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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.


Turn Your Resolutions Into Habits

1024 576 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach


At this time of year many of us have set New Year Resolutions – you want to lose weight, get fit, eat more healthily, earn more money, learn how to do x, y, z.  Sometime around the middle of February, if not sooner, most people will have given up their gym membership and fallen back into their old ways of working and living.
If you’ve managed to stick with your Resolutions so far, well done.  If not, don’t give up, it’s still only January. Get yourself back on track, re-commit to what is you want and keep going.
It takes between 20-30 days or repetitions to develop a new habit. Keep that in mind and don’t be too hard on yourself. Each successful day brings you one step closer to creating those new habits.
Create new habits
You’ve had a life-time of learned behaviours and developed habits to get you where you are today. Some of those habits are good, some not so good or don’t serve you so well.  You can’t expect to change engrained habits overnight.
Remember how long it took you to learn how to drive a car or ride a bicycle. It was hard work at first and took several attempts to get it right.  But you kept at it and now you don’t even think about what you’re doing.
That’s what happens with habits, they become second nature, you do them without thinking. They become automatic, ways of thinking, being and doing.
What would you like to think, be or do differently this year?
Create a routine
When you have a routine it makes it easier to develop and create a new habit.  Associate the new habit with an existing pattern of behaviour or something you enjoy doing.  By linking the two together it’s easier to remember the new habit.
Do your daily planning with your morning cup of coffee.
Exercise when you get up, before you have lunch or as soon as you get home.  Put out your exercise kit the night before. Plan time for it in your diary so there’s less excuse not to do it or for something else to creep in or work to take over.
Create a fun aspect around your new habit.  Listen to a favourite piece of music or a podcast while you work on a task.
Replace one activity (like watching TV or surfing the net) with reading, exercise or finding time for that hobby you ‘never have time’ for.
What new routine will you develop that will make it easier to create a new habit?
Put a structure in place to support you
If you’re going to achieve your goals through creating new habits, you need have a plan, routine and structure in place to help you.  What steps do you need to take to achieve your goals and objectives?
Even if it’s just a simple one-page plan or checklist – it gives you a structure to work with.
Checklists are great – I use them all the time and I’m achieving my new habits for 2016.
a) They act as a daily reminder
b) You tick them off as you go and get a sense of satisfaction as each day builds a new habit.
c) You see your progress and you’re more likely to keep going.
Create accountability
Share your habits and objectives with someone.
Team up with a friend, colleague, coach or mentor – they can help you stay focused and keep you motivated. If you have shared goals, you can support each other to keep going when you start to go off track.
If you keep them to yourself, it’s much easier to let yourself off the hook or make excuses. There’s no impact if you don’t achieve it, although you might feel you’ve let yourself down if you don’t and then you beat yourself up about it or label yourself as a ‘failure’.
When you tell someone else, you make a commitment, you’ll be much more motivated to stick with it. Share a similar goal with someone and you can motivate each other to keep going.
There are several apps available – where you can share your health and fitness goals, challenge your friends, get reminders and track your progress.
Create a financial reward or penalty for when you achieve your goal (depending on whether you respond better to the ‘carrot or stick’).
Sign up for a challenge – you’re far more likely to get fit if you know you’re running a 10k or raising money for charity and have something to aim for.
Take small steps
You’re more likely to succeed if you make small changes and take things slowly and gradually, rather than trying to change too much all at once.
Start with one small thing.  Once you’ve got into a routine with that you can add the next habit.
Start a healthier lifestyle by changing just one thing – stop eating biscuits, cut out/reduce sugar, chocolate, swap your morning latte for a black coffee or green tea. You don’t have to adjust your entire diet all in one go.
Start with 10-20 minutes of daily exercise, a brisk walk or jog around the block and build up from there. You don’t have to jump in to an hour in the gym.
Once you’ve made one or two adjustments and see the benefit, the more likely you are to want to do more.
Remember – there’s no quick fix – habits and new behaviours take time and effort.
If you’d like to make a significant change to your habits over the next month, get in touch and find out about the 31 Day Challenge or commit to the full 91 Day Challenge and see the difference taking daily action will make.



Feeling cynical about New Year’s Resolutions? Try a New Year’s Visualisation instead

650 280 Caroline Flanagan

Women's eye - looking forward. Isolated on white.

So, what are you going to do differently this year? Have you written your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

This is me, with the voice of an overexcited kid who’s been given another chance to go into the sweet shop to get a taste of something new or experience something better than last year. I’ve asked these questions of practically every one I’ve come into contact with since the New Year started – even the quiet, unassuming man in my local Dry Cleaners just this afternoon: So, what are you going to do differently this year?

But every single response has been the same: a huge helping of cynicism topped with a dollop of disdain, mockingly sandwiched between thick slices of laughter. How’s it so? Am I the only one who still believes?


To say I love New Year’s Resolutions is something of an understatement. I’ve been making them since I can remember, and my diary – which for the majority of the year lies idle and neglected at the bottom of a drawer – takes on a kind of biblical importance in those special days between Christmas and New Year. I love using this time to reflect on the year that has passed. It is both cathartic and sobering to try to catalogue the good things I achieved, and face up to the reality of the number of last year’s goals I didn’t quite manage. For me this period is sacred. It’s the amnesty in which I can surrender the failings or disappointments of the previous year without judgement or punishment. So I didn’t get my book finished as I swore that absolutely, this year definitely, no matter what, I would. So I didn’t get 100 likes on my Facebook business page, or get my Twitter following up to 1000. I fell short of my target of 10 new corporate clients. No matter! The clock has been reset and hey presto, I’ve got another 365 days! If I can get this excited about New Year’s Resolutions, why can’t anybody else?


Of course you only need to listen to some of the conversations on this topic – be they online, in the interminably long post office queue or over the first Costa coffee of the morning – to discover the answer: nobody gets excited about New Year’s Resolutions because nobody believes they work. Most of us know either from our own experiences or the experiences of those around us that most resolutions are dead in the water by January 2nd, and that’s assuming they actually came to life in the first place. That new gym membership you just paid 4 figures for? Ha! Giving up alcohol/smoking/eating/swearing … whatever’s on the list you can bet that most people have fallen off the wagon long before they’ve stopped accidentally writing 2014 on their letterhead.


I know all of this of course because I’m just as bad. I too have a history of slipping back into my old habits sooner or later (though I pride myself on hanging in there until at least February). How ironic that I spend my working life helping others to realise their goals while year after year the same resolutions end up back on the shelf awaiting fulfilment.


That is, until now.

This year is different. I can smell it in the air when I jump out of bed, and feel it in the pit of my stomach when I turn off the light at night it. Twelve days into the New Year and my hunger, focus and determination to achieve this year’s goals is more powerful than ever (come hell or high water that book is getting written!). I’ve come closer to fulfilling this year’s Resolutions in 12 days than I came in six months last year. Those goals are so alive I feel I could reach out my hand and physically touch them. And it’s all down to one thing:


Visualisation – the art of using all of your senses to create a visual and emotional realisation of your goal, and living that experience everyday until it becomes a reality.


If you haven’t come across Visualisations before, let me explain. Want to quit smoking? You’re best investment is taking fifteen minutes, at least three times a day, to picture yourself – your new non-smoking self – as clearly, vividly and emotionally as you can: What do you look like without a cigarette in your hand and what are you holding instead? What do you smell of now you no longer smell of smoke? What are you buying now that you have more money in your pocket? What colour are your teeth, and what is the taste in your mouth when you wake up in the morning? How do you feel when you are exercising with clean, nicotine-free blood coursing through your veins?


Imagine every single detail of your new glorious life and imagine it every single day, as often as you can. See yourself crossing that finish line over and over again, whenever you have the chance. What I love about Visualisations is you can do them anywhere – in a queue, on the tube, while walking home, on the toilet (who’s going to know?). All you need is a vivid imagination and a desire to see it work.


For 10 days now I’ve been visualising the moment when my book – yes, the one I haven’t written yet – becomes a best seller, the day I fly Upper Class to New York to celebrate and the day I’m interviewed by Oprah Winfrey because even she thinks it’s fabulous. I see the book’s shiny glossy cover, I feel it’s weight and I delight in the faint smell of wood chip and lavender that radiates from its pages. I taste the champagne bubbles on my tongue, and see delight and pride on the faces of those who helped me get to this point. The images are so vivid they fill my stomach with butterflies – the ones you get when you know something truly amazing is going to happen.


Will all this really come to pass? Time will tell of course. But in the mean time, know this: I have written 10,000 words in 10 days, which is 50% more than I managed to write the whole of last year. I can’t remember the last time I felt this focused, energised and motivated. Such is the power of pictures.


New Year’s Resolutions don’t work because they focus only on the physical: the physical act of not smoking, of dieting, of working less, of exercising more. But we can’t train our bodies to behave differently until we first change the thinking behind our actions. This is what makes New Year’s Visualisations a far better bet.


Whatever your goal, the first step to its realisation is to visualise it fully and frequently: use your imagination to see, feel, hear, smell and taste life as the new you. And see how much easier it becomes to achieve what you want.


What do you think about Visualisation? Do you think it could help you achieve your goals this year? I look forward to reading your comments.


Caroline Flanagan is founder of, where you’ll find inspiration, advice and resources for the career woman who wants it all.

ladies gym

Developing Integrity

1024 765 Vita Burton-Davey, Working to be better each day


This January I have had the pleasure (and sometimes the pain) of reading articles, blogs and posts concerned with New Year’s Resolutions either directly or in general terms. Is everyone on a diet? The aim seems to be to ‘Spring Clean’ or ‘Start Afresh’ and whilst I have no objection to this sort of thing in principle, it seems rather a wasted opportunity when people often say “I make the same resolution each year…it usually lasts a couple of days” (or something similar)!


Rather than wishing to be other (thinner, fitter, a better parent/colleague/friend…) we might use the period at the beginning of each year to look inward and focus on our individual integrity; by which I mean the state of being whole and undivided.

Re-grounding ourselves as the light comes back into our hemisphere and the seasons unfold, brings a coherence of purpose which will naturally lead to the right changes in our lives. So rather than focus on personal details we are able to develop solidarity with who we really are and though we may wish to implement changes, they will lead to wholeness rather than struggle.


In  practical terms, I would say January is out, so far as real change and progress go. Most people are worn out after Christmas and New Year and many are depressed at the prospect of squeezing themselves back into the routine of their daily lives. Give yourself time to settle again before undertaking a thorough non judgemental self evaluation.

Non judgemental self evaluation is a way of getting in touch with who you are and where you in your life. It can help you move towards a healthier and more fulfilling way of being in the world and help you notice the things that are truly important to you, notice the gifts you have and appreciate the moment.

You will need to find a place to relax and where you will not be disturbed, so that you can give yourself the time you need and deserve. Ask yourself a series of pre-defined questions such as:

  • Who am I?
  • What did I want to be as a child or teenager?
  • What and who do I want to be now?
  • What current traits have I developed that I wish to let go of?
  • What positive traits do I wish to develop?
  • What issues are weighing me down the most?
  • What things would I like to change?
  • What topics or memories do I avoid because they are too troubling?
  • What are my dreams and wildest fantasies?
  • Which cause a sense of guilt, embarrassment or shame?
  • If I could make a difference to my life, what would it be?
  • What will be my first step to transformation?


Setting oneself up with a series of insurmountable hurdles is not the point of this exercise. Choose one change to begin your journey

towards integrity and focus your energies on your first steps. Your goal might come from the answer to a question you have asked yourself, or you might feel your way to your right path.
Reaching your goals will only follow as you blossom into the fullness of your true self. You may become thinner, you may become richer but one thing is certain; you will be a happier and more fulfilled person once you are following your true path!

Join a weekend workshop tailored to small groups or individuals and centred on walking, sailing, drawing, writing and healthful reconnection.

If you would like to attend a workshop, please contact Vita:

new year

7 Great Tips to Keep Your New Year Resolutions

1024 748 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach



It’s the time of year when many of us create New Year Resolutions. As far as work related resolutions go, according to a recent study – over a third of people are looking to change jobs during the coming year. Another third want to work on their professional development and the rest want to improve their work/life balance.

Most of us will have given up by mid February and many give up before the end of the month or haven’t made it past week one.

Changing your habits takes time and energy. Somewhere between 30-60 days (or repetitions) for a new behaviour to become a habit. So if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up but get yourself back on track and keep going.

Wen you were learning to drive or to ride a bicycle it was hard work at first, took a lot of practice and attempts to get it right. Now you don’t need to think about what you’re doing, you do it automatically.

  • What would you like to do differently?
  • How will you feel when you’ve achieved it?
  • What will it look like?

Here are 7 tips to keep you on track and help you to achieve your resolutions.

Write it down:

Any resolution or goal becomes more real when you write it down. You’ve got it out of your head where it’s just a thought or idea and put it on paper.

There’s more commitment when you put something in writing and it will also help you to clarify what you want and give you perspective.

Write down your successes and challenges as they occur – it will help you to stay motivated and get back on track. Make a note of how you feel. Your positive moments will help you through the times when you feel less motivated.

Create a routine

If you have a routine it makes it easier to stick to a new habit. You can associate your new habit with an existing pattern of behaviour or something you enjoy doing.

– Do your daily planning with your morning cup of coffee.
– Put your gym kit out the night before, so there’s less excuse not to do it.
– Make it enjoyable. Listen to a favourite piece of music while you do a boring or mundane task.
– Replace the routine of watching TV or surfing the net with reading, study or exercise.

Put a structure in place

If you’re going to achieve your goals you need to make a plan.

What steps do you need to take to achieve your goals and objectives? What do you need to support you and just as importantly, what’s likely to stop you

Even if it’s just a simple one-page plan or checklist – it gives you a structure to work with and checklists are great for keeping you on track.

Tell someone

If you only keep your new habits to yourself, it’s easier to let yourself off the hook when you start to slip or don’t achieve them.

However, when you’ve told someone else, you make more of a commitment to yourself and them. You’ll feel more motivated and more likely to stick with it.

Share your resolutions with a friend, colleague, coach or mentor and they’ll help motivate you and keep going when your resolve starts to waiver or temptation presents itself.

Take small steps

You’re more likely to succeed if you make small changes and take things slowly and gradually, rather than trying to change too much all at once.

Start with one small thing. Once you’ve got into a routine with one new habit you can add something else.

Review your progress

Don’t expect success on your first attempt. You will need to review your progress regularly (part of the structure and routine) and make adjustments as you go along. Decide what’s working and what’s not and update your routines as needed.

It may be a matter of trial and error to find what works best in helping you achieve your goals or to create a new habit.

Learn from your challenges and use them as opportunities to motivate you further.

Reward your success

Celebrate your success along the way. When you’ve put energy and effort into achieving your goal make sure you reward yourself when you complete it. Especially if you prefer the carrot rather than the stick.

Make the reward appropriate to your final goal. Create smaller rewards to keep you motivated as you achieve each step.

  • When you get a new job.
  • Reaching the next professional level.
  • Hitting your target weight
  • Crossing the finishing line

Good luck with your resolutions and if you need any help get in touch.