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.
As I mentioned in my previous blog when I tasked myself with putting together the soundtrack of my life so far it ended up being over 7 hours long, so I decided to imagine I was putting the music of a C90 tape, therefore restricting what I could include. That has been the best bit, going through all my music to come up with a playlist that at the moment best expresses my memory of that particular time in my life.
During the 90s I was in my 20s, I finished my Nurse Training both General Nursing and Children’s Nursing, met Lisa, bought a house and got married. Music was an important part of my life and at one point for a moment I tried out being in a band, after one gig I left that dream behind.
Our Nightclub of choice in the 90s was Spiders (home of the Pangalactic Gargleblaster), and was where I met Lisa. A lot of the music I have chosen for this mix tape reminds of Spiders. In the early 90s before we bought our first house we lived in an attic flat on Springbank, that used to be the old Silhouette Nightclub, and Radiohead especially reminds me of that time.
When I am coaching people who are not sure what they want to achieve in the future, I ask them to identify what their values, and their truths are to help them shape a future that will give them happiness. For a lot of people including myself this is more difficult than you think. By looking at your taste in music and the arts in general you can start to explore what makes you tick, what you think is important in life and how you think you should conduct your life. As well as raising awareness of your self it is also a great deal of fun putting together a playlist. Being happy and having positive emotions increases your creativity, therefore you are able to see more options that are available to you.
Give it a go it is really satisfying. If you want to discuss your future plans and goals get in touch I would be happy to discuss your options.
I have attached a link to each song so feel free to listen. If you have Apple Music the link to the playlist is at the bottom
Move toward a positive future, not away from a negative past. When you are deciding to make a change in your life do are you moving away from something negative in you life, such as an unhappy relationship or a job that you dislike? How easy was it to make that change?
Thinking and feeling negatively has been proven to reduce to the amount of options you can think of. When we want to get away from something bad we employ the emotional centre of the brain, this gives us less choice, as this part of the brain is there to keep us safe, at its most extreme you are offered 3 choices: stay and fight, runaway, or play dead. On it’s day this is very useful to stop us from being harmed or at worst killed. However the solutions offered are quite short-term and perpetuate negative thought. This is our default setting, so we will always revert to this approach if we do not make the effort to think differently.
Thinking positively however has been shown to increase our options and creativity. This approach employs more of the brain, and therefore is much more considered, has short-term and long-term elements, and is therefore more likely to succeed.
It is important to recognise that the driver for the change will sometimes be a negative, as this will give you the desire to move. Allow your emotional thinking to give you the reason. This however will not be enough to make the need to change compelling enough to do something about it.
Where would you rather be? What would you rather be doing? Once you have answered this question, you then need to put some detail on this place or job. Start to imagine what it looks like, what it would be like to live there or do this job. Visit your future regularly adding more and more detail every time. Don’t think that day dreaming is childish or a waste of time. Day dreaming is essential when creating a compelling future. You need to really want to be in this future, this gives you, your reason when you a struggling to achieve your goals later. As mentioned earlier, it also increases your creativity, therefore increasing your planning ability.
Once you have a compelling vision of your future, that can be recalled easily, you then have to make this a goal, to turn it from a dream into a reality. Make sure you take care with setting your goal and do not rush it. You goal must be clear and not ambiguous. I use to spend about 5 minutes writing a goal that would be ambiguous and open-ended and wonder why I never achieved it. When I was a smoker I would say to myself tomorrow I am going to stop smoking. By lunchtime the next day I was smoking. I had put no thought into how I would achieve this. How I was going to deal with my physical and psychological dependency on smoking. Until one day I decided to plan how I was going to deal with the dependency and gave myself a clear date when I would start and when I would review my progress. My initial goal was on the 12th January I am going to buy 5mg nicotine gum from the chemist, and on the 13th January I will replace smoking cigarettes with chewing the gum. I will chew a piece of gum at specific points in the day when I crave for cigarettes, these will be on the way to work in the morning, at 10am during a morning break, after lunch and on my way home from work. After 2 weeks I will remove one of these gums. It worked I have not smoked since Jan 2016. My compelling vision in my head was playing football with my grandchildren in the back garden. When ever I fancied a cigarette I would summon up that image.
So make sure your goal is really what you want to achieve, that it is specific (it is clear to you exactly what you want to achieve), that you know when you have achieved it (it has a measure, like I will stop smoking), that it is achievable, realistic (no matter how dedicated and clever you are training to be a nuclear physicist in 6 weeks is never going to happen), and that you have a timescale. As I said earlier it is also important that you can day-dream your future, seeing it in your mind’s eye gives you that compelling reason. Make sure your goal fits who you are and where you want your life to go, otherwise it is just going to make you unhappy again. For instance if you like routine and order and do not cope well with the unexpected then becoming a paramedic or a firefighter would probably be inadvisable. Lastly make sure it is going to challenge you, if your goal is to easy, it is unlikely to make much a difference to your life.
The next time you want to change something in your life, before you act on your emotions, ask yourself what you want your changed life to look like, then create yourself a goal and take action.
Is a successful life measured by the value of what you own? For many of us I suppose it is. The problem with that concept is that, what you have is never enough and you can get caught in the trap of always striving for more and never actually enjoying what you have.
Now many of my blogs are dedicated on setting and achieving goals, which is striving for what you don’t have. On face value that is correct, if all you do is strive for a goal that you will never reach and not pay attention to what is happening now. When you are setting goals it is important to have short term goals that pay attention to the here and now. It is vital that you enjoy your journey to achieving your goal. If you are happy in your journey you are more likely to achieve your goal.
There is no point measuring your successful life on your deathbed. Isn’t it much more satisfying appreciating each small success you have throughout your life. Enjoy your successes as you travel through your life. You will be happier, which increases your creativity, which in turn increases your success.
Now, what do you consider to be success? Is it just earning a shed load of money, driving a swanky car and living in a fancy house? Of course it would be lovely to be rich, but to be honest most of us won’t be. Is success setting out to achieve your goals and achieving them? For me, it is not what the achievement is, but more that it was challenging and you achieved it.
To be a success you needed to have achieved a goal that is something you really wanted, it makes an impact on your life and takes you out of your comfort zone. 28 years ago I started my Nurse training and 25 years ago I qualified as a Registered General Nurse. As anyone that has ever undertaken nurse training will tell you, being a student nurse takes you out of your comfort zone on a daily basis for 3 years, and then beyond once qualified. Becoming a Nurse was my first success as an adult. I am not rich or world famous, but I have still had a successful life so far. Now I am striving to be an effective coach and help people recognise their own personal success. Every coaching session takes me out of my comfort zone, and gives me a sense of achievement once I have finished, giving me a feeling of success on a regular basis. There is nothing better than having that feeling that you have achieved something.
Take time to set your goals, remembering to that they must be heartfelt, have impact, and be challenging. If they meet these requirements you are much more likely to achieve them, enjoy achieving them and therefore be successful.
Always keep striving, but remember to enjoy the journey.
If you want to discuss how you will set and achieve your goals, get in touch.
We all like a good moan. In fact moaning and complaining can be quite comforting, as we examine our circumstances critically and then on balance decide that we are generally satisfied with our lot.
There are a number of people who feel trapped in their current lives and are deeply unhappy. I have been there, I was felt I was trapped in a job that I was making me deeply unhappy. The behaviours that I perceived were expected of me were not in line with my personal values. I didn’t think I had a choice to change my circumstances, I didn’t have the self-awareness to see that I did have choices. It was only later when I changed my role that I realised that I had a choice to be happy at work if I wanted to take it.
The key to exercising choice is to raise your self-awareness. Get to know what you like, and what you dislike. Know what really makes you tick and what you are capable of. For most of us we are much more capable than we think we are. We often work and live well within ourselves and rarely step outside of our comfort zones. This is understandable to some extent, most of us would find constantly being outside of our comfort zone quite stressful and tiring. However it is important to challenge ourselves regularly.
If you are unhappy in your job or your life you need to know what it is that is making you unhappy, and why it is making you unhappy. Is the source of your unhappiness within your power to change? If not what are you prepared to do? Can you walk away from the situation and start anew somewhere else? What would be the consequences of this action? Can you accept the consequences, are they better or worse than what you have now? If you think you can live with the consequences and take responsibility, then you need to set yourself a goal and make a plan of how you are going to achieve it. If you are not able to live with the consequences of walking away, you need to accept the situation that makes you unhappy. That does not mean that you have to be unhappy. You have to change what you think about the situation. Once you have accepted that you can not change the situation you are in and that you are not prepared to leave the situation behind, you need to spend time looking at all the positives that are in your life and how you can make them more prominent in your life than they are now. This is also a good time to examine your aspirations, and concentrate on those aspirations that compliment all that is positive in your life. Once you have identified those key aspirations, it is time to set yourself some goals, and then plan to make these aspirations a reality.
This is by no means an easy exercise to undertake alone. Having a coach will help you work through every step. The coaches role is to guide you through a process. You provide the content and all the ideas the coach provides the process and challenge to help you raise your self-awareness, set your goals and evaluate your success. Coaches do not give you the answers, they just hold the flashlight for you.
If you think you could benefit from a coach get in touch. We can discuss your situation and see if coaching is for you.
Nearly everything I write on here is from the heart and is based on my own acceptance of who I am. That is why I have been so prolific over recent days. I feel much more aware of myself and less worried about what people think. I wouldn’t say I feel completely liberated from the fear of looking stupid but I definitely feel more self confident and self aware.
The first thing you have to accept is that there will always be people to will not like you not matter what you do. Dislike is maybe a strong word, more they will never understand you, and never really accept what you say. However there will always be a group of people that will always accept you and like you (within reason obviously). Then there is a third group that do not really have an opinion either way but may start to like you if you meet their expectations.
Once you realise this you can stop stressing about what people think. You cannot change what people think, you cannot turn somebody into something they are not, so don’t stress yourself out trying. Trying to please everyone around you ultimately stresses youout and can make you deeply unhappy.
The most important person to youmust be you. You have to please yourself before we can make anyone else happy.
A question to ask yourself is. Do I know what makes me tick? What are my values? What is most important to me?
I may have said this in previous blogs, but it is worth repeating. Write down 10 (if you can) values that you hold dear. Having a loving family, for instance. Start with the obvious ones that family and home, and fulfilling job, then think a little harder for instance one of my values appreciation above anything else, it is important for me to appreciate what someone has done and for others to appreciate me. If I don’t receive it or if someone does not think I have shown it, it upsets me.
Anyway if you managed 10 that is brilliant, if not don’t worry. Then ask yourself do all my actions reflect my values? Is there any actions that contradict my values? How do I feel about that? Can I change these actions or stop doing them altogether? What are the consequences of changing them?
Sometimes changing the way you behave to meet your values is not as easy as it sounds. It can take time to change how you act and behave. But keep examining your values to give youself the reason to change.
Once you start along that process you start feeling a lot happier, and as a result people respond positively to you without you having to try to please them. And those that never liked you still don’t like you, so sod them, it’s their loss. Some of those that were indifferent might even start liking you, but that is only if they want to. The most important thing is that you like and accept who you are.
As I said at the beginning, I am doing this and it works. I had a coach at the beginning because I felt lost. She asked me some quality questions that really challenged me and made me think, about what I really wanted in my life. I tell you those 4 coaching sessions changed my life. Every day now I challenge myself to be true to my values and do what is right to them, and I accept and like myself a whole lot more now than I ever have.
Some one recently described my coaching of them as life changing and I thought that was them being nice about me. They weren’t they were describing the coaching process. When both the coach and the client work together it can be incredible.
If you think some coaching will work for you, get in touch we can talk and see if it will suite you. It may just change your life.
In January I decided to give up drinking alcohol. My reasons for giving up were twofold I suppose, firstly was to prove to myself that I had the will power to give up, after all I gave up smoking the year before. Secondly was for health reasons, not that I think I was drinking excessively but more that I was drinking every weekend at home, and that was always accompanied with peanuts or crisps, or some other kind of fat and salt packed snack. Those of you that know me will see that I am not exactly athletic in my build and never have been.
So New Year was the last time I was to drink alcohol. To be fair January and February passed surprisingly easily with me only having a passing thought of having a drink. But then again I spent every weekend at home in those months and had not been on a night out.
March I knew was always going to be a problem month, with it being my birthday month. To be brutally honest not drinking at all just proved to much to me. I had a small drink on my birthday itself, but nothing more than that.
I well and truly fell of the wagon last weekend. I had a night out to celebrate my birthday with some old mates. In the week leading up to the night out I was pontificating about what I was going to do on Saturday night. Then I said to myself what am I doing? I am a grown up, if I want to have a drink with my friends I can. This is a completely different to smoking (in my experience) as I was addicted to tobacco, but I was not addicted to alcohol. My drinking had not become a problem, whereas smoking had. Well that is what I said to myself! On Sunday morning when I had a terrible thirst and a headache I wasn’t so sure. That was not the worst of it on Wednesday night I went out with my brother as it was the first time since my birthday to meet up. We decided to go on Newland Avenue (Hull) for tea. We went to Roots and had Goat Curry (I highly recommend if you live in Hull or visit Hull that you visit Roots Kitchen and Rum Shack on Newland Avenue, the food is great, in fact all the bars and restaurants on Newland and Princes Avenue are worth a visit). The problem of going for tea with my brother is that alcohol tends to play a large part and this evening was no different. I can definitely confirm that drinking large amounts of alcohol on a school night is definitely a problem, and any reoccurrence should be reduced to a minimum! You notice that I am not saying never be repeated, I am not falling into that trap again.
So I had decided that I would not let drinking alcohol or not drinking alcohol become a part of my life. I would drink when I went out with friends as a social occasion, and occasionally at home, but it would no longer be a weekly routine.
Sometimes goals need to be amended or scraped because they do not have the impact that you first wanted. That is perfectly reasonable, it is after all part of life. Whatever you do, do not beat yourself up if you do not achieve all your goals, just think of another one and give that a go you never know that one may change your life for ever.