Goal Setting – Avoiding Overwhelm

In the Personal Development and Coaching world there is often talk of Goal setting. Goal Setting is considered one of the most important habits to learn when aiming to make improvements in your life.

This can cause problems for some people, especially those pre-disposed to anxiety. 

However, if you learn the right approach to goal setting and managing your target expectations, this undue stress can be avoided or at least minimised.

There are many different ways to manage the steps towards goal achievement but I have highlighted the five that I think are most useful for avoiding or reducing overwhelm.

  1. Be absolutely clear that it is YOUR goal and not somebody else’s ! You are far more likely to want to take, and to enjoy taking the necessary steps to achieve a goal if it is your own goal rather than something that you feel like you should ( we don’t like should !) be achieving. 
  2. Break the Goal down into tiny steps, each being achievable in its own right. You could imagine a long ladder with your full goal at the top and each rung is a smaller goal that will lead towards it. Or you can score your goal as a 10 and then score your current state. If for example your current state is 2 then just focus on turning this into a 2.5. 
  3. Give yourself plenty of time. There’s no need to rush ( unless there is off course, but that will be covered in a different blog). If you think the first step on your ladder will take one week then allow 10 days. A little pressure can be good but it’s supposed to be an enjoyable process so give yourself the time that you actually need to take the necessary steps.
  4. Once you have decided on your first few steps book them into your diary. Doing this gives you space in your head and ensures that you consider your personal development plans when booking in other work or activities.
  5. Do not compare your goal or your progress to anybody else’s. This is important. We all learn and develop in different ways and at different rates. One person’s goal might be to make a million pounds by the end of the year whereas another person may plan to pay off one of many debts in the same time period. One person might plan to run a marathon next year whereas another might plan to walk up the stairs to their office instead of using the lift. Whatever you decide to do at this particular point in time is exactly right for you at this particular point in time. You are ok.

Learning to set goals that are realistic and achievable and that you actually want to achieve is a skill. It’s a valuable skill to learn and you can apply it to any area of your life. 

Just remember though, they are your goals, not anybody else’s. You can change them or pause them if you need to. If you start to feel stressed why not consider a goal of ‘learning to manage stress more effectively’ first 🙂 

It can be a great help to work on goal setting with a trusted friend or with a life coach. If you would like to work with me please contact me via www.lesleygormanlifecoach.co.uk 

How To Be Happy

Top Ten Tips To Being Happy.

I guess the first place to start is by understanding what we actually mean when we say happy.

Many people set themselves on a journey to seek happiness without ever understanding that it is not a simple destination.

Happiness is the journey and there is no singular destination happy.

Happiness is the view from the window, it’s the route you take, the way you deal with diversions and unexpected obstacles, it’s the people you travel with and the experiences along the way.

If you view happiness as something that you can attain then it’s likely that it will remain out of reach, instead you can learn to view happiness as simply a state of being.

Now being happy does not mean that you will never feel negative emotions. All emotions are a normal part of being human.

Learning to go through life from a base state of happiness will however impact how you are able to deal with negative emotions and difficult things in your life.

The definition of Happy, or Happiness is probably fairly subjective. Personally, I think of my happiness as a state of contentment with my life, an ability to see good in most situations and people, a desire to be kind to others and to experience life to its fullest.

I believe it’s important to distinguish between the more general ‘background’ happiness and the peak moments when we feel joyfully happy. It is possible to be generally unhappy yet experience moments of happiness which are joyful but fleeting.

This post is about making changes that can lead to an underlying background happiness that both results from, and results in, how you live your life and interact with the world.

So, here are 10 things you can do to raise your base level of happiness:

  1. Practice daily gratitude. List 5 things every day that you are grateful to have in your life. This can be from simply having clean tap water to receiving promotion at work, its up to you!
  2. Identify some Goals. Humans are goal driven and having something to aim for, no matter how small, gives us some meaning.
  3. Find a way to get involved in your local community. Can you volunteer for a local group ? or get some friends together to collect litter from a local beauty spot. Being part of something bigger is important as we are social animals and thrive with these connections.
  4. Eat well. Remember that old saying that we are what we eat. Our food impacts our moods. Eat more fresh vegetables, fresh fruits and whole foods. Minimise the sugars and fats.
  5. Exercise regularly. You don’t have to run the Iron man challenge 😉 but as a minimum walk briskly 3 times every week. Maybe find a group to walk with and improve your social life at the same time.
  6. Gently challenge any negative beliefs you might have. If you find yourself thinking I cant, I should, I must, or I need then aim to substitute for more positive statements such as I could if I wanted, I want to, I choose to.
  7. Make time for YOU every week. Book your YOU time into your diary and learn to prioritise it. It doesn’t have to be big, maybe a bubble bath with candles and mood music, or a facial, or a coffee in your favourite cafe, or an hour to read your favourite magazine. You deserve it 🙂
  8. Aim to carry out a ‘random act of kindness’ every week. Maybe buy a coffee for the person in the queue next to you, or carry someones shopping, chat to an elderly neighbour, help a stressed colleague… the list of options is endless.
  9. Practice loving yourself. List your strengths and qualities, your achievements and success. Notice all the parts of your body that work well for you and enable you to live. Focus on the good.
  10. Learn a new skill. There are great adult education programmes about or online course, theres sailing and cycling, singing and writing, baking and patisserie…again, the lists are endless. We are pre-progrmmed to keep learning so go on, what are you waiting for.

Now remember that habits take time to change so don’t expect to feel fabulously happy straight away. This is about making a long term commitment to experiencing life from a basis of happiness.

Start now and notice how much better you start to feel over the coming months.

If you would like to work through some of the points above with a coach then contact me via info@lesleygormanlifecoach.co.uk 

5 Tips for Improving Your Motivation

neon orange stairwell

I often get asked “ How can I improve my motivation?”

It’s a strange thing, as if motivation is an actual thing that exists in its own right. I mean if it did, and I could sell it, then I would be super rich by now!

Heres the thing..

Motivation is not a thing that you can just get more of as if by magic.

Some scientists believe that motivation is similar to an emotion. So in the same way that you can be in an angry state, or a happy state, you can be in a motivated state.

When you understand motivation like this is can become easier to consider how to put yourself in that state.

Say for example that you want to feel joyful, you might choose to spend time with friends whose company has tended to make you feel joyful in the past.

In general we know what things cause us to experience different emotional states, both positive and negative and we choose to participate in, or avoid them accordingly.

Now considering motivation in a similar way, here are 5 tips to boost your motivational state:

  1. Who Do You Know Who Is Highly Motivated?
    We have already mentioned that spending time with happy friends will lift us into a similar state. If you have friends who seem to have high levels of motivation then arrange to spend some time with them. The more time that you spend with them then the more their motivated state will ‘rub off’ on you.
     
  2. Remember When You Did Feel Motivated.
    Think back to a time that you remember feeling really motivated to do something. What were the circumstances? Can you recreate them? I worked with a client who recalled that she had visited the gym every morning when she had made her packed lunch for work and packed her gym bag the evening before. If she didn’t do this she felt rushed and overwhelmed in the morning and would skip the gym as a result.
     
  3. Why Do You Want To Be More Motivated?
    What is it that you actually want to achieve? Or avoid? Be clear and specific with yourself. Some people want to get fit because they want to experience feeling super fit whereas others may want to avoid being unwell. Neither is right or wrong, they are just different. Use statements or images to remind you of what you are wanting to achieve, for example a picture on the fridge door that represents health.
     
  4. Set Small Targets.
    If your targets or goals are too big you can easily feel overwhelmed and become demotivated! You may want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro at the end of the year but if you rarely move from the couch then this might seem a tad daunting. Break your big goal into smaller steps. So, If you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro next year, break this down into 20 smaller steps along the way. Your first few weeks might just involve walking around the local park but you know that you are heading towards something bigger in an achievable way.
     
  5. Reward Yourself Along The Way.
    This is so important. We all love being rewarded and feeling acknowledged for our hard work and achievements. Well this works for the hard work we carry out for ourselves. Once you have set your smaller steps along the way, plan how you will reward yourself as you achieve each one. Imagine that towards the end of the week, you are tired and don’t feel like going to the gym BUT you have promised yourself that if you do go on all the planned days then you will reward yourself with a massage at the weekend, or a piece of your favourite cake, or an evening at the cinema… whatever works for you!

Introduce these five tips and you will notice a difference.

You are able to experience a motivated state when you need to, but learning to access it when you want to will make a huge difference to your ability to make positive changes in your life.

If you would like support to access your motivational state then contact me on  info@lesleygormanlifecoach.co.uk to book an appointment.

5 Top Tips to Identify and Challenge Limiting Beliefs

hands holding digital camera

We all have many beliefs about ourselves and others.

These beliefs can be be positive or negative, ie limiting.

So what do we mean by a belief ?

A belief is a statement that we have come to believe almost as if it is a truth.

So, say that your maths teacher told you that you were no good at maths and put you in the remedial group. As a child you probably accepted the adult’s statement as true. Every time you made a mistake in maths class you would have subconsciously added this to your collection of supporting evidence. You then grew up telling yourself and others that you were no good at maths without stopping to realise that this was simply a belief, not a truth.

We all like to be right and when we believe something it can be difficult to accept that our belief is not in fact true. Take for example, people’s different beliefs about politics or religion !

What we tend to do is constantly look for evidence to support and reinforce our belief systems, even if they are beliefs that no longer serve us.

From a personal development point of view, a negative belief that we hold about ourself or someone close to us can limit our opportunities for growth and happiness.

Below, are 5 simple tips to begin to eradicate the power of your limiting beliefs and to set you on the path to personal growth.

  1. Identify your limiting beliefs.
    Notice what kind of statements that you make about yourself and your abilities or about your loved ones. Some common examples might be ‘I am not very clever’ or ‘I’m too old to do X,Y or Z’ or about another person it might be ‘She is selfish’. Take your time to consider as many negative beliefs as you can and jot them down on a piece of paper.
     
  2. Identify the Origins of The Beliefs.
    Now, make 5 columns on your piece of paper with each limiting belief in the left hand column. In the second column, write down when you first remember having this belief and who it came from. Take your time with this, it can be a revelation to realise that this belief came from someone else’s remarks to us.
  3. Consider the Opposite Belief.
    Consider each belief in turn and in the third column, write down the exact opposite belief. So for example, ‘I am too old to…’ becomes ‘I am young enough to…’ or ‘I am not very clever’ becomes ‘I am clever’. You might find that your beliefs are so ingrained and powerful that you are reluctant to do this, after all, in your head your beliefs have become truths and who wants to argue with an absolute truth! Go ahead and do it anyway even if at this point it feels odd.
  4. Evidence to Support Your New Statement.
    The fourth column is where we start to undo the knot that is our view of our belief systems. For each positive alternative I want you to look for supporting evidence. So, using ‘I am young enough to…’ as an example, list all the things that people of your age have been able to do and achieve. For ‘I am clever’, list all the things that you have learnt in your lifetime, everything from tying your own shoelaces to using a mobile phone – this will be a long list!
  5. Turning the New Statements into Beliefs.
    Now in Column 5, write down one small thing that you can do in the coming weeks to prove your new positive belief statement. This column can form the basis of your ongoing action plan to challenge your limiting beliefs repeatedly until they fade away and your new beliefs become the ‘truths’.

It really is incredibly powerful and liberating to realise that the negative things we think about ourselves are just habitual thought patterns that have no basis in reality. Their only substance has come from our supporting evidence collection over the years. What we haven’t done is collected evidence for the opposite of our beliefs even though it was out there. After all, it goes counter to human nature to collect evidence for something that we don’t believe !

Now that you understand this though, you can continue to build your evidence collection for your new positive belief statement. This won’t happen over night, it can take time to turn this statement into an actual belief but just know that it will become firmer as you create more opportunities to evidence it.

If you find this exercise difficult to do on your own then why not enlist the services of a Life-Coach or a Counsellor to help you.

I can be contacted at info@lesleygormanlifecoach.co.uk to arrange either a face to face or a telephone coaching session.

10 tips to Spring Clean Your Life

spring blossom

It’s Spring!

I realise that it might not look like it today but it really is.

Are you a Spring Cleaner? Do you get that urge to start clearing out and cleaning up after your winter hibernation?

History of Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning has a place in different religions and cultures throughout history.

Did you know that The Persian New Year falls on the first day of spring and everything in the house would be completely cleaned to welcome it in?

Catholics would ensure that the whole house was cleaned ready for Easter, for Good Friday and Jewish people would spring clean in readiness for Passover.

Prior to the invention of the vacuum cleaner, most people chose to wait until the warmer weather to throw open their windows and allow the winter dust and cobwebs to be blown away.

Spring Cleaning Your Life

Spring cleaning gives you a great opportunity not just to clean your house but to audit your life and bring in some new healthy habits.

Most people find it quite hard to stick to their New Year Resolutions and a fair proportion will have withered away by now. I mean, the cold and dark of winter is not the best time to introduce healthy new habits when all we crave is comfort and warmth.

How about some Spring Resolutions?

Ten tips for bringing growth into your life this spring

1. Book some time into your diary each week to action your Spring Cleaning List.

2. Look through a local events calendar and book some activities for Spring and Summer. Find things that are new and outdoors and challenge yourself to learn something new.

3. Look in your fridge and your kitchen cupboards. Will the contents give you the good health and body that you want? If not then its time to empty them out and start afresh.

4. Write a list of foods that you want to eat and why then stick this onto the fridge door as a reminder.

5. Wash your winter clothes and pack them away or give them away.

6. Plan one morning to get up early enough to hear the dawn chorus – you won’t be disappointed and it will fill you with joy.

7. Check out the weather forecast and plan one morning to get up early and see the sunrise, its beautiful and will nourish your soul.

8. Have a “Power Day’ to get the house cleaned, play your favourite uplifting music loud, dance as you clean and enjoy making your home fresh.

9. Decide how much time you actually want to spend on social media and put it in your diary. Stick to it and open up space for new enriching activities.

10. Book a date to go through your piles of paperwork, do something with it or throw it out!

Spring Cleaning Your Life -Help

You will feel lighter and more energetic as you work through the list.
If you feel stuck then get a friend to do it with you, or enlist the services of a coach to encourage and motivate you.

If you want your house sorting but don’t want to do it yourself then why not enlist the services of a decluttering expert to do it with you?

So, put that spring in your step and get on with clearing and growing your healthy new habits 🙂