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exercise

Habits Image

How To Build Great New Habits For 2017

1024 768 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

Habits Image

Yes, it’s that time of year: we’ve eaten too much, drunk too much, generally overindulged and done little exercise over the holiday period.

Whether you created one or more resolutions for this year or you decided to go ‘Dry’ in January, to stop smoking, lose weight or improve your career, what daily habits have you put in place to help you achieve them?

Perhaps you never make resolutions because, like many others, you know you’ll have given up by the end of the month.

Create a Daily Routine with a few great new habits for 2017 that will help you achieve your year’s goals to improve your career, health and wellbeing.

If you want to make a difference to your life and step out of your comfort zone use these tips when building your new habits for 2017.

“Write your goals for this year down and put them where you can review them daily to act as a reminder as you plan your day.”

1. Know what you want. Get really clear about what you want and why you want it.

  • What is your compelling reason for change?
  • What’s your overriding motivation?
  • What are the results you want?
  • How will you look and feel and where will you be in 12 months’ time?

2. Commit. Not only to yourself but tell someone what you’re doing and you’re more likely to stick with it. Write your goals for this year down and put them where you can review them daily to act as a reminder as you plan your day.

3. Create a plan to help you achieve them. Be realistic, set aside the time and space in which to do it. Develop your own routine for your success habits, whether it’s daily habits or a weekly activity. Link a new habit to something you already do without thinking or having to make time for it. E.g. Planning your day with your morning coffee or on your commute to work.

What are the daily habits that will support you in achieving your goals?

4. Start a chain – start logging your new daily habits or create a tracking checklist. If you can keep the chain going, you’ll be more inspired and motivated not to break it, especially as you see it grow.

Try one of the many apps that log and track habits or create a Habit Tracker in your diary or journal.

“Having established one good habit it can have a beneficial effect and an impact on two or three other daily habits.”

5. Team up with a buddy – you can keep each other motivated and keep going when it gets tough. Being motivated by a group or having other people go through the same thing with you spurs you on to keep going. It’s why people join slimming groups or work with a personal trainer.

Get yourself a coach. They’ll provide unconditional support and motivation and will not only help you identify your bad habits but help replace them with good ones.

6. Start small and build on your success. Having established one good habit it can have a beneficial effect and an impact on two or three other daily habits. Introduce additional habits as your new habits become automatic or part of your routine.

7. Modify, adjust, update. What works for one person, might not work for someone else. If you realise you’ve taken on too much too quickly or something’s not working for you, stop, take a step back. Refocus, adjust and modify. What can you change?

Pick one or two things to change at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed or disheartened. As one habit becomes ‘normal’ and part of your daily routine, add in a new one.

8. Keep going. Sometimes it’s hard to get started but once you gain momentum and start to see the results, it’s easier to keep going. If you stall, don’t give up. (See point 7).

Once you’ve dealt with the resistance or reluctance, taken the first step it’s easier to enjoy the challenge and feeling of achievement.

If it was always easy, we’d never get that sense of satisfaction or appreciate the effort we’ve made.

The most important thing is to start, keep moving forward, day by day.

If you’d like to get started, check your current habits with a free Time Audit. Get 50% off a personalised Time Audit feedback session in January and create your daily habits for success in 2017.

activity article featured image

How To Find An Extra Hour’s Activity In Your Day

1000 664 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

office exercise

A recent report in the Lancet says an hour of exercise a day can counteract the many hours we spend sitting at our desks, in front of a computer or watching TV.

Long periods of sitting increase your risk of premature death more than obesity (another good reason to get moving) and smoking. Inactivity increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
50% of women and 30% of men fail to achieve even the recommended 30 minutes a day.
But we’re all so busy, how can we find time to fit in an hour of exercise?

It doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or joining an exercise class, although that can help. Just get more active throughout the day and it all adds up.

• Get up from your desk every half an hour. Use the Pomodoro concept of 25 minutes of work and a 5 minute break. You’ll be more focused, more productive and spend less time sitting.

“50% of women and 30% of men fail to achieve even the recommended 30 minutes a day”

But we’re all so busy, how can we find time to fit in an hour of exercise?

• Take a walk at lunchtime. Avoid the temptation to eat at your desk. Find some green space if you can, walk to the shops or just around the block.

• Get up and go and talk to your colleagues face-to-face rather than pinging them yet another email or using the phone.

• If it’s a short meeting – stand don’t sit. Not only will this keep it to time but you’ll avoid adding to your sitting time.

• Walk or cycle to the station instead of taking the car. Even better if you can walk or cycle to work or …

• Get on or off the bus, train or tram a stop earlier and walk the extra distance. Whether it’s work, a trip to the shops or just around town.

• Walk to the shops. How many of you jump in the car to pop to your local shop? Many of my neighbours do it – it’s less than a 10 minute walk to the nearest ‘corner’ shop and only 15 minutes to a larger supermarket (OK, even I drive when I have more than a few items to buy).
• Use the stairs at work rather than the lift. While you might not want to walk up every floor, if your office is on the 20th floor, taking a few stairs to go up or down a couple of floors will get you fitter.
• Walk up escalators. They’re not just for standing on, unless it’s really busy and no one is walking up them.

“Use the stairs at work rather than the lift. While you might not want to walk up every floor, if your office is on the 20th floor, taking a few stairs to go up or down a couple of floors will get you fitter”

• Download and play PokemonGo – this game is being credited with getting people out and about outdoors and walking. [Warning – download this at your peril, it’s likely to be addictive and you’ll actually ‘waste’ more time playing it!]

• Get a pedometer or use an app like MapMyFitness (Walk, Run or Cycle apps) or activity tracker – Fitbit or Garmin to monitor your activity. Even if you only use it to see how much you do, you can also benefit from working with your friends and seeing how you score. The competitive element can be enough to motivate you to move more.

• 15 minutes of stretching or yoga is a good way to ease out those muscles and joints which have been in one position for hours at a time.

It all adds up. 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the day and 30 minutes at lunch time is more achievable than finding an hour to go to the gym. Several ‘5-10 minutes of activity’ throughout the day can make up the recommended one hour.

Make the most of the longer hours of daylight and the warmer weather to get out and about. Get away from your desk, increase your activity and feel the benefit.

Stay Active

How Staying Active Can Benefit Your Work

1024 576 Rachel Le Feuvre, Reset Button

Running

Finding the time to keep fit while doing a busy, sedentary job is something that many find tricky, if not impossible, to do. However, exercise is easier to build into your routine than you may think.

It is all about getting into the habit of doing something every day whether walking/cycling to and from work, jogging or going for a brisk walk around the block during your lunch break, skipping, walking up stairs instead of taking the lift, playing a game of tennis after work ……… it doesn’t matter what you do but try and do something!

Exercise has many proven benefits. Here are ten particularly relevant to the workplace:

1. Improved memory & concentration levels – numerous studies have found that regular exercise helps improve both memory and concentration.

2. Better Sleep Quality – exercise has been proven to help you go to sleep faster, sleep better and wake up feeling properly refreshed.

3. Improved Self-Esteem – helps improve our sense of well-being, personal value and self-esteem.

4. Boost in Energy – regular exercise will help increase your energy level – very helpful when it comes juggling between work, home and everything else a busy life throws at us! Experts have found that low intensity exercise (for example a leisurely walk) will result in a drop in fatigue as well as increasing energy levels by 20%.

5. Stress Reduction – exercising helps to dissipate hormones and other chemicals that build up during stressful periods.

6. Prevention of Cognitive Decline – regular exercise, especially between the age of 25 to 45, helps boost the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus (memory and learning).

7. Greater Brain Power – studies have shown that cardiovasculor exercise can create new brain cells and improve the overall performance of the brain. A tough workout will increase levels of BDNF (a brain derived protein) believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning.

exercise

8. Decrease Anxiety & Depression – it is well known that exercise releases endorphins that create feelings of happiness. In fact, in many cases exercise can be as effective at dealing with depression as anti-depressant pills. And, for anyone prone to anxiety it will help them to calm down.

9. Increase in Creativity – a good workout will boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards!

10. Less Long Term Health Issues & Diseases – exercise has been proven to lessen the chances of having long term health issues and diseases. In fact, studies have found it will even help to lengthen your life by as much as 4 years when you do five hours of exercise per week.

Hopefully these ten benefits will encourage you to keep active and enjoy a productive, happy and long life. If you would like more information, advice or help in putting together an exercise plan please get in contact with the fitness experts at The Reset Button via www.theresetbutton.co.uk

Why not try our Mindfulness Mini-Course : ‘Calm Your Mind’ available FREE on itunes: Calm Your Mind

AnxietyTest

The Evolution of Anxiety

800 448 Susan Carr

Anxiety

Life can be stressful (particularly when working in the legal sector) and from time to time we may all feel worried, nervous or tense but when these feelings become prolonged then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an umbrella term which can cover a number of different conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic, phobia and post traumatic stress disorder. Some of the common symptoms of anxiety are listed below:

Feelings
• Feeling on edge, nervous or panicky
• Feeling irritable or impatient
• Feeling restless and agitated
• Having a heightened sense of awareness
• Feeling like you want to run away
• Feeling apprehensive

My anxiety

Thoughts
• Difficulty concentrating
• Thinking “what if”
• Imagining the worst case scenario
• Having racing thoughts
• Worrying that people are looking at you

Behaviour
• Increased use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs
• Avoidance
• Difficulty relaxing

Physical symptoms
• Increased heart rate
• Perspiration
• “Butterflies” in the stomach
• Needing the toilet more often
• Shortness of breath
• Tremors and twitches
• Muscle tension
• Headaches
• Hot flushes
• Dry mouth
• Tight chest
• Fatigue
• Insomnia

What causes anxiety?
Anxiety stems from the “fight or flight” reaction, which was necessary for the protection of humans in the prehistoric era, by creating automatic responses in the body, such as an increased heart rate and oxygen levels. Fortunately now, most of us will not be placed in danger on a regular basis however our bodies can respond to everyday stress in the same way that they did when a caveman (or woman!) was confronted by a sabre-toothed tiger and this is what causes the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Sometimes there can be an identifiable trigger for anxiety such as moving house, taking exams, going for an interview or experiencing a trauma, however it is not always possible to know what has caused anxious feelings which may have built up over time.

Ways to deal with anxiety
Negative thinking patterns can lead to anxiety such as worrying “what if” or always thinking about the worst case scenario, so challenging these thoughts can help to reduce anxiety. Some helpful questions to challenge negative thoughts are:

Is there any evidence that contradicts the thought?
What would I say to a friend who had this thought?
What are the pros and cons or costs or benefits?
Are there alternative ways of looking at the situation?

Another common feature of anxiety is the tendency to avoid anxiety-provoking situations and whilst this performs a protective function in the short-term it actually increases the anxiety in the long-term. One way to help with this is to gradually expose yourself to the situation that you are avoiding in a series of steps from the easiest to the hardest. For example, if you are avoiding going to the supermarket, the first step may be to go to your local corner shop to buy one item and step ten may be to go to the supermarket to buy ten items with a range of steps in between.

Relaxation, healthy eating and exercise can all help with anxiety as does reducing caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. However, if these self-help strategies do not help then you may need additional support, whether in the form of medication or talking therapies such as counselling or CBT.

If you or someone you know is affected by anxiety or you have any questions about anxiety then please contact me.

 

Risk-Management

9 Easy Decisions to Improve your Balance Today

1024 1005 Caroline Flanagan

Risk

Don’t forget the small stuff. When your life is out of balance, focusing on the small decisions you make each day is enough to get you out of your rut and back in control.

By the time Marta came to me she’d had enough. Her work life balance had been out of kilter for what felt like years, and she was sick of it: not seeing enough of her friends and family, not having any time to herself, not having any control over her life. She was overweight, unfit and always overtired. “It’s my job” she told me in a tone of voice that revealed just how close she was to breaking point. “I just can’t take it any more so I need to leave and I need you to help me do it”. Marta was ready to make the big decision – the one that would fix everything that was wrong in her life.

I’m not in the habit of calling my client’s melodramatic. But if you came to me with this kind of all-or-nothing thinking I’d consider it my duty to stop you in your tracks, get you to take a step back and insist that you answer the following question: What else could you do?

When your life is out of balance or you’re stuck in a rut it’s tempting to think the only solution lies in making a big decision, like changing where you work, who you work for or what you do. And it’s not only in your professional life. The notion applies just as easily when things aren’t going well at home. When your relationship is on the rocks and things have been out of whack for a while, even changing your partner can seem like the big decision you need to take.

Such big decisions are not taken lightly. But they are often taken prematurely, when there is still another very viable option on the table: changing yourself.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” – Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor

I had a hard time helping Marta to see this. It’s difficult to feel in control when so much of your daily experience seems to depend on others. When things aren’t going well for you, it’s easy to identify your boss, the culture where you work, a demanding friend or bullying partner as the root cause. And there are times when you may just be right about that. But if you want to be in control of your life, then the single most powerful thing you can do is to strive not to change others, but to change yourself. And the way you do that is easier than you realise:

Just concentrate on the small stuff.

What’s the small stuff? Well, it’s all those little decisions you make everyday, that seem like nothing but in fact have a massive impact on the quality of your relationships, your success and your day to day experience of life. They are the hundreds of decisions you are making everyday: what to do first on your to do list and what to ignore; what to eat and drink and what to wear; what to read and what to watch; what to say yes to and how often you say no; when to sleep and when to get up. This is the small stuff, but big change comes from making these small decisions every day.

Here are nine decisions you can make right now that will change your life:

1. Get up earlier
Not enough time to yourself? Get up half an hour before you need to start your day and dedicate it to your life goals and dreams. Think about them, visualise them, and take one tiny step to action them. If you’re not a morning person, read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It will totally transform the way you see your mornings forever.

2. Drink more water
Always tired? Drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning – dehydration has a surprisingly negative impact on mood, concentration, performance and sleep. The habit of drinking more water will make an extraordinary difference to how you feel.

3. Read fiction
Always thinking about work? Commit to reading five minutes of fiction before you go to sleep every night, no matter how tired, drunk or stressed you are. It will help your mind shut down from work, stimulate your creative thought and give you something more interesting to talk about at dinner.

4. Do it the day before
Always rushing? Get your clothes ready, prepare your bag and write your to do list – all the day or night before. You’ll be amazed what a difference this makes. You’ll wake up feeling in control, and won’t have to use up valuable decision making energy (What shall I wear today? What shall I do first? Where are my keys?) before you’ve even left the house.

5. Be grateful
Always frustrated and feeling unfulfilled? Take ten minutes at the same time every day to identify five things in your life you are grateful for. Don’t just focus on your loved ones and the material things you feel you couldn’t live without, give thanks for blue skies (when they appear), for morning dew, for a great song you hear on the radio.

6. Say an affirmation
Always low in confidence or moral? Look in the mirror every morning and say out loud “I am wonderful and clever and in control of my life. It’s a great day to be me.” Seriously, try that or some version thereof. Every single morning. Then email and tell me what happens.

7. Smile at a stranger
Feeling fed up and angry at the world? Decide to smile at five people you don’t know on the way to work. Nothing too stalky, just a brief genuine smile to acknowledge a stranger’s existence and wish them well on their way. Not everyone will smile back, but when someone does it feels surprisingly good. You just created a moment of happiness in someone else’s busy day.

8. Listen more, listen better
Frustrated by your relationships? Whether it’s at work or at home, make the effort to listen better – “the quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking” says Nancy Kline, author of the fabulous Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind. When someone talks to you, here’s an idea: listen to every word. Shut down that voice in your head that’s thinking about what to say next or deciding what to have for dinner.

9. Move your body, even just a little
Never have time to exercise? Do 10 sit ups or press-ups everyday without fail before breakfast and watch what happens over time; or make it a rule to always walk up the same flight of stairs on your way to work. There are countless opportunities to fit small bits of exercise in your day. It’s simply not an excuse to complain you don’t have time to go to the gym.

“Life is a sum of all your choices.”
– Albert Camus

Marta is still my client and the jury is out as to whether or not leaving her job is the right decision for her. But the small decisions I challenged her to make to her daily routine have made a phenomenal difference not just to her work life balance but her whole mindset and well being. They have helped her feel in control again, and she is starting likes it.

It’s good to share. What small decisions do you consciously make each day that keep your life in balance? Why not leave a comment, or email me directly at caroline@babyproofyourlife.com