Posts Tagged ‘habits’

2013 Goals – It’s all in the language

January 14, 2013

Popular targets people set for themselves are around what they want less of in the year ahead …


  • I want to eat less chocolate
  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to be less stressed
  • I want less clutter
  • I want to work less evenings during the week

Have you ever found yourself phrasing your goals in terms of what you are trying to avoid, reduce or give up?

What we say to ourselves about the changes we want to make is crucial in achieving those changes.

When I was doing my coaching training, one thing I learned stuck in my mind … apparently the brain doesn’t process negative language the way we intend it to.

So for  “I want to eat less chocolate”, the brain doesn’t interpret that you want to reduce your chocolate intake, rather it focuses on “I want to eat ___ chocolate”.

Thinking about how I used to set goals it makes sense that this was happening with me on a conscious as well as a subconscious level. Whenever I thought about my goals I found myself reminded about what I was trying to avoid!

So focus on what you want, rather than on what you’re aiming to avoid – even if you start from the latter point, you can always re-word your goals to something more positive and achievable.

For example:

  • I want to eat fruit (or other healthier) snacks between meals
  • I want to be ___ kg (or stone/pounds!)
  • I want to have strategies I can use for stressful situations
  • I want to create a tidy home/work space
  • I want to have 3 evenings a week to spend with family/friends/chilling out

How have you worded your goals this year?

What do you want in 2013?

January 2, 2013


As you look forward into 2013, allow yourself time to consider what you actually want. 

Give yourself a few days at least to think about what you achieved last year, what worked, what didn’t, and perhaps why … this will help with setting goals that are realistic.

Where to start?

3 possible starting points …

1. What things are important to you?

What do you want to ensure that you keep (or create) in your life?

2. Starting from “OK”

If everything’s OK but you want it to be better, take a more strategic approach and look at the different areas of your life.

For example:

  • family & friends
  • work / career
  • finances
  • personal development
  • relationships
  • environment
  • hobbies and interests
  • health & fitness

Review each area and give it a score out of 10 for how content you are. The lower scoring ones may point you towards areas where you want to create goals for 2013.

3. What are the main issues for you right now?

You may have some areas that are more pressing right now; things that you want to change as a matter of urgency (e.g. new job, saving money, spending more time with a family member)

And don’t forget …

  • Make sure your goals are what you want for yourself, not what someone else wants for you. Likewise, you can’t control others, so don’t set goals that are about someone else changing something, or behaving differently … it will be very difficult to ensure this goal is met! Instead, consider what changes you could make in this area to improve the situation.
  • Dare to dream a little! Someone challenged me to do this with regard to my business goals last year, and some of them came true 9 months early!
  • Send yourself a postcard!

More on goal-setting next week 🙂

How do you start the thinking process when setting yourself goals?

How well do you know your ABCs?

February 25, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 25

Consider this scenario …

James is sitting in traffic on his way to deliver a seminar at a regional conference. He’s thinking “If this traffic doesn’t move soon, I’m going to be late. There are lots of people expecting me. Why didn’t I leave half an hour earlier or take the train?” He feels completely helpless; the more he realises he can’t do anything, the more angry he gets. His anger turns to dread, which turns into panic. He starts to see the business he’ll lose as a result.

Craig is about 4 cars behind in the same queue. He’s also going to the same conference, and is giving the keynote speech. He realises there’s nothing he can do about the traffic, that there’s no point worrying, and realises a better use of his time would be to practise his speech.

Anne is 4 cars ahead of James. She’s one of the main conference organisers. She has spent the last 10 minutes on the phone (hands free, of course!) to the traffic helpline trying to find out how big the jam is. She’s left a message at the conference centre telling the staff about the situation, and suggests other conference attendees may be in the same queue. She’s asked if the morning can be rearranged to move the informal networking session to first thing, allowing people more time to get there.

3 people in the same situation, each with different ways of dealing with it.

James isn’t dealing with it at all. Craig has a different reaction, deciding to relax rather than stress about it. Whilst Anne has decided upon a problem-focused strategy. She’s looked at what she can do practically, and started to implement a plan.

So what are the ABCs?

We are often faced with pressures; how we perceive them is down to us. We can choose to see them positively or negatively, and the choice we make is down to what we believe about ourselves. Dr Albert Ellis, an American psychologist developed the ABC Model which explores this behaviour pattern. He suggests we don’t go through hard times because of the actual events that happen in our lives, but because of the negative ways we react to them.

A = Activating event (e.g. the queue of traffic)

B = Belief about this event (e.g. lots of people will feel let down; loss of business)

C = Consequence (emotional) of having this belief (e.g. feeling stressed, panicked, anger)

In tomorrow’s blog I’ll be suggesting a few tactics you can use for dealing with pressurised situations. In the meantime – consider the different responses you could have about an event that puts you under pressure.

(Photo credit: EA)

28 Day Blog Challenge Review – Part 2

February 12, 2011

Welcome to Day 12 of my 28 Day Blog Challenge, and my second ‘Saturday goal review’

Interesting things have happened during the second week …

My pattern for preparing posts this week has become to write them the previous day, then do a final edit the following morning before posting. The morning of Day 6 should have been a simple ‘read and edit for spellings’ time (especially being a Sunday!) However, when I looked at it again, I didn’t like it. This resulted in half an hour re-drafting before sending out.

After posting, I had some feedback on the title, the picture and the opening paragraph – they were slightly misleading. This resulted in another quick re-draft and title change (approx 5 minutes). Finally I was happy!  A bonus here was that my original blog had been split into 2, the second of which also went out that day, although took about 45 minutes to finalize and send out.

Day 10 was a really busy day, and gave rise to a blog about bad habits on Day 11. Despite my plans for what to write about and when, sometimes things happen to change those plans to give a more worthwhile result (at least I thought so!)

My main lesson for this week comes from a reminder about my tendency to sometimes have unrealistically high expectations of myself. It’s fine to have high expectations, to strive for what you want, but be wary of taking it too far!

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing”

(Harriet Braiker)

“No one is perfect … that’s why pencils have erasers”

(Unknown author)

General progress towards my Blog Challenge goal is going well and I’m continuing to send out daily posts. I’m still getting positive feedback on my posts, and look forward more and more to writing them each day. The task is moving into my Comfort Zone!

(Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono)

It’s a habit – I can’t help it!

February 11, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 11

Do you have habits that you don’t like?

Do you repeatedly do the same things and ask yourself why?

Yesterday I set unrealistic expectations of myself and didn’t manage to achieve everything. In fact I went to bed feeling ill and knowing I’d overdone it. This has been a familiar story for me over my working life. Over the years I’ve recognized this, and have changed things, changed some habits so I don’t find myself in this same position on a regular basis. Yesterday I just slipped up!

I was reminded of Portia Nelson’s “Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters” from There’s a hole in my sidewalk

Chapter 1

I walk down the street

There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in

I am lost … I am helpless

It isn’t my fault

It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I pretend I don’t see it

I fall in again

I can’t believe I am in this same place

But, it isn’t my fault

It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I see it is there

I still fall in …it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open

I know where I am

It is my fault

I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

Bad habits can be difficult to break. It can take time. But if you recognize you have them, it’s a start. The next step is about asking yourself which small 1st step you can take to change this habit, so that one day you’ll find yourself walking down another street.