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

 

Holiday Helps To Reboot

Beach fun couple travel - woman taking photo

I’ve just got back from my summer holiday and I feel ready to really make the most of the rest of the year.

I know lots of people return from their vacation feeling so stressed that they need another one just to recover!

But, to me… as well as seeing a different place and sampling another culture, I totally believe in rest, relaxation and reflection.

And it’s the last of these, reflection. that I want to talk about today.

 

When you have a few days away from the usual day-to-day stresses and challenges of modern life, it gives you time to reflect on what is really important and allows you to see things clearly.

It’s as if you gain a totally new perspective on your life by being able to step out of it for a time.

Here’s what I have realised:

1.  I have had a very productive year so far (having started some fundamental changes in my life and made genuine progress)

2.  I need to keep up what I am doing to really embed the changes I have made and continue the momentum I have

3.  September will be a big month for me – as I launch not one but two self-development training programs that I hope will help other people to enjoy the changes I have already experienced

4.  The rest of this year is going to be about just three things: helping others, getting as healthy and fit as possible and continuing to be as positive and determined to live a better life as possible.

 

I am particularly pleased with the insights I gained when thinking about number 4.  It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the complexity of the modern world and not see things clearly.  But when I sat in the sun and really reflected, it seemed to me so clear that those three things are all that really matter to me.

 

As a simple equation it looks like this:

 

2015 = helping others + health + positivity

 

What I love about such a simple view of life is that it cuts out all the BS and reduces it to a simple and easy to follow set of fundamentals that make every decision so much easier.

Now I just ask myself:  Does the thing I’m thinking of doing bring me closer to my 3 key aims?

Anything that doesn’t fit is quickly discarded or avoided.

Honestly, this simple Life Equation has really helped me!

 

Now, going back to my 4 thoughts…

I will be back on this blog very soon (early September) to give you more details about my two training programs.

I am very excited about these as I believe I will be able to offer real, step-by-step training that will help people to make fundamental changes in their lives.

I promise to share this here with you first before anyone else gets a look in.  I am very lucky to have so many loyal readers of this blog, and I want to thank you all for the overwhelming amount of support and interest I have had from people offering to review these products for me.

Thank you so much for all the emails and kind words.  I have now selected a small number of people to have early-bird access to the training and contacted them to let them know.  I just wanted to thank all of you who offered to help.

Not only will I let you all have the opportunity to get hold of this training as soon as it is finished, but as a loyal blog reader, I will give you the chance to get it at a special low launch rate.

I’ll be back very soon in September to give you all the details!

 

I hope you had a great vacation and have managed to gain clarity on the rest of this year in your own life.

 

Please comment below and let me know your own ‘Life Equation’!

 

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!

The Mediocrity Trap

Customer service evaluation form with tick on averageA friend asked me a difficult question the other day: “Why aren’t you satisfied with what you’ve got?”

Here’s my answer.

I would like more in my life, not because I am ungrateful and selfish, but because I want to be the very best version of myself that I can.

Then I will be able to help more people and make a difference.  That’s not selfish is it?

But it occurs to me that the reason my friend asked the question is because we have been brain-washed into thinking that if we strive too much then we must be selfish and ungrateful.

I’m sure it starts at school.  We are all encouraged to do well, up to a point.  It’s okay to be ‘quite bright’ as long as you don’t make everyone else feel bad by really succeeding.

That’s why we end up in…

The Mediocrity Trap

This is where you are doing ‘okay’ and really don’t have any reason to moan, but you are hardly living a truly passionate and purposeful life where you feel you are really making a difference.  You are doing…(dreadful word)…FINE.

To me, this is a state that we have to really guard against.

Surely life is about being excited and energised and challenged to be the very best we can, not an ‘okay-ish’, mediocre, reasonable existence.

So I make no apology for striving and wanting to change.  I know that I will make my own life better and everyone else’s life too.  I was meant to shine…

…we all were!  So let’s do it!

Tony Robbins says that if you are excited or scared, then you can change, but you need to worry about being okay.

The other thing to beware of is when you start seeing others as being grasping or careerist maniacs on a mission.  If you think they are trampling over you to get where they want, it may actually be that you are standing still and they are just going past you.  You aren’t in their way, they have just moved forward in their life and you have stayed exactly where you were.

And that’s not their fault is it?

This is why we have to guard against being average.  We are worth more than that.

I know, by definition, not everyone can be above average.  But you are already better than most people because you are unusual enough to care about creating a compelling and wonderful future and taking consistent action to make sure it happens.

Have you noticed that children rarely talk about things being quite good?  To them, everything is ‘Amazing!’ or ‘Rubbish!’  We need to start seeing things with greater clarity and emotional significance and stop wallowing in a grey puddle of mediocre sludge.

NLP To The Rescue!

Luckily, we have Neuro Linguistic Programming to help us.  All you need to do is keep a careful look out for average thoughts and average words.  Try to be aware of moments when you are settling for ‘okay’ and using language that limits you to a ‘satisfactory’ life.

For the next few days, listen to the words other people use and see how limited their expectations are.  Most people are now acting in a defensive mode where they see the world as a scary place and life as a struggle where they can lose what they have.

It’s much better to live like you see life as a game where you have nothing to lose but everything to gain as you aim for an extraordinary life!

You can be playful and committed to achieving goals.  They are not mutually exclusive.

The thing about seeing life is a game is that, just like in chess for example, if you are not doing well, you can reset the board and start again.  You can learn the rules and study strategies to get better.

That’s got to be a much better way to see life than a constant unending struggle where you are always in danger of being crushed.

Switch how you see the world, and life becomes lighter and more full of possibilities instantly!

Back to Gratitude

The reason that I know that I am not selfish and ungrateful is because I have actually started making gratitude a conscious willed choice that I make.

I spend time every day mentally listing all the things that I am grateful for – the skills, experiences, friends, family, hopes, challenges and resources I have that make me feel truly alive.

So I know that I am very thankful for all I have and will be more grateful than most people for the future successes I hope to enjoy.

I would love to hear how you try to avoid the Mediocrity Trap in your life.  What do you do to avoid being distracted by the average herd?  How do you keep true to your mission?  Please comment and let me know.

 

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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