Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Motivate Me!

How powerful is your motivation?  How easily can you pump your motivation up when you really need it?

I am sure you understand the need for motivation.  If you are trying to lose weight you know it is pretty much impossible unless you are highly motivated to lose it.  Without that powerful motivation you will always be tempted by the food and snacks you know you shouldn't eat.  Without that powerful motivation you will always find an excuse not to do your workout today.  Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, motivation is usually one of the keys to success.

If motivation is a key to success, what can you do to pump it up?

The answer I have found is to daydream.  Yes, you read that right - daydream!  I put myself in the position I will be in when I have achieved my goal.  Put myself there and really feel what it is like.  Not just for a few seconds, which is how some people pay lip service to this concept, but for as long as it takes to feel a real change in my thinking, emotions, and even my body.

You do need to prepare for this daydream though, otherwise you may find it goes nowhere.  So the first thing you should do is start to list all the advantages of achieving your goal.  Make this list as wide and extensive as you can.  See if you can produce 100 reasons why you want to achieve it.  That is probably a very tough target, but keep working at it.  You will probably find the first dozen or so ideas come quickly, but then they peter out.  Don't give up at that point, as you will also probably find some pretty powerful reasons in the later batches, and they may be the very reasons that will motivate you.  Those later reasons will probably be less directly connected to your achievement than the earlier ones, but that is ok as long as there is a link.  Keep going and find those really powerful reasons for achieving your goal.  Then you can have your daydream.

Keep repeating this process.  Add more reasons to your list.  Add pictures which illustrate the great changes in your life that will appear when you achieve your goal.  And keep dreaming.

Which goals should you use this process with?  Ideally with all your goals.  But you will find the greatest motivation will come when you use it with your long term goals, the ones that might seem impossible to your friends and family if you shared them.  Your short term and medium term goals are steps along the route to your long term goals, so motivate yourself by daydreaming about your life when you have achieved those long term goals and then remind yourself that achieving those small goals will get you closer to your dream.

You will not necessarily find you are highly motivated the first time you try this exercise.  You may have a long history of poor motivation to counter.  But try it for a few weeks and I am sure you will be astounded by the difference it makes.  When you have established it as a habit you will find it much easier to continue it, not just for the initial goals you used it for but for new goals you set yourself.  You will reach the point where the moment you set yourself a new goal you immediately feel the glow that comes with achieving it, and you will instantly be motivated to do whatever it may take to get there.

What will motivate me?

Work at this daydreaming exercise and I know that will motivate you!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Personal Development Plans

Do you have a Personal Development Plan?  If so, when did you last review it to check it properly reflects what you need now?  If not, do you really need one?

I believe everyone needs a personal development plan.  Without such a plan you are like a rudderless ship in a big ocean, simply going aimlessly wherever the tides take it which may be somewhere very different from where you would wish to be.  With such a plan you know the direction in which you intend to go, and can then measure the actions you are taking to ensure they are moving you in that direction, even if only vaguely.

Your True Self

In the front of your Personal Development Plan you should indicate what kind of person you want to be.

You should meditate deeply before you answer that question.  It may seem a simple question, but it is not.  You may think you know the answer to that question but unless you have already done a lot of work meditating to find the answer then you probably do not know it.

Many people find, when they begin a meditation of this kind, that what they really want to be is not at all what they thought at first.  Do not be alarmed if this happens to you.  It is very normal.  Our inner desires have usually been supressed for so long, and replaced by what other people want us to be, that we do not recognize them when they first emerge from the depths of our being.

Just doing this exercise is already a big jump forward.  Once you know what you want to be it is not a big step to start living your life in a way that matches this.  You will find once you do this you will be so much happier and feel so much more satisfied.  You are no longer living in conflict with your inner desires, which is what you have probably been doing up to now, as that is what most people do.

You will find you are now closer to your true self, which is where you need to be.

Goals and Ambitions

Next you should note down what you want to achieve in life, whether you are near the beginning or the end of that life.  What are your goals and ambitions?

Again, meditate on this.  As your goals and ambitions rise to the surface of your consciousness, check they are properly aligned with the person you really want to be.  If not, then they cannot be your real goals and ambitions.  Either that or you have not yet finished discovering who it is you truly want to be.

These may be very long-term goals and ambitions.  In fact, it is important to have long-term goals and ambitions, otherwise you have no way of knowing whether what you are doing is moving you in the right direction.

If you have not already done so, read the article I wrote last week on achieving goals.  You can find it immediately below this article (

Action Plan

Now you write down the steps you should take in order to reach your goals - your Action Plan.  Sometimes this will be simple actions you take yourself.  But also there will be tools you can use.  These may include using a personal development coach, following a particular personal development programme, etc.  Where there is a cost involved, then your plan should also include your budget, and how you are going to put this money aside if you do not already have it saved up.

Be Flexible

Recognize that as you move through life things will change.  Once you start working through a Personal Development Plan this will probably happen even more dramatically.  New ideas will come to you.  Some of what you have written in your plan will probably now be irrelevant.  There will also probably be some obvious gaps which did not appear to be there when you first drew up your plan.  So be ready to reflect on that plan and change it as necessary, as it should be a constantly evolving document.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

What is Affirmation?

You have probably heard the term "affirmation", but exactly what is affirmation?

Dictionary Definition

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, affirmation is a statement made emphatically or publicly.  Although the meaning of affirmation in the context of personal development is different from the dictionary definition I do find the latter helpful.  The two key words there are "emphatically" and "publicly".

The other dictionary definition of affirmation is that it is a formal statement made in a legal context in place of an oath.  This is usually allowed in a court of law where a witness has a conscientious objection to taking an oath.  In England this right was first given to Quakers in the Quakers Act 1695.  Quakers believe wholeheartedly in telling the truth at all times, and object to giving an oath in court as that would imply that the truth they told there is somehow truer than the truths they speak in every day life.  The courts recognized that Quakers did indeed speak truthfully all the time, hence the exception made for them in 1695, although now anyone who objects to giving an oath has the right to affirm embodied in the Oaths Act 1978.  I myself am a Quaker, and when I registered my overseas marriage in my embassy I gave an affirmation to the consular official rather than an oath.

We will come back to these dictionary definitions in a moment.  But first, let us look at how a personal development coach would view an affirmation.

Affirmation in a Personal Development Context

The purpose of an affirmation is to help you move towards a particular goal.  It works by sending a signal to the Universe (or God, or your subconscious, depending on your own particular beliefs) that this is what you want to achieve and then asking for help in achieving it.

You may have a goal, for example, of becoming wealthy.  One of your affirmations may then be something like this:

"I have $1 million dollars in my bank account."

See how it is constructed in the present tense, not the future tense.  This is very important.  If, for example, you say "I will have $1 million dollars in my bank account" this does not signal any urgency.  It may be you will be happy to have that much in 50 years time, when it may only be worth ten thousand dollars in today's money, or even less!  But it is also no good saying something like "I will have $1 million dollars in my bank account by next Tuesday".  Firstly that is a very big ask if you only have a thousand dollars in your account right now and no clear idea where you are going to get the remaining nine hundred and ninety nine thousand.  Secondly, believe it or not the Universe will hear "next Tuesday" and will therefore assume nothing need be done about it until then - so you will miss any opportunities that might otherwise have arisen between now and then.

Now let us go back to that dictionary definition of "public" and "emphatic".

Making your affirmation public in some way can be very helpful as long as you do it with care.  Be selective in who you define as your public audience.  You should gather around you a group of likeminded people who will support you in achieving your goals (and, of course, you must support them too).  Make your affirmations to them so they know what they are supporting.  When doing this do not be surprised if you find your family members and friends (even very close friends) are not very supportive and should not be included in your affirmation support group.  I would go as far as to say it is quite rare for family or friends to be suitable for this.

The second word is extremely important.  Emphatic.  Say it out loud in a strong, confident voice.  Believe it with all your being.

Clearing Blocks

When you try to be emphatic and believing you may find a tremor comes into your voice.  You may feel silly saying it.  If that is the case (and it often is) you will know you have some blocks you need to clear before your affirmation will really be able to work properly for you.  These blocks can be any of a number of things.  Sticking with the million dollar affirmation, one block may be that somewhere inside of you is a belief that having lots of money is evil.  Consciously you may know that it is not evil, but that does not mean you don't have that belief somewhere deep inside you.  This block may have arisen when you were a small child.  Perhaps you heard your parents arguing about money and you came to believe that money causes arguments and therefore must be a bad thing.  Try to dig into your subconscious and find out what your blocks are.  Once you have exposed them you will probably find they wither and die - they cannot survive in the light of truth which you will focus on them.

Finding and clearing blocks associated with your affirmations is not an easy task.  I have given you one technique which I hope you will find helpful, but many of these blocks are so deeply ingrained and so deeply hidden you may need more help unearthing and dealing with them.  Try using the following free tool to find what blocks may be hindering you:

When you have cleared any blocks that may be there you should find a big difference in the way you are able to use your affirmation.  You should now find you can attach some strong positive emotions to it.  If not, then perhaps you are aiming at the wrong thing and need to change your affirmation!

Affirmation Replacing Oaths

Let us look again at the second dictionary definition of affirmation.

You will recall Quakers were first allowed to affirm rather than give an oath because they tell the truth at all times.  The affirmation of a Quaker in court is accepted as a powerful statement which should not in any way contain any kind of falsehood.  This, too, links to the way you need to use your affirmations.  There should be a kind of purity in them.  You should know as you state them that this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!  Don't worry about the fact that you don't actually have $1 million dollars in your bank account right now.  Don't imagine for one minute that there is any conflict between that material fact and the underlying truth that you DO have this money.  Know that you have it, and that the power of absolute truth is behind it.  This is the way to apply your affirmations and find that they really do work!

Finally, where can you find good, positive affirmations to help you achieve your goals?  I have an mp3 with a set of perfectly framed affirmations in a calm female voice with relaxing background sounds, which will ensure your mind is properly attuned to achieving whatever goals you have set yourself. Listen to this when you wake every morning and you will soon be well on your way to achieving all your goals!  You can obtain this mp3 here:

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

How to Achieve Goals

Do you want to achieve your goals?  Really?

That may sound like a silly question, but it is not so silly.  The reason many people do not achieve their goals is because they don't really want to.  Not seriously.  Not passionately.

Very often, this is because they are the right goals in the first place.  Are your goals aligned with your inner values?  If they are not you will find it very difficult to achieve them, because deep down you will not really want to achieve them.  I suggest you read my article on alignment to find out how to identify your inner values and align your goals with them.

Once you are sure you have aligned goals make sure you write them down.  Next to having the wrong goals in the first place a big reason for failing to achieve your goals is because you have not written them down.  Until you do they are more vague desires than real goals.

Check your written goals carefully.  Are they long term, medium term or short term?  You probably have a mix of all three.  In fact you SHOULD have a mix of all three.  Sort them accordingly.  For each of the long term goals make sure you have a short term and a medium term goal as well.  The long term goals can be things people around you would say are unrealistic.  In fact, they probably should be or otherwise you are not aiming high enough.  The medium term goals should be things the people around you would probably say are ambitious but not impossible.  Those in the "short term" pile should be readily achievable.

Your short term goals should be SMART.  That means they are specific, measurable, agreed, realistic (even if it will be a bit of a challenge), and timed.

  • Specific means you cut out all the wooliness.  It is absolutely clear what that goal is.
  • Measurable means there is an objective measure that will confirm exactly when you have reached that goal.
  • Agreed means you have committed to achieving it.  A surprisingly large number of people do not do this, and those people rarely achieve their goals.  Consider it a binding contract you make with yourself.
  • Realistic, well it is pretty obvious what that means.  But make sure you don't dumb it down so it is too easy to achieve.  Make sure you really have something to aim for rather than a walk in the park.
  • Timed means you have a specific date by which you want to achieve this goal.

Medium term goals may also be SMART, but some of those elements may be missing.

Long term goals should not be SMART at all.  They may be completely unrealistic.  They may not be clearly defined.  I like to say something like "I achieve this or something better", as the universe may indeed have something much better in store for me.  Don't force yourself into a "contract" to achieve it, as firstly you may inwardly squirm and feel you cannot achieve it, and secondly as I have already said, the universe may have something better in store for you.

With your short and medium term goals, make sure they are leading you towards your long term goals.  Surprisingly often, people find their short term goals in particular are moving them in completely the wrong direction.  The word "alignment" is important here again.

Now that you know you have the right goals, have written them down, and have classified them you need to build that passion that will make you really want to achieve them.  Imagine what your life will be like once you have achieved a goal.  If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight, imagine yourself in the clothes you will be able to wear.  Picture your beautiful or handsome body and the impact it will have on the people around you.  If it is to have earned a certain amount of money, imagine what difference that will make to your life, what you will be able to do with it.  Focus on the reason you want to achieve your goal and then really feel as though you have already achieved it.  Hold on to that feeling.  Doesn't it really make you feel good?

Create a vision board for your goals.  Use it like a kind of scrap book, putting in pictures and symbols of what it is you want to achieve.

Or even better, create a video with goal affirming music and pictures and written affirmations against the pictures.  This is an extremely powerful technique, far more effective than the traditional static vision board.  Sound difficult?  Well it isn't if you have the right tools to do it.  You can get a copy of those tools here:

Affirm your goals at least twice a day, when you wake and before you sleep, and preferably more often than this.  Your affirmations must always be positive and always in the present tense.  Do not say "I am not ill" - say "I am healthy".  Do not say "I will have a million pounds in my bank account" - say "I have a million pounds in my bank account".

As you achieve each short term goal, refer to your medium and long term goals and replace the achieved goal with a more ambitious one that takes you in the right direction.

If you implement all the steps I have outlined here you will have a really good strategy in place to achieve all your goals!