Tag Archives: goals

Tips for creating goals

 

goals

Tips for creating goals

 

  • Small decisions can have a great impact that help you work towards your goal. Remember that your goals are your road maps and your direction to success in life. Without them, you can lose your way. Although you can always retrace your steps, you might not have the time, opportunity, energy or resources you once had when you could have made your goals happen one by one.
  • Listen to people who you respect and ask for their advice. Remember, you don’t have to like the person to respect them.
  • Being active in life is most effective. Try visualizing the outcome at a time in the future. It will become apparent that to set definite time in the future is obtainable. That would be the “when”. The “How” comes with gathering information about resources and education. We often have to correct our course but at the same time keep a focus on our vision or dream. To began a journey starts with a step but it is just as important to know where you want to go as well as to have a specific plan about how you will get there. The more specific the steps, the better. Keep in mind that when you start the journey you will most likely  encounter objections and self doubt. That is why developing the habit of the daily motivational pep talk can help you to stay focused.
  • Make your goals SMART. S = specific, M = measurable, A = achievable, R = realistic, T = time bound
  • Examples:  Specific: lose weight

Measurable: 5 kilograms

Achievable = expecting to lose 10 kilos in one week is not achievable

R = realistic – lose 5 kilos over next month instead of losing 5 kilos in one week

T = time bound..lose 5 kilos over one month

As specific and with an easy way to see whether you have achieved the goal.

Goals, short term and long term help to give us purpose in life. Always have something to work towards, it can stave off depression and help you to feel more focused in life. Make sure the goals are personal to you and not goals that others wish you to achieve.

Mandy X

Tips for happiness

 

happiness

Focus on what you can control, forget the rest

Follow this “Serenity Prayer” – it’s full of wisdom:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s not events that upset you, it’s your beliefs about them

Most of the bad feelings you have are caused by irrational beliefs. Challenge your belief system regularly – there is always a rational alternative thought available.

Learn acceptance, stop resisting ‘what is’

The greatest source of misery comes from the gap between how life is and how expect it to be. Learning to accept how life is doesn’t mean being passive and/or giving up. It means we acknowledge the problem and work with it rather than against it.

Act ‘as if’

Think of someone you admire – a family member, friend or celebrity. Imagine how they would act in certain situations (especially those that cause you anxiety). Changing behaviour automatically shifts our thinking and often, acting confident can help us to feel confident as well.

Build structure into your life

A basic structure helps keep order in life. An underlying framework is always a good place from where to go forward and deal with the world. Have a morning and evening routine, make some things a fundamental activity that you do regularly – such as exercise, a healthy meal etc

Create goals

Goals help to add meaning and purpose to life and we all ned to have some sort of direction in life. Create short and long term goals that are as specific and measurable as positive. Eg: I will lose 5 pounds/kilo by the end of the month.

Gratitude

It’s human default mode to look at all that is wrong in life – make an effort to look for what is good in your life and do this daily. when we focus on all the good, e automatically feel happier. Gratitude and appreciation are powerful emotions that can lift a mood instantly.

Do you have any other tips for happiness or contentment? Send a message and let us know!

Mandy X

10 Ways to navigate life successfully

 

happy life

Woman enjoying happiness and hope on spring

10 Ways to navigate life successfully

 

Never gossip

Gossip is negative energy being spread about. Be impeccable with your word. You wil like and respect yourself more for it.

Don’t take things personally

May things that happen in life have very little to do with us even though we assume they do. Learn to give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

Reject conformity – be true to yourself

Follow what feels good for you, not what you think you are expected to do.

Maintain a sense of humour

Life can be tough and extremely challenging – a sense of humour can soften the edges.

Never catastrophise

Stop dreaming up worst case scenarios – put a lid on it. Catastrophising will lead you to feeling anxious and/or depressed and these situations may actually never arise. Deal with things as they present themselves rather than worrying about every possible future scenario – that’s just mental torture.

Be present as much as possible

Stop living in the past or the future. The present moment is where it’s at – happiness can only be felt now, not in the past or future.

Stop comparing

Comparing is a one-way ticket to feeling deprived and you are comparing to ‘surface’ information rather than what is really going on in other people’s lives as you don;t know for sure what is REALLY happening. Focus on your own life instead – how far you have come and where you want to go. (then back to the present…)

Distinguish thoughts from facts

Thoughts come at us relentlessly and most of them are non-productive ‘useless’ thoughts. Stop paying attention to every single thought – accept, acknowledge and dismiss..another one will be along soon. Focus on the helpful thoughts not the negative ones. When negative thoughts persist, look for any evidence to support your thinking – often there won’t be any.

Develop a strong inner core/foundation

Live a life where you obtain your strength and value from inside. not from external sources. Speak to yourself in a positive manner and focus on your strengths regularly. When we give ourselves love and acceptance, this enhances our external world immensely. We act more confidently and attract different people and experiences into our lives.

Create goals/strive for meaning and purpose

In order to have a general direction, it is important to have short term and long term goals in place. When life gets tough, having goals in place adds some structure and can help us feel that we are still on track even though presently we may feel in the middle of a sand storm.

There are many ways to improve life and cope better with life’s challenges – the above tips are brilliant ways to have that edge in life and protect contentment a little more.

Mandy X

 

Feeling empty

 

feeling empty

Feeling Empty

Too often I meet clients who say, “I have the house, the gorgeous spouse, the children, a great job and car I want, yet I still feel empty”. More often than not, this is down to living a life that is not in line with your values.

It begins at an early age as we begin to get socialized by parents and society. We are pulled away from our ‘essential self’, the true leanings and interests we have as a person and we are told to behave nicely and suppress our desires in order to fit in with society. I think the following quote is quite apt:

“Society wants you to be yourself…just not like that”.

It takes courage to be true to yourself and to follow what you want to do and there will always be conflict between what we want to do and our need to please others and be accepted. We all need to adjust to a certain degree but when we try too hard to please others we can end up losing ourselves and find that we have taken a path that is fulfilling, leaving us feeling empty.

Take time out from your busy life on a regular basis to take stock of what is happening and whether it is actually making you happy. Do you like the job you do or is it just a means to an end? What brings you joy at the moment? What stresses you out? I get ‘edgy’ if I have my head down for too long and don’t get a chance to have a little time out to take stock and re-assess. I like to check that I have a few short term and long term goals in place to add structure and purpose to my life.

We all need to feel connected with others and have a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. This is essential to avoid feeling empty.

Tips:

  1. Take time out to assess what brings you joy and contentment in your current life (positive energy).
  2. Ensure there is a balance between positive and negative energy (things that drain you/stress you out) in your life.
  3. Create short term and long term goals to add loose structure and direction to your life.
  4. Spend time alone and focus on self awareness. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Connect with others – contentment comes from a sense of belonging.
  6. Be true to yourself and stop people pleasing. It’s your life not theirs.
  7. Find a sense of purpose and meaning – something that makes you feel alive and well. It could be volunteering, and often involves helping out those less fortunate than ourselves.

Mandy X

Why setting goals is a good thing

 

goals photo

Why setting goals is a good thing

When you set goals and work towards them you place yourself in the minority of people that ‘do’ instead of just talking. Everyone wants to be successful and progress but many aren’t prepared to make the effort. Actions, not words are key to attaining goals.

Setting goals show that you are taking responsibility for your life. You are putting objectives in place instead of hoping they will appear or that someone else might give them to you. People who don’t set goals tend not to take responsibility for themselves and often don’t end up achieving the things they want to.

Setting goals for yourself also shows that you are willing to take risks and that you believe enough in yourself to give it a go. I have found that many clients who find it hard to set goals are often the ones who feel unworthy.

Realising the importance of goals is another good motivator. If more people knew and understood that their hopes, dreams and plans, all their aspirations and ambitions, are dependent upon their ability and their willingness to set goals, far more people would create goals for themselves. Many people chug along with no goals and no sense of purpose and this can increase levels of depression and anxiety.

Setting goals shows that you are willing to take risks and see what happens. We all fear failure and rejection but when we try,and even if we fail, we often realise that we cope far better than we thought we would and that in itself can improve our confidence and self efficacy.

We also fear criticism from others but you know what, you don’t have to tell anyone about your goals. Only if you want to. When you set goals you help yourself to conquer fear. Instead of allowing your thoughts to create fear of things that might not even happen, setting goals shows you are committed to finding a better life for yourself, showing that you aren’t prepared to settle out of fear. It’s impossible to succeed without failing.

Set yourself a few goals – they can be small or big, short term or long term but they will give you a sense of purpose and improve mental resilience for smaller set backs as you can comfort yourself knowing you still have your ultimate direction to aspire to. Goals add perspective.

Mandy X

Your own incredible life path

 

path photo

Your own incredible life path

Wouldn’t that be weird, if we were walking along our path and noticed someone nearby on theirs. Thoughts such as “Hmmmn, they have an extra stone on theirs to play with” or “their path kinks to the left before mine does – what does that mean? I’ll bet that goes somewhere amazing while mine continues straight on. I’m missing out…”

Sounds a bit like life, doesn’t it? It may seem simplistic to compare a simple walking path with our lives but in many ways we over-analyse life and read into things, making assumptions far too often that more often than not lead to misery.

We all begin at the same starting point and end in the same place too. Some of us take longer to get there, others get there quicker. To some extent, we can’t choose what will fill our paths although we do get to choose most of the direction (especially as adults) and we also always have a choice over what we want to choose and want to believe along the way. We can fill our heads with assumptions about life and others and criticize ourselves endlessly but neither will really end up a productive strategy.

Instead, choose to be mindful – engage with the path rather than focusing on other people’s paths – you do too much of that and you’ll trip because you aren’t looking at your own path!

Learn to make the most of the rocks, flowers..yes, and weeds that appear before you as you proceed. Stop and listen to the sounds instead of racing ahead to get to the end. You may get to the end sooner than expected and then wished you taken more time to enjoy the sights. That’s a fundamental rule of the game – you can’t ever retrace your steps!

You are just as valuable and worthwhile on your path, whether you are running ahead, walking slowly or sitting down in the grass for a while. Life has unfortunately been set up in a way that programmes us to be busy, to be looking ahead constantly and this serves society well as it keeps the shareholders reaping in the profits. Our worth is falsely tied up in our achievements. Don’t fall for it.

There is plenty along your path to sustain  you if you look for it. If you choose to ‘programme’ yourself this way. Friends and relatives and experiences are where it’s at. Stopping for a picnic or to play in the rain and have a giggle while star gazing with someone you love. That’s what brings contentment. Slow and steady does it.

Mandy X

It’s your life

 

confident photo

It’s your life

We all care far too much about what other people think of us. I would like to think that after all my years of training and working as a mental health professional that I would be a lot better at following my own inner wisdom. I do however still catch myself worrying about what other people think. It seems that it is an inevitable part of life but it is not something that we cannot challenge and learn to minimise in our lives. When I catch myself altering my behaviour and not doing what I want to do because of what others might think, it leads to self-doubt and indecisiveness. I also see it in my clients-many of whom experience incredible stress and anxiety due to the forceful opinions of family and friends.

What tends to happen is that we feel judged, and family members especially, who know us well, tend to be especially effective at belittling us and making us feel “less than”. Family members can be adept at knowing our insecurities and playing upon these fears.

The trick to counteracting the judgements of others is to learn how to care less and to build a strong inner core for yourself. This entails possessing a strong identity, having clear goals and purpose and above all accepting yourself for who you are. The more we believe in ourselves and like ourselves the less likely we are to be persuaded by others. Humans are social creatures and it is normal and natural to seek advice and support from other people. It is when the influence of other people diminishes us that it is unhealthy. Learn to identify when this is happening-figure out who the toxic people are in your life. Often when we have been in the company of toxic people, we come away feeling exhausted, confused and drained.

Here are some tips on feeling stronger within yourself. This can help you to live a life more in line with your own values and priorities-remember that it’s your life. You are the one that has to live it every day, you know yourself better than anybody else does (even if they pretend to know you better than you know yourself) and you owe it to yourself to live the life that you want, not the life that others want for you.

1) Look at the source

Whenever you’re criticised or judged by someone else, make sure that you study the person making the comments. Are they perfect? Do they have their lives completely together? Are they happy? In all likelihood you will find that they are just as flawed as the rest of us. One thing that they will probably be very good at is judging others as well as foisting their opinions on others. Critical people often use deflection or projection as a way to focus attention away from themselves. Some people believe that attack is the best form of defence.

One of my favourite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Remember this quote it will come in handy.

2) Trust your instincts

we all have in the wisdom and sadly as we become adults this powerful in a resource becomes diluted. This is due to social conditioning, the pressure to conform, the pressure to please and needs to feel loved and accepted by others. We are taught as children to change our behaviour in order to be socially acceptable. Part of this process involves knocking down our inner desires and replacing them with ones that others deem more acceptable. This process knocks our confidence and promotes low self-esteem, lack of self belief and a load of self-doubt. Part of developing yourself as a strong and connected human involves reconnecting with your essential self. Your essential self is the person that you were naturally meant to become. Your social self is the adult that you grow to become that fits in and plays by the rules. Naturally we all have to abide by certain rules of the world would be chaos at this process can damage the delicate ones amongst us who begin to lose their own sense of identity. Make a list of the things that you enjoyed doing as child, the things that you are good at and are still good at. Notice your natural inclinations-do you enjoy company would you prefer being alone? Do you value money, people, peace and quiet…? Reconnecting with your true self is an integral part of building your confidence. This will lead you to feeling stronger about where you are going and what you want to do with your life even in the face of critical family members and friends.

3) Nurture your self belief

Remember that no one has all the answers. Your ideas and opinions about the board are just as valid as anyone else’s. Focus on all the times in your life that you have surprised yourself in a positive way. I was not very good at maths at school and came to believe that I was just useless when it came to numbers. Then in my early years of working I had to attend an airline fares course with the mathematical equations were incredibly complex. I had no one to help me as I was staying in a hotel away from home and decided that it was completely up to me to pass this course I spent every night in the hotel reading and going back over the day’s work. At the end of the course, I ended up with one of the highest scores in class. I was absolutely amazed. All that time I had spent with the self-limiting belief that I was useless at maths was not entirely correct. Self belief is a dynamic concept as it cannot always be at 100%. But we can constantly work at challenging our negative thoughts about ourselves. Who says that your way isn’t the right way? Where is it written that you are doing things wrong? Then to live your life with conviction and even if you make mistakes along the way, at least you are trying and hopefully learning from your mistakes.

4) Stop being a people pleaser

We all have it in us to want to please others. When that need to please others comes before our own self-worth it is unhealthy. It is the facts that you will never be able to please everybody so you may as well start learning to please yourself. There will always be two groups out there, no matter what you do. There will be those that support you and those that disagree with you. Accept it and get on with your life. The more you try to please others the more you send yourself a message that you are not worthy on some levels. That message can be different for each of us. Learn to identify why you want to please someone else. Are you doing it for the sheer joy of it are you doing its two-game validation or approval? Doing it for the sheer joy healthy, doing it for approval can lead you into problems.

5) Create goals and have purpose in life

When we have an idea of where we’re going and what we want in life, especially when those goals are as specific as possible (SMART goals) it can help us stay on course in the face of criticism and disapproval. When we have set goals for ourselves on meaningful and in line with our values, we have a sense of purpose to carry us through even when the going gets tough.

No one has the right to tell you how to live your life and you need to regularly remind yourself that you often know what is best for you. Have faith in your ideas and beliefs. Be assertive in the face of criticism. Being passive (your needs are more important than mine), as in not responding at all to toxic people will eat away at your self-esteem. Being aggressive (my needs are more important than yours) will cause unnecessary stress and conflict in your life. Get the balance right by adopting a “win-win” attitude. This approach looks at how both parties can get their needs met. Sometimes however, when toxicity levels are high, the best way forward is to limit your time with these people or possibly avoid them altogether.

No one wants to look back on their life and feel it was wasted. Use your time well by being true to yourself. Know where you want to be and who you are. It is good to get advice and to connect with others-we all need this must be wary of the toxic ones around you have their own agenda. Take your power back and own your life.

Mandy X

 

Make it happen

 

action photo

Make it happen

If you want to be more successful you need to do more. It’s that simple. Your actions define you. Talent and action together make all the difference. Of course self-discipline has a lot to do with the equation, and I know as well as anybody how difficult it can be to get motivated.

When clients come to see me for help with procrastination and lack of achievement, I often find that they have done very little towards achieving their goals. They often make the mistake of thinking, “When I’m feeling more confident I will get things done.” Sometimes you just have to get on with it even when the timing doesn’t feel right. Don’t wait as that moment of true certainty may never come.

Some people read books and spend huge amounts of money going to courses and training to improve their lives. On a psychological level this takes the place of real action. Educational knowledge are important but they cannot take the place of pure action. While seminars and workshops are a great way to meet new people, they do take up a lot of time and I believe they divert focus from the true goal. They are safe places where people can feel they are making progress but this is a false assumption in many ways. In some ways becoming too dependent on workshops and seminars as a way to fix something can lead to the very thing that a person is trying to avoid- feeling stuck.

Life is messy, be prepared to get stuck in and get dirty. There will be ups and downs and there will be failures and successes-it’s all part of life. Studying the theory is great but it is no substitute for the real thing-pursuing your goals with fervour.

Don’t be a talker, be a doer. Have that conversation with yourself. Do not overthink things just take action. Put your money where your mouth is. You do not need permission from others to pursue your goals, you can take action and talk later. The right attitude and the right actions can be an unbeatable combination.

Learn to take that leap of faith once you have done your planning and risk assessing. It is well known fact that best known antidote to everyday depression is activity. Every cognitive behavioural therapist knows that the best course of action for a depressed client is to get them doing more. Rather than searching inwards for answers, it is possible that the answer may lie looking outwards-activity. Looking inwards for too long may keep you even more stuck.

I have a lot of respect for people who pick themselves up from the lowest point and move on. Whether that’s from a broken heart, the financial crisis or some other major setback. It shows conviction and self belief and a refusal to be defeated. To put yourself out there and to choose to be cheerful and optimistic instead of choosing to shut down and withdrawal takes a lot of guts.

Is there anything that you’ve withdrawn from? Anything you’ve decided you can’t have or have resigned yourself to never doing? If so, when did you make that decision? You can choose to ‘unmake’ that decision too.

Action should involve three things: it should have forethought, be focused and be in the right direction. Be decisive and get cracking. Don’t expect perfection-just see what happens and learn as you go. The more you do the more you will achieve and this cycle will begin to snowball.

I know that I need to take action too and I shall be taking my own advice by doing more even if it gets messy. Hopefully we can share stories as the year progresses.

Mandy X