Reflect to move forward

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

New Year inevitably brings with it a feeling of hope and expectation. We all want to start the year on a high and, if at all possible, end it on an even higher one! But in our eagerness to welcome the year ahead, we often forget to take the time to reflect on the year we’re just finishing – meaning we’re potentially missing out on information that can help us move forward, faster.

Looking back

No matter how good or bad your year has been, there are lessons to be learned. Whether it’s things to avoid or actions to include, looking back can be one of the most useful tools for enabling you to move forward.

The key to looking back over your past year is to be gentle with yourself! This isn’t a blaming and shaming exercise. It isn’t a tool to beat yourself up with – it’s simply a case of evaluating, without judgement, the things you’ve achieved or delayed on throughout the year. You can kick-start the process by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What was my biggest achievement this year?
  • What lessons did I learn?
  • Who did I need to be, in order to reach these achievements?
  • What skills have I learnt this year?
  • Who has been my biggest ally?
  • What connections and friendships best served me?
  • How did I nurture my relationship with others?
  • What did I avoid this year – and how has this helped me? (This is great for uncovering hidden benefits of staying stuck and not moving forward)
  • What worked for me this year?
  • What skills did I wish I had to help me out this year?

Once you’ve assessed how your year went, you can start using the information to help plan your year ahead.

Looking forward

When it comes to looking forward, we’re great at it – especially when it comes to making plans as resolutions. The problem is, those resolutions often fall by the wayside during the first month!

By taking the lessons learnt in the previous year, you can make firm plans and goals for the year ahead. Using your previous answers as a guide, ask yourself the following:

  • What do I want to achieve this year?
  • How can the lessons learnt in the previous year, help me?
  • What qualities and traits will I be implementing this year?
  • What skills and qualities do I have, that can help me reach my new goals?
  • What relationships will I be nurturing – and which will I be cooling?
  • Who do I want to get to know better?
  • How can I better serve my colleagues and myself?
  • What negative traits and habits do I need to watch out for – and what are my plans for cutting them out of my life?
  • What qualities do I have that I’d like to expand – and which do I want to change?
  • What do I want to learn this year?

By assessing your previous year in a non-judgemental way, you can easily glean hidden negative habits and thoughts that need working on – and ensure your year ahead is even better than the previous one!

Find your Joy Formula HERE

Image courtesy of bahrialtay/Dollar Photo Club

Words to cut, if you want to be happier

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

The words we use on a daily basis help to shape the life we lead. They have the power to open us up to possibilities, as well as closing them down. We often notice the impact other people’s words have on us – but have you noticed the impact your own words are having on you?

Our own words have even more power over us than those of others. They dictate how we feel about ourselves, how we act and what we think we’re capable of – both good and bad. They also illustrate how little we think of ourselves too, so why do we use these limiting words?

The reason we use them is simply down to habit. We are so used to having these words in our vocabulary, we don’t even realise we’re using them anymore – which also means we don’t witness the effect they have on us either and whether they make us feel happier or not.

However, the words we use impact those hearing them too – they help shape their opinions of us, as well as our opinions of them.

Here are my personal top seven words to cut from your vocabulary, along with the reasons why they’re so damaging and limiting to each and every one of us.

#1: Should

This word is often used when we’re basing our opinions and action steps on other people’s standards and beliefs. We feel it’s what others think we need to be doing and it illustrates how we’re worried about what others think of us and our actions.

#2: Try

Try is another way of saying it isn’t going to happen! For example, how many times have you said you’ll try to get something done – only for it not to happen? ‘Try’ simply means your commitment level is very low or you don’t want to make a definite yes or no decision.

#3: Just/Only

These two words are often used when describing ourselves – I’m just a housewife, I only work part-time. They imply we’re unempowered, unimportant and playing small.

#4: But

This word negates whatever has been said before it. We often start a sentence with a positive and then use this word to follow it up with a more negative or contradictory viewpoint. By doing this, we focus only on what’s been said after the word but.

#5: Can’t

Using the word can’t closes our mind to the possibility that we can (or possibly could) do something. It stops us imagining what if, and stops our mind from finding other possible options.

#6: Obviously

This word sounds as if we’re talking down to others or being generally sarcastic. It implies that we find something crystal clear – whereas they may not, in fact, find it that clear themselves. It can come across as being and feeling superior to those around us.

#7: Why

This is one of those words that is both good and bad! When using it on ourselves, it can lead us to question things and go exploring for answers and solutions. When using it on others however – it can be really confrontational. It tends to set others on the defensive, as we’re questioning their motives and actions.

Want more joy in your life? Check out Laughter Yoga

Image courtesy Jennifer Elizabeth/Dollar Photo Club

Making time for your personal development

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 07 February 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

Personal development is a term often used by life coaches and alternative therapists, to highlight the importance of living a more balanced, fulfilled life. But what are the benefits of personal development and how can you make time for it in your already busy life?

The importance of personal development

In a nutshell, personal development is about investment in yourself. It’s about learning how to live a richer, happier and less stressful life and understanding yourself better.

 We are all driven by a need to feel worthy and loved – working on your personal development will ensure you have a healthy sense of worthiness, self-esteem and subsequent self-confidence, for yourself – regardless of how others interact with you.

Learning to understand yourself better enables you to be the best you can be. You’ll be better able to handle the stresses of everyday life, as well as unexpected hiccups. By knowing yourself that bit better, you’ll also have improved relationships with others, as you’ll be better at communicating your needs and boundaries to them – plus you’ll have the energy and inclination to help others be the best they can be too.

How to make time in your life for personal development

It isn’t always easy to fit in time for yourself – anyone who has children will be the first to admit this! However, it is essential that you DO set aside regular time for your own development. Here are some tips to get you started:

Tip #1: Look to learn something new every day

This doesn’t have to mean something big, but make it a mission to learn something every day. It could be as simple as opening the dictionary and picking a ‘word of the day’, in order to extend your vocabulary.

Tip #2: Learn what you love

There’s no point learning something you’re not interested in – it will only make it seem like hard work. If it’s easier, make a list of everything you’d like to learn and break each down into smaller, manageable tasks.

Tip #3: Have goals in place

Once you have an idea of what you’d like to learn, look to set a goal for each.

Tip #4: Establish a routine

Establishing a daily routine is the best way to ensure you’re making the most of your time. Whether you opt for learning before you get out of bed or in an evening, it doesn’t matter WHEN, it just matters that you DO.

Tip #5: Read daily, for at least 10 minutes

Reading obviously will help you widen your knowledge and vocabulary, however it’s also a great stress reducer. Reading daily helps to stimulate your mind which, in turn, can improve creativity, expression and short-term memory. 

Find your joy journey HERE.

Image courtesy of bahrialtay/Dollar Photo Club

Choose your actions

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

We carry out various actions throughout our daily lives, from the mundane through to the bizarre. But often, these actions are in direct response to the stimuli around us, for example, when we react to how others are behaving. This results in us feeling a certain way – usually happy, annoyed, depressed or tired.

We then use this to dictate statements about how we are – such as, ‘I’m happy’, or ‘I’m tired’ – and we become those things. We cement in those feelings, as after all, we ARE those feelings, at that moment in time.

However, what if we chose instead, to take ownership of both our actions and our feelings, moods and emotions?

What does it mean to take ownership of both your actions and your feelings? Well it means choosing how you feel to everything, rather than feeling a certain way because of external stimuli.

When we make statements like ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I’m happy’, we’re saying in effect, ‘this is who I am, this is what I’m feeling’. It puts us at the mercy of being that way. It has an air of resignation about it, as we have no choice around how we feel.

However, when we choose how we feel, we’re taking ownership and deciding to feel a certain way. Statements we use them become ‘I choose to be happy’ and ‘I choose to be tired’.  These statements carry a whole new feeling around them, as they put you in firmly in the driving seat. The energy around them is higher, as you realise what you’re feeling is something you’re deciding to feel.

This has a knock-on effect as, suddenly, you ARE in charge of how you’re feeling. You realise you CAN choose your actions – even when it’s your feelings, emotions and behaviour.

Do you feel the difference?

Spend the next few days changing your terminology. Instead of making reactive statements about your feelings and emotions, opt instead, to make them a choice. Once you’ve mastered this, you can then spend time actively making new choices to turn negative feelings and emotions around. How? By simply making a new choice, at any moment you decide.

So next time someone is annoying you or you feel tired and lethargic, change the terminology. Instead of being that way and using ‘I am’ statements, decide to choose your actions with ‘I choose’ statementsand then turn them into a different higher, more positive vibrational feeling instead.

Find your Joy Formula HERE.

Image courtesy of Two Brains Studios/Dollar Photo Club

Are you living in the present?

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

As the well-known saying goes; tomorrow never comes, there is only the here and now. Yesterday can’t come back and you can only change where you are now, in this moment. So what can you do to make sure you’re living in the present and not stuck in the future or the past?

How to tell if you’re future focused

If you’re feeling stressed, worried and anxious, the chances are you’re focusing on the future too much.

Focusing too much on your future can lead to you pinning your hopes and dreams on ‘what ifs’. You’ll spend your time saying things like ‘I’ll be happy when…’ and you’ll be holding back on living your life fully, until something that hasn’t yet happened, materialises.

The problem with this is the future isn’t actually here and it hasn’t been created yet – you’re worrying and stressing about things that aren’t real and pinning your future happiness on things that may not even EVER be real. Spending time planning your future CAN be productive and useful – if you use it in conjunction with the other steps listed below.

Is the past still capturing your attention?

Do guilt and remorse hold you back? Maybe you regret not taking a particular path or wondering what would have happened, if you’d just stuck with that guy or girl? Are you spending your time wishing you’d done things differently, had better experiences, support and/or education etc.? These are sure signs that you’re stuck in the past.

The facts on this are simple: the past is in the past. You can’t do anything to change it, or what happened in it. Work at letting the guilt and remorse go and, if you need to forgive or ask forgiveness of yourself and/or others, do it and move forward.

Why living in the present is the best solution

You know when you’re in the present, as you’re accepting life as it is now and not hinging everything on tomorrow. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with ‘your lot’. It means you’re acknowledging where you currently are and how your decisions took you to this point – but you also know that any choices and decisions you make now, will shape your moments moving forward.

This level of acceptance calms you and eases worry and stress. You understand that the only moments you can change are the ones you’re in now and you can decide, at any moment, what your next actions are. You are in control and you make the decisions that affect your life.

How to live in the present

#1: Notice your thoughts

Accept your thoughts for what they are, without any judgement on them or yourself. This simply means being aware of what you’re telling yourself and deciding what to do with that thought. Do you want to keep it? Do you want to change it? But it all starts with acknowledging it’s there.

#2: Be aware of your actions

Notice what actions you are taking on a daily basis. Are they moving you to where you want to be or are they keeping you stuck and unhappy?

#3: Practice gratitude

Be thankful for everything you have, no matter how basic or small. Gratitude is the corner stone of acceptance and awareness. It’s about not judging what you have or haven’t got, but being happy to have what you do have.

#4: Forgive your past

Forgive yourself and others for your past. If it helps, write a letter to the person, asking for their forgiveness or giving them yours. Learn to see the hidden benefits you’ve received from any wrongdoing and let it go.

#5: Dream about the future

Take time to visualise how you want your future to be, using glorious technicolour. Then bring it back to now, by deciding on the action steps you need to implement, in order to get from here to your desired end result.

Find your future joy HERE.

Image courtesy of Yurchyk/Dollar Photo Club