New year, New you!
Tuesday 14 December 2010
Dan Roberts is a personal coach and writer. As the Wellbeing Coach, Dan is passionate about health and personal growth. He coaches clients face to face in north London and over the phone/Skype on issues like stress, confidence, assertiveness, relationships and all-round physical and mental wellbeing. Here, he gives us his top tips on becoming that fabulous, new you this year!
Be honest – how many new year’s resolutions do you actually keep? For most of us, they’re forgotten by the end of January, because they are too vague or overambitious (Do (‘I’d really like to get a bit fitter this year’ or ‘I’m doing the London marathon in April!' sound familiar?)
One reason life coaching works so well is because it helps people figure out exactly what they want to achieve, then gives them practical, realistic steps to make it happen. So here are my top tips to make genuine, long-lasting changes in four key areas of your life…
Lose weight - and keep it off
My biggest weight-loss tip is a bit controversial: ditch the diet. That’s because research shows yo-yo dieting will actually make you gain weight in the long term. Instead, go for a sensible diet combined with an exercise regime you can stick to, doing something you enjoy and won’t be dreading after the first couple of weeks. Jogging, swimming, spin or salsa classes – doesn’t matter, as long as you keep it up.
Also, make SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) goals. Most people think, ‘Oh, I wish I could lose some weight,’ which is vague and unhelpful. Instead, tell yourself, ‘I want to lose five pounds in the next three months. I know I can do it if I eat healthily and go to the gym three times a week.’
Even better, get a friend to do it with you - she’ll help you stay on track when all you want to do is veg on the sofa with a pizza and pinot grigio…
Kick-start your career
If you want to make more money, or get a promotion, use the GROW model – pick a Goal, check out your Reality, think about Options, Obstacles and a Way forward (I know, it should be GROOW, but that’s not exactly catchy, is it?). This is the approach all top career coaches use to make their clients mega-successful.
Again, make sure your Goal is realistic (‘I want to earn 10k more this year’), or you’ll struggle and give up. Then think about your Reality. Ask yourself questions like, What have I already done to make this happen? What more could I do? Do I need extra qualifications? Can anyone support me along the way?
Then brainstorm your Options – ranging from the easily-achievable to your dream scenario – and pick a few that you feel most committed to. Next the Obstacles: think about what will get in your way and how to overcome it. You might need a friend or colleague to help with this bit.
Finally, write down a Way forward, or action plan. Remember to be specific and break it down into small, monthly steps if possible. Stick to it and you’ll be running the company in no time…
Liven up your relationship
One of the main reasons relationships don’t work is because one partner lacks assertiveness, so can’t ask for what they want. If you can’t tell your man what you need, you’re unlikely to get it – cue unhappiness and eventual breakup. Role-playing is a great way to become more assertive, so write down your top 10 desires and get a mate to play your partner.
Practice asking, simply and clearly, for what you need. Get her to be as stubborn and difficult as possible – that will teach you to overcome his objections. Do it over and over until it becomes second nature. You can also try swapping, so she becomes you and you pretend to be your bloke. That’s a great way to put yourself in his shoes, which can help you see why he says and does things that might drive you nuts, but actually have a good reason.
If you’re too embarrassed to role play with a friend, try in front of a mirror or recording yourself on a Webcam or smartphone. And keep at it – practice really will make perfect.
Revamp your social life
Would you like a few new friends? Feeling a bit bored and uninspired by your social scene? A great way to kill both birds with one stone is by joining a local charity or volunteer group. Pick a cause that’s close to your heart – whether it’s saving the planet, helping the homeless or stopping animal cruelty – and get involved.
You’ll meet like-minded people, so it’s a great way to make new friends. And the satisfaction of feeling like you’re making a difference is enormous. Plus studies have shown that helping others is a great way to boost your own mood and help yourself – perfect for combating those January blues…
See www.danroberts.com for more information about Dan's coaching, writing and workshops.