Windows of opportunity

I’ve always found new year’s resolutions hard to keep. As many people do, I always have good intentions, but they tend to fall away from mid February. In the past, most of my resolutions have been about trying to be more organised with personal admin/paperwork and working on my time-keeping.  After being formally assessed as dyspraxic * last summer, I’ve now realised that there is a reason for my issues around organisation and time management. Having made it to my early 40s, I (unknowingly) built up strategies for dealing with these issues over the years.  I worked hard to keep these strategies in place, but after my daughter was born 7 years ago, many of my coping strategies went out the window and I had to create several new strategies for even getting out of the house each day! I’ve had to develop further strategies recently, as my stepson moved in on a full-time basis last summer. I can’t believe the amount of washing that a 16 year old creates!! I think t-shirts must breed in his wash bag!

I’ve always been impressed that my husband is so good at getting to places on time. He used to despair at the weekends when we planned to go out as a family and somehow it was midday before we made it into the car! We have recently developed a strategy about agreeing the time that I need to be ready to leave the house and I always need to build in “faffing” time – this is for the random tasks that I deem must be completed before I leave the house. They always seem to take longer than I expect, partly because I can’t calculate time too well and partly because we have a seven year old and a teenager and there’s always something that needs tidying away. All in all, I need a two hour time frame between getting out of bed and leaving the house.  People have said to me, “why not leave these tasks until you return to the house?”, but once I’ve been out for the day and had to concentrate on staying upright and not bump into things, I’m exhausted. All I want to do when  I come home, is to sit down and have a cuppa!

This two hour window of time is required each weekday morning too. I have to work very hard to make it to the office for 09:00.  I know this is easy for most people, but I consider it a personal victory on the days that I do get to my desk, bang on 09:00. I get very frustrated with myself if I’m not on the motorway by 08:41, as it takes seven minutes on the motorway and then 12 minutes, once I get off the motorway, to get to the office (traffic permitting!). On these days, I wonder which task it was that seemed to impact on my timings.  Likewise, when I’m leaving the motorway before 08:48, what was it that made me get to this location earlier than usual?  I really do have difficulty getting my head around where the time goes!

So, here we are at the start of a new year again. This January, knowing that I’m dyspraxic, I’ll continue to work on my organisation and time management, but I’ll be a bit easier on myself when I do fall behind on my plans. I feel good so far, because I’ve already set up a new car insurance policy after 12 years with the old insurance company J. Believe you me, it’s a personal victory that I got through the online forms to even access a new quote! Here’s to new hopes and plans…

Helen

*Dyspraxia is a specific learning difficulty, which can sometimes co-occur with dyslexia.

Neuro-diversity

New Year’s Resolutions

As each year draws to a close the question on everyone’s lips is “what’s your New Year’s Resolution?” There is a list of answers that are often repeated year after year; getting fit, losing weight, quitting smoking. Some of these resolutions are broken faster than they were imagined up, so is it worth making a resolution at all?

Over the years I have made only a few resolutions. To start with, as a kid, I used to make up some unrealistic goals for the New Year. They would perhaps last a couple of weeks before I ended up breaking them and feeling really bad about it. There’s nothing worse than beating yourself up over failure at achieving goals you’ve set for yourself.

One resolution I kept making and breaking was to stop biting my nails. I was really bad for it as a kid and I used to make my fingers bleed from time to time. When I was 13, I decided that enough was enough! I had to break the habit. But it wasn’t because people kept nagging me this time, it was because I had been given a guitar and I wanted to learn how to play. I didn’t want to hurt my fingers more through the biting of my nails. This was more than just a resolution to kick a bad habit, but it was in the hope to achieve an even greater goal, to play a musical instrument. 18 years on and I never looked back.

A year later, inspired by my huge achievement, I decided to embark on another life changing resolution. I decided I wanted to become vegetarian. I had been cutting back on eating meat for a while, but New Year marked a cut off point where it was all or nothing. It was something I was passionate about and 17 years later, I’m still vegetarian.

Achievement and competition can be a way to keep inspired. Last year my resolution was to read more books! As a dyslexic, reading was never a strength of mine, but I always loved stories. I set myself a target that I felt was achievable of 15 books in 12 months. I had friends who had larger targets, but I wanted to keep it realistic for me. I think if I had set it to 50 I would have become overwhelmed and given up by April. Reading books included eBooks and having my iPad read to me as well as paperback and hardback books. I smashed my target and read 35 books! A huge achievement for me which has helped me to realise that I’m actually a bit of a bookworm after all!

This year, my New Year’s Resolution is to write more. I have picked up a couple of books to help me to structure a novel, something which I have been wanting to embark on for a couple of years. The aim is not to write a novel, but to write more, an achievable goal which will hopefully inspire me to go that little bit further like I have in previous resolutions.

If you have already broken your New Year’s Resolution, don’t be too disheartened. Next year, set yourself a realistic goal that helps to boost your confidence rather than something that’s a little too far out of reach.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land among the stars.”

Hannah, Dyslexia and Me 

The dyslexic student