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

Now you have your reason, what next?

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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

 

Have a compelling reason to change

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At some point in our lives I suppose we all decide to change something in our life that we think is unhealthy, or limiting us. For me this has been especially acute as I travel through middle age, and parts of your body don’t seem to work as well as they used to.

It doesn’t matter what you want to change, if you want to make it permanent then you will have to prepare yourself. Most of us wander blindly into a change, and suddenly make knee jerk reactions, as a result of something adverse happens to us. For me it would be getting my shorts out for the summer and realising I cannot fasten the button. “Right that’s it, I am going on a diet, I look disgusting!” This is never going to be a good enough reason to lose weight. Once I have gotten over my indignation I would just buy a bigger pair of shorts.

Moving away from a negative lifestyle or situation rarely works for any length of time. Ask yourself how many times have you been on a diet. Many of us do very well at first if we use a sensible diet plan such as those organised established diets such as Weightwatchers or Slimming World. How long do maintain your new weight for? How many of you actually get to your final target weight? When most of us embark on a diet our primary goal is not to be fat, to lose weight. Or if we try to give up smoking we want to stop as it is expensive. In both examples we a moving away from a negative. However the further away from the negative we move, the reason for making the change becomes less, therefore our motivation to maintain and consolidate the wonderful change lessens. Then when something stressful happens in our life, we immediately say “I cannot do this, there is just too much going on in my life, I need a fag, or chips or wine or cake.” Then all that hard work has come to nothing and we end up back at square one.

Instead of moving away from a negative, why don’t you move towards a positive future? For instance when I gave up smoking I asked myself what do I value the most. I was able to answer straight away without any hesitation. I value the time with my children above anything else. I then asked myself in the next 10 -15 years what will I value. That was easy again, it was spending time with my children’s family. I imagined myself playing with my grandchildren in the garden, taking them on adventures, and generally being a fun granddad. I asked myself if I could guarantee that I would be able to do all these things in my sixties if I continued to smoke 20 cigarettes a day. Would I be around to see my grandchildren grow into adults like my mum has? I struggled to answer that question. I then knew exactly what I needed to do, and giving up smoking was easy from then on. I had a compelling reason to give up smoking. More importantly I can use that same reason when continuing to change my lifestyle to a more healthy one.

As I am moving towards my goal my motivation to stay a non-smoking is always high.

Never rush into a change if you want to succeed, take you time and think carefully why you want to make the change.

If you want to discuss this further to help discover your compelling reason or keep you focussed get in touch either by email or messaging via social media.

Live in the moment and enjoy your journey through life


Many of you will have realised by now that I use this blog as some kind of therapy, to remind myself how to be to keep myself on an even keel. 

With that in mind I thought I would talk about the day I have had today.

It has been a good day, bordering on a lovely day. 

It started in the usual fashion with butterflies and that general feeling of inadequacy. That didn’t last however I was soon distracted by the sound of birdsong and a lovely bright summer morning. The kind of  morning that reminds you how wonderful the world is.

I arrived at work and started on writing a training session, something that I started last week. This early stage of writing a training session is my favourite part, this where I start bringing together all the current evidence and combine it with my existing working knowledge. I learn so much during this process about how much I know and don’t know. I always over write at this stage as I get so fascinated with the subject. This kept me engaged for the first hour. Then to stop me getting stuck I went to collect some paperwork from one of the wards. 

As a consequence of visiting a ward I ended up doing a coaching session with one of my coachees. Again I was completely engaged in what I was doing. We managed to spend an hour discussing her plans, and she gave me some very useful feedback. 

2 hours in and I am buoyant. I then meet a member of staff to sign off evidence for her competences, and then back to writing the teaching session. In the meantime I received an email from a colleague at the university giving me feedback from the students I taught on their last module. I was practically walking on air.

After lunch I must admit I got a little carried away on a particular part of the session and ended up doing a quick literature review. Now I have 15 articles to read through. They may not change the presentation dramatically but they are often good to provide more context when delivering the session, and provides a wider reading list.

When I got home the weather was gorgeous if not a little warm. I decided to go for my mile a day run before I relaxed too much and didn’t want to go.  Even though my knees and hips and ankles ached (my legs really object to carrying this fat lad around) it was worth it. I do keep telling myself it will get easier, I have to keep the faith. Anyhow just being out in this glorious weather was worth it the sunlight lit up the trees and the houses giving everything a majestic glow. 

Today has been so good, because I have concentrated on the moment and not over thought the past or the future. There is so much around us to embrace and enjoy. I don’t manage it everyday but when I open my eyes to what is happening and live it the moment I feel so much more fulfilled. 

Open your eyes to what is around you and start enjoying your journey through life.

Walking Through Treacle

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It was like walking through treacle going to work this morning.

My chest was tight, my legs felt like lead, and I had a feeling of impending doom one minute, then a feeling of complete indifference the next.

On at least 2 occasions on my way to work I considered turning around and going home and go back to bed. On both occasions I ignored myself and carried on. It would have been so easy to run back to bed and hide. I was dreading going to work, the thought of speaking to people made me feel sick. But I carried on. I sat on the bus holding back tears, and not knowing why I felt emotional. But I carried on.

As the bus travelled down Anlaby Road I let my mind wander I started to look around me, taking in the different people on the bus, most of them regulars on the bus. Then looking outside of the bus I took in the familiar sites of the K Com Stadium, the church at the end of Boulevard (sorry don’t know what it is called). The sun was shining, it was a beautiful morning. The negative unpleasant feelings had left me.

I arrived at work and walking up the stairs to my office the ruminations and treacle legs started again, until I got inside my office, opened my emails and started work. I was in the moment again away from my negative thoughts.

Throughout the day Foggy and his ruminations have come and gone, on the whole it has been a shitty day. If you asked anyone I met today if they thought I was struggling, they probably would not have noticed. I was determined not to let him rule my day and my life. 2 years ago this would have been the first day of a long run of giving into the depression and taking time off work. Not anymore, they are only feelings, I can let them rule me or I can rule them. I liken it to running, every time I started running it hurts and I want to stop, but I carry on and quite quickly the pain lessens and I can complete my run and reap the benefit.

As I said it is too easy to give into the feelings, but then I would always be a slave to them and never move on. They are just feelings the same as the positive feeling I have, no more or less powerful so why should I pay more attention to them than other feelings.

No doubt tomorrow will be just as bad, but if I don’t give in I know I will have good days very soon.

If you recognise any of this, don’t suffer by yourself, talk to someone, get some support. If you know me, come talk to me, you are not alone. Most of all talk to your Doctor and get some professional help as well as talking to friends and family.

 

Enjoy The Moment

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What a gorgeous weekend it has been. The weather has been truly wonderful.

I was cutting the grass this morning and was looking around my garden and thought to myself how lucky I am to be here right now enjoying the sunshine, listening to the birds singing and smelling freshly cut grass.

We spend so much of our time worrying about what we have and have not done, and planning what we are going to do next that we can miss what is right in front of us. The events of the past few weeks should make us all stop and take stock, as our lives can be snuffed out or changed forever in a blink of an eye. Live every moment, pay attention to what is all around you.

Now planning for the future is important, but it should never be at the expense of the here and now. How do you know what you want if you don’t really know what you have.

I am as guilty as the next person for ruminating on what I have done and what I am going to do. When I find myself doing this (usually in the morning), I start looking around me, I pay attention to my surroundings, what is next to me, what is above me, below me, and in front of. Before I know it I am appreciating what is happening to me now. My mood lifts immediately. I am alive, I can sense what is around me. As my mood lifts I feel more confident and more creative, and therefore more productive.

It is really important to plan and strive for a brighter future, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

Mix Tape of my 30s and 40s

Here is my last mix tape, bringing up to date with music that I have been listening to for the past 16 years. A soundtrack to my boys growing up into young men, me losing my dad, getting promoted, moving house, struggling with my mental health, it has been an eventful 16 years and I am […]

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Here is my last mix tape, bringing up to date with music that I have been listening to for the past 16 years. A soundtrack to my boys growing up into young men, me losing my dad, getting promoted, moving house, struggling with my mental health, it has been an eventful 16 years and I am grateful for every moment of it. If a journey is going to be worthwhile it should be challenging. The view from the top of the mountain is always more satisfying if you have worked hard getting there.

Again my original list was 50 songs long, these are the songs that resonate with me the most at this moment, ask me again in a few months and it may well be different. I have provided a link for each song so you can have a listen. I will also provide a link to the playlist on iTunes.

30s and 40s mix tape

Rococo-Arcade Fire

The View From The Afternoon-Arctic Monkeys

Claire-Baxter Dury

Gossamer Thin-Conor Oberst

Make You Better-The Decemberists

My Sad Captains-Elbow

God is a DJ-Faithless

Ballad of a Dying Man-Father John Misty

Sixteen-The Heavy

Sequestered in Memphis-The Hold Steady

Club Foot-Kasabian

Jenny Was a Friend of Mine-The Killers

Ubu-Methyl Ethel

Hyper Music-Muse

House of Cards-Radiohead

Present Tense-Radiohead

Are We Really Through-Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

I Still Want You-Richard Hawley

Adore-Savages

Under The Pressure-The War on Drugs