Monday, 24 January 2011

Have you got the Time please?

Most people would agree that the single most precious commodity is time- apart from money that is, though as John Rohn says: “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” 

Whilst we have all the latest gadgets and mod cons that we would want to try and make our lives easier, time seems to be even more limited. We all try and cram more into our hours, minutes and seconds, despite the fact that the average life expectancy is longer than it has ever been. We end up feeling like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, feeling as if we are chasing time rather than believing we have the choice how we spend it. How many people say “I haven’t got the time” whilst they are busy trying to get to the next place or achieve the next thing?

Time rich or time poor?

True time wealth isn’t all about how much time you’ve got- it’s about having the right kind of time. If we did actually log our time and looked at how much we were spending on pursuing our careers, looking after our family, seeing our friends, spending time on ourselves, we would get a more accurate picture of where we needed to be spending more time.  I use the analogy with some of my clients of each of us having an energy or time bank account and needing to make sure we invest into all the life areas.  Sometimes we are so focused on keeping all the balls in the air, we miss the bigger picture!

A good example of this was a client of mine, Sam who came to see me as she was suffering from stress and anxiety and on the verge of burning out.  Using a balance wheel, we were able to establish the amount of time she was spending (and enjoying) in each area of her life.  It was made clear to her that her personal life had suffered a great deal from her new promotion at work and that she rarely spent any time with her friends or on herself.  She also admitted feeling quite guilty at the thought of spending time just on herself and that any spare time ‘should ‘ be  spent on others;  she was a mother and wife and it was her ‘duty’.  Sound familiar?

Stop ‘Shoulding’ over yourself

A lot of us get caught up in the ‘should’ trap; feeling ‘I should be doing this’ and ‘I should be doing that’, rather than asking ourselves ‘what do I really want to do?’.  Okay, we may need to go to work and take the kids to school etc. though what would I like to do with the time that’s left? 

Just for starters, just take a few moments  to make a pie chart or balance wheel of your life and the different areas, including time for yourself and fun. Divide the chart depending on how much time you spend in each area then rate it out of 10 how much you feel happy and content  (10 being really satisfied, 0 being zero contentment).  Then just choose two areas you need to improve on based on the time and contentment factors. For example, Sam chose to focus on investing more in her friendships and hobbies.

Following this, make a list of things that come to mind relating to each of these areas; whether it’s going to the gym regularly, going to see a friend or having a hot bath- write it down.  Then look at the list again and commit yourself to doing one of those things today and then do the same tomorrow and the next day. Just experiment with how that feels- be aware of the ‘shoulds’ and guilt creeping in and then challenge those thoughts: ‘Why shouldn’t I do that and make myself happy?’. Keep affirming to yourself as you do it that you deserve to do this for yourself to increase your sense of wellbeing.

Also see it as investing more into your energy and time account for you before you go into serious overdraft like Sam.  Time is precious so make a choice how you spend it- just remember to make the right investments!

Alexandra Bacon is a certified Advanced EFT Practitioner, Counsellor, Bach Flower Remedy Practitioner, Wellbeing consultant and Trainer. To book your personalised treatment session please call Alexandra on 01629 825968/ 07950 568635.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Goal Setting

 If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.Albert Einstein

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn this vision of the future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You'll also quickly spot the distractions that would otherwise lure you from your course.

More than this, properly-set goals can be incredibly motivating, and as you get into the habit of setting and achieving goals, you'll find that your self-confidence builds fast.

Goal setting techniques are used by top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields. They give you long-term vision and short-term motivation. They focus your acquisition of knowledge and help you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.

By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. You can see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. By setting goals, you will also raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your ability and competence in achieving the goals that you have set.

Goal Setting Tips
The following broad guidelines will help you to set effective goals:
  • State each goal as a positive statement: Express your goals positively – 'Execute this technique well' is a much better goal than 'Don't make this stupid mistake.'
  • Be precise: Set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set priorities: When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  • Write goals down: This crystallizes them and gives them more force. Make sure you put them somewhere you can see them, such as behind the bedroom door and read them everyday.
  • Keep operational goals small: Keep the low-level goals you are working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Derive today's goals from larger ones.
  • Make it challenging though within your control: You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing more dispiriting than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control. If the goal stretches you and gets you out of your comfort zone then it will be worth achieving.
  • Set realistic goals: It is important to set goals that you can achieve and that you really want. All sorts of people (employers, parents, media, society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. Alternatively you may set goals that are too high, because you may not appreciate either the obstacles in the way or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance. 
Achieving Goals
When you have achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress you have made towards other goals. If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve!

With the experience of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans:
  • If you achieved the goal too easily, make your next goals harder.
  • If the goal took too long to achieve, make the next goals a little easier.
  • If you learned something that would lead you to change other goals, do so.
  • If you noticed a deficit in your skills despite achieving the goal, decide whether to set goals to fix this.
  • If you feel that you are struggling to overcome your blocks to achieving your goals, it may be worth consulting a Counsellor or Coach.  They can help you to get some perspective on what is preventing you from moving forward in life and help you to facilitate positive change. 
Alexandra Bacon is a certified Advanced EFT Practitioner, Counsellor, Bach Flower Remedy Practitioner, Wellbeing consultant and Trainer. To book your personalised treatment session please call Alexandra on 01629 825968/ 07950 568635.