What really makes a difference?

Lots of people have asked me the same question:

Vector set of various bubbles for speech

“What do you think really makes a difference?”

When I’ve managed to unpick exactly what they mean, it always comes down to the same thing.  They want to know if there is one simple thing that people can focus on to achieve lasting change.

The thing is… I think there is.  (only, actually there are three things!)

In making the positive changes I have made in my life so far I have realised that it is all about taking 100% ownership of your own life that leads to the biggest breakthroughs.

To my mind, the three key elements that you need to be fully in control of are:

Your thoughts

Your choices

Your language

I believe that it really is that simple.  In order to effect genuine lasting change in your life it is essential that you can control all three and then you will achieve all you desire.

Let’s take each one in turn and I’ll explain exactly why these are so crucial and what you can do to make them work for you.

Your Thoughts

It’s been said that our thoughts form the universe and that’s absolutely true.  Look around you and everything that has been created by humanity has first existed as a thought in somebody’s head.  This is why we all need to pay close attention to the quality of our thinking.

The English author, comic actor and wit, Stephen Fry tells the story of how he spent much of his teenage years moping around feeling that his best years were already behind him.  In fact he used to write notes saying “His whole life stretched out gloriously behind him” and this left him miserable, direction-less and confused.

To my mind, although this is an extreme version, I believe we are all guilty of a similar level of negative self-talk.  I spent many years in my life telling myself (in thoughts!) that I was unworthy, useless and uninteresting.  The reality I imagined is one that I started to create in the real world,

I looked for evidence that would agree with these beliefs and ignored anything that didn’t.  It made no difference how many times friends were positive about me, I only believed the story in my mind that I had constructed and felt wedded to.

Monitor your thoughts!

Are you being negative or unreasonable?

Could you think more helpfully?

Your Choices

The next area of life that can trap you and leave you feeling dissatisfied is the choices you make.  In a very profound way, everything that you now have in your life is a result of the choices you have made.

So one way to absolutely improve how your life turns out is to make better choices.

The key is to ask yourself, “Is this going to serve my long-term aims, or is it just a short-term gain with negative long-term consequences?”

Seriously, many of the things in your life that you are unsatisfied with are likely to be the result of unhelpful choices you made in the past.

So start today by thinking carefully about your actions.

Your Language

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to the rescue!

In a nutshell, if you ‘listen’ to the language you use day-to-day, you will soon spot examples of words and phrases that do not serve you well.

You see, there is no point monitoring your thoughts and choices, if your words give you away!

Be careful of catastrophising (always seeing the absolute worst!) and look out for words that don’t give you any room to breathe.

Examples:

I ALWAYS fail!

You MUST do this…

I can NEVER manage my time.

These ‘all-or-nothing’ words tie you up in knots.  Keep your words positive and hopeful!

So, watch your thoughts, your choices and your words!

*** UPDATE – I am going to post again in the next few days with details about my two brand new products – ICE My Stress and Audio Life Coach.  I’m very excited to be about to launch these! ***

Cheers for now,

Tony

 

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!

Asking the wrong question

I’ve worked out one of the biggest mistakes I have been making for years…

I kept asking myself the wrong question.

wrong

I spent years preparing to make changes, carefully planning what I would do to in my life and being really clear about what I wanted.

But…

And it’s a big ‘but’….

I didn’t follow through.

The more I think about it, the easier it is for me to see why I was so reluctant to fully commit and make sure that I actually took real, sustained action.

You see, the thing is… I spent far too long focusing on what the challenges, difficulties and problems might be.

I now focus on the opportunities, chances and potential!

It is a fundamental shift in mindset, and it sounds too simple to work, but it does.

This is the question I focused on in the past:

What could go wrong?

I had a defensive and negative point of view.

I was focused on what I could lose and all the things that could possibly go badly.

Now, to some people (including me in the past) this is not about being a ‘glass half-full’ sort of person.  It’s more that they feel that if you anticipate what could go wrong, then you can take action to prevent it happening.

The problem with this idea is that as the great man, Tony Robbins says:

“Wherever focus goes, energy flows!”

In other words, if you decide to focus on the negative then you tend to look out for circumstances that validate that concern.  Basically, you actually create worries and negative experiences by the very act of focusing on them.

Now that is definitely what I spent my time doing.  How about you?

I can remember coming up with some plans that really excited me and then I would suddenly be hit by…

The ‘What if’ Truck

The ‘What if’ Truck speeds into your life every time you are on to something good.

You are speeding down the highway of life and everything seems great and then…

BANG!

The ‘What if’ Truck side-swipes your dreams.

You start to ask yourself:

 

What if I don’t succeed?

What if no one likes my idea?

What if people laugh at me?

What if I try really hard and still don’t get what I want?

 

And so it goes on!

This is an example of your own focus on the negatives limiting your possibilities.

I know, because I did exactly that.  In fact, I still have to keep an eye out for the ‘What if’ Truck as it’s always out there lurking in the back streets of my mind!

A better question…

What could go RIGHT?

This is what I try to ask myself now.

It instantly sets you up to look for hope, opportunity and chances.

When you think about it, why are we worried about making an effort and hoping to improve our lives?

Let’s analyse it a second…

Most people decide they don’t like how things are, so they begin taking action in order to make some positive changes.

So far, so good!

The trouble is it gets challenging.  Any worthwhile change requires effort and some determination to succeed.

That’s when the ‘What Ifs’ kick in..

We question whether the effort will be worth it?

In our minds, we basically say “I do want to make this change, but if I put in the effort and it doesn’t work or it seems REALLY hard, then I don’t think I want to do it”

Sound familiar?

The thing is, the effort is it’s own reward.

I can honestly say that even attempting to change is a great feeling!

Let me ask you this…if you don’t try to change how will you feel?

If you’re like me, then probably frustrated and annoyed with yourself.

So…and this is the biggest thing…

TRY IT.

Seriously, just give it a go.  That is all you need to do.

Results will come but simply having a go is enough for you to feel SO much better.

Because YOU are in control and running YOUR OWN life.

You no longer will let life toss you around.

I’d love to hear how you keep motivated too!  Please comment in the box below.

Cheers for now,

Tony

 

Hang in there – find your WHY!

a little scottish fold kitten is hanging on the ropeI’ve had some real challenges recently and things have not been as positive as I hoped.

I had the results back from some tests my doctor sent me for, and it turns out that I have an underlying condition.  I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

To be frank, it was a bit of a shock.  I am still in my early 40s and this particular condition is more usually diagnosed in much older people.

My initial reaction was fear – I wanted to know what how this would affect me and whether it would shorten the length of my life.  I also wanted to know how I had got it.

My doctor was very reassuring.  He told me that as long as I continue to live a healthy life and (crucially!) avoid smoking completely, then there is every possibility of it not affecting my life or limiting the length of it! Phew!

He explained that it was most likely caused by a combination of smoking for 20 years and not controlling my asthma properly in the past (I used to forget to take my inhalers).  Hearing this caused me to experience a powerful and very unhelpful emotion…guilt.

Basically, the reality is that it is at least partially my fault that I have this chronic disease.  This made me feel real regret mixed with anger at my stupidity as well as shame for not stopping smoking much earlier.  And this cocktail of emotions is quite a powerful one!

So..what did I do?

I did two things, and they both really helped:

1). I went for a long walk on my own to think it all through.

2). I forgave myself.

I admitted to myself that I had done a very stupid thing (smoked 20 a day) for a long time, but I made an absolute vow to myself that I will NEVER smoke a single puff of a cigarette ever again.

I explained to myself that I learned from the mistake I made in the past and would now use this knowledge to create the best life possible for me now and for the future.

Now, if I’m honest, when I first found out I did think, “Right!  There’s no point me carrying on trying to be healthy if I have this disease.  Why don’t I have a beer and just enjoy myself?”

And it was a powerful suggestion – I was very tempted!

But… I went for my walk and started seeing things differently.

I realised that I have already improved the quality of my life and that I feel so much better living a healthy life and being much more positive.

Also, I realised that if I stop living positively then I will be back to being my old unfit, negative self, with the addition of a chronic condition,  Not a good plan at all!

So, I made the conscious, willed choice to accept responsibility for my past mistakes, learn from them, forgive myself and move forward with strong intention and determination to be better.

I think the thing that really kept me going was my WHY.

The more I study self-development, the more I realise that the thing that keeps everyone on the path to a better life is having a compelling reason to change, or a WHY.

What is a WHY?

Your WHY is simple… What Heals You?

I think it’s essential that when life throws crap at you…and it will!… that you have a compelling reason to keep going.  And that’s your WHY.

Once you know the thing that will make you feel whole again and like the real you, then you have found What Heals You!

For me, it is all about being healthy, happy and authentic.  Hence the blog tagline!

The healthy and happy are very clear for me – I want to be doing things that make me feel energetic and alive as well as things that I genuinely enjoy doing.

And the authentic part is me saying that I need to be honest, genuine and real.

Not just on here when talking to you, but also when talking to myself!

So that is my WHY and it’s keeping me on the path.

I’m not going to let an illness define or limit me.

It’s actually a positive thing, because it allows me to show myself just how far I have come and that I truly know where I am heading.

Good luck finding your own WHY!

Cheers for now,

Tony