goal setting

My Life Depicted In A Circular Diagram! 5 Ways I Keep Evolving As A Human Being

There are some things in my life I make sure to do over and over,  because after 51 years on this planet, over 20 different homes, several testing (to put it mildly) long term relationships, 30 years working full time in a stress loaded and fast paced profession, and a battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, these are the things I've found keep me sane, whole, and happier than anything else.

My life depicted as a circular diagram. 5 ways I keep evolving as a human being. An article brimming with beautiful ideas for creating a life you love. Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com

I've spent 100s upon 100s of hours reading self help books, trying self improvement programs, seeking professional help for trauma and stress as needed, and trialing what works for me.

These are the tried and true heroes I keep coming back to again and again.

With the help of these 5 life touch-stones, my self awareness and capacity for joy keep growing.

Create a life you life by including these 5 things. Gratitude, self care, reaching for the real you, taking action, giving back. Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com


Beginning a daily gratitude practice has been one of the most satisfying and life changing things I've done.

There have been times in the past when I've felt hard done by, let down, and overlooked. Life can deal you a bum hand at any time, and it's super easy to let yourself feel defeated and miserable due to this inherent unfairness. I learned early on that life can be like this, but my response used to be getting upset and wallowing in a bit of victim mentality.

'Why me?' is a question that's echoed in my brain and rolled off my tongue more times than I can count. But it never helped. And, the thing is.... there were always people, when I looked around, who had it worse than me. Yes, I've had dear loved ones suffer immeasurably and pass on, and I've experienced different types of abuse. But, I am not alone in that. Not by a long shot.

Starting a gratitude practice helped me feel grateful for the wonderful moments in my life both big and small, and directed my focus to all the good I have around me, even when horrible things happen.

As I continued to purposefully bring to mind at least one thing every day I felt grateful for, it became easier and easier to notice all the good things around me. I felt luckier, more joyful, and simply content with what I had.

My Gratitude Tips:

  • Carve out at least one set time of the day (but morning AND night is better) to identify at least one thing you're grateful for.
  • Go out of your way to thank the people you are grateful for in your life. You never know how long they will be around.
  • Find ways to be grateful for the small annoying things in your life by looking at them from another perspective. For example, if I'm held up in traffic by an infuriatingly slow car in front, or red light after red light, I put my palms together and nod my head whilst giving thanks. Who knows, it may be the Universe's way of slowing me down so I avoid a possible accident.
  • Record your gratitude observations by writing them down in a journal, using an app on your phone, or keeping a list visible on your fridge or elsewhere.
  • When you feel a bit down, re-read your list, wherever it may be, and assure yourself life does have good things to offer.

I'm currently working on my newest free course, The Gratitude Antidote, and one other gorgeous surprise for you I think you'll love.

The Gratitude Antidote - coming soon to Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com


Thanks to my battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as some traumatic relationships, I've learned the hard way I must put myself first in order to be the best I can be.

If I put myself first, then everyone in my life benefits. They get the version of me that's happier, healthier, and much nicer to be around. I get the version of me whose bones don't ache to distraction, whose mind functions clearly, who's able to go about daily duties with energy and passion, and who can enjoy life to the fullest.

I'm a better friend, teacher, partner and all 'round human being when I'm sticking to my self care routines and ideals.

My self care musts include being mindful of the foods I eat (I'm intolerant to quite a few), making sure I get enough sleep, and saying NO without feeling guilty when needed.

I also have a big focus on relaxing and finding peace from within.

I need to stretch and move regularly, and I'm lucky enough to be able to afford a regular fortnightly massage and monthly visit to my chiropractor to assist with my back issues (scoliosis and muscular).

My Self Care Tips:

  • Self care relates to your mind, your body, and your soul. You MUST attend to all 3 for the best results.
  • Devise a superb morning routine to set you up for a beautiful day. Morning additions might be writing in a gratitude journal beside a lit candle, exercise, meditation, drawing an oracle card or reading a favourite passage of text, deep breathing, singing, or anything to help empower and enliven you.
  • Devise a night time routine conducive to deep, restorative sleep. At the same time every night, stick to a pre bedtime pattern. A warm shower, a soothing mug of your favourite drink (nothing with caffeine in it), some relaxing music, journaling, reading for a designated period of time etc. Dimming the lights at night is helpful to begin the wind down to sleep. Rather than bright overhead lights, pools of mellow lamplight encourage the brain to slow down. Get off your screens too. Set a time after which no screens or text messages will be allowed, and stick to it.
  • Listen to your body and know when it reacts to something it doesn't like, whether that be food, or people, or something else. Follow your gut in these instances.
  • Let go of the things you cannot change. The Serenity Prayer is my go to resource for this. It has helped me immeasurably over the years. Say it over and over again like a mantra when you're stuck on something. The other mantra I use regularly is the one found in my post here. My wheel visualization has been a godsend at times.
  • Check out 'The Four Agreements' by Don Miguel Ruiz. These have been my other saving grace during all manner of stressful times. When fear and doubts start to overtake my mind, I turn to The Agreements for support. If I'm following these (and I re-commit to them every day, no matter if I've failed the day before), then I feel I'm on the right path for me. I have a Four Agreements/detachment/letting go board on Pinterest if you're interested. You can find it here.

If I have my self care 'house' in order, then I'm best equipped to work on the next 2 circles in my diagram.


This has been a journey of revelation and discovery over many years for me. Learning to trust my intuition, listen to my inner child, and acknowledge the 'real' me is okay, has taken a long time.

I'm still working on it day in and day out!

As a child and young adult, I adored all things creative and art related. I also loved to read, write and do math. As I got older, peer pressure made me feel studying in the area of design or the arts was 'not a suitable subject for someone with any brains'.

Somehow I ended up studying subjects I didn't really love for my final year of high school, and began a business degree in University.

I found it dry and soul killing, and deferred to figure myself out.

I then went into teaching as it seemed to offer glimpses of creativity and the chance to help children be creative. I still craved to do an Arts degree, but let myself be talked out of it by various people.... 'You'll never make a good living if you're an artist,' I was told over and over.

Even my decision to begin my teaching degree was belittled by one friend in particular. He said I was 'wasting my brains and talent' by doing the course. I should have been a lawyer or a doctor etc. I cried that night because I felt let down and humiliated that I couldn't seem to please everyone and find something to do with my life that was worthy in their eyes.

Looking back, I can't believe how naive I was, and how mean he was (I think teaching is a noble and admirable profession). If I'd felt better about myself, I'd have told him where to get off and trusted my own instincts. He also clearly didn't really know me at all, even though I considered him one of my closest friends.

I forgive the younger me for not loving herself enough to believe her choices were worthy and important. I forgive my younger self for not feeling I deserved to do the things that I was most passionate about.

No more!

It's taken time, but I know I'm worthy of whatever choices I make for me. I'm in charge of my own life, and no-one else has a mandate over my actions or opinions. As long as I hurt no others, my choices are mine to make simply because I wish to.

My daydreams, my passions, my inner child, my longings... they are all important keys to my core purpose in life. Figuring out who I am first and foremost means I craft a life for the 'true' me. I don't see much point in crafting a life moulded around a person that I'm not. In the end, I imagine that leading to a withering of the soul. All the joy being sucked out of life.

Now, when I daydream, or get passionate about something I sit up and take notice. I get conscious about whether or not I want to pursue new directions. I make decisions with intent based on the knowledge of who I really am, and what I want from my life.

My 'Reach For The Real You' Tips:

  • Get back to the things that bring you joy. Read this post from my YOU Matter series for ideas and a worksheet to help you get back to the things you love.
  • Acknowledge the things your gut is trying to tell you. What is it you have a gnawing desire to do? What would you love to try but haven't? Make some time, no matter how small to begin doing these things when you can.
  • If you want to get a jumpstart in the right direction, my Mini Jumpstart To YOU Experience was created specifically for this purpose. You can learn more, and get it for free over here.
  • Take an online personality test like the Myers Briggs (here's the official one, and a free one) or 16 Personality Types (I'm a member there) if you're interested in these types of things. Over the years I've always come out the same on the Myers Briggs (I've had to do it for work several times), and the first time I got my results, I felt like someone finally 'got' who I really was. I couldn't believe how close the summary description fitted the ways I felt and thought, and that other people were like me too!
  • There's also a great test for figuring out your best character strengths over here at the VIA Institute. I've done this one for work too, and the results it threw up confirmed my best personality assets! These are the areas I can rely on to help me pursue my dreams.
  • Plus, check out this post in my YOU Matter series to affirm what it is your special talents are and why you're worthy.
  • Make a decision about what you're going to do next, and commit to doing something about it, no matter how small. Then, see below for some inspiration!


Often times I need to remind myself that just because I've made a decision about something, or I think I'm on the right track.... if I don't actually DO something to take action about it.... then it's probably just as bad as not being on the right track anyway!

This harks back to books like 'The Secret' that seem (I admit I haven't read the actual book) to propose that merely visualising a dream, or writing down a list of what you want to manifest, will magically cause it to appear as if some dream fairy swooped down and sprinkled instant gratification sparkle dust all over your life!

Critics of books like 'The Secret' suggest that of course none of your wishes/dreams will actually happen unless you take some type of forward motion or action towards what you want (other than just thinking about it of course!).

I have to say I agree whole-heartedly with them. Getting off your backside and actually DOING something walks all over just thinking or writing about it.

That being said, according to Dave Kohl, a professor at Virginia Tech in America, people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as people who don't. Yet, says Prof. Kohl, 80% of Americans don't write down their goals. Sixteen percent do have goals but don't write them down. Less than four percent do write them down, and fewer than one percent actually review them on an ongoing basis.

Imagine then, the small amount of people who actually write them down, review them.... and DO something about them. 

Why not be one of the minority? Honour yourself by not only thinking + visualising about your dreams, but by writing down your goals and then going after them like you mean it!

My 'How To Take Action' Tips:

  • Write down your goals in a journal or a separate notebook.
  • Make your goals smaller, actionable goals you can reach within a time frame that doesn't seem forever away. What can you do in the next few days, weeks, months, to achieve your goal?
  • Focus on a few select and specific goals. Writing down 10 goals, and giving yourself a year to reach them won't help much. Instead, pick 2 or 3, give yourself a much smaller timeline to achieve the first steps to reach each goal, and begin.
  • This is why New Year's resolutions fail so often... they're broad, and the timeline is too long. If they were broken down into much smaller goals with actionable steps over shorter time periods, they'd be much more likely to work.
  • For example, instead of 'I'm going to lose 10 kilos this year,' you're better to say 'I'm going to lose 2 kilos in the next 30 days,' and then list 5 steps you'll take to achieve this goal starting NOW.
  • Grab The Mini Jumpstart To YOU Experience. I created this short, free mini-course with the exact intent of coaching you to find out what you want your goal to be, and then giving you prompts and tools to help you achieve it. It comes with a downloadable guidebook for each of its 5 days, and lots of lovely printables.

What If I Don't Like 'Goals'?

Some people just don't 'do' goals! The more creative or free spirited can feel uninspired by the dryness of them.


Instead of 'goals', some people like to set 'intentions.' I think this is a wonderful way of focusing your mind on what you want to get from a set period of time... a day, a week.

I like to say I 'daydream with intent' as I often write something down and then purposefully daydream about it as though it's in motion already. I find this works really well, and is probably what most call visualisation!

For instance, I could write an intention like 'This week I intend to go to bed at 10.30 every night because I'm creating a good sleep routine'. Then, when I get a chance to 'day-dream' about it, I'd close my eyes, and let myself imagine what I'd be doing leading up to going to bed, how I'd feel about getting into my soft, comfy bed, and what it would be like to drift blissfully off to sleep! 

Or, 'This week I'm going to get out into Nature at least 3 times because I know I'm almost running on an empty tank and I need replenishing'. Then, 'daydream' about come splendid exploring or walking among trees and gardens.

Whichever way you approach it, writing down your goals/intentions, and dreaming/visualising about how it will look and feel when you action them, reaps rewards!


This section of my '5 part cycle' helps me feel good about myself, and affirms I have much to offer as a human being.

But, most of all, it gives me another reason to implement all the previous parts of my diagram.

Helping others has to be one of the best goals we can aspire to. For me, there's no better reason to do what I do and be who I am.

I include in this all the ways we can contribute to making the world a better place, whether it's helping people, helping animals, or helping our planet in general.

My 5 part cycle is continually revolving, and I include all of its other sections daily. Each of these sections (gratitude, self care, reaching for the real me, and taking action) highlights how much I have to offer, or feeds my ability to do so.

The older I get, the more I feel like I live in a global society....

...the more I feel like there's invisible threads connecting me to so many others.

Giving back doesn't have to involve money, huge amounts of time, or a grand gesture.

There are many ways you can contribute to your community and make a difference.

There are also many things you may do unawares, that change someone's life for the better. If you're committed to The Four Agreements, as mentioned above, you may be giving huge amounts without realising it.

Just doing your best, in all that you do (Agreement number 4), may turn a life around.

I mention this link to Alexandra Franzen's site over here, but I want to drop it again. Please, please read it for a powerful, completely unexpected story about making a difference.

My Giving Back Tips:

  • Read this post in the YOU Matter series on my blog for more. The videos and examples are gorgeous (although you may need a few tissues handy).
  • Don't feel discouraged if you feel you have no money to give to charities, or enough time to volunteer. Do what you can with what you have. Encourage yourself to smile at 5 new people a day. Thank the people behind the shop counter. Compliment 2 people every day. You can give back by making others feel loved and worthy... this takes almost no time at all, only a conscious desire to add something to the lives of others.
  • Pay it forward. Do something nice for someone else because you know how nice it feels when someone does it for you!
  • If you identify a person you're thankful for during your daily gratitude practice, write that person a thank you note telling them why you're so thankful they're in your life.
  • Whatever you do, do it with gusto and passion. You never know who you may affect.

There you have it! The 5 specific areas I try to focus on daily and continually to create a life I truly love!

I hope you found some of these ideas useful.

If you'd like a printable version of all the quotes used here (and the 4 Agreements), you can get it by clicking here.

 Keep dreaming and doing, Daydreamer!

Linda. xox

Please share!

Thoughtful Way-finding + The Garden of Gratitude...

Once or twice a month, I send out small yet mighty notes of encouragement and support. These emails include way-finding directions, cheer-leading, and ideas to make your journey better one step, one fork in the road, and one magical moment at a time. Free access to The Garden of Gratitude is also yours as soon as you subscribe.


YOU Matter - A Five Day Expose`Of Your Significance (Part 4) Are You Taking Care Of These Fundamentals?

Welcome to Part 4 of YOU Matter!

You can find all three previous parts by clicking the links below.

YOU Matter - Part 1
YOU Matter - Part 2
YOU Matter - Part 3

Now, on with today's musings....

If YOU mattered, then you'd be treating yourself well.


If you can make a difference in the lives of others (as we spoke about in Day Two), then tending to your own health and well-being is a protective shield for all the value you bring to the world.

Allowing yourself to wither or shrivel from self neglect, is like robbing the world and the lives of others of your best self.

This begs the question...

Are you providing sustenance for your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical needs?

For me, there are a basic set of self care tasks and requirements I need to focus on to get the best from myself.

These are: good food, movement, sleep (a HUGE one for me), drinking lots of water, connecting with friends and family, showing gratitude, and being mindful as often as I can.

I find if I focus on doing my best and maintaining regular routines in all these areas, my life is significantly easier and more energetic than if I don't!

Let's take a closer look at some of these, shall we!

“Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on Earth to offer others. ”
(Parker Palmer)

Are You Cultivating an Attitude of Thanks?

Gratitude is such an easy and simple way to start feeling better about what you have in your life. It's an expression of appreciation for all that is good! If you're feeling grateful, you're also practising mindfulness, because you can't feel gratitude without first bringing your attention to what you're experiencing.

Positive psychology researchers tell us that being 'grateful' on a regular basis has a significant impact on our wellbeing. Grateful people have better immune systems, are more optimistic, deal with adversity better, are more generous and forgiving, feel less isolated, and are generally just more happy!

An easy way to start being more grateful is to take time at the beginning of the day when you first wake, and the end of the day when your head hits the pillow, to consciously think of 3 things you are grateful for, no matter how small.

You can find the desktop wallpaper below featured among other lovely wallpapers here. Download the wallpaper size to use on your computer by clicking on the image below.

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude. Desktop wallpaper to download for free. Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com

The Most Crucial Pieces of The Puzzle (for me):

Let's take a look at the other crucial pieces of the puzzle... the ones we neglect at our own peril. I'm really good at neglecting some of these (especially sleep), and when I do it always comes back to bite me in the bum.



If I burn the candle at both ends, I find myself lacking in clear thought, unable to focus properly, more likely to make mistakes, and less likely to be able to be creative! Sleep gives me time to mull over ideas and process things, as well as time for my body to heal and balance itself out. I think we all neglect sleep at our own peril.

I'm actually at the peri-menopause stage and sleep is a hard thing to snag some nights, and the day after a 'poor sleep' night is always tricky for me.

Here's a lovely page (it's actually a site for selling blinds believe it or not!) about all manner of ideas and tips for sleep, and a sleep calculator. Pretty cool actually.

The app called Noisli is something I use often. You can mix and match your own soundtrack of background noises and sounds to provide a soothing all night soundtrack to your sleep. The app promotes itself as a productivity booster, but for me, its best use is as a sleep aide! I just sit my iPad beside the bed all night, and away I go!



I'm not the best at meditation (yet!), but I do love listening to meditative audios. Taking time to myself to just be, is so important. It's a way to retreat, regenerate, and renew my spirit and my energy. Even just 10 minutes sitting in nature, day dreaming, or focusing on my breathing provides such relief and refreshes my mind ready for whatever is next!

A special place I've discovered, with stacks of meditations to listen to for free, is Audio Dharma. The talks, downloads and meditations are centred around the teaching of Buddha and Buddhism. I've been interested in Buddhism for a long time, and find myself drifting closer towards its teachings as time goes on. Even if you're not interested in it at all though, this site is a huge sanctuary with resources to soothe and calm.

Also, Radio Magico has some wonderful meditation audios and info. You have to check this site out. It's terrific (I mention it again below!)

And, last but not least, Jack Kornfield's site has some amazing meditations you can begin to experiment with and use daily. These are written mantras and meditations. You can also shop for beautiful books and audios.



I suffer from chronic fatigue, and have to be very careful with my diet as a part of my maintenance plan. I try really hard to include lots of green vegetables, other vegies, simple proteins, the grains my stomach can get by on, and other simple unprocessed foods. I really know it if I eat too much junk food over too many days!

I really do believe in that old adage 'You are what you eat'. Or put another way 'You get out what you put in'. If you want a quality life, then you need to fuel yourself with quality food.



Movement (or exercise to put it more bluntly!) gives you a rush of feel good endorphins, creates mental space, and gives your body the chance to maintain flexibility, fitness, and strength.

Numerous studies have shown how beneficial it is to mental and physical health. It helps keep depression and anxiety low, and can add years to your life!! Why wouldn't you? I get most of mine from dancing, some walking and orienteering... doing things I love always motivates me to get going.

Alexandra Franzen agrees... When you 'don't have time' is when you need it most of all.



I'm an introvert, and I love my own space and time to decompress. Being in a room with lots of people can drain my energy big time, but catching up with a small group of friends is like gold. I make regular time to nourish my friendships and family connections because even though I'm a bit of a loner, I still need those connections.

As humans, we're wired to be social (so I seem to read everywhere), and especially as we get older, I think, they remain crucial to our mental and emotional well being.

Friends to share a laugh with, offer a shoulder to cry on, be there through thick and thin.... these are the things I value, and they do too!



As I've mentioned before, I think we all need to make time for moments and activities that bring us joy. I believe they're vital to anyone's best life. And, as YOU matter, you need and deserve these things.

Something that sparks joy for me is music! I couldn't live without it. If you're looking for some wonderful background music to stream whenever you work, try this site and click on the Radio Magico box. Music 24/7 whenever you want!

You can also download the app for free.

The music ranges from zen, to dance, to relaxation.

Amazing sounds!

“Self care is not selfish or self indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance. ”
(Jennifer Louden)

Today's Take-aways:

  • Taking care of yourself first is not selfish.
  • Everyone benefits when we nurture ourselves.
  • Focus on the fundamentals.
  • Use resources to support and help your self care.
  • Be kind to yourself, and pamper yourself!

Top Resources To Use:

I look forward to seeing you for the final 'YOU Matter' in our next installment! 

Linda. xox

The Mini Jumpstart To YOU Experience

The Mini Jumpstart To YOU Experience is a free, 5 day, inbox gift to help you 'reach for the real you' and ignite your dreams. Each day comes with a beautifully designed mini guide booklet containing prompts, activity sheets, clarifying questions, printable quotes, and journal scaffolds.
It IS possible.... you just need to begin.

Please share!

Thoughtful Way-finding + The Garden of Gratitude...

Once or twice a month, I send out small yet mighty notes of encouragement and support. These emails include way-finding directions, cheer-leading, and ideas to make your journey better one step, one fork in the road, and one magical moment at a time. Free access to The Garden of Gratitude is also yours as soon as you subscribe.


Goal Setting and Daydream Manifestation With A Nod To Leonardo Da Vinci! (Plus Free Goal Setting Sheet)

Life is pretty simple. You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. Leonardo Da Vince. Circle of Daydreams. www.circleofdaydreams.com

I really do like this quote.

In itself, it's simplicity personified.

It reminds me that several times over the last few years during professional development sessions, we've focused on how to write and carry out simple yet effective goals.

One easy way presented to us involved thinking about a goal and the things you needed to STOP doing, and START doing in order to reach it.

For instance, if my goal is to create a bedtime ritual conducive to sleep, I need to STOP reading my iPad in bed, and START going to bed at the same time each night.

I also need to STOP drinking copious amounts of tea after 7 pm, and START eating my night time meal a little earlier so I have time to relax and unwind.

Once I've decided on my STOPS and STARTS, it's time to get busy and put them into action!

Just as Leonardo said.... do more of what works, and stop the things that don't.

Are there any goals you'd like to work on at the moment?

Any daydreams you'd like to see come to fruition?

Just in case, I've created a nice STOP/START goal worksheet (with Leonardo's quote to pretty it up) to help you out.

You can download it right here (no strings)!

Linda. xox

Please share!

Thoughtful Way-finding + The Garden of Gratitude...

Once or twice a month, I send out small yet mighty notes of encouragement and support. These emails include way-finding directions, cheer-leading, and ideas to make your journey better one step, one fork in the road, and one magical moment at a time. Free access to The Garden of Gratitude is also yours as soon as you subscribe.