Taking care of yourself by taking the hard conversations

In my experience no-one enjoys conflict. Yet sometimes life throws it at you and although your instinct may be to avoid a confrontation, eventually we have to deal with it. This year two of my personal goals are improving my communication in relationships and setting healthy boundaries for myself. And as always the universe has responded by presenting me with opportunities to do just that by manifesting some confrontations and subsequent hard conversations. Now the old me would have probably complained about these events and then not done so much about it. But in the spirit of conscious living and being true to myself this year avoidance is not an option. This year I have to take the hard conversations. And its scary.

These hard conversations come in all shapes and sizes and in every area of our lives. Maybe you can relate? Maybe you have a colleague that you simply cannot get along with or a family member you need to set boundaries for, but don’t dare to fix the boundaries you need because it might start a confrontation? The challenge is that when you avoid taking the hard conversation to fix these challenges it often builds up and results in a confrontation, leaving you with a mess. So the fix is the hard conversation. And the ideal of course is to have the hard conversation without it being, well hard. But how the heck do you do it? How do you take the hard conversation, fix the issue without a confrontation? Well it’s not easy. However it is doable with a little for thought and preparation it IS possible to make the hard conversation and easier experience for everyone involved.

This week I have a hard conversation I have to take.  It’s an awkward situation as it is partly work related and partly personal. A potential time bomb of emotional responses. Every instinct I have is telling me to avoid it however avoidance is not an option.  So in order to smooth over the ripples to make this conversation easier for both parties involved there is some careful preparation I need to make. Here is the process I have found works 9 times out of 10 on how to take a hard conversation and make it easy.

Prepare:

Going into a hard conversation without preparation is a recipe for a disaster. So before the conversation ask yourself the following questions:

What is your purpose for having the conversation?

Watch for hidden purposes. You may feel you have the moral high ground or purpose but is this a reality. Question the situation and your motive for the conversation.Work on yourself so that you enter the conversation with a supportive purpose.

What do you hope to accomplish?

This is an easier one what is it that you want out of the conversation? Do you need to have your feelings taken into consideration. Do you need to know more about the other person’s point of view?

What would be an ideal outcome?

Look at the solutions you need. Equally play a role reversal and think about what solutions the other party might need. In order to make a hard conversation easier a clear idea of the outcome that works for both parties is a must.

Where are your needs and what are you willing to compromise?

Cooperation is the key to making a hard conversation easier. And cooperation always involves an element of compromise. If you don’t look at where you are willing to compromise and work with the other person’s perspective the conversation will not go well. Similarly if you compromise all of your personal needs the conversation will not have been resolved in a positive way for you. Decide on where you can make compromises, where you have to place your boundaries and how to fulfill your needs  beforehand.

How does this situation affect you emotionally?

Take a look at your “backstory,” What personal history is being triggered? Which emotional buttons are being pressed? Every interaction in life triggers an emotional response. You may find that when you look at this that a lot of your reaction to the situation is to do with you, not the other person. If some of this situation is ‘your stuff’ this something you need resolve alone. By identifying your emotional response to the situation you will get clarity about what is your responsibility to resolve and what is the other person’s responsibility to resolve.  This may mean you have to reassess your ideal outcome

What are your fears and assumptions affecting the situation?

What are you afraid of? What fears do you have about the situation and the conversation? Are these rational personal and all they real? Similarly what assumptions are you making about this person that is affecting how you view the situation? Are these rational personal and all they real?  Be cautious about assuming the other person’s intentions and perspective. Remember impact does not necessarily equal intent. A saying we have in our home is that “assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups”. Don’t allow irrational fears and assumptions to guide your actions.

Who is your opponent?

What might they be thinking about this situation? Are they aware of the problems and challenges you are experiencing? If so, how do you think they perceive  it? What are their needs and fears? What solution do you think they might suggest? Begin to reframe the opponent as partner. A partner in solutions and mutual understanding.

How have you contributed to the problem?

In every situation whether we like it or not we have contributed to the good and the bad. Take a step back and accept responsibility for your contributions. Also have a look at what contributions and responsibilities the other person has made, in your opinion.

Have a Plan

How will you keep centered?

The majority of the work in any hard conversation is work you do on yourself. No matter how well the conversation begins, you’ll need to stay in charge of yourself, your purpose and especially your emotional energy. You will need to remain centered. So plan how to do that. Breathe, center. During the conversation continue to notice when you become off center–and choose to return again. This is where your power lies. By choosing the calm, centered state, you’ll help your conversation partner to be more centered, too. I often find that I use Mr Spock as my ideal in a hard conversation. He maintains a rational logical approach to any problem removing himself from his emotions. So find a way to connect with your inner spock.

How will you make the other person feel comfortable and included?

In a hard conversation the conversation will probably feel defensive. When you are initiating the hard conversation it is your responsibility to make sure the other person does not feel attacked. Often you will have planned for the conversation, the other person will not have had this luxury, It is important therefore to hear their perspective and to make sure their viewpoint is acknowledged. That you ask for their contributions to solutions and the ideal outcome.

How do you want the conversation to go?

Plan out your conversation. One format I would recommend is: Inquiry, Acknowledgement, Personal perspective, Problem Solving

Inquiry: Cultivate an attitude of discovery and curiosity. Pretend you don’t know anything (it’s true you really don’t know how the other person feels), and try to learn as much as possible about your conversation partner and their point of view.

Acknowledgement: Acknowledgment means showing that you’ve heard and understood. Try to understand the other person so well you can make their argument for them. Then do it. Explain back their perspective. They  will not change unless they sees that you see where they stands.

Personal perspective: Explain your perspective. Without accusing or becoming emotional. Clarify your position without minimizing theirs. Explain how you are challenge in/by  the situation. Accept your responsibilities and state what you hope to accomplish in this conversation.

Problem Solving: Begin building solutions. Brainstorming and continued inquiry are useful here. Ask your conversation partner what he thinks might work. Find something you like in their suggestions go from there. If the conversation becomes challenging go back to inquiry, it will help the other person feel heard and engage in the solutions.

Moving forward: Clarify how you will move forward. Confirm agreements made for solutions. Thank the other person for being part of the resolution.

How will you begin?

Knowing how to begin a hard conversation helps your confidence. Here are some suggestions

  • I have something I’d like to discuss with you that I think will help us work together more effectively.
  • I’d like to talk about ____________ with you, but first I’d like to get your point of view.
  • I need your help with what just happened/something. Do you have a few minutes to talk?
  • I think we have different perceptions about _____________________. I’d like to hear your thinking on this.
  • I’d like to talk about ___________________. I think we may have different ideas about how to _____________________.
  • I’d like to see if we might reach a better understanding about ___________. I really want to hear your feelings about this and share my perspective as well.
  • I/we have a challenging situation with  _____________________ I would like to talk to you about it so we can find some solutions together.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The art of hard conversations is like anything else in life –with continued practice you get better at it and it becomes easier. If the conversation is really challenging you then run through it with a neutral party. Practise the conversation. Also you can mentally practice the conversation. See various possibilities and visualize yourself handling them with ease. Envision the outcome you are hoping for.

Here are some additional tips to remember when taking a hard conversation:

  • A successful outcome will depend on two things: how you are and what you say. How you are (centered, supportive, curious, problem-solving) will greatly influence what you say.
  • Acknowledge emotional energy–yours and your partner’s–and direct it toward a useful purpose.
  • Know and return to your purpose for the conversation when it gets difficult
  • Don’t take verbal attacks personally.  (This one is challenging) Help your opponent/partner come back to center. It can be helpful to work out how before
  • Don’t assume they can see things from your point of view.

——————————————————————————-

Hard conversations are never going to be 100% easy. However by preparing, planning and practising you will create the best results. These steps can be used in any hard conversation personally or professionally. By being brave, taking action and finding resolution to a confrontation you are consciously choosing a positive solution which will make you feel a hundred times better in the long run. The more you practise taking the hard conversations the easier it will become. And by setting the boundaries, analysing your part in the conversation, working on ‘your stuff’ and finding solutions with the other person you will also be taking care of yourself.

Have a great week <3

Peace is not the absence of conflict it is the ability to cope with it.jpg

Celebrate love, not romance, on Valentine’s day

Since the 1st January retailers have been preparing for Valentines day and cynics have been rolling their eyes at the hearts, cupids and other paraphernalia paraded at this time of year. Personally today I think Valentine’s day gets a bad wrap. There are hundreds of articles out there against valentine’s day, thousands of people actually ‘hate’ valentines day and personally this confuses me. I get the hatred of the crash commercialism of the day (it’s the same as Christmas, Halloween and Easter) but to ‘hate’ a day about celebrating love. To me that seems illogical. We know that “It’s love that makes the world go round”, Love is one of the many things that makes life’s journey interesting, it’s what makes the world a better place. How can a day that celebrates this wonderful thing be hated? Because of our associations with valentine’s day.

Today Valentine’s day is a huge consumer festival marketed at couples. However I don’t remember “love” as being something only couples share. I am pretty sure we all have someone (if not everyone)we love, in our lives right now. We love our family, our children, our friends, our pets and yes even our favourite celebrities. We love alot and often. It is truly a gift we have been given the ability to love. For me this is what valentine’s day is about. Celebrating this gift and the people and things that we love in our lives. For me valentine’s day is about taking one day to celebrate all the good in my life. All the joy. All the wonder. A day where I can express all of my love. For others and also very importantly for myself.

So instead of rolling your eyes on wednesday when you see the hearts and the roses. How would it feel to remember those you love, to be grateful for the good in your life you have here and now. Wouldn’t that feel great! Wouldn’t your friends and family feel wonderful if you just out of the blue contacted them to say ‘hey I love you ‘. And wouldn’t it feel good to celebrate how wonderful you are by practising some self love. Get out of the consumer hate this valentines day and get into how amazingly lucky you are to love and be loved in your life.

And if you don’t know how, heres a few ideas to get you started:

Love my life

A great way to start valentine’s day is to list all the loves in your life. This can be people, things, memories, pets. Just make a list of all that you love. Start each sentence with I love…….If you are driving to work and don’t have time to write it you can say them out loud. See how much love there is in your life.

Make someone else feel special

Choose a person who you love that your don’t see very often and make them feel special. Maybe it is a little thing like giving your co workers their favourite chocolate, calling your favourite childhood aunt, taking your dog for an extra long walk, or sending a loving message over Facebook to someone you don’t contact often. Little things go a long, long way.

Spread the love

If you want to spread the love even further you could do something nice for someone you don’t know just to make them smile. Or donate to charity. Fill up 10 parking meters. If you want to go all out you could send valentines cards to everyone you know. Fill the office with valentines balloons. Give out 12 roses to people on the train.

Show yourself some self love

Valentine’s day is the best day for self love. And that is also when you are in a relationship. Pamper yourself. Dress fabulously for the day. Go for a spa or give yourself a hand massage. Treat yourself. Buy yourself flowers. Self love affirmations are an amazing way to start and end the day. Looking in the mirror you can say

“I love every part of myself including all of my imperfections, which make me who I am and uniquely lovable” or  “I’m bright, brilliant, and beautiful” or make up your own. Make a happy memory loving yourself this valentine’s day.

Write a love note

Yes I mean it. Write a love note….to yourself. Tell yourself everything you love about you. Write it as though you are your own lover. And I don’t mean explicit and x rated! Write it to celebrate your beauty, as a declaration of love and a declaration of how you will always be there for yourself and promise to care for yourself. Remember Oscar Wilde said ““To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” The most important romance.

(You can of course write one for someone else as well, if you want to.)

Hold a love celebration party with your favourite things

Instead of boycotting Valentine’s day why not fill your home with the people you love and celebrate each other. An easy way to do this is to ask everyone to bring their favourite food, drink and game to share. Share the things you love with the people you love and make an amazing memory together!

—————————————————————————–

Love is a so much healthier and nicer emotion than hate. So take the opportunity this Valentines day gives you to celebrate the love in your life. Love comes in many forms so don’t limit yourself to chocolates, a card or a day hiding under the duvet. You can choose to create this day however you wish and I know that when you put your mind to it you will make a much more beautiful experience for yourself and those you love than all the consumer holiday marketing experts could ever imagine!

Have a lovely week <3

Celebrating love is

Practising abundance -the art of luxury

“Save a penny and walk, and be thankful” is a saying that has stayed with me since my childhood. I first heard it in the book Ballet Shoes where bus fares cost a penny and it was better to walk than waste the money.  This phrase for some reason has stuck with me. It reeks of common sense. The practical thing to do. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realised that although it is full of common sense and hints at strong moral fibre, is also full of a poverty mindset.

A poverty mindset is the opposite of abundance thinking. No matter how much you have in life you will never feel as though you have enough. Ebenezer Scrooge is the best known poverty mindset literary character. The richest man in town with a tiny fire and hardly any candles scrimping, saving and living a mean life. Yet not all people with a poverty mindset are as extreme as Scrooge. Poverty mindset is sneaky and tricksy and often unbeknown to its owner is hidden deep within their psyche. I see it alot in my line of work and this week I have been travelling in Austria with a whole family with a poverty mindset. (And yes it has been challenging.) Rather than spend a little on a warm drink they at cold sandwiches freezing on a bench in the snow. Ate up all their food on a plate in the restaurant even if they were already stuffed full, just because it is the right thing to do. Sat in agony with back pain and refusing relief, help or even a cushion. They cut corners wherever they could resulting in unnecessary uncomfort, and sometimes downright stupidity, under the cover of the it’s the right thing to do. Whilst I in my usual way celebrated the moment, looked for opportunities and found so many of them  (such as a magical ice village up a mountain and swimming outside in a snowstorm).  And was very much looked down upon by said family. However I had a great time and I am returning home with pocket full of beautiful memories which I wouldn’t trade for all of the euros in theirs.

It got me thinking. Why do we believe that having a poverty mindset in life is morally correct and look down on those who choose to celebrate abundance? In my book the answer is twofold low self worth and jealousy. People with a poverty mindset either:

  1. Don’t believe they are worth much and therefore have too low self worth to ask for what they want or need.
  2. Are jealous of others in their lifestyle and the things they have and would rather blame and play victim than take a deep look at themselves.

In both cases they do not believe themselves to be rich in life and therefore never will be. I feel sorry for them. I know how it is. I used to be just the same. Today I know that I am rich. I love my life. Is it because I have a lot of money? No. Is it because I have lots of expensive stuff? Definitely not. (Well I do have a lot of stuff just a lot of it comes from 2nd hand shops- I love a bargain!) It is because I have a bank full of memories, eyes that look for opportunities and a very grateful heart. And not in the least I practise the art of luxury.

The art of luxury is my own creation. It could also be called the art of because I am worth it. Or the art of because I deserve it. Everybody deserves to have luxery in their life, to enjoy abundance. However sometimes abundance can be a challenging challenging concept to manifest in reality.  Practising the art of luxury makes it very straightforward.

Recognition:

First you have to realise that everyone deserves to be treated or rewarded in life. When I work with clients on manifesting goals, I always ask how will you reward yourself? Often this seems like a strange concept to people. However the logic is simple. You have out in effort, you have created something, challenged yourself you deserve a reward. As adults we don’t often have the supportive cheerleading team we had as children. The compliments and praise that got us through potty training, joined up handwriting and university is scarce. Rewarding ourselves is a way of giving our selves that cheer squad boost. Now some people disagree with this carrot and a stick method but to them my arguement is this. Humans are designed to need praise, if we didn’t need it then how would parents teachers and bosses giving praise or promotions  get such good results? We love to strive for a reward. You deserve to be rewarded. To have nice experiences in life. There was no human born on this planet the was born with the intent that they should be miserable. So recognise this and give yourself permission to enjoy the beauty and wonder available in life. Even if that is someone offering you a pillow and a pain killer when your back is hurting.

Gratitude

So once you have recognise that you deserve to be rewarded, to feel lifes abundance you need to start looking for it. Nothing gets you noticing the good in life like having an attitude of gratitude. BEing grateful for both the small and big wonders in life is the BIGGEST step to practising abundance and the art of luxery. When you become grateful for lifes many blessings you realsie how wonderful life is. Wether its the morning cup of coffee, the great compliment you got at work or the family all sitting enjoying dinner together all the things you are grateful for become the guidelines of how you enjoy life.

What does luxery mean to me?

Now we all know there are different strokes for different folks and it’s the same with your personal definition of luxery. I mean none of us would complain with a billion dollar life style I am sure but if that is your only definition of luxery then you are going to have a very dissapointing life. You may of course reach that shiny land. However if your eyes are only on the prize then you won’t get to enjoy the journey. So define what makes you feel like you are expeiriencing luxery, experiencing abundance. For me it can be an evening alone. A single glass of champagne. Watching a film I really wanted to see. Travelling. Adventures. The list is endless and made up of both small and big luxeries. Make a list of what is luxouirous for you.

Oppertunities

Oppertunities comes in 2 parts. The first is that you have the oppertunity to create moments when you enjoy luxery such as today I went to the spa. I have been planning it and looking forward to it for such a long time. It was to reward myself for all my hard work last year and to indulge in a day of self love practise (one of this and last year’s major themes for me). So create your moments of luxery. Plan them. Plan one right now and go write it in your diary…go on… I’ll wait….Good.

The second is simply that you ask yourself in any given situation *what would make this moment better for me? ‘  Basically you look for the oppertunities before you. This week I was up a mountain (you know as people are) It was a glorious sunny day, the view was stunning. And I noticed someone in the restaurant near the viewing platform was drinking champagne and that is one of my luxeries. So I ordered myself a glass and enjoyed the view. Then I saw that there was another set of cable cars going down the mountain to somewhere I didn’t know and hadn’t been. So of course as I had oodles of time I went down and evetually found a lovely watefall (and the way back home). Now I know not everyone has the  time or the  money to do this. However there is always a way to make an experience feel more luxourius you just have to look at the oppertunities you have around you.

—————————————————————————————————

The point is that yes you can save a penny and walk, that’s your choice. But do it because it makes you feel good, or find a way to make it good for you. But choose. Don’t deny yourself luxery in life because of a hidden dominant  poverty mindset. You are in control of your life. You overcome , you achieve and you deserve to be rewarded. The art of luxery is just a tool to help you connect with a feeling of abundance. Did I appreciate the mountain view without the champagne? Of course. But with it the memory became more special and I felt so much gratitude to be where I was, doing what I was doing and I know I will never forget it. These are the moments that make me feel rich and abundant in life. I hope that by practising the art of luxery you will feel rich and abundant in yours. After all you are worth it.

HAve an amazing week <3

Celebrate the abundance in your life.jpg

#lifelessons101 – The joys of waiting, turning waiting time into me time

Waiting time. In the days of yore waiting was well normal, life was slower paced, But today in the fast world of the 21st century waiting time has become a stress factor for many. The ten minute tube trip, the half hour bus ride during rush hour, waiting in a queue most of us find it annoying and frankly a waste of time. Personally I enjoy waiting. As a non driver I am a regular user of public transport and a battle tested survivor of the long haul train and bus journey. It is one of my most valuable resources. Even today when I am travelling from Denmark to Austria on a bus. (Yes people still do that.)

The dominant cost of waiting is an emotional one: stress, boredom, that nagging sensation that one’s life is slipping away. However when used effectively waiting can be a productive and relaxing time if you can turn the negative thinking around and come prepared. Even in the worst times of waiting, the transport delay when you need to get somewhere on time waiting can be turned into a positive experience when you know how. The funny thing is that waiting time can actually be a solution to the common problem of not having enough me time. It’s true. When you make waiting time your friend it can become a precious me time ressource in a busy day it just takes 2 steps.

Step 1 : Acceptance

You have to wait to do somethings in life. Supermarket queues, train journeys,  doctors surgeries (where getting in to the doctor on time is as rare and mythical as rocking horse poop) and missing there is always going to be some time where you have to wait. So accept it. Being annoyed about waiting is just going to get you stressed out. It will make you feel negative and then everything else will be negative. I got an amazing piece of advice many years ago that returns time and time again when I get delayed on trips. A delay is an opportunity. I know it sounds weird but by turning your thinking around from what a pain to what an opportunity possibilities arise. It’s alot more fun than stressing out about when you are going to get or do whatever it is you have to do next. And it means you get to be in the moment not the next moment.

Step 2: Be prepared

I actually get more frustrated these days if I don’t get my waiting/travel time in because it is so productive. Being ready for waiting time makes it nicer. The trick is be prepared. Have a stash of activities you can do in the small delays, queues long haul trips, even when ou are waiting for a partner to get ready to go out.

So from a seasoned traveller somewhere on the road between Denmark and Jutland who is currently watching the police do transport checks on her bus whilst they eat danish pastries – (I kid you not – just another exciting interlude on the highway) here are the tips and tricks I have accumulated to make more me time out of waiting time.

3 minute meditation

This is a great one and can be done anywhere at anytime. I found this on Mind, Body Green and I love it

Here’s the technique:

  1. Bring all your awareness to your breath. Shift your focus down to the belly and allow the belly to soften as you deepen your breath.
  2. Now mentally repeat to yourself, “Breathing In, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.” Say this until you feel the shift.
  3. Notice the corners of your mouth begin to curl, even if you have to pretend. Notice how your breath becomes a bit more even and deep. The smile brings relaxation and carries the message “all will be OK” to your mind and body.

Personal Development Time

I am, as regulars know a disciple of Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning. I have friend who is the same yet he has many small children and a 30 min commute everyday both which used to interrupt his Miracle Morning. I suggested using his commuting time so now he uses the commute to do part of his personal development routine. Reading, journaling, ted talk videos, meditations, listening and repeating affirmations (no-one cares what you are muttering to yourself on the busy platform when you are on the way to work) and visualisation. All of these activities can be done in a 30 minute train journey. Even if you are not a MM person you can plan your commute time as personal enhancement time.

(If you don’t know the Miracle Morning I highly recommend it!)

Connect with real people

People are strange animals. We are. And fascinating to watch. People watching is one of my favourite journey habits. It sets of the imagination and reminds me why it’s so great to be human. Another great favourite pastime of mine during waiting is starting conversations with strangers. I know it’s breaking a huge social taboo but I love it. I have the belief that within every conversation in life there are messages we need to hear and pass on. And if you don’t find a message you will collect a story or maybe share a story.

Do something you love

In Denmark I often see people knitting or reading on the train. I love to draw and colour so sketch pads and colouring books are always in my bag. Find something you like to do that you can transport easily and take it with you wherever you go.  On long haul trips (like to day) I like to work and write. As long as I have wifi then I am good to go and I get some of my best work done on the road. It’s a great time for long projects, overdue emails and especially research. However on the long haul trip I always set myself a stop time when I won’t work and I do something nice. Draw with netflixs is a favourite.

Stretch out

In a busy day it can be challenging to find the time your body needs to strech out so why not use your waiting time. Now I don’t mean lay out your yoga mat in the supermarket and do your sun salutation (well you can if you want ).There are many subtle streches you can do whilst waiting in line, for a bus that are great fo the body.Here are some ideas to get started

http://allwomenstalk.com/7-exercises-you-can-do-while-waiting-in-line

Hand massage

A hand massage is the perfect wind down and easy to do with a little practise. It is a brilliant way to treat yourself and give yourself some tender loving tlc. University youtube has some great videos for this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wUWDlfSQN8

Do something nice

Treat yourself. Especially if you are suddenly having to wait for a long time. Waiting is much nicer with a chai soya latte (well it is in my world) or a small piece of your favourite chocolate. Or you can treat someone else to an out of the blue phone call. Doing something nice for ourselves or other people always makes a moment happier.

Gratitude I spy

I used to love eyespy when I was about 6. However as we advance with age it gets a bit dull. Gratitude I spy never gets old. As you journey you simply look around for beauty or things that make you feel grateful for seeing. When you appreciate the world around you time passes pleasantly. And time flies when you are having fun!

—————————————————————————————————–

This weekend open your eyes to the opportunities of waiting and see if you can turn these previously frustrating moments into a part of the day that you can really enjoy. Life is precious and made better for the small beautiful moments so this weekend make some me time out of your waiting time and enjoy your life’s journey even more than before.

Happy weekend <3

27336575_1772558613039604_3806744675697547194_n

Re assess and make time for your new year’s resolutions and 2018 goals

Isn’t it crazy how after one of the most non relaxing holidays in the year January is never the downtime we really need. How is your January going? If it is anything like mine you have been buzzing round and insanely busy. I have been getting lots done to start the year and although the ‘to do’ pile is full, I feel as though I am working my way through it piece by piece. However if I am being truly honest I have been busier than I thought I would be and that is not leaving me the time I need for me. If you have read my blog before you will know that I don’t hold with making resolutions in January I like to make goals and plans  which I take action on in February. So right now in my planning stage I can already see I have to address this “no me time” issue this year. It’s great to have plans for an amazing year and self care but if you don’t have time to do it… well it’s are not going to happen right?

This got me thinking about all of you out there who made New Year’s resolutions and 2018 goals. It’s now week 5 of 2018. And if your life has gotten as busy as mine has been I am guessing that some of you are struggling to maintain the new health routine, meditate each day, say yes more, say no more or keep on that diet. No judgement I totally get it. You are not alone. Studies say that 80%  of new year’s resolutions fail by February. And there are many reasons for this however the one I know to be true from my own life is that

Unrealistic over optimistic goals + Unexpected busyness in life = me not focusing on me

And I know that I am not alone. So that’s the challenge. What’s the solution? Well as always when we look the solution is actually very simple.

Realistic goals with smaller actions needed + planning and prioritising tasks = time for me

Basically if we set realistic goals and break them into bite size actions and plan our time we create the time we need to concentrate on our goals. Sounds wonderfully logical but how do we translate this to real life?  How can we take this magic formula and make it real ? And when is the best time to do it?

Now. Here and now both in nature and within astrology we are surrounded with the energy of inspiration, new life returning and fertile ground appearing. When we Re:root with this we can see that in nature’s cycle this is not the time of planting seeds it is the time for preparing to plant. Doing the groundwork and preparation.  The world is not completely out of hibernation yet. So why the heck are we running around trying to start a million and one new things when we are not entire thawed and out of hibernation? It makes no sense. This is the perfect time to reflect and plan, without the rose tinted glasses we had on at Christmas. Just follow these 5 steps and make the time you need…

Reassess and streamline your goals

Have a look at your goals and resolutions. What is realistically achievable ? You may want to go to the gym everyday in an ideal world, but does your lifestyle allow for that? Scroll down your over optimistic side go twice a week and then start to look at your life to see how you can restructure it to fit training in everyday by September.

Make sure your goals are really something you want not what society is telling you you should want- Look at your goals and ask yourself. Can I really wholeheartedly embrace this goal right now? If you can’t then shelve it. You need to look at why you don’t want to do it rather than jumping in and failing because it’s not something you want.

Streamline your goals. Fewer goals means more energy to focus on the projects you have going on. So instead of 10 goals make 5 or 3 and focus on them wholeheartedly.

Make a step by step action plan

For each of your goals (resolutions) make a step by step action plan of what you need to do to make this happen. I call these idiot friendly recipes. You make the recipe as simple as possible so it’s easy to follow.  This leaves you with a really clear idea of how you are going to get to where you want to be,  

Plot your actions into your calendar

On your action plan add dates for completion then add these into your calendar. Set reminders in your phone. This will help keep you focused and on track every week throughout the year.

Prioritise daily

Every day as you make your to do list ask yourself what am I going to do to manifest my goals and resolutions today. Use your action plan to remind you how and do your best to do a minimum of one thing per day to manifest your goals.

Use the two minute rule

So when you are really pressed for time and you can’t see how to focus on your goals use the two minute rule.  The two minute rule is a wonderful tool,originally made for procrastinating is brilliant for working on your goals when you are pushed for time.

It works in 2 parts:

Part 1 — If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.

Part 2 – Every goal can be started in 2 minutes or less so make a start. Take first 2 minute step

To read the full guide to the 2 minute rule go to James Clear’s website

https://jamesclear.com/how-to-stop-procrastinating

——————————————————————————

People often feel downhearted and guilty when their new year’s resolutions fail. Don’t. No I said Don’t. Lifestyle change takes time. If you fall off the horse, ask yourself why. Learn about yourself from your failures and then get back on the horse with new information to support you on your journey. Baby steps are better than no steps at all. As January turns to Febuary the spring begins to return so use this natural rebirth energy to realign yourself with your goals and create the time to work on them even if it is just 2 minutes a day!

Have a great week !

27336575_1772558613039604_3806744675697547194_n.jpg

 

#Lifelessons101- Create community for yourself and combat loneliness

I am an expert at moving. Seriously. In 24 years I have lived at 50 odd different addresses in 4 countries. (Somewhere in my blood the wanderer gene is strong, my Grannie was just the same). The challenge however with moving around so much is of course loneliness. Not only are you constantly moving leaving friends and being further away from them, you are also challenged by finding new friends in your new life. Loneliness is on the increase, not just in the world wanderer community but in your workplace, in your apartment building and on your street. World wide we are feeling lonelier in general. In the 70s about 11-20% of America felt lonely in 2010 it was 45%. It’s a modern epidemic.

Now we could go into a conversation about why are people lonelier today however that is not the life lesson I learnt this week. (Well re:learnt). This week my life lesson was about curing loneliness by building community. We need community. Humans essentially need tribes. We need to be accepted and supported and we need to be able to do this for others. However I know, first hand, how challenging it can be to find our tribe, our people when feeling isolated and alone. Yet what my experience has taught me is that we can create the community we need for ourselves no matter where we are in the world if we are brave enough to do it.

Let me give you an example. In August 2016 I moved to Jutland. Once again I was moving away from a network of amazing people, colleagues and friends and heading into the unknown to live with my beloved Mr T. You would think that moving in with a partner would be enough to combat loneliness but it’s not.  (And in fact it can often damage a relationship). Knowing this I put a plan into action to help me create a new community and network in my new local area. I reached out to find the kind of people I want in my life. I started by going back to school. That was not the greatest experience when it came to the people. I found a few that I could relate to and started to build relationships with them. But I needed more so I joined a belly dance class with some amazing and wonderful women. Yet that wasn’t enough. I sat down and realised I missed close connections with both women and men that shared similar life values and also were spiritually on a similar level to me. So I hit facebook and made a few groups. I began a women’s circle in the local library, not knowing if anyone would show up. I organised a few nights playing games at our house and invited people I didn’t know very well but I knew liked to game.And slowly over this last year I have began to find the friendships I was looking for. Result I am not lonely and I have a community around me, the beginnings of a new tribe.

Now I am not telling you that it was easy. It was scary. It was daunting. And I wanted to hide under my duvet alot. However by identifying what I needed and then kicking myself up the butt to create it I have in a short time created the cure for my own potential loneliness. Now I know this is potentially easier to do if you move to a new area than in an area you already live in, it depends on who you are as a person. However I have built a strategy for anyone who is feeling lonely and is fed up with it. If you are sick and tired of feeling lonely and want to do something about it I have a recipe for you to follow. It takes a little patience, trial and error and a dollop of bravery. However with these six steps you can create the community you need.

Step 1: What kind of community do you want?

Before you go out and find/ create a community for yourself you need to know what you want. This is a time for introspection. What kind of friends do you want? What kind of things will they like? What kind of personalities will they have? Brainstorm personal qualities, hobbies, lifestyle choices your friends will make.  Also brainstorm your interests and the things you like to do. You want friends who want to do similar things to you. Shared experiences create bonds, friendships and make life fun.

Step 2: Who do you have already?

Get out Facebook and scroll through your friends. Who do you have in your network that already embodies these things? Make a list. Do the same with your work colleagues, people you vaguely know but seem interesting to you. Now check your list to see why don’t you have a stronger relationship with these people? Remove anyone from the list who you really don’t want to have a better relationship with. Now brainstorm how you could contact these people and ways you can connect with them.

**Remember** something I always say to clients who feel alone is that you don’t have to wait for people to contact you. If you want people in your life you have to reach out to them.

Step 3: Contact them

Call, sms, facebook, email there are so many ways to connect. Choose one and do it contact one of the people on your list. Ask them how they are suggest an activity you could do together and ask when they could do it. Choose something you and they might find fun. Don’t worry if they say no this time. Very often fear of rejection is what stops us inviting people out or over. If you make up your mind that you won’t ask because the other person will reject you then you haven’t really given them a chance to choose and that is not fair. If they say no remember its NOTHING to do with you. Other people have their own lives and they are equally busy. A rejection doesn’t mean they don’t like you, it just means not now. Keep working on building the relationship with them and contact someone else to do something with.

Step 4: Create the friends you don’t have yet.

When I was living in Copenhagen I realised I had noone in my circle who wanted to work on their personal development or improving the world. As I was becoming a life coach. I wanted friends who were environmentally conscious, lived conscious proactive and spiritual lives and would inspire me to do the same. I actively went looking for places where these kind of people hung out and eventually found Tinkuy a spiritual fitness center in Copenhagen bursting with people wanting to grow themselves and contribute to the world.

So if none of your existing network embodies the qualities you brainstormed then you have to go hunting. I would recommend signing up for a class or a group. I have joined art classes, viking reenactment groups, meditation and dance classes when consciously looking for new friends. Others I know are involved with voluntary organisations, politics or have simply joined a school parent teachers council. What are you interested in? Let your interests guide you to finding new friends. Eventually you will meet someone you think is interesting and then identify the activity you would like to do and ask them to do it with you. (Basically repeat step 3 with the new person).

Step 5: Creating opportunities to meet like minded people

This one is challenging. However if you dare it can be really rewarding. Basically if you can’t find a locale group, club, event that you want to go to then start your own. After 6 months of living in Jutland I found myself seriously in need once again of female friends that made personal development, spirituality or improving the world part of their everyday lives. So I went online and did some googling. NOthing. Then one day I found a video from the Global sisterhood about starting a women’s circle. So I signed up as a local group co-ordinator. Found somewhere free to hold it. Set up a facebook group and shared my event everywhere I could think of. I even put up posters. I had no idea if anyone would show up. I just had to trust the universe that I had made the space and they would come. And they did. Now we have a tight circle of inspirational women supporting each other and beginning to build some wonderful friendships.

Starting a circle or a club is relatively easy. Decide what it’s about, find somewhere  to do it and get going. Facebook is great for this. Making or joining an online group and then arranging a meet up is one of the easiest ways to do it. I have joined and created some online communities as well as the physical ones to help with the loneliness and to connect with people who share the same interests and morals as I do. And it is so rewarding if you are brave enough to dare.

Step 6: Be open, look for opportunities and dare

The biggest kit in your toolkit for curing loneliness is being open to new possibilities and daring to take them. Maintain your friendships. Feed your relationships by making them important. Look for opportunities to try new things and dare to do it. Create opportunities to talk to new people. If you struggle to start conversations with strangers then plan some conversation openers. Personally I find complementing something clothes, something they said at a meeting. Dare to try and dare to fail. Don’t let rejection get you down. Not everyone in the world is the friend you are looking for. However with 7.5 billion people in the world there are a lot of options out there so if one attempt doesn’t work try again. The more you do the easier it gets.

———————————————————————————————————————

This may sound harsh but being lonely is a choice. You can choose to let it take over or you can take conscious steps to not be lonely. I know it’s hard to take the steps, to stop the negative voices and fears ruling your head. However it is your life. No-one gave those voices and fears permission to be the experts. They are not right. You are loveable, fun to be with and someone does want to be your friend. You have 7.5 billion chances in the world to make a friend so go for it. It really is simple. Reach out. Create the community you need and by doing that you will also give someone else the opportunity to be a little less lonely too.

Have a happy weekend <3

Community is Selv Care forlonliness

 

If you or someone you know needs support then why not buy Re:root’s  holistic coaching voucher to get support and inspiration to create an amazing life. Check it out here!