At the beginning of every New Year, I sit down and plan my year ahead. I write down my dreams, desires and goals.
Then I compile a list of ‘To Do’s’ to help me achieve them, which usually motivates me to get going.
To get busy weaving my dreams into reality.
But one thing 2020 has taught me is that, even my best laid plans can go awry. Although I had big goals for last year, the most important ones I achieved were not through planning or doing but through unforeseen circumstances and just going with the flow and ‘being’.
Spending more family ‘Us Time’ present in the moment and feeling relaxed and content just doing nothing, happened naturally during lockdown.
Having time to get both of my books completed and published arose from a misfortunate Covid-19 set of circumstances, forcing me to close my childcare business for months.
Appreciating friends and family more was another side effect of being kept apart from those I loved.
And being grateful for everything I had, such as my business, my home and family became enough to make me stop and see that- I already had everything I needed and wanted in life.
So today on January the 1st 2021, as I sit in the warm glow of sweet-scented candlelight, notebook and pen in hand, ready to plan 2021, there’s only one goal on my list this year and that’s simply to enjoy each and every moment with those I love.
On my daily
commute today, I’m reminded how autumn teaches us to let go and release what’s
no longer needed.
As the trees drop their dead leaves, they leave bare their branches, cold and naked they sway, not one fearing the inevitable, of exposure, of change, or of being left outside in the cold. They realise the beauty of the seasons, the purpose of life and why they change colour, and lose a part of themselves in autumn.
not isolated or alone, but are aware of the many other trees who just like them,
are leaving their branches bare. They are growing, they are changing and soon
they will blossom again. But for now, they leave a crunchy, carpet of golden
and red leaves beneath our feet, a sign for us to see, hear or even feel their presence,
or maybe a gift for us to notice them and what they have to offer our world?
We can see
their offerings as mess and clutter on our path?
Or we can be
grateful for the reminder that its time for us to change too?
We have the
option to release the old version of ourselves and face our naked fears, and in
doing so, we realise we are not alone. We can accept the releasing of others
and the changes they are going through, without pushing those leaves aside, as
disregarded debris on our journey. As winter turns the days dark, and the
bitter bite of cold chills our souls, we are comforted to know, others too are
keep safe, keep yourself connected to nature and the real world, of real people
you love, have loved or want to love, and know that spring is already on its
you must, but don’t forget to sow some seeds, ready to bloom when the summer
sun makes you feel young, free and full of zesty energy once more.
For like the
seasons emotions come and go, the environment changes too, and this is true not
just for You but for everyone You know.
As a Hypnotherapist, clients often ask
me how they can ignore or switch off their thoughts and feelings?
But as a Therapist, I advise them
never to ignore them, as they are vital and are actually trying to tell us
We don’t want to stop them completely, like we wouldn’t want to stop physical pain, pain prevents us taking a risk too far, for example if we didn’t feel pain when cooking, we could take things out of the oven like we had asbestos fingers, but those fingers wouldn’t end up looking too pretty or lasting very long.
Pain is our signal that something is
wrong and needs our attention. If we ignore physical pain and carry on, it gets
worse and we may miss something that needs medical attention.
The same with our thoughts, over time
constantly ignoring them may lead us down a dark road to depression.
And we certainly don’t want to stop eating food to lose weight, because if we didn’t eat, we’d eventually die of starvation.
But that’s what clients think they
want, to stop feeling the pain, or stop eating to lose weight, or stop thinking
to feel good again.
Truth be told, we simply can’t ignore what we think and feel for long. Unless we listen and make changes, then those thoughts and feelings will persist until we do.
They are so useful in letting us know
things need to change or we do.
Its not a case of eliminating the pain
but addressing it, taking steps to ease the pain, and if possible, removing the
source of the pain, so the pain disappears naturally.
We can’t stop those thoughts completely
Try now not to think of the colour of
your front door.
Its impossible because you have to
think of the thing first, that you don’t want to think about, to consciously
try not to think about it.
Your mind doesn’t differentiate between
the positive and the negative, the do and the don’t gets lost in translation,
it just registers the image of your front door in your mind. Whether you want
that image or not?
And anyone who’s ever gone on a diet
will know that, the one forbidden food you are trying to avoid, is the one
craving that’s driving you insane.
We have to make friends with our thoughts, feelings and pain, and thank them for bringing light to an area we have been trying to ignore for too long. They are, believe it or not, trying to help us?
You can’t always eliminate people from your life, just like pain you have to find out where the pain is coming from and why? Then ease it or remove yourself from the cause of the pain whenever you can.
But how can you make friends with unwanted thoughts, feelings and pain? Especially when they are so negative in nature and hard to understand?
Just like you would any person you wanted to get along with in life, that you didn’t particularly like or understand.
We simply need to listen. Really actively
listen. Give our thoughts, feelings and pain our full attention.
What exactly are they trying to say?
Where are they coming from and why?
What’s caused them to manifest in our lives at
this particular point in time?
THE POWER POSITION
To truly listen we have to become objective.
Listening and observing ourselves from
the outside, like an outsider looking in. Here we’ll discover the lessons our
soul urges us to know or understand.
But we won’t be able to hear anything,
if we identify with ourselves and those thoughts, feelings or pain.
So, we must pretend they are not a
part of us. They are just momentary experiences passing through, that have come
to teach or redirect us in some way?
When we learn how to do this, we neutralise
the emotions attached to our thoughts, feelings and pain.
And from this position, we have the
power to challenge those unwanted, unwarranted, negative thoughts, feelings and
perceived pain produced by the mind and body.
Replacing them with more loving ones, that support positive thoughts, producing good feelings and emotions, and easing some of that physical pain.
Tweeting Out Loud
On Twitter last week I read a tweet that asked;
‘Do you ever want to talk to someone but you feel like you just annoy them so you sit there and don’t say anything and wait and see if they’ll message you first? ………’
And I felt compelled to reply;
‘If you annoy anyone that’s their problem not yours!’
And then I wrote this blog as a
Because what you think of yourself is
your REAL problem.
Luckily though, it’s easier and
possible to change how we think of ourselves but not so easy or even always possible,
to change another person’s mind.
JOURNAL YOUR JOURNEY
Writing down our thoughts and feelings
every day in a journal, is the most beneficial thing we can do.
It may seem like a chore but how badly
do you want to feel good?
I like to do a couple of sentences
before bed each night, and again each morning. This way I recap on my day before
bed, and wake up emptying what I don’t need to carry in my mind throughout my
You don’t have to be good at writing
and no ones going to check your spelling, grammar, punctation or even the content
you’ve written. Its just for you to write, read and reflect back on personally.
It can be one word or one hundred
pages a day. There’s no word counting here.
Just write down basically what you are
thinking and how you are feeling. This can help us process the events of the
day and the interactions we’ve had with others. Writing things down also puts
things into perspective. Things that in the dark of night can keep us awake
with fear and worry, can seem trivial when we wake in the light of day, and write
these thoughts down. Nothing is ever as bad as our mind likes to magnify
Your mind though may resist this new journaling habit, as the minds function is to keep you safe, keep you on alert, and alas, keep your worrying and analysing the past, present and future.
When you write things down, there’s less in your head clouding your judgements. Your mind may worry about losing its control over you and purpose in your life. It’s a faithful friend and servant, but the more friends we make on our journey the merrier, and of course, the easier life becomes. So, introduce your mind to the power of the pen and get those thoughts out of your head and down on paper.
But you can reassure the worrier in
you that, you can still have moments in your day to ruminate over the debris of
your mind, when you re read your journal and reflect on what you’ve written and
what you are going to do about it?
That’s the journals purpose, to show
you patterns in your thoughts and behaviour, highlighting when pain is
heightened or joy expressed?
Keeping a journal of our thoughts and feelings, can really help us to understand and notice all the above, in our daily lives. Writing down each time we over react, feel angry, stressed, anxious, sad, frustrated, happy or calm, and recording the circumstances that led up towards that reaction, will help us to understand, not only our own reactions, but other peoples too. Including how they felt as a result of how we behaved?
That’s why it’s not only good to understand how we feel, but it’s also useful to know how the impact of what we feel, is having on others.
In the heat of the moment, it is hard
to think clearly. On reflection, it’s uncomfortable to see how that has made us
behave, and the impact that has had on other people, especially those we love.
This can be shocking when it’s written down and read after some time has elapsed and we have cooled down, but knowing our motives and why we react as we do, helps us to positively change.
When going about our daily business,
it’s difficult to decipher what and when exactly we react unconsciously? That’s
because much of what we do on a daily basis is unconscious. We live out of
habits. Often responding on auto pilot mode. We are in essence oblivious to
what is going on around us much of the time.
But when we keep a journal, we notice
those responses more and can look for any patterns forming. For example, do we
get angry with our children first thing in the morning when we are in a rush to
get to work, or last thing at night when we are tired and want to relax?
Armed with this knowledge of why and
when, we’re likely to react on Auto Pilot, we can become more aware of when
it’s about to happen?
Noticing ourselves getting to that boiling or breaking point, before we erupt or crumble, allows us time to stop ourselves, and decide not to over react.
Then we can start to shift our focus to a more, conscious in the present moment mode.
THINKING OUT LOUD
Writing down how we feel may not come
easy, but everyone thinks. So, sometimes when I find a brave, courageous soul
in need of help, I ask them for one whole day, to think out loud.
That means instead of hoarding all
that negative, mental chatter in their mind, and tightening their muscles with
physical stress and dis-ease, to say out loud every thought that they are
This is extremely hard, as we are so
used to thinking inside our head, often the automatic habit goes on unnoticed.
But this exercise helps us to stay
present and conscious and to take notice.
It’s good to do when around other
people that we interact with on a daily basis. It’s a bitter honesty pill to
swallow, both for the giver and receiver of the honesty!
If lived this way everyday as some do, not from choice, others from choice, we’d have no friends or family left. I mean, honestly replying to your wife ‘Yes your bum does look big in that dress!’ Never helped any man or woman ever!
So, choose a day to do this ‘Thinking Out Loud’ exercise, when you won’t be in this position if possible?
But this exercise is good because it
means we must either be honest or think nothing at all (which we know, not
thinking is impossible)
This can clearly show us who we no longer need in our lives, because we will try to avoid those people on our ‘Thinking Out Loud Day’ through fear of what we might say aloud to them.
Normally, our emotions usually do this
job for us, they do the talking without us, especially whenever someone makes
us happy or upset. Its illustrated by how angry, upset or happy we react.
But thinking out loud frees our pain, emotions and thoughts, eliminates those negatives we no longer need, and keeps us present in the moment, which in itself, is the best gift to give or receive!
We all need goals to succeed in life but it’s not
just about the end result.
On the journey towards our goal, our own happiness
along the way, is more important than the end destination of achieving the goal
It’s all about the day to day process of creating
or learning that is significant. We all want to succeed in achieving our goals
to feel good, therefore feeling good is the ultimate goal.
With that in mind, here are some pointers that can help us to feel good while working towards our goals.
WORTH WHILE GOALS
We need goals that personally mean something to us.
If we have a goal to quit smoking because our partner wants us to, we are less
likely to stick at it and succeed.
TAKE SMALL STEPS
It’s good to keep the end result in mind but sometimes this can be overwhelming, especially to begin with. Break goals down into small, easy, manageable steps and work towards goals gradually.
Goals give us direction and intention in the
moment, but we can only find enthusiasm and motivation, if the steps that lead
to our goals are enjoyable and worthwhile.
Goals need to be achievable. If our ambitions are getting
us down or are too difficult and challenging, they’ll only serve to make us
feel defeated, instead of successful.
Wanting to lose weight for example, is not specific
enough. We have to decide how much weight we want to lose exactly. What’s the
ideal weight we are aiming for or clothes size we want to be?
A TIME SCALE
When exactly do you want to achieve your goal?
By July the fourth 2019 is a definite date and
better than saying, ‘Before I go on holiday’
You are more likely to achieve your goal with a
time scale set.
PROGRESS & RESULTS
By being specific about what you want and when, you can measure how you are doing.
If your goal is to lose 2 stone by July 2019 and you’ve already lost a stone by November 2018, you know you are half way there and that it’s a realistic goal that’s achievable.
Decide that today is going to be the day you start.
Set a goal and stick to it!
Then give it all you’ve got, unless of course it’s
Sometimes things change, so don’t be afraid to
change your goals if needs be.
There’s little point carrying on in pursuit of a
goal, if it’s no longer suitable, working or fulfilling us in some way.
It’s hard to recover and bounce back from failure
or challenges, if our only focus is on successfully achieving a goal.
Switching our focus to the process of learning, and
prioritising our happiness and well -being along the way, will build
Resilience comes from understanding that it’s not
failure or what goes wrong that’s the problem, it’s our own expectations and
how we deal with it, and how good we are at being able to pick ourselves back
up again and carry on.
We need to build inner strength and faith.
We may not always see how something is going to
turn out or know exactly what we have to do?
But we can still stay faithful to our goals and
Every cloud has a silver lining, if we can identify
any good that comes from seemingly negative experiences, then we will be more
inclined to learn and bounce back from them, and try again.
By keeping focused on the positive and looking for
the good in everything, we will eventually find it, and less likely to feel
helplessly beaten by negativity.
Sometimes it’s just a case of changing our
perspective, other times our behaviour.
Our actions and the way we feel, is important to
reaching our goals.
No one else can actually make us feel happy, upset
How we feel is our own responsibility.
It’s up to us to choose our response, we have the
ability to respond to others and circumstances any way we choose. When we can
take responsibility and still stay positive and upbeat when others aren’t, or
when things are not going right, we will be the master of our own emotions and
be able achieve our goals no matter what.
We are not a failure if we don’t succeed or reach
our goals, we are a success because we tried.
As Edison said about discovering a certain filament,
in inventing an electric light bulb;
‘I didn’t fail a thousand times; I found a thousand
ways that it wouldn’t work!’
Despite the many failures, he eventually found that filament, had he given up trying, we may all still be sat in the dark today?
His best teacher was failure. Keep that in mind
before you even consider giving up!
Edison was also quoted as saying;
‘Many of life’s failures are, people who didn’t
realise how close they were to success when they gave up.’
When the going gets tough remember this motto:
‘Winners never quit and quitters never win!’
It may be April already, but don’t give up on your
good goal’s guys!
Come New Year 2020, you’ll be glad you persevered.
As long as we can remember that the ultimate goal is always happiness, this will not only help us to succeed but it’ll help us to Stay Present!