Mid Year Stock Take

I have been busy….but in a good way!

That’s why I haven’t posted anything in over two weeks.

I mentioned last time that I had had a kind of epiphany and understood exactly what I want to do now.

Well … that’s exactly what I have been working on.

In order to keep myself moving in a positive direction and continually ‘rebooting’ myself so that I am ‘upgraded’ and functioning as I want to …

I have decided to create some self-help programs that might help other people.

The first one will be released in early July and will be all about overcoming stress.

As you know, I’m not a self-help guru or anything.  I genuinely don’t want to be Tony Robbins or Brendon Burchard (as much as I admire both of them!)

I’m just an ordinary bloke who is trying to improve his own life.  Along the way, I think I’ve picked up a few things that might help others.

Particularly in the area of managing stress.

I’ve worked in education in the UK for the past 15 years and that certainly teaches you a thing or two about stress!

Here’s my thinking …

If I force myself to take a leap of faith and produce something that might help other people improve their lives then this should have three very positive outcomes:

1. I will get really clear on what is important in my own life

2. I can share my recent experiences as an ordinary person who has been through it

3. I can make a difference to other people and gain real meaning and purpose

That’s why I am willing to put in the time and effort to create something.

Of course, it’s going to involve some risk.

Firstly, there is the worry … ie: ‘who am I to do this?  Why would anyone listen to me?’

In the end, I have to believe that everyone has something to share.  And in all honesty, I’d rather listen to someone who is normal and will suggest realistic answers that will work in the real world, rather than some expert super-hero who is operating at a much higher level than everyone else.

Secondly, there is the very real worry that no one will be interested.

I’m less worried about that now.

The reason is that there are many people out there looking for solutions.  That’s why people read blogs … including this one.

I have already made a product in the past (Happy New You).  You may have bought it?

I made that just to pull together everything I had learned so far on my journey and I’m pleased that it has helped so many people. I also didn’t really believe it was possible to be able to sell your ideas like that.  But the feedback I have had has been very positive!

But now, I want to really work hard at providing specific solutions to specific problems!

I’m going to continue to use this blog to share everything I am working on in my life.

It really is a great place for me to explore my ideas and share them with a growing audience.  And I am so grateful for you continuing to read these posts!

As it is approaching the half-way point in the year, I thought this would be a good time to share with you what my aims are for the rest of 2015.

So, here is a kind of mid-year ‘stock take’.

 

Aims for the rest of 2015

1. Continue to focus on my health and get weight down to 12 stone

2. Study improvement and develop my motivation, energy, success and happiness

3. Create self-help products and build my business

 

I read recently that the human mind works best in 3s.  We can’t really remember much more than that.  So my 3 are health, improvement, business.

At the end of the year, I am going to see exactly how far I have come in those 3 areas.

I’d love to hear what the 3 key areas you are going to work on and achieve massive improvement in by the end of 2015. Please comment below.

 

Cheers for now,

Tony

Overcoming Resistance

This is something that has been on my mind this week…

In order to make real progress and change my life I have had to work really hard to overcome resistance …

… Resistance to change!

Businessman rolling a giant stone

We are creatures of habit and love the safe, secure comfort of what we are used to.

That means we are used to eating the same unhealthy food and sitting down on the same comfy sofa and developing the habit of chronic inactivity!

So that was a real challenge (and it still is!)

Writing this blog every week or so is not easy.  I seem to find all sorts of reasons why I should be cleaning out kitchen cupboards, taking my cat for a walk(!) and staring at the little hairs on the back of my hands.

These ‘displacement activities’ take on a super-powerful pull at the thought of doing something which seems like ‘work’.

And yet…

Once I start writing a new blog post I feel energised and like I am really expressing what I feel.

The truth is – starting is always hard.

But then you gain…M O M E N T U M ! ! !

It’s the same with any meaningful change in your life.

I found the same with changing my diet and increasing the amount of exercise I do.

I remember back in January going to the supermarket to buy some healthy diet food to kick-start my new life.

I felt a bit stupid putting all these nutritious foods in my basket.

Why stupid?

Well – several reasons, I guess…

  • I felt people would judge me for thinking I could lose weight
  • I thought I would be bound to fail and waste my money
  • I didn’t know what meals I could make with these ingredients

As I walked past many of my best treats (chocolate, cakes, pies, sweets etc) I felt that I was going t be losing out on so many things.

That’s why I nearly failed before I had begun.

I was far too focused on what I was losing rather than what I would be gaining.

To overcome resistance, you need to make the benefits have more value and meaning than the costs.

That’s it!  It really is as simple as that.

When I started focusing on what I would be gaining from my new diet and exercise regime, it started to get a little easier.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not EASY…just easier!

Being motivated is a constant challenge – you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.  I had a couple of weeks off my diet and exercise program over Easter, and it wasn’t easy to get Back on Track, but I did.

I reminded myself that what I was gaining was so much more than what I was losing.

Costs of Eating Healthy Food Benefits of Eating Healthy Food
Some food is expensiveCan’t have chocolate and cakesDifficult to prepareNot as nice to eat Feel strong and energeticLose weightLook greatHave clear, bright skin and hair

Able to concentrate

Live longer

Relax and sleep better

Get out and be active

 

Now, this is not a simple case of counting up the number of points on each side.

‘Not as nice to eat’ is a powerful point that needs to be overcome.

The next step is to make the costs seem less significant and the benefits to seem really important.

So, now I create a compelling vision for all the benefits and actually imagine it as if it is already happening.  So I see myself as slim, strong, fit, healthy and looking and feeling great.

This means that I have a clear and very real vision of why I am making these changes and what the outcomes will be.

It also means that I can ‘challenge the costs’ by examining the real cost.

 

For example, my major worry was that the new healthy food wouldn’t taste as nice.

It didn’t to start with.  But my taste buds actually seemed to change with me, and I genuinely look forward each morning to porridge with raisins.

As to cost and not knowing what to do with the ingredients…these were genuine concerns, but I learned some new recipes with low cost and high nutritive value foods.

Overcoming resistance, is something we can all do if we just reframe how we see the world.  You just need to turn up the positive and turn down the negative.

 

I’d love to hear how you manage resistance to keep moving forward in your life.  Please comment below and share your best tips!

Back on track

I’ve let things slip a little, if I’m honest!

close up of woman feet running on track from backI decided to stop my diet and have a week off of exercise over the Easter holiday.

The trouble is… I forgot that I said ONE week and it’s actually been two.

Now in the past I would have forgotten completely and the diet and exercise would’ve been a distant memory in no time at all.

So, I am going to summon up my will power again and get ‘back on track’ tomorrow.

Tonight, I am going to have a lovely meal, some wine and even some chocolate.

And then back to it!

So how have I been feeling knowing that I have ‘let myself down’?

In a word…

 

GUILTY

 

This is a pretty normal response, I think.  You make a decision to change and do your very best to stick to it, and when you ‘fall from the path’, you tend to blame yourself for being weak.

The thing is, I know that I am human and that I will make mistakes.

But I also know that it will not help me at all to let my over-riding response be one of anger at myself and a huge sense of guilt.

Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.  It is very hard to stop yourself feeling guilt.

I know I have two choices – either I try to deal with the guilt and ‘move on’ or I let it win.

If guilt wins, then I will never change!

So, I choose to acknowledge that I am human, that I make mistakes, that I’m not perfect and I start again.

I can tell from looking in the mirror that a few pounds have gone back on.

I’m not going to weigh myself to see how much.  It’s not going to help.

Instead, I’m just going to get back to it and run faster and further.

And eat good, nutritious food.

But this time…I’ll keep off the scales now until the end of June and we’ll see how much weight I have lost by then.

I’m genuinely not angry with myself – I had a great couple of weeks, and life is for living!  I’m not trying to change my life in order to become a monk!

(And I also don’t think you can undo three months progress in two weeks of excess).

A short post this week, but it’s a simple and hopefully helpful message:

Let go of guilt and start again

So now I’ll get ‘back on track’…

(After that last bar of chocolate tonight! :-) )

Cheers for now,

Tony

P.S. – I’d love to hear how you manage it when you ‘fall off the wagon’?  Let me know and let’s share our experiences.  It might help to lesson our guilt!

 

It only takes a pebble…

I’ve definitely got it now and I don’t want to lose it….

Momentum!Avalanche

I have been trying to live a new life this year and it has not been easy.  The first couple of weeks were particularly tricky.  Any change will always be met by resistance – your old habits are very dogged and refuse to lie down quietly!

On the other hand, you usually get by in the early days of any change because you have that first flush of genuine enthusiasm keeping you strong.  The sheer novelty of your new life is intoxicating and helps to keep you going.

Complacency Alert!

I suppose the real danger period is when you start to get complacent!  I am six weeks in to this new way of living, and it has almost become easy.

I say ‘almost’ because I know from past experience that once I think something is easy and mundane, that I am likely to stop concentrating and fall back on the old me.

This time I am determined to keep going.  I must stick to my plans as they are bringing me closer to my goals every day.  I am feeling much better, I’ve lost over 20lbs in weight, I’m sleeping better and I’m concentrating and focusing on my work like a laser!

These successes certainly help me climb a positive spiral – success leads to more motivation which leads to more success, which leads to…and so on…

Talk Nicely To Myself

I now use more powerfully positive language with myself, and that really helps.  In the past I would have said ‘I should try to lose weight’. Now I declare ‘I must continue to follow my system and then I will get closer to the strong, slim body I need’.

I’m sure you spotted the difference.  The first sentence is so half-hearted and pathetically hopeful.  Whereas the second is clear, positive and focused on what I want to gain, not what I want to lose.

This improved thinking is also helping to keep me on the right path, and that, too, leads to greater and greater levels of motivation.

I’ve Said It Out Loud Now

The other thing that has really kept me moving forwards is accountability.  The fact that I know each week that I have to write a blog post on here and tell people what I have been up to really keeps me focused on what I must do.

There is no hiding place.  I can’t say to myself ‘Tony, you’ve done well, so you deserve a break now and some beer, cheese and a day slobbing-out on the sofa.’  It’s not that you are going to judge me, it’s just that I have told people I will do this, and I so I feel I have to follow it through.

Over 300 different people have visited my blog in the first month and 3000 people like my Facebook page, so that is real to me!  I have to stick to what I said because I have ‘said it out loud’.

Honestly, I think you can get the same feeling from telling close friends and family (assuming they are supportive and empathetic!)  But I am glad so many people are interested in my journey. :-)

Keep The Ball Rolling

Anyone who has pushed a large object knows that the first inch is the hardest.  You need to put everything in to just get it to budge at all.  But, once it starts going it is reasonably easy to keep the momentum going.  And that’s how I feel now!

Here are three of the things I have found so far that have really helped me stay motivated and determined to meet my goals.  I hope they help you too!

1. Read inspiring books

I have been reading Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard.  Hearing from someone else who has faced struggles and succeeded is an excellent way to keep you on your own path to success.

2. Keep your compelling vision at the front of your mind

No matter how hard things get, if you have a very clear and totally compelling vision of the life you want to live, then you will allow nothing to get in your way.

3. Relax and reflect

I still get an ‘itch’ to have a glass of wine or a cigarette, but I know that if I say ‘Only one wont hurt, surely?’ I will be back where I started in no time.  So I ‘switch off’ and go for a walk or listen to some calming classical music.  And it works!

Probably the single most motivating thing I have found is sheer bloody-mindedness.  I want to show anyone in my life who has ever doubted me that I damn well can do it!  This means that every time I succeed, I give myself a real pat on the back (over my shoulder! :-) ) and tell myself that I am that little bit closer to showing everyone!

I hope this helps you to keep motivated on your own journey.  Have a wonderful week and remember that even a single pebble can build to an avalanche.  Get out there and build your own momentum to change your life!

Cheers for now,

Tony

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My aims for 2015

I said last week that I would share with you why I am writing this blog and outline the areas of my life that I want to develop, so here goes…

The main areas I want to improve are:

Health
Purpose
Happiness
Freedom

I know! These are pretty big concepts and the trouble is they can be very hard to pin down. So I have come up with some specific targets for each area. I have tried to make them SMART (Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timed) where possible.

Health

  • Eat a healthy diet (more vegetables, fruit, pulses and less red meat and junk food)
  • Cut down on alcohol to just two days a week
  • Run at least 3 miles on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
  • Stop smoking completely (I have the occasional cigarette as a ‘social’ smoker)
  • Go on a full detox for January to kick-start my weight loss
  • Get weight down from 16 stone to 12 stone

Purpose

  • Re-establish my values and work out who I am
  • Set clear direction and targets for my future
  • Improve my self-image and internal dialogue
  • Get focused and stick to my plans

Happiness

  • Audit my life so I spend time doing what I enjoy
  • Try new activities and experiences to keep life fresh
  • Widen my circle of friends to include new and positive people
  • Gain satisfaction by sharing my journey with others

Freedom

  • Only spend time doing things that matter and make me happy
  • Gain some financial freedom by increasing my revenue streams
  • Explore spirituality and mindfulness to be more accepting and at peace

Reading these back to myself, I ‘m amazed at how fluffy and non-specific some of these are!  I think that’s mainly because I’m at the start of this process and I am not sure what form exactly some of these aims will take in the real world.  But overall, I am pleased with how broad a range of things I want to improve and that I have some good reasons WHY I want to do each of them.  I guess that’s a good starting point.

 

So what have I done about all this so far?

Well…it’s the 16th January and I have stuck to the full detox (so far!) and lost 10 lbs in weight which I’m pretty pleased about!  I’m not a doctor, so I’m definitely not going to recommend whether or not this is the right thing for you to do.  I checked with my own medical practitioner and he said it would be fine for me as long as I monitored my progress carefully.

Here’s what I did:

  • I have eaten only vegetables, fruit, fruit juice, pulses, rice, gluten-free pasta, porridge, oatcakes, nuts, healthy oils and salads.
  • I also drank plenty of water with lemon juice.  I also took some herbal supplements (Spirulina, Chlorella, Milk Thistle etc)
  • I have avoided caffeine, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, sweets, pastry and pretty much everything else I used to eat and really enjoy!
  • I had a few headaches for the first week (apparently, that’s just the toxins leaving your system!) but other than that I have been fine.
  • I am now sleeping much better, I have more energy, my skin and eyes are both much clearer and I feel great!

All I can say is that this has been a lot easier than I thought.  I am going to try to finish the month and see how I feel then.  I guess I hope that I will have developed a taste for more healthy and nutritious food which I can continue once I allow myself to eat and drink more of the things I like.

The other great thing is that this has really helped my self-confidence and determination.  I feel more positive and that I am in control of my own body.  I still have over three stone of weight to lose, but I know I am on the right track.

I have also been reading a great book on NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is all about changing the thoughts you have and the words you use (both internally in the mind and externally in your speech) to be more helpful and positive.  I am already much more aware that I can get into a downward spiral of negative self-talk sometimes.  I definitely recommend the book.  It’s called The Secrets of Being Happy by Garner Thomson and Richard Bandler.  I am sure I will blog more about this book soon as I am only just getting into what NLP can offer me.  I am always a bit sceptical about the claims in these sorts of books, but there has been a lot written about NLP in recent years, so maybe there is something in it.

Anyway, I hope that gives you an insight into what I am all about and what I hope to achieve this year.

I’d love to hear your own aims and what you have been up to.  Please comment below and let me know!

Cheers for now,

Tony

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