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Mali goes mighty...

ONE

Stage 1: become a championship level daydreamer. My school reports say so, it must be true.

Stage 2: keep on dreaming. Make many wish/goal lists. Poddle through life, accidentally ticking a few things off along the way.

Stage 3: wake up one morning, realise that my best friend and co-dreamer is dead already, my 40th birthday has come and gone, and that list is just getting longer.

Stage 4: decide to get serious about living the life less ordinary and make some magnificent memories for me, my little boy, family and friends. Aim to have a lot of fun - and do a bit of good - along the way.

Stage 5: join Go Mighty, sign up for this course, buckle up...

Find me here: http://gomighty.com/user/malicat/

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TWO

Following the advice in the (inspiring) welcome video I've just spent a little while mind mapping what 'Happy' means to me. Calm, secure, creativity, home, friends and food all feature prominently. The more I think about it the more I realise that the main unifying feature of my list is memory - making and sharing good, meaningful memories and traditions for me and my family.

A lot of my list is to do with travel, which is interesting as I like familiarity. I do crave novelty and experience. I like to plan big adventures, stress throughout most of them, then enjoy the (edited highlights of) the memories for years after. The truth is, a lot of travel is outside my comfort zone. Some places I instinctively love (NYC, Amsterdam, Paris, numerous coastal UK towns and villages); some I find energising, fascinating and exhausting (Hong Kong); others - frankly - scare the pants off me (I'm looking at you trekking-in-Nepal)! I never regret it though, and always come away having learned something and with a renewed appreciation for home.

So, travel stays on the list, but possibly with a few tweaks.

Some of the items on my list are real boundary stretchers and I have to think hard about whether they should stay. Teaching a class in something, for instance. I like the idea, I think it would be a good way to build confidence by facing a major fear (see also: public speaking generally), but will it make me more calm? More creative and confident? Happier? Probably not. It might help serve another goal though - developing a business, for instance... one to think on.

Camping at a festival? I suspect that is something I wish I liked rather than something I actually would. Following Gretchen Rubin's of the'The Happiness Project' personal reminder/check to Be Gretchen, I'm not sure that if I let myself Be Mali I'll be hiking off to Glasto every year. Might be worth a go once though. Just in case... A friend has a small family-orientated festival locally. That could be a gentle 'in'.

Parties. Parties terrify me. I enjoy them (though in truth I've only really ever thrown one big party - our wedding. Does that even count?) and love the idea of them but stress majorly about logistics - who will come? Our friends live so far away/apart, how can I expect them to travel? What if the weather is pants (this is Britain after all)? What if noone comes? I'm more of a small-group-of-friends girl. But one or two Big Bashes, to celebrate Big stuff (forty was last birthday, I sort of regret not going for a big party), is probably do-able.

More thinking...

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THREE

Prioritising. Not one of my strong points. I loved the idea of testing goals against feelings, and also against where I want to be in a year from now. That really helps to crystallise a few things for me.

I think I'm going to edit some of my goals. There are a few things that I would love to Have Done, but I'm not sure I want to actually Do them - back to letting myself Be Mali again.

First things first, though - picking five to focus on this year.

Quite a lot of my goals are long term things - learn French, for instance, is something I need to work on quietly in the background for the next umpteen years! But that, in itself, will open up other long term goals like living in Paris... But that is not a realistic focus for the next year.

So. Where do I want to be in 12 months?To borrow a Radiohead lyric: fitter, happier, more productive. By 'happier' I mean calmer, more settled, with a greater sense of connection to friends and community.

Looking at my list I can see a number of things that might help achieve that:

- Get organised (stay organised) and be more productive

- Throw a cake and cocktails party and invite all of my favourite people

- Take a sleeper train

- A warm evening, my favourite people, a candle-lit garden, a beautifully laid table, a relaxed feast

- find and make a home

- serve a meal for friends in/on own-made and inscribed dishes

- get fit, be fit, stay fit

- start my own business.

On an opportunist kick I could throw in 'learn to make pasta' and 'ride in a hot air balloon' because I happen to have vouchers for both (lucky me!), but I think I'd rather use these goals to stretch myself a bit.

Time for a bit more thinking and whittling...

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FOUR

OK. I slept on it. And this is my thinking...

The next year is going to be busy. We are moving house, hopefully only once more and hopefully into a place of our own. We are trying for a baby (it is very complicated for us, it probably won't happen... but it might. We'll know soon). We are hoping to arrange a Big Trip in about 14 months time. I need to be realistic about what I can achieve without driving myself potty, setting myself up to fail, or undermining the successes I can achieve.

Finding and making a home is an obvious one.

Get fit, be fit, stay fit is just necessary, as is Get organised (stay organised) and be more productive!

Then I think I need to throw some fun into the mix. I'd love to do the pottery challenge of making my own plates, it brings in time for me in the making as well as time with friends in the serving.

So. Number five. I really *really* want to add the starting my business one but I'm worried that it's a bit of a stretch, given the other demands on my time in the months ahead. I absolutely don't want another false start. I think this year I need to consolidate, plan and prepare ready to drive forward with that goal in 2014.

A warm evening, my favourite people, a candlelit garden, a relaxed feast it is then. Celebrating our new (hopeful!) home, celebrating the summer that feels like it will never come, celebrating the friends we love.

Happy.

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FIVE

So. Progress report...

Finding and making a home is an ongoing challenge. We are waiting for more reports, expert opinions... it is all slooooow. I think the chances of us making our mid-June deadline are slim to non-existent so I need to renegotiate our lease (yeay).

Get fit, be fit, stay fit is a work in progress. It is going to take a while! My running has stepped up a gear in regularity. I'm walking lots. I need to get into a routine of a short burst of bodyweight exercise each day, just 10-15 minutes would make a difference. I've also re-joined fatclub, to focus my mind (and see friends)! I am eating healthily but seeing the 'syns' (I hate that) in my meals add up startlingly fast - mainly wheat and sugar - is a useful reminder to refocus my meal planning slightly.

Get organised (stay organised) and be more productive! Another long term plan but small steps are helpinng. I am loving the Pomodoro timer to keep me focussed during tasks, I need to invest in a small notebook to capture the random thoughts that drift through my head and usually divert (sabotage) me. I'm getting in to using Astrid, though I need to really commit to it properly. And I started using a neat little reward chart chores system (because it isn't just kids that respond well to treats for doing boring-but-necessary stuff!) which was working well until I let it slide during a fortnight of deadline madness just passed... Time to pick that back up again.

Serve a meal on dishes I have made and inscribed myself. I've looked into pottery courses locally but it's the wrong time in the academic cycle for evening courses. The new syllabus comes out in June and I will be On It! 

A warm evening, my favourite people, a candlelit garden, a relaxed feast will happen, I'm just waiting until we know what is happening with a few big things (not least The House!) before putting firm plans in place.

In a cheeky - and probably foolish - nod to my business dream I have also signed up for Andie Powers Scratch to Success course. I know that I am not in a position to really power on through and get started right now, but the framework for some structured thought to put plans in place for when I am is useful. It feels like progress which, when things feel stuck elsewhere, is good for the soul!

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