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The Power of Positive Rituals

24 Jan


Taking the powerWhen clients come to me, we often work on behaviour that has become habitual. When we think about habits, we tend to focus on those habits that we feel are unhelpful – always having something sweet after meals, smoking or biting fingernails.  We talk about our ‘bad habits’, as if they are something we can’t change.


What I encourage my clients to do is to find a more positive habit to replace the old behaviour.   When we try not to do something, our minds can struggle.   This is why diets can be so troublesome – we are constantly thinking about the food we’re not allowed to eat!   That’s why it’s helpful to come up with an alternative.   That way our minds have something to focus on and the change feels a lot easier.


In their wonderful book ‘On Form’, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz talk about positive rituals, ‘precise, consciously acquired behaviours that become automatic in our lives’, in other words – habits.  We can choose to establish new habits that become positive rituals in our daily lives, an established routine which is faithfully followed.


A number of my personal habits have become positive rituals, which form an important part of my life.   Some examples are:


  1. Morning Meditation.  This is something that has become part of my daily routine now, setting me up for the day.   On those days that I miss my meditation, I notice that I feel less grounded.


  2. Walk to work Wednesday.  I like to walk as often as I can and on a Wednesday, I make a special effort to walk to the therapy room where I am based.  It’s a habit that often spreads to other days of the week and has a positive impact on my body and mind.


  3. Curry Thursday.  Now this might not sound like a particularly positive habit (bear with me!)  Curry Thursday is my date night with Mr H and is something we have done since we first met.  It’s now firmly embedded as part of our relationship and is important as often we don’t see much of each other during the week.  It’s a positive ritual that means that we always make this time for each other.


So, my challenge to you this week is to think about at least one positive ritual that you can begin to make part of your routine. What area of your life would you like to improve? Maybe your positive ritual could apply to your health, your relationship, your work or your self-care?

Take some time to think about it now and feel free to commit to your new positive ritual below in the comments.

Hypnotherapy for Weight Management

13 Jan of my specialist areas is helping clients to reduce their weight using hypnotherapy.   People often come to me as a last resort (sad but true!).  They’ve tried everything to become the weight they want to be – diets, slimming clubs, going to the gym, meal replacements, intermittent fasting – but it just hasn’t worked.

Quite often by the time people make contact with me they feel totally frustrated and confused (I wonder if this is resonating with you at the moment?)

The fact is that until your mind is the right place, any goal you set yourself is going to be hard work.  This is particularly true when it comes to weight management, as generally we are told that in order to lose weight we have to follow a restrictive diet; we have to deprive ourselves.  The mind does not respond well to restriction or deprivation, so following the standard advice of going on some kind of diet is always going to feel like a struggle.

I love it when people first get in touch with me and I tell them there is a different way.  I tell them that it’s completely understandable that they’ve been feeling so frustrated and confused.  I tell them they can start to relax, because I am going to help them work in alignment with their mind, rather than battling against it.  I love seeing the look of relief on a new client’s face!

Here is what some of my clients have said about working with me:

‘I had six sessions of hypnotherapy for weight loss with Nicola in the Summer of 2013 and I found it life-changing.   I can truthfully say it is the best money I have ever spent!’

‘I can honestly say my whole relationship with food has changed completely. The way I think when I reach for food, the amount I eat and the feeling of being “out of control” has gone.’

‘The weight loss is happening with no effort and it has been a natural process, as the barriers have disappeared.’

How does this sound to you?  Would you like to find a different way of becoming the weight you want to be?  Are you fed-up with yo-yo dieting and the constant battle with your weight?

If you would like to know more about how I can help you, why not take the first step and get in touch now for an initial chat.  Make 2014 the year you finally become the weight you want to be!





Have you got the New Year Blues?

7 Jan

Crossroad on HillAs we move into a new year, I wonder how you are feeling?  It seems that everywhere on TV, in magazines and newspapers, we are being encouraged to make changes, feel positive and have our lives mapped out for the whole of 2014.  January can feel quite pressurised with all this talk of resolutions and ‘New Year, New You’.

I remember how I felt just five years ago when I was in a job I didn’t enjoy and had just gone back to work.  I felt heavy and, although I knew I didn’t want to carry on doing something I disliked, I wasn’t sure how to move forwards.  Rather than feeling positive and excited about the year ahead, I was totally confused!

I wonder if you feel the same?  Perhaps you are in a job you dislike?  Maybe you want to improve your health, but you’re not sure how?  Perhaps you just feel there is something not quite right in your life and you’re not sure exactly what it is?

In my case, back in January 2009, I had the spark of an idea – to retrain as a hypnotherapist.  I allowed that spark to grow and took action which ended up transforming my life in many ways.  I can’t say it was easy, but once I gained some clarity, I could see the path I wanted to take and I kept moving along it.

If you have even the smallest idea that you want to change paths, if you are fed-up with being where you are right now, then why don’t we have a chat?

I am offering free 45- minute discovery sessions this January – a chance to gently explore any changes you might want to make and find a way forward.   These sessions can be arranged either over the phone or at my therapy room in Southampton, whatever is easiest for you.  Contact me now if you would like to arrange one.

And remember, you don’t have to have your life planned out just because it’s January!  Change can happen at any time.

Lessons from 2013

10 Dec

2013As we approach the end of 2013, it’s a good time to reflect on how the year has been.  What has gone well?  What has been challenging?  What have you learned?  How have you grown?  What do you want to leave behind and what do you want to take forward into 2014.

For me, this has been a year of growth, both personally and in terms of my business and I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned with you.

1) Set Big Goals (and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach them!)

This has been a key lesson for me.   Part of me likes to go with the flow and another part likes to have a clear idea of what I am moving towards and this year, I have learned that I can do both.

At the beginning of 2013, I thought about what I would like to achieve during the year and, although it was scary, I set myself some BIG goals.     Some of things I aimed for, I have achieved (more of that below), but some I haven’t.  At times I felt stressed and frustrated that I wasn’t getting quite getting to where I wanted to be.  I looked at other people and thought, ‘How come they seem to be doing what I want to do?’

As I moved into the second part of the year, I started to be easier on myself.  I realised that by setting myself big goals, I have stretched myself, I’ve taken action and although I haven’t achieved everything I wanted to, I’ve come a long way.

So, I take time now to appreciate my successes this year and look forward to setting some new BIG goals for 2014.  How about doing the same?

2) Trust the Process

This is an interesting one.  As I mentioned above, I set myself some big goals for 2013 and to tell you the truth, I didn’t truly believe I would achieve some of them!  When I set two of them in particular, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, ‘Not sure how I’m going to do that!’

The two goals that I’m talking about were to run a retreat and to have an article published in Natural Health magazine.  Even though I had no idea how I would reach them, I chose to trust the process.  I wrote them down and started to think about small steps I could take towards them.  I took action that moved me closer to my goals, running a day’s workshop as part of preparing for how a retreat would be and writing articles for an online magazine.

I still didn’t have a clue how I would actually achieve these two goals, but I trusted that it would happen.  And do you know what, it did!  As I kept taking small steps, moving forward, opportunities presented themselves to me, the right people appeared to help me and I ended up achieving both of these wonderfully exciting goals by the end of the year.

So, even if you feel a goal is out of reach, write it down.  Think about small steps, small actions, you could take to move you towards your dream and trust that it will happen.

3) Take advice and listen to your heart.

This year I have worked with various mentors, coaches and teachers, both online and in person.  I’ve been like a sponge soaking up information!  I love learning new stuff and I get excited about developing.

But at times I felt overwhelmed with everything I was hearing.  Sometimes what other people were recommending or suggesting just didn’t feel right for me, it didn’t fit.   So, these are the times I decided to sit back, to get quiet and listen to what my heart was saying.   And what I learned is that my heart generally knows best!

It’s great to ask for advice, to read books, to work with people who are specialists in their area.  But whatever you learn, whatever advice you receive, always make time to check-in with yourself and see whether it’s right for you.  You are unique and you will have your own special way of doing things.  Listen to your intuition and hear what your heart is saying.  You are the expert on YOU!

So, what have your learned in 2013?  What are you choosing to take forward with you into the New Year?  I’d love to hear what you think and if you would like some help with achieving your goals in 2014, get in touch and let’s think BIG.

Recommended Inspiration for You!

17 Oct

I love reading and I spend a fair amount of time checking out inspirational books and blogs (in fact, my husband says that he has never known someone read so much!)  The truth is I was always a real bookworm when I was a child and my favourite thing was to lose myself in a good read.  Now, I’m very lucky as many of the books I choose to read help me with the work I do – it’s a win-win!

A few weeks ago, one of my clients asked me to recommend some books or blogs that might help her and as I replied to her email, I thought, ‘I should put this in a blog’.   So, here it is – just a few of my go-to reads:


A Return to Love’ by Marianne Williamson  This book is just beautiful.   For me, it’s all about loving and accepting yourself for what you are.  If you are feeling lost in some way, then please read this book.  There are so many quotes I could share, but here is my favourite:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.’

‘Succulent Wild Woman’ by SARK   This book is obviously aimed at women (that’s why it appeals to me!)  It’s about being your joyful, creative, authentic self and I love it.

‘Sassy’ by Lisa Clark   Another one aimed at the ladies (what can I say?  I love wonderful women writers.)  This is a truly uplifting book, about being the best, most confident version of yourself (exactly what I want to do for my clients).

‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron  This is a 12-week program of self-discovery, helping you to connect with your creativity.  You absolutely do not have to be an ‘artist’ to enjoy and benefit from this book.  There are some wonderful practices in the program and my favourite is ‘morning pages’.  Highly recommended.

‘Constant Craving’ by Doreen Virtue  This is a great book if you struggle with cravings and emotional eating.  Doreen Virtue’s idea is that cravings for different foods correspond to specific emotional concerns.  When you become aware of this, you can work with the underlying emotional issue.  This very much ties in with the weight loss work I do with my clients.

Blogs  Leo Babauta’s wonderful blog about living more simply, more mindfully.  It’s full of inspiration for all areas of your life.  I don’t read many blogs regularly, but I ALWAYS open this one when it arrives in my inbox. Again, this is one blog that I always read.  Leonie writes from the heart about creativity, life and business.  She’s cooky, quirky and a breath of fresh air.

Notes from the Universe  This is not a blog as such, but I would recommend signing-up for these daily emails reminding you of how wonderful you are and the general magical-ness of life!

I could go on, but these are my absolute favourites.  I would love you to share any recommendations you have, so do pop them in the comments box below.  Let’s share the love!

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