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How to make 2018 your best year yet!

How to make 2018 your best year yet!

As we approach the holiday season I wanted to wish you and yours a healthy, peaceful and happy time.  I always use the holiday period to think about the year ahead and do some planning.  So, I am wondering if you are also considering making some changes in your life in 2018?  Maybe you are considering changing career, starting your own business, becoming healthier and fitter, re-vitalising or changing your relationship or even filling a void left by children leaving home?

Where ever you are now, the start of the year is a great moment to take stock and make an agreement with yourself that 2018 will be the start of something new for you.  I wanted to share with you what I call the NLP ‘Principles of Success’ which you can work through in your own time to stack the deck in favour of you achieving the goals you set for 2018.

Principle No. 1- Get Clear on What You Want
Think about something important that you want to achieve over the next twelve months.   What really motivates you?  Now check that goal is SMART ie specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.  For example, I want to lose weight is not clear enough. I want to lose 10 pounds by the 1st April is clear.  Focus on your goal.  Whatever you put your attention on in your life will grow stronger.  Write down your goal and check that it is SMART.

Principle No. 2 – Know Why it is a Must
What are your reasons for wanting to achieve this goal?  List all the positive things that will happen when you achieve your goal.  Now ask yourself ‘If I don’t do this now what will it ultimately cost me?’  Notice that when you have enough compelling reasons for your goal you will be more motivated to go for it!

Principle No. 3 – Take Massive Action
Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal including things you do not want to do?  Think right now of one small step you can take today to begin to move towards your goal.  Challenge yourself by asking if you are taking personal and 100% responsibility for your goal.  Because, to the extent that you do not, you are giving your personal power away.

Principle No. 4 – Know What you are Getting
Be very aware of what works and what doesn’t.  Ask for feedback, and constantly evaluate your approach.  Think of feedback as a gift and remember to learn from any action that doesn’t go quite to plan.

Principle No. 5 – Be Prepared to Change Your Approach
There is a saying ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got!  You must be prepared to be flexible and to move into the unknown.  Security is an attachment to the known and the known is our past.  No evolution in that.  When you experience uncertainty, you know you are on the right track – keep going because this is the moment when lots of people will give up.

Principle No. 6 – Ask for Help from Those who are Already Successful
When making changes, the most successful people in life model those who have already ‘done it’.  They do this by mixing with like-minded people, going on courses, being coached or simply asking for advice.  You will find that with the appropriate support you the process of change becomes less scary and more enjoyable and your chances of success will be greatly increased.

And, if you want to set yourself up for success in 2018 then come along to my 1-day ‘Introduction to NLP’course on the 13th January 2018.  Cost £99 all in!  For further details and to sign up click here: https://thechangecorporation.com/introduction-to-nlp-1day-seminar/

Is Neuro Linguistic Programming old hat?

Is Neuro Linguistic Programming old hat?

Recently, I was challenged after a key-note presentation I gave about the benefits of NLP and how it can change your life.  Someone came over and challenged me by saying ‘Isn’t NLP rather old hat these days?  I was rather taken aback as I have used NLP as my tool-kit for change with individuals and teams since I began my NLP journey in 1997.  However, this comment got me thinking.

NLP is now 40 years and we have developed a whole raft of tools and techniques that can help anyone improve individual and team performance. These can be applied in both professional and personal lives. NLP still gives you immediate and practical benefits, which so often lead to deeper and more lasting change as you begin to reassess and look at the world in a different way. You then have more choices available to you.  NLP evolved from the study of top human performers and revealing the structure of their excellence. The question NLP has always focused on is: ‘What is the difference that makes the difference?’

However, it has not stood still and has evolved over recent years.  Two areas that I have personally got involved in over the last two years, and now include in my NLP training programmes, are:

  • The application of applied neuro science and NLP
  • mBraining, the process of aligning and harnessing the power of your multiple brains

Now scientific knowledge is finally catching up with NLP and I agree that is a good thing.  We now find that the rigour of neuroscience research is being combined with the power and practical techniques of NLP.  This is providing the next evolution of NLP in that we are now beginning to understand why these NLP how-to techniques actually work from a neuroscience perspective.  A little neuro science goes a long way and gives us new insight and a real unique edge.

With mBraining, again it is the latest neuroscience findings that have shown us how to align our fully functional brains in our heart, gut and head to increase our intuitive abilities and to generate wiser decision-making in daily life.  mBraining expands upon the NLP model and provides a way of significantly advancing what is possible with NLP as working with three brains rather than one adds significantly to how you do NLP.

So, it seems that there is a whole new kind of credibility around NLP that helps us to deal with an ever increasing VUCA world.  VUCA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. It absolutely gives us a strategy for steady and engaging leadership in an unsteady world.

Attitude 8 – I’m certain of my success

Attitude 8 – I’m certain of my success

What if you could be as certain about the future as you are about the past? To know for sure that the goals you have set for yourself will happen just as you have planned?  This 8th and final Attitude helps you to become 100% certain of the success that lies ahead of you.

Let’s re-visit the goals you set for yourself in relation to the first Attitude (‘I live my life on purpose’’).

What I want you to do now is to choose the goal which, when you achieve it, would make the biggest difference to you in your life right now. It’s important to select only one goal for now, so go for a big one! Once you are familiar with the process, you can use it for your other goals, too.

As always, make sure your goal is a SMART goal (i.e., specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed). In my personal view, the two most important factors are ‘achievable’ and ‘realistic’. While you want to really stretch yourself – otherwise it wouldn’t be a goal, would it?

At the same time your goal needs to be something that you have a realistic hope of attaining. This next activity is designed for you to answer questions to ensure that the goal you have chosen is a totally SMART goal.  The SMARTer we can make our goal, the more likely it is that we will achieve it so take the time to go through these questions…it’s well worth it.

Make sure you write your goal in the present tense, as if you have it now. If you write your goals in the future tense, they are more likely to stay in the future. The clearer you can be about what you’re aiming for, and the more specific you can be about your goal, the more achievable it becomes. There is a direct relationship between the specificity of your goal and its achievability.

It’s best to find a partner for this activity.  Do it in one go if you can.  Ask your partner to ask the questions clearly and to coach you through the process as quickly as possible. Ask him or her to write down your answers and give them to you after the exercise.

If you can’t summon up a partner, you can answer the questions yourself and write down the answers you come up with. It is very important to write the answers down because once you commit the details of your goal to paper, it becomes much more real.

  1. What specifically do you want? (checks that the goal is stated clearly)
  2. For what purpose do you want this goal? (checks that the goal is compelling)
  3. Where are you now in relation to your goal? (checks if you are close to achieving your goal, still some distance away or still at the start of the process. Wherever you are right now is fine.)
  4. What will you see, hear and feel when you have it? (creates a multi-sensory description that makes the goal more compelling)
  5. How will you know when you have it? (checks that it is measurable)
  6. What do you already have and what do you still need to obtain in order to achieve your outcome? (checks the resources required to achieve the goal)
  7. What will you gain or lose if you have it? (checks the impact of your goal on other areas of your life)

What did you notice happening to your goal as you went through that process? Most people find that their goal becomes much clearer, and they feel more committed to achieving it. The sensory description (i.e., what will you see, hear and feel when you have it) really attaches you to your goal.

Look at question number 7 in particular. This flushes out what is called ‘secondary gain’ in NLP. This question encourages you to think about what you might lose as well as gain when you achieve your goal.

For example, losing weight will help you to feel better about yourself, but you are likely to have to stop eating certain foods you like and start to exercise regularly.

It’s very important that consequences are acknowledged and addressed, because any internal conflict can cause you to give less than 100% commitment to your goal and you may end up compromising your own success.

These series of blogs have been intended to help you probe deeper into who you really are and what you want for yourself. By now I hope that you are much clearer about who that person is. The way to transform our lives is to learn to see ourselves for who we really are, and let our true selves flourish and grow.

Richard Beckhard, a change management consultant said that for change to occur, there needs to be sufficient motivational energy in the system under review. To discover if that energy is likely to be present, he came up with the ‘Change Equation’.

He said that change will occur if (stay calm and breathe …!):

(V x D x S) > F

This is where:

V =         Your vision for the future or your goals

D =         Your dissatisfaction with your current life

S =          Knowing how to take the ‘first practical steps’

F =          Your level of fear of doing something different

To put it in plain English, if you have compelling goals for the future, you are unhappy with your life and you are clear about what to do to take the initial steps toward, this will be enough to overcome any fear of change you experience. And, yes, your goals, dissatisfaction and knowledge need to be strong.

I created The Eight Attitudes to empower us all to leave a legacy to our children and families about faith and hope for the future, because they help us to be true to ourselves and believe in who we are.

Here’s to your wellbeing, health and a deeper joy in living your life.

[i] The following questions have been adapted from the original ‘Keys to an Achievable Outcomes’, developed by Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall in the book Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality. 1989, Meta Publications

 

Attitude 7 – I take time for me

Attitude 7 – I take time for me

This Attitude is all about time. Do you embrace time as your friend or your enemy?

Are you someone who often says, ‘I don’t have time for this’? If you are someone who experiences time as a scarce commodity that there is never enough of, then you are creating a completely different personal reality from someone who perceives that they have all the time in the world. Your world is likely to be much more stressful.  Maybe you have even experienced some of the symptoms of stress such as breathlessness, panic attacks and high blood pressure.

Deepak Chopra, the world-famous Indian medical doctor and author, wrote of an Indian master, who explained his remarkably youthful appearance thus: ‘Most people spend their lives either in the past or the future, but my life is supremely concentrated in the present.’ This is because those who live in the past often suffer from guilt and those who worry about the future often suffer from anxiety.  Yet, if you live in the now you can focus on enjoying the moment, whatever you are doing.  This has a more relaxing impact on the body.

When life is concentrated in the present, it is most real, because the past and future are not impinging upon it. Only now exists. If you can free yourself from the guilt of the past or anxiety about the future a space is opened for a completely new experience – the moment of now. This activity is designed to give you an experience of now that is very likely to be outside of your normal ‘time-controlled’ way of being.  It sets up an enjoyment of each moment that is likely to be much more intense and enjoyable, and at the same time, more calming than you normally experience.

Activity: Living in the now

Choose a day when you are not pursuing your normal activities – maybe at the weekend or when you are away on holiday. Remove your watch and focus on putting all of your attention in the now.

Enjoy every moment.

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do – it may be time with the kids, friends or your partner. Equally, you may choose to spend time on your own. Whatever you decide, the important thing is to give that activity, person or people your full attention. Play at 100 per cent.

The really exciting thing to realise is that we can only experience now; never the past or the future. When you think of a childhood memory, you are not experiencing the past – but your perception of the past in the now.

The same goes for the future. If you imagine an event in the future, you are experiencing your perception of that event now. You can’t have a problem with your childhood, as that is past. You can, however, have a problem with your perception of it now. This is exciting for us as we can change our perception of events, past or future, in the now. This is because we choose our thoughts and so we can decide if we choose to feel miserable or happy about a past event in the now. This is a completely different way of considering time.  There is no absolute time or absolute memory.  We are dealing with our perceptions of time and events which can be changed.

The attitude you take towards time says something about you. For example, if you live your life constantly putting yourself under huge time pressures, you are more likely to develop health-related problems associated with stress. Even the word ‘deadline’ sounds threatening, as it contains the word ‘dead’. It implies that you’re in real trouble if you don’t deliver on time.

So what does this mean for you?  We are only on this planet for a relatively short time, so it’s important to use time as wisely as possible.   Please stop making excuses! You have the opportunity to create more ‘time for you’ whenever and wherever you choose.  Why not take control of time before it takes control of you? Truly make the most of every moment, and play it at 100 per cent. Let’s use time as if every day is our best day.

Activity: I Take Time for Me

Making time for YOU is one of the most important changes you can make this year.

    • What does it mean to you to invest time in yourself?
    • What would it take for you to give yourself permission to regularly take time out just for you?

Make a list of all the things you want to make more time for in your life and how you will create more time for each one.  For this activity, the only rule is that they must be things or activities for you alone.

For example, you might decide to go and enjoy a quiet coffee at the local coffee house on Saturday mornings while you read the paper, or go for a walk in the countryside on Sunday afternoons. They do not have to be expensive things; in fact, many of the most pleasurable activities can be done for free.

By this point in your life you have probably created many poor habits around the use of your time. Perhaps you have allowed yourself to be stretched in far too many directions with little or no time left for you.

Remember to:

  • Challenge your personal perception of time. Start focusing on having enough time to do what you want as opposed to never having enough time.  Life will immediately become less stressful! Live in the now rather than in the past or the future.  Stop wasting your energy ‘too late’ on the past or worrying ‘too early’ about the future
  • Do what is important rather than what you perceive to be urgent by setting ‘real’ as opposed to artificial priorities
  • Create more time for YOU and what you want to do….now is as good as any a moment to re-evaluate how you utilise time for yourself

Here’s to your success!

 

Attitude 6 – I like myself

Attitude 6 is about adopting a holistic approach to wellbeing.  The objective is for us all to feel good about ourselves and to be proud to look in the mirror and say: ‘I like myself’.

The Healthy Mindset

In Attitude 2 (I create what I want), we learned about the power of our thoughts. In fact, because we create our reality, it’s really important to focus on what we want to achieve and create for ourselves. This is particularly important in the area of body image.

So what damage are your current thoughts doing to your body? When you think you are not pretty or handsome enough, not smart enough, not slim enough or not strong enough, what effect is this having on you? What if these thoughts could be changed? What if, instead, you were to reframe your thoughts to being loved, beautiful, amazing, intelligent, resourceful and so on? How would that improve your love of yourself and, ultimately, your relationship with your body?

Firstly, we need to reframe the way we see our bodies. Instead of seeing them as less than perfect, even ugly, it’s essential to see them as the vessel through which we will achieve our life’s purpose. Therefore, it’s critical that we treat our bodies with love and respect, and that we treat food and meals as a way of providing them with the nourishment they require to support us on our journey. ANY self-criticism will leave our bodies struggling to support us to be the best we can be.

We must be ready to be nice to ourselves, and start being kind about every part of our bodies, knowing that any negative thoughts will leave our bodies struggling. Our bodies give us the strength to achieve our goals and, in return, we need to truly love and respect them for the amazing tools that they are.  This is the best way of caring for ourselves.

The Truth about our Food

There is startling evidence that many of the foods in our regular daily diet are actually causing serious negative side-effects. The really worrying news is that many of the foods and drinks that we have been told are ‘good’ for us may actually be creating obesity and illness in our bodies.

On the 7 July 2002, Gary Taubes wrote an article for the New York Times called, ‘What if it’s all been a big fat lie?’, and it rocked the world. It challenged the fundamental belief of the medical establishment that recommendations to eat less fat and more carbohydrates were wrong. Taubes’ view was that it’s not the fat that makes us fat, but the carbohydrates. He claims that if we eat fewer carbohydrates, we will lose weight and live longer.

His article identified the cause of obesity as precisely those refined carbohydrates at the base of the famous food pyramid. These are the pasta, rice and bread that we are told should be the staple food of our healthy low-fat diet, as well as the sugar-free drinks and fruit juices that we have taken to drinking in huge amounts because they are fat-free and so appear intrinsically healthy.  Our bodies evolved to survive best on natural, unprocessed food, but the modern diet is loaded with sugar and refined foods with preservatives and colourings.

Four months ago I decided to change my diet as I really wanted to lose half a stone.  I essentially cut out sugar, bread, wheat, cake, pasta, pizza, rice (except gluten free) caffeine, and alcohol for a month then re-introduced the occasional drink and coffee though I really don’t miss any of the starchy foods at all.  I also noticed that it became far easier to go to bed earlier and get 8 hours of sleep a night and wake up feeling super-energetic the next day.  I have now lost 10 lbs and I really like myself!

Changing One Keystone Habit

When I wrote my book ‘Lose Weight with NLP’ my research discovered that people will often be willing to change anything other than what they eat!  They will even go and have a gastric band fitted to help them change their habits.

It is difficult to change a habit.  In fact, Duke University has found that 40% of our lives are spent on auto-pilot. For example, this might be the habit of drinking wine when you are tired or over-eating when you are stressed.  These develop into automatic triggers.  However, interesting recent research tells us that we are much more likely to be successful if we change ONE thing at a time.

Charles Duhigg in ‘The Power of Habit’ says that if we focus on changing one important pattern at a time, known as a ‘keystone habit’ it is likely to have a knock-on impact on other areas of our lives too.  For example, replacing smoking with jogging in turn can change how you eat, sleep, schedule your life and so on.  For me, changing the way that I eat also impacted on my sleeping and exercise patterns.  And, having a clear vision about what you want to achieve is important too.

Why not start today? What keystone habit will you choose to change?