Volhouden van doelen + een freebie

Laten we eens kijken hoe ik mijn doelen al heb volgehouden of niet nu de maand januari bijna voorbij is.

jules-and-louis-blog-keeping-up-with-my-goals.jpg

Eerst een kleine herhaling van mijn doelen die ik ook al vermeldde in mijn vorige post waar ik ook al praatte over mijn woord voor dit jaar. Ik wilde meer gestructureerd zijn (lees: mijn bullet journal elke dag gebruiken) en meer originele blog posts produceren.

Al jaren probeer ik vast te houden aan kalenders en agenda’s, ook voor deze blog, maar toch krijg ik er geen systeem in. Of ben ik het wandelende voorbeeld van iemand die gewoon niet goed lijkt te worden in time management? Ik heb wel één ding gemerkt: hoe meer ik beweeg en sport, hoe creatiever ik ben én hoe beter ik me voel én hoe meer lijk te schrijven voor deze blog. Ik word dus effectief productiever als ik sport, grappig…

Herinner je ook nog mijn andere goal? Gezonder eten, meer water drinken en meer sporten?

Oorspronkelijk was dat omdat ik me niet zo moe wilde voelen zoals ik me de laatste tijd voelde. En toen ik dan op de weegschaal stond omdat mijn jeans niet meer goed paste, begon ik pas te panikeren. Ik had overgewicht. Niemand geloofde me, maar ik voelde het wel. Ik denk niet dat ik ooit al zoveel heb gewogen als ik nu doe. En ik voel me gestresseerd als ik aan dat nummertje denk dat ik op de weegschaal zag verschijnen.

De waarheid is dat ik nooit echt van sporten hield. Nooit. De enige sport die ik graag deed én die ik héél lang heb gedaan was dansen. Da’s een full body workout, geloof mij. Maar dan ben ik verhuisd naar Brugge 12 jaar geleden en ik kwam er eigenlijk niet meer aan toe. Ik heb het wel nog eens proberen op te pikken in 2 verschillende dansscholen, maar de lessen waren anders dan ik gewoon was, het stak me tegen en ik weet het niet… ik kreeg de smaak niet te pakken hier.

Al probeer ik wel te lopen af en toe, en doe ik ook oefeningen in mijn living. Op mijn yogamat. Of wel is het yoga, ofwel zijn het van die verschrikkelijke zweetoefeningen waarbij mijn tong al op mijn tenen hangt na 5 minuten. :-) Maar het doet achteraf wel veel deugd (en pijn aan mijn buikspieren, haha). Mocht je zin hebben: this one makes your legs burn!!

Een ander ding waar ik mee begon sinds begin januari was iets meer mindful om te gaan met hoe ik eet. En wat ik in mijn mond stop. Ik probeer gezondere keuzes te maken, prep meer salades op voorhand die ik dan meeneem naar mijn werk, enz… Het is niet elke dag dat ik de perfectie nastreef, want zo ben ik helaas niet, maar ik ben al trots op mezelf dat ik het probeer en dat ik toch beter nadenk over eten, ipv gedachteloos te eten. Snoepen doe ik sowieso al niet veel. Snoepen was enkel iets wat ik deed voor ik mijn regels kreeg, en dan was mijn zoete zonde chocolade.

jules-and-louis-blog-keeping-up-with-my-goals-planner.jpg

Er zijn nog andere doelen die ik hoop te bereiken dit jaar, zoals meer nieuwe mensen leren kennen, een e-book maken voor deze blog én meer te netwerken. Maar soms kan je niet anders dan je eerst te focussen op 1 doel i.p.v. op 10 verschillende tegelijk. Dat hou je toch niet vol.

Een laatste ding dat ik nog wilde delen met jullie… mijn nieuwe freebie! Het is een dagelijkse planner, eentje dat je kan gebruiken om de komende maanden vooruit te plannen, je taken of je to-do-lijst, of whatever je graag nog wil plannen.

 

Ik hoop dat je hem leuk vindt! Het is één van mijn allereerste freebies hier (high five voor mezelf dat ik eindelijk dit doel heb bereikt).

 

 

3 TIPS: HOW TO FOLLOW YOUR HEART

To follow your heart, how on earth do you do that? I wondered many times... And many times I came back to this quote of Steve Jobs: 'Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become'.

And I wondered many times how I could follow my heart. But the more I think about it, the more clearer it gets. Following your heart means to be yourself more. Instead of constantly swimming against the stream, you just have to go a bit more with the flow. Not constantly trying to change or force things, but just wait and see what comes next. Discovering yourself, finding out what you want and who you are and what gives you joy in life. Getting to know yourself, hah!

1. Don't care about what others think

The most important tip to me! Really, don't care about what others think. If you constantly listen to everyone else, you live someone else's life as well. Nothing fun about that, right? You only have one life and everyone wants to make something of his/her life. But as soon as you start following your heart, there will be obstacles as well. You want this, society/your parents/partner/... wants that. Before you know it, you live a life where everyone agrees with what you're doing except you!

I used to act differently before, because I was thinking too much about what others would think of me. Now I don't care anymore. There will always be people who click with you and others who don't. So, why worry? It just gets you nervous and it's actually really tiring to be thinking about yourself and how others see you the whole time. Which brings me to tip no. two!

2. Think less

By thinking less (and stop worrying about what others might think of you), you also stop that little negative voice in your head constantly telling you can't do it, and you make space in your heart for what really matters. A little less philosophical and less thinking will also let your heart speak more. It speaks softly, so pay attention - that way you can discover what makes your heart sing...

3. Trust your gut

You have to have the guts to trust your intuition, your feelings. To go for it. And for a lot of people (including me) that is just horrifying. Many times a life with little to no satisfaction is easier. Just think about the job that sucked the life out of you but you kept working there because it was "easy". It's society that creates those silly rules that people so desperately want to live by. And the constant need for safety and comfort keep us in the same spot or safe lifestyle.

Deep down you know where you want to go. Call it your gut or intuition, it just knows much longer. You might not get a hold of it right there and then, but the more you listen to that little voice inside of you, the better you get at picking up the signals. You'll start doing things for you, things you really love.

Take me for example. I'm still working on chasing my dreams and becoming my own boss. I know I'm good at creative things and being creative. And I knew what I didn't want to do and in what I wasn't good at. I thought I was going to become happier by doing freelance copywriting, but when I'm truly honest with myself: I know it doesn't make me happy. I feel much more ME when I'm doing things with my hands: calligraphy, painting, drawing... I'm even thinking to take a course of making pottery. You know, getting busy with my hands instead of living in my head all the time.

After a while you just know what you'd most love to be doing. So, instead of listening to eierbody else (because everyone's entitled to their own opinions and views), you should listen to your own voice. Of course you have to take their advice to heart, and close family and friends know you better than yourself sometimes, so listen what they have to say, but always keep in mind that you have to listen to what makes you happy as well. And go out and find out if it works out. If it doesn't, than at least you can say you've tried. 

Do you always follow your heart? Or do you usually get caught up in what others think or say?

SELF-LOVE IS ALL ABOUT TAKING CARE

Self-love does not mean being selfish. On the opposite, it is all about taking care of your soul.

jules-and-louis-blog-self-love.jpg

First of all, let me say sorry for the very long radio silence here. 

In the night of June 13th and 14th, 10 days after Jules' party I got a horrible telephone call. My dad, asking me to come immediately. My mother had fallen down the stairs in the middle of the night. It was around 1 o'clock in the night and I was so scared, because I didn't get any details from my dad - he was so in shock that I assumed it was very serious. 

So there I was, 15 minutes later, driving from Bruges to Antwerp on a lonely highway, thinking about my mother and the bond we have. Not knowing if she was alive and well, or if she was conscious and what just had happened. I couldn't reach my dad anymore, the only thing I knew was that she was getting transported to a hospital in Merksem, Antwerp, AZ Jan Palfijn. 

When I arrived there, I hyperventilated. I had to calm myself down the whole drive to the hospital that all of the nervous emotions came out when I finally was there. Seeing my mother and hearing she was able to talk, I started crying.

The verdict came a couple of hours later. Mum had a very heavy concussion, several teeth were broken and had fallen out because of her fall. The right side of her body showed a lot of bad bruises and the right side of her head showed a very large purple bump. Also, her left wrist was broken which needed to be operated as soon as possible, but when she was taken into surgery, she started vomiting because of the heavy concussion. I never felt so much stress right there and then. I couldn't sleep, rest or eat. 

I took my dad home in the early morning around 5 o'clock when the doctors assured us that she would be ok and I asked what she would need for her stay in the hospital. I cleaned all the blood splatters and the blood at the end of the stairs and took my dad to the sofa where he fell asleep. I couldn't do much, except run around and clean things and take fresh pyjama's for my mother. Feeling so immensely grateful that she was still alive was the overwhelming feeling the whole time I was walking around in my parents' home.

But then, the real work started when my mother was released from the hospital (too soon when you ask me, after only 2 days she had to leave!?! Can you imagine?). My dad was suffering bad back pains and I wasn't sure how to deal and handle everything alone. But I did. It was the biggest work ever I had to tackle. And I did it because of my parents and because I love them. It wasn't easy though, because I still had my two little boys and husband waiting in Bruges, some 125 kilometres away. 

I tried to do everything I could to help out my parents in the two weeks I was there. I ordered a catering service who delivered fresh meals at home, arranged help to get their household ready and I also went grocery shopping the first few days, went to the pharmacy a few days in a row, got enough cash money and made appointments with the dentist, the neurologist, doctors, etc.  And everyday, three times a day, I rubbed on an ointment to treat the worst bruises on my mother's body. I wanted to be there as much as I could. Sometimes I didn't really know where my head was. And I felt guilty when I had to eventually leave them and I had to return to work.

Even when I got home after taking care of my parents and especially my mother, I couldn't really sleep very well. I was constantly worried sick that something bad was going to happen again. I felt tired, depleted and always gasping for air. 

Because I suffered from a burnout not so long ago, I was scared. I didn't want to go back to that state of mind. And my body was getting my attention by letting me know it was tired: I felt angry, tired and I couldn't breathe right. So I asked my doctor for another week of rest, just to take care of myself.

In the past I would have thought that asking something like that would be extremely selfish. Now I realise that when you don't take care of yourself enough, you can't take care of someone else s well as you would like to. And now I also know that it is absolutely normal to say stop once in a while and take some time for yourself. 

I could breathe better and sleep better when I heard mum was doing better. That was the turning point for me. That is when I could let go of it more. And I all heard it in her voice that she was feeling better, that's how close we are... 

Now, looking back at it, I know that it was a good thing of me to take a time-out. Because really.... who wants to have a cranky, moody bitch as a mother and wife? Nobody, right? To be honest: I'm glad I crashed last year and had my burnout. Because it learned me a great lesson: putting yourself in first place once in a while will energise you so that you can take on more. Always rushing will only make it more difficult to relax.

To me self-love is taking some time for yourself to listen to your body and soul. To that little voice deep down. To do fun, sweet things for yourself, be it a fresh bouquet of flowers that you bought on the market, or taking time to read that book while soaking in your bath is so important. You just have to say stop every now so often. Everyone needs that. You just have to find the right balance between stressful moments and knowing when it's getting too much.

I know, stress will never get any less, the situation won't change because of taking some me-time, but because you take that temporary break or that little moment for yourself, you will feel much more energized after! I would never have said this before but now I do: I love myself too much to neglect myself again or to put myself on second or third place. Loving ourselves is what we all need to do more.

What about you? Do you take some time out or time for yourself in your busy lives? How do you feel when you take some me-time? Guilty or does it feel right? 

WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

Today I'm wondering what home really means to me...
Jules and Louis Blog - What Home Means To Me - a little white house

Home sweet home. That is exactly how I feel like when coming home after a long hard day at work. Especially these days, because the past few weeks have taken its toll on me for many different reasons. So you can imagine how much I love coming home! 

I was wondering the other day what home means to me. It is a safe haven, our home. It's where I feel most at ease and comfortable. It is the same when I visit my parents' house, where I immediately feel relaxed as well. It is only normal, I guess, because it's the home where I grew up in. Although it's not only their house, it's also the place that gives me that relaxing feeling... We now live just outside of the city of Bruges in a small part of town where all is quiet and our neighbours are always friendly and helpful. It's good where we live. I love living here, although I sometimes wished we lived a bit closer...where I grew up. It's strange and difficult to explain. Don't get me wrong, I love being at home. There is this feeling I still have and had when I first saw our house - love at first sight. I do still think of our home as the most pretty one in the whole street!

My biggest wish would be to work from home the majority of my time (which, I'm proud to say, I'm working hard on to realise my goal/wish). And no... I hear you thinking, I wouldn't mind spending so much time at my home. Would you? To be honest, I also love to spend a lot of my personal time - when we have nothing planned in a weekend - within the comfort of my own four walls. You know, at home is best. :-) Yes, I sound like a total boring hermit, haha. I know I'm not, it's just that I prefer being at ease at home with my family. One of my other dreams is to spend a day relaxing in bed, with the kids playing (and no arguments or fights), reading books, drinking tea and in the evening have my husband cook us dinner and me and the kids are enjoying the appetizers. But that is probably all too much of me to wish for! ;-)

And to make sure you guys don't think of me as a complete nun, I do get out of my house once in a while, haha! I love traveling so much - and I never want to go back when I'm out exploring the places I'm going to, but when I've arrived home, I'm happy to be back as well. And I do get out to shop, to have a walk at the beach or to go out with friends and enjoy some great laughs, food and wine. But I always sigh with contentment when I open our front door and I get to kick off my heels or sneakers and curl up in my sofa and just enjoy my home. I guess you could say that home is my happy place. It's where I feel most comfortable and safe.

There are, of course, other people out there who might not get what I'm talking about. When I take a look at my close friends, I know there are a lot of different personalities - the extraverts, the party animals and the wanderers who love to travel and don't want to stay at home when they have a few days off, to the more introverts and the ones like me who are most happy at home... So, I was wondering, are you a homebody too? Do you refuel your batteries at home or elsewhere? Is "Home Sweet Home" exactly how you feel as well, when coming home? What does home mean to you?

HOW TO UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY

Unleashing the creativity in yourself - it is easier than you think!
Jules and Louis Blog - ribbons and notebook

Have you ever had some nasty comments when you told close friends or family about your plans on becoming a creative maker/entrepreneur? Or ever heard them telling things about the "starving artist" concept? Or that your family wasn't too keen you'd be studying something very creative, and that you better should study something else? Because being or getting creative "doesn't pay you (enough)"? I know I have. A lot. And I know they mean it for the best. But it's just discouraging. And it creates a fear inside that holds you back from what you must be doing (remember my book review on The Crossroads of Should and Must?). It stops your creativity more when you listen to everyone else than rather listen to your own heart that tells you what you would love to be doing all of your life.

Around December I had a great talk with a close friend of my parents. He was talking about his good old memories of Antwerp where he had worked when he was around 17 years old. He had always worked in a small bakery, run by a close family. He told me something at the end of our conversation I will always remember because it made so much sense to me! He said: "When you are working in a bakery, you always start from scratch. You create something spectacular with your own bare hands, starting with the basic ingredients, and that is amazing. When you work for instance in a large company or factory like I have been doing later on in life, you're not creating something anymore, you will always be a small chain in a big circle of employees. And I have always loved creating and working with my hands, it is something that gives me so much more fulfillment." You can imagine how he loved to create instead of sitting at his desk all day. It is exactly the same feeling I have.

Jules and Louis Blog - tulips and pink notebook

And if I'm truly honest, I'd love to be creating with my hands too, much more than I'm doing now... I believe that there are a lot of creative spirits like me out there, who are maybe thinking how to stay creative all the time and how to unleash their creativity, so here are my tips.

1. We were put on this world to create

Try to remember: everyone is born with a natural touch of creativity. Just look at our children - the best proof! They have a natural curiosity (which is key) and they are always excited about new ideas. They are playful, they don't lose their fresh ideas by negative thinking and they've got no fear of being different or not being cool enough. We are all creative people, we just have to allow these creative juices going AND lose our fear of being different than others. So remember: we're all creative, even if you think you're not. You just have to find that particular thing you love to do - be it writing, drawing, sewing, writing, dancing, blogging, baking, whatever it is you love doing. Keep on doing it!

2. You have to exercise in order to keep those creative juices coming and flowing

Exercising, going outside or just taking a stroll at the beach or taking your dog out for a walk will definitely help you getting fresh ideas when you're stuck. I know I always get the best ideas when I'm doing something else. Especially when I take a shower, new ideas come so I really need to write them down when I can, because when I forget to write them down - they're gone.

3. Create a stimulating environment and get in your "flow"

This one is so important, to me it is! When you have your own little space, it will definitely help you to stay creative. And it will get you in the mood to create. I know I get happy when I see my creative mess still on the table - my husband not so much. Haha! I have been working on the dining room table for more than a few years already and it has been a bit uncomfortable - you always have to hide the creative mess when you're entertaining and sometimes my husband gets so tired of all the mess I produce here. Unfortunately I still don't have my own home office to work in (although it is one of our personal goals to tackle this year - we have the space, we just need to buy the necessary furniture and accessories. I know who will be happier when I have my own space to work at...).

4. Know that we learn to create by actually creating

You just have to start creating in order to keep on creating. Believe me. It is definitely motivating when you learn to create something, because it naturally gives you new, fresh ideas. I know I have. Currently I'm taking the Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 and while I've been listening and watching the lessons online, I know I got fresh ideas while watching and recreating... It's so much fun to pick up an old hobby again and maybe turn it into something more!

5. You're unique - don't change that

There's only one you in this world. You have your own voice, vision, handwriting, style and way of living. May it be chaotic, structured, dreamy, romantic or whatever your style and way is. That is why you need to love yourself, and be kind to yourself. Everything you create will always be "you", because you created it. No one else.

Have you got any other tips to unleash your creativity or to keep those creative juices flowing? What do you do to stay creative and motivated? I'd love to learn and hear more of you! 

EVERY DAY IS VALENTINE'S DAY

Every day is Valentine's Day. Or at least, that's what it should be...
Jules and Louis Blog | Every Day Is Valentine - floral heart

Like Ralph Waldo Emerson once quoted: Write it in on your heart that everyday is the best day in the year. And he was absolutely right. Everyday should be special.

We don't usually do anything special on Valentine's Day here (hello glass of wine, tv-series and some chips to snack on). This year I treated myself on a pretty bouquet of flowers (why not?) on Valentine. Not because it was Valentine, just because I felt like in need of fresh flowers for my home. Some people think we're strange to not celebrate Valentine on February 14th, but we think it's weird to celebrate or show your love on only one day in the year.

Jules and Louis Blog | floral heart in pink and chocolates

If you think about it... How great is it to show your love on other, unexpected moments in life? The unexpected moments where you show that you really care, is much more appreciated than on that one day where you maybe have forgotten about Valentine. That's what I mean with every day is a good day in the year. To love, to call friends, to show you care. 

I should remind myself that a bit more though, because when things get busy and you get stressed out and you feel like it's not going the way you want to, then it's not so hard to feel like crap. On days like these we should think more about how lucky we are to have someone we love and who loves us back, to have a home and a family we love to come home to and just to be healthy. Just... you know, keeping a positive spirit.

I hope you also wrote this on and in your hearts: I wish you all feel like every day is special and every day is a great day because you have kids, friends, family and pets who love you. And love is the most important thing in the world. Not only on Valentine's Day. Everyday.

Happy Wednesday people!

All pictures: SC Stockshop