Six things you can stop worrying about today

6 things to stop worrying about today

1. Stop worrying about everybody’s opinion of you.

Most of us are fearful of taking chances and doing something out of the ordinary, not because of what we think, but because of what we think everyone else is going to think.

Don’t let other people’s opinions stop you doing what you know you want or need to do – whether it is to move to another country, to learn a new musical instrument, to change your career, to lose weight – whatever it is that draws your mind back to it on a regular basis.

People like consistency in their lives. That applies to everyone around you. They like to know that you are a certain person who does that, who thinks this, who lives here, and they get upset if you threaten to take the consistency away by changing.

Don’t be put, and more to the point, don’t be kept, in a box, by others.

2. Stop worrying about how you look.

This one used to apply to mainly women but these days men are getting more and more concerned with their appearance.

The media does its utmost to dictate how you should look, whether they are talking about your size, your shape, the clothes you wear, your hairstyle, or the cosmetics you use.

Don’t listen to the ‘advice’ that pours out of the TV, magazines and newspapers. See it for what it is: not advice, just meaningless sales-focused drivel.

Just look, clean, tidy and presentable.  Feel happy with what you see when you look in the mirror. That’s all you need do.

3. Stop worrying about keeping up with everyone else.

Does it really matter if your neighbour has a newer car, the latest phone, a more expensive suit, or more holidays? Are they really what you want, or have you just fallen into the trap of believing that you should either have them, or want them?

Step away from what everyone else has, and focus instead of what you want. If your wants and needs are different from everyone else, that’s fine. But never feel second best to anyone else who owns a newer/bigger/brighter thingymabob than you do. When it comes down to it, they are just possessions, that’s all. And as the old saying goes ‘you can’t take it with you’!

4. Stop worrying about the world.

The world is in turmoil as I write this. Riots, demonstrations, wars, immigration concerns, job concerns, global climate changes …..but what can you  do? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care at all and should just go blindly about your day to day life immune to all the problems. But there is a limit to what you can personally do. Do what you personally can, and then stop worrying, and get on with living your life and building the world you want.

5. Stop worrying about the impossible.

This backs up no. 1 above. Once you start getting out of your box, people will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to shove you back in there. And part of you (often a big part of you) will want to go back – after all, it’s comfortable in there, and you know what to expect and what to do. Getting out of that box and doing something different is hard. Never underestimate how hard it is. But others have done it, and so can you. Nearly everything is possible, with the right people and the right tools. Go for it, and stop listening to others and worrying about what they think.

6. Stop worrying about not being good enough to succeed.

No-one manages ‘perfect’. They might act as if are, they might act as if they know everything there is to know about a certain subject or career – but really (take it from me) they don’t. The best in any field are learning all the time, increasing their knowledge or skills on a regular basis. Many of them spend hours a day reading, learning and updating their knowledge.  They see it as part of their job, to continue learning about relevant stuff. So don’t sit there in your box and wait until you have all the knowledge you need to start your own business, to lose weight, to start blogging, to write that novel, to learn to play that instrument. Get a little knowledge, then try. Fall down. Get up, learn from your failure, and try again. Repeat this sequence for the rest of your life. That’s what success is.

Just get out there and blaze your own trail!

What Jim Rohn Can Teach You About Reaching Your Goals

“Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.” – Jim Rohn

Sign of success or failure

This post is inspired by one of the greatest business philosophers in recent times: the late Jim Rohn http://www.jimrohn.com/

I’ve designed this action plan around 10 of his most popular sayings.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

1. Set your own goals. We all have goals we would like to achieve. But how many of us plan how we are going to get there, and take action that moves us towards our goals? And how many of us are 100%, absolutely rock-solid sure that they are OUR goals and not someone else’s idea of the goals you should have?

ACTION PLAN

Find a goal that fits in with your personal values, and who you are.

A goal that is yours – something that YOU want to achieve (forget  about what others want  or expect of you). You may have several. Just follow the method below for each one of them.

- Write down one of your goals and make a step by step plan of every action you need to take to reach that goal. Start at the end – the reaching/completion of your goal – and work backwards until you find the first, small step you need to take. Break down larger steps into easily achievable baby steps. This is your roadmap: showing you how you can get from where you are today, to where you want to be.

Do this with every goal you have. Now choose ONE goal. It makes sense to focus on one goal at a time, rather than trying to spread your time and attention over many different areas. That doesn’t mean that you have to wait until you have reached one goal before you start another – but you need to be moving consistently towards the first goal before you start adding more to your schedule.

Now have your plan of action. The question is – are you going to start working towards your goal today or are you going to make yet another excuse? (if the answer is the latter, don’t bother reading on!)

“Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don’t go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won’t laugh at you.”

2. Think BIG. Don’t set small goals. Instead, set big goals that excite you, that stretch you, and are going to push you out of  your comfort zone. If you set small goals, you will take small actions towards them – and that makes it far easier to procrastinate and work slowly. So if your goal is to be an expert in your discipline in two years time, you are going to have to take consistent action towards it. Small goals can make you lazy. Big goals, reviewed regularly, will produce the best results.

ACTION PLAN

- Make sure your goals are big enough to drive you forward – but at the same time make sure they are realistic. Prepare to shoot for the moon – because even if you miss it, you’ll still land among the stars.

“You say, “The country is messed up.” That’s like cursing the soil and the seed and the sunshine and the rain, which is all you’ve got. Don’t curse all you’ve got. When you get your own planet, you can rearrange this whole deal. This one you’ve got to take like it comes.”

3.  Know your obstacles. If you’ve completed the plan of action from No 1 above, you probably noticed several obstacles in your way. You can use this as an excuse to stay where you are, or you can accept that whatever you do in life you are going to come across obstacles, and that you have the capability to deal with them.

ACTION PLAN

- If you have identified obstacles in your plan of action start searching for solutions for them now – don’t wait until you hit them. But don’t convince yourself that you need to wait until you have found a solutionbefore you start moving.  Start moving towards your goal, and at the same time read, research, and talk to people who have faced similar obstacles. Always plan ahead.  Have a Plan B.

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

4. It’s important to manage your time.  Every day you will be faced with a multitude of tasks to complete.  But don’t just work your way through them all like a zombie. Planning comes before action.

ACTION PLAN

- Every morning take a few moments to plan what you need to do that day. There will be tasks you must do, some that don’t need to be done that day, tasks you want to do, tasks you don’t want to do. For every task ask yourself – will this move me closer to my goal? If not, try to either drop the task, or delegate it to someone else. And then list the remaining tasks in order of what needs to be done (rather than what you would like to do). Sometimes we have to do things we don’t enjoy doing in order to get things we want.

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

5. Be a student of life and a lifelong student. Studying is not just for the young. Keep your mind active with fresh ideas, whether from reading books, attending lectures, watching documentaries, studying online, or learning from day to day experiences.

ACTION PLAN

- Actively seek out new experiences to take part in, and books that will teach you valuable information. Go to the library once a month and pick up a book about a subject that you don’t know anything about and read it. See if you can apply what you learn to your field (you would be surprised at how studying the rudiments of poker or what life was like in Poland in the 1950’s can give you inspiration and new ideas!) Search online for free courses – many top universities now offer free audio and video lectures. Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard etc – they all have excellent and free learning material online for you.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

6. Exercise regularly and eat healthily. You only have one body, one chance of getting it right. You need to be healthy if you want to succeed. Okay, you can succeed without being healthy, but what fun is that? You need to be healthy in order to enjoy the benefits of what you have achieved.

ACTION PLAN

- Every day set aside some time for exercise. If you are not doing any at all right now, start small. Plan for a 10 minute walk every day. Then next week, a 20 minute walk. The week after, spend 30 minutes a day walking. Or find some other exercise you enjoy and do it regularly. Eat well – plenty of natural nutrient-rich food (I don’t have to list it, you know what it is) and less junk and processed food.

“Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgement, repeated every day.”

7. Know that small actions have large consequences. You can fail by repeating just one small error every day. As an example, eating just one extra chocolate digestive biscuit (that’s a small chocolate covered cookie to my American friends!)  could lead to an extra 10lb weight gain in a year. One extra biscuit a day – one small error in judgement, repeated every day!

ACTION PLAN

- Turn this on it’s head: success is nothing more than a few good disciplines, practiced every day. Make sure your daily actions are leading you towards success, and not failure.

“The best motivation is self-motivation. The guy says, “I wish someone would come by and turn me on.” What if they don’t show up? You’ve got to have a better plan for your life.”

8. Learn to motivate yourself. You can’t wait for external motivation, it has to come from inside.

ACTION PLAN

- Study yourself. Think about what motivates you into action and what causes you to procrastinate. Use this self knowledge in your planning. Every morning take a few moments to re-read your goals to get yourself motivated. And do the task that you dread first, so you get it over and done with and can move onto other, more enjoyable tasks.

“For every promise, there is a price to pay.”

9. Be prepared to pay the price.  Success doesn’t come cheap, or easy. The price you pay will be in time, in effort, in learning, and being prepared to fall down and pick yourself up, time and time again.

ACTION PLAN

- Know that there is a price to pay for your success. Know that it’s going to be tough going sometimes. Give yourself small rewards along the way to keep you working towards your big goal. Enjoy the journey as well as looking forward to the destination.

AND FINALLY…

“Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.”

10. Life itself is a challenge. Instead of wishing for everything to be easy, for only good things to happen to you, and for the path to success to be smooth, spend the time improving your mind and your skills. You can make things better by improving yourself first.

ACTION PLAN

- Be realistic. Learn to accept that life isn’t going to be easy and smooth. Ever. You can’t control external circumstances – but you can learn how to deal with them and you can choose how to react to the problems and issues you will encounter.

So that’s a quick round up of  some of Jim Rohn’s quotes of wisdom.

There are many other rules I could have added, but long lists can be overwhelming and lead to inaction: for this reason I’ve kept it short and simple.

What actions do you focus on to reach your goals? Please share in the comments below! 

 

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Mindfulness in Everyday Life

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How can you incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life?

We all lead such busy lives these days, and it can be really hard to find the time to meditate.  If you are not yet commited to a daily meditation practice, it’s often the thing that gets pushed out of your schedule as you scramble madly to fit everything in.

But even if you don’t have the time or opportunity to sit somewhere quiet and meditate, you can still bring mindfulness and awareness into your daily life.

Being mindful just means being present in that very moment;  having a heightened sense of spacial awareness (your physical movements and your personal space) as well as being focused on the task in hand, or the environment you are in. It means being an onlooker – not only to your surroundings but to the thoughts that are chasing through your brain.

 

Here’s a few examples of how you can easily incorporate a few seconds or minutes of mindfulness into your life – try being mindfulness when:

  • You are performing a daily action – during a shower, or brushing your teeth for example. 
  • Sitting in a traffic jam, or at traffic lights, or in a queue. Instead of getting impatient, enjoy the time by becoming aware of yourself and your breath. Breath deeply and evenly, listen to your breath and feel the warm air flowing in and out of your nostrils and your mouth.
  • You are eating. Don’t read a book or sit in front of a TV or computer. Sit somewhere quietly, by yourself, and eat slowly: mindfully enjoying each bite of food, noticing the texture, the taste, the heat or coolness and the sensations that it creates in your mouth.
  • You’re in a waiting room.  Focus on your spatial awareness – feel your feet and the floor that they’re on, feel your bottom resting on the chair, your back against the back of the chair, your arms and hands wherever they may be placed.  All these sensations are monitored and processed constantly by your brain,  but you remain unaware of  the sensation of sitting in a chair unless it is uncomfortable (think of a seat on a plane) or unless you are asked to think about it.

So there you have it: four simple ways to increase your mindful awareness, without any time taken out of your busy schedule.  If you can think of more, please share in the comments below!

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Streaking for Health

naked-147165_640Did you know that streaking can help you reach your goals?  Now hold on a minute – and put those clothes back on!  I’m not talking about running or walking around naked in public (although to be fair the experience could motivate you to drop a few extra pounds, or do some weight training to tone up!) . I’m talking about a completely different kind of streak.

The sort of streaks I’m talking about  is where you plan to do something  every day, or every week or every month – eating certain foods, drinking 8 glasses of water, going to the gym, going for a walk etc.  And a streak is when you not only plan to do it, but you follow through and do it.  Starting a streak, no matter how small your goal is, can help you set up good habits, and in a motivating and fun way – especially if you throw in rewards for completing a streak as well!

Setting streaks will help you to consistently take steps towards your goals. And don’t be afraid to start small – if you don’t drink much water now, set yourself a streak of drinking 3 glasses a day, and when you are doing that consistently, change it to 4, 5 and 6 glasses.  If you want to start walking but don’t do it very often, don’t plan an hour long walk every day – start with a streak of 10 minutes a day and once the habit is forming, build the time up gradually.

One word of caution – don’t give yourself too many streaks to do at one time – set yourself a maximum of three, and work on those habits until they become part of your daily life. That may take a month or two, or even a year (depending on how often you are streaking).  Once you feel that you’ve got it,  add more.  Just find somewhere (a diary, a notebook, or on your phone or laptop) to record your streaks and watch your motivation soar!

So what are you waiting for – let’s get streaking!

 

Clipart courtesy of OpenClips http://pixabay.com/en/users/OpenClips/

 

yoyo

How to stop being a yo-yo exerciser

yoyoDo you start your new fitness regime full of enthusiasm and energy? Do you workout daily for an hour or more and constantly try and add more exercise into your day?  But then, life interrupts and stops you going to the gym or for a run or walk, and you stop for a day, a week, a month – sometimes even longer.

If so, you’re a yo-yo exerciser. (join the club!)

And it’s hard starting again – just like dealing with weight issues, we put it off until tomorrow or next week or after a party, or when you have more time….and another day goes by without you exercising.

But there is hope. There is a way to end being a yo-yo exerciser.

When you start a new fitness programme  you have to put more into it, mentally and physically. Mentally, you have to persuade yourself to get up earlier and go for a run, or to go the gym after work even though you’re tired.  Physically, you have to coax your muscles to work a bit harder every time, even though it’s easier to just coast.  But if you continue, after several months of consistency exercise then becomes a habit, and you start reaping the benefits of increasing muscle tone and overall fitness, and find it easier to mentally prepare yourself.

So start an exercise habit today.  A small one.  Promise yourself that from now on you will do 10 minutes of exercise every single day (everyone can fit iin 10 minutes somewhere in their schedule).

Just 10 minutes.  Now of course you might find that after 10 minutes you’re enjoying it and want to carry on – great!  But if not, or if you really only have 10 minutes to spare, stop.  You’ve done the basic, and started to strengthen your habit muscle.

Will 10 minutes make a difference physically?  Yes, a little.  But it’s not the physical side of your that this works on – it’s the mental side of getting into a consistent habit, of being able to mentally see yourself as someone who exercises every day without fail.

What are you waiting for?  Schedule those 10 minutes in your diary now – no excuses!

Grapes on grapevine, close-up.

10 ways to get back on track today

Grapes on grapevine, close-up.Not that long ago, you were determined and positive about the healthy lifestyle changes you were making.  You tracked your food intake, exercised religiously, and easily avoided all the temptations surrounding you. This time it’s going to be different, finally you’re going to reach your goal – lose that weight and be fitter and healthier than  you’ve ever been. But then….catastrophe struck. You ate an extra piece of cake that wasn’t in your daily food plan. And having ‘blown your diet’, you wolfed down another, and another, and carried on into the next day and the day after. Or you missed a workout or two, which turned into a week without exercise, then two weeks, a month…..it was too hard to start again. Your momentum was gone. Every time you make a mistake on your journey to health and fitness, you have two choices. To keep on going backwards, or to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again.  And again, and again. (Take it from me, you won’t just fail once!) You might have been going backwards for a while, and you know you have to stop sometime, so why not NOW?  Not tomorrow, next week, next month, but now. Start small. Begin making just one positive and healthy choice, and keep adding more,  and you’ll soon get your momentum back again. 1.  Drink more water. Drinking water just makes you feel healthier, and it fills you up, stopping you snacking. 2. Spend 5 or 10 minutes exercising. Maybe a walk at lunchtime or after work, or 10 mins doing body weight exercises, or maybe just put on some dance music and dance yourself dizzy! 3. Prepare a healthy meal, and remind yourself how much you enjoy eating healthily, and how much better it makes you feel. 4. Track your calories and/or your exercise.  Knowing the numbers is crucial to success. Start writing them down again today. 5.  Add some exercise into your day routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus a stop early and walk, do some gardening when you get home.  Every little bit of movement adds up and makes a difference. 6. Make a playlist of songs that inspire you and get you moving.  Listen to it in the background to get you back into the mood for moving. 7,  Eat a piece of fruit. Fruit is a healthy and delicious treat, and makes you remember that you prefer healthy food. 8.  Meditate for 5 minutes.  Find somewhere quiet to sit and just think about yourself and your goals. Remind yourself of where you want to be, forgive yourself for your mistakes, and end the meditation with a determined plan to move on and forward. 9.  Read a weight loss story. Note how most people have setbacks, but they don’t let it stop them. 10. Eat your meal slowly and mindfully. Put your fork down between bites and enjoy the taste and the texture of the food in your mouth before you prepare another mouthful.  Sip water while you eat, and try and cultivate an awareness of when your body has had enough to eat. Small steps add up to big changes. Just take one small step today in the right direction and you’ll soon be back on your weight loss journey.  

Cereal with Blueberries

Truth or Myth? – You Need to Eat Breakfast for Weight Loss

Everyone knows that you need to eat breakfast if you want to lose weight or prevent weight gain. Even major governmental health services encourage everyone to get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast every day.

But it is truth or just a much-believed myth?

Like most of these perceived wisdom there is some truth in it – but the real answer is ‘it depends’.

There are three main premises behind the theory is that if you don’t have breakfast you’ll overeat during the day. Firstly, you’ll be ravenous by 11am and end up polishing off a chocolate bar from the vending machine, or you’ll eat a bigger lunch to compensate.  Second, breakfast kickstarts the metabolism.  And thirdly, and connected to the second point, your body will go into starvation mode because you haven’t eaten for so long.

However new research suggests that the research have been misconstrued. There is no strong scientific evidence that eating breakfast will help you lose weight or stop you from gaining weight.  It all depends on you.

If skipping breakfast means that you end up grabbing a Danish from the canteen or a chocolate bar from the vending machine, then eating breakfast should help you control your weight. If it means that by lunchtime you’re starving and eat twice as much as normal then again, a healthy breakfast could help. However, if skipping breakfast means that over the day you end up consuming fewer calories, than it might actually be a good strategy for weight loss or stabilisation.

What about breakfast kickstarting the metabolism? Again, the research isn’t clear, but dietitians from the American Dietetic Association say there is no clear evidence to suggest it has a positive effect on weight loss.

And what about the body entering the dangerous territory of the starvation mode?  Just more conventional weight loss wisdom with little evidence behind it that has become an accepted ‘truth’.  For your body to enter starvation mode (the ‘starvation response’) you will need to go without food for far longer than  a combined night and morning:  you would need to be severely restricting calories (i.e on an extremely low calorie intake) for a prolonged period or doing insane amounts of exercise and burning off far more calories than you’re taking in.  So if you’ve got a few pounds to spare then you really needn’t concern yourself with going into the legendary starvation mode.

Having said all that, it is important to ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients every day in your diet, and missing a meal may mean that you are eating a less than healthy diet overall.  It’s something to bear in mind when you plan your other meals.

So ultimately, it’s your choice – to eat or not to eat breakfast.  I always say that the diet that works is the one that you will stick to. Just do what works for YOU. And keep doing it.  Consistently is the key to weight loss.

 

 Sources:

Belief beyond the evidence: using the proposed effect of breakfast on obesity to show 2 practices that distort scientific evidence. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24004890

American Dietetic Association. ” Position of the American Dietetic Association: Weight Management.”

A crunchy autumn meditation.

Road Through ForestYou can meditate in many ways – meditation doesn’t always have to involve sitting down in silence with your legs crossed and eyes shut.

It’s autumn here in the UK, and as the leaves are crumbling and tumbling gently to the ground  I decided that today would be good time to introduce you to the beauty of a crunchy walking meditation.

So let’s enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise as well as meditation.

Find somewhere where there are leaves on the ground. Purposely seek them out. Wooded areas and forests are always good if you have them close, or country roads.   Now, breathing deeply, slowly and rhythmically, walk over the leaves and feel the crisp crunch  as they disintegrate into tiny pieces beneath your feet.

Now find an area where there is a few metres of fallen leaves in front of you. Again, breathing deeply and slowly, and focusing on the movement of your legs and feet, dig your toes into the leaves and kick them up in the air in front of you. Watch the leaves as they fall gently back to the ground.

Finally, bend over and scoop up handfuls of leaves and throw them above your head. Watch them flutter down over and around you seeing them with  the innocent eyes and  wonder of a child.

Smile. Feel yourself surrounded and embodied by a spirit of gratitude – gratitude for being alive today, for being healthy enough to take this walk, and for having the time to enjoy the experience of moving through autumn leaves.

Meditation, like nature, can be all around, if we want it to be.

 

 

 

 

How To Meditate Like A Cat

Q. I’ve tried to meditate many times but my mind just wanders off, I get an itch on my end of my nose, I get the urge to get up and do something (anything), my mind keeps coming up with thoughts and ideas that need to be written down (e.g shopping lists) things I mustn’t forget, and things that I need to do right now. I can’t seem to meditate for more than a few seconds at a time! Please help!

A. Firstly, take a deep breath. Good. And another one. Good. Now, there is something you need to know. Even the most experienced meditators (Buddhist monks spring to mind here) often struggle to control their thoughts and physical reactions. It’s completely normal. Your mind isn’t used to sitting still. It’s used to thinking – this – and that – and when – and where – and why – and who, and how: it’s not used to not thinking. That’s why it is so hard to meditate. You are going against your mind’s natural instincts and behaviour. So you need to accept that your mind will wander, and you will have to bring it back to focus on your breath (or music, or a guided meditation) again and again. And again. And yet again. Accept it with a grateful understanding of the fact that you have a mind that is capable of such amazing things.

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Have you ever noticed a cat (your cat, or any cat) meditating? They do it quite often, and with no effort. And if a cat can, you can too. Cats often sit or lie completely still, but have their eyes open, and with an awareness of everything around them. They don’t move at distractions (although they might move their head slowly or swivel their eyes to take a look), they breath deeply and slowly. They stare off into the distance, and have a relaxed (okay, blank) face. They often sit like this for quite a long while without moving.

So, next time you struggle to quieten your mind, think like a cat. Stretch out first and get comfortable, and then relax into a still pose. Keep your eyes open, and be aware of noises and movement around you, but keep your head still. Find something in the distance to look at, and focus on that point while you gradually deepen your breaths. If something distracts you, move your head slowly and gracefully like a cat, take it in, acknowledge and accept it, and then move your head and your eyes back to your focal point again. Be mindful of what is happening around you, but don’t interact with it.

Act like a cat, think like a cat and meditate like a cat. It works, and it’s fun to do. When you have finished being a cat, get up slowly with all the feline grace that a cat possesses, and stretch. Next week’s installment: how to meditate like a dog. Same instructions, just think and act like a dog instead of a cat ;-)

 

Image courtesy of Robert Nilson /FreeDigitalPhotos.net