My Album of The Year

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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.

My Motivational Playlist

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, music plays an important part in my life and how I motivate myself.
This is all the more important when I am running. I am not exactly a natural runner, my default position is most definitely seated therefore it is always a challenge, and as someone once said running is always a series of arguments between my joints that want to stop and my mind that wants to carry on. So I need music to be playing to give me a soundtrack and help me get into a positive mindset to ensure my mind wins the argument.
I have recently started listening to new music. That is songs that have just been released and not necessarily what I would choose if I made a conscious choice of picking it out. I let apple music choose a playlist of the latest alternative releases. So every time I go for a run there is always at least 1 or 2 new exciting surprises. Putting on my music before my run has become integral to the whole routine of running and actually I now look forward to my run to hear something new and exciting as well as some songs that have become familiar. Below is a list of some of my favourite songs currently on the playlist. These are the songs that instantly take away the pain and add another spring to my step. If you get chance give them a listen. We can all to often get stuck in a rut and not try anything new. Just think listening to something new might just inspire you to do something amazing.
My Positive Playlist:
Dear Life – Beck
Nothing to Find – LCD Soundsystem
Domesticated Animals – Queens Of The Stone Age
Plimsoll Punks – Alvvays
War is Coming – Car Seat Headrest
New York – St Vincent
Burn it Down – Daughter
Desire – Everything Everything
Countdown – King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
Can’t Play It Cool – Sheer Mag
It Came to Me – The Barr Brothers
Vampire Again – Marlon Williams
Violet – Districts
Thomas County Law – Iron and Wine
Just Like That – Girl Ray
People and Their Dogs – Willie J Healey
Guilty Party – The National
Evil Has Landed – Queens of The Stone Age

Enjoy, and feel free to share your own.

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?

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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.

Are you satisfied with your life

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From time to time I feel dissatisfied with my life. I feel I should be more than I am, that I do not live up to my potential. I should have a higher paid job, I should be living in a big house, driving a fancy car, going on exotic holidays. I should be more decisive at work, be pro-active, ruthless, a go getter. Sound familiar?

These are just some of the markers of success that our culture values, therefore we have a tendency to measure ourselves them, and decide if we are a success or not. Invariably with are not able to live up to all if any of these values. But we are constantly exposed to the idea that people around us are doing better than us. Pre-social media this exposure was limited to people we saw on the telly, the odd self publicist and gossip. Now we are all connected with have all become shameful self publicist, and now it seems even our friends and neighbours have a better life than us. This just adds to our feelings of inadequacy, and dissatisfaction. This clearly is no way to live our lives.

One answer to this problem I suppose would be to disconnect yourself from all forms of social media. But social media has so much going for it. You would not be reading this blog for one if you stopped engaging with all forms of the media. After all Facebook and Twitter are great ways to share with everyone, how much of a nice time you had, or to share a common experience, therefore adding to your feelings of satisfaction.

The answer is not to change the world but to change the way you see the world and how you respond to what you see. The first thing to do is to assess how you see yourself based on your own measure of satisfaction rather than the medias’. I like to measure myself against Martin Seligmann’s conditions that are required for happiness. Martin Seligmann suggested that to be happy the following conditions need to be present in your life. If you are happy then you will feel more optimistic about you future and therefore more likely to succeed and feel satisfied. The conditions are:

Positive Emotion; how many times a day do you laugh and smile?

Engagement; do you take part in activities that you do for the sake of it, something you don’t have to think too much about (reading, sewing, running, singing etc.)?

Relationships; how often do you see or speak to family or friends or both?

Meaning; why do you do what you do? what are your values?

Achievement; this does not have to be academic or vocational achievement, it could be baking bread for the first time, a personal best time swimming or running, anything where you have done your best, and achieved personal excellence (as good as you can do it). How many times have a you achieved this week.

Answer the questions relating to each condition above. What are areas of your life do you need pay attention to your life to be satisfied? Identify them and then plan how to address them. This is how you can be successful, rather than trying to live up to an impossible ideal imagined through our cultural idea of success.

Be happy, be what you want to be, then you will be successful.

If you want to discuss this further, or want some coaching to have a successful happy life, email me.

Matt@mattycoach71.com