Why Does My New Year Resolution Fail?

Why do I so often fail with my new year resolution? Are Goals and Resolutions the same thing?

Setting New Years resolutions are a bit of a tradition. I’ve been waking up on the 1st January for as long as I can remember and setting resolutions. Its something my mum first encouraged me to do.

How many resolutions last the year? Not many and that’s probably the case for most people. In fact if you start to research the topic you’ll find that stats suggest that most will be broken by the middle Monday in January. Frequently dubbed Blue Monday, this day is the accumulation of long nights, back to work syndrome, arrival of credit card bills and little to look forward to. Add to that, the fact that most people’s resolutions are about giving something up or doing something we don’t want to, then it can become a difficult proposition to maintain.

Properly formulated goals can be a very different proposition. So why are goals so different?

So ask yourself the question – Do you want to lose weight or is it that you want to feel better about yourself? Do you want to give up alcohol or do you want to live a healthier lifestyle?

Once you understand what’s driving your resolution then working toward achieving that goal is about having  positive motivation, rather than moving away from something you don’t want.

Goals should be specific. They should identify exactly what it is you want to achieve, this way you will know when you’re achieved it. This should include a quantity if appropriate and a time by when you will have completed it.

So if your goal is about getting fit, how will you know when you feel fitter? Perhaps a measure might be being able to run for 5 minutes without stopping by the end of March OR being able to walk upstairs without being out of breath.

Goals are much easier to achieve in small steps. If your goal is to write a novel by the end of the year, that’s one big task that you may put off until November and then it becomes unrealistic. Break your goals into small manageable steps, which in this case might be to write the outline by the end of January, 1st chapter by end of February and get feedback in March. Celebrate each achievement as you reach it.
And remember, don’t be hard on yourself. We all lose our way from time to time. It’s like riding a bike, the trick is to get back on when you fall off. So don’t be hard on yourself, just resolve to start again.

What’s Your NY Resolution?

If you need help with your goals this year, then having some support can really make the difference.  Give me a call now on 07714 216388 to see how I can help you make a splash with your goals.

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copyright Reflections Coaching

 

 

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Reclaim Your Mojo

Autumn has been and gone with Christmas now just around the corner.  Those lovely sunny days have faded into just memories.  Darker mornings can be a struggle.  Sometimes just small events can knock us off balance.  It’s time to get your MOJO back.

Look inside yourself

Take a few moments out to think about what may have thrown your emotions out of kilter.  Is it something that’s happened at work? or home?  Its good at this point to write down your thoughts.  Make a note of the facts e.g. a falling out with someone and also the emotions that go with it.  Having a visual record will help you deal with it.

Spring-clean

And I’m not talking about your house.  But just in the same way that you would clear out your cupboards, and hoover the carpet, you can make the choice to throw away the negative emotions.  Make a deliberate choice to throw out the negative emotions and draw a line under events OR take a positive action to resolve them. 

A great spring-clean leads to a trouble free mind, a sense of achievement and the buzz of a fresh start.

Do something different

Right now is a great time to make a change or do something new.  A trip to the hair dressers for a new style could make a real difference to how you feel.  OR try a new hobby, pick up a book for the first time in 10 yrs or try that new restaurantJust one small change can leave you feeling refreshed.

Do Something For Pure Pleasure

Ever wanted to go fly a kite? Or skip through a wood?  What’s stopping you.  Perhaps the simpler pleasure that you don’t get chance to do, like taking a mid week soak in the bath – allow your mind to be free of your pressures just for 30 minutes will help you get a real focus.

 

My 4 tips will help you restore that smile this autumn.  Keeping emotions and life balanced is important to leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  If you need more help keeping your life in kilter perhaps coaching could help.  Give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 now to book your free taster session.

P1070226copyright Carolyn Trafford

Why Is Goal Setting Like Getting Married

Those of you that know me personally will also know that I’m not adverse to getting out a camera at the weekend and tagging along with my husband Brett Trafford to photograph a wedding.  We were at a wedding last Friday and it started me thinking about how working with your goals is a bit like getting married, yet it so much easier to divorce our goals than our spouses.

My VVW approach to goal setting is simple and could help prevent you from divorcing your goals.

Vows – Make a commitment to yourself as you would your future spouse.  During the ceremony the couple promised so much to each other and are unlikely to break them.  Ask yourself why you find it so easy to break promises to yourself?

Value – When entering into a marriage we value the thoughts and opinions of our loved one.  Its equally important to value yourself.  Its only when you achieve this that you will place enough emphasis on achieving your goals.  Lets face it – you’re worth it aren’t you?

Witness – Tell others what you’ve set out to achieve.  Tell no-one and it becomes too easy to back out when things get tough.  If you’re going on a diet, tell people, the risk of guilt if caught stuffing that chocolate bar into your mouth might well just stop you sabotaging yourself.

 

I’m currently working towards a goal of losing a stone in weight.  I know from experience that I often set myself a goal and give in.  So I’ve made my vows to 80 witnesses in my facebook Thin From Within facebook group and now potentially another 2000 here on my blog.  All I need to do now, is know that I am worth it.

 

P1060885copyright Carolyn Trafford

 

 

What Does Success Mean To You?

Watching Murray win Wimbledon certainly made me stop and think about success.  Success can mean so many different things to different people.  Have you stopped and thought about what it means to you?

This week we’ve seen Murray finally win Wimbledon.  Year after year the British have pinned their hopes on him, supporting him, willing him to win.  For many of us we’ll view his success as holding up the cup.

But what does success mean?  Lets face it success is different for everyone and whilst we can use it as a good example we have to relate the stages to our own dreams and ambitions, after all we don’t all hold the ambition to win Wimbledon.

Yes we can all see success in this photo and it is likely that winning Wimbledon was up there in Murray’s top goals list.  But how does he go from starting a tournament to holding up a cup?

Its important to break all goals down and celebrate success along the way. So winning Wimbledon is broken down by winning a numbers of matches, including a quarter, a semi and a final.

Each match requires you to win a number of sets, each set a number of games and each game a number of points.  Surely therefore it’s critical that each point is celebrated and if you follow Wimbledon you will see players like Murray celebrating each one.  It may be a punch in the air, a smile or a wave of a racquet, its still a celebration.

Its simple to apply this to our own dreams.  If realising our dream was just one step we’d have achieved it by now.  So what is your dream?  How can you break it down?  And do you celebrate each step as you get closer to the overall goal?

 

What if? What if it was empowering to make a decision?

How many hours do you think you waste in a lifetime worrying about decisions?

I know I’ve done it.  I agonize for ages about the “whats ifs”. There are consequences of making a decision, whether its the right decision or otherwise. 

I recall being told my job was relocating.  I had to decide whether or not to go with it.  I didn’t want to go, the commute was too much and I didn’t really enjoy the job, the alternative was to start my business, but with hubby having just made his own first steps in business it really wasn’t the right time for me.  But then when would be?  What if we both failed?  What If I failed?  Why give up a well paid job?  I found myself in this virtuous circle, never concluding the answer.

I slept on it.

The next day I knew what the answer was.  I had to give my business idea a go.  From that minute on I felt empowered.  I had control of my life back again. It enabled me to take the next steps, start the ball rolling and release myself from the shackles I felt with work.

Angelina Jolie 2003

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have blogged abut this before and I don’t like to repeat myself, however I felt it tied in with the news about Angelina Jolie and her decision to have a double mastectomy which has been publicised this week.  It can not be denied that this would be a tough decision to make, and Angelina has been quoted:

“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

For me, the lesson is simply, as in my own situation, the act of making a decision on something personal and emotive is an extremely empowering thing to do.  Cast aside the fear of making the decision, without a crystal ball we’ll never know the alternative outcome and must make the decision based on the information we have now.  We can not look back afterwards but to make the decision, frees the mind.

What has empowered you? Please share your stories here

 

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Does a healthy body really result in a healthy mind?

I’m not a scientist, I can’t say for sure, but its an ethos that I live by.  It started a couple of careers ago when I worked in a busy customer service environment and much that I hated going to the gym – I always found that a good session on the cross trainer helped to get rid of some of the stress and negative emotions that I was feeling. 

More recently, I found myself in a job that I was bored and demotivated in.  A good walk in the fresh air, even in the rain at lunchtime always made me feel better.  Although the problem didn’t really go away until I left the job, the lunchtime fresh air sessions were part of the catalyst for retraining.

Google the topic and you will find evidence to support this.  Recent studies by the  American Psychological Association (APA), have demonstrated that our mental, emotional, and physical health are closely linked.

Although technically not a value the principle of Healthy Body, Healthy Mind is firmly embedded in my business, particularly amongst my weight management clients, where we frequently have “walk and talk” sessions.

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I believe its important to nip negative feelings in the bud as longer lasting periods of stress can increase the risk of heart-related problems e.g. high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.

Depression can also be linked to a higher risk of developing high blood pressure,  heart attack.  But equally important is that a lack of excerise can also be the cause for stress and depression kicking in so its important that we manage and are aware of both.

So getting a balance is important, I’m not suggesting that anyone suddenly starts training for a marathon, but my one tip to anyone would be:

If you’re feeling the stresses and strains of your day, stop, take 5 and go for a short stroll.  You really will feel better for it.

 

Mindfulness – In The Moment

 

Mindfulness – what does it me to me?

When I first heard the term mindfulness I must confess I switched off a little.  I felt it was more about meditation and that’s not really my thing.  But the term mindfulness continues to crop up time and time again so I decided to understand what it meant to me.

I found this definition online:

Mindfulness is purposefully paying attention to things in the present moment without judgement. It is about taking a step back, being aware of what is happening on a moment-by-moment basis, and accepting things as they are.”

A friend described it as:

being aware of the present“.

The easiest way I can find to describe it is when I’m taking Ziggy the dog for a walk in the morning.  Its very easy to treat it as just another chore, and taking Ziggy along the same old routes every day can at times get a little boring – or does it?

Now when I walk Ziggy, I try and tune into my surroundings, the sounds of the birds overhead, the feel of cold morning air on my cheeks, the sight of the crocus buds poking through the grass.

As I sit here thinking about what I’m writing I’m hugging my warm coffee cup.  Its very easy to practice mindfulness by tuning in and out of how the cup feels as it warms my hands.

Mindfulness is about enriching

the experience of the little things in life.

However lets not forget the practical elements that we can bring to our daily lives.  When life gets hectic mindfulness can be helpful in our daily activities.  Practice doing one thing at a time, focusing attention on those simple mundane tasks such as brushing your teeth and then use the same skills to focus on what someone is saying in a meeting at work, or when the kids are yelling.

Multi-tasking is still inevitable in today’s busy world, however it should become a a conscious choice to do this, keeping an awareness that perhaps you’re won’t be as “there” as you could be.

So practice mindfulness every day. Over time, it will be second nature – and if you’re still not sure? – here’s 5 reasons you should:

  • Understand yourself better
  • Be more compassionate (with yourself and others)
  • Cope better with stressful or challenging situations
  • Have a more relaxed attitude
  • Improve your concentration and creativity

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Looking at the world from a dog’s perspective. 

Ziggy always takes in the sights, sounds and smells of his environment. 

 

What were you born to do?

When was the last time you asked yourself what you were born to do?

Its that time of the week when I sit down and write my blog post, sometimes the inspiration flows and others I just get stuck.  This week, is damp outside, the light is starting to go and I’ve a stack of emails having taken a week off.  Inspiration was alluding me and I fell into the procrastination trap.

I write a lot about how we should avoid procrastination and I hope I don’t have to eat my words but rather than open up my blog to write I procrastinated – checked my emails and there it was – inspiration -via a weekly LinkedIn email and someone had posted a forum “What were you born to do”

I confess, I haven’t read the forum – the words were enough.  Its my favourite topic.  Its why I coach.  My job is about helping square pegs find square holes not force them into round ones as so many employers choose to do.

In short, I coach people who really aren’t happy in work, to help them to resolve their situation.  It isn’t necessarily about finding them a new job, sometimes its about making the round hole that they’re trying to fit into a bit more square.

And its a very good question.  I believe I was born to help people so, what were you born to do and what are you doing about it?

Reflections Coaching supports people in their roles with stress, work/life balance, career change, new business start ups so if you feel like a square peg in a round hole, please get in touch for a no obligation chat to see how we can help get in better fit in your working life.

Email caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk

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Change One Small Thing

Why for me its much better to make several small steps than attempt one large one.

 

I love my job.  I am very fortunate.  My role as a coach is to help to inspire and motivate others, yet it never ceases to amaze me how much inspiration I draw from my clients.  Because coaching works on the principle that the client holds the answer within them, each of my clients is a constant source of new ideas and concepts to me.

 

Working with a client recently, I could see that the task of setting a goal and going all out to achieve it could potentially result in overwhelm.   The challenge that they were facing was that in order to achieve their goal there were so many things that needed changing.  Far too much.  The solution that came out of the session to just choose one small thing that takes them in the right direction was much more manageable.

 

So many of us never achieve our goals because they are too big, too daunting or quite simply, we get too bored along the way.  Imagine for example your goal is to get healthy.  Giving up cigarettes, alcohol and going on a diet whilst taking up jogging could be a step too far.  My suggestion is choose one small thing to change.  Really focus on that one small thing.  In this case, walking to work everyday for a week could be that one step.  Achieving it will give great satisfaction and provide the motivation to take the next small step.  Before you know it ten small steps will have taken you to your bigger goal.

 

So my “Change One Small Thing” campaign is underway and to kick start it I’d love to hear from you what your BIG goal is together with your first “one small thing”.  Either comment here, or email me at caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk.  Anyone achieving their goal following a series of small changes will have their names put into a hat to win a free “change one small thing” coaching session.

 

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Got The January Blues?………

Do you get the January Blues? 

Is this the time when those well meaning intentions around your goals and resolutions start to waiver?

Have you heard of January Green?

I suspect that whilst you may be suffering the January Blues, you’ve never even heard of January Green.  Quite simply because its something that I use visually in my mind to help me get through the weeks in January when I’m finding it hard to stick to my goals.  Its simply called ‘Green’ because its the colour of spring and represents ‘Go!’ rather then ‘Stop’.

Its easy right now to lose motivation and lose sight of your goals.  We have lots of short days with uninspiring weather.  2 weeks of being really focused on our goals and temptation starts to sneak in.  So why not do what I do?  Take the time out to review the goal.  Really get in touch with the emotions and feelings around it.  How badly do you want this?

Consider the challenges that are likely to face you.  When and how will they occur?  Can you plan a solution to them now so that you are ready?  Can you enlist the help of anyone?  Perhaps warning a friend that you may lose your motivation will mean that they say the right thing at the right time.

So now, is a really great time to review those goals.  Don’t let them go stale, keep them fresh and alive and of course remember to:

Go Go Go!

What keeps you going when your motivation starts to waiver?

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