Don’t let Insta-Christmas get in the way of Christmas

For many of us Christmas is a wonderful time of year. But it can be incredibly stressful, trying to create that perfect Christmas experience.

We are constantly shown on social media and the TV how to celebrate the perfect Christmas including the perfect tree, decorations, food, drink and gifts just to list a few. We are bombarded with this from at least November up until the big day itself.

It is so easy to get so caught up in creating that perfect Instagram Christmas that we forget to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Trying to live up to someone else’s idea of a perfect Christmas can also make you very unhappy, making you feel inadequate and like a failure.

If other people want to have a 20 foot Norwegian Spruce with decorations handcrafted by Franciscan Monks in the 10th Century and have a hand fed turkey roasted in a wood fire oven served with Nigella’s to die for roast vegetables smothered in a fuck off expensive Gin and giblets gravy, then let them.

Remember all those wonderful Christmas Days you have had up to this point. Remember what made them so wonderful. Like lumpy gravy, warm beer, mismatched chairs, eating chocolate for breakfast and sneaking downstairs to see if he has been yet. Remember all your favourite family traditions and do them, do what works, do what fills your heart with joy and don’t worry about making it look perfect on instagram.

My Album of The Year

american dream

As you all know from my blogs music plays an important part in my life. I take music with me wherever I go. Whether that be on my run, on the way to work, in my office and in the seminar rooms just before teaching. Music can provide a narrative to what is going on around me. When I rediscover a piece of music I have not listened to for a while it evokes feelings and memories of the time I first listened to it. Music can also create a mindful state to help me reconnect with myself when I have been over thinking. In essence music is my safe place. Therefore the music has to be pretty special to evoke these feelings.

I have chosen 10 of my favourite albums that have been released this year. At least 2 or 3 of these albums will live long in my consciousness and evoke feelings and memories in the future. All of the albums have provided me a safe place throughout the year. However my number 1 album this year I have no doubt will be a favourite of mine for some time to come. This from a band that I have paid little attention to for the past 10 years, and it took them to split up and reunite to produce in my opinion a classic album. If you have not listened to American Dream by LCD Soundsystem then I implore you to do so, every track is a delight,

So here is my top ten albums of 2017

  1. American Dream-LCD Soundsystem
  2. Pure Comedy-Father John Misty
  3. Popular Manipulations-The Districts
  4. Villains-Queens of The Stone Age
  5. I See You-XX
  6. Little Fictions-Elbow
  7. Deep Understanding-The War on Drugs
  8. Stranger in The Alps-Phoebe Bridges
  9. Everything is Forgiven-Methyl Ethel
  10. Sempa Femina-Laura Marling

I derive a lot of pleasure from music as many people do. So by putting together a top 10 list and talking about it, I am celebrating a positive part of my life. It is so important to consciously acknowledge what is positive in your life on a daily basis. It is so easy to dwell on what is not going well and miss what is good. I am not saying ignoring what is going wrong is the way to go far from it. If you look at what is good first you start to feel positive and put yourself in a far better frame of mind to tackle what needs to be addressed rather than just feeling about what is going wrong. There is always something positive in your life.

 

 

What does coaching offer?

Before I trained to be a coach I had no idea what a coach was outside of sports coaching.

I am not surprised then that most people really don’t have a clue what coaching really is.

As I have coached more and more I find it easier to articulate what coaching is, and what it can do for people. I say this because the experience of being coached and coaching is different for everybody. So the more coaching experiences you have the more you realise what coaching can achieve for you as an individual.

It all starts with self-awareness. We all like to think we are self-aware, but are we really? There has been plenty of studies done in this and the majority of them highlight that our self-awareness is not as great as we think. For instance some of you may have heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect. This was a study done by David Dunning and Justin Kruger in the 1990s where they showed that people generally over estimated their knowledge and skills. Without external clues we are not very good in realising how little we know. Worse still the less you know the better you think you are. So we need other people to tell us how little you know. We are rubbish at assessing ourselves. And what is even worse is, that if you are an expert, you often do not realise you are until it is pointed out that you know more than others.

That is why coaching is important to all of us in some form or other. It is like holding a mirror up to ourselves and discovering what we are actually good at and what we need to work on.

Coaching does not criticise or advise it just asks you why you think what you think and know what you know. It will drastically change the way you look at yourself and give you the motivation to get on with your life in the direction that is best for you and no one else.

If you want to know more and take advantage of a free coaching session email me.

Snowflake Generation

I have heard talk in the media describing my children’s generation as the snowflake generation, implying that they have never had it so easy. This is a statement that I heard when I was in my late teens, along with ‘the young nowadays don’t know they are born’…..’they would have never got away with it in our day.’

In many respects life is increasingly easier as each generation passes. In the West we are more prosperous than our parents and grandparents. Life is physically safer.

However the young generations are faced with other risks that just were not present when I was growing up.

The thing is our brains have evolved to protect us from danger and cannot differentiate between real and implied danger. This is a problem in a world of social media, and 24 hour news. Our children can be exposed to real and perceived threat almost continuously.

Now I am not saying they are any worse of than previous generations, just that learning to be an adult is full of hazards. It always has and always will. So let’s not compare their life with yours.

Let’s support our children to be the best adults they can and cut them some slack.

Is social media getting you down?

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Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are wonderful, for sharing what you are doing with your friends, connecting with customers and keeping in contact with friends and family far afield.

If we are doing something  exciting or different we love to put a picture on to let everyone know what that we are doing something of interest. Or if we do something as a group we can tag all involved so we can all share the fun we had. This is all positive we feel good because we had a nice time and we wanted to tell people, and your friends feel good because they can see you having fun.

However there are times don’t you agree where you can start to think that everyone you know seems to be having far more fun than you, going on more expensive holidays, than you, are far more photogenic, have more intelligent better looking children than you?

This time of year can be worst with everyone jetting off to warmer climes, taking the obligatory photograph of their naked feet pointing towards a pool with a fancy cocktail and the must read novel just in shot. Don’t forget the photograph of the 6am pint of beer at the airport. Don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed that my friends are having a lovely time on holiday, and it is nice to see where they are getting sunstroke this year, it is just that when I am getting ready for work on a cold rainy August morning my envy neurones (might not be scientifically accurate) become activated, and resentment starts to kick in. Then I feel bad that I am having less than charitable thoughts about my friends. So now I feel bad because my life is shit and I am a miserable mean-spirited man. Thanks Facebook!

When this happens, which is often (daily in the summer, and Christmas, and in during the Winter, also around Bank Holidays), I have started to look through my own pages on Facebook, and Instagram. You know what? There are an awful lot of statuses where I am basically boasting and bigging my life up, just like everybody else, apart from these posts and me trying to drum up business for my coaching (if you are interested in being coached just message me). That is exactly how it should be, when I go on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram I am not looking for statuses telling me they had an alright day or a picture of someone sat with a cuppa looking bored, I want to see someone’s toes near a swimming pool, or a drunk at 6am in an airport.

What we have to do when we are looking at these statuses is that they do not represent the everyday reality of our friends but just the best bits they want to share with the world. We are always going to feel envious, however we don’t have to let it make us feel bad. Once you start to feel that way, examine your own life looking at what you have done, where you have been and how much fun you have had. When it all boils down we are all essentially the same.

As ever if you want to discuss how you approach your life and might be interested in having some coaching get in touch, the first hour is free and you don’t have to make a commitment to continue in advance.

matt@mattycoach71.com

Do you get your excuses in early


Before I gave up smoking, I used to tell myself I had an addictive personality, that is why I can't give up.
Does that sound familiar, in fact I heard it today. It is just an excuse, because we don't believe we can achieve.
The person today is incredibly talented, intelligent, professional and driven, but they are worried they will not succeed when it comes to giving up smoking.
In reality that concept is completely bonkers. Throughout their adult life they have faced far more daunting challenges and succeeded. When faced with changing something we do everyday, we all falter. The prospect of change is terrifying. We need to believe that the change is worth it, and that we can do it.
I like the person today needed to recognise what I had achieved when I wanted it enough. There is no such thing as an addictive personality, anyone can be addicted to something and anyone can stop being addicted. You just have to want to do it enough to succeed.
If you give in and have a sneaky cig or chocolate bar, it is ok, just go back to your reason why and have another go. We often fall off the wagon because our reason to make that change isn't strong enough and our desire to succeed isn't as strong as the enjoyment we derive from smoking or drinking or eating too much. So it is important to have that strong reason and believe you can. If you find yourself getting your excuses in early you need to examine why you want to change.
If this rings a bell get in touch for a free coaching session.

Now you have your reason, what next?

Winning-Life-Your-20s

So you have found a reason to make a change and that reason moves towards a positive future rather than moving away from a negative past. But how do you get to your positive future?

What happens next is crucial if you want to make a lasting difference, and not crash and burn in a heap of recrimination and disappointment.

If you are anything like me, your natural tendency will be to rush ahead, without much thought and planning and then grind to a halt when you come across your first hurdle, and say to yourself, ‘that’s it, I don’t have the willpower, anyway I like being a fat smoker.’

It doesn’t have to be like that. I know it sounds boring but if you want to succeed, if you really want that positive future for yourself you will have to plan how you are going to achieve this.

When it comes to planning it is important to know what it is you really want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. Write it down, don’t just leave it in your head, you need to be able to see it. It is also good to share it with someone, like a coach or someone you trust to be objective about what it is you want to achieve.

Once you are clear what you want to achieve and by when, it is worth just checking in with yourself, about how realistic your goal is. Rate how likely it is that you will achieve it in the time you have given yourself, then rate how much you want to achieve it. I use a simple 1-10 scale, but use any scale you want and name it after yourself. This is then your scoring system and something to measure yourself and progress against. If your scores are over halfway (so 5 in my scale) then that is good you have room to improve your score but you are positive. If they are less than halfway then you may need to look at your goal and timescales again, preferably with your coach until you come up with something you feel more comfortable with. If you have a score below half way don’t press on regardless, as it will no doubt end without you sustaining the change you want.

So you are happy with your goal and timescale, you now need to think about what and who you will need to help you achieve the change you desire. This is where you can really have fun and be imaginative. It is really helpful doing this with someone else and having fun with it. Don’t just think about the obvious like cook books, and fitness instructors, really go to town and let your imagination run wild. When you start being silly and laugh at what you are coming up with that is often when you are your most creative and are more likely to come up with the one thing or person that will make the biggest difference. That is why it is important to do this part of the planning with someone. Don’t forget to write all of it down, you don’t want to forget anything. Once you feel you have exhausted all ideas then stop. You can always come back to it another time.

Now you have an idea of who and what you are going to need, it is worth thinking about what might get in the way of your plan, what might slow it down or stop it in its tracks. Again be as creative and imaginative as you can think of all kinds of worse case scenarios. then what you will do to overcome them? what might you have to change in your plan? It is important to think about solutions to problems, don’t get bogged down by the problems. You might not think of all the issues you might face, but this will give you the mindset to be solution focussed. Don’t do this alone, again work with a coach to ensure you have appropriate challenge, and support.

How will you know when you have achieved your goal? At what point will you know when you have reached the end. For some goals it will be obvious, for some it will be a personal level, say losing a percentage of body weight or being able to run 5km without stopping. Whatever the end point is make it tangible, so if it is a feeling you want to achieve are you able to recognise that feeling?

Now you have the ingredients to start your action plans to achieve your goal. To make achieving your goal manageable it might be necessary to chunk your goal into small short-term goals that lead to the end goal. For instance if your goal is to run a 10km race, then your first goal may be to be able to comfortably run without stopping for 30 minutes after 4 weeks. By chunking your goals it also allows you to adjust how you achieve you goal if things don’t go to plan, without you feeling overwhelmed by the whole process.

Once you have your reason to change and you plan, you now need to act. You need to make that change, take that step. Be brave you have your reason and your plan, you will succeed. It might not go completely to plan but you have anticipated that and you know you can find a solution. Use your coach or supporter when you start to doubt yourself.

If you want to take the plunge email me or message me via social media, and take advantage of a complimentary consultation.

matt@mattycoach71.com