Monday, 30 January 2012

Do You Want To Be Happier?

If you want to be happier then you may be interested to hear what the Greek philosophers thought on this subject.

Without complicating things and going into detail about the thoughts of individual Greek philosophers, I think there is some general agreement from these early thinkers about the factors which contribute to human happiness.

Their thoughts on the subject are outlined and listed below for you to reflect on in relation to your own life:

  • See Your Friends Regularly - Those who love you for who and what you are and those who you feel good around
  • Freedom - Do you feel free in your life for example to pursue the things that you want in your life such as working at what you enjoy?
  • Wisdom - Do you reflect on and deal with your problems and anxieties, have realistic expectations and consider the consequences of big decisions?
  • Flexible Beliefs and Behaviour - For example, do you accept pain, loss, hurt and that you can carry on and live your life in a meaningful way achieving fulfilment?
  • Confidence - Are you able to stand by your beliefs and not be too influenced by the masses? Do you accept yourself for who and what you are?

A way forward would be to think about whether you agree with their conclusions or not.

If you agree, the next step is to think about whether the factor features strongly in your life.

If it does feature then this is an area to be grateful for and to continue to nourish.

If it does not feature then this may be an area in which you want to develop.

Your options for development include self-development and working with a coach to achieve your development objectives.

If this blog post has helped you in any way let us know how it helped you increase your happiness by leaving a comment.

Alternatively, if you would like support in your goal to be happier then please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Solving The January Blues By Setting New Goals

January is a bleak time of year for many people, driven by factors such as the weather, the post Christmas credit card statement and returning to work after the festive break.
For others, January signals a new year and a time to set goals for the year ahead.
As human beings we're naturally goal-driven and setting and achieving goals is motivational.
But some of us struggle with setting goals because we feel life we're in something of a rut come the start of a new year.
Before you give up, there are a few things you can do to get yourself in the mindset of wanting to set and achieve some goals in the 11 remaining months of 2012.
You can learn to see yourself in a more positive, balanced way by carrying out the following exercises:
  • Listing your positive qualities - Brainstorm all the things you like about yourself. Are you smart? Kind? Creative? Loyal? Funny?

    What would others say are your good qualities? Include your talents, skills, and achievements.

    Also think about bad qualities you do not have and do not want.
  • Focus on what you do like about your life - Appreciate the things you like about yourself and your life.

    What elements of your work, personal and social life are going well?
  • Challenge negative self-talk - When you catch yourself being self-critical or pessimistic, stop and challenge the negative thought.

    Ask yourself - Is this helpful thinking? Does it make me feel good? What evidence is there for the thought?

    Then change the thought to something believable and positive, for example, 'I feel I am gradually learning about talking through how I feel'.
  • Be kind to yourself - For example, have a massage, soak in a candlelit bath or do exercise you enjoy.
  • Develop some healthy beliefs - For example, ‘I take care of myself by eating healthy food 75% of the time and by exercising 3times per week' or 'I make a written worry list with possible solutions before I go to bed so I can sleep'.
  • Keep a gratitude and achievement diary - Use it daily to record the little things that bring you little bits of happiness each day such as accomplishing something at work, laughing with friends, eating a fresh meal or going for a walk.
Wishing you fulfilment in 2012.

If you find this blog to be useful please leave a comment and if you would like help and support in any area of your life please get in touch with me via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling

Monday, 23 January 2012

New Year Weight Loss Goal

The most common New Year's resolution is to lose weight and get healthy.

If this is you and this time you have 100% intent and you mean it then I think that you may want to try the following to set you on your way to achieving your goal.

Our beliefs and values drive our behaviours. Knowing this you can start to work on your weight loss goal.

1. Start by writing down all of the beliefs you currently have which are driving the old unwanted behaviour of eating too much and not exercising. For example:

  • I won't be able to lose weight
  • I don't have time to exercise
  • When I feel bad I eat
  • When I feel I deserve a reward I eat
  • I need sugar to get through the day
  • My boss drives me to eat a lot of chocolate

Keep brainstorming to identify the beliefs which you think have led to your being where you are.

2. Now write down some different beliefs that you are motivated by and which you think are realistic for you and will help you to achieve your goal. For example:

  • Sugar is toxic and does not fuel my body so I eat little of it
  • I eat to fuel my body with whole fresh foods including fruit, veg, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and whole grains like seeded bread and porridge oats
  • Eating healthy at least 75% of the time makes me feel energised so I can do want I want in the day
  • I notice hunger as my tummy rumbles and I feel empty
  • I always pause before I put something in my mouth and think about the consequences
  • When I eat out I am happy to order 'off menu' at times so I feel in control

Keep brainstorming new, realistic, motivating beliefs that you personally can believe in.

Once your list is complete write them on a card for your purse or wallet and put another on the fridge or food cupboard.

Now, read your new beliefs each day for at least a couple of weeks to allow the new beliefs to become embedded in your subconscious mind.

These new beliefs will help to drive new behaviours which will assist you in achieving your weight loss goal.

Please do let us know if this blog has been useful by posting a comment and if you would like assistance with this or any other goal please consider us as your support resource and get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Health and Well-Being Coaching

Do you feel that you want to improve your health and well-being and want some simple strategy which works in a sustainable way?

I am Type 1 Diabetic and was diagnosed when I was 37 years old.

This life change forced me to look at food as fuel rather than anything else, such as, 'something to do when bored, stressed or celebrating'.

I wanted to know what foods would satisfy me and keep my blood sugars even rather than spiking up and down. I did a lot of research and self-experimenting to find out what foods made me feel good.

The Caveman Diet works well for fuel - if it walks, grows or swims you can eat it.

Fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein, nuts and seeds, are all you need. Try just eating these foods for 5 days and notice how your stomach looks less bloated and how you feel more energised.

I learned that sugar - refined and processed - is poison to my body and mind with long-term toxic complications which could cause me blindness, loss of limbs, heart problems etc.

I learned that drinking more than one to two glasses of wine a couple of nights a week impacted my sleep, making me tired the next day and more likely to reach for something processed rather than whole perishable foods.

I learned that sugar is present in bread, cereals, wheat, rice, pasta, milk, dry beans, processed food and bought soups. Eating these foods caused blood sugar swings, mood swings, tiredness and sluggishness.

We are all different. You will want to set your own boundaries around food and alcohol. Do your own experimenting.

My own experience has taught me that we tend not to overindulge in whole healthy foods like fish, chicken, vegetables, salad and fresh fruit because these satisfy us and keep us full for longer.

We do tend to overindulge in breads and other carbs because they cause sugar dips and spikes encouraging us to eat more to get the next spike when in a dip. Removing them completely avoids this vicious circle.

My biggest tip is that since your beliefs drive your behaviour, believing the content of this blog will help you to do what you want and feel well.

Let me know if this simple strategy is helpful by leaving a comment perhaps after you have given the 5 day trial a go.

For all of your life changing goals we are totally committed to help you to get what you want.

Take your first step by contacting us through our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Are Your Beliefs Holding You Back From What You Want?

Working with a client this morning prompted me to write this blog.

My client recognised that for all of her adult life to date she had been rebelling against her parent's frugal behaviour with money when she was a child.

One particular vivid memory was: 'My Mum used her own baking chocolate on cheap plain biscuits' and 'I decided then that I would always be in a position that meant being able to buy nice tasting biscuits'.

My client recognised she had behaved at the opposite extreme of spending all her money quickly based on one belief that 'I shouldn't have money' and another 'I feel more comfortable when I do not have money'.

Our beliefs are very powerful and do an excellent job at determining our behaviour even when we don't consciously want to carry out a particular behaviour

Does this sound familiar?

What behaviours do you want to change because on a conscious intellectual level you know that the behaviour is stupid or childish?

If we are not able to make changes at a conscious level then we need to look to our unconscious beliefs for evidence of what is driving the unwanted behaviour, such as, spending all of our money.

When I asked my client what she wanted she said: 'To take more pleasure from saving personally and at work' and 'To strike a balance between spending and saving'.

Our core beliefs about ourselves, others and the world we live in are often formed before we are 10 years old.

In order to make changes in our behaviour we need to work on changing our beliefs.

How do we do that?

I help my clients using a combination of Solution Focused questioning to understand what they wants - specifically:
Stop for a moment and write down a list of unwanted behaviours which you have noticed yourself doing in the last month.

Think about which beliefs you currently have which are driving those behaviours.

Think about why you want to change - What do you have to gain? This will help to rev up your motivational intent.

Start by doing the visualisation exercise on my previous blog - Visualisation Is Key To Making Your Changes Stick.

In the next few days, as you think of this more, you will - often quite subconsciously - start to think about what you need to do to make the changes that you want to make for yourself.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment or if you would like help please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling, via email at or by calling us on our confidential answering machine service at 01761 237 400.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Visualisation Is Key To Making Your Changes Stick

Do you ever wonder why that despite your best intentions the changes you intended to make, started to make or made have not been sustained?

For example, changing a way of working, being a healthy weight or going to bed at a reasonable time.

This is such a common problem for a number of clients I have recently started working with, I decided to write a blog about a technique which I have found invaluable in helping make these kinds of changes stick.

That technique is Visualisation.

The idea is that you visualise what you do want - i.e. focus on what you want - and your subconscious mind then knows what you want and can help by coming up with ways to achieve your goal.

You can do this on your own or with help and you will know what you need and what works for you intuitively.

For example, if you have always tended to 'think in pictures' this may come easier for you and you may find that you can be self-sufficient in terms of visualisation.

On the other hand, you may be used to thinking in terms of words or feelings and may need some help with this technique.

Here is a practical exercise for you to try and something that I do very often at the start of each day - even before getting out of bed.

Close your eyes to help you to focus and imagine you are watching a film of you as you want to be - for example, at your target weight and size.

Watch the other you doing the things that you easily do in your daily life, such as, getting dressed, walking the children to school and so on.

Imagine this other you also doing the things you want to be able to do, such as, eating when hungry, enjoying moving around regularly and being in control of your emotions and press your mental pause button each time you start to feel upset.

Notice how this other you moves, carries themselves, looks and how other people respond.

Then step into the film taking the new behaviours into yourself.

Go through a typical day with the new thinking and behaviours and consider how things are going to be better now.

The key to successfully getting change to stick is to repeat this daily until you achieve your goal and then as often as you feel is necessary.

Each repetition of your visualisation creates a neural pathway in the brain with each further repetition reinforcing it.

In the previous example, as you think of yourself as a healthy weight and size you are sending signals to your unconscious mind to behave as a healthy person, with lots of new habits that help you to maintain that.

Visualisation of you having achieved your goals is very powerful in helping you to achieve them as well as sustaining them and this has to be a worthwhile exercise.

Please let me know how you get on by leaving a comment and get in touch if you would like help with achieving and maintaining those changes which are important to you via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 6 January 2012

All Senior Managers Need A Personal Coach

Are you a Senior Manager in an organisation?

If you are, you may or may not be aware of your significance in terms of organisational performance.

I think, of all the layers within an organisational hierarchy, senior managers impact the business more than any other tier.

Senior managers influence the strategic direction of the business as well as the performance of more junior managers and staff.

Senior managers are being made more and more accountable for results - often in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics such as, revenue targets, budget targets, people targets and so on.

Being a senior manager in today's high change transformation organisational agenda will feel at times stressful and onerous whilst often satisfying as it can help you achieve your ambitions.

Senior managers supported by an executive coach give good gearing for their organisation in that their performance impacts the performance of many others, including, line managers, staff and more senior directors or partners in the business.

Unless you are perfect - and few people are - the likelihood is that you will have development needs identified through your performance management infrastructure which would benefit from a bespoke individual programme best met by working with an executive coach (as opposed to going on a generic training course).

In particular, the non-technical part of your development - your personal competencies - are best met through a combination of coaching, group support and self-development - such as relevant reading.

Leadership coaching is on the increase and covers a multitude of skills including the following areas:

  • Vision and goal setting
  • Influencing and negotiating
  • Decision-making
  • Managing poor performance
  • Handling conflict
  • Delegation
  • Assertiveness
  • Confidence
  • Presentation skills

If you are an ambitious senior manager, who also recognises your scope for further development, and are keen to explore this we would like to sign up for one of our complimentary 'Better Results Today' coaching sessions.

During these sessions we can discuss and explore your strengths and areas for development and you can sign up by simply filling in the online form on our Complimentary Coaching Sessions page on our website.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with us via email at or via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Couples Coaching and Counselling

Is your significant relationship in need of work? Are you aware that you have started to exist within your relationship or become two managers of a household?

If this sounds familiar you will want to take action before one or both of you decide to leave the relationship. If that is not what you want here are 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Set some achievable goals for your relationship, together. For example, we will go to bed at the same time at least 3 nights per week or we will have a date night at least once a fortnight.
  2. Look at the way you are spending your time versus what you actually want to spend your time doing. Think of options which will allow you to spend more time with your partner. For example, hiring a cleaner or having stricter rules on your children's bedtime routine.
  3. Consider the communication weaknesses between you and consider how you can communicate better. For example, rather than just communicate 'to do' lists, check in with your partner when you come home from work, by asking something like 'What has been good in your day?'. Perhaps accompany this with a hug.
  4. Think about your relationship as the two of you being on a journey along which you aim to develop and get better at playing your part in. Think to yourself about what you can do better and give more of what your partner would appreciate.
  5. Sit down once a month and review your relationship that month. Look at what has worked (listen to your partner first) and made them happy and find out what could you do more of and less of whicih would improve your relationship.

We see many couples who recognise that relationships need work - just like work needs work - if you are to be any good at it.

I think that if you can work at your relationship and change things so you both feel that your needs are being met you can often avoid a painful break-up whilst at the same time developing into a better person.

Preventing unnecessary break-ups is something we are very good at.

If you would like support in your endeavours and "engage in a process that is solution-focused and enjoyable" (a client's words) then please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling, email us at enquiries@westofenglandcoachingandcounselling or call our confidential answering service on 01761 237 400.