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What I learned from my 30-day ‘Get It Done’ Challenge

30 Jun

As you may know, in June I ran a free Get It Done Challenge where the participants (including me) committed to working for 30 minutes every day on a particular project.  I was working on a book I am writing and other members of the challenge were committed to doing all sorts of other projects – working on websites, social media planning, learning languages, gardening, decluttering.   We were an eclectic group!

Easy enough, eh?  Surely it’s pretty manageable to find 30 minutes every day for one month?

Well, today we reach the end of the Challenge and I want to share what I have learned from the experience.  What are the secrets to Getting It Done?

1) Accountability rules!

During the challenge we were all accountable to each other.  Every day, I posted an Accountability Thread in our special Facebook Group where the challengers could comment to show they had completed their 30 minutes for the day.

This was really powerful, as even if you missed a day (or a couple of days!) there was a reminder to get back on track.

What was more powerful for me was the fact I was leading the group.  I knew that even on days when I really didn’t feel like doing my 30 minutes, I had to step up and do it.  I was the one posting the Accountability Thread and keeping everyone else motivated.  This was key for me and meant that I completed 29 days of the 30-day challenge (the one day I missed was due to sickness, so I kindly gave myself permission to rest).

What can you take from this?  Be a leader when it comes to accountability!

If you have a challenge or project you want to complete, step up and offer to lead a group (even if it’s just a group of two!)  Be the one who arranges the trip to the gym, the running club or starts a group on Facebook committed to getting it done.

Believe me, when you are the one who is holding everyone accountable, you will keep going.

2) Accept that sometimes (ahem, maybe often), you really won’t feel like doing ‘it’.

There were about two or three days during the month when I felt super-motivated and keen to get on with my 30 minutes.  I felt inspired to write.  The muse was with me.

The other days?  Well, not so much!  To tell you the truth, most days I was thinking ‘Oh, do I really have to fit my writing in?’  I would drag myself to the laptop and start writing, feeling pretty sulky.

The thing is, once I got started, I kept going.  The words started to flow (on most days) and the 30 minutes went by pretty quickly.

If it had been a normal, non-Get-It-Done month when I was waiting for inspiration to hit me, I probably would have written very little.  Quite likely I would have got distracted and moved on to another project.

As I had made a commitment to myself and others, I just got on with it.  I didn’t wait until I felt creative, or motivated, or energised.  In fact, by getting on with it, I found that I started to feel more creative, more motivated, more energised.  I always ended my 30 minutes feeling better than when I started.

What can you take from this?  Don’t wait until you feel like it!

If you have a project you want to get done, just start.  Commit to spending a certain amount of time every day and do it.  Accept that you will feel grumpy and demotivated sometimes and get on with it!

3) Perfection is the enemy of done.

I don’t know who said this originally (and if you do, let me know), but Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) said something similar with, ‘Done is better than perfect’ and I completely agree.

When I sat down to write, I gave myself permission to just let the words flow and not to judge them.  I didn’t worry about quality, I just wrote whatever came to me.  I knew that at the end of the month, I could come back to what I had written and start to edit it, but for these 30 days I just wanted to get words down.

If I had sat there trying to write the perfect draft straight away, I would have been paralysed.  I can tell you I wouldn’t have been able to write half as much as I did.

Many of us have perfectionist tendencies that can stop us in our tracks.   Maybe you have something you want to do right now, but you are waiting for the perfect time or until you have everything in place?

Want to know a secret?  The perfect time never comes.  You will never have everything in place.  Give yourself permission to be gloriously imperfect and get started.

What can you take from this?  Just notice your inner perfectionist and then take action anyway.  It’s so freeing to allow yourself to be imperfect!

So, these are some of my learnings from the Get It Done Challenge.  Which one resonates with you most?  Comment below and let me know what action you will be taking after reading this.

Make a commitment now to be a Get It Done person!

Feel-good Tip One

11 Jun

Feel-good photoMy feel-good tips are designed to help you get a quick hit of positivity (because life is too short to feel bad).

Here’s number one (and it was inspired by redecorating my downstairs loo!)

Have you got something in your home that reminds you of a particularly good time?

Maybe it’s a souvenir from a wonderful holiday, a gift from a loved one, a photo of a happy day or a ticket from an amazing gig, festival or play?

You’ll know what it is for you, as it will make you smile whenever you look at it.  And that’s what I want you to do.

Often we can keep precious objects or mementos tucked away somewhere, in a cupboard, a drawer or high up on a shelf.   Nowadays photos are often kept on our smartphones or laptops.  We have to search them out if we want to see them.

Well, I want you to put that object, photo or memento somewhere you will see it often.

Put your feel-good talisman in pride of place.

I noticed the power of this when my husband and I were decorating our downstairs toilet (apologies if this is too much information!)  We decided to put one of our wedding invitations in a frame and display it on the wall in the loo.

I had kept the invitation as a memento of the day, but it had been put with all of my other sentimental objects in a basket.  I never got to see it unless I purposely went searching for it.

Now I get to see it every day and it makes me feel happy whenever I notice it.  I get an instant boost of feelgood-ness!

So what will make you feel good every time you look at it?

Search something out now and do the smile test.  If a smile immediately comes to your lips, then it’s a winner!

Put it in pride of place and enjoy your feel-good boost every time you see it from now on.

Comment below to let me know what your feel-good object is and where you are going to display it.  Let’s share the feelings of goodness!

 

 

 

 

This everyday challenge is stopping you again and again.

29 May

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image19385242Whenever I speak to women about what is stopping them from achieving their goals, the number one answer is lack of time.

These are the the kind of things I hear:

‘I want to change career, but I just don’t have the time to retrain’.

‘I would love to do more exercise, but I can’t fit it in’.

‘I want to write a book/create an ecourse/revamp my website, but I’m just too busy right now’.

This perceived lack of time can keep us stuck in a place we don’t want to be. It can keep us stuck feeling less healthy than we want to be. It can keep us paralysed in our business or career. It can prevent us from living the truly fulfilling life we want to live.

This one challenge comes up every single day, stopping us in small ways and big ways.

Have you ever found yourself saying to a friend on the phone or when you bump into her on the street, ‘Can’t stop, I haven’t got time!’

Or maybe you’ve turned down an event you want to go to as you feel you’re too busy?

I personally can think of an opportunity that I was offered recently where I would have to step up out of my comfort zone. My first thought wasn’t, ‘I don’t know if I can do this’, it was ‘I’m not sure if I have enough time’.

(By the way, sometimes, we can use lack of time as an excuse to mask an underlying lack of self-belief.)

The fact is when you feel time-pressured, it’s a major cause of stress. When you feel that you don’t have enough time in the day, you are heading for burnout.

The good news is that there are some simple ways to overcome the time challenge. Here’s what to do when you are feeling time-pressured.

1) Prioritise (aka cut the crap!)

Have a think about your day today. What are you spending your time doing?

Now I know a lot of the stuff you are doing is super-important and necessary (like reading this fabulous article!). But if you are honest, how much of your time is spent doing stuff that just doesn’t matter?

How much time do you spend checking Facebook or email? How much time do you spend watching crappy TV programmes? How much time do you spend procrastinating about what to do next?

Now I can hold my hands up to all of the above! The truth is you have plenty of time to do all the things you want to do (truly). You simply need to focus on your priorities.

Ask yourself the question – ‘What is most important to me?’

Make a list, with your highest priority at the top.

Now you have something to work with. You can clearly see what means most to you and where you want to spend your time.

Each day, focus on the top three priorities on your list. This is now your guide. Whenever you find yourself feeling time-pressured, ask yourself, ‘Am I spending my time wisely right now? Am I focusing on my priorities?’

If the answer is no, let go of what you are doing.

This might take practice, but in time you will find yourself experiencing more space and fulfilment in your life.

Take action now: Make your priority list! Tune in to what’s truly important to you and then think about where you are spending your time right now. You might be surprised to realise that most of your time is being spent on crap (to be frank!) that’s just not meaningful for you.

2) Change your time story

We all perceive time in a particular way. I’m sure you’ve noticed that some people are laid-back and easy-going, never in a rush. Whereas others are always dashing from one place to the next, feeling pressured and stressed.

Which are you?

Your time story (or mindset) will certainly have been influenced by how your family were growing up. I know for me, we always had to be on time, if not early. In fact, if I get to a meeting just on time now, I feel like I’m late!

Like any aspect of your mindset though, this isn’t set in stone. You can create a shift in the way you experience time. You can change your time story.

The first thing to do is to mind your language. Notice any times when you find yourself saying things like, ‘I haven’t got time’, ‘I’m too busy’, or ‘Where does the time go?’ (Big hands up to this one for me!)

When we make statements like this, we are reinforcing the story that there is not enough time.

Start telling yourself a different story.

The next time you begin to say, ‘I haven’t got time’, catch yourself, take a deep breath and say, ‘I have all the time I need’. As you do that, notice how you feel different.

Like any time we start to change our mindset, it might feel strange at first. There will be occasions when you don’t catch yourself and start talking your ‘too busy/can’t stop/must dash’ chat. That’s okay. This is a process.

The first step is to recognise when you are telling yourself an unhelpful time story and the next step is to start shifting it.

Take action now: For the next 24 hours, commit to telling yourself a different time story. Look out for those times when you’re thinking or speaking negatively about time. When you catch yourself, change your story. Say something different.

3) Chunk it baby!

Have you ever noticed how time can seem to slip away? You might have a whole day or week ahead of you. You think about all the things you’re going to get done. Then somehow, you don’t end up achieving half as much as you wanted to.

Alternatively, you might have a busy day or week coming up. You have something you really want to get done, but you just can’t see how you’re going to squeeze it in as it’s going to take a substantial amount of time.

Chunking can help with both of these scenarios. What I mean by chunking is carving out specific ‘chunks’ of time to focus on a particular task.

Here are some examples.

If I have a whole free day ahead of me, I can easily drift aimlessly from one thing to another, never getting anything done. However, if I say I am going to spend 45 minutes writing an article or 30 minutes working on my website, I will be super-focused during that chunk of time.

I might faff around for the rest of the day, but I will do what I need to get done in my designated chunks.

In the same way, when I have a busy week ahead of me, for example when I’m travelling to work with clients on retreat, I can still carve out small chunks of time to write or create.

By using these manageable chunks of time, I feel productive and much less overwhelmed.

So, over to you. Where can you chunk your time to achieve what you want to? The key is to keep them manageable – certainly no more than one hour.

Take action now: Think about something you want to get done over the next week. Schedule some chunks of time in your diary now when you will work on this particular task. Notice how good it feels to be taking control and planning for action.

These are my top time transformation tips! I’d love you to comment below and let me know which one resonates with you most. Which one will you be taking action on first?

If you would like some extra help managing your time, I am running a free Get It Done Challenge in June.  Click here for all the details and to join us.

The 3 tell-tale signs you are experiencing resistance

6 May

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-bored-healthy-eating-image18253299I had a light bulb moment recently (love it when that happens!). I was watching Marie Forleo interview sports psychologist Todd Herman and he was talking about the biological process that occurs when we start to make a change. In very basic terms (I am no scientist!), he explained that when we begin to behave in a new way, our cells are bombarded with different hormones, and they start to vibrate.

We often interpret this vibration as a negative emotion. We can feel unsettled and decide that the change we have made isn’t right for us. We go back to our old habits, as they feel more comfortable.

The realisation that this unsettled feeling that comes when we make a change is actually biological really struck me. Once we recognise that, ‘Hey! It’s just my cells vibrating’, we can move through this initial discomfort and wait for them to calm down (which they will).

I was also really interested in what’s going for us whilst our cells are doing this change dance. What do we actually experience when we are trying to make a change? It can be summed up in one word, resistance.

Resistance can happen whenever we want to do something different. We feel an initial excitement, a ‘Yes! I can do this,’ attitude. We get all motivated and start making the change and then a couple of hours, days or weeks later….resistance kicks in.

What does resistance look like? It’s helpful to know, because you will have your own signature style of resistance. Once you become familiar with it, you can simply say, ‘Oh, I see you there’ and move right on through it.

So, here are three tell-tale signs that your cells are vibrating up a storm and you are experiencing la resistance.

Tell-tale sign number 1: Everything goes to s**t

I have seen this so many times with my clients and myself!

Let’s say you’re trying to lose weight. Everything is going great for a week or so. You’re making healthier food choices, you’re getting to the gym and the weight is starting to come off.

You feel good. You’re thinking to yourself, ‘Yes! I’m finally doing this.’

Then the next week, you get on the scales and to your horror, you’ve put weight on. How did this happen? You’ve been doing everything right. You’ve made changes. How could you have put weight on?

A similar thing happened for me last May. At the time I was working on my wealth consciousness. I was really focused on being more successful in my business.

Do you know what happened? Last May was my worst month ever financially for my business. It was beyond bad.

When this kind of thing happens, our natural response is to feel, ‘What’s the freaking point?’ We can give up and go back to our old habits.

However, if we recognise this difficult time as resistance, then our perception starts to shift.

This is why I always let my clients know that it’s completely normal to experience setbacks. It is part of the process and you just need to move on through it.

What do you do when everything goes to s**t? Keep taking action!

Action is so key. When I had my disastrous May last year, even though part of me wanted to give up and crawl under the duvet, I kept going. I did leaflet drops, put posters up, kept networking and do you know what? Business picked up and has been pretty darn great ever since.

I just had to move through the resistance and you can do that too.

Tell-tale sign number 2: You procrastinate

Have you ever wanted to make a big change and just kept putting it off in some way?

You find yourself thinking that you just need to read that one more book before taking action. Maybe you tell yourself, ‘I’ll start it on Monday, next month, after my holiday’.

Again, this is a sure sign you’re experiencing resistance. Just thinking about this change is causing your cells to samba and you’re feeling uncomfortable.

So, you find ways of putting off actually doing anything. You might even find yourself doing the dishes, folding the washing, cleaning the bathroom – anything to delay making a change.

You can justify all of this in your head, telling yourself that you really need to dust the living room before you can concentrate. Or maybe you tell yourself you don’t have enough time right now?

There are a gazillion excuses and delaying tactics you can call on.

The fact is, you are procrastinating. You are experiencing resistance.

How do you deal with this? Just do the work!

I’m afraid there is no easy solution, you just need to recognise that you are delaying and then get on with it.

Now, don’t think you have to do it all at once (because that could cause resistance overload!)

Start with small, manageable steps. Maybe commit to 30 minutes a day working towards your goal. You can always build on that.

Call yourself out on your procrastination and keep taking action.

Tell-tale sign number 3: You feel grumpy!

Oh, I am so familiar with this form of resistance! (Actually, I’m super-familiar with all of them, but this is a favourite of mine.)

Maybe you sign-up with a personal trainer, a teacher at an evening class or a coach. At first you think that person is great. You’re telling everyone how inspirational they are. You are their biggest fan.

Then one day you find yourself feeling grumpy with them. You start to find points to criticise. Maybe you miss a session, you feel kind of rebellious.

You tell yourself, ‘I’m going to do it my way. I know what’s best for me!’

Now, I absolutely agree that you are unique and you can find your own way. All power to you my friend!

However, if you are telling yourself this and feeling downright grumpy at the same time, then this is often a sign that actually what you are experiencing is resistance.

Maybe this person has challenged you in some way (if they are doing their job right they certainly will have). At first you found this exciting, but then your cells start to cha-cha-cha and you find yourself shrinking back.

It’s much easier to reject someone when you feel grumpy with them, so that’s what happens. You unconsciously manifest a grump so you can justify stopping working with that person.

Does this resonate with you? I have certainly experienced this in the past, both as a therapist and as a client.

How do you get over the grump? Out it!

I know it won’t feel comfortable initially, but acknowledge your grouchiness. Talk to the person your grump is directed at. Tell them what you’re experiencing.

You will feel much better for it. That grump will start to disappear as soon as you let it out (like magic!).

So, resistance, it’s a funny old thing isn’t it? Learning to spot the signs is so liberating. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can move through it.

Take action now: What’s your signature style of resistance? Comment below, tell me about a time you experienced resistance and what you did to overcome it.

If you are ready to just do it and get through your resistance, contact me and let’s talk.

The Surprising Connection Between Weight Loss and Money

22 Apr

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-frustrated-money-woman-image16282481How the same blocks that are preventing you from losing weight could be stopping you from having the money you desire
(and how to overcome them)

Do you ever have so many ideas flying around inside your head that you end up feeling totally confused? That has been me recently!

Although I’ve always specialised in helping women achieve the perfect weight loss mindset, this year I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I could help different women achieve different goals. It’s been very exciting, but I needed some clarity and therefore I decided to send out a survey to my existing and potential clients.

I wanted to discover what areas of their lives were presenting the most challenges and what they thought was holding them back. The results were surprising and enlightening!

Almost half of the women I surveyed said that money was the main area of challenge in their lives. This was no surprise; I personally have had my challenges with finances and I know many women feel the same. However, what was enlightening was that the stumbling blocks women talked about when it came to money were exactly the same as those I had worked with in my weight loss hypnotherapy practice over the years.

The struggles, challenges, and underlying limiting beliefs that were holding women back from being their ideal weight, were exactly the same as those that were preventing women from managing and calling in the money they desired.

I’m sure you have heard the idea before that our outer world mirrors our inner world. If you are struggling to earn enough, if your relationships are difficult or you have excess weight that is getting you down, this is a reflection of something that is going on internally.

The results of my survey showed that the inner landscape of someone who is struggling to lose weight is very similar to someone who has a difficult relationship with money. The excess weight and lack of money are simply symptoms of the same unconscious blocks.

So, what are these stumbling blocks that can stop us from losing weight as well as enjoying financial abundance? Here are the top three of the most common, along with ways to overcome them.

1) Block One – Lack of self-belief

Just as we often have an ideal weight in our minds, many of us have an idea of the amount of money we would like to earn. We are encouraged to set goals in all areas of our lives, clear, specific, achievable goals. So we do. We write them down and then what? I wonder if you ever think, ‘Okay, that’s my goal, now how the hell do I get to it?’

Perhaps you then start to feel anxious about what steps to take? Maybe you start to beat yourself up that you are not taking any action and you have no idea what to actually do in order to reach you goal. In fact, you can feel downright scared!

When we feel this fear and anxiety, it’s often because there is a little voice in the back of our mind saying, ‘You can’t do that!’, ‘Who do you think you are to try and be that weight/earn that much?’ and the classic, ‘You’re just not good enough’. Any of those sound familiar?

As soon as that voice kicks in, we freeze. We might know exactly where we want to be, but we just don’t believe we can get there. So a ‘what’s the point in trying?’ attitude kicks in.

We just don’t believe in ourselves. And if you don’t truly believe you can achieve a particular goal, it’s going to be darned hard work trying to get there.

Whether it’s a particular weight or a certain amount of money we want, we need to believe we can do it.

If this resonates with you, what can you do to boost your self-belief?

Well, the first step is to recognise that critical voice when it starts kicking in. What exactly is it saying to you? Write down any limiting beliefs that are coming to mind. By writing them down, you are starting the process of getting them out of your head, reducing their power.

The second step is to release these old, limiting beliefs. There are many ways to do this, including hypnotherapy and EFT. However, if you don’t have access to these therapies at the moment, you could hold a simple, symbolic ceremony and burn the piece of paper on which you have written your limiting beliefs. As the paper burns, put your hand on your heart and declare, ‘I choose to release these old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve me’. (This might sound a bit woo-woo but believe me, this kind of releasing ceremony can be very powerful – just give it a go.)

Once you have released the old beliefs, it’s time to decide which new thoughts and beliefs are going to support you as you move forwards. What positive statements and affirmations will build your belief and free you up to move towards your goals?

‘I can do it!’

‘I have all the resources within me to earn the income I desire.’

‘I am good enough’.

It’s time to start installing these new beliefs. Write them down. Say them out loud as often as possible and repeat them in your mind whenever you can, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

This process can take time and you may need to go back and work through the steps over again, but you are reprogramming your mind with self-belief.

Take action now: Take some time to think about a particular goal that’s important to you. Visualise yourself achieving this goal, see yourself getting exactly what you want. As you do this, notice what thoughts come to mind. Are there any critical, negative beliefs that come up? Start with these and work through the three steps outlined above.

2) Block Two – Guilt and Shame

These are big ones! As women, many of us have feelings of guilt and shame around not being the way we want to be. Whether it’s in terms of the way we look or the money we earn (or don’t earn), it’s almost as if we have been programmed to feel shameful and guilty.

Maybe we were told, ‘Nice girls don’t ask for more’, so we feel guilty asking for the money we truly deserve.

Perhaps we feel shameful around out past behaviours and choices around money or food? In the same way that someone might binge eat in secret, maybe you have credit card debts or loans that you feel ashamed of?

Often we feel guilty about wanting more, whether that’s in terms of more money or more self-care. We are told, that you shouldn’t want more than enough, any more is a waste. So we manage on what we already have, we don’t give ourselves what we truly need and deserve. We don’t acknowledge our true, deep-down, desires.

We end up suppressing our feelings, scared to express ourselves, fearful of saying, ‘I want that!’, whatever ‘that’ may be.

I wonder if you have feelings of guilt and shame around money? If you do, one of the best things you can do is let these feelings out.

How can you do this? I recommend either talking to a friend who will understand, becoming part of a supportive group, either online or in-person, or working with a mentor who will help you to release these feelings that can hold you back.

Once any guilt and shame is out in the open, once you express it, the feelings start to lose their power. They are only toxic when you hold them in.

Take action now: Are you holding onto guilt or shame around money? Take some time to journal your feelings and start to look for someone who can support you. It’s important that you feel comfortable and safe with whoever you choose to share these feelings with, so start to explore your options and trust your instinct.

3) Block Three – Feeling overwhelmed

This is such a common feeling when it comes to either losing weight or managing our money.

Maybe your particular goal just feels too big? Perhaps you have no idea where to start?

When we are looking to make changes and work towards a specific outcome, we can sometimes click into anxiety and panic mode. When this happens, stress hormones can start to be released into our bodies. We feel under pressure and on edge. No wonder it feels difficult to move forwards and make the transformation we desire!

This feeling of overwhelm can result in procrastination. Although we have an idea of where we want to get to, it seems like there are too many steps in the way, so we find ourselves checking Facebook for the 10th time that day (sound familiar?)

Another method of self-sabotage is telling ourselves there’s not enough time. I hear this so often (and I must admit, I find myself saying it at times!) When something is important to us, we can always find the time to do it. When we say, I just don’t have the time, it’s another way of saying, ‘I’m overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start and I’m going into panic mode!’

So, what can you do to overcome this feeling of overwhelm? Begin by taking a deep breath and then start small. Set aside just 15 minutes a day and start taking the small steps that are going to make a big difference.

If you were trying to lose weight, you might use this 15 minutes to do some exercise. When it comes to money you could begin by finding out exactly where you are right now. Go through your paperwork (remember, just 15 minutes a day) and write down how much money you have, any debts you currently have and track the money that is coming in. Knowledge is power!

Create a plan of your next steps and use your daily 15 minutes to start moving forward.

When you commit to bitesize chunks of time, it feels so much more manageable than telling yourself you’re going to spend a whole day or half-day on something.

Take action now: Grab your diary and schedule in your daily 15minutes – do it now! Write down some ideas for your small steps and plan them into your 15-minute slots of time. Commit to taking action.

Have any of these blocks particularly resonated with you? If so, please share your comments below this article and let me know what action you plan to take. By taking the time to comment, you are sending a powerful message to your subconscious mind that you are committed to taking action.

Tweet: When we work on our inner world, the outer world starts to shift. It’s inevitable. @NicolaSemple1Tweet: When we work on our inner world, the outer world starts to shift. It's inevitable. @NicolaSemple1

If you are struggling with money at the moment, I am offering free 45-minute Blast Your Block calls next week to three people. These calls will offer you the chance to identify your particular money blocks and explore ways of moving past them, coming up with a clear plan of action. If you would like to step-up and claim one of these calls, email me at: nicola@horizon-hypnotherapy.com and let me know how you would benefit.

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