Harvest time – questions to help you review your year.

September. We’re heading into autumn; crisp mornings, cosy jumpers, red and gold leaves on the trees. So much to enjoy.

And harvest time. The culmination of the year. What better time to review, renew and refine?

And plan for 2019!

Every tomorrow is an outcome of what I do today, and the beauty of it all is that today is happening all the time. Craig D. Lounsbrough

So –   you need your journal, a drink,  a comfortable chair,  so you can spend some invaluable time assessing the past 8 months. These questions are there to start you off – you’ll probably think of more.

Overall, has 2018 been fruitful [productive, constructive, rewarding, successful]?

Will you reach your goals by the year end?

Have you made the best use of your time? Have you maximised every opportunity?

What has worked out well?

What hasn’t? Think about why. What could you have done better? Is it too late?

What needs to be completed before the year end? How can you ensure that happens?

What needs to be nurtured for the future?

What needs to be swept away?

What changes do you need to make – personally & professionally?

Who are the people who nourish you? Who supports you and lifts you up? Who is a positive influence?

How have you contributed to the lives of others – family, friends, community?

Have you always shown kindness, integrity, forgiveness?

Who is your accountability partner?  Have you met with him/her regularly? What have you gained from these sessions?

Who/what is mentoring you?

Now is the time to start planning for 2019 and setting your goals. What visions and plans do you have? Are you ready to turn them into meaningful and realistic goals?

I hope you enjoy your autumn review.

Please share your comments & questions below and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

You are loved.

Much in this post to ponder. It’s very truthful and uplifting. Enjoyed it immensely.

Ruth Clemence

Standing at the kitchen sink washing the dishes and watching the soap bubbles slide down the plates, I had a thought. This is probably the most helpful and comforting thought that has really left its mark on me recently.

I am so loved by God – whether I am doing the dishes or achieving a high-flying noticeable career. His love for me does not increase or decrease based on what I am doing. His love just is. For He is love.

person washing his hand Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Every so often, I get so wrapped up in my identity as being what I do as a job. It’s the one thing that seems to have a hold on me because everybody seems to be ‘doing’ something. They are known by their role. It’s become such a drain on me that I am sometimes at the point of collapse from the pressure I…

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20 real meanings behind “I can’t.”

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A Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

A few days ago my daughter, Faith, texted me about something in the news. We live in England and are deluged  with bleak stories lately; problems with Brexit, huge fires, corruption, rising poverty & crime. I quickly replied, ” I just can’t, anymore.”  It got me thinking – that often we say, “I can’t” when we mean something else. That I can’t is shorthand for different, more complicated feelings that, if acknowledged, can be overcome.

So I made a list of possible alternative meanings to I can’t. Some are probably more obvious than others. See what you think. Have I missed any?

  1. I don’t have enough skill or talent
  2. I don’t have the resources – time, money etc
  3. I’m not interested
  4. I don’t see the point
  5. I’m scared [I’ll embarrass myself, I’ll fail, I’ll succeed]
  6. I’m worried that it’s going to get bigger or out of my control
  7. I feel powerless
  8. I’m too tired
  9. I’m too stressed
  10. I’m depressed
  11. I’m overwhelmed [by this, by everything, by you asking]
  12. I’m drowning
  13. I’m bored [with this, with everything, with my life]
  14. I’m frustrated
  15. I’m not sure I trust you
  16. I’m not sure I trust myself
  17. I have a problem with procrastination
  18. I have a problem with time management
  19. I have a problem with self management & self discipline
  20. I tried before and it didn’t work out

When I texted ” I can’t” to my daughter, it meant a mix of 7, 8 & 12.

Going forward, it’s worth thinking through what we, or others, mean by I can’t and seeing if there’s a way to reduce concerns or anxiety and find a way forward.

Please add your comments below and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.  Come and join the conversations on The Gratitude & Kindfulness Group , Move Mountains & Flourish  or follow twitter

 

 

Make New Habits Stick – 7 hot tips

Ever dream about kick starting your life? It can be done by making new habits that will transform you and your lifestyle.

What Are Habits?

Imagine that your brain is a field of grass 🙂  If you keep walking the same way across the field, eventually the the grass gets flattened and worn away. You have created a path.

Repeated actions create synaptic pathways in your brain. You get up in the morning, put the kettle on and turn on the news, on automatic pilot.

I moved the waste bin in the sitting room recently, from next to a bookshelf to beside the piano. A distance of less than a metre. For days and days we went to the old position. It took time to remember the bin’s new location. Each time we popped the rubbish into the bin in its new position, we were flattening down the grass – or creating new synaptic pathways.

Eventually, automaticity took over – straight to the bin without thinking about it.

So, forming new habits means creating new pathways in your brain. New actions and behaviours become automatic. Instead of eating a bun or a few biscuits at elevenses, you ‘automatically’ eat some fruit or a handful of nuts. You ‘automatically’ drink enough water every day.

You replace an unwanted, unhelpful habit with a new, positive habit!

Dream big and start small!

It’s about the bigger picture, slowly but surely building a different lifestyle, one step at a time.

By starting small, you make it easier to actually take action, because it doesn’t seem daunting or impossible.  Small changes are totally do-able, totally non-scary. In fact, it’s impossible to tackle too many changes simultaneously – this is why so many fail with their New Year’s Resolutions.

Smaller, consistent changes in behaviour are effective because we can add them to existing patterns or habits.

Say you want to get fitter and healthier. Don’t rush off and join the gym and splurge on snazzy gear. Instead walk to work or add a 10 minute jog to your routine. Same time every day! Consistency is key.

And  when you feel ready, you can extend or add new changes

Success Tips To Setting Up New Habits

1) Know why

Understanding why you want your new habit(s) is essential as it will inspire you to stay on track. This is about your vision of how you want you and your life to be. The problem with vision is that it’s slippery – you have to grasp it, own and it and work it! Otherwise, it slides away.

In your journal, write down your desired new habit(s) and ALL the reasons why.

For example, you want to lose weight because you’ll feel fitter and have more energy.

2) Know the benefits

Delve into your ‘why’s and write down the benefits of achieving them. Spend time on this, as knowing the benefits will spur you on during tough moments. Think about every aspect of your life. Draw or stick pictures into your journal if you wish.

3) Know the dis-benefits

What will happen if you don’t make the changes you want? How will that affect you? Your life? Your vision? Your goals?

4)  Know your plan

Start with one or two things that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. Write them down in your journal, with a start date and a review date. Use your journal as a reminder and to chart your progress.

When you are comfortably automatic with your new habit, plan your next change.

5) Bin everything that might hold you back

Don’t leave temptations in your path – bin all the chocs and biscuits, cancel Netflix, use the Google tool that keeps you off social media, turn down invitations. Whatever it takes. Give yourself the best possible chance.

6) Have an accountability partner

Ask around to see  if anyone wants to join you on your journey towards new habits. You can encourage and support each other – and make sure that you both work the plan! 🙂 And you can review progress with each other on the review date and celebrate together.

Otherwise, ask someone you know will be supportive and call you out if necessary.

Don’t despair if you slip up!

It’s a work in progress, you are are flattening the grass – don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day or couple of days. Get on the phone to your accountability partner for some words of encouragement, vent in your journal and then start again, immediately. Don’t let the grass grow or you’ll lose all the progress you’ve made. Don’t quit. It takes weeks not days to successfully integrate a new habit into your daily life.

7) Celebrate your successes!

Acknowledge your progress and treat yourself! You deserve it!

You can create new habits, that will transform your life, your lifestyle and help you flourish!  These 7 simple steps will help!

It’s so going to be worth it!

Please leave a comment, share your tips and experiences. And feel free to share this post! Thank you.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger. You can follow her on twitter @ninafcoach.

When Life Sucks – emotionally intelligent ways to deal with disappointment

pexels-photo-262103.jpegOn April 2nd 2015 I went to work to discover the school had closed overnight. My colleagues and I were bewildered and heartbroken.

Three months later I went to the doctor’s expecting “Take these and come back in a couple of weeks.” Instead, she called an ambulance! Months of tests and minor procedures followed.  The upshot was I had a life-threatening autoimmune disease that had affected my heart. And life became very different.

It’s not been easy accept the new shape of my life. I’m not unhappy as such but there was/is a grieving period over the adjustments I’ve made and am making. I’ll do a post on this sometime. But basically, it’s all OK – just not how I’d visualised my life.

Unfortunately it’s inevitable that life is going bring disappointments, no matter how well planned or organised you are.

Some are fairly minor and can be brushed aside fairly easily. Some can be laughed at [afterwards.]

Others are huge and painful. The shock, pain and distress we feel knock us sideways! Denial is a common response, as is anger, along with frustration, anxiety, despair.

It’s ok to wallow around in these feelings for a while. Find a shoulder to cry and moan on.  Choose a word that sums up how you feel – furious, heartbroken, resentful etc – and own the feeling. Vent with a spouse or a close friend. Take pen to paper and journal. Punch the pillow. I have a friend who goes down to the bottom of her garden and shouts and screams. Whatever works.

And then it’s time to deal with the disappointment.

Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven.”

Dealing with Disappointment

Be Kind to Yourself – nurture yourself the same way you would your best friend. Do something fun, buy little treats, snuggle up with a good book, a snuggly blanket and candles, go for a walk along the beach.

Acceptance – we are all going to be disappointed at various times. It is, sadly, a normal part of life. It happens all the time. And if others can get through it, so can you!

Don’t keep rehashing what went wrong, by yourself or with friends – all it does is make it bigger, when you need to keep your perspective positive.

Try not to generalise. For example.”This always happens to me,” “You can’t trust anyone.”

Stop having your own private pity party. Chances are it’ll be gatecrashed by bitterness and resentment and they’ll refuse to leave when the party’s over. You don’t need them in your life. Trust me, I’ve been there and it so doesn’t help!

Find the takeaway – what can you learn from the experience? Chances are, there’s something there. Be honest but don’t beat yourself up – you’re looking for any nuggets that will help in the future. Were your expectations or assumptions too high? Did you trust the wrong person? Were you unrealistic?

Talk it over with a friend – they will have ideas and insights to help you reframe what happened.

Work out  the next step – and take it. Get moving again.  Get your focus back to doing what will most benefit you and your goals. Remember that what you give your attention to will grow. Let go of people or situations if necessary. Believe in your future.

Journal – make time regularly to sit in a quiet, comfy spot with a drink and write everything down in a journal – your plans, your feelings and so forth. Set aside part of the journal to record things that you’re grateful for and why.  Research shows that gratitude journalling has many positive results.

Forgive – it might seem impossible or ridiculous but it’s the best gift you can give yourself.  And it stops you feeling like a victim. Forgiveness is an act not a feeling and sometimes you have to work at it – it took me a long time to fully forgive my ex-husband and I had to persevere with the process.

Pray -for the people involved, the situation and yourself and ask for wisdom, strength and help with forgiveness for others and for yourself.

Disappointment hurts, no denying it. When we’re dumped, or gossiped about or we don’t get the job or promotion we knew was ours, it can feel like our world is crashing down around us. But it is possible to deal with disappointment and build a happy future.

If you have any questions or comments please share them. And I’d be grateful if you’d share this post.

PS Here is a post by Allison Finley that I found very helpful: I Never Expected For This To Happen

Nina is a qualified life coach, learning and sharing ways to flourish, usually in a workshop setting. She is also a novice blogger. Follow her on twitter @ninafcoach

 

 

 

Process is The Path (why you can’t skip it)

khalliysgraphy.deviantart.com

Hello! Thinking about Process and The Path is a real ‘Aha’ moment in my coaching workshops. It triggers lots of discussion – then gradually, amidst all the fun and chatter, emerges a light bulb moment – that success or growth or change are neither mysterious nor instant.

To succeed at anything, means that you have set your feet on the path and follow the process – there are no short cuts. (Sorry!) But once you accept this, you are unstoppable! You’ll take the first step on your unique path and you’ll keep going until you reach the end of that particular road. No chasing after bright, shiny objects at the side of the road – something I used to do all the time alas.

It might sound dull or tough but truthfully it’s fun and exhilarating. You can see the results of what you’re doing fairly quickly and this motivates you to keep pressing forward. You have a plan to guide you and you’ll develop incredible focus to ensure that the plan happens.

I’ll put my hand up and admit that I used to hate having to wait. And I wish I had been more patient and trod The Path, because many of my outcomes would have been better. I’ve learned some valuable lessons the hard (read difficult, painful and often just plain dumb) way: that life is short and we regret not taking chances, that procrastination destroys hopes, goals and possibly relationships,  that nothing worthwhile comes instantly and about trusting God, His timing and the process.

Accept that it’s your responsibility to plant your feet squarely on The Path, utilising who you are, to take the actions needed to accomplish your goals.

Stages along the Path

  • You have to map and pursue your own path. It’s individual – what you choose to do is relevant to you, your life and your situation. You have your particular skills, strengths and life experiences to draw on. You have your unique vision of what you want to achieve and why. Pray for guidance with your vision and your plans. Ask for wisdom and discernment. (Proverbs 2)
  • Grasp hold of the vision because vision is slippery and if you don’t pay it enough attention, it disappears. Own it, understand it, appreciate the benefits, nurture it.
  • Do your research, read, watch YouTube experts, talk to people who have experience in what you’re planning.
  • Take action. Even if it’s only baby steps. Actually, I’ve observed that consistent baby steps can carry you a long, long way.

It’s an exciting, rewarding journey 🙂 It may not always be simple – you might need to learn new skills and habits or drop some pastimes to free up more time – but as you travel down  the path  you’ll develop more consistency and expand your aptitude and your capacity. How cool is that?

Yes, you may have a few slips or tumbles here and there – and that’s OK. Process is about learning and growing and becoming more.

It took me longer than it probably should have done to understand and value the Path and the Process and I’m grateful that the penny finally dropped because it’s had a positive and dynamic effect on my life and who I am.  Please don’t waste opportunities like I did. Start at the beginning by visioning your destination, setting goals and work your plan through to the end. Let me know how you get on!

If you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments or at ninafcoach@gmail.com & also connect with me on twitter.

Oh and by the way, if you wondered about the wolf – think dogged determination! 🙂

 

It’s Up To You! [the R words]

Jim Rohn

“Nina, you share so much about changing and growth and flourishing. What would you say is top of the list?”

Such a great question! The answer is both simple (taking responsibility for your life and its outcomes) and complex (understanding how self awareness and self management combine with responsibility.) But it’s worth the time and energy if you’re serious about moving forward with your life – and it’s always beneficial to learn more about how we tick.

RSASR

Self Awareness

Self awareness is essentially understanding the positives and negatives of:

  • your drives
  • your values
  • your strengths and weaknesses
  • your attitudes
  • your habits
  • your needs and desires
  • your emotional responses – to your own actions and others’ actions

By being totally honest with with yourself, recognising what works and what needs to be improved, you can act from a position of strength. This builds personal power, boosts self esteem and elevates your effectiveness personally and professionally. You can make good decisions, respond positively to circumstances and set meaningful and achievable goals.

Self regulation

Being able to deal with your emotions, no matter how difficult the situation, by:

  • not acting impulsively
  • not immediately looking for someone else to blame
  • acknowledging your feelings (and those of others) but not allowing feelings to get the upper hand
  • thinking before you respond
  • communicating clearly and calmly
  • staying focused on what’s important
  • looking for the best next step

Self regulation is basically self control to bring about the best result. With this self control we are well-fortified. Without it self-control we are vulnerable. tweet this

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” [Proverbs 25:28 ESV]

Hiding from the truth

Andy Stanley says that, “Irresponsibility is very difficult to see in the mirror.” He’s right!

Psychologists talk about the self-serving bias which is a tactic or process used to protect or enhance self-esteem, in every area of life. Basically, it means that we take credit for good outcomes and blame others for bad outcomes – regardless of how we ourselves contributed to the outcome.

“For example, a student who attributes earning a good grade on an exam to their own intelligence and preparation but attributes earning a poor grade to the teacher’s poor teaching ability or unfair test questions is exhibiting the self-serving bias.” [Wikipedia]

And it’s not helpful in the long term because it deludes us into being less than we can be, when we refuse or fail to take responsibility for our actions. It can also make us unpopular with friends, family and colleagues.

And yes – it is tough to face up to – I’ve had many moments of crying into my pillow when I accepted that I’d played a part in many of the things that had gone wrong in my life. But it’s also incredibly liberating and empowering.

Help yourself help yourself 🙂

It was totally worth the effort I made to overcome the bit of me that wanted to play the victim or the martyr. Like forgiveness, taking responsibility is a huge gift that you give yourself –  the benefits are incredible!

Thank God that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past – every day offers you  a fresh start and an opportunity to plonk yourself firmly in the driving seat of your life and where it’s headed.

When you fully accept that you are in charge of the outcomes of your life and how you react to circumstances, then you can truly move forward. tweet this

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Areas of responsibility:

  • Your words
  • Your decisions
  • Your actions
  • Your health
  • Your finances
  • Your career
  • Your talents, skills and gifts
  • Your life
  • Your spiritual life

“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” [Robert Schiller]

Once we get a grip on self regulation and responsibility, we open the door to amazing changes.

You will feel more motivated and more excited about the present and the future. You will feel more able to deal with life. You can plan and set goals. You can stop blaming others (even if it is their fault, deal with the situation) and you’ll know that if problems come against you, you’ll find a way through.

I love the following verse – its sums up everything in this post.

“Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (Galatians 6: 5 MSG)

Any questions or comments?  Share them both or email me at ninafcoach@gmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter 🙂

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

 

Forgiveness

Graphic source: funnypictures.picphotos.net

Martin Luther King understood forgiveness. So do the victims, pushed into the media spotlight by unfathomable, agonising crime, who publicly – and genuinely –  forgive the perpetrators.

And us? You and me? If we’re honest, we admit that we struggle with forgiveness. Where’s the justice? What about my feelings, my agony, my heartbreak, my broken life? Don’t they count? Why should I let that rotten so-and-so off the hook?

4 reasons why forgiveness is important

  • Forgiveness is a gift to yourself as well as the forgiven – it lets you move forward
  • Forgiveness liberates you – from being stuck, from negative emotions, from stress
  • Forgiveness is essential for healing
  • And, most important of all, Jesus told us to forgive.

“And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” [Matt 6:12 NLT]. 

The Aramaic word for forgiveness means to untie.

Whether you’re angry, distressed, plotting revenge, cursing or just flinching at the memory, you are tightly bound to the event, albeit by invisible cords. This ‘stuckness’ can prevent you moving forward with your life or influence the way you think. “I’ll never trust another man/girl/boss” is just one example of this.

And the instigator  of your misery probably isn’t  giving you a second thought and is enjoying life. To put it another way, you’ve given away your power to enjoy life and prosper.

Furthermore,  you’re being avidly stalked by the  Terrible Trio of resentment, bitterness and anger. These guys are destructive and can eventually crush your emotional and physical health as they release toxic chemicals into your body.

poison

There are common misconceptions about forgiveness which muddy the water and make it seem more difficult. Understanding these helped me enormously. Let’s take a look at what forgiveness isn’t as well as what it is.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation

You have choices:

  1. Has the relationship run its course and is now over?
  2. Do you want to keep the person in your life but add boundaries or make changes for the future?
  3. Are you happy for the relationship to continue as before?

Forgiveness doesn’t mean minimising

You can be real:

  1. You don’t have to pretend that the incident never happened
  2. You don’t have to justify how upset you are
  3. You don’t have to forget before you forgive
  4. You don’t have to condone what happened

Forgiveness is purposeful

It’s not called an ‘act of forgiveness’ for nothing. It’s an action not a feeling. It’s something you do, not something you feel. You choose to forgive, and then you work  on it. How long it takes depends depends on the circumstances and the original offence. There have been people in my life that took me a long time to forgive fully, others not so long.

“We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.” T.D. Jakes

Help with forgiving

Believe that it is possible. God never asks us to do anything that’s impossible. Pray for help. Admit that you’re finding it hard and ask GodThis prayer offers some ideas what to say if you’re stuck [scroll down the page]

Pray for the person who wronged you. Pray that you both can understand each other’s position and viewpoints.

Write out your thoughts and  feelings in your journal as you go through the process.

Consider whether it is in both your interests to have a conversation with the other party and/or to let them know you have forgiven them.

“Deepen your understanding of God’s forgiveness through Bible study and meditation. God has been astoundingly, absurdly generous to us. Let that grace prompt humility and gratitude.” Charles Swindoll

Forgiveness is challenging but it is possible and it benefits you immeasurably.

If you have any ideas to add to this post, please let me know in the box below and please feel free to share this post.

You may also find these helpful as well.  Forgiveness:When you forgive but they won’t let you forget by Minister Desiray Lewis  and  Overcoming Hurtful Words. 

Let’s finish with a message from St Paul.

Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. [Colossians 3:13 GW]

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

Too Much Study, Not Enough Learning

The title of this blog post really got my attention – it’s a challenging and truthful read.

This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

Christians come in all shapes, sizes, and maturity levels, and the more honest we are, the more fun we are to be with, even if what we’re saying or working through is painful. The other day, someone told me:

A stack of books and the Bible for the Purposeless Driven Life articleToo many Christians read too many books ABOUT the Bible, and not the Bible itself. It’s an easy error to correct. Photo credit Steve Henderson Fine Art.

“I’m so afraid that Jesus is impatient with me. I don’t read the Bible much, and I don’t know what it says. I don’t think that Jesus can use someone like me.”

Sentences like that always make me ache inside.

It’s not that there’s a problem with the sentiment, it’s that the person mentioning it has been a Christian for many, many years, and attending church, and Bible studies, and small group meetings, for just about that long. If this stuff worked, I thought…

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