Holiday Greetings

Happy New Year 2017

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

As I see in the New Year I always reflect upon the year past and the year yet to come. I think it’s human nature to contemplate life like this, especially on bench-mark occasions. But what do you do if the year past was filled with trials, heartache or even unfulfilled dreams?

 

I have had many New Years when the year past felt like a dead-end, when the life I had and the life I wanted were miles apart. Times when the New Year didn’t bring with it any relief or hope; when I was desperately sad at how my life had unfolded.

 

At New Years when most people around us are happy, our pain can feel especially isolating, and, whilst there is no quick fix, there are things we can do to ease our pain and look to the New Year with hope.

 

Highlights

 

Think of five highlights for the year past. If you can’t think of five think of just three. It could be things as simple as having a coffee and a laugh with a close friend or someone you love. It could be as small as receiving a meaningful gift. Whatever you can think of, so long as it’s a fond memory write it down. Put your list down and then re-read it in an hour. Then re-read it again, recalling all the happy memories.

 

Bucket List

 

Another way of bringing joy into your life is to create a bucket list of everything you’ve ever wanted to do but just haven’t for whatever reason. Your bucket list can have big items on it like Skydiving or going to the Maldives or small items like learning to ride a bike or taking a cooking class.

 

It can be made up of skills you’d like to learn, hobbies you’d like to try, places you’d like to go and projects you’d like to finish. Try to create twelve items for the year ahead, committing to do one each month and remembering to make them financially viable. The general rule is if it makes you scared or excited, do it (and if it feels like work, ditch it).

 

Goals

 

Whilst a bucket list is super fun, creating meaningful goals is a sure fire way to ensure you feel positive and optimistic for the year ahead. I review my goals every New Years day to revise them as needed, making certain that they are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timescaled) for the year ahead. This allows me to feel like I am on track and exactly where I am meant to be in order to achieve my dreams.

 

Indeed having a sense of progress in life has been linked to increased long-term happiness. To create goals that are meaningful to you please read my article titled ‘How to Turn Your Dreams into Reality’.  And to create a budget that supports your financial security and life goals please read my article titled ‘Why spending could be damaging your dreams; How to create a budget that supports your life goals’.

 

As the New Year dawns I wish you all a truly special year ahead, filled with renewed hope, optimism, fulfilled dreams and the happiness you so greatly deserve.

 

Join me in making 2017 the best year yet!

 

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous day,

 

x X x Jenny x X x

Happy Holidays 2016! How to be a source of light and love all year round and other musings

Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

One of the things I like most about the festive season is the generous and loving attitude that it brings. Everyone seems to come together and there is a real feeling of community, an atmosphere of both kindness and compassion.

 

This year lets make one of our new years resolutions to continue in this spirit, looking outward and finding ways to be somebody else’s light when their path is hidden in darkness.

 

For some of you this may be as simple as holding the door open for an elderly woman or letting other cars in when you are driving to work. Whatever this looks like for you, I would encourage you to pursue kindness and compassion with vigour all year round. It is guaranteed to make you happy and your life infinitely more meaningful and rewarding.

 

If you would like to begin this work now, please read on for an opportunity to support a worthwhile cause that does just this…

 

International Justice Mission

 

Photo Courtesy of Shutterwork

Photo Courtesy of Shutterwork

 

International Justice Mission is a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. In nearly 20 communities throughout Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia, IJM combats slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence, police brutality, property grabbing and other forms of violence.

 

The homes the victims of abuse are placed in are usually equipped to provide the appropriate counseling, health care, education, training and social development to set their clients on the road to healing from the horrific abuse they survived.  These facilities are located in a culture that is familiar to the children, where they are among others who are also healing from similar situations of abuse.

 

IJM provides services and follow up to minors rescued from sexual exploitation from the time they are rescued until they become majors and have completed their aftercare program to ensure that they have been fully restored and can be reintegrated into their communities and can live safe and sustainable lives on their own.

 

To help support this worthwhile cause please donate whatever little you can by clicking on the link below:

 

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/accessiblepsychology

 

Wishing you a truly blessed festive season,

 

x X x Jenny x X x

Renewed Hope and Fresh Beginnings

I love the New Year; it makes me feel like anything is possible, like I’ve been given a second chance to fulfil my hopes and dreams. Over the years I’ve built up a kind of tradition to set myself up for the year ahead. I sit down with excitement and anticipation as I write out my life audit, upcoming goals and 40 before 40 bucket list review.

 

This year I thought I would give you an inside look into the process behind doing a life audit and why doing one is essential if you want to kick start the new year with intention and purpose. Think of this month’s hot topic as a precursor to my article on goals titled ‘How to turn your dreams into reality’. Back in 2009 honestly assessing where I was in life was the turning point that propelled me forward to create tangible goals, many of which I have since achieved.

 

Along with the series posts on Mondays they’ll be weekly posts with questionnaires to guide you through the process of conducting your very own life audit for each area of your life.

 

The eight key areas which we will be exploring in this month’s hot topic titled ‘How to Avoid Living by Default and Design Your Ideal Life’ are below:

 

  • Work
  • Finances
  • Time and Productivity
  • Body and Health
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Relaxation
  • Family and Friends
  • Romance

 

The first instalment of this series is released on Monday the 4th January.

 

Happy New Year everyone, may this year be your best year yet!

 

x X x Jenny x X x

For Those Less Fortunate This Winter…

Christmas really is my favorite time of year. There’s something about the way the cold crisp air makes everything inside feel cosy inside, the endless roast dinners to die for and the precious time spent with family. It is during these special moments that I often think of those less fortunate than myself, those who desperately need help but don’t have the means to get it.

My aim is for Accessible Psychology to help people create the lives they long for and I believe the work of the International Justice Mission does just this. The work they do in helping rehabilitate children with traumatic childhoods is particularly close to my heart, as is all the work they do to abolish violent oppression. Please continue to read so you can discover for yourself the amazing work this charity does…

IMJ Justice


International Justice Mission is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. In nearly 20 communities throughout Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia, IJM combats slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence, police brutality, property grabbing and other forms of violence.

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Happy New Year!

One of Gretchen Rubin’s favourite quotes is ‘The days are long but the years are short’ and as I get older I can’t help but realise just how true this saying is. The years tend to pass so quickly, almost too fast to count. One of the things I like most about New Year is that it is an opportunity to take stock of the year past and to look to the future. I find it quite comforting to have this day as a time when I can look back on what goals I’ve achieved and to reschedule and reorganise the goals that I didn’t manage to achieve – yet!

 

For many reorganising goals unmet might appear like quite a sombre way to see in the New Year but I actually find it is quite the opposite. It actually serves to refocus my energy and gives me much greater determination and motivation to achieve them in the coming year because I know I have reworked them so they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timescaled). If you would like to create meaningful goals for the year ahead you can read my series on goals titled ‘How to turn your dreams into reality’.

 

This year for the first time I will also be making a list of all the highlights of the year for my 40 before 40 scrapbook, again this is a fantastic way to feel great about the year just gone.

 

How will you be spending your New Years Day?

 

Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead,

 

x X x Jenny Leigh x X x

 

 

Happy Holidays!

Well it’s that time of year again where we gather with friends and family to share some quality time and show our love for one another by giving and receiving gifts. As you sit by your Christmas tree, with eggnog or mulled wine in hand and admire your new gifts I’d like to share a little story with you.

 

When I was five years old my mom planned a monumental birthday party for me. She invited all the neighbours and their children, organised countless party games and even ordered a ladybird cake especially made to order from a bakery. Even at five I knew my mom had gone to a great deal of effort and needless to say my expectations were at an all time high. When the day came I couldn’t wait, I was too excited for words. The grand finale was the ladybird cake – I absolutely adored ladybirds and I couldn’t think of anything better than mixing my adoration of ladybirds with my love of cake!!

 

The entire party all I could think about was the cake, what it would look like, how it would taste and how big it would be. Finally the time came and everyone started to sing Happy Birthday. I could hardly wait. And then something awful happened. When the cake arrived I began to cry. For some reason which I fail to remember I was disappointed by the cake and I felt absolutely awful for my mom because I knew how much love and trouble she had gone to and how excited she had been to give it to me. I was overwhelmed with an intense feeling of guilt and shame. I just couldn’t contain my tears, it was all too much for my five year old self. Even now I feel sad by my reaction to that ladybird cake all those years ago.

 

Of course now I’m older (yes, ok, quite a bit older) I don’t tend to have such strong reactions to presents. Looking back I realise that the reason why I was so sad was because I hadn’t yet mastered the ability to disguise when I was disappointed and I was hurt that my reaction possibly upset my mom. When we grow up we tend to become quite apt at hiding our disappointments, especially when it comes to gifts. What the experience has taught me though is to value the thoughtfulness and love that has gone into a gift above all else. At five years old I couldn’t hide my disappointment but now, as an adult, rather than hiding disappointment (not every gift will be on your list to Santa, after all) I have the ability to focus most on the love that went into that gift and genuinely show my joy at receiving it.

 

So this year, as you open your presents, my wish is for you to feel joy and be overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and love shown to you by your very closest friends and family. Have a truly wonderful holiday season.

 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

 

x X x Jenny Leigh x X x