24 Mar

When is change meaningful?

How big must the change in our lives be in order for it to be meaningful? What counts as change?

Many people believe that for change to mean anything in their lives, the actual goal  must rate as extremely important on the “importance and impressiveness” scale we have in our heads. So we conjure up enormous goals, which look impressive and magnificent, but at the same time are daunting and overwhelming. Then after a few unsuccessful attempts at trying to achieve these unrealistic goals, we throw in the towel and become disheartened.

Why do we gravitate towards ginormous unrealistic goals?  Often, because we make unrealistic comparisons with other people. We become distracted with other people’s goals, dreams and success stories. Instead of just focusing on ourselves and what feels right for us. We forget to be true to ourselves.

The first rule of goal setting: follow the SMART model. Make sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed. These goals should be set against our own abilities, resources and time frame. Not to be measured or compared to others. If that means that you can only do something small right now to move yourself forward, that is significant. That is meaningful. It is not about the size of the goal or what other people think, but your commitment to making the change and then moving in the right direction, irrespective of where it sits on the “important and impressive” scale.

The second rule of goal setting: Large, long term goals must be broken down into smaller more manageable medium and short term goals.

Some goals are realistic and very achievable. They can however be big and overwhelming. An intimidating goal can seem like an elephant sitting on your plate. You have no idea of how to eat it. But how would you eat an elephant? Easy, one bite at a time.

Large goals should be broken down into small “easy to eat” mouthfuls. Smaller intermediate goals are as important as your big, overwhelming goal. If you are moving forward, even if its an inch, you are moving in the right direction. Any change in the right direction, is change that counts.

16 Mar

Taking control of your internal saboteur

Sometimes when we embark on something new in our lives, such as a new career, moving cities or working towards a promotion, a little voice appears inside our heads, which can be extremely chatty and creatively cruel at times.

And unfortunately, to our own detriment, we sometimes listen to this voice and succumb to the negative feelings it conjures up. This voice is our internal saboteur and it can be extremely debilitating. Preventing us from changing our current situations. Preventing us from being something better. Boldly telling us that we are no good, not clever enough or completely undeserving of happiness and success.

How can we remove this little voice and its crippling agenda ? How can we move past the feelings of unknown and doubt it creates?

Well, the most powerful tool is to simply face your internal saboteur head on. By not cowering and hiding away when it starts its negative speak. First off, give this little voice a name. Become aware of its presences when it gets chatty and start recognising those times when it starts to dominate your thoughts. For example, it could appear when you  have to speak in front of a large group of people, and tells you that you are a poor public speaker. Or it appears when you are in a conflict situation and tells you that you are incompetent, useless at confrontation and less important than the other party.

Once you have labeled your internal saboteur and recognised its favourite topics you can start dealing with it. These topics are what you can call limiting beliefs. I think it, so therefore I am it. The more you entertain those limiting beliefs the stronger your saboteur becomes.

An easy exercise that you can do is to firstly challenge the limiting belief. Start to actively question where the limiting belief came from? Is this belief in fact true? Where is the proof?

Then begin to change the negative thought into a positive one. Honestly recognise your weakness and come up with an action plan to improve it. This is were you start taking the control back. At this moment the saboteur has had the wind blown out of them.

So you might be a poor public speaker. So what can you do to improve it? Take charge of your saboteur and turn the situation into something productive. You might need to attend a public speaking class, or ensure that you try to speak only to smaller groups. The options are endless. Once you stop letting the little voice take over, you are able to see things clearly and you can proactively change your situation.

If your saboteur is preventing you from achieving in your life, don’t you think its about time to take control?

Name it, question it, recognise it, create an action plan, and move on!






10 Mar

When is the right time to make changes? – Golden nuggets worth sharing #9

When is it the right time to start making changes in your life?

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, and a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last in dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” (Alfred D ́Souza)

It is a common thing to hear people say that they are waiting for the right time to start their change process: “I’ll just wait for the beginning of next year to start fresh” or “I’ll just wait until I have some free time”. Unfortunately they are so busy waiting for the “right” time to pursue their passion that they never get to live it and feel the success of finding meaning in their lives.

Gretchen Rubin writes in The Happiness Project, “I had a brief vision of myself living for a month on a picturesque windswept island, where each day I would gather seashells, read Aristotle, and write in an elegant parchment journal.” 

But few of us will ever find our picturesque island where we can begin change. Waiting for the right setting or the right time to make changes and improvements, is often an unrealistic expectation that we can never meet. And then we wonder why we are getting frustrated.

The environment, time or ideal circumstances will likely never be perfect. If we are honest with ourselves and remove any wishful preconditions,  it becomes easier to create the right  mindset. Then the path forward becomes clearer.

So to answer the initial question, the right time is now! Stop waiting and just get on with it!


03 Mar

Golden nuggets worth sharing #8 – How to make work life balance work

I came across this TED Talk and thought it quite relevant, especially at the beginning of a year, where most people are very focused on change and planning out their lives for the next few months and also trying to instil new year’s resolutions or new habits.

I found this talk extremely impactful and Nigel Marsh’s simple message is extremely inspiring.  (I won’t say why, as i’ll give it away). I found that this talk also aligned itself to mindfulness practises, which is focusing on the present and being mindful of the here and the now. Besides the positive impact this has on our being it also nourishes the soul and makes the ordinary, extraordinary.

The talk is 10 minutes long and will hopefully provide you with some juicy nuggets to implement this year.

Watch it below, or on the TED.com website.