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As you will have seen over the last couple of weeks, I have become a woman obsessed – with sleep! Or lack of it.
For some years now I have become a very light sleeper, which occasionally leads to periods of insomnia.
Fortunately, as a long time meditator I have escaped many of the unpleasant side-effects of sleep deprivation. However, I have decided now is the time to deal with this particular ‘issue’.
My journey to good sleep starts here.
Do you suffer from the same or similar problem?
Why don’t you join me and we can find our way together?
Today, following research from BBC Science, The Royal College of Psychiatry and V.Culprin the Research Director of Ashridge, I have put together a list of actions we can apply.
So let us try them for a week and see how we get on.
- Avoid eating too close to bedtime
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine for 4-6hours before bedtime
- Exercise regularly but not directly before bedtime
- Create a calm bedroom environment (no TV, computers etc)
- Try meditation/breathing exercises
- Maintain a regular bedtime and waking time
- Block out as much noise and light as possible
- Keep the bedroom well ventilated
Don’t forget to let me know how you get on.
I will let you know next week and will also be giving you a meditation to try.
Remember if the actions don’t help initially, its OK. We will get there
I’m sure pretty much all of us have made a New Year’s resolution in the past. I’m also pretty sure that the vast majority have failed at them too. But just why do we fail to keep to our wonderful plans? What stops us from achieving our wildest dreams? Why are we so successful at failing to reach our goals?
Firstly how do we set our goals? Have you made your goal Specific? Measurable? Achievable? Realistic? Timely? By setting a S.M.A.R.T goal you are far more likely to succeed at it. I’d like to expand a little.
Specific – When you set a goal make sure that you are specific about it. How much weight are you going to lose? By when? What size waist are you going to have? What dress size will you be? When will you have quit smoking by?
Measurable – How are you going to evidence to yourself and others that you’ve achieved your goal? How will you now when you have truly quit smoking? Lost the weight and kept it off?
Achievable – Is your goal too hard to achieve? Is it too easy?
Realistic – Do you really think you can lose a stone of weight in a day? Make sure that your goal is realistic.
Timely – Do you have a timeline for your goal? When will you reach your goal? Do you have any milestones on the way to achieving your goal? If you’re going to lose weight how much will you lose each week?
So that’s dealt with the SMARTness of your goal, now let’s deal with your motivation. It’s easy to think about how it would be great to lose those pounds, give up smoking etc and be dispassionate about it. But why not dare to be different? Be passionate about what you want to achieve. Imagine how great you’ll look when you’ve lost those pounds, now REALLY imagine it. Build a picture in your mind, add some sounds and make the colours more vivid, imagine how you’ll feel looking in the mirror knowing that you’ve truly reached your goal. How will you feel when you congratulate yourself? Make the sounds bigger, bolder and clearer. Imagine the feeling growing until you’re totally bursting with pride for having achieved your goal. Ask yourself right now, how do you feel about your goal? Write down your goal, write down how it makes you feel so that every time you read it you’ll remember! Write down why you want to achieve your goal.
So now you’ve got a SMART goal that you’re passionate about. Are you passionate about it yet? If not then go back to the previous step and GET PASSIONATE. Once you are totally passionate, I’d be willing to bet that you mind with start coming up with a whole load of ideas to help you get there. So start writing! This is how I’m going to achieve my goal: ………….
Fantastic job, you’ve achieved a massive amount already. So now you’re motivated, you’ve got your goal written down and it’s a SMART goal. Publish it as a statement. Take some action that is really going to put it out there. Do you have a vision board? Pin your goal on there. Tell your friends, tell your family and especially tell your partner. By putting it on a vision board and telling other people about what you’re going to do, you are far more likely to achieve it.
But let’s face, let’s be realistic here. We’re British and we don’t do that sort of thing. That’s just too bold and brash for us Brits. I mean, what if we fail? We’re going to look a bit silly in front of our mates aren’t we. All the more reason to GO FOR IT! If you want to achieve something you’ve not achieved up until now, you’re damn well going to have to do something different to normal! Don’t want to tell your friends? Tell me. Send me an email and tell me what you’re going to achieve, when you’re going to achieve it, and why you just HAVE TO! What have you got to lose?
My goal for 2012? I am going to write a seminar on goal setting and start motivating people to reach their goals. Oh and get a golf handicap of less than 20 (and if I do that by the end of March, then I’m going to get a handicap of 10)! If I fail? Well, I’m not going to fail because I don’t do failure! Do you?
Let’s start off on the right foot; there is no magic formula to losing weight. Losing weight is about the amount of calories going in and the amount of calories burnt during a day. There may well be different types of food groups that should be taken into consideration, but the basics are down to energy in versus energy out.
If you are having a weight problem, short of medical intervention, the best way to lose the weight is to change the way you think.
Most of the time we don’t think about how we eat or what we eat. Often we just smell something nice cooking and our conscious mind gets bypassed. We go from smells nice to putting it in our mouths. How often have we all suddenly realised that we have that cream cake on our lips without thinking about it?
How can we get our mind to work for us and not against us? How can we get properly motivated to lose the weight we want? What we need to do is to first get our goal straight in our mind. What do you actually want from your weight loss? What weight do you want to be? What do you want to look like? And most importantly, what will convince you that you’ve achieved your goal?
Getting your goal straight in your mind is probably the single most important thing about ensuring that your unconscious mind will be behind you rather than against you.
- Firstly make sure that your goal is achievable, it’s no use deciding that you want to lose 4 stone in a week.
- It must also be a positive goal, it’s no good making your goal about what you don’t want (I’ll explain about that shortly).
- Also, make sure your goal is about YOU, so many of us like to think we will achieve our goals for our family or friends. Make sure you will achieve this goal for yourself.
Let’s break each of these down.
- Make your goal achievable. Be realistic as to how much weight you are going to lose. It’s easy to go either way with this; easy to underestimate how much weight you can lose and make your goal too simple to achieve. It’s also easy to overestimate how much you can lose in a given time, so be as realistic as you can. Don’t be afraid to re-calculate as well, if you’re achieving your goal too easily then increase your goal a bit.
- Make your goal positive. Your goal should be about what you want rather than what you don’t want. Quite simply when said congruently our unconscious mind doesn’t deal in negatives. For instance if I tell you NOT to think of a blue elephant in an orange field, the first thing that pops into your mind is a blue elephant in an orange field (even if just for a second). So if your goal is not to be fat, guess what your unconscious mind is thinking? So by making your goal a positive your mind will be focused on what you DO want!
- Make your goal about you. Make it personal to you, don’t set goals about what other people want, because unless you want it at a core level, your heart won’t be in it!
- Decide on your convincer. If you don’t know how you will be able to measure your achievement, you can’t ever be sure you’ve achieved it. Will it be reaching a specific weight or fitting into those tight clothes in the wardrobe?
You’ve set your goal that’s achievable but not easy, made sure it’s positive and it’s about you. You also need to ensure that you can see and feel what you will be like when you’ve reached your ideal weight.
Now what I’d like you to do is to close your eyes and picture yourself at your ideal weight, in those tight clothes that you want to fit into, and wearing them comfortably. Now when you can do that I want you to make the picture bigger until it’s big enough for you to step into, feel what you’ll feel, hear what you’ll hear, and see yourself as you will be. Now, how motivated do you feel to achieve your goal? How convinced are you that you can reach your goal? The stronger your motivation is the better your chance to succeed at any goal.
Once you’ve set your goal, you need to plan your route to get there.
For some people this could be a direct route, for other’s less so. Set milestones on your route, so that you can monitor your progress towards that goal. Plan how you will reduce your calories in, joining your gym, and set your weekly goals. (Always check with a medical professional before starting a new fitness programme.)
You may well have been in this position before where you have a goal, your milestones are set and after a couple of weeks you’re on target. All of a sudden you find you’ve stopped going to the gym, and your eating patterns have returned to what they used to be. Your motivation isn’t strong enough to get you to your goal. Look at your goal and see what has changed about it. There will be something. Is it still about you? Could it be that it was over ambitious and simply needs more time to achieve? Is it about the way you see yourself in that picture? Adjust your goal using the above steps and get yourself back on track. Just like a GPS in your car re-routes you around roadblocks or traffic jams, your plan can be flexible enough to cope with the little hurdles you come across.
There is a presupposition of NLP “there is no failure, only feedback” which is appropriate here. Learn what you need to learn about why you’ve not achieved your milestone, or goal, and add it into the plan so you don’t make the same mistake again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. After all, you’ve not failed before at losing weight, you’ve just not succeeded YET!
There are many other mind changing techniques that can help.
- Removing cravings for certain foods
- Changing the way you feel about yourself
- Increasing your motivation
- Goal setting
- Removing blocks in your mind that are stopping you from achieving your goals