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E#169 50-Day Program Results

This episode is about 50-day program results

Have you ever started any sort of a health change program and wondered why you couldn’t stick to it? today I’m giving you an update on my 50 day program results and what I’ve had to do to stick with it.

Backstory

Around 44 days ago I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that I would make a transformation in my health. I was sick and tired of putting up with menopause symptoms including anxiety and insomnia feeling like I was on the coffee roller coaster and just wanting to clean up my body.

I have experienced changes in my thinking, my energy, my sleep, and it’s all because I’ve developed better habits around drinking water, eating cleaner and with less snacking, drinking less coffee, and setting some boundaries.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The progress of my 50-day program
* The backstory behind the program
* What does extending mean?

Despite the good start, I do love a challenge and I have decided that, 44 days in, I am going to the next level in this program.

Before I tell you about that I’m just going to recap on some of my key results so far.

FIrstly, I have a great eating and supplementation routine and I am no longer bloated and I am energized. I’m feeling calmer and more relaxed than I have in a long time. My digestive system, liver and nervous systems are having a good rest.

Secondly, instead of trying to flog myself with exercise, I’m working (right now) on gentler forms of movement that are more in keeping with what I need right now. 

My sleep has improved dramatically. I feel more positive and hopeful. I have a clearer and more focused mind.

My skin looks better – clear, soft and dewy.

My clothes fit better.

I am clearly seeing the thoughts and beliefs I had attached to eating and drinking for what they are – not serving me, and inaccurate.

I have let go of things that are unhealthy for me with surprising ease.

It’s probably because I”ve committed to myself and given enough focus on what’s important to me, to make this difference.

And now, as I have a few days left to go – I have decided to extend my program.

What does extending mean?

Extending means I will continue and deepen my journey for another month at least.

I am giving myself four more weeks to truly understand my newly refined and tuned up body and mind, to become familiar with them, and to get comfortable here.

I don’t want to go back to my old habits, so I am setting myself a new milestone to aim for and that is giving me the period of focus that I need to learn more about myself – most importantly, how to remain consistent and committed – so I don’t slip into old habits.

In other words, I”m working on strengthening my WHY behind this.

With several sick family members right now, I know how things can go sour. It doesn’t happen overnight though, it creeps up gradually. 

That is why I am continuing on this journey.

This was a QUICK update – but I’ll be sharing some more insights soon, including some secrets to my success, and some of the things that YOU can do for yourself.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#165 Busting Cravings and Firing Up Motivation

This episode is about busting cravings and firing up motivation

Are you doing a transformative program and have found that the magic is wearing off after a week, and you’re losing motivation?

I want to share my initial results with you and talk about how to stay motivated while you’re on a transformative program.

The first week’s highlights

I am pretty chuffed with my first weeks work in my own transformation program.

I did really well with everything this first week. After all, it’s the honeymoon period of the program where everything is new and exciting.

Here are some highlights.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What to do when you are losing motivation?
* How to get the timing right?
* What are the other motivation tips that we can use?

Water

I did especially well with drinking enough water, and this made a huge difference to my overall energy levels, my hunger, the way my skin looks and feels, and also my mental focus. My digestion has been better and I’ve tapped into my natural thirst and hunger signals.

That was an absolute winner to start with.

The way I managed to succeed in keeping my water intake up was actually pretty simple. I just filled my water bottle up every night so would be ready for the next day at my desk. I made sure to have 2 cups of uncaffeinated rooibos tea each day which added to my water intake.

Plus I had a glass of water as I was preparing dinner each night. I absolutely bossed my goal and my natural thirst mechanism has kicked in, so I will be doubling to two litres of water a day this week coming.

One of the things this has helped me to do is cope with sugar withdrawals.

Sugar and white flour

I have to be really honest and say the first five days without sugar was really hard.

After my birthday where I got a lot of cakes and some fudge and some chocolate, I had developed a bit of a habit of eating chocolate or cake in the afternoon when I had a bit of an energy lull.

But by God did I have some sugar cravings this week. I crave sugar after lunch, I crave sugar in the mid afternoon, and I crave sugar after dinner.

To cope with this, I use some really effective strategies to get past those cravings and I was over them completely by day five.

These include keeping my water intake up, including enough protein and fibre at each meal, and getting my meal timing right so I don’t need snacks.

That last part is important because snacking, especially on sugar or carb rich foods, drives false hunger and cravings so it’s important to stop those in their tracks.

Now by day 7 I have been free of sugar or carb cravings for two days!

This is pretty impressive for me because I have long been a fan of having what I call ‘lunch dessert’, plus at least a little chocolate after dinner.

Macro ratios

After busting those cravings by day 5, I turned my focus to getting my carb mix right because this is the secret for managing long term hunger, satiety, energy and cravings – and of course body composition and weight 

Once you sort out any blood sugar imbalances which are indicated by what I call ‘false’ sugar or carb cravings, then you can assess natural energy needs and can get a sense of how best to fuel your body for clear thinking and good performance with exercise.

So the past two days I’ve been following the Metabolic Typing fine tuning process to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat at each meal and maintain good physical and mental energy, free of cravings and full of energy, completely satisfied for four hours after a meal.

Exercise

I haven’t gone as well as I hoped with exercise because I had a couple of days with really bad headaches and a stiff trapezius muscle so I had to work around those things.

I also noted I hadn’t planned around my work properly during a busy week and so I was short of time on a couple of days, and not wanting to exercise too late in the afternoon for fear of staying awake all night.

However, I achieved about 80% of my exercise goal this week which is fantastic. That means that on most days I did two exercise sessions per day, in accordance with the specific activities I set for myself.

What I learned is that I need to plan better for exercise.

I had to catch my naughty mind trying to convince me I was too busy to exercise on a couple of days, and pushed through using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 principle.

Staying Motivated

I wanted to talk a bit about how to stay motivated during a program like this one.

Let’s start with what I’ve seen in many of my clients. The first week of any type of transformation program is exciting and interesting. You’re doing new things, you’re getting some quick wins, and you are also starting to get into a rhythm.

But if you are a veteran of programs, or lacking in self confidence, you might start to lose focus or find yourself making excuses for things that you are not doing.

Let me just say that this is totally normal. It’s totally normal for you to start getting a bit bored or unmotivated or to feel challenged when it comes to habit upgrades.

It’s normal to feel a bit stuck or overwhelmed at times and feel like giving up. Although this may happen to you later on, it can also happen after the first seven days of a program.

I want to explain what I’m doing to stay motivated during my transformation program

Motivation Tip 1 – Get the Timing Right

The first point is that you should really choose the timing of your transformation program carefully. It’s crazy to try to do it when you are incredibly busy at work, or when you have a lot of stressful things going on in your life.

Generally those things mean that you’re at a tipping point of stress and a thing that would normally be challenging can become just that bit too challenging such that you might give up more easily.

Also, when you’re stressed it takes a huge toll on your physical and mental health, including your body’s nutrients status. Your nutrient needs increase, and your cravings for sugar and carbs and fatty salty food all increase when you are stressed. So it makes it a lot harder to improve your eating, just sleep well, and to be able to exercise effectively. 

In fact if you are trying to do something transformative in a period of life like this, you’re more likely to get a cold or a flu or to get otherwise rundown and sick and then not be able to complete the program.

So this timing thing is really important – choose a period of your life that is normal, routine, and average, so that you can more easily adjust to the disruption and challenge of the transformation program and face the challenges and discomfort of change without giving up!

Similarly, a bad time to do a transformation program is if you are out of a normal routine.

The reason that this isn’t a very good time to do a transformation is when you’re on a relaxing holiday. It may be harder to persevere or you might find it harder to stay motivated and focused.

One other reason that you should not attempt a transformation while you’re on holiday is that you may be establishing habits outside of your normal weekly structure, so that when you go back to that normal weekly structure, your new habits no longer fit into that typical week.

It totally makes sense for you to make changes within your normal routine, where you have more of a fixed schedule each day. That makes it easier for you to stack habits or piggyback habits on top of your existing ones and automate them much more easily.

Motivation Tip 2 – Measure and Reflect

One thing that’s been really helpful for me is to measure several things each day and really keep my eyes on how much better I am feeling when I do certain things and to reflect on the success of that.

After seven days on my own 50 day program, I have learned a lot about motivation. I realise that I approach each weekend ready to relax after a stressful week and have been tempted to let down my guard because of that.

Documenting this process helped me to see how important it is to have a strategy for weekends to stay motivated to stay on track – or choose to focus on habits that you can easily do 7 days per week – or at least consistently and without any sabotage.

Motivation Tip 3 – Don’t wait for motivation

Have you ever heard of the Zeigarnik Effect? 

The Zeigarnik Effect states that not completing a task creates mental tension, which keeps it top of mind. The only thing that will ease this tension is to complete the task. 

Starting something – like your daily exercise session – is usually the hardest part. If you can start focusing on the task for a few minutes, the brain’s desire to complete it should then take over. So next time you feel like putting off an action, just take that first step, and the rest will follow.

Summary

Today I’ve talked about all the things I’ve learned after 7 days on my own transformation program. 

I’m still in the experimental phase to see what works and what I can fit into my lifestyle and how to do that, but I’m already seeing amazing results with clearer skin, clearer thinking and a calmer, less anxious state of mind. The mental chatter has all but stopped and that’s been life changing for me.

I explained the changes I’ve chosen to make – water, food, exercise, boundaries around work, journaling – and how I’ve used journaling and metrics to learn about myself, and stay motivated, and tweak the plan.

This has been such a growth opportunity for me. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been extremely rewarding. I look forward to sharing what happens next week!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#164 Getting Motivated to Transform

This episode is about getting motivated to transform

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get motivated and in the right headspace to commit to and complete a transformation challenge or program? Have you ever started a program and not been able to finish it, and feel really bummed about that?

I hear you! In this episode, I want to share with you a journey that I’m about to embark on to improve my mental health and sleep.

I’ve developed a holistic program that I’m calling “physically and mentally stronger”. 

And in this episode I want to share with you how I am getting into the right mindset and how I’m preparing to absolutely smash the next 50 days. 

In the coming weeks, I’m going to share what’s going on and what it feels like to be on this journey. I’m going to share all of the blood, sweat and years with you so you can see which of my hacks and methods are working, and my secrets for staying on track.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* How to get yourself motivated to transform?
* How to have a clear path?
* Finding out the why behind the motivation

The Background

Over the past 25 years I have worked as a personal trainer, as a nutrition coach, and as a health coach. I’ve participated in countless challenges and programs, but there aren’t many that I’ve completed. And I know a lot of other people in this same boat. 

It tends to happen that when spring comes around people feel motivated to get outside and to shed a few winter kilos or to get out of the winter slump and re-energise themselves or lose weight or whatever it is. 

But the reality of a busy life often gets in the way and it’s easy to slide back into old habits and give up on that program or challenge or whatever it is.

As I mentioned in a recent episode, I have been trying to hack my sleep and anxiety that have come about as a result of many stressors in the last 2 years but also with the onset of perimenopause. It’s been a really trying time and my productivity is down, my energy is down, and my mood has been low. I’ve woken up a few times feeling really anxious in the night with a tight chest. 

So over the past couple of months, I’ve been hacking a few different parts of my life to reduce these symptoms and get things back into balance, I feel like it hasn’t quite been enough and I want to do a more complete and holistic program that will get me some results and get my health and physiology back on track.

But I didn’t want this to be one of those programs that I would start and then never complete. I didn’t want to feel pressured  to flog myself at the expense of my health and my sanity. I didn’t want to feel pushed, restricted, or overtrained.

Speaking with a friend today, she said she’d hit ‘rock bottom’ and it gave her the impetus to make some changes and stick with them.

Then I thought – why is it that we have to wait until we are at rock bottom before we act? That gives us so much more shit to push up hill!!

I’ve decided to be proactive and start something now, and create the commitment to it.

Since I have the qualifications, skills and experience, I decided to come up with my own program and commit to doing it for a period of time that I felt was reasonable and that would yield results.

Given my past experience with this sort of thing, including some successes, I knew I had to make sure that I was 100% committed and that my commitment was foolproof. 

How on earth do you do that?

That’s what I’m going to explain – my three-step formula. 

Step 1 – The Plan

The most important thing for starting any program is to have a really clear plan of exactly what you are going to do and when. 

That might sound like a bit of a no brainer, but there is a nuance here.

How often have you gotten a plan that somebody has written for you and tried to copy, but have lost interest or found out it was too hard or not doable for you or didn’t get any results?

I have seen this countless times and so the important thing about making a plan is that it’s customised to you.

Here are three steps for getting your plan right.

Decide exactly what you are going to change. Be very specific.

For example, instead of saying I’m going to exercise each day, I’m going to say exactly what the exercise is, and what time I’m going to do it. 

And not just that, but I have scoped my calendar in advance to make sure I’m choosing days and times that are absolutely realistic, blocked out for myself, and most likely to succeed. 

I also have a plan B in case any of those times don’t work out.

Be selective

This one is really important. You can’t change everything at once. Studies show that the likelihood is that you can automate around 2 – 3 habits in 12 weeks.

So I’m not trying to change everything dramatically, I am choosing a couple of things that are new habits and a couple of things that are improvements to existing habits.  

Another point about being selective is that you need to choose activities that you absolutely 100% can commit to. For example, there’s no way I’m going to get up at 6 a.m. and run 5km. No way. So that’s not even on my agenda.

I am going to walk for 30 minutes each morning, and do 30 minutes of weights and stretching every afternoon. 

This is a stretch for me but I have done it easily before and so I know that I can do it again. Remember I’ve blocked this out in my calendar so that it’s not negotiable.

Make it foolproof

The third step is to make your chosen activities foolproof. What I mean by this is to write down all of the excuses that your brain is going to come up with when it comes time to do that activity and work out how you will counteract them.

For example I know that when it comes to exercise it’s going to be too cold or I’m too tired or I’m too hungry or I’m too busy and all of those other really good reasons that my brain is coming up with in the moment. I have a plan for all of those things. It’s foolproof.

Step 2 – The Why

Now you might think that making a plan is enough. And this is a mistake that a lot of people make.

A plan is definitely important, but unless you have some good motivators behind the plan, you’re probably give up by about the 2nd or 3rd day.

It’s great to think about your motivators from a really broad and deep perspective. For example, I know that bone health and healthy aging and so on are really important to me. 

I know that I want to reduce anxiety and insomnia. 

But in a recent session with my coach, I realised that these weren’t motivating enough for me. I had to come up with another three or four very important reasons why I would do this challenge and complete it no matter what. Many of those reasons are intrinsic – important to me – but some are also extrinsic – beneficial for others.

For some people one or two reasons might be enough, but I’ve realised that I need to have a lot of reasons to really commit to something like this, and feel like it is worth the effort.

Step 3 – The Terms and Conditions

The third step that I want to talk about is what I’m calling the ‘terms and conditions’. 

This is like my contract with myself, outlining what I want to do and how.

For example, I am not naturally a journaller but I feel it’s important to document certain things every day to keep me focused and to help me identify when or where I need to course-correct. I will also be visualising and rehearsing the steps I have committed to each day. I will use positive and supportive language. I commit to not complain or make negative or unhelpful comments to myself or about my plan.

I will recognise that it’s hard some days, and easy on others, and that’s ok and it’s part of the journey.

All of this mental stuff is so important to me because I am someone who may not take the time to reflect or celebrate my successes or my commitment to the process. So, it’s really important to record specific metrics each day to show that I am firstly taking action every day and secondly that I am checking in with my motivators, and my mindset, to ensure that what I’m doing is meeting my expectations.

Part of this recording of progress is going to be the recording of physiological changes in  my body. I am using Philia Labs system that monitors a specific part of the stress cycle, to inform me of how my chronic stress is tracking and also, to predict when my mental health, productivity or focus is likely to shift, so I can realign my day and use strategies to boost my mood and wellbeing. For me this is a critical part of staying on track.

And the last part of my terms and conditions are about my expectations. 

In terms of expectations, the only one I have is that I will learn how to persist with a process and follow through until completion.

At the very least I will learn something about myself and build trust in myself. At the most, I will also achieve some outcomes.

Summary

I’m about to start a 50-day journey to improve my physiological, physical and psychological health. 

Despite being a natural born quitter in the past, I am using all of the qualifications, skills, and experience I have to commit to a program I have devised and follow it for 50 days, no matter what.

Why wait until you hit rock bottom? Be proactive and start now, because it will be way easier, more positive and more enjoyable.

Today, I shared my own three step process to make this journey foolproof.

I have created a plan that suits me specifically.

I have identified the whys behind it – and that I need several immediate ones to help me commit.

I have devised terms and conditions to help me stick with it no matter what.

Hopefully, this has inspired you to think about what it takes for you to change and… to get on and do it.

Listen in next time and let’s see how I’m going with it!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#160 Trusting yourself

This episode is about trusting yourself

Trusting yourself as a key to developing self belief – and in creating a thriving business. 

That’s because if you can’t follow through on your commitments, you will lack self-belief and self-confidence, and you will also be seen as unreliable or flaky by others.

How can you learn to trust yourself more and build more self belief, so that you can show up confidently and achieve what you want in the world?

That’s what I want to discuss today.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What Erodes Self Trust?
* What gets in the way of self-accountability?
* How do you find the motivation to do things?

What Erodes Self Trust?

I want to start by providing some backstory to this, and outlining some basics on how the brain works and how self-trust can be formed, or eroded. 

Firstly, you will only believe something is true if your brain has enough evidence to prove it. 

For example, if you have previously run and won (or come close to winning) a 5K race, then you probably trust that you can probably win a 5K race in future. 

Here’s another example.

Let’s say you have previously gotten up at 7am each day and created a daily work plan and then completed all of the tasks in your plan. You didn’t need anyone telling you to do it; you were self-motivated and just got it done.

Because you’ve had that experience, you trust that you can do it again.

Where I’m heading with this is that if you’re willing and able to be accountable to yourself, and do the things you set out to do, at least for a little while, then you will start to build self trust. 

But if you consistently start things and give up right away, or focus on what you haven’t followed through on, then your brain will notice the unfulfilled promises and tell you that you’re only capable of making empty promises and that you’re not to be trusted.

For example, if you keep meaning to walk each weekday after work but it doesn’t happen, maybe you never even start, then you will start doubting your ability to do things.

Or maybe, you just can’t be bothered!

Let’s talk about these two important pieces – self-accountability, and motivation – because they are so important for anybody who wants to achieve anything in the world. 

What gets in the way of self-accountability?

Have you ever wondered why it can be so hard to be self accountable?

The first reason is that when you always put other things and other people first, you often end up doing that at your own expense, and therefore letting yourself down. 

Or, if you have too much on your plate and so you constantly struggle to get everything done, you are also letting yourself down.

In either scenario – putting yourself last, or having unrealistic expectations – you are eroding trust in your ability to start, persist or complete something.

Let’s project this outwards for a moment and see how it feels to be on the receiving end. 

Imagine that you were working with somebody who constantly let you down. 

They would promise that they would do certain things by a certain time, or that they would have that report finished by Friday, yet they never ever met those deadlines. 

How do you feel about that person? Would you trust them? Would you be relying on them for things? Would you believe in their capacity to do things?

When you don’t meet your own goals and expectations, you end up feeling that way about yourself, and also, you become known as someone who is unreliable or flaky – which erodes trust from your client base!

How do you find the motivation to do things?

There are three things to think about here.

Firstly, what looks like lack of motivation is often lack of energy. 

That’s why people who are overloaded may find it hard to make decisions, feel overwhelmed and exhausted at the thought of doing anything new, or finding the mental energy to be consistent with habits. 

Secondly, motivation may come after you have made a commitment to something.  

Thirdly, motivation may come only when you know what to do and/or have taken the first steps. 

So, if you have avoided making decisions or if you haven’t mapped a clear plan or pathway, you might get stuck in an avoidance pattern where you don’t take any action because you aren’t committed or clear on what to do.

Three things to build more trust

With all that said and done, hopefully you’re clear on why you might not trust yourself.

But if you want to flip this around and start trusting yourself, you need to stop doing those things and change your behaviour.

Here are three things that can help you to build trust.

1. Honesty

Firstly, be honest with yourself. If you want to be consistent with something but you don’t have the energy, time or commitment, be clear on that and park the idea.

Schedule a date to revisit it when you think you might have some more breathing space.

Secondly, be honest with others.

Honesty also extends to your responsibilities at work and in your relationships. If you don’t have the capacity to do something, or the bandwidth to contribute, say so.

Don’t burn yourself out for the sake of someone else’s happiness.

Don’t put yourself last and expect to muddle through it. It won’t work.

By being honest with yourself and others, you will be able to set boundaries that give you time, space and capacity to actually do things for yourself.

Then you will be able to do those things, stick with them, and build trust.

2. Decide what you will commit to 

One afternoon when I was 14 years old, my best friend’s mother came into their kitchen and hung a rubber disc on the wall. It was the size of a dinner plate and it had writing on it.

“What IS that?” we said.

‘It’s a round tuit.” she replied. Sure enough, the disc had those words on it.

She said, “It’s a fun little reminder of all the things that I keep saying I will get around to doing one day.”

We all have things that we’d like to get around to doing one day, but as long as those things are hovering around in your brain without any action, there is a clear lack of commitment, importance and/or energy.

If you have a list of ‘round tuits’, I suggest you write them all down and look at the list with honest eyes and make some decisions.

Decide what you’ll never do and cross it off the list.

Decide which ones have merit and evaluate them. Visualise yourself actually doing them, and then, cross off any that aren’t important, realistic or likely.

Decide which ones you will do at some point, and diarise time slots to revisit each one and make a project plan.

When you have done this, your round tuits will become actionable projects that you feel honestly committed to.

One last thing on this. We all have to do things that we don’t like doing or find difficult, like writing a blog, or exercising. 

But we may need to do those things in order to succeed, so we can choose to make those things more enjoyable somehow, focus on the outcome we’ll get, or find ways to make those tasks a bit easier.

When you are committed to doing something, this part is much easier!

Rather than doing something ‘when you feel like it’, you will have a not negotiable, automatic habit that you do no matter what.  

3. Set specific goals and build in self-accountability. 

Once you have done the first two steps, you can create specific, tangible goals which are based on clearly defined, realistic actions with their own unique days and time slots.

Be clear to identify whether you need training or support to take each action.

Make sure your confidence of achieving each one is at least a 9/10.

Troubleshoot in advance – plan away the roadblocks and create cues and support to help you succeed, like reminders to complete a plan, or developing a checklist you can use to complete the steps.

This is the secret to setting and actually achieving all of your goals, and building self-trust through self-accountability.

When you start doing this, you will start to feel good about yourself, and the outside world will see and feel it, too.

Summary

If you can’t follow through on your commitments to yourself, you will lack self-belief and self-confidence, and you will also be seen as unreliable or flaky by others.

That feels terrible.

It can be hard to commit to yourself if you normally put yourself last, overcommit, or otherwise lack motivation.

Luckily, you can change ALL of these things, by

  1. Being honest with yourself and others about what you want to do and can do, 
  2. Making decisions on what you will and won’t commit to, and
  3. Setting specific goals with built-in self-accountability.

The more you commit to and achieve your own objectives, the greater trust you will have in yourself, the more confident you will feel, and the more self belief you will have.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#149 Taking Control with Better Planning

This episode is about taking control with better planning

I’m super on top of planning, and so people tend to come to me as a business coaching or resilience coaching client to get help with getting organised. 

And rather than talk about transformations, today I’d like to talk about four benefits that my clients experience by being better planners in business and life.

Planning is a skill that anyone can learn. So even if you’re not very organised or systematic in the way that you do things, you can learn to improve those things for a calmer, more productive and more satisfying life, that you feel more in control of. 

Let’s get started with those benefits!

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Avoiding decision fatigue
* How to feel organised
* How to feel motivated in under 5 minutes

Avoiding Decision Fatigue 

The first benefit of planning is that it circumvents decision fatigue. Here’s what I mean.

If you don’t have a plan, then you have to constantly make decisions about what to do next, all day.

This can lead to you feeling out of control, unclear and disorganised. And the human brain has a limited capacity for decision making each day, so without a plan, you are setting yourself up for what’s called decision fatigue.

Without a plan, by the end of the day, you probably won’t be able to work out how you spent the day, whether you achieved anything, and you will likely feel rushed and stressed, mentally drained and tired.

But let’s look at the alternative – having a plan.

Let’s say you turn up at your desk on Monday morning and you have a plan for the day. You’ve defined in advance what you will do and when, when you will take lunch, and your lunch is organised and in the fridge.

You have a realistic list of tasks to complete, and you get them done easily and on time, so you can knock off work at a reasonable time and without feeling rushed.

Because you’ve planned an hour to yourself after work, you get to exercise or unwind, or whatever you’ve chosen to do then, before transitioning into an evening of dinner, family time and a restful night’s sleep.

It sounds idyllic right? But this is possible with a plan.

A more meaningful, fulfilling life

The second benefit of planning is that you set and achieve goals that are truly meaningful for you – not just goals that you think you should do.

When you take the time to truly consider what you want and how to get it, you will feel more in control, intentional and purposeful, rather than just letting life happen to you.

You are intentionally choosing things that will take you directly on the path to your vision or bigger outcome goals, and you will feel good about moving in the right direction.

You’ll feel more positive, and like you are doing what you’re meant to be doing.

In other words, the act of planning ahead gives you clarity, the chance to make purposeful choices about your direction, and to map out the specific steps to get there.

Feeling organised

I think a lot of the time when people are dissatisfied or feeling chaotic and disorganised, it’s because they’re vague about what they want and why.

For example, let’s say that you decide you want to ‘eat better’ – but that’s as far as you’ve gone. What does that actually mean?

Does it mean that you’ll eat vegetables with every dinner, buy take away only once per week instead of four times, does it mean that you’ll eat carrot sticks instead of chips in the afternoons?

You can see where I’m going. If you’re not specific about the actions you want to take, and if you have no plan to take those actions, then you’ll probably get lost along the way.

The flipside of that is having a plan where you know exactly what you’ll do and when.

Sure you might not feel like doing the specific activity when the time comes, but this is the work of making change – learning to persist anyway.

As long as you define specific actions that you enjoy taking, and/or you have support to make sure they happen, you will feel organised, in control of your life and you will start seeing the results of your actions.

Yes, the results you have today are directly related to the habits you do each day.

Being specific about what those habits are and how and when you will do them, sets the scene for progress and achievement.

Feeling motivated in under 5 minutes

Let’s finish on another positive part of having a plan – the chance to recognise your success.

So few of us actually take the time to recognise how far we’ve come, or what we have achieved, or what we are achieving on the way to our goal. Even being consistent with a habit is an achievement even before the outcome has been realised! 

When any of my clients feel demotivated on a journey of change or lose self-belief, I can help them flip that feeling around in under 5 minutes by simply asking them to walk through all that they have done and achieved so far.

When you have a plan in place and clear specific actions that you are marking off in a diary or list, then it’s easy to visually remind yourself of your progress toward your final goal.

Why would you wait until the end to recognise the final result, when you can enjoy the motivation of recognising your progress along the way, as part of your specific plan?

Having a plan and ticking things off is an easy, quick and a fantastic way to recognise your achievements and build self-belief, which creates the motivation to keep going with your plan and achieve the end result.

Summary

Planning is a powerful tool to feel more positive, uplifted and to achieve what you want in life.

In my experience with business and resilience clients, it is the key to success, happiness and purpose.

As discussed today, when you create a plan to succeed you can enjoy benefits including:

  1. Avoiding decision fatigue
  2. A greater sense of meaning and purpose
  3. Feeling organised, and
  4. Feeling motivated easily and quickly.

If you’d like to hone your planning skills, reach out for a good fit call to see if I can help you to live a more purposeful, satisfied and productive life!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 80: That Quit Voice

What does it take to succeed, and how do you silence that quit voice?

When you start a business there is a lot to learn and at various times you may feel uncomfortable, challenged, frustrated and scared. 

And let me tell you this – if you feel all of those things, it means that you’re doing it right. 

Welcome to the world of being an entrepreneur.

The thing is that along the way, you are probably going to hear an inner voice – that quit voice – the voice that tells you terrible things, like:

  • Who are you to run this business?
  • You can’t do this, you have no clue!
  • Why would anyone buy HW coaching services from you – you can’t even look after your OWN wellbeing.
  • I have no clients, nothing is working, I might as well just give up.

There are 100 other versions of these statements but these are some common ones.

If you’ve ever heard these voices in your head – this podcast is for you.

The Quit Statistics

You’ve probably heard the statistics that 95% of businesses fail in the first year of operation. 

But have you ever wondered what that actually means – that 95% of businesses fail

Sure, there can be mismanagement, lack of research into the demand for your service, poor marketing, or over capitalising. 

But I think what it means is that people have given up. 

It means that they lack grit and persistence – because all these so-called reasons for failure are lessons, and things that can be overcome. 

And I want to tell you that success may not come in your first year or even your first two years. But if you believe in what you’re doing and you know that it’s valuable and you persist then your chance of success increases.

So rather than call these business failure statistics, I want to call them quit statistics.

What Does It Take to Succeed?

As described in Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, there is a theory that it will take you 10,000 hours over 10 years to reach the expert level of proficiency in anything you want to do. 

Think about what that means in the context of giving up or quitting in your business in that first year, two years or five years?

The thing it takes to succeed is persistence.

Persistence means that you are resisting the novelty and freshness of shiny objects. 

You are committed to finishing what you start.

Persistence is doing things now that will set you up for success later – there’s no quick fix.

You’re working with the distant future in mind.

You are focused on a clear and definite goal.

You have the determination to stick to a course once you’ve committed to the goal.

You don’t abandon tasks in the face of obstacles.

And most importantly, you have a big vision of what you want to achieve that you just won’t let go of.

Right now I want to ask you to check in with yourself. How many of these traits do you have?

Persistence is doing things now that will set you up for success later.

Which of these might you need to sharpen up? 

Most people don’t have all of these traits, but when you are truly passionate about something and feel you have a big purpose, it makes persistence as I’ve just described it, a whole lot easier.

If you knew that you could succeed if you persisted long enough in your business, what would happen to your quit voice?

How would it affect your investment and commitment to your business?

Right about now you might be thinking to yourself…

…“Yes but I need to earn an income! What if I”m flogging a dead horse?”

This is a valid question and it’s one you need to answer because it will give you the confidence to commit to your idea and then persist for long enough to achieve your goal.

First let’s consider the reality – accept you will experience failure along the way. You will learn lessons about what to do differently and you will need to adapt your approach or method.

Secondly, you really need to research and test the market to know that there is both a need AND a demand for your services before you start.

Thirdly, you must be good at what you do, and that takes time and ongoing personal and professional development. 

If you do those things and make good connections as you build your business, you will likely succeed if you persist long enough. 

Aside from that, you need to find ways to make money to support you while your business is growing AND at some point you need to earn income in your business.

How long does it take to succeed?

Maybe the next question you’re asking is how long does it take to succeed in a coaching business or other service based business?

Let’s make it easy and assume that success means making a profit consistently for a period of time.

And let’s assume that you’re not mucking around, playing small, trying to do it all yourself, staying stuck in fear. Let’s assume you’re doing NONE of those things, and you’re proactively seeking good quality advice and support to help you develop a business in a viable niche.

With those things in place, the time it takes to succeed depends on your grit and persistence.

Yes, it comes down to you.

Going back a way, it took Thomas Edison almost three years to test around 3,000 designs for light bulbs and then, after getting a patent, he spent a year testing 6000 plants to get the filament right.

That’s an example of someone with a physical product who is testing and refining his invention to get it right.

It took life coach Marie Forleo many years to build her business and 2.5 years of daily online content and presence to build her brand online.

It took me, the lowly Melanie J White, about 6 months to develop and deliver a pilot program, and about one year until I was earning a full time income from the full version of that program. That success continued for the next two years until I stopped running that program and pivoted in my business.

In a tangible sense of income and clients, that’s what’s possible.

According to author Angela Duckwork in her book Grit, is roughly 10,000 hours and 10 years of commitment to a craft before you are at expert level in your craft.

You can definitely develop a successful business before then but having a high level of skill is ultimately the true measure of success beyond anything else – because it is ultimately what attracts people to your business.

The message is this – if you follow a road map and give something a red hot go, and stick with it, you will become good at it, and you will succeed.

Passion. Courage. Focus. Resilience.

How to Silence the Quit Voice

Hopefully this has given you some perspective on what’s possible if you put in the time, energy and effort – and most importantly, commitment to persist.

Maybe you’re feeling pumped up at the thought of succeeding.

That means you have the first two magic ingredients of success – persistence and grit. 

But beyond this, how do you silence the quit voice that can get in the way of persistence?

You need four other things – passion, courage, focus and resilience.

Passion, courage, focus and resilience are the things that help you to persist when your computer shows the blue screen of death, or you are overly emotional after a lack of sleep, or your marketing campaign gets crickets. 

With passion, courage, focus and resilience, you will be agile and objective enough to stand back, learn the lesson, change track and move on.

To build these skills, you need to practice self compassion and develop a growth mindset.

That means being kind to yourself, being mindful, reframing your failures as lessons, and embracing the discomfort of the unknown as an opportunity to gain new skills and insights.

In other words, if you want to silence the quit voice, you need to coach yourself.

This means focusing on your big why, managing your emotions and reframing failures. When you do this, you will be able to make rational decisions and act in a logical, calm and objective way, no matter what.

You will overcome procrastination, overwhelm and fear.

Just stick with it.

I want to refer you to some previous podcast episodes here that will help you get there:

  1. Episode 4 – How to Get in the Mood to Get Things Done
  2. Episode 59 – Becoming Your Future Self
  3. Episode 68 – Cultivating Self-Discipline and Self-Regulation
  4. Episode 73 – The Three Best Ways to Build Self-Confidence
  5. Episode 76 – The Importance of Self Compassion

Summary

Mental discomfort is part of being a business owner.

We all have an inner voice that can turn the tiniest problem into a catastrophe, or to revel in the slightest hint of self doubt.

Then you start to telling yourself reasons why you should give up on your business.

That’s your quit voice talking.

It’s what causes so many business owners to give up on their business or their big goal or dream.

But the fact is, you can do some important groundwork FIRST to make sure your business idea is viable.

If you follow a road map and give something a red hot go, and stick with it, you will become good at it, and you will succeed.

Then, if you persist with your idea long enough, keep troubleshooting along the way, getting the right support and improving your skills, you will eventually succeed.

Your quit voice might pop up along the way, and to get rid of it or at least manage it, you can practice self-compassion and work on developing a growth mindset.

If you would like some help to get started on persistence, you may like to join the my monthly Habitology membership for personal and professional growth. In April 2020 we are focusing on stretch goals – so it’s the perfect time to commit to yourself.

Visit https://www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology for more information.

Ready to mute that quit voice?

With passion, courage, focus and resilience you will be successful. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 59: Becoming Your Future Self

This podcast is about one of the fundamental things of becoming your future self: challenging and changing your beliefs.

You’ve probably heard the saying “If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

You’ve probably also heard the saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Both of those sayings speak to the concept that if you hang onto the beliefs, habits and thoughts that you have right now then nothing is going to change.

Both of those sayings speak to the concept that if you hang onto the beliefs, habits and thoughts that you have right now then nothing is going to change.

In other words, if you want to become your future self, you have to start thinking and acting differently.

It SOUNDS easy, but your brain wants to hang onto your current beliefs, habits and thoughts because it invested a lot of energy in creating and habitualising them. 

That’s why I want to talk about this exact topic today in the podcast.

Let’s start with an understanding of what beliefs, habits and thoughts are, and then to talk about two methods to change them so that you can become your future self.

Definitions

Before we get into definitions of beliefs, habits and thoughts, let’s recap how the brain works, because this is a beautiful way to illustrate the difference between them.

When you first learn how to do something it takes a lot of focus and energy – in other words, it takes a lot of conscious thinking. 

Your brain loves learning things quickly and properly so it can turn the steps into automated habits that run on autopilot. Your brain uses your thoughts as motivation and instructions to get you to take the right actions.

When you practice those thoughts and actions repeatedly they become a habit.

And when something becomes a habit, your brain can switch into autopilot and save energy. 

In the recesses of your mind there is an unconscious thinking process going on to instruct all the thoughts and actions that will get you out of bed on time. 

You switch from conscious thoughts about what you’re doing into unconscious thoughts about what you’re doing. Your thoughts are still there, they’re just in the background, barely noticeable, quietly instructing what you are doing.

Here’s an example. When you are learning to drive a car, your focus is everywhere – put foot on accelerator, check mirrors, use indicator, change gears while depressing the clutch – and so on.  

But when you have mastered all those intricate steps, you can find yourself singing along with the radio as you drive and suddenly realise you are at your destination, barely remembering how you got there.

This process of forming a habit takes anywhere from 30 – 360 days, depending on the complexity of the habit. The average time to form a habit is 83 days.

And once a habit has been running on autopilot for an extended period, your brain notices the benefit or result of that habit.

From there, your mind forms a belief about that thing you’re doing.

Here’s an example. 

Let’s say that when you were a kid your mum woke you up really early in the morning. She’d say something like “Come on honey, get up, rise and shine! The early bird catches the worm.”

During this ritual your brain worked out the best way to think and act in order to get you out of bed early every day. That was reinforced by what your mum was telling you something positive about that habit.

Now if, as an adult, you are still getting out of bed early every morning, then you most likely have some beliefs about that habit and yourself. 

For example you might be saying or thinking things like “I’m a morning person” or “the morning is the best part of the day.” 

In the recesses of your mind there is an unconscious thinking process going on to instruct all the thoughts and actions that will get you out of bed on time. There is also the conscious recognition of the beliefs you have about that habit.

Watch your mind next time you get out of bed and notice what’s in your head as you get up.

So that’s the difference between conscious and unconscious thoughts, habits, and finally, beliefs.

One last nuance I want to mention is this.

Once you have formed a belief about something, your brain starts collecting evidence that your belief is true. 

Your brain filters out anything that doesn’t match with that belief. 

Your brain likes to be right. 

This is called confirmation bias. 

Changing beliefs 

Having said all that, I’m sure you can see how imagine changing your beliefs is a little bit complicated for two reasons. 

  1. You have a lot of autopilot going on. You have automatic habits and you have automatic thoughts that drive them or are caused by your habits. 
  2. You have confirmation bias. Your brain believes that what you are doing is right, is the best thing for you. And your brain hates being wrong.

What does this mean in terms of becoming your future self? 

It means you need a way to identify and then change those automatic patterns. AND, it means you might also need to challenge your perspective.

Might I just say at this point, that this is why coaching is so important. 

Most of us cannot see our own automatic thoughts and patterns. And we generally are stuck in our own perspectives. A coach can help somebody to do this work to see things differently to challenge their automatic thoughts and to become their future selves.

But there is still a lot you can do yourself to become your future self, so let’s talk about how to do that.

Begin With The End in Mind 

In his book the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey’s second success habit was to begin with the end in mind.

I want to talk to you briefly about what that means. It really means that to become your future self, you need to have a clear picture of what your future self looks like so that you know what you need to do to get there. You might want to listen to my episodes on creating a vision (#1) and on being specific (#14) both of which are relevant to this.

For now, let’s say that you have a specific view of how your future self look and feels. 

Maybe you can imagine your fitter self, or your richer self, or your more successful self, or your slimmer self, or your happier self or whatever it is for you.

I’m just talking about ONE area – pick one area of life that you’d like to change, and create a vision of your future self around that.

Once you have that idea in your mind of what you would like to be and what your future self looks and feels like you’re ready to do the work to start changing your beliefs so you can become that future version of yourself.

What Would You be Thinking?

If you want to become your future self, you need to start thinking differently. More like your future self would.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Let’s say that right now you feel like you’re overdrinking and that you want to eventually become a non-drinker. 

Right now, your thoughts might be things like:

“I’m only going to have a drink on Friday and Saturday this week.” 

Or, “I need to cut back on alcohol.” 

Or, “I feel so hung over and terrible I’m never drinking again.”

Now mentally propel yourself five years forward. Imagine that you are now your future self and that you’re a non-drinker. Pretend that you stopped drinking alcohol three years ago. 

What are your new thoughts about alcohol? 

Chances are, your non-drinking self is not thinking about alcohol at all, because you no longer drink it. It’s not even on your radar.

You’re no longer thinking about alcohol at 2pm, wondering if you’ll drink tonight or not, or whether you will be judged by others for not drinking at the party.

You will probably see other people slurring and stumbling around and think, “that used to be me. I’m so glad I’m a non-drinker. I have so much more self-control and I feel good about that.” 

Maybe your future self is quite happy to go out to a party or a dinner with others who are drinking, and when people ask if you want to drink your future self says “No thanks, I don’t drink.” 

And your future self would feel a sense of confidence, and conviction, and contentment about saying that because they really believe that it’s true.

Notice how different your future thinking patterns are compared that with what your current self thinks and believes. The dialogue is totally different. 

The same could be said about any other area of life. 

Let’s look at an example of a successful business.

Let’s say that you are struggling to get clients right now and your income is erratic.

You might be thinking, “I need clients!” or, “I wonder if I should run a Facebook ad!” 

Maybe you’re thinking “The market is saturated, nobody wants what I am selling.” Or perhaps, “That other person is so successful, maybe I should do what she is doing?” 

Or even “I wonder if I need to do more training courses.”

Now, what would your future successful business owner self be saying instead?

Probably the focus would be on quality of service and expansion.

Maybe you’d be saying things like “I wonder how I can serve my clients better.” 

Or “I would love to do a workshop on this topic that I’m really passionate about so I can share this with more people.” 

Or perhaps, “What could I do that would really help my clients to 10X their results?”

What’s interesting about this example is that both the before and after business person is striving for the same goals, but the language and feeling about the process is different.

Ok, examples aside, let’s talk about how to start taking action and getting traction with this.

In the words of Amy Cuddy, “our bodies change our minds.”

So I’d like to walk you through two ways to start becoming your future self, by tapping into the mind-body connection.

  1. Start Thinking Like Your Future Self

The easiest way to become your future self is to seed your mind with the thoughts of your future self. 

Let’s do a little exercise. 

Pretend that you are already your future self. Right now. Imagine being that person who has achieved what you want to achieve. 

Really take yourself to that place and imagine how you look, how you feel what your experience of life is every day. 

What would your future self be saying about this each day?

Notice that you will probably not be thinking about how great it is to be successful. That is the voice of your current self.

You’re probably passed that honeymoon period. You will probably be thinking about your next actions.  

Let’s use the example of body weight.

If you are currently overweight you might think to yourself, “I need to lose weight but I don’t know what to do.”

That may be a fact, but it’s unhelpful. 

So what would your future self be thinking and saying?

Maybe, “I need to schedule in three exercise sessions this week and block out my calendar”.

Or maybe, “On Sunday night, I’ll do my meal prep for the week.”

Perhaps you’d be saying “I love the way my body feels.” 

Or “Sorry, I don’t eat sugary foods, they’re not good for me.”

Your current self might be judgmental and self-critical. 

Your future self will more likely show self-compassion. 

So I want to offer that you can start speaking to yourself with compassion right now, because that judgement and self-criticism is unhelpful and will not support you taking action or achieving your goals. It will do the opposite.

In summary, consider the thoughts of your future self and say them, write them and practice them daily.

Start now. 

Start rewiring your neural pathways.

  1. Acting like your future self

Apart from the thinking work there are also the actions that your future self would be taking or not taking. 

Let’s talk about the business example. 

If you were successful in business as your future self what would be the actions that you would be taking each week?

Maybe you would use Monday morning as a big picture planning session. 

Maybe on Friday afternoon you’d be reflecting on what went well I need be planning the next week so you could totally shut off on the weekend. 

And maybe you wouldn’t be working on the weekend to be having fun instead. 

These are some of the things – the actions – that are successful business person might be taking.

What about the weight example? 

If you were at your healthy weight, the actions that you might be taking would be perhaps walking every morning when you get up as a not negotiable thing. 

Ask yourself now, if you were your future healthy self, what actions would you be taking regularly, as not negotiable actions that you were committed to?

Maybe at the supermarket you be walking past the junk food aisles because you don’t go there anymore. You’d be heading straight for the fruit and veg section.

Ask yourself now, if you were your future healthy self, what actions would you be taking regularly, as not negotiable actions that you were committed to?

Identify those actions and find a way to start now. 

Start rewiring your physiological pathways.

Summing it up

As you can see your future self is thinking and acting totally differently from how are you are right now. 

The starting point to become your future self is to simply work out what your future self might be thinking and doing and then, to start thinking and doing those things.

To do this, you will need to plug both the thinking work and the actions into your calendar as not negotiable.

You’ll need to make space for them.

This truly is a gradual, one at a time process. 

You can definitely fast-track becoming your future self, but you can’t do it all tomorrow it just doesn’t work that way. It’s too much for your brain to absorb.

Your brain takes time to create new habits – on average, 86 days. 

So the goal is to start with one thing or two things perhaps and turn those into habits stick with them consistently for 83 days at least.

Ready to become your future self?

Start the journey to become who you want to be! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 58: Removing Motivation Blocks

It’s all well and good to think about creating motivation. But what happens when something unexpected blocks your motivation?

It’s all well and good to just do it and to have a plan to take action, but at some point we get blindsided by the facts of life.

Things happen that disrupt our thoughts, our intentions, and our mood. So we need to be able to pull ourselves back on track quickly and easily. We need to be able to remove the unexpected motivation blocks that come up. 

That’s what this episode is all about.

No matter what your intentions sometimes you hit a slump.

Usually it’s because of external forces or situations.

But it can also be your own thinking patterns that trip you up.

Thought-Based Obstacles

For example, maybe there is some event coming up that is a block in your mind, as in you can’t move forward until that thing has happened. 

This block has come up for several of my clients. 

I remember one business strategy session that I did and the person who purchased that session was not ready to take any action or even to plan.

They were in a job and they felt that it would be morally wrong to do any planning at all or even any market research into their idea until they had spoken to the current employer about what they intended to do. 

And that was a scary conversation that they were afraid of having. So we could achieve plotting the later action steps, but that was it, because there was this block that had to be removed before the person could find the motivation to take action.

I’ve heard many versions of this for around weight loss too. 

There is always a holiday coming up or the wedding coming up for a job change coming up or some other thing that prevents somebody from “starting now.”

Usually it’s because of external forces or situations, but it can also be your own thinking patterns that trip you up. 

I call these things “just-ifications”. As in:

I just need to have this conversation. 

I just need to take the holiday. 

I just need to get past the wedding. 

I just need to get ready. I’m not ready yet.

The word ‘just’ becomes an excuse for not taking action.

And there goes your motivation trickling down the drain again.

Getting Back On the Horse

If we slow down for a moment we can see what the reality is. Life is full of obstacles and despite them, we can take action.

We don’t need to feel ready, we don’t need to have a clear run, we don’t need to get rid of clutter, although all of those things can help. 

But they are actually all just mental constructs. 

The fact is, there is often nothing physical that stops us from taking continuous and deliberate action – which is the secret sauce for creating motivation.

So then the question becomes how do you get out of your head and into action? 

How do you remove motivation blocks in all shapes and forms?

I want to talk about five useful tools that you can use to switch your brain into a different state.

Five Tools For Creating Motivation

Tool #1 is from Amy Cuddy – power poses.

This one is great if you are feeling a bit fearful or lacking confidence in yourself.

It works on the principle that your physiology – that is, your body and it’s systems – is directly linked to your emotional state.

They are interconnected. Our bodies change our minds. So the most powerful way to change your state, using your physical body, is to adopt a ‘power pose’ for 2 minutes.

Why two minutes? Because research from the Association of Psychological Science shows how power poses change your hormones and therefore your state in JUST 2 minutes.

Powerful postures are legs apart with feet facing forward, hands on hips or arms up and out, standing up straight.

A yoga class could provide an opportunity to practice this.

Tool #2 is from Tony Robbins – creating your state

This one is a daily ritual you can perform as a means of building resilience and motivation, or as a mental tool that you can use to get into the right mindset for taking action.

Practicing mindfulness meditation, talking to yourself with positive language about the positive outcomes you want, and visualising them, are all tools that you can use to create a more positive, can-do state of mind.

There are many versions of this.

If you know your Tendency, from Gretchen Rubin’s quiz, then certain rituals might work better for you than others.

Questioners might do well to bring curiosity to their motivation funk and query it from that perspective.

Obligers might get out of their motivation funk by thinking about how they could help others, or how their taking action might benefit others.

Upholders might get out of their motivation funk by talking to themselves about re-writing and tackling their to-do list.

Rebels might feel justified in their lack of motivation. It can be harder for a rebel to break free. But what often works is to ask yourself – what’s in this for me?  What am I getting out of being unmotivated, and what would I rather have instead?

Tool #3 is from Mel Robbins – it’s the 5-second rule

No, this is not about dropping food on the floor!

This one is great if you’re feeling panicky or anxious, but also when you are stuck in a loop of procrastination which is really just fear in disguise.

On her blog, Mel says “the 5 Second Rule was something that I developed to get myself to take action when I didn’t want to.

I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that something that is so simple became so difficult.”  

She developed the 5-second rule which is simply this – if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.

When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.

Tool #4 is specific planning and rehearsal

When you make a specific plan around the thing you’re putting off, you will feel motivated. 

Just making the plan of action feels good. It feels like you’re doing something!

And often the plan helps you to identify the things you’re unsure of or don’t know, so that you can problem solve them and get unstuck.

Even better is rehearsing the steps in your mind. 

First you write your plan. Then you mentally walk through the thing you are demotivated about and visualise yourself doing each step.

This mental rehearsal plugs the steps into your brain as instructions, which helps you to actually do the steps.

Tool #5 is positive language

Building on the previous concepts, the words you use can make things worse or better, easier or harder.

For example:

“I will give it a good go” is stronger and more positive than “I guess I’ll try”.

“I’ll do my best” is more intentional than “I’m not expecting much”.

“I will do whatever it takes” is more powerful than “I’ll see how I’m going after a week or two”.

“I will do this” is more intentional and committed than “I hope I can”.

And “I will eat fresh salads with each meal” is more empowering and positive than “I will restrict carbs and cut calories.”

See how different the former statement is to the latter?

Notice how the stronger language is more motivating?

Right, now it’s time to get motivated! Let’s summarise what we’ve covered today.

Summary

There are plenty of circumstances outside our control, and sometimes they can bring us down. But at the core of it, our thoughts are actually the things that sap our motivation.

There are 5 different tools you can use to remove motivation blocks in under 10 minutes.

  1. Power poses
  2. Create your state via visualisation and meditation 
  3. The 5-second rule
  4. Plan and rehearse the steps
  5. Use positive language

At the core of it, our thoughts are actually the things that sap our motivation.

I hope you find a way to use these tools over the next week or two and find the ones that work best for you.

Better still, be proactive about rewiring your default thinking patterns and make a habit or ritual out of some of these.

If you want to proactively manage your mind, visit www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology to learn about my monthly membership. 

Ready to overcome motivation blocks?

Try these five tools and watch yourself succeed. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 54: Creating Motivation

This episode of the Habitology podcast is all about creating motivation.

Notice that I said ‘creating’ motivation rather than ‘getting motivated.’ 

That’s because motivation is not something you ‘get’, and it’s not something that anyone else can give you.

It is something you must create within yourself.

And rather than trying to overcome your lack of it, shift your focus to what you can do – which is to create it, and habitualise it.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is your willingness to act. 

And it is created when we realise that the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it.

For example, the pain of not earning money far outweighs the discomfort of finding the courage to do promotional talks in public.

The discomfort of being overweight or having a wardrobe of too-tight clothes becomes greater than the inconvenience of preparing healthy food or going to the gym.

When we weigh up the pros and cons of change – a cost-benefit analysis – we can easily see the risk versus the reward and make some decisions on what we will do.

Then we cross that mental threshold and the motivation appears!

The secret to motivation is this – it usually comes AFTER you take action, not before.

Think of the last time you ate a healthy breakfast. It felt good, right? You felt proud of yourself. So you felt motivated to do it again.

You can also create motivation by talking yourself into things, and thinking positive thoughts.

It’s useful to create your thoughts like this anyway, but know that it’s the doing of the thing that is important. 

You need to train yourself to make motivation a habit.

Types of Motivation

You might have heard of the terms extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is somewhat coerced. 

It is where your motivation relies on other things, situations or people.

If you are an Obliger tendency, then these external factors are a big part of what creates motivation for you.

On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is more powerful. 

It comes from within, and it only relies on you. It can be freely chosen at any time!

When you can create your own motivation, you are truly in charge of your own life. You are more likely to feel self-actualised.

If you are a Questioner or Rebel tendency, then intrinsic motivation is a strong part of who you are and how you operate.

Sources of Motivation

Now that we’ve discussed the two main types of motivators, it’s also worth knowing the two main sources of motivation.

To keep it simple, one is negative, and one is positive.

Think of it this way.

Some people strive to avoid things because they’ve been conditioned to look for those negative incentives.

So you could say we are talking about ‘away from’ motivators.

This is you if your reasons for doing things tend to be based around cutting back, restricting, limiting or avoiding something, especially a consequence.

This is a ‘conserve and protect what you have’ mentality. 

And the main problem with it is that if you focus on what you don’t want, you have no exciting incentive to act, and no instruction on the action steps you need to take to move forward.

When you can create your own motivation, you are truly in charge of your own life. You are more likely to feel self-actualised.

On the other hand we have what’s known as ‘toward’ motivators.

These are the things we define as desirable, the things we want and would be excited to achieve.

Positive or toward motivators are fueled by desire, inspiration, and the promise of a specific, pleasurable achievement or result.

So as you can imagine, thinking of what you want is way more compelling and motivating. It feels good.

And additionally, when you define what you want rather than what you don’t, you have more clues and instructions on the affirmative steps you need to take to get there.

5 Steps to Create Motivation

With this background understanding, you are ready to take the five steps to creating motivation. If you do these things and practice them, you will be able to create motivation and also, turn being motivated into a habit. Sound good?

Let’s get started.

Step 1

Think of the thing that you are not doing right now, but want to do.

Step 2

Reframe this as a positive thing you want to do or achieve. Talk about what you DO want, not what you don’t. Use positive words, or at least, plain and factual (that is, non emotive) words.

Step 3

Make sure you have been very specific about what it is that you want to do and when, and how often.

Step 4

Schedule it into your diary in a time-slot that is 100% not negotiable. This is important!

Step 5

Surround it with positives. Create a warm-up routine that is easy and enjoyable. Visualise yourself doing this thing and feeling good about it. Celebrate the feelings of achievement and success, and the results, afterwards.

In other words, step 5 is about thinking positive emotions and feeling positive feelings as you prepare, act and reflect on the thing you have scheduled in.

An example

Step 1 – Let’s say you want to find the motivation to go to the gym.

Step 2 – More positive wording could be that you want to feel that sense of satisfaction and post-exercise pump three days per week.

Step 3 – Allocate three timeslots very specifically and check you can commit to them 100%. For example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5pm for one hour including travel time.

Step 4 – Put them in your diary.

Step 5 – Get your clothes prepared for the week ahead. Set your alarm. Reschedule meetings. Mentally rehearse how good you will feel as you do the exercise. Celebrate finishing your session and feeling that pump.

In summary

As you can hear, motivation requires you to JUST DO IT.

Ready to create motivation?

Create habits that put you in charge of your own life! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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The Power of a Vision

One easy way to create positivity in your life is to develop a vision of what you’d like your life, business or health to be like.

When you write a vision, it plugs the outcome you truly desire into your brain’s GPS, so it can automatically start filtering in all the tools and resources you need to achieve it.

This article shows you exactly how to create a powerful, motivating vision that will help you to the become the person you want to be and the powerful results you want to achieve.

You’ll learn:

  • why visions are crucial to achieving goals
  • a step-by-step process to create a motivating vision that will help you get results
  • the difference between business and personal visions and how to get each one right.

To help you take action, I’ve included a free vision worksheet that you can use to flesh out your vision and get it right.

What is a Vision

You’ve probably heard of visions, vision boarding and creating a vision.

Yet so many people still don’t realise the power of a vision and how essential it is for you to get what you want in life.

Visions are linked with positivity and achieving goals.

But why else are they important?

Here are three reasons.

  1. They help you clearly define what you want to achieve

As a coach, most of my clients come to see me because they lack direction and clarity.

They aren’t clear on what they truly want, why or how they’re going to get it.

And when you aren’t sure where you’re going, it’s hard to see the path to get there. You might be fearful of what’s ahead if you step into the future without a clear plan of attack.

I love the analogy of holiday.

If you pick a destination, then you can start making plans, work out when you need to do each step, and whether to pack a bikini or a fur coat.

As you can see, a vision allows you to see and create the steps to get there.

  1. A well-written vision gets you excited and motivated to achieve the end goal.

Most people think that motivation is their #1 problem and that it’s the reason they can’t change. Never mind about having to learn skills or make plans!

You already know that visions can create clarity.

But they are also powerful motivators – IF you get the language right.

People often create visions around things they think they ‘should’ be aiming for, for what is expected of them – or talk about things they don’t want to do anymore.

For example – I want to stop being so stressed and anxious.

On the surface that sounds like a legitimate thing to want, BUT the problem is that it doesn’t define what you desire – so your brain can’t latch onto any happy, positive and motivating end point.

Inspiring vision statements are motivating, and you create them by using words that you find appealing, exciting and which talk about what you truly desire.

For example – I want to feel happy, calm and contented, at peace with everything.

See the different feeling this creates, compared with the first example?

  1. Visions are so important at the biological level.

There is a part of your brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) and it is your brain’s GPS.

You plug the destination into your brain, and then your subconscious mind works out how to get you there, by finding signals and opportunities to do so.

Here’s an example – think of the last time you were looking at new cars.

You had your eye on one particular model of car.

Then suddenly, you started seeing them everywhere. That’s your RAS in action!

The RAS also controls our belief system and it will only recognise or select the information that supports our beliefs.

Once you plug something into your GPS our brain will selectively filter the information around you and only identify and keep what’s relevant.

In other words your belief system will determine whether your RAS will work for you or against you.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow said it best in 1966 with his Law of the Hammer – “if all you have a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.”

At this point I want to mention a great book that describes this in more detail – it’s called the Answer by Australian authors Allan and Barbara Pease, published in 2016.

Just to recap what we’ve covered so far:

  • Visions help you clearly define what you want to achieve
  • Visions help you create the motivation and excitement you need to reach your goals.
  • For visions to work, they must use positive language to describe what you truly want.

Do these three things and you’ll harness the power of your vision.

Three Steps to Create Your Powerful Vision

  1. Specify exactly what you want – this is end goal or result.

Even if you haven’t ever achieved this before, you need to paint a picture in your mind of what it looks, feels and sounds like.

This plugs lots of important cues into your RAS so your brain can filter in the steps to help you get there.

  1. Back up your what with a why – the deepest and most meaningful reasons behind the result you want.

Two common mistakes are not identifying the why, or, not going deep enough with the why.

The more meaningful your whys are and the more strongly its connected with your personal values, the more likely you will achieve your vision.

A useful exercise can be the 5 why’s which aims to peel off the layers and get to the root cause.

For example – one of my weight coaching clients says she wants to lose 10kg.

Her first why is because she hates what she sees in the mirror. Notice the language? She needs to dig deeper to find the positive, desired outcomes and values.

To find her second why, I asked, ‘what’s a positive reason to lose 10kg?’ So I can wear all the beautiful clothes in my wardrobe.

To find her third why, I asked, ‘what would happen if you could wear all those clothes?’      I would feel more confident about going out in public and socialising.

To find her fourth why, I asked, ‘and then what might happen?’ I could to make some friends because I want to have more fun in life.’

To find her fifth why I asked, ‘imagine you are having that fun with friends regularly each week, socialising, laughing and getting out more. Why is that so important?’  

Then we get to the heart of the matter – ‘because I want to be more active like I used to be because back then, I felt so alive, confident, powerful and courageous.’

See how compelling that last reason is?

The thought of losing weight to get away from the horrible image in the mirror is way less motivating that wanting to feel so alive, confident, powerful and courageous.

  1. Step 3 – put a timeframe on it so you can define a foolproof action plan to get there.

Normally, 6 – 12 months is a good amount of time to achieve an outcome; it’s close enough to stay motivated, but far enough that you can make enough change to get there.

You might want to reality check your time line with a friend or coach and make sure it’s realistic and achievable.

Three Steps to Create Your Powerful Vision

 There are lots of different types of visions let’s compare a personal vision and a business vision.

How to Write a Personal Vision Statement

You need to start by picking just one or two priority areas to focus on.

If you pile everything into your vision it will seem overwhelming, unbelievable and therefore unachievable.

A wellbeing questionnaire or a wheel of life are useful tools to help you find your priority area. Keep it simple and clear.

Then, you define your what like I described above – exactly, specifically, what does your desired success look and feel like in that area?

You write down the what, starting with ‘I am’.

For example; if your priority area was physical fitness, your ‘what’ might be “In six months’ time, I am fit, strong and running regularly.”

Notice the positive language used.

Next, you define your why – what would achieving that bring to your life?

You could follow the 5 why process I mentioned to get down to the nitty gritty of your core values and most meaningful motivators.

You write that down after the what, starting with ‘so that I …..’

Using the last example, “I am fit, strong and running regularly…”

…So that I can create more energy each day, be more positive and feel more confident and capable about myself as a person”

A well-written vision statement, when read aloud, has two traits:

  • It makes you feel motivated, inspired, hopeful, even excited and energized.  
  • It is realistic – you totally believe it is possible with the right education and/or support.

Make sure you tick those two boxes, otherwise, go back and explore your what and why to

Creating a Business Vision

A business vision is a vivid mental image of what your business looks like when it is profitable, successful and thriving – and why it exists in the first place.

It describes what success looks like, and the why often includes the ethos or core values behind it.  And it’s often much shorter than a personal vision statement, because it might be something you put out in public.

You might decide to have an internal business vision that only you see, and a more public one, to help attract clients to your ‘why’.

When you choose a time frame for a business vision, think about where you are right now in your business and what feels best for you.

Some people prefer a shorter time frame like 12 months as it seems more achievable, others prefer a longer time frame like 3 years because they are more inspired by the end result.

There’s no right or wrong, choose what feels most exciting and inspiring to you.

In terms of defining your what; business visions generally focus on a few key areas – income, fame, to be the best at something, a particular type of clients you want to help, one main problem you want to help solve.

Also, there may also be guilt associated with the money side of things.

Let’s first clearly state that every business exists to generate income. Otherwise it’s a charity, or a hobby. You need to be 100% clear on this.

Imagine you just walked into the door of your office and looked around. What is the result your business is creating?

Here’s an example – My business helps people to break free from social anxiety.

Here’s another – My business helps people to create a strong, healthy and powerful body.

Or another – My business helps self-conscious women to find their inner beauty.

The why in your business is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and allows you to persist with the business no matter what.

You need to have compelling, meaningful, authentic and non-negotiable reasons to start and run a business.

To find your business why, ask yourself:

What is my compelling reason to start this business no matter what?

Think about the soapbox you like to stand on. Think about the causes you stand for. Think about why it’s so important to help a certain type of person.

Maybe you’ve been there yourself and you feel compelled to help other people achieve what you have so they can have a better-quality life.

Here are some examples, using the what statements I just read out.

My business helps people to break free from social anxiety so that they can find the courage to develop strong connections with the people around them and as a result, have more fulfilling careers.

My business helps people to create a strong, healthy and powerful body so that they can be fit and healthy as they age and be authentic role models to their kids.

My business helps self-conscious women to find their inner beauty so that they can feel better in their own skin, happier, more confident in the world and finally achieve their dreams.

There is SO MUCH energy in those statements.

In Summary

Let’s recap what we covered in this article.

  1. Visions are important for two reasons:
  • To get clear on what you want
  • To get the momentum, excitement and motivation to pursue the goal
  • It’s important to use positive language to define your deepest desire.

Your brain – the reticular activating system – is like a GPS for your body. Whatever you plug in there creates the filtering and instructions for what to do next.

  1. There are three steps to creating a vision statement:
  • Focus on one area
  • Define your what, written as ‘I am’, then
  • Define your why, and write it as “so that I …”

Remember to ask yourself why at least 5 times, in a few different ways, to get to your most powerful values and motivators.

Finally, when you read your vision out, you can check you’ve done it correctly:

  • Check that it energizes, excites and motivates you
  • Check that it feels realistic, totally possible and believable.  
  1. Write your business or personal vision with a slightly different approach
  • Focus on one area (personal) or on the overarching purpose (business)
  • Get in touch with your why (personal) or your soapbox (business)
  • Write out the what and why
  • Check that it feels right – exciting and absolutely do-able.

Then you’re ready to plan the path to your next success in life.

Check out this free vision worksheet to help you get started!

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Getting Whelmed

getting whelmed

Are you starting the year with a bang? With gusto? With a huge rev up? Or, are you planning on getting whelmed this year, like me?

Being an Entrepreneur

Lately I’ve been thinking that the definition of an entrepreneur is this:

You’re someone who can’t stand to work for someone else and just wants the freedom and flexibility to march to the beat of their own drum, and write their own rules.

Still, being an entrepreneur means you take the entire responsibility for everything in your business.

That means you are the face of your business, you are IT, and you have to generate your own momentum, schedule, energy, gusto and enthusiasm.

Which is all great stuff, but you can find yourself in a bit of an energy crisis at times.

Getting Excited….and Overwhelmed

Once upon a time, I would be geeing myself up at this time of year, creating massive energy and excitement, planning, and firing myself up to work relentlessly like a trojan for the next 12 months.

It’s a great way to start the year and it feels really positive.

In this state, I am able to crank out HEAPS of work, produce HEAPS of stuff, and keep my finger in 100 different pies at once.

People say to me, “I wish I could be as productive as you.”

“I wish I could get as much done as you.”

“I wish I could work and achieve as much as you do.”

Thanks everyone!

But when I realised this praise didn’t really resonate with me, I had to question why.

The answer I got was this: “Is THIS what I want to be known for? Getting heaps done at a rapid pace?”

Thinking about that made me feel kinda tired.

And the reason is this – working this way starts well, but it ends up exhausting and overwhelming.

You start on a big hype, get heaps done but you just cant sustain it.

You struggle to maintain that level of energy and quickly go from peak to trough.

Then nothing gets done for a while.

Then you just assume you’ve failed or done something wrong, or are missing something.

Then you might start comparing yourself to others and saying….”I wish I could get as much done as her.”

OH NO! We’re ALL in this together! ha ha ha.

But…what if this weren’t true, and we didn’t have to work this way?

Sure, starting super high feels energizing at first, but it invariably means you end up feeling panicked, overworked and overwhelmed.

Then comes the anxiety and insomnia.

I DON’T want to work like that anymore. Do you?

Plan B – Getting Whelmed

Maybe you want to join me in getting whelmed.

Getting whelmed is my plan for 2018.

I coined this term, and it simply means that I am working:

  • mostly on important but not urgent stuff,
  • intentionally,
  • in pomodoro
  • on purpose,
  • with balance and ease,
  • with calmness,
  • in a well-organised way,
  • making well-thought plans,
  • with clear focus
  • with direction on where my business is going and what I am doing in my life.

 

In other words, I am mindful, calm and productive.

 

It isn’t as exciting as the excitement, BUT…

I am working consistently.

And in business, consistency gets results.

 

So yes, excitement is great (and I do get excited)….but consistent energy, focus and motivation is better.

I am winning.

 

The Payoff

In this calm, consistent, getting whelmed state of mind, I find that I am laser focused, productive, leap over roadblocks, feel balanced and I am totally in command of myself.

I am getting shit done (GSD) – much more than in at the start of my rollercoaster.

The #1 Trick to Getting it Right

Working this way is also 100% sustainable because I have help.

Sure, you can absolutely get gung-ho and ramp yourself up for a big year and do it all yourself.

But trust me, the chance that you’ll crash and burn (at least once) is pretty high.

So I highly recommend you get some support.

I have my own coach, and I have other peers and mentors in my life to help me with specific areas of business when I need it.

As an entrepreneur living in country NSW, with few like-minded entrepreneurs around me, I know that I need support and connection to maintain momentum, headspace and confidence in my business AND in my life.

Now, I have people to bounce ideas off (so I don’t go off onto a mad, frivolous tangent).

I have people to reflect with (to get different perspective).

I have tools and support to make worthwhile, high-return plans.

I have the aura of calmness and having it all together (which as we know is the key ingredient for being a super-attractive client magnet and person of interest).

I have the energy to enjoy my personal life.

Now you know what getting whelmed is all about….will you join me?

What will you do to get there?

 

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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?