Happiness in a change of mind!
As a life coach, my job is to help and motivate people to make positive changes to their lives. I truly believe that mind-set is the key to happiness. So I believe that the biggest and most crucial key to making a positive change in your life is to change your thinking about the perceived “problem”.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!”- Henry Ford
It’s very hard to change a situation if you are stuck in a negative mind-set. Let’s use the situation of being single as an example. If you hold the belief that “there are no decent men / women out there” or “no one will want me with three kids and a post- baby body”, then chances are your wish will come true. You’ll be unconsciously projecting an attitude and vibes which back up your thoughts and beliefs.
So how to switch? Here are some ways to switch your thinking which can have immediate benefits to your life without actually having to “do” much at all!
Flip your belief on its head
The first thing you can do it simply to flip your belief. Many limiting beliefs are completely unfounded so think carefully about whether your beliefs are positive or negative. To challenge negative beliefs write them down on paper in the opposite form e.g. “there are plenty of decent men / women out there” and “many, many women with three kids and a body with a few extra curves are in very happy relationships!” To strengthen these new beliefs, re-write them out daily. Before long, you will open your mind to new possibilities!
Focus on the positives in your life
We usually begin a coaching relationship with an exercise called the “Wheel of Life” which is like an instant life audit. A circle (wheel) is divided in to eight segments, the broad areas of life: Health, Career, Family / Friends, Finances, Personal growth, Romance, Environment and Leisure.
The client rates their level of contentment in each area on a scale of 0-10 (10 being amazing and it couldn’t’ be better and 0 being the worst it could possibly be). I ask the client to tell me about the things that are going well before focusing on what it would take to improve that area and get closer to or reach 10/10.
Often, people are surprised by what is actually going well! It’s so easy when you feel “stuck” in one area of your life to allow this to take over your thoughts and sap your energy. At times like these, it can be very helpful to take stock of what is going well and put things back in perspective.
OK you may be single but you may have a fantastic family and friends for support, be in good health and live in a lovely home with children and /or pets who surround you with love and a job which pays the bills! Being single is also an opportunity to re-discover yourself, take up new activities and make choices and decisions without having to consult another person.
Keeping things in perspective by focusing on the positives can make a real difference to improving overall happiness and contentment.
“Is that really true?”
Countering this powerful little question is an exercise which has had more impact on my decisions than any other and I challenge you to use it now. Pick something you have considered doing or want achieve in your life, but it seems out of reach. It could be anything, big or small, from taking a very round-the-world trip to becoming a beekeeper, writing a book, changing your name by deed poll, taking up highland dancing… whatever it is write it down.
It’s easy to procrastinate and think of objections but you will soon realise that the objections can nearly always be overcome and are mainly fear based barriers rather than real. Think of your objections and then ask “Is that really true?” Common objections include: I’m too old (there is seldom an age limit except in the mind), I don’t have the money (maybe not yet - money will flow once you commit to something), I don’t have time (we always find the time for things which are really important to us), I have too many responsibilities (learn to delegate), my mother / spouse / kids would never forgive me (that’s his / her / their issue, be empathetic to the concerns of others but firm in your decision), it’s too dangerous (most accidents happen in the home!).
Be happy in the moment
I lot is being splashed on social media and in magazines about “mindfulness” (being present or aware in the moment). For the purposes of finding happiness, quieting your mind to the present can be a huge relief. The past cannot be changed and the future cannot be fully predicted, yet we spend so much time and energy going over what has happened or might happen.
Human nature is to want more. Some of us postpone happiness until certain criteria are met – ‘I’ll be truly happy when I get the perfect (job / relationship / car / house / flat stomach etc.)’. Actually, we could simply chose to focus on the good things we may already have – people (friends, family, children, partners), health, pets, clothes, jobs, even what most of us deem essentials such as clean running water and food on the table. We already have so many good things in our lives our lives and by changing focus we can get more happiness if we choose to gratitude and take pleasure from that.
Also, it’s easy to get into a constant state of anticipation – you’re thinking about what’s for dinner while you’re in a business meeting and when you’re cooking dinner, you’re looking forward to the kids being in bed so that you can crash on the sofa. When “relaxing” on the sofa you are thinking about the 50 things you have to get done at the weekend!
Mindfulness is about focusing fully on each activity during your day and really living and making the most out of each moment. It may seem obvious but you really will have more productive meetings, feel more relaxed and happy and will form better relationships with your children or those close to you if you are present rather than distracted.
Slowing down and focusing on the present moment this can actually alleviate a lot of stress. Worry is simply picturing things in our heads which may or may not actually happen and more often than not is completely unfounded. There is certainly a need for planning ahead but not if it prevents you from enjoying the only thing that any of us truly has – the present moment.
Last week I heard a statistic that 80% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by 8.02 pm on the first Friday after the New Year. Any surprises there?
“I want to get fit”, “ I want to lose weight”, “I want to save money” etc. starts in the right way. Joining the gym, Googling the latest fad diet, whizzing up green smoothies and by-passing the bakery... All the intentions are good and we start with a flourish. But a few days later, on Friday night after a long, hungry, frantic week at work catching up, what happens? It’s cold and wet and the temptation of staying in, watching the box with a glass of wine and a takeaway is too much for even the strongest amongst us!
By Saturday, we shrug our shoulders and return to our usual habits, briefly berating ourselves for having no willpower and say “what the hell, there’s always next year!”
So what is the reason for this? Why are so many of us unable to keep resolutions and fall off the horse at the first hurdle? What can we do to stay on track and reach our goals? Can we do anything to stay on track or should we just settle for what we have?
The reasons we fail are these: We don't want it enough, we set ourselves fuzzy, unrealistic goal and we try to take the fastest short-cut to success.
I will repeat this in a different way! If you set yourself New Year resolutions and have failed already, the chances are YOU DIDN'T WANT IT ENOUGH, YOU DIDN'T SET YOURSELF AN ACHIEVABLE GOAL/S WITH A CLEAR OUTCOME and / or YOU CHOSE A ROUTE THAT WAS TOO HARD TO MAINTAIN.
Here are three steps to achieving a goal, and TAKE NOTE! Step one has to be there before 2 and 3 will work!
Breaking your goal into small, manageable steps, is more likely to get you to the end result. Going back to weight loss as an example, semi-starving yourself for a month may allow you to drop a stone in weight but it will be very hard to do and even more difficult to keep up long term. You may end up feeling weak, hungry, deprived, antisocial and unhappy in the process. Isn’t it better to make small daily changes to you diet e.g. eating cake as a treat once a week instead of four times (or more!), dishing up smaller portions at most mealtimes and avoiding takeaways in favour of home-cooked, healthy meals? Over the course of a few months, these changes will see the same benefits as the crash diet but with less pain and effort. It’s like climbing the mountain the sensible way!
DESIRE – YOU HAVE TO WANT IT ENOUGH
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Driven and Time- Bound
TAKE THE WINDY MOUNTAIN PATH TO THE TOP INSTEAD OF THE STEEP ROCK FACE
What can coaching do for me? I was recently thinking about my "elevator pitch". What do I do, and more importantly, what can I do for you as your life coach? It was uncanny how all the things that sprung to mind, begin with the letter C! Here goes:
Clarity - coaching helps you to visualise future goals and get clearer on what you really want in life or business.
Calling - for some people, there is a feeling that they haven't yet found their life purpose. By exploring your values and motivational drivers safely in a coaching situation, you can reach that "aha" moment and get started.
Control - and I don't mean control of other people - that is never a solution as every individual is on his or her own journey and will learn life's lessons if and when they are ready. It's about regaining control of your own destiny, taking positive action where needed and also (importantly) learning to let go of things you can't control.
Calm - sometimes we seem to fall from one drama into another drama and we can't see the wood through the trees! Coaching will help you to recognise when you are taking on other people's issues or creating drama for yourself and help you to prioritise your energies and consequently feel calmer and more able to cope with problems in life.
Confidence and Capability- often we procrastinate or never achieve our goals because of fear based emotions. Coaching can really help you to take baby steps towards your goals which seem more manageable. It can challenge limiting beliefs which are holding you back from achieving your goals or change your perspective on a situation so that what once felt impossible, now becomes possible.
Consciousness - I added this last 'C' because I am personally very interested in modern theories about universal energy such as the law of attraction, mindfulness, quantum physics and the fact that our thoughts have the power to affect reality. I am by no means and expert on these topics and I never force these theories onto my clients but I like to observe the many miracles that happen once mindset is positively changed.
If you would like to set up a coaching session or for an informal chat please call me or email me
I look forward to hearing from you.
07736 809 687