RESET 2021 website, so please do keep checking that.  If you would like to get in touch, please email me at hello@reset2021.org.  There is a Facebook page where I will be doing some live broadcasts and posting inspiring and useful tips, as I come across them.

Then each Thursday morning, probably around 10am, I will be posting updates on my progress, warts and all! So, if you would like to join me, perhaps sharing your wins for us to celebrate, please jump on, as the saying goes ‘together we are stronger’!

For further support, the first Monday of each month, starting in February, I will be hosting a free inspirational workshop for 6 participants, covering a particular topic or aspect of achieving goals or changing behaviours, or perhaps unpicking some of the challenges you are facing or celebrating your wins!

Finally, as a qualified mental fitness coach, I am pleased to offer a limited number of free private one to one coaching and mentoring sessions but would respectfully request that a donation is made to Thanet Disabled Riding Centre, I will share the link to funding page tomorrow.

So, that is the four-day countdown done, phew and now everything is in place for what I know will be an amazing year of personal discovery, challenges and triumphs.  Along the way, I hope to make some new friends and hope you will want to join me on this journey and that I can support you to achieve your goals and dreams as well.

So, 2021, bring it on!