by Sarah

Make this the year you get excited about your life again!

January 15, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Make this the year that you get excited about your life again

 

We all dream that every year will be the best year ever, but ever so often something comes up that throws you off track and turns things on their head.

How about you really make this year different and get excited about your life again.  Don’t carry on doing the same old thing hoping for a different result.  Take charge of your life, make progress and grow into the person you are meant to be!

You want to get excited about your life again and make progress towards your dreams and aspirations.

With my support as your coach and personal cheerleader, you really can make 2015 the best year ever.  I have spaces available for coaching and would love to work with you on your journey to greatness this year. Please get in touch for a chat about how I can best serve you.

Are you ready to get excited about your life?

I'm ready button

by Sarah

The Best of Your Happy Life from Week 1 of the 30 Days Blogging Challenge

January 14, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

I have been taking part in the 30 Day Blogging Challenge and today I would like to present to you The Best of Your Happy Life from week 1.

When willpower just isn't enough  When Willpower just isn’t Enough

You have set yourself New Year’s resolutions year after year only to find that when you get to December 31st you’re left wondering what happened and why you are still doing exactly the same thing.

This is when willpower is not enough to get you to make lasting change.  Find out more here.

 

 

What you feed grows what you starve dies   How to Overcome Low Confidence

If you have low confidence, you will know the signs of not feeling good enough, feelings of insignificance and that you don’t matter.  You have negative mind chatter that tells you some horrible things about you.

You are not alone and there are simple steps that you can take to help you boost your confidence and help you to feel more in control of your feelings.  Find out more here.

 

Relentless self talk   Challenge that Negative Self Talk

We all have bouts of negative self talk and it is a big contributing factor to anxiety and depression and a heavy load that is carried around invisible to other people and a major weight to you.

By challenging the beliefs and things that you say to yourself, you can break the pattern and start building a more positive one to replace it. Find out more here.

 

Decisions, how do you make yours?   Decisions the Intuitive Way

We make decisions all the time and many of them are by intuition, even though we don’t realise it. Decision making needs to be on a number of levels, especially when it is a big choice that needs to be made.  This is why using your intuition is a great way to find what feels right for you.

I bet you have had times when you went by your gut reaction? That is using your intuition. Find out more here.

 

10 ways to beat the winter blues   10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Many of us find that January can bring some of the winter blues, especially having had time off around the festive. The dark mornings and nights, the cold weather and the unpredictable weather can all have an effect on our moods and generally leave us wishing the days away until Spring and Summer are upon us.

Here are 10 ways ;) to beat the winter blues. Find out more here.

 

sticky dots   Sticky Dot Challenge

This simple exercise will help you to build a positive mind-set and train your brain to see the good in life. The aim of the challenge is to help create new habits in positive thinking and grow the muscles that keep it in place.

By practicing regularly at thinking good thoughts, they will start to come more naturally to you and you will develop a more positive outlook on life. Find out more here.

 

5 steps to a clear mind   5 Steps to a Clear Mind

Sometimes the mind can be awash with ideas, thoughts, possibilities, chatter and general white noise which makes it very difficult to focus and to get on with the things that you want and  need to be doing.

Being able to develop a clear mind practice can really help your productivity and focus.

Try the 5 steps to a clear mind. Find out more here.

 

I hope you enjoyed the best of Your Happy Life from week 1 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge!

Want to make sure that you never miss a post again?  Subscribe by RSS and get the posts right away.

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by Sarah

5 Steps to a Clear Mind

January 13, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

I don’t know about you, but sometimes there is so much that you want to do and get done that your mind seems to be on a wavelength all of its own and all you really want, and could do with, is a clear mind to get on with the things that matter. So below are some useful steps to a clear mind.

5 steps to a clear mind

I am all into productivity tips and getting things done, but sometimes the best thing you can do is to get it all out of your head and take a break to get a clear mind.  I am in the midst of delivering my pilot Project Me programme, taking the 30 day blogging challenge and sorting out some things in my home and I am now finding my mind running away with me with more ideas and options and things. Don’t get me wrong, it is great, but I need to make sure that there is balance there too.

So today, I am going to make this a short post and let you into the not-so-secret things that I do to reclaim my clear mind and get back into a relaxed, calm and productive way of being.  And it is not all about productivity, it is about making sure that you take tie out to be clear and to refresh.  You don’t have to be gunning for it all the time!

1. Write everything down

Choose a notebook, diary, app or other trustworthy item where you can note down everything that you want to do or that you have on your task list.  It needn’t be in any specific order, it just needs to be out of your head.

2. Tidy your space

Have a bit of a clear out and tidy up of the space that you are in, be it your home, office or car.  Clearing the space around you will automatically start making a difference to your mind and the clutter inside.

3. Get some fresh air

And by this I mean both in the space by opening a window in the room that you are in and by physically going outside for a walk or to potter in the garden.  The fresh air and distance from your tasks and work will help to clear the space in your head – this is why I asked you to write down all your tasks so they aren’t floating around while you take a break.

4. Meditate

I like to do some meditation when I want a clear mind as it helps me to become grounded and present and to focus on myself.  I really enjoy walking meditation so that the physical movement of my feet on the floor help me to remain grounded and to get fresh air at the same time!

5. Let go or Take Action

If there is something that is worrying you, you need to take action if it is something that can be solved or you need to let go if it if it can’t.  Does it matter enough to clog your head up with thoughts?  Can you take steps to tackle it?

Some of those may be easier than others for you, but all are definitely work trying.

Right now, I am going to get this posted, let my incense burn down then take some time to clear my desk before heading out for a walk.

What will you do today to achieve a clear mind? Try my steps to a clear mind, how did you find them?

Share below in the comments.

by Sarah

Sticky Dot Challenge

January 12, 2015 in Project Me, Uncategorized by Sarah

sticky dot challenge Sarah Irving Life Coach Your Happy Lifesticky dots

Today I am giving you a challenge to help you to build a positive mindset that will help you to train your brain to see good things.  It is called the Sticky Dot Challenge (although you can use other shaped stickers!)

The aim of this challenge is to help create new habits in positive thinking and to grow the muscles that keep it in place.  By practicing regularly with thinking good thoughts, they will start to come more naturally to you and you will develop a more optimistic outlook on life.  Plus, it is a fun way to bring some joy into your every day life.

Here’s what you have to do:

Get yourself some sticky dots or other small stickers and place them around you home and work space – keep them separate and not clustered to give you a wider area.

Now, every time you see a sticky dot you must think of a positive memory, event or possibility.

Simple!  :-)

Now comment below with some of your positive thoughts!  How did you feel doing it?  What are you getting from it now?

by Sarah

10 Ways to Lift the Winter Blues

January 10, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

10 ways to beat the winter blues

With these 10 ways to lift the winter blues, you’ll be wanting the cold dark season to last longer!

Many of us find that when it comes to January, we are really quite tired and fed up of the dark days and nights and the cold, unpredicatable weather and just need a bit of a boost to get us back on track and on the wave  spring.

If you are finding it a bit difficult to find that wave, here are ten things that you can do today to being some cheer into your life!

1. Make a mix tape

Well, perhaps not a tape!  But you could make a playlist for your iPod or on YouTube.  I find YouTube is a great way to make them as you can have videos as well as music that makes for something better to watch on than the TV!

2. Sing in the rain

Make the most of the wet weather by donning your wellies, grabbing a brolly and wrapping up warm to splash away in the puddles.  There is nothing quite like playing like a child in the rain.  If you don’t believe me, give it a go! (and pictures if you can!)

3. Write a Letter

jot a nice note for someone and pop it in the post. Perhaps add a little gift that you have in your home that will be an extra surprise for the recipient.  Doing something nice for someone else always boosts my mood and I am sure it will help you too.

4. Dance

You don’t have to be Fred and Ginger to do this one, just put on some great tune and have a boogie around the house – even the simplest of moves will get you feeling much better.  (I just watched a Zumba video on YouTube and that had me shimmying around my studio just because of teh enthusiasm that the instructor had!)

5. Tidy Up

I know you’re probably thinking that I am trying to get you to do some housework, but what I mean is neatening things up.  Popping things back to where they should be and making the space around you tidy.

6. Phone a Friend

Chatting is an instant pick-me-up and when you have a friend that you know you always have a giggle with, it will really cheer you up…and them, so that is an added bonus.

7. Laugh

Laughing really is the best medicine so get your laughter gear on and have a good old chuckle!  You can do it on your own, on a SKYPE laughter group or by watching some funny films or videos online.  Whatever makes you laugh from your belly up, get on it!

Now over to you!  I want you to fill in 8, 9 and 10 with your best blues busters!  Pop them in the comments below!

8.

9.

10.

by Sarah

Decisions The Intuitive Way

January 9, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Decisions, how do you make yours?

Every single moment we are making decisions and more often than not it is done the intuitive way – mainly because we don’t even notice them happening. Decisions the intuitive way.

For example, when you are walking down the street, you don’t have to consciously make a decision to move out of the way of someone coming towards you, it just seems to happen.  When you are walking to somewhere in town and you make the intuitive decision to take the first street rather than the second because it is around lunchtime and there are more cafes on the other street, you don’t stop to analyse all the options.  these are intuitive ways that we make decisions.

So why, then, do we like to weigh up every option when we are making a decision when we have an incredibly good intuitive system that is working for us all of the time?

To be honest, I don’t have all the answers on this one, but I do have my own theory which revolves around us learning that we shouldweigh up the options‘, ‘be sensible with our choices‘ and ‘see the good and bad in the situation‘.  This is something that seems to be drummed into us from a very early age and I’m not saying that it doesn’t have its uses, far from it.  However, I feel that we need to use multiple levels when making a decision and know that we have the opportunity to use intuition as well as logical levels.

I for one am a great believer in using intuition when making decisions.  It comes from that gut feeling that you get when you know that something is a right fit for you or not.

I was in a job that I thoroughly enjoyed at first, it was ethical, environmental and the people were similar and absolutely lovely.  Slowly things began to change, I was working over my hours, began to resent the place, was being bullied and the team spirit was rapidly dying.  I felt trapped and despite getting through to interview for many other jobs, I couldn’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to actually get the jobs.  I was on a sinking ship and I was losing hope.

Then one day, I really felt my instincts and they told me to escape as soon as I possibly could.  I had no job to go to, I had enough savings to keep me going for a while and I hadn’t even really discussed it with my boyfriend either but I knew that I had to hand my notice in and leave.  So I did.

The weight that lifted was immense and I felt like I had the positive energy to fight for what I wanted, I was open to opportunity and would let the flow of my journey take me to where I needed to be.  I went on to do a construction course that I found for free, began volunteering and training to teach construction, gained my PTLLS (teaching qualification) and began coaching.  Things began to fall into place and I feel more ‘in place’ than I ever have in my life. I saw opportunities over barriers and found I saw more than I had before.

If I had have taken the logical approach to my decision making that day, I would have ended up miserable and eventually working only a few hours per week as the organisation downsized dramatically after my departure and the end of funding.

Yes, even though I did use my intuitive decision making skills, I also used some logic to realise that I had enough saving to support me for a time, that I could find freelance work when I needed and that I had the power and ability to make money when and if I needed to.  It was the self belief that I was making the choice that greatly benefited me and would take me to the places that I needed to be that were the most important.

Have a go at using your intuitive decision making with this simple exercise:

Find somewhere quiet where you can relax and won’t be disturbed

Think of something you need to make a decision about 

Sit comfortably and quietly and close your eyes

Pay attention to your breathing and how your body is feeling

Think about the decision you need to make

Notice how your body feels again, ho do you feel in your stomach, your head, your back and your chest

Does it feel good when you think of the options and choices or do they make you feel tight and tense?

Take notice and stay this way until you feel ready to slowly come back into the room, slowly opening your eyes and adjusting to where you are, grounded, present.

How did it help you with your decision?  What did you notice? Do you make your decisions the intutitive way? Let me know in the comments below.

*DISCLAIMER*I am not saying that all decisions should be made solely suing the intuitive method, but I honestly believe that it can help you find your direction and make the decisions that will benefit you both mentally and physically.
by Sarah

Challenge that Negative Self Talk

January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Relentless self talk

Challenge that negative self talk don’t let it define who you are!

We all have bouts of negative self talk and it can be one of the main contributing factors to anxiety and depression.  It is also something that we carry around with us and can have happen at any given time of day or night.

Self talk patterns develop in response to things that have happened throughout your life, from childhood, teenage years and then into adulthood.  When something happens to you e.g. you fail an exam, a relationship ends or you are bullied, thought patterns arise that create a whole response to the situation such as ‘nobody likes me’.  This then becomes a regular thought and the pattern of thinking takes hold and becomes your ‘normal’ belief.

Your inner critic is building a world around one event which creates the negative feelings and self talk that you begin to focus on (not because you particularly want to, but it draws you in while you are feeling weak)

The best way that I have found is to challenge that negative self talk.  To take it out of your head and to place it into reality so that you can look at it with a more logical mind and see it in a different light.

Here are some simple steps (used in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to help you to challenge the faulty reasoning behind these thoughts and replace them with more positive and balanced responses.

Sometimes you might even find that by writing them down, they lose their power and you realise just how illogical and silly that they are (I have found this has happened for both me and my clients when I work with them on negative beliefs)

1 For one week, record all of your negative self talk, self criticisms, thoughts and beliefs.

2. At the end of the week, select 5 or six of the beliefs that you have written down.  These are going to be the ones that you challenge so perhaps choose the ones that are affecting you the most.

3. Now challenge them, one by one.  Ask questions about the faulty logic around them.  What evidence do I have that this is true? Where’s the proof? etc.  Create more positive responses to the beliefs such as:

If you thought ‘I’m not good enough for the job

Question what evidence you have that tells you that.  You have more than likely got lots of experience that says otherwise and you have the CV to match.  Someone else may have told you that you’re not good enough, but how do they really know that?  What experience do they have?  They don’t know what abilities you have and the strength and knowledge you have inside.

Replace that belief with ‘I am good enough for the job because….‘ (and fill in the gap with as many reasons as you can think of.

Here are some of the ways that you might be basing your thoughts and beliefs:

 Mind-reading

This is where you guess what other people are thinking about you e.g. you wave to a friend on the other side of the road and they don’t respond so you think ‘they mustn’t like me anymore’

Catastrophising

This is where you make a minor event into a major one e.g. you make a mistake at work and create the belief ‘I can’t do my job

Fortune-telling

Where you make up negative predictions of the future e.g. you have a date and you say ‘The date is going to go really badly

‘All or nothing’ thinking

This is where you have extreme one ways views about yourself such as good or bad e.g. you have been going to the gym regularly and miss one day to which you tell yourself ‘I’m a failure and have ruined everything

Mislabelling

This is where you rate yourself against one negative event e.g. you tell yourself ‘I’m a failure‘ after failing your driving test.

Ignoring the positive

This is where your low confidence shadows the good things e.g. a friend compliments you on your outfit and you dismiss it thinking that ‘they probably say that to everyone

Have you been using any negative self talk lately?  What positive alternatives have you created to take their place?  

Please share below.

by Sarah

How to Overcome Low Confidence

January 7, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

What you feed grows what you starve dies

Do you ever feel like you are not good enough?  That you are small and insignificant? Have negative mind chatter that tells you that you are some terrible, terrible things?

These are all signs of low confidence.

You weren’t born thinking that you aren’t enough or that you’re small etc, someone or something made you feel that way and it could have been a long time ago meaning that you don’t even remember it happening.

The idea that you’re not good enough got into your mind somehow and has been growing over the years that it has been there and taking up your time and energy making your confidence plummet and more than likely affecting other parts of your life too.  When you believe that you’re not good enough, you start acting that way by shying away from situations or people, apologising all the time and not trying new things.

You can change this way of thinking and go from ‘I’m not good enough’ to ‘I’m pretty good really

What you need to do is to develop new positive ideas about yourself and your life and then replace the ideas of not being good enough.  This really works because they are both ideas and when you pay more attention to one over the other than they will become more powerful and you will change your beliefs.

Here are some things to help you to overcome low confidence and help you to grow your positive beliefs about yourself.

1. List the things that are OK about yourself.  

Don’t worry if it takes you a while to think of the good things about yourself, it is just that you are out of practice thinking positively about yourself.  Keep going, you will find things and they will start to flow once you get into the right positive space.  Look at things that you have done well, when you have been helpful to other people and the names of people who like you.  Anything that is good and positive about you.

2. Remind yourself that you are OK!

Yes, it might sound a bit odd, but it really will help you to move towards some more positive thinking in the times when you are feeling a bit out of control or small.  The negative ideas have been floating around your head for a long time and they are going to put up a bit of a fight when you try to replace them so be patent and gentle with yourself with reminders that you are OK.

3. Turn negative to positive

When your negative self talk comes in, change it!  For example, if you’re thinking that you can’t do something, remind yourself that you can and use something from your list from step 1.  Remind yourself that lots of people like you and include a list of the people you identified and put onto your list.  Remember, you are just like everyone else with good bits and bad bits.

4. Fake it ’til you make it (as we say in the Laughter Yoga world)

It may seem, that really confident people are just naturally that way but to be honest, pretty much everyone is acting in some way or form.  If you can identify someone who you see as confident, study how they walk, talk and act and start to introduce those ways into your own life.  Practice with trusted friends and family members and notice how you feel when you are acting in a confident way.

5. Stand tall

When your confidence is low you will find that you speak quietly, stoop or slouch, look away from people and perhaps go out looking scruffy because you don’t feel that anyone will notice you anyway.  These are forming habits and will help you to stay in a low place so switch it up a bit.  Speak a bit louder, stand and sit with your back straight and lift your chin, ke as mush eye contact with people as possible, stay neat and tidy (it’l make you feel good) and smile.

Remember that you are up to this and you can change your way of feeling and believing.  I love the phrase:

‘what you feed grows and what you starve dies’

…so feed the positive beliefs and starve the negative ones.

And finally, don’t beat yourself up!  You are going through a process to break old habits and beliefs so it may take a while.  With practice and perseverance you will get there.  You don’t have to be a perfect 10 to be happy and successful, 8 and 9 are just fine.

Here’s to being able to overcome low confidence and move you towards a more positive belief system which will help you to move onward and upwards with your life.

If you would like you share your experience, please leave a comment below.

by Sarah

When Willpower is Not Enough

January 6, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

When willpower just isn't enough

I know there is a lot of talk about setting resolutions and making the changes that you want for the new year, but what about the sacrifices that come with that.  When it comes to giving up something you absolutely love or feel some sort of emotional attachment to such as chocolate, sugar or coffee.

I have been chatting to some friends of mine who have told me that they have repeatedly been caught out year after year by their lack of willpower and  their ‘need for coffee‘ or ‘sweet tooth‘ that keep them from failing to keep their resolutions up.  This is when willpower is not enough.

If we look at the term willpower, it seems to allude to having control of one’s impulses; determination and self-control.  So why then, if my friends want to quit coffee do they find themselves falling back into it and calling themselves weak for doing so?  When they say that they just can’t function without the caffeine or I have a sweet tooth, the responsibility seems to have been shifted.  It is no longer about willpower, it is just giving in to what appears to be a natural need that our bodies have – like that for food or water.

Our bodies do not need coffee, chocolate, sugar and the like!  We like to think so (because it makes it easier and takes the responsibility off of us to resist and to employ our ever failing willpower) And then the cycle follows: you quit something, lose willpower and go back to it, feel guilty and bad for doing it and use the thing you gave up as a crutch to keep you going in this ongoing cycle. Can you see this in your own life?

When willpower just isn’t enough and you have been trying time and time again to remove something from your diet or lifestyle, you need to shift your way of thinking.  You need to create a positive resolution rather than removing something, add something to your life.

For example:

Resolution: ‘I want to give up coffee

Your subconscious mind now feels like it is losing something and wants to hang onto it and keep it in your mind to make sure that you don’t want to forget about it.  It holds it tight and pushes it into your thinking at any given opportunity which is when your ‘willpower’ dies off and you give in.

Instead of wording it as though you are losing something, state it in the positive term so that you are actually gaining something in return e.g. ‘I am going to increase my health by going caffeine free‘ this way you are seeing the benefits of stopping your intake of coffee and won’t feel like you are depriving yourself too much.

Another way to help you to stay on track is to really look at the benefits that you will get from your actions.  You’re not seriously just giving up coffee to torture yourself and make yourself miserable, are you?

Make a list of all the benefits and keep them handy for when you might be feeling the need to pop into a coffee shop on your way to work.  Change your routine so that when you would normally have or crave coffee, you are doing something else and keeping yourself busy.

Remember you are doing it for a reason and if you’re not doing it for a good enough reason, then why do it at all?

Whatever you are changing for the year, make sure that it is:

Positively stated

For a REAL reason

You have a list of the benefits

You actually want to be doing it

You are ready and willing to accept the change into your life

Good luck and if you have any experiences you want to share I would love to hear them.

 

by Sarah

New Year’s Resolutions are Rubbish

January 5, 2015 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Happy New Year 2015

Firstly, I would like to wish you a very happy New Year and hope that you have enjoyed some lovely holiday time over the festive period.

Have you set yourself a resolution for the new year?  Well, I am here to tell you that you are probably not going to make it!

I am not being negative in any means and I am sure that you will relate to the following:

You have set yourself the good intention of getting seriously fit, subscribing to the gym membership and purchasing all the new kit that you’ll need to really workout hard to find that the only thing lighter at the end of the year is your bank account balance.

You promised that you would really get stuck in to sorting the house out, getting the roof fixed and spending your money by investing in your house rather than a new pair of shoes and that gorgeous jumper only to get to the end of the year with a wardrobe heaving with clothes and slow drip from the roof.

You resolve to spend more time with family and friends but find that work and your new partner seem to be a lot more time consuming that you had anticipated.

You set the same resolution year after year, after year.

Don’t worry, you are most certainly not alone.  I for one can vouch for the gym membership one!  I used to be a real gym bunny getting to the gym at least three times a week (even when I was on crutches!) and then when I moved back to Manchester I resolved to get back into it rather than spending my time in the pub (I was at Uni at the time).  A year later and I hadn’t visited the gym once, but the membership fee was still being paid. It was then that I learnt my lesson and cut my losses.

And it is from these experiences that I know that resolutions for the New Year are rubbish!  We like to think that as the new year comes around we can make changes and do the things that we want to.  Make the changes that we didn’t do last year and commit to them this time.

The problem with this is that we are not committed to them.  We aren’t really investing in them and we don’t really know why we are doing them.  Yes, you might be thinking ‘well, I do know why I am trying to lose weight!  It is because I want to fit in that sexy red dress I used to wear a few years ago’ and yes, you might be right in that but what si the real reason?

As yourself these questions if you have set yourself a resolution:

What benefits will I get from achieving this goal?

How will I measure my progress?

What benefits will it have for other people around me?

What will I need to do to achieve this?

What resources or people do I need to achieve this?

What if I don’t achieve this?

Now that you have started to ask yourself some questions around your intention for your resolution, you will either find that you are becoming more involved with it and feel more driven to get it done or you will find that it really isn’t something that you want at all. Either way, you are one step further than you were when you decided upon something.

I feel that setting a goal at the beginning of a new year can be a great thing, but I don’t feel that people should feel obliged to set one just because.  I haven’t set one for many years now and every time have had to deal with the many questions and befuddled looks that I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing (on that note, I don’t give anything up for Lent either!)

You can set a new goal or intention at any time and in any place that you feel.  NOW is my favourite word when it comes to making changes or taking decisions in your life. There should be no set time and you shouldn’t have to succumb to traditions or other people’s expectations.

So, are you going to make a real resolution or skip it and make your own goals when you want to?