Achievements not resolutions

It is the first day of 2017 and I could have easily said today of all days would be one where I don’t blog. After all I have just completed a massive challenge of blogging every day throughout 2016. But as it is the 1st of January there is something that compels me to write. It may also be that this is the first day since 23rd December that I have actually felt close to human and that feels like something to celebrate.

This is not a time to start making resolutions. We know that for most people resolutions have been broken within the first few days of the New Year. Mainly this is because we chose things that we think should be good for us rather than things that we really want to achieve. Without the passion it is just empty statements.

In fact what we should be doing is outlining what we want to achieve in 2017. What are the things that we want to be able to look back in 12 months’ time and say that we have completed? I have a number of things that are already at the forefront of my mind for 2017 including putting my writing into a few other areas and not just blogging. However, I will still keep blogging in the coming year.

There are a number of work related challenges that I have ahead and I will look forward to them for the moment when the pressure isn’t yet on me. I will be doing all I can to change the perception of public relations and communications so people can see the value of it. And as this is going to be my last year as Chair of the Association of Police Communicators I will make sure I have completed all the work I set out to achieve around four years ago.

Of course 2017 will always be about the animals that share my life. I will make sure that they have everything they need because they make me smile and are there in good times and bad.

Finally, and most importantly I will use 2017 to continue my push to focus on what I have to be grateful for and also to carry out random acts of kindness. I want to look back on how I have improved the 12 months both for myself, those around me and those I don’t know around me. Let us push on and make the most of every day in the year ahead.


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The end of the road 

Today is not just the end of 2016 it is also the end of my ‘a year in blogs’ challenge. There have been times when I didn’t think I would make it and in the past two weeks when I have been ill I really thought I might fail.

But tonight with this blog I have reached the end of the road. So what have I learnt and what has it given me?

It has been a great way to reflect on what is happening to me but also what is going on in the world. This has been a rollercoaster year on both fronts. There have been huge events taking place at home and abroad. 

I have had some of my own highlights which have included becoming a chartered PR person and going to Rome as part of an EU project. I have my beautiful animals around me and for that I am very grateful.

This year has brought challenges with tough times at work and some health issues to battle, including right at the moment. Through it all I have had some amazing support from family, friends and work colleagues.

As 2016 draws to a close I have lots of people to thank and they know who they are. I have been given such fantastic support and hopefully people have found some of the blogs interesting or entertaining. I wish you all a fabulous 2017 and let us make it amazing for those around us. Happy New Year.

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Honoured or not

There is a lot to be said about why we do certain things in our life. When it is something that we want to do then we do it with passion. It is that bit extra that makes it special.

We will be reading a lot about those who have been awarded honours for new year. It doesn’t matter what you think of the system because what most of them have in common is a passion for the thing that they do. It is what they have invested time and energy into and that is what is being recognised.

I am lucky enough to know a few people who have been honoured for different reasons. They have all had a determination to succeed and to make a difference. They have done it over many years so there has been a clear commitment.

I know there are many others whose work goes unrecognised so perhaps we should find ways of making sure it gets noticed. It isn’t all about the honours but should be about saying thank you when we witness such great work. So to everyone receiving honours and those that haven’t but should be recognised well done.

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Relying on others

It is now over a week since I developed flu and during that time the most energetic thing I could do was getting out of bed in the morning. I can’t remember being this ill in my lifetime except perhaps as a child when I had chickenpox.

All of the demands that exist in my life have needed others to take on. I haven’t been able to go to work so have relied on the team to keep things going. I haven’t been able to ride my horse and have had to ask others to keep him fit.

At home we have run out of food so I have had to rely on my other half to go shopping. It wasn’t the best shop ever but has given us some basic supplies. 

What have I been doing for the past week? One thing – sleeping. It seems to be the only way to help my body get over this flu. There is nothing more frustrating when you want to do things but have no energy and end up tired. As the days go on now I am just praying that I will start to feel better.

This isn’t the way I had expected to spend Christmas and New Year. 

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Coughs and sneezes

The human body is a frail thing. We like to think that we are able to withstand a lot but it takes surprisingly little to floor us. For the past week I have had what I thought was a cold but now I think must have been flu.

Every day I have been hoping to feel better but with no luck. Yesterday I ended up at the walk-in centre after succumbing to an ear infection. So I have now had a cough, cold, sore throat, sneezing, fever and now ear infection. I am not sure my body can cope.

I was finally given some antibiotics so hope that I will clear this bug soon and before something else happens. We try to look after ourselves and even if we do can still become ill. Frustratingly there is not much to do other than take the tablets and rest.

Of course rest isn’t something I am very good at so this week has been very long and annoying. It makes me a difficult patient for those trying to help as I am angry and ungrateful.

I am only hoping that I start to feel better soon as this has been a very dull and depressing Christmas where my body has let me down and succumbed to illness. 

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2016: a year of loss

There is a lot of discussion about how 2016 has seen more celebrities dying than in previous years. A few weeks ago I was listening to More or Less on Radio 4 who proved that statistically there was no difference. Even with the events of the past few days it would not be a notable increase.

Why then does this year feel like we have suffered greater losses? I think part of it is that there have been a number of celebrities who had widespread appeal who have died during the year. More of us have been affected by the loss of major icons who had been working for years at a high level.

The deaths have also reminded us of our own mortality which is something we try to avoid. It brings death into our living room as we read about it and hear about the tragic events. For me there has been the loss of part of my childhood as Princess Leia was the first strong woman I saw in films at the age of 6. I grew up with George Michael being the soundtrack even though I didn’t like it you couldn’t escape it. The music has now been silenced.

We have to accept that death is part of life. It can arrive when we least expect it and rich or poor it makes no difference. What we have to take from 2016 is that we need to make the most of each day and enjoy what we have. Life is very fragile and fleeting so grab it while you can.

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The day after 

When I was growing up Boxing Day was always the time to really get to grips with my presents. I could try things out and play with each in turn. There was a great feeling of satisfaction in doing that but it was always accompanied by another task. 

The task was one of the most important and had to be done with meticulous precision. It was to write thank you letters to all the family members who had sent presents. As all the relatives are down South and it was well before the arrival of social media this was the only way to show your appreciation. I felt it was important to show my gratitude even at a young age.

I had a plan. I would keep the tag with the item to ensure I didn’t miss any thank yous that needed to be sent. It was very carefully organised and I would get very frustrated if any tags went awry.

Now I am a lot older there is still the feeling that Boxing Day should be to enjoy the lovely gifts and to let people know that I appreciate the thoughtful presents. Young people really should see both elements together – enjoy what you have but also be grateful.

It is a useful way of looking at life. We should take time to enjoy what we have but also show gratitude for it. It can help us to have a more positive outlook even when the chips are down. 

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