Want Success? Aim Lower!

If you keep consistently missing the target, don’t aim higher – give yourself an easier target to aim at! You know it makes sense. How often do we set unrealistic goals – then punish ourselves for falling short? I know I do.

Take my Fitbit for example (other fitness trackers are available). When I first bought my shiny new exercise tracker, I was super keen to make it work for me. I even went for long walks in my lunch break to increase my daily step count. Once I got home, I was literally walking around the room to make sure I made my daily quota. It was 10000 steps or bust.

Why 10000? Well I thought it was some sort of medical recommendation to improve fitness. It turns out to have been a marketing campaign for an older version of a step counter, way back in the 1960’s.

Anyway, back to my efforts. Things went great for a month or two. It may have been less, but my memory is a touch hazy. Then gradually I started not trying so hard to reach my goals. And then the Fitbit seemed to be irritating my wrist, so I was wearing it less and less. And if you’re not going to achieve the target, there’s no point wearing it, right?

But as I started a healthy eating plan recently (it’s not a diet, definitely not a diet) I thought that would be a good time to charge up my Fitbit. It was at the time totally depleted of energy – not unlike myself.

But lo and behold, I still wasn’t hitting the magic steps barrier. And the trouble is, if I wasn’t close by the evening, there was no point to increasing my steps. I figured, if I’m going to miss my target, I might as well do it by a mile. Or several.

But then a thought hit me. Why not lower my target? 8000 daily steps seemed more doable. First, I had to overcome the ‘shame’ of lowering my target. But I gave it a go anyway. And you know what, it worked! On day 1, I was walking around the room again to get my steps up. By Day 2, I’d reached my goal without even thinking about it. Ironically, it was on my way back from picking up a fish and chips takeaway meal. The Healthy Eating Plan was taking a slight hit. But, one goal at a time, eh!

So, the moral of the story is, if you’re not reaching your target, make it more realistic (that’s ‘lower it’ to you and me). How good does it feel to reach a goal, no matter that it’s smaller? It certainly helps to keep that ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ on track.

Happy stepping!


Gratitude? It Doesn’t Matter!

‘Enchanted Fox’ Art by Amanda Lakey

With everything that is happening in the World these days, are you struggling to connect with Gratitude on a daily basis? Then I’m here to tell you that there’s no point struggling, it just doesn’t matter!

It doesn’t really matter what you’re grateful for. In fact, it could be absolutely anything. Someone else may think it’s trivial or silly, but you’re not doing it for someone else. It’s the feeling you get from gratitude that counts.

And sometimes it’s when things are at their toughest, that feeling better counts the most. A few seconds of playful thinking can help to turn around a bad day before it’s got started. Or stop it in it’s tracks. Which isn’t to say that negative feelings don’t have their place. They are there for a reason. But when negativity becomes a chronic thinking pattern, then maybe it’s time for a change.

And can it really be selfish to be grateful? When you feel good, it spills over into the rest of your life. And everyone in it will feel the benefit.

You could be grateful for just being alive.

Or seeing your first Bumble Bee of the season. A Queen, no less.

Or the sun cheekily deciding to shine after a long, cold winter.

Or a healthy, crustless quiche and minty bean salad for lunch.

Or a being taken for a walk in the country by your boisterous dogs.

Or seeing a fox run through your garden.

Or having so much inspirational reading just a few clicks away.

Or you could… fill in the blanks yourself.

What could you be grateful for now?

Mountain Tension

(c)  A  Mixed Bag 2013

It hadn’t helped that the beds in the Waterfront Guest House had mattresses as hard as stone. A lack of sleep put me in the wrong frame of mind to be scaling the heights. But I was caught between a rock and a hard place.

The mountain, known locally as ‘Mike Dropz’, is named after the unfortunate Michael Shay Love. On his maiden flight, Mike had suffered an unexpected wardrobe malfunction with his wingsuit and hit the water at terminal velocity. The local Lake News headlines splashed ‘Shay, Hell No!’ and ‘Wave Goodbye’.

Mike’s body was dredged from the lake and entombed on the peak. It was a tasteful ceremony, with a Bavarian Oompah band playing ‘Love on a Mountain Top’. It brought a tear to many an eye, although that could have been the biting wind.

At the halfway point between ground and peak, I briefly lowered my head in tribute to Mike. I had made his suit, after all.

Clipping my safety harness to the overhead fixture, I sat down on the plush leather seats for my mid-morning Kaffee und Kuchen. Riding a luxury cable car in the Bavarian Alps is definitely the better way to travel.

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, 3rd December 2017.  For more details click the logo.


To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.

Happy Daze



The idea came to me in one of those dreamy half-asleep moments. June, my girlfriend, told me me to go to the meadow and find the Happy Tree. She said if I put last year’s diary through the round ‘time portal’, then everything that happened last year would change for the better.

Now, this took some believing, but last year was a stinker! I had that messy break-up with May. It still haunts me. Things got slightly brighter, earlier this year, when June appeared.

So I did it! Following June’s instructions, I dropped my 2016 diary through the portal, and came back 24 hours later.

Wow! Here was my diary returned – but totally different. The writing style, contents and cover had all changed. June told me that was all part of the magical process.

I must have been wrong about meeting June. Because the diary says I met her last year, and it was the best year of my life. I’ve read through three times from cover to cover, and gradually it’s all beginning to make sense.

June has suggested we now try with next year’s diary. She wonders if there might be an engagement on the horizon.


(200 words)

This story is inspired by the photo supplied for Sunday Photo Fiction, 25th June 2017.  For more details click the logo.


To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.

Swarm Wishes




“Hello, I’m Joe Blauflasche. As head of the Botanical Department, and Assistant Groundskeeper, I’d like to welcome the press gathered here today. It’s not often that we get to say that at Old Chuffing Community College.

I guess you’re here about our little science project. It all started when an ordinary house-fly flew inside the microwave as I was warming up my coffee. It should have been incinerated, but instead, it made a remarkable recovery. Within seconds, it had managed to peel off a sticker from the cup and place it on my loyalty card. That’s when I knew we were onto something.

We soon had a colony of the ‘Superflies’, as I like to call them. And how quickly they learned. On the fly, so to speak.

They were very keen to try out our extra-sensitive keyboards. A swarm of them typed out the complete works of Shakespeare from memory. Quite impressive, but we were hoping for something a little more original. There’s time for that, once we can find a way around our current dispute.

It’s rather embarrassing. They currently have us locked out of the college, but we’re waiting for a negotiator to fly in. They’re asking for full access to the bins, and unlimited cloud usage. Watch this space!”


This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, 30th April 2017.  For more details click the logo.


To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.