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What Habits Make you More Effective?

We’re now in our sixth week of 2016!

So how are all the resolutions you made coming along?

Are you doing the same things that you did last year or have you begun to form any new positive habits?

You might have heard the saying “habits become second nature”. As cliché as this may sound, it is in fact quite true. Habits lay the ground to what we make of our lives – good or bad. They determine our actions; they lead to results, and ultimately they make us a success or a failure. In other words, habits determine our outcomes.

This is as true when it comes to your personal life, as it is in your professional life. If you choose to exercise for 45 minutes after work every day you will be fit. If you choose to drink beer with your friends instead, chances are you won’t.

Habits are indeed very powerful. They are those patterns of behaviour and actions that we take without even thinking about it because we either feel it is right or we are simply used to doing it. Imagine the following situation – a successful professional who earns well by applying his specialised knowledge in a certain field; and somebody working at a shop counter. The two might have very similar personality traits, both might be smart, both may have a high potential. Yet one is considered a success and the other mediocre. The one main difference between the two? One chose to spend two hours a day in front of the TV while the other chose to spend two hours a day reading and educating himself in something far more useful. In other words – the habits.

The difference between success and failure lies in your habits. That being said, it is helpful to reflect on what you do every now and then and adjust your habits to make the best of your time and effort.  If you can control your actions, you can control your life and ultimately your success.

 

Mindfullness for 2016

You can only breathe in the NOW. You can’t breathe in the past and you can’t breathe in the future.   If only we could learn this truth! How much of our headspace is taken up by delving back into our past or going too far forward into the future? Clients often ask me “how is it possible to be happy as we try to survive these economic challenges”? The answer may in part be found by looking at people who have been dealt a seemingly impossible card by life and still manage to remain upbeat. How can this be, you may ask?

Try factoring in ten minutes once a week to record, at least three positive experiences from your week and continue to do this for six weeks. Through this simple exercise of positive awareness you will find an increasing level of contentment. You will be mindful of, and begin to value the little things in your life. This does not mean material possessions, it generally means what we often take for granted like good health, family and friends. A kind act for a neighbour, or just a friendly “hello”. Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” by being mindful daily of all we have, not what we don’t have. Because we are so “hardwired” to pay attention to the negatives we encounter, we forget to pay attention to all the positives in our lives.

So let’s begin today, to live every day mindfully, to be grateful for the good things and this awareness will help us deal with the challenges we encounter in our daily lives.

New Year’s Reality Check

 

January is a good time to think about fresh starts. We all need a fresh start now and then, and the beginning of a new year is an ideal time to begin.  But there will be opportunities too. With our human nature there will always be fear too. We must remember though that fear causes worry. It gradually digs itself in until it paralyses our reasoning and it can kill our initiative. During an economic downturn we can be filled with fear and worry and both of those states of mind can be really destructive. So why not instead choose 2016 to be:

Another year, another chance To start our lives anew This time we’ll leap old barriers To have a real breakthrough.

We’ll take one little step And then we’ll take one more, Our unlimited potential We’ll totally explore.

For the New Year let us:

    • Get rid of non-essential numbers. These include, age and weight. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her!
    • Never let the brain idle. An idle mind is the devils’ workshop. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, golf, gardening, whatever….
    • Enjoy the simple things. Laugh often.
  • Be ALIVE while you are alive. Do not die with the music still in you.

 

  • Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it.
  • If it is unstable, improve it.
  • If it is beyond what you can improve get help NOW!
  • Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the next county or to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is!
  • Keep only cheerful friends. The “grouches” pull you down.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and contented 2016.

Watch That Mood following the Christmas Season!

The mega Christmas excitement is coming to a close.  What next we may be asking ourselves??  As another Year dawns it is imperative on us to keep ourselves in a positive mind frame? Coping strategies can include, distracting ourselves from our stresses or “changing the channel”. Do not choose the company of people who only see what’s wrong with the world, it will only drag you down. Have you noticed during this past week as the turkey was still cooking!!!!! Department store sales were being advertised….. every station is focusing in on same… Do we need to hear this now following all the extravagant spending prior to Christmas?!

Would it not be more beneficial for much more air space to focus on the positive news of the day…..There are good things in everybody’s life, but you sometimes have to remember to focus on those same things or else add them to the mix of your day!

Statistics have proven that children who are taught optimism and resourcefulness in their early years will have a high level of contentment down the line. We must all empower ourselves with coping strategies for challenging times (and those challenging times can particularly arrive in the form of credit card bills following the month of December….).

Exercise changes your brain chemistry and induces natural happy hormones (endorphins) from the inside, so you feel better. So do not sacrifice that daily walk even though you may be in the “mindset” of “chill out and relax” Exercise has proven to help those suffering from mild depression. Be careful, however, when taking that walk or whatever form of exercise not to take your troubles or negative thoughts with you. Your thoughts rule your life, so let them be positive. Negative thinking has a corrosive effect on you and you become hard on yourself. If you’re angry about something, or have had a negative interaction with a family member around the Christmas gathering, remember the anger is down to you. Nobody injects you with it…. Things happen to thousands of people, but you can choose how you rationalize things for yourself.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to our thoughts. If somebody has a defeatist attitude, such as “nothing will work” or there is no point talking to anyone” they will remain stuck and not “let the light in”.

Conquer Your Challenges Today

  • Cultivating the mindset of the endurance athlete and understanding the importance of physical fitness in reaching your goals, be they personal or business. It is impossible not to feel better and more empowered when physically fit.
  • Believing that often the only thing preventing us from reaching our goals is ourselves.
  • When we continue to do as we’ve always done we will continue to get the same results. Gerry has a saying which he repeats often “a small key opens big doors” which we can interpret as starting with small steps towards achieving major goals.
  • We waste a lot of our time and energy by worrying. We generally worry about 90% of things which never happen. Worry can be classed as negative goal setting.       If we want to beat the worry pattern we should tackle it by taking three essential steps:-
  1. Analyse the situation fearlessly and honestly.
  2. Figure out the worst case scenario and accept this possibility.
  3. Then devote your time and energy towards improving the situation.Having an attitude of gratitude will enable you to realize all that’s good and right in your life before you begin to tackle a current challenging situation. Always review the positives in your life. There are three categories of people:
  4. You can always create solutions by rationalizing your current situation. Confront that challenge as soon as possible. Do not procrastinate. Just try and shut down the side of the brain that’s negative.
  • Those who say it can’t happen
  • Those who make it happen and
  • Those who ask, what happened?

Success in these times can be classed as going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm. So, get motivated today, take action and build your own moment in life!

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Rossevelt

GOAL SETTING FOR 2016

Begin by choosing a goal that’s important to you.

  • Write it down
  • Now figure out what you could reasonably achieve within six months. Write that down.Now, imagining you have already achieved the goal write down the answers to the following questions:
  • How do you feel about yourself and about your world?
  • Do you walk and talk differently?
  • How do other people respond to you?
  • What’s your day like?
  • Is there anything different in your environment?

WHY do you want this goal?

WHAT, in yourself or externally, would stop you achieving it?

Think about a success you’ve previously had, whether small or big.

  • WHAT motivated you to pursue that goal?
  • What kept you going?
  • What’s the one action you need to take to get started on your goal?

This will probably be a small action because it’s just getting you started.

Where will you take this action?

When will you take it?

It takes time to get through this exercise but if it pushes you to achieve just one of your resolutions, it’s worth it.

If you’re going to try this, do it now before the year gets it’s claws into you and you forget those resolutions.

Remember the words of Edward Young

“Procrastination is the thief of time”

 

 

 

 

Let’s Plan Not to Take Ourselves Too Serious For 2016!

One temptation that besets many of us is to take ourselves so seriously that we begin to attach great weight to unimportant gestures. Humor is a wonderful tool for shaping us back down to size. So let’s be grateful for the gift of true humor wherever we encounter it. It gives us strength to continue on. Laughter does not mean carelessness. Each of us must make our way through these serious times, carefully ordering our priorities and doing what we need to do to safeguard our spiritual growth.

We can make of our experiences what we choose. We can focus on the traffic snarls while traveling to work or we can smile because we have a job to go to and a car to carry us there!! We can be angry because the washing machine broke down, or grateful that we’ve been free for a while of the laundry hassle! Every experience offers us an opportunity to respond, and our response is always a reflection of our emotions. We choose to be angry, depressed or afraid. We can just as easily decide to be happy or confident. And the exciting realization for us is that we are free to choose whatever pleases us. Even though we’ve gotten mad for years over traffic jams it does not mean we can’t give up the anger. How liberating it will be to claim back control of our positive emotions, our attitudes. You can decide to allow your mind/your thoughts to control you or you control them and put them to work positively for you. Censor your thoughts and banish the negative ones. It takes effort but it can be done. You don’t have to go around with a foolish grin on your face, but do experiment with that inner smile, it works wonders!

Once we take control of our situation and decide to make our decisions it is surprising how our lives can change for the better. It does appear easier to wallow and procrastinate and while most proverbs have a few grains of truth, “procrastination is the thief of time”. Also, as mentioned above not taking control, procrastination can be the cause of misery and guilt at the same time. We all know those people who are always meaning to do something but never quite get around to it, and regularly we see that person in the mirror?!

 In conclusion, there is magic in believing in our capabilities at the moment, believing in our future potential, believing that we are worthy human beings with a purpose for being alive. However, the chance is present every moment to realize new dreams, to progress to new heights, to switch whatever course we are presently traveling on. All it takes is a changed attitude, commitment to a new idea, and the accompanying belief in the idea’s potential.

Any idea held in our mind can become a reality.

Do you feel you could do with realizing your ideas? No more procrastination. Are you inclined to see the glass half empty but would like to view it half full? Call me now and we can take the route to your brighter reality together

All ABOUT PROGRESS and CHANGE

 

Don’t compare your progress to that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance.

Don’t be hard on yourself any time you don’t seem to make any progress. The greatest leaps forwards are made in times of stagnation.

Change is an ongoing process with no clear ending. Don’t wait out until you’ve reached the big finish. Celebrate your small accomplishments.

Don’t only have eye for how fast you are going, but also consider how far you can go.

The way back up is a period of ups and downs. Don’t let a temporary set-back drag you back under.

By fixating on too big a step we often prevent ourselves from taking the small steps needed to actually get there.

Becoming aware of your mistakes feels like a step back, but is actually a step forwards.

Acknowledge yourself. As long as you belittle your accomplishments you can’t make any real progress.

Understanding what to do doesn’t automatically mean that you can instantly do it. Be patient with yourself while you practice that new habit.

Let me “walk the route” of change/progress with you and your “journey” will be an easier one.

Feel That Inner Smile

A smile is something money can’t buy. Positive attitude comes with a smile! Negative thoughts are infectious. Once you wear a long face, if affects all around you, It is very easy to slip into negative thinking. Optimists have failures too, but they tend to blame the failure on factors that are external to themselves, temporary and specific to this instance. For the negative person however, they claim it is their own fault, and it always happens to them. They take Murphy’s Law to heart, “if it can go wrong, it will”…They look on the glass as always half empty. There are also people who have learnt the behavior of negativity, people who “hide their light/talents under a bushel”. The great dinner was only “thrown together” etc. Don’t you just long for them to express joy, laughter and a smile even now and again. Take for example you join a group of friends who are having a great time and you walk in with a long face, what effect will this have on the group? On the contrary, if you walk in to find this group down in the dumps and you approach them with a smile, you automatically make things look up. A smile releases endorphins, which give you a natural high. Whilst reading this think of a person or a place you love. Feel that inner smile.

Once you walk with an air of self-confidence, automatically you will act as a magnet, other people will want to join you, and speak with you. The same goes for wearing that smile. Smiling and positive speak will draw people towards you subconsciously.

Much of our mood comes down to feeling in control of what happens in our life. This determines how we deal with the unpleasant things that befall everyone. Positive people identify the stressor and take a problem-solving approach to deal with it. Others adopt what has been termed “learnt helplessness”. They come to believe that it does not matter what they do. What happens is beyond their control.

 

Don’t Allow Change Distract You From Your Goals

The idea of change is not new. The most common response to change is resistance. We resist change because of our fear of the unknown and our desire to remain in our “comfort zone”. Often we look back with nostalgia and see the past as a brighter time. People who fear change often see themselves as victims. They feel unprepared to conquer whatever may come.

Three Tips towards conquering Fear of Change

Fear, can be turned into positive energy by choosing to do so. When everything around you changes, get rid of your doubts and insecurities and control your situation by taking charge of where you are at:

  • Be proud of who you are and all of your past achievements.
  • Be confident in your ability to cope with what life throws at you.
  • Be strong in your beliefs.

Although it may seem easier to react negatively, you’ll enjoy more lasting benefits if you challenge yourself to find the positive aspects and opportunities that lie within every change. If you are not in control, you will be swayed in every direction, like a ship without a rudder. On the other hand, when you are in control, you will be in “the driving seat of your life”. You are the only person who will decide how change can be used to your advantage.

I coached somebody last week who had unexpectedly last his job and initially considered his situation hopeless and negative. We began by exploring his options and viewed his hobby of playing guitar at week-ends. We set about designing the development of a music business as a means of income. Three years later he is a successful business man in the music business. This person took control of his situation and decided to change his mindset from the shock of negativity to positive change.

1When you remain in control of your situation and work with somebody who will support you, you will be sure to gain positive results.