Most of us have life goals that we are working towards. We'd like to lose weight, or make more money or just figure out how to deal with stress, and there are lots of books, courses and companies out there teaching us how to do it. There are many paths that will take you to your goals, but there's one fundamental piece of the puzzle that has to be in place otherwise the rest of it doesn't work; you have to learn how to love yourself.
I know to a lot of you that will sound really wishy-washy or flakey, but seriously - how far are you going to get with your goals if you can't be your own biggest cheerleader? Contrary to popular belief, it's not a lack of willpower that causes us to fail, it's a lack of self love. If you don't believe you're worthy of being thin or rich or in love, how can you ever achieve it? If you turn on yourself with negativity, telling yourself you're fat or lazy or useless as soon as you fall off the wagon (which will happen at some point) then what are the odds of you actually reaching your goal?
Building your self love muscle and getting emotionally fit is the inescapable foundation for being able to attract (and keep!) everything else you want to bring into your life.
Get emotionally fit
So how do you get emotionally fit? Self love is such a broad and vague topic and it covers a lot so when I teach it in my 10 Week Self Love Course I break it down into 10 different aspects of self love, with tools to exercise each one.
Below is a brief taster of some of the exercises we cover in the Self Love Course. Read through the different areas and be curious.... where do you need to spend some time building up your self love muscle? Which areas of life are a bit..um... flabbier than others? Just like building our physical muscles it takes a bit of time doing exercises to build our mental muscles so we can be emotionally fit. This mindset shift will create a strong mental state and enable you to smash your health and happiness goals.
Self Awareness + Honesty
Are you being honest about what you really want in your life? Look at this in the context of your career, your relationships, how many hours you work, how much time you spend having fun....are you doing what you really want to be doing?
Self Love Exercise #1: Your Ideal Day
Spend 15 - 3o minutes writing out your Ideal Day in detail. What time do you get up? Who are you with? What country do you live in? What do you do for a job? What do you wear? Go through every detail of your day as if money, time, qualifications, age, etc were not a limitation. Get honest with yourself about how you'd really like to live your life.
Do you take care of your body, mind and spirit? Have a look over this list and see if there are places where you could invest in a bit more self care. Once you're aware of where you are not taking care of yourself, create a plan to change it.
Self Love Exercise #2: Where do you neglect yourself?
Do you know your unique skills and talents? Do you have a sense of worth and purpose in the world and are you getting paid accordingly? In order to raise our net worth (if your goal involves making more money) we need to raise our self worth. Kate Northrup has a lot of great exercises for this in "Money: A love story."
Self Compassion + Acceptance
How do you talk to yourself? Are you sabotaging yourself by trying to be perfect, live up to impossible expectations or comparing yourself? Realise that your mind is not you and you have a choice to believe what that inner critic is telling you.
Self Love Exercise #3: You are not your mind
When negative thoughts come up, take a deep breath and a step back. Ask yourself "What am I really afraid of? What fear is coming up?" Listen for a response and then realise that you have the choice to believe in this fear but you also have the choice to have faith that you can handle it.
Self Expression + Self Respect
Self Love Exercise #4: Where are you blocking your self expression?
Where do you hold back from being yourself? Maybe you don't speak up at work, you don't tell your partner what you really think or you always cave and let your friend pick the movie even though you hate action films. Realise that telling yourself that your opinion doesn't matter drives your self esteem and self respect way down. Start speaking up.
Self Esteem + Confidence
For a lot of us, confidence is the only thing stopping us from actually doing what we want to do. Do you believe you have the capability to do what you dream of?
Self Love Exercise #5: Don't wait to be confident
If you wait to feel confident, you'll never, ever start anything! Look at your goals and just take the first step. Maybe that's booking a personal trainer or a coach. Maybe it's buying new gym pants. Perhaps it's going to Toastmasters. Whatever it is - act now. Your confidence will grow as you keep showing up for yourself.
Self Trust + Intuition
Do you struggle with indecision? Are you always wondering if you are making the 'right' choice with your life decisions? At the end of the day, only you will know what was right for you, so it's important to stop looking to other people (your mum, your boss, 'society') for what to do and start following your heart.
Self Love Exercise #6: Baby steps to Intuition
There are lots of amazing ways to build your intuition and your self trust, but here's a super simple one. When you're stuck on a decision, flip a coin. Your gut always tells you what you wanted the answer to be. Start acting on your gut instinct for small decisions and in no time you'll learn to trust your gut more and more for the more life-changing ones.
What do you do for fun? I know, we're so used to focusing on what we want to achieve, achieve, achieve, but if you're not feeling joy and pleasure, what's the point?
Self Love Exercise #7: The Chocolate mindfulness exercise
A big part of experiencing pleasure is actually to do with simply being present - i.e. really having a connection with your friend, your lover or your food and enjoying every delicious second of it! Try this with a piece of chocolate. Make sure you won't be interrupted. Unwrap the chocolate. Feel it with your hands. Close your eyes and smell it. Take your time. Then take a bite and just let it dissolve in your mouth. What does it feel like. What does it taste like? What does it remind you of? Really be present. (This is a great tool for emotional eaters as well).
3 steps to adding more pleasure to your life
Does life feel like it's more about work than it is play? Sometimes, when we get sucked into the daily monotony of 'adulting' and everything that comes with it, pleasure goes out the window. Here's how to get it back!
Pleasure is a broad word that means different things to different people so the first step is to figure out what it means to you. For some people it's a walk in nature. For others (specifically those who were craving a break from work) it was a nap!
Now obviously, there are other things in life that bring me pleasure too, it's just that being a bit of a foodie, a chocolate addict and a movie nut this is what first comes to mind. So what comes up for you?
Knowing what brings you pleasure is important because in a world where we value achievement and getting things done, sometimes we forget to make time for the bliss and joy that pleasure brings with it. So here are 3 simple steps to injecting more pleasure into your life:
Step 1: Know what's pleasurable for you
Create a list to get your juices flowing, and if you're struggling to find out what it is for you, ask yourself these questions. "When do I feel happiest?" "When do I feel most alive?" "When does my soul feel most nourished?"
Step 2: ...actually do it!
Book it into your schedule and actually do it! After all, if we can make time for our boss' agendas, our friends needs and everything else we are trying to do, it's important to carve out time to connect with what brings us pleasure. Not only will you start doing more of what you love (which will make you a happier person in general) but planning your pleasure also has another great bonus, mentioned in step 3...
Step 3: Anticipation is half the pleasure!
Positive psychology studies the actions and behaviours that create happiness in people and it has been noted many times that it's not just what you do that makes you happy, it's looking forward to doing it that makes the difference. When you look back on anything you've done that's brought you great pleasure....wasn't the build up almost just as fun as the actual event? Think about when you were planning that amazing European holiday, or when you know you have a 90 minute full body massage booked in at the end of the week or you are going on a date with someone you've just met and are really in to....the anticipation puts you into that state of pleasure before the event even happens. Much like a gratitude list draws you into the energy of the abundance you want to create in your life, booking in pleasurable activities draws you into that energy of pleasure now, and makes your day to day life that little bit more exciting and inspiring!
The biggest aspect of experiencing pleasure is to be fully present in what you're doing. This is the part that many of us miss, because we spend so much time in our heads. Have you ever had that experience of meeting up with a friend for coffee and afterwards you realised that you actually missed out on the enjoyment because you weren't really present and 'in' it? Maybe you were worrying about something happening at home or thinking about all the things you had to do afterwards.
At the heart of it, pleasure is really about being totally present in the moment and connected to the flow and bliss of life.
So connect in to what brings you pleasure, book it in, start looking forward to it and show up completely present for it. Taken regularly, these steps are guaranteed to help build your happiness and self love muscles!
Where will you be in 6 months time if you keep doing what you’re doing right now?
The reason I ask this questions is because I’ve been thinking a lot about how we keep ourselves stuck in the same patterns when we don’t commit to our dreams. I was talking to a client and friend last week who had been struggling with a few different health related issues; she wanted to lose weight and she also wanted to get back into exercise but a couple of things kept holding her back. She felt like she was sabotaging her weight loss goal because she couldn’t stay on track with her diet and manage her sugar cravings. This was causing her a lot of emotional upset. Also, every time she committed to getting back into exercise and would try to go for a run or do yoga a back injury kept limiting her from moving forward so she would stop and then try again the next week.
This was a pattern for months until she made the decision and commitment that she didn’t want to still be stuck in 6 months time. Despite being a student and on a budget, she reached out and hired a physio to help her rehabilitate her back and a health coach to help her stay on track with her diet and create a plan for what to do when she was craving sugar. Basically, she took action on making her dreams come to life by realising that it was up to her to take different actions if she wanted to see different results.
In our last session she said to me, “It’s amazing how much momentum I have now that I’ve chosen to invest in myself and my dreams.” The physio has helped her so much she can now go on long walks and do yoga again. I’ve helped her to create a more balanced eating plan and to deal with the emotions that often cause us to sabotage what we are working towards. Every month she can see herself actually moving closer to her goal of being healthier and happier.
So I want to ask you - where is it that you need to invest in yourself so that in 6 months time you can be living your dreams? There’s that great quote - “If you keep doing what you’re doing you’ll keep getting what you’re getting” - so if you’re not happy with how your life looks at the moment, what action can you take to invest in yourself?
I know that so many of us and in particular, we kiwis, love to do it all ourselves. We take a lot of pride in being a Do-It-Yourself kind of culture and I love that spirit, BUT, if you have been trying for a while to get a result and nothing is changing then you owe it to yourself to take a different action. The most successful people in the world don’t do it on their own; they have personal trainers, mindset mentors, financial advisors, secretaries…basically people who will help them get to where they want to go faster.
We are already half way through the year and so I want to ask you this question: Are you closer to living your dreams now than you were at the start of the year? If the answer is no, then what actions can you take to invest in yourself NOW so that by the end of the year you are where you want to be?
Your time is your most precious commodity and it’s not unlimited so please take that action today - see the travel agent, book a cleaner, go to that course, sign up with a health coach or personal trainer and start living life at your highest potential.
And of course, if you want to find out more about how sessions with me can move you towards your goals faster, all the details are over here:
Keep taking action towards your dreams because honestly, anything is possible!
It happens to all of us at some time or another. Maybe it's that feeling of groundhog day at work, maybe you can't seem to move forward on anything or perhaps life just isn't turning out the way you thought it would. Most of us have asked ourselves, at some point in our lives, "What's the point?! What am I here for?" or even... "Why bother?"
When you feel stuck, there are a few crucial things you can do to shift your energy and get back into momentum of feeling focused, happy and in charge of your own destiny.
1. Make a decision
My friend and mentor, Bex, likes to say that "powerful people make decisions." This mantra has stuck with me whenever I feel like life isn't flowing and it snaps me back into taking personal responsibility for my feelings and my own happiness. When you feel like life is happening to you, it's often easy to get caught up in victim mode. "My car's always breaking down" or "that guy didn't call back" or "my career is going nowhere" - all of these might be accurate assessments of what you feel life is like, but now that you've registered that it's up to you to make a decision: is that what you want your life to be like?
When you take 100% responsibility for how you feel in every moment you take back your power and can begin to get unstuck. Firstly, ask yourself "How do I want to feel right now? Do I want to feel angry / pissed off / depressed.... or do I want to feel hopeful, happy or positive?" By the way, it's totally fine if you decide that "no, actually I'm pretty upset and I want to wallow right now", but even by making that decision, you'll notice that something really interesting will happen. For one thing, you'll start feeling a bit better because you realise that feeling that way is a choice that you've made, not something happening to you. Secondly, when you let yourself claim your feelings rather than be annoyed that they're happening they tend to move on much faster. You'll probably find that after an hour or two of said wallowing, you actually think "Ok, I'm a bit tired of this now. Where can I go to next?"
2. Create an inspiring vision
Once you've decided that you want to feel happy, it's time to create an inspiring vision for your life because it's hard to feel like you're growing or you have momentum if you're not sure what you're moving towards. Your vision for your life is what will pull everything together and make decision making that much easier. When you can ask yourself "Does this decision bring me closer to my vision or take me further away from it?" you can usually get a pretty clear answer straight away. Oh, and by the way, a big part of your vision is feeling happy and fulfilled, not just doing what looks good on paper.
As an employee at lululemon athletica, we are asked to create goals that spur us on and excite us. The way we do this is by creating a 10 year vision of what we want our life to be like and working back from there. The reason this is so powerful is that 10 years seems far enough away that it allows us to create some pretty powerful and audacious goals. Once you have this vision, it's then pretty easy to drill backwards and see what you'll need to be doing in 5 years time, 3 years time or 6 months time to bring this dream to life. (There is a free version of this worksheet as well as some inspiring videos over at the lululemon website - you can check it out under their Vision and Goals section here)
That's where the inner work like meditation, personal growth and vision and goals becomes so effective; its essentially uncovering the awesome blueprint you already have in place for how to feel happy, healthy and abundant. Without something compelling to pull us forward, most of us feel a sense of being left behind or missing out on something in life.
3. Take action
After choosing how you want to feel and creating a compelling vision for your life, take inspired action. Again, just make a decision and take action from that place. So many times we feel stuck because we are waiting for the "right" decision to come along before we get moving and guess what? There probably isn't one. I've learnt that any decision is better for your happiness and self esteem than sitting on the fence and letting months or even years pass by because you're too afraid to fail. Confidence is built not by knowing the right answer, but by taking action and trusting that no matter what happens, you'll survive. There is no right decision - there is the best decision you can make at the time which will always lead you to the next part of the journey. If you want to get unstuck, free yourself from the fear that you'll never get it 'right'. Make the best decision you can and get moving.
4. Pick what feels high and light
On that note, you want to be moving towards a life that feels vibrant and energising to you, so with every decision you make, lean into the question "Does this feel high and light? Or does it feel low and heavy?" Your intuition always has a better gauge on what will make you happy than anyone else does. Have fun with it, and see what it would feel like in 3 months time if you say 'yes' to this opportunity now. 6 months.... 5 years.... you get the idea.
When you feel like crap, it's tempting to look at these types of exercises and feel like they won't work for you but I guarantee that if you take action, you will always see results...and actually you are already seeing the results of the actions you have been taking! If you don't like the result then change the action. It's all in your hands :)
You'd be amazed at how much money and value is coming to you constantly from different avenues that you weren't even aware of! In the first week or so it might have just been little things, like finding 50 cents on the floor or getting $1.00 off my favourite wine at the supermarket, but just like exercising a muscle at the gym, writing in my abundance book every day trained me to actively look for value in my life - and that focus brought more and more in. People offered to buy me a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Friends would lend me books that I was about to go out and buy. My partner randomly brought me home flowers! - and as you saw at the top of this newsletter, I was invited to be part of an amazing complimentary lunch experience all courtesy of the amazing team over at lululemon christchurch.
Like I said, it started small, and a bit like working out at the gym, for the first month I didn't feel like I saw any big changes. About 5 weeks in though, I definitely felt the effects start to snowball. It started to become really fun, like a game I wanted to win at, and it got me to think outside the box about how I could add more value to the world as well. How could I use my talents to bring in money? How could I add value to someone else's day? Of course, from a law of attraction perspective as well, this energy of fun and playfulness around the topic of money is going to call in much more abundance than living from a place of "there's never enough."
It's also worth noting that I recorded lots of things that are of value but perhaps weren't money because, let's face it, money is just a means of exchanging value for value, it's not wealth in and of itself. This would be things like coming home to find that my partner, Grahame, had spent the whole day clearing out and tidying the garden for me. Or my beautiful friends sharing my business posts on Facebook or connecting me up with new networks. When you place your attention on how much abundance is coming into your life, you'll be blown away with how much love is waiting for you!