3 Easy Hacks for Increasing Fitness Motivation

3 Easy Hacks for Increasing Fitness Motivation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost everyone struggles with motivation. For instance, it’s hard to go back to the gym after an extended break. You know the voice in your head says how tough it will be and how sore you will feel so why not go back tomorrow instead?

Everyone has a busy life, so its easy to find valid reasons to put your well-being on a back burner and get on with a million other things that fill our days.

Overcoming this mental procrastination is a key to developing long-lasting wellbeing habits and every day you say to yourself I’ll do it tomorrow’ is another day wasted and lost for good.

So, what is the first step to regaining control of that part of your inner self that wants you to put off getting fitter and healthier for another day?

The 20-minute Motivation hack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It works like this – you need to go and do whatever is your thing. Whether that is training at a gym, running around the park, or swimming, or a weekly Zumba class. You need to show up.

But here is the deal you make with yourself.

You commit to going for only twenty minutes. You do whatever your activity of choice is for 20 minutes, and if you still hate it after the 20 minutes are up, then you get out of the pool, turn around on your run, or leave the exercise class and go.

The length of time is not arbitrary. Twenty minutes is time enough for your mind to recognise the endorphins, the feel-good hormones that are released when you put your body through moderate physical exertion.

By all means, set your watch for 20 minutes and be adamant that’s all you are going to do. For most people, within the 20 minutes, they will have experienced a change of state and most likely will not want to cut their session short at all.

Now, how about the challenge of not just turning up for the odd isolated session but making your well-being a vital part of your life and schedule.

That’s where the next hack comes into play.

The 21 times motivation hack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychologists have worked out that it takes 21 repetitions to embed a habit. That’s 21 times of doing something such as going to a session at the gym or attending a class at a yoga studio before it becomes a habit.

So set yourself the target of repeating whatever your activity is 21 consecutive times without excuse. 21 times to embed your activity into your subconscious mind so that your mind recognises that this is what you habitually do and on a deeply subconscious level it will establish this expectation, and that will help you make sure you make it happen. If for any reason beyond your control you had to break your commitment to a run of 21 repetitions you’ll need to start counting from zero again and commit to achieving your 21 reps without faltering.

Sometimes it’s the type of exercise you do that can make it harder to keep motivated.

For instance, solitary sessions are excellent until the day you don’t feel like turning up at the gym or going for your regular run, and if you can skip one workout, you can easily skip another, until you find you are no longer working-out on a regular basis. If you play on a team, even an amateur team of pretty basic ability you are more likely not to skip a game as all the team members are relying on you and each other to turn up and play.

Training Buddy hack

If you are not involved with team games, then a training buddy can make a big difference to your motivation as you are statistically much more likely to turn up if you are accountable to another person. Together you can mutually motivate each other to achieve your fitness goals and improve your health.

Finally, there’s the advantage of healthy competition between training buddies that can enhance performance levels and encourage buddies to raise their game and achieve more from every training session. Two is always better than one when it comes to training.

Are you still struggling with your motivation? Maybe it’s not even about getting fit perhaps it’s about eating healthily or cutting down on drinking…

You know the things you do to self-sabotage. If you need some help breaking procrastination habits and blocking your health goals, then reach out and book an obligation free discovery call with me. There’s a link on this page.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

What is Sh*t Life Syndrome?

What is Sh*t Life Syndrome?

Some time ago Journalist Sarah O’Conner wrote a piece for the UK’s Financial Times Newspaper that explored the multiple overlapping problems that people face living in Blackpool, England.

In this economically depressed part of the country, a combination of economic, historic, social and cultural factors all combine to make life harder and harder for people for whom life was already hard.

She referenced a phrase sometimes used by General Practitioners, the local neighbourhood doctors, called ‘Shit life syndrome, ‘ (SLS).

The medical professional has always valued an abbreviation especially one that can sum up something so overwhelming and pervasive that it has no ready cure.

A century ago, NFN (Normal For Norfolk) initials would be written on some patients medical records in the East Anglia County of England to allude to illnesses or disorders suspected to be the result of incest.

It is hoped that those particular initials are no longer ever needed and certainly would not have stood the test of political correctness. Equally nor has GFS (Good Fen Stock) the GP’s other favourite abbreviation that meant the same diagnosis.

SLS is not a new term but neither is it in the list of conditions taught in medical school. It is a contemporary phrase of the 21st Century used in a first world affluent country to make a diagnosis even in these times of ‘woke’ awareness.

GP’s use the initials to refer to issues that are not wholly medical, but which fill up their surgeries nonetheless. They are used, to sum up a situation where an individual has so many challenges that even finding a foothold to begin to make positive changes is impossible with so many other, remaining factors pulling them down and keeping them stuck.

UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Doctor Phil Cumberlidge has worked in Liverpool’s Vauxhall Primary Health Care practice for ten years.

He believes Sh*t Life Syndrome is a problem society is all too quick to medicate with anti-depressants instead of trying to make the enduring but much more challenging and expensive interventions that are needed.

He said that some days at work are for him like being in an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show, a UK reality TV show similar to Jerry Springer’s original infamous US TV programme.

He said that as a doctor you would expect to need to know a bit of medicine to get by, but that he often he feels powerlessness in knowing how to help his patients.

This could be due to a serious untreatable medical condition, although sometimes it’s because the patient has a problem that medicine cannot help.

Over the last ten years, working in general practice, Dr Cumberlidge has noticed a sharp increase in the number of people coming in to see him with what can best be described as ‘Sh*t Life Syndrome (SLS).’

So what exactly is SLS?

Cumberlidge said ‘It’s not in any of my textbooks and I cannot remember where I first heard it used. Perhaps it is best explained by giving examples.’

‘Imagine being a single parent after finally getting away from your abusive alcoholic boyfriend. Your baby is unwell and frequently in the hospital. You have no family support. No money. Your flat is surrounded by drug users and alcoholics. Or how about being middle-aged, losing your job, your partner and your house all within six months?’

Living a sh*t life

‘Sounds shit?’ He asks. ‘Try living it. So when she comes to see you distressed, unhappy and not wanting to get out of bed you can hardly blame her.’

‘The easy answer would be: she’s depressed, give her some medication or counselling but that isn’t going to change her environment or lack of support.’

‘In truth though, antidepressants are not the answer, but you can feel helpless to do otherwise and end up medicalising someone’s shit life. As a GP, you need to sometimes realise your limitations too. You cannot cure everyone with a pill.’

So what can GPs do?

Dr Cumberlidge says, ‘Sometimes we can signpost to other services or support in the community but often as doctors we just try to be the person that our patient can talk to without judgement.’

The doctor continued, ‘You would be amazed how lonely people can be, even in a big city. Perhaps most people would think to confide in their family but you would be amazed how many people I see who haven’t even spoken to their partners or family about their troubles.’

One thing about the Jeremy Kyle style show is that he gets people talking about their problems and sometimes shouting and fighting, too.

Perhaps previous generations would have confided more in their friends, workmates or even someone in their church but that doesn’t seem to happen anymore.

Despite all the plethora of choice in ways of communicating with each other and the ever increasing number of social media platforms what is actually happening is that we are we more detached, disconnected and disassociated from each other.

Life can be shit and sometimes being a GP means putting away the pills and being a substitute friend, parent or even priest.

And, what can we do as standard people out in our own communities to connect with people overwhelmed with the challenges in their lives?

We can make connection especially with people from our own family we have lost contact with and if that isn’t a positive move for you then reach out to people in your wider community and make contact there instead.

We may not know people who live sh*t lives but we probably do know people who live lives of quiet desperation and we can make contact and reach out.

A recognised foundation of mental well being is identified time and time again as a connection. The importance of feeling connected to others improves health outcomes and extends life expectancy so even as we reach out to others we are working on improving our own mental well being too so its a win, win.

If you are feeling lost and overwhelmed then use the link on this page to book an obligation free discovery call and we can look at how you can improve your mental well being. I look forward to your call.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Parents: Board Games or Bored Games?

Parents: Board Games or Bored Games?

 

Playing for connection

Maybe it is as if the addictive power of the latest shiny tech smartphone or tablet might be loosening its grip on us all at last – or at least for some of us. Or, maybe it’s just not so great after all that everyone is plugged into their own gadgets having their independent, but solitary experiences online.

Whatever the cause, there has been a recent resurgence in the popularity of playing board games with friends in cafe´s or bars and for families spending an evening together in their sitting rooms.

A clue for this is that the most powerful drive of human nature is of connection to one another. We thirst for it and literally cannot thrive without it. It’s primaeval and these instincts are hardwired into our ‘old brain’. The ‘old brain’ is the innermost part of the brain, the part nearest the spinal cord.

It’s this part of our brain that carries out the same functions for us today as they did for our ancient ancestors. The ‘old brain’ is in charge of basic survival functions, such as breathing, moving, resting, and feeding, and creates our experiences of emotion. Further brain layers developed in mammals including humans that provide more advanced functions—for instance, better memory, more sophisticated social interactions, and the ability to experience emotions.

In recent years smartphones and tablets have changed the way we spend time together so that even when in the same room together attention can be fractured or disassociated by the sound of an electronic ping.

A board game is a perfect antidote to the tech overwhelm many are experiencing today. In fact, there’s nothing like a board game played between two or more people to bring attention back to the here and now.

What is also great about board games is how the structure and rules of a game allow friends or family to express healthy competition under the guise of playing a game.’

With board games, there is a compelling emotional link to childhood for people. In many cases, although of course not everyone, childhood felt like a less chaotic or challenging time, and we can be nostalgic for that too.

Family Playing Board Game At Home With Grandparents Watching

 

Board games give people an even playing field to compete with each other and permission to go all-out to win. This can make thrashing your mates at Scrabble momentarily heartening especially for those who are struggling in other areas of their life.

Work for many has never felt more pressured, and relationships can be complicated, so even a small victory is a victory.

Research by Alex Lickerman, M.D., author of ‘Happiness in this World: Reflections of a Buddhist Physician’ confirms that when couples actively compete together whether in a sporting capacity such as on a volleyball team; a treasure hunt team; or even the same team for a group board game there are definite benefits.

For instance, it enhances their sense of cohesiveness, often even if they lose.

He further suggests a strong connection is reinforced by shared experience, the antithesis of our tech experience.
Gil Greengross, Ph.D., author of ‘Humor Sapiens: The laughing ape and other insights into the nature of funny.’ recommended catching a funny movie or going to a comedy club.

Hip also said “Sharing a laugh together is always helpful, but often couples are too stuck in their routines to crack each other up. Letting someone else tell the jokes takes away pressure.”

All of these activities break patterns of behaviour that can make our intimate relationships or how we interact with our friends seem stuck in a routine that might not give us what we need.

Robert Taibbi, the author of ‘Fixing Families: Tools for walking the intergenerational tightrope,’ gave some great advice when he said “If you need more affection, give it. More sex, offer it. More listening, do it. By giving what you desire, you break old relationship patterns and let your partner know what relationship elements matter to you.”

So, if you’re looking for a more significant connection with the people love and care about turn off the tech and sit around a table to play some board games. You never know where a game of Scrabble could lead…

If you are struggling to find a connection with others or even connecting to yourself you may need a few more strategies than a game of Monopoly can afford to make the first move and connect with me via the Discovery Call link on this page and we can take it from there.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Bosses: Are drug users in your workplace?

Bosses: Are drug users in your workplace?

Are drug users in your workplace?

It is no surprise that a recent report by a US federal government agency acknowledged that some 69 per cent of illicit drug users in the United States is in employment.

As a London based therapist often the clients who come to see me for help with their addiction problems are high-earning, high achieving, high functioning alcoholics or Class A drug dependents although of course, they would never describe themselves in this way.

The metropolitan professionals I see are mainly, although not exclusively men and they often normalise their recreational drug and drink consumption either in secret or in the carefully chosen company of friends or work colleagues who pretty much share their habits.

What they come to see me for as a therapist it is to cure them of their unexplained panic attacks; alarming bouts of paranoia or to relieve their symptoms of anxiety.

Alternatively, they may come to see me about how insomnia is ruining their life. Or perhaps how their violent outbursts of rage with their partner leave them feeling shaken. They are often overwhelmed by the emotional fallout from their extreme mood-swings ruining their relationship and yet at a loss to know where all their anger came from.

It only takes a few open questions to find out about their usual levels of drinking and drug use.

It is often initially described to me as occasional; recreational; just weekends. Then after a few more questions, it becomes apparent that it’s almost every, if not every weekend and that the weekend often begins on a Thursday night and can run through to a Tuesday.

In therapy, clients although initially resistant, begin to acknowledge the elephant in the room and see the correlation between their addictive behaviour and its impact on their mental well-being as well as the detrimental effect it is having on their private life.
However, it is not just out of hours of behaviour that can be compromised by their drug use. It impacts on how they are at work too and if you are an employer and you have reason to suspect that drug use is affecting an employee’s performance and/or relations with co-workers, here’s some guidance on what to do

1. Don’t ignore the signs.
Obviously, if an employee has dilated pupils, slurred speech, or an unsteady walk, or if he or she smells of alcohol, you have every reason to suspect that person is having a problem. But you should also be on the alert for more frequent absences, especially with suspicious excuses, deteriorating relationships with co-workers, inattentiveness, taking longer to complete tasks or alternating between completing tasks quickly or slowly, evading responsibility for errors, and decreased attention to grooming or hygiene.

2. Make sure you know the law.
If you believe an employee may be suffering from a drug or alcohol problem that is affecting his or her work, don’t wait for it go away. Plan to sit down in private with the employee to address the problem. Before your meeting, make sure to review your legal rights and obligations to your employee.

3. Don’t assume that you know what’s truly going on–or that your employee will tell you.
Years ago, in what seems like another life now, I led a sales team. They were all younger than me and exuberant and high energy most of the time. They worked hard and as well as working together they often partied together at the weekends. I began to notice a pattern of behaviour with them collectively. Monday’s would be a slow day with a hung-over quietness amongst the team. There would be fewer calls made to sales prospects and plenty of staring vacantly into space and cigarette breaks. Regular Monday morning’s hang-over city is probably pretty common when you employ lots of young single extroverts enjoying their life in the capital and they needed lost of rallying and prompting to get through their work.

Nothing compared to the mayhem of Tuesday’s though. The team members were often agitated and argumentative with each other and worse with me. They could even be short with prospective customers on the telephone or inept at following up ‘warm calls’ that could lead to sales. Some members of the sale’s team were particularly difficult and unreasonable – but only on a Tuesday!

I couldn’t work out why this was happening and did some research to find that use of Class-A drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy cause this Tuesday mood change as people’s bodies go through the effects of a physical withdrawal from their weekend drug use.
I had to work to resolve this by focussing purely on the performance results of the team. Eventually, I promoted the worst offender to head up the team and made his pay bonuses dependent on the results the team achieved collectively. This proved to be the only way for a culture change to take place and with the insider knowledge he had of his team members he was able to make them behave more responsibly, motivated as he was by his own pay-cheque.

4. Steer the employee toward professional help.
Whatever you do, don’t try to counsel the employee yourself, or organise an in-office intervention. Your employee needs help from a trained professional, not a boss or friend, however well-meaning. If your company has an employee assistance program, you should point the employee in that direction. If not, come to the meeting prepared with brochures and phone numbers for local organisations that can provide help along with information about services your company’s insurance will cover, if any.

5. Don’t cover for the employee.
If an employee is failing to complete assigned work due to a suspected substance abuse problem, you may be tempted to lend a helping hand by finishing up some tasks yourself or re-assigning work to someone else. While you need to make sure that the work gets done, make sure to document any instances where you or someone else has to complete tasks that were the employee’s responsibility. Don’t try to save the employee from embarrassment by making excuses when he or she misses a meeting or deadline.

Your employee’s sub-standard performance should have consequences, so a record of these incidents will be a valuable tool to either compel the employee to face up to the problem or provide cause for discipline or termination if that becomes necessary. But more to the point, if you care about your employee, know that you aren’t helping him or her by providing cover — you’re enabling the substance abuse to continue. In the long run, that will only make things worse, for yourself, your employee’s co-workers, and your company.
(Some points of this guidance were first published by www.inc.com)

If you recognise that your own drug or alcohol use is getting out of control or already has impacted on your relationships and work then reach out now and make an obligation free call via the link on the page.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Do Women quit sex after cancer?

Do Women quit sex after cancer?

Women quit sex after cancer.

I was saddened but not surprised to read a recent headline in the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted the results of a survey from the UK’s Breast Cancer Care charity.

They asked nearly 1,000 women of whom almost 95% said cancer treatment had stopped them from having sex. This figure included a high percentage of women who had been diagnosed three or more years previously indicating that women struggle with this problem for a long time.

Of the total of women surveyed 94% reported that side effects of their life-saving treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormone therapies had stopped them having sex and they blamed the adverse impact on their libido, uncomfortable vaginal dryness and reduced self-esteem.

More than two-thirds said they were not warned about the possible detrimental impact of their treatment on their sex life and the majority reported they did not receive adequate support from health professionals.

Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Care, said, ‘These figures paint a troubling picture of the reality for countless women whose relationships and sex lives are sidelined – sometimes permanently.’ She continued, ‘Everyday we hear from women with dramatic scars, hair loss and intimate physical changes. The treatment for breast cancer can be utterly traumatic and side effects can continue for years.’

When I read the article in the newspaper, it hit home to me that for every traumatised woman there must be quite often a traumatised partner too also sidelined and cut adrift by a system not geared up to resolve the emotional fallout of these treatments and the inevitable physical changes that survival has demanded.

Clearly, cancer survivors, in particular, are exposed to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from both the diagnosis and the rigours of the treatment.

It feels cruel indeed to submit women to all of what cancer treatment entails to continue living and yet not be given every possible support to thrive fully.

I work with a lot of clients living with chronic disease and have worked over the years with many women survivors of breast cancer too.

The work often needs to begin by exploring how their image of who they are has so fundamentally changed and that naturally brings with it grief and sadness for the person they were before their illness.

There are similar feelings of loss acknowledged by most of my clients who are living with the fall-out from chronic disease. The loss of one’s former self is felt very strongly and deserves to be acknowledged and mourned.
There is no expectation of clients having to accommodate a blanket acceptance of everything that has happened to them on the premise of ‘I can’t dwell on this because I’m lucky to be alive’. The work gives a voice to all of their emotions from anger and sadness to fear, and the work can only be transformational if those emotions are acknowledged as valid.

When working therapeutically with life-changing issues such as these, it is wonderful to be able to work directly with the sub-conscious mind. Working in this way cuts through all of the subtle and not so subtle pressure to be brave or stoic or whatever else is going on so that powerful changing can be made at a profound level.

It is important not to underestimate the enduring trauma of partners, parents and other family members too. Their need for therapy to resolve the residual fears they are holding on to and their own sadness can get lost in the relief of their loved one’s recovery. However, it is vital to work so that everyone is able to unite once more in their new landscape.

Survivors of cancer need to find a way to fully come home to themselves and that journey is just as vital for their complete recovery than the chemo or whatever else they had. Therapy can bring them back to who they are, even as charged as they may be. It can also give them the choice and hopefully the desire to reconnect with the sexual part of themselves and renew their emotional relationships. The aim is never just to survive but to fully thrive again.

If you have recovered from cancer or know someone who has who continues to struggle to reconnect with who they are then you can book an obligation free call with me here on this page. If you thought survival was your goal but now you’re ready to thrive then its time to reach out.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Can You Nudge Yourself Towards Success?

Can You Nudge Yourself Towards Success?

The Nudge Theory is about nudging or encouraging behavioural changes through positive reinforcement and indirect suggestion. In the wider world Nudge Theory has been applied to economics, politics and health. Supporters in the effectiveness of the theory exist in the hallowed halls of academia, the White House under Obama and in the British Government to name but a few.

So, how can Nudge Theory be applied to you eating healthier in your own life?

Your existing habits, thoughts and beliefs have brought you to where you are today, so nudging towards making positive changes is vital in allowing easy changes and maintaining them in the future.

Decide when
In practical terms, this means choosing a time to initiate changes that have the most chance of success. It is surprising how many people set themselves up to fail by launching a new initiative without thinking through how much they already have to do with their life.

Look at your diary for an opportunity when there may be a lull in stress levels at home or work or a time when you can give more energy to embrace fundamental changes to your usual eating habits. If you are canny with your timing, you will be giving yourself a head start towards success.

Ditch the crap
Behaving with your usual default habits around food perpetuates you feeling the same way about yourself. It is a truism that if you keep doing what you have always done, you’ll get the same results you’ve always got before.

Reaching for snacks in your kitchen that you have always reached for maintains the status quo, so an essential part of your preparation is to ditch the old low nutritious, poor quality processed foods in your cupboards and replace them with tastier and highly nutritious options. If you’re not the only family member using the kitchen, then separate out their foods from yours and claim space and ownership of the foods you want to eat.

Ideally your efforts to maximise your health and well being would be supported by all family members, but more often than not you will face resistance. If you wait for everyone in your life to come on-board you could wait a lifetime so be the change you want to see in your life; set your own standard and let them see how much healthier and happier you are. It’s about doing something for yourself.

Just because you’ve decided to nudge yourself towards better nutrition doesn’t mean you will magic away all your impulses to snack.

This is especially true while you are adjusting to this new way of eating and feeling about food. The nudge ensures everything you need is at hand to fulfil your mealtime and snacking requirements to maximise your nutrition. This may mean shopping differently and stocking your cupboards and fridge with different foods.

You will find a comprehensive list of real foods in the ‘Foods to Marry’ section of Sally Baker & Liz Hogon’s book ‘How to Feel Differently About Food’ published by Hammersmith Books. Available from Amazon

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.