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Two Secrets to Help You Commit To Your Goals

Commit to Your Goals | Melanie J White

With summer in the air, are you suddenly excited and committed to better eating, exercise and self-care habits?

There’s something so motivating about the warmer weather and sunshine. It helps us commit to the things that we want so badly – to look and feel great.

But for one reason or another, it can become a struggle to maintain in the long term. At some point, the excitement and motivation wanes.

What’s the secret weapon in maintaining good habits, once the initial excitement fades?

I’d like to share one powerful strategy that really works – “connecting your focus to your feelings.” 

Here’s how it works.

Being Open

Deb came to me with concerns about some ongoing health issues: bloating, lethargy, IBS symptoms and other digestive issues.

She knew what to do to fix things and in the past, she’d been a regular exerciser and a healthy eater, feeling fit and energized. But for a myriad of reasons, all of that had fallen by the wayside.

Even thinking of her past success wasn’t enough to help her get started. She was despondent and felt like she could never make the change that she could stick to for the long term!

After some reflection, Deb realised that she really wanted to make it work this time, because making these changes would lead to a happier, better quality life as she got older.

What she did next was what really sealed the deal.

Firstly, she committed to experimenting for just one week. Not one month, or six months, but one simple week. This was a chunk of time she felt confident she could commit to.

Next, she devised some food and exercise experiments for the week.

Experiments help you to avoid that feeling of failure, because you’re just testing to see if something works (or not). There are no expectations (or feelings of perfection) around experiments.

So for that one week, Deb was flexible and experimental with her choice of foods, eating patterns and exercise approach. She was delighted to find a few things that really worked well – that she enjoyed, that fitted with her lifestyle, and that she could confidently commit to in the long term.

Being Mindful

What really made the difference, in fact Deb’s key factor for success, was mindfully observing how her body responded to the experiments. She connected her focus (healthy habits) with her feeling (how her body responded).

When we met again, she was excited about discovering what works, but more so, that she was strongly connected with the consequences of her habits.

On the days she ate right for her body type, she felt comfortable, energized and light – with enough energy for exercise. On the days she ate too much or the wrong foods for her body type, she felt heavy, despondent and limited.

Deb was suddenly aware that simply being mindful of the consequences of her habits – the physical, mental and emotional feelings they created – made it far easier for her to find the motivation for choosing the better option, more regularly.

And as Positive Psychologists say, strong motivators are essential for successfully making long-term change.

Connecting your focus with your feelings is a simple approach and is a core of Ayurveda, which has been around over 5000 years.

Simply being mindful – being in the present and noticing the consequences of your actions in an objective, non-judgmental way – is a powerful secret weapon for long-term change.

What is ONE thing could you pay attention to this week?

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Work-Life Balance – Slaying the Mythical Beast

Work Life Balance | Melanie White

With all the press about work life balance, including the fact that it’s a myth, I thought I’d chip in with my 2c worth.

Regardless of whether you believe in work-life balance or not, the insatiable quest to slay that mythical beast will probably remain.

So assuming that work-life balance is a tangible thing, I propose a definition, simply:

“spending what you feel is the right amount of time working, and the right amount of time on things that support your well-being.”

It’s up to you to define what ‘the right amount’ is and it’s fair to expect that there is some invariable overlap between the two (especially if you run your own business).

An idyllic work-life balance scenario might involve going to work, doing your job and then coming home to spend enjoyable time with family, friends, on hobbies or leisure/pleasure activities.

Well, there’s the real myth…..

Some of us have kids, some don’t.

Some of us work to live, and others live to work.

In other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all life situation, therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all scenario for work-life balance.

In context of all that, the answer to work-life balance – the sweet spot – may lie in balancing two things:

  1. your personal drive to meet expectations/responsibilities (yours/others)
  2. allowing yourself to meet your personal well-being needs.

That comes down to your personal beliefs and values –what drives you, and why that’s important.

What Drives You?

You might be the kind of person who gets up and skips breakfast to be at work on the early bus so you can finish the report you’re working on, then you work late to get it finished, existing on take-out food, then get the last bus home and stumble into bed.

In this scenario, your drive to meet a deadline, please your client/boss, cope with workplace pressure, feel adequate or be productive may take priority over your immediate health needs (eating breakfast, staying calm, exercising, sleeping well, connecting with others).

Or, you might be the kind of person who gets the kids up and feeds them (and your partner), skipping your own breakfast so you can bustle around for them, making lunch, getting them off to school/work, cleaning the house, doing the shopping and washing, organising dinner and then visiting your sick mother who needs your help before picking the kids up, making them a snack, taking them to sport and getting their homework started before you finish off dinner for the family, so you can watch the news and then stumble into bed.

In this scenario, your focus is taking the responsibility for everyone else’s well-being, such that there’s no time left for you.

These are just two of many possible scenarios….but in any case, you’re appearing unlucky last on the priorities list.

Meeting Your Own Needs

The secret to slaying the mythical beast of work-life balance is simple and fairly un-sexy.

It’s simply allowing yourself some time to meet your own needs.

Maybe that’s an hour in the bathroom by yourself on a Wednesday night.

Maybe it’s reminding yourself each day that you achieved something good.

Maybe you need to have Friday nights out with your friends to simply laugh and have a relaxing dinner.

Regardless of WHAT it is, your solution lies in deciding how important your needs are, setting some realistic boundaries around them, and finding creative ways to slot them into your day/week/life.

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The Benefits of What You Don’t Want

Knowing What You Don't Want | Melanie White

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You’re probably wondering – how could you benefit from something you don’t want?

One of the things that spurs us to make change is the sense that something isn’t quite right.

It makes perfect sense that the knowledge of what you don’t want opens the door to discover a new and better way of being.

At her first session with me, a recent client was vehemently describing all the things in life that she didn’t want, and wasn’t happy with. The conversation circled these things like a buzzard around roadkill, seemingly with no way out.

When we shifted to discussing what she DID want, a light-bulb moment was born.

 

 “Oh. I’d better think about that!”

 

The wonderful thing is that dissatisfaction opens the door for change, and by flipping our dissatisfaction 180 degrees, we might actually find out what we really want more of…and then we can reach for that with open arms.