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Category Archives for Master Your Mindset

Here’s why you need to practice being positive

Our outlook and attitude on life in general plays a huge part in how happy we are in life and how successful we become. Someone who thinks positively about everything will be more relaxed, calm and smile more than someone who is always looking at the negative side of a situation.

Not only does how you think and feel affect you, it also affects those around you, particularly your family. Developing and keeping a positive outlook is essential if you want to lead a positive and fulfilling life.

There are lots of ways you can develop a more positive outlook and begin to change how you think and feel about situations but they take practice and time to ensure you don’t slip back into old habits of negative thinking

How many times have you heard or said “practice makes perfect”? Well it’s true, believe it’s possible and practice until it becomes second nature.

And as an added bonus… your positive outlook rubs off on your those around you!

 The five main key points to remember when changing your outlook are:

 

#1 STOP IT!

When you catch yourself thinking something negative like “I bet this meeting is a waste of time” or “I’m so fat” tell yourself “STOP”, then turn that negative thought into a positive statement like “whatever happens in this meeting I will learn something” or “these extra pounds went on gradually and I can take them off gradually”.

#2 Don’t let others influence you

Don’t let your conversations with others turn negative, it is easy to let others discourage you, particularly if they have a negative outlook on life. Don’t be tempted to fall back into your old ways, turn negative talk into positive and look for the good in everything and any situation. Next time a colleague complains about their computer going slow remind them how slow dial up was.

#3 Pay and accept compliments

Look for the positive in those around you and point it out, this way you can encourage a positive attitude all around you. And if someone pays you a compliment smile and say thank you, DON’T brush it off!

#4 There is always a positive in there somewhere

Whatever you are doing in your day-to-day life always look for the good in it, although it might be a boring task which you usually hate doing and one which leaves you feeling negatively, try to find something about it that turns it into a more positive situation. I really dislike book keeping and would put off keeping track of my expenses. Now I make sure I update my spreadsheet on a weekly basis and the positive is that I can identify I have spent too much early on and cut back for the rest of the month (I have a passion for personal development books and courses) and if I have decreased my expenses from the week before I reward myself with a new nail varnish and a big smiley face in my diary

#5  Don’t give up

Never let yourself become distracted or hoodwinked into going back to negativity, it takes time to change the way you feel and think and if you have been down on yourself and the world for a long time then your new outlook will take a while to register and stay around. If you realise that you have gone a few days feeling negative don’t think of that as a failure. Tell yourself there is no failure, only feedback and start again, DO NOT give up!

You will find over time that many areas of your life can be changed just by changing your outlook from negative to positive. You will find that your self-esteem improves, you become more popular and feel happier and more confident.

Go on, give it a go, what have you got to lose?

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5 Steps to Resolving Inner Conflict

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you just can’t decide what to do? Inner conflict can be a massive cause of procrastination so in this blog I’m going to give you 5 steps to solving it.

Everybody experiences inner conflicts from time to time. It’s easy to spend a lot of time arguing with ourselves and procrastinating rather than moving forward in the way that we would like to. It might be something like:

  • On the one hand I want pizza, on the other hand, I want my new dress to fit better
  • I really want that (insert bright, shiny object) but I’m saving for a holiday
  • Part of me wants to fire that client / leave my job but the other part of me is scared that I can’t afford to.

There is a simple five-step Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) based strategy that you can use to resolve any inner conflict so that you can make a decision and move forward.

The reason we experience conflict is there are benefits to both sides of the issue. For example firing a problem client will cause you less stress or frustration but not firing the client means you don’t have the potential stress of finding a new client to replace the lost income. However, the best solution is the one that can incorporate the benefits from both sides of your conflict.

 

1. Identify the conflict

The first step is to identify what it is you feel conflicted about. This might be a conflict which is helping to self-sabotage you or some aspect of yourself you feel uncomfortable with.

Once you have identified the conflict remember a time when you have experienced that conflict.

Visualise both sides of the conflict in front of you. For example, imagine that the part that wants to eat pizza is in front of you on one side, the part that wants to lose weight is on the other side

 

2. Imagine the first side of the conflict

Now imagine yourself stepping into one of those sides. Observe all of your senses while you are in this mode.

  • What do you feel?
  • What can you hear?
  • What can you see?

Whilst on this side ask the other side of you to tell you what its positive beliefs are about the situation. What is the goal that it is trying to achieve? Maybe the side of you that wants to eat pizza wants you to stop, take a break or give yourself a treat.

Is it trying to fill an emotional void, is the ultimate goal simply for you to be happy?

 

3. Changing sides

Now take the other position. Repeat step two and observe what it is like to be on this side.

Ask the other side what its beliefs are and what outcome it is trying to achieve.

The part of you that wants to lose weight may want more confidence, to feel attractive, ultimately it wants you to be happy

 

4. Finding a solution

Move out from being only on one side and take an overview position.

This is where you stand above and apart from the two sides. Imagine that you are now an impartial observer.

Ask each side what would be a satisfactory solution for both sides.

You also want to perform an ecology check on any proposed solutions. This is where you make sure that the outcome does not conflict with any other desires or beliefs that you hold. Maybe a solution that would be acceptable to both sides is to give yourself a low-calorie treat.

 

5. Implementation

This new idea is a composite of both of the original two sides.

Ask yourself how this new solution will make you feel, will it achieve the outcome you want?

If something still doesn’t feel right, look to the future to see how this new idea serves all other areas of your life. If the treat you decided to give yourself is actually to buy something you can’t afford then you need to find a different solution.

When the solution feels right try out the new idea in real life and see how it performs.

The Problem With Presumptions

I was talking to a friend recently who has been seconded for twelve months to a job in another country.Sun

It was a very warm, sunny country. As the North East of England is not the warmest place at any time of the year I was fairly envious and started to tell her she was the luckiest person I knew.

I actually think we make our own luck and I know she has worked very hard so I was really pleased that she had this fabulous opportunity coming up. After all nothing ever seems to worry her, she is one of the most laid back people I know and I knew she would be great in the job.
We had a bit of a chat about it all, she told me how difficult the job was going to be and I said a few times “yes, but think about the weather…”
I made a joke about how much her Mum was going to miss her and she looked at me and said “Nobody has asked me how I feel about this” I started to protest and say I’d asked her…. but actually I hadn’t.

I knew her well enough to know that she would be excited and looking forward to it…. didnt I?

Well yes I did know her and she was excited but at times everyone has doubts and needs a shoulder to lean on. Unfortunately not everyone finds it easy to show their more vulnerable side. She didn’t want to talk to family about how she felt as she didn’t want them worrying about her, so I’m thankful she eventually confided in me, I just wished I’d noticed sooner that she had something on her mind.

I always look for the lesson though and for me this was a good reminder that no matter how well I think I know someone I can’t assume I know what they are thinking.
So next time something is on your mind, share it, don’t hold it in!! And don’t presume your loved ones should know what you are thinking either.

How To Stop Nagging

Do your kids or your partner accuse you of nagging? Do you think it’s the only way to get them to do anything?nagging

If you’re tired of repeating the same requests without getting the results you want, it’s time to try some of these alternatives to nagging…

Cut them some slack

Focus on the positive. Keep your eye on the big picture. When you think about how your family, friends and colleagues enrich your life, it’s easier to cut them some slack on the less pleasant details of your interactions.

Be more flexible

Let your kids know that you appreciate their willingness to help out even if their methods are different from your own. If they make their own bed praise them rather than redoing it because they haven’t done it properly. See it as a learning experience for them.  If you come along and redo it then they will stop trying to help.

Teach them to understand the consequences of their actions

Maybe your kids surprise you with a school project due the next morning on the evening when you usually go grocery shopping. Eating tuna fish sandwiches for a week may help them understand the importance of giving you adequate notice.

Get help from others

Consider paying someone to help with things that cause ongoing conflicts. A weekly housecleaning service may be worth the investment. Find another parent at your kid’s school who wants to take turns driving them to football practice.

juggling

Look  at everything you are juggling

Stress and irritability is often a sign that you’re trying to do too much. Take a piece of paper and make a list of all of the different balls you are juggling. Rate them all on a scale of 1 to 10 of importance. Which balls could you put to one side for now?

 

Make better use of technology

Brief text messages and automated calendar reminders deliver the same information with less risk of putting people on the defensive. Remind your partner that you have a school meeting tonight without saying a word.

Take time out

Deal with sensitive subjects when you’re feeling calm and collected. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a walk until you settle down.

Address the root issue

Probe more deeply to see if nagging is a symptom of deeper issues in your relationships. Marital counseling or parenting classes may help you get to the bottom of what’s going on.

Ask for what you want directly.

Work up the courage to state what you need clearly and tactfully. One skillful message beats years of beating around the bush.

Listen well

Practice attentive listening. Concentrate on what the other person is saying and confirm that you understand. It’s easier to cooperate with each other when we feel validated and cared for.
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Put Procrastination in The Past

procrastination

According to good old Wikipedia procrastination is

the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and therefore putting off important tasks to a later time.

Everyone procrastinates at some time, it is part of being a normal human being but is it actually telling you something?

 

Once you understand what it is telling you then you can make an informed decision and stop beating yourself up about it.  Sarah wanted to do more exercise so put 3 hours aside over the course of the week to go for a run.  After a few weeks the running was non-existent because she was “too busy” When she asked me for advice on how to stop procrastinating about exercise it turned out that although she really did want to be healthier and fitter she had chosen running because it was free.

 

What she really wanted to do was join a gym but she felt spending money on a gym when she should be able to get fit on her own was selfish.  Some people love running and if that’s you great but Sarah was doing what she thought she SHOULD do rather than what she really wanted to do and this was causing the procrastination.  The procrastination was telling her that she didn’t like running and she didn’t value herself enough to make the investment in a gym membership.  Once she viewed herself and her health as important and realized that it affected the rest of her life including her family she reviewed her spending habits, admitted to herself that she didn’t need to buy new shoes quite so often and signed up at the gym

 

There are all kinds of reasons people procrastinate. Some do it because they don’t like the task, others do it because other things mean more to them, and some people might be struggling with depression, or just feeling down.

No matter what your reasons for procrastinating, you can take control and get more done.

My biggest tip is just finding 15 minutes to do the task you are putting off.  Think of a small reward you will give yourself after you are complete and then schedule that task at whatever time of day you feel most energised.

 

So let’s say you’re a morning person and you want to clear your desk. Make a promise to yourself (or me if you wish Julia@Julia-Harris.Com) that tomorrow morning you will spend 15 minutes decluttering.  When you are finished you have a reward to look forward to.  Often getting started is the hard part so the 15 minutes might turn into an hour but even if it doesn’t and you only do 15 minutes you will have a sense of achievement to prompt you to schedule in the next 15 minutes and a small step is better than doing nothing!!

 

I’ve also attached an exercise for you that I sometimes do with clients who procrastinate that you may find useful.

Procrastination exercise

Five frogs on a log

Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off.

How many are left?

Answer: five.

Why?

Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing.

Mark L. Feldman & Michael F. Spratt, ‘

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