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on boredom
Apparently this weekend is the weekend most people will quit their New Years Resolutions.

It is perfectly normal to hit a plateau when attempting to make changes in your life and it is usually around the three to five week mark that the initial excitement and motivation will wear off.

So here are just a few tips to deal with boredom and keep going with the changes you want to make.

Be Gentle With Your Self

Don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. All this will do associate that negative feeling with the goal you want to achieve and utterly destroy an vestiges of motivation you had left. Accept that boredom is a perfectly natural part of the process and that, even with things we love doing, we get bored, frustrated and disinterested at times. Just relax, don’t fight it, it will pass.

Have A Break

Just because you take a break doesn’t mean you have failed or given up, it just means you are having a break. Even The Rock has cheat days where he eats rubbish (and most fitness experts I have spoken to advocate having a “cheat day”). Make a deal with yourself to take a few days off and then get back on with it.

In fact, BAN yourself from doing anything even remotely associated with achieving your New Years Resolutions for a few days. An enforced break can often have a counter effect of making you want to do it even more (it is a bit like telling people not to think of orange penguins – the first thing you do is think of orange penguins).

Mix It Up A Bit

What can you do to mix it up a bit? If you are trying to get fit, can you change your routine? Change the time of day you are doing it? If you are eating more healthily, try different recipes for food. If you are attempting a new skill, just change how you are going about it. Maybe try a more advanced part of the process, you may surprise yourself and be better than you thought.

Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing It

Take a few minutes to go back to why you began. Maybe you have an idea of a goal or a time you want to achieve that goal by. Just sit down for five minutes and remember why you started this in the first place. As you start to make a mental representation of why it is you are doing this, notice all those good feelings and sensations. Do this for a few minutes a day (maybe whilst taking a break  – see above) and you will be surprised how motivated you become to carry on.

Do Less, Achieve More

Well, it is January, so it is the time of year where we all (well many of us – even if we don’t admit it) make some resolutions and it is the time when blogs and news articles are full of hints and tips on how to achieve those resolutions.

I have been writing this blog for 10 years, and most years I have written about how to help you achieve your goals, but the one thing I have never written about it is doing less…

I came across the idea that doing more doesn’t necessarily mean you will get more done in my early 20’s. I have always been on the slimmer (some, less charitable, people may say skinny) side and, in my early 20’s, I was heavily involved in Thai Boxing. I decided it may be useful to bulk up a bit, not become a huge body builder, but put on a bit of muscle. I was a classic “hard gainer” (someone who finds it hard to build muscle easily), so I was hitting the weights every day and not seeing any gains. Frustrated, I started researching the area and came across the book “Brawn” by Stuart McRobert, who suggested that, if you are not getting the results you want, you should do less workouts not more. So I cut back to two simple workouts a week and in a month or so had piled on a stone in muscle (of course other things are important to, but this isn’t a body building blog – if you are interested read the book!). Nowadays I have embraced my lithe physique and just do Yoga, but that is a different topic…

I realised that doing more doesn’t guarantee more, or better, results.

This idea has become a guiding principle of mine, whether that is making personal changes or working with clients. I have written how NLP is not about grand operatic interventions here before, and how finding the “minimum effective dose” is much more powerful.

And no more is it important than when we are wanting to makes changes in our lives. We tend to try and do massive shifts all at once, trying to do too much at the same time. This tends to be counter productive; it overwhelms us and wears us out.

Tiny changes, extrapolated over time, make massive differences. It is consistency that is the key, not how much you do all in one go. Spending 10-15 minutes a day, every day, on learning a new skill will create much larger gains than an hour on it once a week (or when you remember!). It is easier to find the time and easier to motivate yourself.

So, with any change you want to make, experiment on what the minimum is you need to do to get there.

Well, it has just gone Easter, traditionally time for rebirth (although if you live in the UK, you would be forgiven for thinking that we have bypassed spring and summer and ended up back in autumn), it is also 3 months since the start of the year and an ideal time to check in on those resolutions you made. I bet, if you are anything like me, January 1st  seems a long, long time ago and yesterday all at the same time (isn’t time weird like that? But that is a topic for a different blog).

Be honest, how are you getting on? Follow the below steps to assess how you are doing and, if necessary, reinvigorate yourself.

1. Start by Restating the Outcome/Direction

Remember to make it well formed and in verb (action) form, has it changed? These things often can. How will you know when you are doing what you want? How will it look, sound like, feel like?

2. Now Assess Where You Are in Relationship To It

Start with what you have achieved, no matter how small. That puts you in a good state to start with! Then look at what stops you and what you still need to do.

3. Then Assess What You Have…

What resources do you have at your disposal? Even if it is only the motivation to get going/carry on and the ability to find the resources you need.

4. …And What You Need

What extra do you need to achieve the goal? How can you go about finding that extra resource? What stands in the way of you getting this done? How can you get passed that?

5. Finally, What is the Very Next Thing You Need To Do?

What is the vey next step? Just the very next step, that is all, not what might get in the way, or some excuses about why you can’t do it, just the very next step. Now do it!

If you didn’t make any New Years Resolutions now is an ideal time to consider making some changes. Some could argue it is even better to make changes now, as it is the time of change and rebirth, rather than in January. So if you didn’t make any (or they have fallen by the wayside), it is never too late…

Hello and welcome to 2013. As is usual at this time of the year, the news is full of stories about New Years Resolutions. Some are cynical pieces about how we are bound to fail (the average Resolution lasts just 2 weeks apparently), some more positive about how to succeed.

I have written before about how I am quite a fan of New Years Resolutions. I know that every day is technically a new year (and you should really aim to do something every day to positively change your life, no matter how small), but there is something quite powerful about the idea of a new calendar year and a new start. It is good time to assess and reflect on what you have and what you would like, and start to plan towards it.

So, why do most resolutions fail? Over exuberance can be one reason; diving in and trying to do it all at once and wearing yourself out. Lack of a clear goal and plan is another. But I would like to suggest another, deeper reason why people tend to fail; People do the wrong thing for the wrong reason.

Purpose

We do things for one reason; to feel better. It may be to move away from physical or emotional pain, it may be to move towards pleasure, it may be something totally different depending on how you perceive the world. The problem comes when we make some form of judgement about what that SHOULD be from some, often external, source. Once we starting placing a criteria of what we MUST have to make ourselves happier we are bound to fail.

State

So, ask yourself “Why do I want to make the changes? What is the purpose?” You may think it is to lose weight, have more money, whatever, but it isn’t really, it is to create a certain mental or emotional state. What do you want to feel? Does the activity you have chosen create that mental or emotional state? Or does it (as is often the case) actually create totally the opposite state?!

I had a client awhile ago who came to me because she wanted to go swimming on a Saturday morning but couldn’t get out of bed. After asking her a few questions, she discovered that she didn’t really want to go, she had fixated on the swimming as an action that would make her feel less stressed and more relaxed, but ironically, the activity was making her feel more stressed! So I worked with her to generate some alternative activities that would create that state instead. Problem solved.

Begin by not focusing on the external behaviour, but the internal mental and emotional state that you want that behaviour to create. If the external behaviour you have chosen isn’t creating that state then find something that does!

Once you have looked back on the previous year, what questions do you need to ask to focus on your resolutions for this and make sure you achieve them.

Hello and Welcome to 2012.

The news is grim, with continued reports of the collapse of the worlds finances, talks of a returning recession, massive unemployment, companies going bust left right and centre… and here in the UK the New Year has started with sever storms (I hope that isn’t an omen)!

Now, more than ever, we need to carry out a revolution, a personal revolution in the way we think, act and behave. Ignore the glum and the doom and gloom and make 2012 your best year yet!

why do most people fail to achieve their goals?

One of the reasons I have discovered as to why people tend to fail in their resolutions is they look back at the previous year, convince themselves they didn’t achieve any of the resolutions they wanted to do that year and either give in in a big fat sulk or rush to try and do everything they wanted to do immediately, there by overwhelming themselves and giving up (in a big fat sulk).

If this sounds familiar then It is often a good idea to look back over, and assess the year just gone. But in a very specific way.

To achieve goals and outcomes you need to gather the appropriate resources, and to get the appropriate resources you need to ask the appropriate questions.

looking back

So before you start your plan of attack for this year ask yourself the following questions.

Lets start with something positive:

What went really well in 2011?

It can anything, no matter how small. Make a list. As you think about them, make the effort to really re-live the experience, pay attention to what you are seeing, hearing and in particular how you feel. Take a moment to be grateful and appreciate that you did them.

Ask yourself “how did I achieve these things that went really well, what did I think about and feel as I was working towards them?”

Now you have got yourself in a positive state and focused on some successes in 2011 you can approach the trickier area:

What didn’t go well in 2011? What were your biggest failures? Disappointments? Frustrations?

Write them all down and then ask yourself.

What did I learn from that experience?

Because, even if it was not the result you wanted, you still got a result or outcome and as we NLPer’s (sometimes annoyingly!) say “there is no failure, only feedback” so what can you learn from the results you got?

As you think about that, focus in on answering the following questions:

What do I need to do differently?

What do I need to do more of?

What do I need to stop doing altogether? Look at the goals or “resolutions” you did nothing with in 2011. Are they really what you want to achieve? One the most powerful lessons we can learn is to let go.

Once you have answers to all those questions you will have better resources to plan and achieve your goals for 2012. And be in a better frame of mind.

(I posted a video blog about this here, just the other day).

looking forward

Now, start thinking about the things you want to achieve in 2012 (bear in mind the “stop doing” list above!). List them in priority of what you want to achieve first. The biggest mistake people make with changes in their lives is to try and do everything all at once. Don’t. List them in priority order. You may not get round to even starting something on this list until much later in your year. That is fine.

When prioritising choose the following to do first:

  1. Look at the quick gains, what easy goals can you achieve that will set you up for succeeding (quitting is a dangerous habit).
  2. Look at the things that will make the biggest impact on your life right now.

If in doubt. Do less. Ask yourself what are the 3 key priorities. Can you get it down to just one? If you could only make one resolution this year, what would make the biggest impact?

Now you have your resolutions, ask this one simple question:

How will my life be better when I have achieved this goal/result?

Focus on what you see, hear and, most importantly, feel. If you cannot strongly imagine how these achievements will change your life (for the better) do you really need to do them? The secret here is to fall in love with the end result and make it so captivating for you that you are utterly compelled to take action. You don’t want it feel like it is a chore, or something you have to hype yourself up to do, it has to feel like something that you have to force yourself to stop doing. Make sense?

january coaching sale!

Do you need a little extra help in focusing on what you want to achieve?

In the spirit of New Years Resolutions and January Sales, I am offering a package of 6 one to one Skype coaching sessions for just £400 (usual price £600).

Click here to book your first session or call me on 07711 204013.

Wishing you a great 2012!

Matt

At long last! The eagerly awaited return (well, a few people have asked about them) of my video blog series. Starting, fittingly enough, with New Years Resolutions.

Before you begin to make plans for 2012 it is worth looking back at 2011 and assessing what you did.

Matt