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Making Plans for Nigel. Wednesday January 4, 2017

Let me clear one thing up first: I don't actually know a Nigel. Far less know one well enough to make plans for, but it's a great title and so I thought that my nickname for 2017 really ought to be Nigel.

I don't make new year's resolutions. As far as I'm concerned, new year's resolutions are just a big heavy stick with which to clout yourself come February when you've failed to keep any of them.

Plans, however, are different.

Plans are not goals. Goals are just another form of resolution. Goals, to me, are one more way of measuring failure. I didn't achieve my goal to lose 20lbs by Christmas (I was doing well until the black dog sat on me and forced me to eat toast); I didn't get my novel published (broken bones and family disasters overtook me); I didn't get my video blogs for my business recorded and I didn't even learn Spanish.

See – I'm just a failure all round; a fat, unpublished, unrecorded and non-cosmopolitan failure! (Please allow me a little time to go down to the bottom of the garden and eat worms while you all play tiny imaginary violins...)

But back to plans.

You see, if you don't manage to carry out your plans, there's no stigma of failure attached. You can chuck one plan away and go to your back-up plan, or plan B (or, C or D or...). You can re-plan according to circumstances. You can say "well, I had planned to do some gardening today, but the rain was so heavy I decided to stay in and read a good book instead."

Now, if your goal had been to get the lawn mown and the hedges trimmed, you would have failed, but a plan is flexible depending of circumstances or even your mood. "Well, I had planned to go to the supermarket and do the shopping, but my friend needed me, so I spent the morning comforting her instead." Even, "I changed my mind and went to the beach instead."

Plans allow for spontaneity, rescheduling and adjustment.

So, if I rephrase my goals for last year into plans, then the depression has merely set back my weight loss by a few months. Broken bones and family disasters have only delayed the publication of the books and the making of the video blogs. I'd planned to learn Spanish, but found I wasn't really enjoying it, so I stopped. I know more Spanish than when I started, and that's always useful, but I don't plan to learn any more.

So, in 2017, I plan to publish three books. I plan to go out with my husband at least once a month, I plan to get my weight down into the healthy zone.

But if those plans change, then I'm cool with that.

What do you say, Nigel?

(Oh, and here's the link to the song, so you can have it as your earworm all day! )

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Lacey Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 5:23am

Mary! Hi!

I loved this blog when I read it @ 5.05am this morning.......
It rang lots of bells especially the Making plans for Nigel tune which was played @ my wedding back in August when I had fallen into the black hole again and was inwardly crying wondering how I,the bride,could leave her own party and creep off to bed by 10pm......????????
Not my best day...however I digress...I recall seeing my lovely Bro Kev calling me onto the dance floor in his loudest and most drunken state to dance to this tune .....just him and me. I made the effort,like I did the rest of the day ????????,and strutted my stuff,running away as the evening buffet appeared and the aroma making me feel quite nauseous.

Our family is in bits just now but I,for one, am holding on in there.
Kevin's gorgeous,lovely,funny yet very ill fiancée took her own life in early Dec 2013 and it hit him so hard and we also lost our dearest stepdad Ray Stancliffe while I was away in Dubai last May...

Kev is at last coming to terms with his loss but is too absolutely lost without his soulmate.
Mum has gone through her first Christmas without her husband of 35+years and he will always be so so missed.Life and soul of the party and recited monologues as his party piece.

I,on the other hand,have come out the other side since the wedding and now look back to see what a fantastic day it was and how happy everyone was who came to join us in our special nuptials.

I know,from experience,that I will be flat on my face hiding under the duvet in a few months time.Not being negative,just realistic.Thirty years of peaks and troughs I know that this is my life and there is no point in bleating on about it ????????.So,no resolutions,only solutions,so then we won't feel a failure when we don't carry through what we meant to in hopeful January.

So,I get you...totally

You're alright,I'm alright,we are all alright..we just need to keep making those plans for Nigel or David or Sally or whoever we feel we want to name ourselves

I'm forming a ladies group(gang) (sorry guys ????) and it will be called the The Radius Ladies..think going full circle,up and down moods whatever,with help and support like Moodscope we can all get through this.
Anything else is just not an option......

Your cheerful and hopeful fellow blogger

Lacey's Mummy

All the best for 2017 by the way.


Mary Wednesday Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 6:51am

Wow, Lacey's Mummy. Just Wow. You'very been through a lot. I feel very much for you and your family. I know too, that knowledge that, although you are strong now, the darkness will inevitably roll round again. Thank you so much for commenting and I'm so pleased that this blog resonated with you. Where can I find your blog?

Lacey Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 5:24am

Emicons don't seem to work on my iPad!! ;-)

LP Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 8:21am

Hi Mary,
What a great blog! It made me chuckle which is always a welcome bonus especially in the morning!
Better still was the idea of plans rather than goals. A huge difference between "Change of plan" and not achieving a goal. Perfect for January. Thank you. Love and light to you and all LP xx

Hopeful One Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 8:26am

Hi Mary-thank you for giving us your perspective on the vexed
subject of resolutions. Resolutions seem more like sticks that we end up beating ourselves with if we don't achieve them but plans seem more like carrots as they give us wriggle room to adjust if 'stuff'happens and we have to change direction for a while.There is one caveat about plans though -don't spend too much time on them.As John Lennon once observed 'life is what happens while we are planning things'

Today's Joke sortie produced this....

An computer engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it, and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week, and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?" The engineer said, "Look, I'm a computer engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog - now, that's cool!"

Tutti Frutti Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 9:46am

HO I love the joke today. Can't help thinking of a few colleagues past and present! Tee hee love TF x

Anne Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 9:06am

Thanks Mary - I love the idea of "Plans" and NOT goals! HOORAH! I am going to take the liberty of sharing this with a group I teach later today, hope that is ok ?

It is SO refreshing to stop the 'beating ourselves up' for failing and seeing, that in all things we have options, a choice and refreshingly permission to choose to change and do something differently.

All the best with your goals, books, health and socialising...I look forward to hearing how it goes..

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 9:14am

Please do share. Absolutely delighted!

Anne Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 9:38pm

Hi Mary... Shared with a client today and a group of counsellors... VERY well received on both counts. Thank you for permission to pass on... x

Sophie Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 10:09am

Thank you Mary, this is the perfect blog, just what I needed to hear! x

Tutti Frutti Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 10:24am

Hi Mary Great blog. I have been feeling like I want to make some resolutions but I know it is even more important for me to avoid being too black and white about them. I have spent quite a long time with a counsellor on identifying core beliefs and tweaking them to have a bit more give in them so that I can't beat myself up as much so am wary of taking on resolutions or goals. Plans should be perfect for me. So I plan to restart the physiotherapy exercises on my elbows now that I finally have some energy after the virus which knocked me out before Christmas but I will reintroduce it fairly gently since it has been a good few weeks and I shall remember that anything is better than nothing. I plan to do some swimming again but only once I am absolutely sure my ears are better and although swimming once a week would be great it doesn't matter if I manage less in practice. I plan to go back to Pilates provided my weight stays stable and I don't need to go to the slimming world session instead (V linked to mental health). I half plan to join a choir if the practicalities work. And finally I plan to restart the saxophone because the physiotherapist said my elbows were probably up to it now but that was before I got ill and stopped my exercises. I am really looking forward to this one but it is entirely elbow dependent so I need to face up to the fact that it may just make my elbows flare up again and prove impossible. I definitely need to take it gently so the exercises and a bit of swimming need to come first and I have strict instructions not to go mad and do loads of practice straight away! There are also as ever lots of people it would be nice to see more frequently than I do. So loads of plans (don't think I am manic or anything as they are all the kind of thing I do or used to do) but probably far too much to fit into my life all at once. I definitely wouldn't want this lot as a list of new year's resolutions as I

Tutti Frutti Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 10:29am

Hi again My phone froze at the end of that last comment. It clearly has a wittering on detector! Anyway I just meant to say that I haven't started much of it yet so I would be failing already. Whereas in practice I expect that I will make some progress on these plans in bits and pieces throughout the year.
Love TF x

A View from the Far Side Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 2:55pm

Loved it. Plans not goals. Very helpful shift in perspective.

The Gardener Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 4:24pm

Agree with above - the 'goals' you set yourself Mary were ubobtainable. Just wiped all I wrote - perhaps it was rubbish and self-destructed. I used to set goals - for most of my adult life - meant going to bed feeling a total failure because they were too ambitions. Have a list - red pen hash-tags against some - haven't done a thing except shuffle some papers. Household deficiencies - my kitchen had its usual magnetism today - been yacking all day - then found no milk, eggs, lemons, biscuits - attack Mr Lidl tomorrow. Trying to strength sinews - saw Mr G from a distance at respite yesterday - brought up short at the awful state of him. Spent yesterday trying to keep warm -have won, as baking today. TF, love the 'wittering on' detector. Last visitors were talking about priests who never know when to stop their sermons. In 'Love in a Cold Climate' Uncle Matthew sat in the front pew with a stop watch. Also had a dog visitor morning and afternoon - not really a 'doggy' person (Mr G loaths them) and we are going to get our own cat. Heigh-ho. This afternoon's visitors, both gays, were telling jokes to rival HO - I can never remember jokes. My piece de resistance is snake stories - whole dinner tables go silent. Who talked of wittering? Enough.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 4th 2017 @ 11:09pm

Hi Mary - Thank you for this refreshing approach to ditching resolutions a.k.a. goals. I smile at your remark about learning Spanish – and having substituted the word German, feel a whole heap better about my lack of attainment. Clever, so called ‘SMART’ goals are brilliant for artificial intelligence, but for us sentient beings, who are ever changing and evolving, flexible planning has to be best. IMHO a sense of progression, is what counts. I am unlikely to get a job in Berlin with my minimal German but I have picked it up from scratch and am able to choose whether I use it again. I hope that you enjoy going out with your husband, however challenging it may seem at first. Go well.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jan 5th 2017 @ 7:31am

Bless you for the encouragement!

Orangeblossom Thu, Jan 5th 2017 @ 9:37am

Hi Mary thanks for your blog. As ever, I look forward to reading it each Wednesday and am never disappointed.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jan 5th 2017 @ 10:32am

Orangeblossom - you have made me smile today. Thank you so much!

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