It’s not something you ACHIEVE, like a DEGREE…
a certificate on the wall you will have for life, that no-one can ever take away…
it’s something you commit to in the now, amongst the busyness, an integral part of the busyness…
It’s not something you ACHIEVE, like a DEGREE…
a certificate on the wall you will have for life, that no-one can ever take away…
it’s something you commit to in the now, amongst the busyness, an integral part of the busyness…
Let’s think about a healthy habit that you find easy to maintain.
Hands up who brushed their teeth this morning? Of course you did. Now, was that a hassle? Was that a major effort of willpower to convince yourself to do it? Of course not. You just got up, wandered into the bathroom and started brushing, right? Brushing your teeth is an effortlessly healthy habit that you put into practice twice a day without even thinking about it.
Why is it so easy?
One: Your action is in congruence with your deeply held belief, drummed into you since childhood, that oral health is important physically and socially. There is no internal dialogue that goes on every morning about whether teeth brushing is a good thing or not, you have already decided it is, so you act accordingly.
Two: It’s set up for you in a way that’s convenient and easy to action. The toothbrush is right next to the sink, with the toothpaste. Easy. And it happens at a regular time of day which further anchors the habit.
Three: We get an almost instant reward for carrying out the behaviour. Our teeth feel clean and nice and we can deliver a good morning kiss without fear of embarrassment.
Can we use these principles to establish other healthy habits? For sure. We need to make sure we cover all three steps.
So, a couple of examples:
Habit we want to establish: reduce coffee intake, no coffee after midday
Habit we want to establish: increase exercise, a 15 minute walk daily
Don’t underestimate the value of having simple systems set up that support the change you want to effect.
The pair of trainers at work, the yoga mat in the boot of the car, the stash of herbal teas in the desk drawer can all make keeping the habit up as low maintenance as cleaning your teeth. I have a couple of friends who believe that green smoothies are the best way to start the day, but find mornings juggling getting the kids off to school just too frantic to make it happen regularly. One now spends a few minutes on a Sunday doing 5 little ziplock bags of spinach, kiwifruit, apple, etc so that all she has to do on Monday morning is grab the bag out of the fridge and throw the contents straight into the blender, no hassle. Another simply outsources it and has them delivered fresh weekly. Introducing simple systems that support habits can be the difference between them sticking or not.
What simple processes or systems could you put in place to support the healthy habits you want to establish? It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
It’s much more about reducing the hassle factor so it’s easier to do it, than to not do it. Just like cleaning your teeth!
It’s an interesting thing – some people just seem to be born knowing who they are and even from a small child you see them plough their individual furrow in life.
Their way, right from the Get Go. Right outta the gate, they are true to their unique take on the world and their place within it. The majority of us though…It. Takes. Time. So much people-pleasing to be done first, no! Decades of it! Myriad school, qualification, partner, career, home choices, and so on to be made to fit the vision that other people have or expect.
How does it look when you start trusting your own version of you? How do you know when you are starting to live more truly to yourself?
1. You can give yourself permission to change your mind
And – you can change your mind without calling it quitting and beating your sweet self up over it. You just know it’s not right for you. Maybe it was before. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was a mistake all along. But – regardless of what other’s judgement might be about you saying the course – you know it’s wrong and you give yourself permission to change direction anyway
2. You’ve outgrown a few relationships or situations and you are not clinging or feeling guilty about it.
Life is all about growth: internal and external, and it’s at different speeds and directions for us all. And that’s okay. You may outgrow friendship groups. Or relationships, or careers, or countries and all of that is ok. We are not meant to stay the same forever, and nor is anyone else. In such a global world of possibility and opportunity, our personal journeys are meant to overlap with many others – and we might be on parallel tracks for a bit and then one or the other might speed up. We are not left behind or in front. We are just on different tracks and that’s more than ok. Release with love.
3. You realise that life doesn’t feel good, all of the time, and that’s ok too.
This is a biggie. The “pursuit of happiness” after all is drummed into us left, right and centre from before we can walk. But – as humans we are created, programmed, to experience and process a range of human emotion: not just happiness. We might be happiness seeking machines, but we are also programmed to feel sadness, guilt, irritation, boredom, anger, resentment, fear. When we can observe these emotions for a moment without frantically trying to escape them (Booze! Drugs! Overworking! Exercising like crazy! Food! Sugar! Pizza! Oh, go on then just one more slice! Wine! Just a quick one!) we can discern what their message to us is – and how to course-correct ourselves. That it is actually easier to navigate which way happiness is when we know where it isn’t, and we can refine the road all the way. That it’s actually just more efficient to allow ourselves to feel sad, or scared or bored, to move through that feeling – than it is to keep and avoiding feeling it with one more wine. When you are being true to yourself you are being true to what you really feel.
4. Some people like you, some people don’t and that’s ok.
7 billion people on the planet. They ain’t all gonna like you and approve of you and all your choices. It’s an impossibility to even try. You do you. Let them do them. Don’t sweat the haters. Stay in your integrity. The more you love your choices the less you need other people to.
5. You have boundaries that you hold, no matter the consequences.
When you start realising that your boundaries are not things you put up to beat other people with, but merely lines in the sand that keep YOU safe, that you can stand behind – and other people can choose accordingly – that is a huge step on living a life that is true to yourself.
To be able to say “this is ok for me, and this, this is not, this I will not tolerate” and then let others choose how they will behave around you. There is an enormous sense of peace in that. Most will respect your boundary, and say “of course, that is no problem, I had no idea that was so important to you” and a few will not and test if you really mean it. Being able to voice a boundary is huge. Being able to stand firm on your boundary, and know what is a non-negotiable for you IS being true to you. At its very essence, it is where you – stand up and show up – for you.
To being true to yourself, my friend.
Habits Of Happiness – Expectation Management
Here is an interesting phenomenon. In my experience, people tend to seriously OVER estimate what can be achieved in the short term, and UNDER estimate what can be achieved in the long term.
For example, if you are anything like me you start the day with a To-Do list thinking, yep, I can crack through at least 8 of those things today! Bring it on! I have a vision of crossing things off in a frenzy of activity, getting to the end of the day with a list satisfyingly scored with black lines detailing what has been accomplished. But yet, in reality, I will have a super busy day, and yet only 2 things get crossed off. Some days not even that!
I was bemoaning this fact to my partner. He asked “How was your day”, and I responded “Good, but… I didn’t get done everything I wanted to get done”. “You ALWAYS say that!!!!” he said. “Always”. Irritatingly when I thought about it he was absolutely right. Almost every single day I would be beating myself up about the things I had NOT done. Rather than celebrating the progress on the things I HAD accomplished. I had fallen straight into the trap of overestimating what can be achieved in the short term, and it was sucking a bit of joy out of each (actually pretty damn productive!) day.
When we routinely overestimate what we can achieve in the short term it can create a whole heap of stress and overwhelm. By overestimating just how much can be done in a day we end up beating ourselves up for not being efficient enough. Organised enough. Quick enough. Good enough. It’s actually a pretty tiring pattern.
It’s a good observation, and I know I am not alone. My smart, high achieving, professional clients are usually in the same boat. It’s a good exercise to do a little expectation management on ourselves to reduce stress.
Interestingly this phenomenon seems to go hand in hand with underestimating what we can accomplish in the long term.
We can get so caught up in the frenzy of everyday life that we fail to put our head above the parapet long enough to set some real stretch goals for ourselves, big dreams that can be realised if we plan them properly with a 12-month time frame. Because we are so busy it’s easy to dismiss those dreams as just dreams, or too big to be reached so why bother. Whereas if we put our minds to it and break it down into the tiny steps we discussed last week, that big dream can become a big goal with a deadline that we can actually accomplish if we consciously choose it.
The secret to achieving more of the big stuff and reducing stress with the small stuff is to practice expectation management. Expect a little less of yourself daily, but a little more of yourself long term. It’s a subtle but effective shift in perception that can make a big difference.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Cut yourself a little slack today, know you won’t get everything done on your list that you want to get done, BUT commit to putting into place at least one big, energising blow-your-mind dream that you can steadily move towards over the next 12 months.
You will surprised how much you can reduce the stress today, and increase the accomplishment in tomorrow.
Bet you can’t guess #3!
You can call it a post-Lockdown burst of clarity, or just getting older and wiser…but here are 5 things I have decided I am done with.
Being Done With feels incredibly relieving and I have a real sense of lightness about it – like having a really nice internal spring clean. What is also incredibly pleasing about being Done With 5 things…is that it opens up SO much emotional capacity, physical space and T I M E to do things I really care about.
I hope it might inspire you to do your own list …what are you Done With?
Here are mine for your inspo!
So, good people, I Am Done With:
So yeah, this is a big one to start with. I’ve been an enthusiastic drinker of alcohol all my adult life. It’s been at the centre of every celebration, commiseration and Friday night since the year dot. It’s been part of the best of times and the worst of times.
My shy, underconfident teenage self used it to make herself feel interesting and to burst through the thick layer of excruciating self-consciousness at house parties. My older self used it to make other people feel interesting at boring dinner and industry parties.
It’s been my constant companion in my ever-changing social setting all my adult life. Not so much the last 10 years or so, but y’know, a few wines a few times a week. A very normal amount. Certainly not a problem amount, just a few wines, like you do.
Then – in October last year – after one too many – I decided to Break Up With Booze. That I was D.O.N.E. For 30 days. But then…here we are in June – and I am STILL DONE! I’ve done sober birthdays, Christmas, black-tie speaking events, weddings, you name it I have done it with nothing stiffer than a soda and twist of lime.
And do you know what’s been the MOST surprising thing about it? After DECADES of social and convivial drinking, the absolute SHOCKER to me as been HOW FREAKING EASY IT HAS BEEN TO JUST STOP.
Just like that. I’ve had a drink on 3 occasions, and that’s IT. Not been drunk at all. Not even tipsy. Essentially, I have raised a few glasses in toast and that’s it. And it’s been AWESOME.
I LOVE not drinking. I had NO IDEA that would happen. I LOVE having more energy and sparkle. I LOVE how much longer the weekends feel.
It’s taken my breath away how EASY it’s been, and how I have ZERO desire to go back. I’ll have the odd glass a few times a year if I want, or not if I don’t, but that’s it.
I’ve learned a LOT about doing it the easy way, the psychology of embracing a hangover-free life – and I’m going to teach it in a Sober October course later in the year – you can check out my Academy here if you are curious. It really is about doing it EASY, without force, and I’m excited to teach that in-depth later in the year.
Okay – second thing I am just DONE WITH is Being Busy All The Time. Being that person who is racing from one thing to the next all the time. Feeling like I am never “finished” and that there is always one more post to write, one more of my voluntary commitments that needs attention, something I should be doing for someone, some chore I should be on top of.
I have taken the enforced state of No Obligation during Lockdown to really prune my obligations. It’s meant making some hard decisions about what to let go of and gracefully release. And – do you know what…it’s EXTRAORDINARY!
Getting to the end of the day and feeling a sense of accomplishment that I have created all that I promised myself this day – but – that I am done for the day, and that things are not hanging over me. That there is more time and space to enjoy what I am actually creating (writing this for y’all, for example) rather than just wanting to get it ticked off so I can get onto the next thing.
I teach a concept called Life Maths to my clients and Academy members – and, y’know what people: IT WORKS. Less truly is more. Less obligations, less To Do’s equals more space more depth, more connection, more learning, more enjoyment, more fun. Life is just BETTER.
Doing All The Things (just because you are capable and you can) is totally overrated, and I am cheerfully Done With It.
Life Maths is included in my 30 Day course Goals With Souls course in the Academy – you can dive in today for just $39 if you want to create more space for what you want in life.
Just – nah. Life is too short to iron. I only buy stuff that doesn’t need ironing. And I’ve got rid of my ironing board. Hurrah for me.
I think this has been another benefit of lockdown – because NO ONE has been doing anything, all the FOMO just disappeared for us all. Poof! SO NICE!
It’s made me realise that actually a lot of the things I enjoy – ARE NOT COOL – BUT I DON’T CARE! Yes, I superlove catching up with a friend with an expensive mocktail in a nice bar wearing cute shoes…but …also…I really like switching my brain off and doing a jigsaw. SO uncool – right?! But…I’m done with caring. I like what I like. And I’m all in with it.
Bring on the jigsaws. I’m all about it.
Yoga. Yes, love it. Completely reconnecting with it.
Binging on Personal Development books and courses.
Being coached. Yes yes yes.
Mmmmm I know, that’s the Gold Standard number of steps we should all be doing every day. And if you are not, you are some sort of sedentary sloth-like loser. Well, y’know what – I am not buying into that anymore. The right number – for me – is 5000.
If I do more than that – that’s a bonus (and most days I do) – but I am not going to let the Steps Police live in my head when they are not aware of all other good stuff I do each day for my body.
I don’t want to feel BAD about my steps – when I am so active in a variety of ways each day that don’t get counted (except by my BODY, which – DUH – is the only ACTUAL place that they DO count!) – and I REFUSE to be held captive to a baseline that was set by a Japanese marketing agency in the ’60s (google it).
10000 steps DOESN’T WORK FOR ME, I am – quite cheerfully – done with it.
We use a much more evolved system in the Wellbeing Warriors Academy which you are welcome to dive into the two 30 Day courses on it, on-demand here called Witness The Fitness, and NEAT Up.
So – that’s my hot 5 things I am done with:
What are YOU done with? I’d love to know.
You can find me on Facebook and / Instagram right here:
And you can work with me daily here.
Call me crazy but I love hearing when clients or friends are “totally over it”. When they can’t look at another “fat picture” or drag themselves into the office for another soul-destroying day. I know that may seem mean because it means they are miserable, but I think of being over it, really, really over it, as a special kind of breakthrough.
There are two stages.
The early-stage where we just like to just talk about being “over it”. We actually secretly enjoy talking about our awful boss, or our nightmare mother. When people are really, truly over it however, they don’t want to talk about it. They have talked about it to death but that hasn’t made them thinner or their relationship happier or their career more lucrative.
When people are truly over it they can actually hear themselves repeating those same old lines and they are sick of hearing themselves. Moaning no longer cuts the mustard. We are actually boring ourselves.
Being “over it” feels awful. It can feel like despair, it can feel like we have no real options or choices, it can feel like nothing we might do will make a difference. It can feel lonely. It can feel isolating. But in actual fact when you strip this away rock bottom can be fundamentally liberating.
When we are so sick of a situation in our lives the choice has to be change.
Changing either how we choose to think about the situation or changing the situation itself. When we start to open the mind to the fact that there has to be another way then hey presto some solutions will start to present themselves. “Over it” becomes the first step on the pathway to something far better. When we reach rock bottom and are sick to death of a situation it can be just the springboard we need to move to a far brighter future.
Here’s the funny thing about being “over it”. You can’t really get over it, skip it, miss out the pain or the hassle or the scariness of sorting out whatever situation it is you are over. You can’t actually get over it without going through it. The way out is through whatever change is required not over. We are creatures of comfort as a rule so we tend to avoid the tough stuff, the convo with the boss about the payrise or the missed promotion, the meeting with the neighbor about their continually barking dog. But this is the way over to the other side of our pain, to front up and deal with whatever it is. To go through to come out the other side.
Good stuff starts to happen when the pain of being “over it” becomes greater than the perceived fear of changing the situation or our thoughts about it.
Learning not to be afraid of, or to resist “over it”, but to welcome it, can transform how quickly we move forward in life.
As the great Harry Potter author JK Rowling (and let’s face it she’s done okay latest novel notwithstanding!) famously said “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life”.
Action Step: in what area of your life are you ”over it”? An energy-sucking friendship? A tired and outdated kitchen? Being unfit? Identify it and then choose to either change the way you feel about it or change the situation.
Remember the way out isn’t over it is through.
If you never feel quite good enough it’s likely that you are a bit of a perfectionist. Perfectionism is the ultimate double-edged sword: yes, it might propel us forward towards our goals BUT it is also the cause of a huge amount of stress, pressure, sleepless nights, procrastination, quitting, and generally diminished wellbeing.
Perfectionism sounds like it’s a good thing…but…on closer inspection… there is a big difference between being a balanced and happy high achiever, and a perfectionist. Your body, health, and happiness will really thank you for getting super clear on the difference.
Here’s the thing: Perfection is a mirage. It’s a standard you can never reach consistently.
It feels like…
If we could see life just as a series of moves that EXPAND US, IMPERFECTLY, in a forwards motion…rather than trying to reach perfection but never getting there either at all (or for more than 25 seconds) it would be a MUCH more realistic and relaxed way to live.
Where in your life is perfect a mirage you can never really reach?
The quest for Inbox Zero?
The nirvana of an empty washing basket and a tidy house?
List a mirage today.
Then let yourself off the hook.
You will never reach it, consistently, and that’s okay!
You can give yourself permission to know life is unfolding just fine as it is: a work in progress in a state of imperfect but constant expansion.
Now, there is a kiwi specific cultural phenomenon that happens for those in the workforce in December.
What happens is that every project you have ever touched or been associated with during the previous 11 months (and indeed some that you haven’t) suddenly has to ABSOLUTELY be finished by Christmas Eve, OR THE WORLD WILL END. End, I tell you.
All joking aside, it’s actually super stressful. Due to the fabulously extended January holidays we all enjoy this creates a real pressure cooker environment which can lead to a) massive overwhelm before Christmas b) utterly unrealistic expectations that can never be met c) not enough time for Chrimbo shopping or drinking egg nog with colleagues whilst wearing festive antlers.
Northern Hemisphere peeps will be back at work as usual on the 3rd of January, whilst most Kiwi’s will be drinking cold ones for another 4 weeks, so clearly – we win! No one would want to give up their January. BUT – can we reach it without descending into Xmas Madness?
Here are a few tips you can put into place today:
1. Get really clear, really really clear, that the working world will not in fact end at midday on the 24th December. Do not buy into the madness.
2. Set some expectations NOW. Get ahead of the game whether by a team meeting, or email or whatever. Set some expectations NOW on what you can deliver by when. Communicate with staff / customers / clients / suppliers / colleagues and so on expectation and timelines. Be confident and set your boundaries on what is realistic.
3. Beware the hospital pass. Veeeery common at this time of year is the colleague whistling in a project and making it your problem, when in fact they have sat on it procrastinating since June. Boundaries are required here, people. Don’t let your December get pulled into the madness because someone else has been fluffing about for the last 6 months. Use your “no” judiciously but firmly.
4. Accept some stuff will just not get done before Christmas. This is okay because a) the world will not end (see point 1), and b) it means you have a job to come back to.
5. Make time for some fun. The seriousness of the Xmas Madness can suck the joy out of a normally happy workplace as everyone feels so under the gun with this end of year deadline. Remember that this is the season of goodwill unto all men, and make sure you allow enough space for laughs and thank you’s and celebrations too.
We are still far enough away that you can do some really effective (read: ruthless!) scheduling and expectation management now.
Head off the Xmas Madness at the pass, don’t make it an inevitable part of your working December.
After all you’ve got eggnog and festive antlers to attend to.
We must catch up before Christmas!” – how often do you hear that in the last few weeks before Christmas?
When there is no actual time to do anything about it?! How many times do YOU say it, when you know there is no way you can really make it happen at that point, and you have a weirdly guilty feeling that you might just have said the exact same thing to them last year?
Okay, so sometimes this is just a social nicety that we say when we know full well we don’t want to really see them, and that they, in return, have no intention of seeing us either. Fine fine. Social niceties make the world a smoother place to navigate. We all know the game.
There are however likely a heap of people you genuinely DO want to see. And for one reason or another, your priorities have slipped over the winter and the social connection has not been there during the hunkering down period.
The quality of our life is largely defined by the quality (and quantity) of our social connections and interactions. Those connections give our life richness, purpose and meaning.
Given that is the case it doesn’t do any harm for us to put some additional intentionality and priority round it today.
Riddle me this:
Not all connection needs to be one on one, and time-intensive.
This is a great reflection exercise, to make sure you include all the people who are truly important to you.
Your best summer will be only best summer when you have the best people at your side.
Ah, the smell of summer time in the air! Don’t you just love feeling the mornings getting lighter and the breeze getting warmer.
We all love summer and it’s definitely true that you can feel the collective mood of the nation rising as the sun starts to rise a little earlier each morning.
I have a new series for you today to inspire you to make Summer 2019/20 your best yet.
We all know summer’s going to be good…because…summer!!!…but I have 8 top tips for you over the next 8 weeks to amp it up to the max with your wellbeing in mind.
A little extra planning and reflection now go a really long way to making this your best summer to date.
So – today’s first tip
#1. Summer by design, not by default
If Summer 2019/20 is to be your most fun, most connected, most energising yet, then that’s unlikely to happen by accident.
We are far enough out on the run-up now that you can make some great decisions that will affect your level of ease and enjoyment the whole summer long.
So, spend a little time planning by using these 7 questions:
Making the most of our precious months of glorious weather and squeezing the maximum juice out of the summer means investing in a generous sprinkle of planning.
A little planning might not sound summer-sexy – but the results sure are.
When you get the summer you want and deserve by design – not by default.
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is for constructive,
so you come out of
tricky times stronger
than you went in!
My gift to you.