Less chat. More action. And almost an Aussie.

Have you ever noticed how much time you spend in your head, analysing a decision, procrastinating on a potential direction, dithering over a different choice ? You may have a good old chin wag with yourself or share it forever and a day with anyone who will listen but it still goes on and on with no resolution in sight.

Last night I discovered my Nana’s great grandparents from Donegal, Ireland aged 18/19 made the incredibly brave voyage as so many did, to the Antipodes in 1863. They settled & married in Maitland, NSW (Hunter Valley)  – I like to think this was a voluntary move as opposed to them being of the convict persuasion! After five years, in 1868 they moved to Greymouth, New Zealand. First question – did they hook up on the boat & THEN get married?? Secondly I acknowledge if it wasn’t for their decision I wouldn’t be here today but initially I questioned their choice to move to Greymouth  – WHAT were they thinking? I could be an heiress to a vineyard by now though admittedly supporting the Wallabies would be a travesty.  I sat &  pondered how long it would have taken them to make the decision to leave Australia. Would they have struggled internally for months after already having moved so far to uproot again with their 3 kids (9 more were to be born in NZ!) to an unknown land, with unknown prospects and for that matter had anyone ever ‘penned’ to them about West Coast weather? Then I researched Maitland in the 1860s.  Good lord! Robberies, gang warfare, shootings galore – my call is Bernie said to Mary at dinner one night, “Look, we’ve given this a good swing love, but I don’t fancy becoming a bush ranger, or being shot in the back by one so let’s get out of here.” And in those days I’m guessing Mary went “Good decision Bernie, I’ll start packing”. Decision made.

As we know it’s not just decision making that traps us in our thoughts. We get lost in the stories we’ve made up about ourselves. “That’s just how I am” and “That’s just how it’s always been done”. We use our fears to keep us safe and constantly rationalise doing or not doing something based on evidence from the past. Some of us get so caught up in our mind, ‘busy’ living a life we’ve just ‘fallen into’ haphazardly or one that was expected of us and don’t notice how unhappy we are. While others endlessly wait to have everything ‘just right’ before we try something (god forbid if we ‘get it wrong’) some wait for the universe to deliver an opportunity to them while seated comfortably on their couch.

Humans have had internal chatter scientists believe for over 75,000 years. You’d think by now we’d all  be well practiced at keeping the negative banter at bay & our levels of life satisfaction should be off the charts! But it seems with the overwhelming amount of choice and complexity of our lives today we can be struck with a paralysis of analysis or many a downward spiral when things don’t pan out quite as we’d hoped. It leaves many drifting along almost unconsciously, sitting at the back of the bus with someone else driving (sometimes a 7 year old version of us – not ideal!). Months and even years slip by as we practice some excellent avoidance techniques to not dig a little deeper on where we are at for fear of what challenging actions might need to be faced in order for us to take our life in a direction we actually want.

One way to stop the thought drift is to get clear on your values. I’m betting one of Bernie ‘s was physical safety. One of yours might be connection. Everyone has different values, dependent on upbringing, life experiences and life stage . I’m sure what you wanted to experience every day on a consistent basis was quite different ten years ago compared to what it is today.

Where  it really begins is with you. How do you treat yourself – are you kind and compassionate? Who are you being everyday? What is the story you are telling yourself?  Are you owning the results you are getting in your life? Do you accept yourself completely –  the good and not so good parts?  What really lights you up or drives you crazy? How do you cope when you hit a road block? Bernie and Mary moved to the West Coast, but you might just need to revisit what gives you a little bit of happiness every day.

Hokitika, just down the road from Greymouth in the 1870s. 

I’m running a super fun and informative  half day workshop in Bondi Junction called The Direction Momentum on Sunday, July 12 at 10am. If any of the above rings some bells and you are ready to move forward but need inspiration we’d love you to join us. Numbers strictly limited.

Get motivated. And stay motivated.

If I had a $1 for every time I’ve seen “New year, new you” in the last couple of weeks I’d at least be up $85.  The media however is simply riding off the annual ‘resolution frenzy’ as we recover from our seasonal holidays, reflect on the year just gone and make promises to ourselves and our loved ones about what will happen in 2015.

And now it’s the first week of February. Some of you may already be knee deep in your goals, many may refuse to make any while others made grand resolutions but well, it’s still summer… the beach is calling.

I’ve already written about goal setting and procrastination however what is key at this point is actually motivation. You can write as many goals, make resolutions,  design vision boards and review last year till the cows come home but if you don’t take ‘massive action’ as Tony Robbins discusses – your chances of achieving your goals are slim to none.

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So how do we get motivated and more importantly stay motivated to take action?

Clear the space. Give yourself at least a half day in a clutter and distraction free zone and get those goals down written down. Paper, whiteboard, mobile, diary, laptop – whatever is easily accessible so you can read them daily and review your progress weekly.  When you write them down you are declaring your intention to yourself and putting the wheels in motion.  Ensure they are not just gliding over from one year into another. Get real with yourself about why you didn’t achieve them – were you realistic or are they no longer important to you? Vocabulary is also essential – the words we use around a goal influence how we committed we feel about achieving the goal.

Have a plan. Were your goals conjured up with a massive hangover on New Years Day with not a strategy in sight?  The best way to stay motivated is to have a simple plan breaking your goals into smaller manageable action steps. Keep it simple with five to seven goals at one time. This will prevent you from going into ‘overwhelm and mass abandonment mode’. Robin Sharma suggests a quarterly themed focus for example ‘health and well-being’ to allow you to be solely concentrate on one area of your life. While Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project has monthly resolution to achieve, for example ‘Boost energy’ or ‘Pursue a passion’.

Visualise it. If you spend time every day visualising achieving your goal research has shown you are far more likely to achieve it than if you didn’t. Simply take 5 minutes as you read your goals daily to visualise yourself having achieved the goal and what it will look and feel like. A vision board is a super helpful tool – contact me for some quick tips to get you started.

Be inspired by others. Who else has done what you’re doing? Research, model and ask questions to people who have done what you’re wanting to do. What do they see as the key to achieving their goals? Join a network of people who will stretch you, watch a TED talk to inspire you, attend a motivational workshop or read book that expands your thinking.

Build yourself a support crew. Gone are the days when we have to go it alone. Look to the experts. Whether it’s a nutritionist to get your wellness back on track, a coach to hold you accountable to your plans, a sponsor within your company to accelerate your growth, build a team who are invested and excited for your success. Refrain from sharing your goal with every man and their dog on Facebook – in fact this TED talk reveals why you shouldn’t over share. Get help from those you respect and are on board for your success.

Get physical. Having great physical and mental health is essential to achieving goals. If you’re slothing about in your trackies and ugg boots vs getting your endorphin’s pumping through a top notch workout how differently do you think your approach to making goal progress might be? Your state is a key factor.

Action stations. Once you’ve reviewed, planned and are inspired here’s the crucial element – take massive action within the next 24 hours to leverage your momentum and passion. And when you encounter speed wobbles take a moment to reflect, get to the core of the obstacle and take appropriate action immediately – knowing that overcoming obstacles is actually what will give you the most satisfaction when the goal is complete.

 Celebrate. When you reach any decent milestone reward yourself – I even have a tiered list of rewards (now that is a fun list to create!). Be sure to share your progress with your support crew, give yourself a big tick or strike through on your ‘to do’ list and leverage the momentum of the feeling of achievement to take your next step of action.

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This week I’ve launched ‘The Motivator‘. A short intensive programme for those who know what their goals are but are having problems making progress.

Be inspired.

This past week I noticed a few inspiring stories making the rounds on Facebook of random strangers who have experienced traumatic events and you can’t help but be moved by them. I’ve also always been drawn to autobiographies which describe the harrowing tales from which hugely influential positive change agents emerge such as Christina Noble, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Waris Dirie and of course the legends of Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

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In recent months I have received many comments about how brave I am to be starting up a small business and even some who have said they feel inspired. And while the ‘Tall Poppy’ (which according to Tony Robbins exists worldwide – we’ve just named it) inside me says “don’t get too excited sunshine” – it did get me thinking about who has inspired me to be a little bit brave. Is it the inspiring leaders and TED talks I spend hours absorbing or is it in fact a little closer to home?

 

As I reflected on the last couple of years I thought about the world around me.  I have had a close friend who suffered severe neck injuries in an accident pursue a completely new inspiring career path despite continuing to be in constant pain. I have cousins and friends who have lost their beautiful mums and dads and dear friends who lost their precious baby daughter who through it have shown so much strength and courage. Close family who constantly demonstrate absolute determination to conquer their chronic illnesses and a 95 year old grandfather who has just developed Alzheimer’s but still heads to the gym weekly and cooks up a storm (albeit a rhubarb and sausage combo one night recently). Several of my girlfriends – many with small children are in the midst of emotionally exhaustive divorces but maintain their utmost dignity through it all whilst brave couples undergo relentless IVF treatment. There are the friends who have the guts to quit their jobs when they no longer feel respected while others  have totally stepped up in their previously difficult roles, owned the change and turned it around. I’ve had girlfriends having the ‘balls’ to take stock of their long term safe intimate relationships and say, “This isn’t working. Can we make it work or should we go our separate ways?” I have mates who complete triathlons every month, family who cycle over 600 km in a weekend and even one buddy who is sailing his boat back from Europe to Australia next year. Then there are those who have given up their safe comfy worlds with dozens of friends and blossoming careers to pursue their dreams solo in far flung parts of the globe.  I have mates who have started companies with much more risk, size and scale than me – an innovative modular building company in post-quake Christchurch, a new creative design agency, mobile app builders, personal training enterprises and mining companies. I have highly qualified mentors who go out of their way to support my new career giving me their most lucrative asset. Time. Not to mention all those Superwomen and Clark Kent’s out there juggling careers, renovations, kids, pets, chores and everything else in between.

 

Yes the Mother Teresa’s and Nelson Mandela’s of the world have inspired me. They were incredibly powerful, transformational leaders who positively influenced the course of history. The dozens of TED talks and stories on Facebook constantly draw me in and I think wow, now that is incredible.  But it’s the people I’m surrounded by who truly inspire me. I see them facing their fears, dealing with huge obstacles, taking on high risk and just cracking on with it.  And I think ok Bec, just get going.

 

Who inspires you?

 

The Art of Procrastination

Ok, I’ll admit it. I have been putting off starting my first blog effort for a good while. Before I started I HAD to clean the bath, cook the latest gluten dairy free cupcakes, do a 90 min yogaglo class, quick pedi, consume a few cocktails to discuss blogging and I definitely needed to polish my silver!

So why do we procrastinate? We claim busyness, laziness or exhaustion but usually I find there’s something more behind it. To start with, you need to be clear on what the outcome is you want and why. Let’s say you have a tropical holiday coming up, you want to lose a few kgs to complete your poolside look but you’d also love it to stay off permanently. You know how to do it but you still consistently sabotage your efforts. “It’s raining or I’m far too tired for the gym, the extra helping of lasagne/ choccie mousse was too good to say no to and as for finding time to make a kale rainbow leafy salad, are you kidding me?”

I believe we come up with our brilliant avoidance strategies because at some level we associate more pain with giving up the opportunity for a sleep in or extra lasagne than the necessity of giving those things up and the eventual pleasure of losing those extra kgs. We’re focused on short term rather than long term gain. That wee voice says “Oh but you’ll probably just put it all back on so may as well wade into a second helping of brownie right now”. And Boom! Back to square one.

Eventually the holiday is one week out and we’re in desperate mode. So we go on a crazy leafy, juice detox and the weight potentially drops off (as our time in the bathroom goes up). Unfortunately the quick fix doesn’t last because we’re still making neuro associations of pain in our brain with giving up our ‘yummy’ food in exchange for watery lettuce drinks. So as soon as the detox is done helloooo hot chips.

The good news is we can condition our minds, bodies and emotions to link pain or pleasure to whatever we choose which will in turn change our behaviours. To really make a long term difference in this case we have to link pain to eating excessive bad food and lack of exercise and replace it with the pleasure of eating food that nourishes us and an exercise routine which gives us the result we want. Or in my case get real on the pain around not starting the blog, the opportunities I might miss out on and associate the pleasure of being able to write this each week and what I will gain from it. Heck even if it’s just mum and I reading it today, I’m happy with that if it gets me to where I want to be.

If you’re procrastinating ask yourself these questions:
Why am I procrastinating about this? What pain have I linked to taking this action in the past? E.g. It’s such hard work. I feel I don’t have time to squeeze in exercise.

What pleasure have I gained from indulging in this choice? E.g Instant gratification of delicious brownies, or staying true to your ‘story’ about having no willpower.

What will it cost me if I don’t change now/ in 6 months/ 5 years/ 10 years? How will it make me feel? What will I tell myself? I will be unhappy with how I look. I will probably have health problems down the track.

Finally make a big list of everything you will gain from taking this action right now. And remember keep it emotionally charged as that’s what motivates us the most. E.g. I’ll gain the feeling of being in control of my health and body. I’ll be able to feel great in my swimmers & maybe even ditch the ‘moo moo’ cover up.