How To Stay Focused and Consistent With Your Exercise


Trust me I know that sometimes getting to the gym isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Some people are intimidated by it, many have not made full use of it and don’t want to waste anymore money on it and some people never seem to find the time.

Doing something rather than nothing is half the battle, so surely it’s easier to just exercise at home? 

Well, sort of. Although your own home is massively convenient, it can be hard to stay motivated when you’re surrounded by a host of temptations or more precisely excuses such as TV, internet, coffee, reading etc.

So to help you resist these cheeky little temptations, stop making excuses and get a damn good sweat going at home, here are seven simple and effective tips for people just like you with real lives, real jobs, and really busy schedules that will help to keep your attention focused training at home, even when you really don’t feel like it and keep you on track.

1. Find Types of Exercise That You Really Enjoy Doing and Use Technology
The most important thing you can do is find a type of exercise you’re actually going to enjoy doing at home. Some forms of training such as weight training, power lifting etc that rely on lots of equipment aren’t really workable unless you have a big garage or a spare room, and the money to buy the kit in the first place. Thankfully there’s plenty of awesome choices at your finger tips that give you access to an endless amount of at-home exercise options that don’t have to cost a fortune.

Take a bit of time to think about what you enjoy doing, think about what types of activities you enjoy, what reason/s are you training for and then do some research. There are thousands of fitness apps and websites that transform your phone into a personal trainer to live stream videos that turn your living room into a fitness studio, there are plenty of ways to get guidance, motivation, and variety. With a little bit of internet research and soul-searching, you can easily find a training routine that will work for you. Some quick examples are:

Apps:
Virtual Trainer
MadBarz
BarStarzz
Aaptiv

Websites/Online Groups
SFit – free Closed Facebook Group that I run providing exercise, nutrition and psychological guidance and tips
MadBarz
BarStarzz

The key to it is finding something you love doing, this means you won’t even want to look for excuses no tot train then because you want to do it, and you’ll enjoy the process.” 

Need added motivation this winter? Aaptiv is a new app that offers audio-only workouts from top trainers set to music you love. Classes range from strength training and HIIT workouts to yoga and running, so you’ll always find something you love.
Available at aaptiv.com.

2. Book appointments with yourself to train. 
When you have important appointments you put them in your calendar on your phone etc and set reminders so you can’t forget, I certainly do, well, the same goes for your workouts. I schedule them like they’re an appointment. Prioritising your training sessions by blocking out time on your calendar and then planning your days and weeks around those blocks is a key element in creating consistency and continuity in training that will get you the results you want.

3. Organise a space at home. 
The sometimes awkward part about training at-home is that obviously your home is not a gym. If you happen to have a gym in your home, lucky you. If you’re like me your car never gets into the garage because that’s where I have my training kit, if you don’t have a garage then you’ll need to make whatever space you have work for you. That might mean setting up a mini gym in your bedroom, spare room etc or simply moving the coffee table over three inches to fit a yoga mat. Whatever you have to move/set up/dismantle, do it well before your scheduled workout (say, the night prior if you plan on getting up and training then), so there are no barriers or excuses.

4. Dress for business. 
Now more than ever, it’s acceptable to wear Lycra just about anywhere. Take advantage of the trend and throw on training clothes as soon as possible, at every given opportunity. Why? Well, research suggests that simply wearing your training clothes can help motivate you to exercise.

One of my clients says that, ”On workdays I come home and change into my training clothes before I do anything else, and on weekends I put them on first thing in the morning, that way I have no excuses later.”

5. Go public with it, afterwards. 
Wait a second before you get carried away. Before you tweet, message, Pin or gram your workout plans, read this: You’ll have a better chance of actually training if you keep them to yourself. A study has suggested that social recognition makes us less likely to follow through with our intentions. 

However, after you’ve smashed your workout, go for it and tell the world what you’ve just done. So after training take a photo or snap a sweaty selfie and you’ll find you work harder for that extra satisfaction of sharing your achievement afterwards. When you share your progress and accomplishments, you’ll build a small group of cheerleaders, and you can tap into that satisfied feeling the next time you’re motivation is in the ditch and your sitting on the fence about working out. 

6. Create your own incentives. 
It’s okay to use small rewards to persuade yourself to work out. Ideally these incentives should be healthy however, I’m realistic and so should you be, because sometimes you just need to satisfy that craving and reward yourself with something so tasty regardless of the content, so if it’s sometimes pizza, turkey chilli, or a salted caramel brownie, that’s okay too, because, balance is needed both physically and mentally and this reward can make all the difference.

Many of my clients say this same thing, they usually work out right after work, so they hold off on eating dinner until after they’ve smashed out a training session and that for them mentally, is a big reward.”

If food’s not your thing, treat yourself to a new pair of trainers, clothing or whatever works for you if you complete all your workouts for a month. 

7. Half a session. 
Sometime training at home feels and sounds like the worst idea, and when this happens negotiate with yourself. TelI yourself you’ll do half of what you had planned for that day and more often than not you’ll end up doing the full session anyway because all you really needed was to get started. And on the very few times you don’t finish? Well, at least you did half, and that’s much better than nothing at all. 

The Bottom Line
The best way to keep your motivation level up for training at home is to find a routine you really enjoy, this way your at-home training doesn’t feel like work. Then, control as many factors as you can to set yourself up for success and turn it into a habit. Of course the couch looks bloody good sometimes when you come home after a long day, but sinking into it will feel so much better after you’ve earned it. 

Life Design


For a long time I thought I was happy with my job, I was doing what I’d set to do in joining the Royal Marines. I worked with like-minded people, got paid to stay exceptionally fit, got fed four times a day and was provided with a roof over my head. The trade-off was that I was expected to do what I was told do whether I liked it or not and, some of the things I was asked to do I really didn’t like. However I was still happy living my dream.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading Life Design

Choice: Excuse or Success


My last post ended on the subject of choice, you have plenty in front of you and some of those in the past may have been considered as reasons for not doing things that help you achieve your goals. In truth, they’re not reasons, they are excuses. For one reason or another you chose a goal, or were given a goal that you did not believe in 100%, it wasn’t something that you were prepared to work hard to get or have, there wasn’t enough of a fire in your belly.

It’s actually really quite simple, your choice, you can either work to achieve your goals or you can stay as you are no keep making excuses as to why you can’t or won’t be able to achieve them. Whatever you decide is ultimately your choice and it’s you that has to live with that decision not me. What you must understand is that there is no third option and as Yoda said, “There is no try, only do.”

When you make the decision to work towards your goals, you will find that you discover a huge amount about yourself and for a large proportion of people that’s going to be quite a scary prospect, yet it can be one of the most significant times in your life as you discover more of who you truly are and what you’re capable of.

As part of this process you are going to experience a huge amount of change and despite every single person on this planet being familiar with change, there are still so many who are afraid of it and sometimes it’s inevitability. Change affects us on a daily basis whether we look for it or not and whether we like it or not and it can overwhelm our day if we approach it in the wrong way.

So, before you go ahead and make your choice, take some time to figure out the best way for you to accept change. To start with, accepting that everything changes, both good and bad, and when you look hard enough you can see the good and the useful/beneficial in every situation. Next, do everything you can to participate in the changes that happen in your personal and professional life and also in your community. Stop trying to react out of necessity and find ways to embrace the changes, that way you remove the fear of change. It boils down to you taking control of your life instead of letting others control it and dictate your outcomes. It is massively important that it is your actions and intent that influences your outcomes.

As I said at the start, the buck stops with you and you have a really simple choice to make, do or don’t.

You may think that this is putting a lot of pressure on you, and tough shit, that’s the reality of it, it’s just the way it is and you will either work toward what you want or you will make excuses to justify, in your own mind, why you won’t or can’t.

Any one excuse is as good as another so you can pick from a long list, some of which are quite creative, yet they are all still excuses. So now that you know that it’s all your choice is there really much of a choice?

Are you going to choose to work towards what you do want or make excuses to justify staying where you are? Your life of excuses will be pretty much as it is now, it will not be much different, change will continue to happen round you, you will carry on reacting to it out of necessity and your levels of satisfaction and disappointment will be roughly the same as they always have been. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?

Now, how different would it be if you chose to take control of your life by making positive choices about what you do or do not want to do, have to be as opposed to having your life dictated to you?

What would it take for you to make that decision?
What would you have to do?
What would you have to sacrifice?

Well the first thing you would sacrifice is making excuses, that’s not really much of a sacrifice when you think about it, is it?

This is a very logical concept when you think about it. You will either go find what you want or you’ll make crappy excuses and all they do is keep you where you are right now. And, agreeing to do nothing achieves exactly yah same thing, it holds you back from moving on and achieving.

Now we all have a threshold of sorts where we reach a certain number of excuses and then that seals the deal for someone to give up. They can give a long list of excuses yet the bottom line is their intention, desire and ultimately commitment to achieve that goal was not strong enough.

There is a very long list of people throughout history who have made a choice to achieve something that they felt compelled to achieve, something felt very personally, and they made some incredible sacrifices in order to make it happen. Yet day after day, I speak to people who have trouble making a commitment to themselves let alone to anyone or anything else.

Why is this, why do the majority of us make up such crap, weak and pathetic excuses to stay in bed a little longer and not get up and exercise. To eat that junk food because you can always start that diet tomorrow or next week. To take those drugs again because what difference does once more make and I can give up whenever I want to, I’m not addicted?

We delude ourselves, lie to ourselves, limit ourselves, criticise ourselves and demean ourselves time after time. Why do this to ourselves when other people do it to us as well at times? Trust me I know, I’ve done all those things to myself over the years and occasionally I still catch myself doing it and then I have a quiet chat with myself, reframe what’s going on in my head and get myself back on track. I also have a small, select group of friends that help keep me motivated and on the right track.

This is a massively important piece of the puzzle and if you have people you currently consider friends, who are anything but supportive, I’m going to let you into a little secret, they’re not your friends, they are called wankers. True friends will support you even if they think you’re mental for doing what you’re doing, so if you haven’t already, get rid and find people who will support you regardless of what they think about your goals.

Have you ever written down the kinds of excuses you’ve used yourself and the ones you’ve heard from other people. When you put them on paper and read them, they do look and sound a load of crap and much harder to justify, because externalising them takes you outside of the excuses and allows you to see them objectively making it much harder to back them up. Try it, I have a feeling you’ll be quite surprised.

Some of the excuses I’ve heard are:

I haven’t go enough money

I haven’t go enough time

I don’t know how to

There’s too much work involved

I’m not fit enough

I’m not healthy enough

I’m too old

I had a bad childhood

I have one word for all of these and the myriad of other excuses out there. Bullshit!!!

They are not reasons, they are all excuses and there are so many amazing examples of people who have smashed these excuses to pieces and this makes those of you who keep using them look more and more ridiculous. The only person you’re fooling is yourself. Stop bullshitting yourself and be honest with yourself, you either want to do something or you don’t. If you don’t that’s absolutely fine, you don’t have to do it, however, if you do want to do, have or be something and you keep making excuses then you have no one else to blame for your continued failure but yourself. Stop blaming other people, circumstances, the weather and get off your arse, make a few hard choices and commit to something…commit to yourself that you will move your life forwards, make positive changes one small step at time and keep moving forwards.

I have been in that place, making excuses, complaining about not achieving what I wanted, all be it I was a teenager. Then I joined the Royal Marines and I learned even more self discipline and I made a commitment to myself that I would complete training, which I did and I had a great time in my career. That set me up for everything else I have achieved in my life to date.

Now you don’t need to be a Royal Marine to achieve your goals in life, what you do need is a similar mindset. A stubborn, pigheaded desire to win at all costs, to make a plan that is flexible and adaptable, broken down into small manageable chunks, to remove the word excuse from your vocabulary, be solution focused. Once you know there’s a problem there is no need to focus on it, what you need to do is to focus on finding a way to resolve it, that’s a much more productive use of your time and energy.

The essence of this post is about taking responsibility and accountability for your own life, taking the lessons you can learn from your past and using them to create the future of your choice. From this moment on you can take charge of your present and your future and live your life full of positive intent, free from excuses and full of smart choices.

“Life isn’t measured by the quality of your excuses.”

“A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting.” Carlos Castaneda

What You Believe Leads to What You Achieve


In my last post, which was on Boxing Day, I talked about reviewing the last year and how much of what you set yourself to achieve came to fruition and to look at why you did or didn’t achieve that and your beliefs around it.

This is a continuation of that theme because throughout January I have had some interesting conversations with clients about this very subject as I helped them to review and plan for this year. It seems that there are certain things that my clients have been lead to believe that are not achievable for them or forbidden, they are not worthy of it. This is obviously complete bullshit and they have been conditioned to believe this by people they know, trust, respect, love even and most probably with the best of intentions. However some may have done this out of jealousy because they don’t want to see them succeed.

In my experience there are two kinds of people, those who do as they are told when something is forbidden and stay away from it, and those who rebel and flip a middle finger at those who say they can’t do it, have it, be it etc. I’m one of the latter and I find it hard to understand why some people chose the first option and limit their lives. Each to their own.

The thing is when things are forbidden, it generally fires off our natural curiosity as to why it’s forbidden, why we can’t have it and it’s been used by religion, politics, education etc for thousands of years to gain control and hold over over us. All this does is undermine the personal and sometimes global significance and validity of your goals and dreams, and no one has the right to do that.

So, what if this thinking is completely wrong and undermining the significance of our happiness, our purpose has the opposite effect. How can denial of our purpose, which has been driven by men and women over the years who were and are, bitter, frustrated individuals who want to control who and how you are through the illusion that you have no control over that be possible?

Since when has self denial made anyone truly happy, what does it really give you on a permanent basis. I agree that there are times when this is actually highly beneficial, however not for the entirety of your life. On a personal front, denial for too long makes me miserable and crave things all the more and this is where balance must be applied, because, short term denial can be a great motivator when applied in the right way for any individual.

The purpose of this post is to help you find ways to make you happier and make changes that you want to make and, it may say things that some people might not like or agree with and that’s ok. This can create interesting discussion and debate which I thoroughly enjoy.

I hope that this post and the ones that follow it will generate in you excitement and perhaps a little guilt. What do I mean by that? Well as I offer you the opportunity to create change for yourself you will also become fully aware of the other option, which is to stay where you are with your life and not change, improve, refine yourself and become better at being you. If you are happy being where, how and who you are for the rest of your days then I am very happy for you. If not then you have a choice or choices to make.

In simple terms, this series of posts are designed to manipulate you, not in some dark occult way, in a way that enables you to see the choices in front of you that you may not have been aware of yet. Now, you may have been a bit concerned over my use of the word manipulate, however, manipulation is at the very heart of all of our relationships.

We are designed to manipulate, we learn to do it as kids in order to get what we want and some people are better at it than others without even trying, they just have a flair for it. You’ve all met people like this before. They persuade and influence with consumate ease and seem to get whatever they want/need in life. In my humble opinion manipulation is neither good nor bad, it is the intention behind that makes it one or the other.
In order to understand and be able to manipulate others, you have to first learn how to manipulate yourself. How good you are at this depends on several factors:

Your personal happiness
Your satisfaction with your own life
Your current perception of your ability to get what you want

This series of posts may for some people be inappropriate, incorrect or whatever other way that can be perceived as negative and that’s fine, they are free to choose whatever perception they want of this. Those of you who read this and find your curiosity and interest perks up, you will find that you are going to enjoy them and get a huge amount from them.

There are no spiritual ideals, abundance, manifestation ideals, wealth awareness or any other such personal development principles or ideals, this is purely about helping you understand how to change the way you think and believe in order to achieve/get what you want out of your life.

I am not decrying any particular spiritual or any other concept here, I have my own and I encourage you to identify and develop your own too.

We all have needs, right from the most basic, essential life needs as brilliantly illustrated by Abraham Maslow and the updated version of his Hierarchy of Needs incorporates transcendence, which is the point where you are now able to help others to the point of self actualisation. When all our basic material needs are met and the nice to haves as well, it makes any path you choose in life much easier. A crucial step is to raise what you want above greed and spiritual enlightenment and make it the absolute essential piece of your journey.

By doing this you will develop a much clearer understanding of yourself as you identify your deepest wants and needs and the obstacles that my be in your way, this includes your own limiting beliefs, fears and excuses as to why you can’t or won’t achieve it. Being completely honest with you, this is going to happen from time to time along the way, and recognising, accepting and preparing for that makes it a much smaller hurdle to step over.

I want you to remember that there will always be people who do not want you to succeed and some of these people depend on your continued ignorance, desperation, poverty and dependence in order to control you. They do not want you to become independent and free thinking. You may think that at this moment in time you are free thinking and independent. Are you really, when you look closely at who and how you are?

Being independent and free thinking makes it much easier to get what you want in your life and this of course potentially puts so called gurus and consultants out of business because they are not needed, however, there are always going to be some people who are unwilling to take responsibility for their lives. They want to be told what they need to do by someone else in order to feel accountable for their actions and that’s ok too, it’s a personal choice.

The main advantage of this is that these consultants etc have an objective view of your life and who and how you currently are. When you learn to do this for yourself it makes life much easier and cheaper and you can learn to do this for yourself.

What you need in order to do this is take a global view of your life, as if you’re looking down on your life from a high point. This allows you to see it from a detached perspective where you can see each facet, your goals, objectives, obstacles etc and join the dots, rearrange, add or takeaway whatever needs to be adjusted. This has a huge impact on your ability to play the long game and be so much more strategic in your goal planning, as opposed to being reactive, it makes you phenomenally proactive and responsible and accountable for everything that you do in your quest to get what you want in your life. Choices and decisions become easier because you can see the big picture, from where you are now to where you want to be and it all makes sense.

The great thing for me is I don’t know you, so there is no emotional connection, and what I write here can be open and honest from my experience and for some of you what I say may seem harsh and get your back up. That’s a good thing because it means I’ve touched a nerve for you to respond that way and you need to take a deeper look at why you responded that way. Maybe I’ve hit on a truth that you have been shying away from, not admitting to yourself, embarrassed by. Whatever it is, identify it, accept it and and commit to changing what needs to be changed so that you can get what you want in your life and stop being the one responsible for holding you back.

It’s so important that you understand yourself on this level, that you “get it”, rather than it be externally driven because then, it’s you that drives the change and this internal motivation for change is far more powerful than you can imagine.

Mind you, you have a choice at every step, you can stop reading this and future posts on this theme and carry on regardless the way you have been, perhaps banging your head against a wall never quite getting where and what you want in your life. It’s entirely up to you.

This brings me nicely to my next point and something I really can’t stand. Victim culture and victim mentality. Are you one of those people that blames everyone and everything else for your situation, never taking responsibility for what happens to you. If you are, being blunt, you need to sort your shit out!! Grow a set and a back bone and start taking control of your life, be at cause not effect in what happens to you. What I mean is be proactive, take responsibility, accept that shit happens and do everything you can to keep yourself on track. Victim culture is rife in modern society and it really pisses me off. I see it in corporate culture on a regular basis, people, are afraid to make decisions in case they do something wrong, managers and leaders aren’t managing or leading because they are perpetuating this cycle by micro managing, they are not developing their teams and allowing them room to grow.

Stop being a Yes man, disagree, argue your point when you feel it’s needed, challenge the status quo otherwise you will not change and neither will society.

Victim mentality is based on the belief that emotions are reactions to circumstances and not choices. Choices give us power and control over our own lives, whereas being reactive leaves us a puppets on a string.

Despite what I have said here, shit does happen and bad things do happen to good people through no fault of their own, and we do need to show compassion for others when this happens. I am always delighted to see on the news or Youtube videos etc that are posted of people being selfless and helping others without being asked, just purely out of their own desire to show compassion for someone else in need. It’s a shame that it usually takes a significant event for this side of humanity to be openly displayed. My aim is to enable people to make better choices in difficult circumstances so that they can respond better when bad things do happen as opposed to reverting to the victim role.

As Human beings we all have a default setting/reaction when shit happens, this is not set in stone for life though, we can learn to change it to a proactive useful response. Transactional Analysis describes two ineffective roles that we will look at now. These are the persecutor and the saviour and both these roles limit our ability to freedom and flexibility of thought.

The persecutor responds with anger and contempt in the same way a victim responds by feeling victimised. TV dramas and movies are great for depicting this, you can see the characters flitting between victim and persecutor. Until you can step out of these roles you remain a puppet. The roles you take on manipulate you until you choose to respond in another more positive way, and until you do, you make it considerably more difficult for you to achieve what you want in your life.

The saviour is a role we take on when either the victim and/or the persecutor is in play by others and this role doesn’t bring much enjoyment or satisfaction because you feel you have to be the knight in shinning armour who has to save the day. Yet again this is reactive and not a choice and all roles like this are reactions not choices and seriously limit you and your life. In order to achieve what you want in your life, you need to create more choice for yourself.

Part of this is learning about your choice in your behaviour to other people and in how you assess others. Do you judge people on what they say or what they do, their behaviour, because there is a huge difference. We can all have bad days and say things we don’t mean when we feel stressed or under pressure and it is so easy to judge someone as being an arse because of that and decide to not like them. However, we are not what we say or what we do, they are just external expressions of our state of mind and not who we truly are and as such, we need to learn to reserve judgement at an identity level based on words and actions. Of course we can be pissed off with someone’s language and behaviour, this does not mean that that person is always like that and we may find on another day we actually get on really we’ll with them. So yet again it is a choice to reserve judgement and cut people some slack as we do not necessarily know what’s going on in their lives.

The foundation of this post is that there is no objective reality, it is purely subjective and all down to perception. Reality is a perceptual illusion and as such it can be what you want it to be. This can be quite disconcerting if this idea is new to you and may lead you to question everything. This is a good thing, trust me.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE!!

Getting what you want in your life is down to your perception of what is achievable and desirable. This is the same for getting what you want for yourself as well as what you want from other people and this is based on the tried and tested principle that when you control what someone else perceives you control them. It’s a scary thought I know and it happens day in day out.

Knowing this you can now turn your attention to yourself and your goals and desires and manipulate your own perception, therefore manipulating yourself just as you would someone else. This can be quite an eye opening experience, accepting that your perceptions and reality are not real, they are purely your choices at that moment in time, and you can make different choices to create the reality you truly want. Despite this knowledge being widely available, some people prefer to wallow in the self made prison of their own inadequate, ineffective subjective reality instead of questioning their current perceptions and changing their reality through different choices.

Guilt and shame, both self induced and imposed by others is what keeps many people in that self made prison and this is often from religion, gangs, political groups etc and used purely to control you. Understanding that you have other choices strips others of their power and control over you.

I truly hope that this and the rest of my posts in this series open up your mind to the endless choices available to you and help you realise that if you’ve felt stuck up till now, it has been your choice and that there is no discernible honour in self imposed poverty, whether that is financially, spiritually, emotionally or on any other level, unless those sacrifices are necessary for you to keep moving in the direction of your life’s purpose.

” Live for today because tomorrow is a gift, not a guarantee.” Simon Maryan

Brain2Body Lifestyle Nutrition & Exercise Manual – 2nd Edition coming soon!!


brain2body-cover

I have been working on the 2nd edition of my Lifestyle Nutrition and Exercise Manual, with the main focus having been on updating the supplements section later on in the book. This now emphasises health supplementation as opposed to more sports based supplements in the 1st edition and this update is based heavily on my research into this form of supplementation.

Having health issues myself, I have wanted to find ways to enhance my bodies’ ability to recover, repair and regenerate and what I found really made me smile, and feel good. So, I am almost ready to get this new version published and I will keep you all posted when it is ready.

Thanks again to everyone who bought the 1st edition and I am confident that you will find this new edition enlightening as well.

Simon

Making the Most of Your Heroic failures


quote_dream41 I am going to succeed 2013-10-08 06.58.45

Who you are matters.

What you’re trying to make out of  your life matters. The skills you are developing as a person and in your career matter. You won’t always be “winning” in your life, that is an unrealistic expectation for anyone to have.

What REALLY matters is that you don’t allow your setbacks or failures to become an excuse for you to give up on yourself. Whenever you feel yourself giving up on yourself or becoming discouraged on your journey to achieving what matters most to you – take heart in these stories:

  • Sigmund Freud was booed off stage the first time he presented his theories to a group of his scientific peers in Europe. He went on to win the Goethe Award for his work in psychology
  • Winston Churchill failed sixth year and lost every election he ran for until he was elected Prime Minister of Great Britain at the age of 62
  • Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four, couldn’t read basic words until he was seven and was expelled from school. He eventually revolutionised physics with his Theory of Relativity
  • Henry Ford failed at farming, at being an apprentice and as a machinist and went bankrupt five times. Yet he modernised mass production
  • Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was “too clumsy”. He won eight Davis Cup championships and is considered one of the greatest doubles tennis players of all time
  • Charles Schultz had every cartoon rejected that he submitted to his high school year book. He was rejected by Walt Disney. He went on to create the most popular cartoon series ever: Peanuts
  • Van Gogh only sold a single painting his entire life — to a friend’s sister for about $50. He painted 800 masterpieces, seven of which are together worth almost $1 billion
  • Leo Tolstoy flunked out of law school and was labelled “unable to learn” by his professors. He went on to become one of the world’s greatest novelists with War and Peace
  • John Creasey failed as a salesman, a desk clerk, a factory worker and an aspiring writer, getting 754 rejection notices from publishers. He wrote more than 600 novels and is considered one of the greatest mystery writers ever

 

What about you?

How will your story read like?

More importantly, how do you want your story to read?

Hopefully there will be a few failures for you along the way so you get to fully appreciate the success you’re going to become in your life.

That is my honest hope for you.

Because we all fail. The best of us fail most often! That’s because the best are always striving for success and as a result create more opportunities for failing. It’s those “failures” that are the stepping stones to your success.

And our “failures” make what we ultimately achieve MATTER all the more!

Here’s to Heroic Failures and the opportunities they bring.

Have an awesome week.

 

Simon 🙂

A Fresh Approach To Corporate Behavioural Change


Behavioural Change Cycle

Behavioural Change Process_Prochaska and DiClemente

I own a training company based in Aberdeen called HC Training and we started a training project with Aker Solutions in Aberdeen at the end of May this year which involved us delivering a 2 day Behavioural Change course for onshore personnel and a 1 day version for the offshore teams. It was an adapted version of my 3 day course called ‘Understand Yourself, Influence Others.©’

After 3 months my client has given us feedback that they have begun to notice observable positive changes and differences in behaviour within their onshore personnel. I am obviously extremely pleased for a number of reasons, mainly for them because it goes to show how much effort and commitment they have put into this training project and that without having to try and reinforce it, it is working.

One of the aspects that makes the difference is that we apply what we are teaching in how we teach and present it, that way the participants see, hear and feel it in action, and as they begin to think a little differently throughout the course, this is the first evidence for them that the material really works.

One of the common misconceptions that I have noticed over the last few years, is that organisations expect immediate changes in peoples behaviour after sending them on courses. They expect people to adopt what they have learnt and be able to implement these new learnings straight away. Human beings rarely work like that in terms of changing their behaviour, it takes time, and the need for change must come from within that person, they must come to the realisation themselves that it is a good thing for them to change. Without this internal recognition, it will either not happen or take a very long time.

A key aspect that we put across in the course is that during the behavioural change cycle, people will very probably relapse back into their old habits/behaviours and possibly several times before the new habit/behaviour becomes engrained and unconsciously rooted. In my therapy practice I actually prescribe several relapses and thereby reframing it into a positive, so that the person actually looks forward to the relapses as they then become milestones on their path to change. I have even had some clients feel slightly annoyed when they did not get all their relapses because they changed quicker then they had expected. Ironic really that this can happen and also goes to show the power of reframing.

Our course allows people the opportunity to not only become aware of habits and behaviours that need to change, it goes that step further by teaching them tried and tested methods that enable them to implement changes, either for themselves or for people who work with them, for them or for their family and friends.

If this is something you feel would be beneficial in your business, please drop me an email or call me directly to discuss how it can be of value to your organisation.

T: 01224 443003
E: simon@hctraining.co.uk

Good Times


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I have spent a number of months working really hard to get a few things in place, that includes new clients and contracts both private and corporate for training and therapy. Now it is all falling into place and although it will take a few more weeks until everything is fully up and running, the bulk of the hard work is over and the fun can begin.

None of this would have been possible if I had not practiced what I preach and used my goal setting strategy. Yet again it has proven invaluable and pretty much on schedule, because I set a goal of having these things in place by my birthday, which is actually today and I am sitting here working from home with a big smile on face. Not because it’s my birthday, although that does help, it is down to the fact that what seemed like a million miles away last year when I started planning it all, is now within touching distance.

Now, I have the attention span of a goldfish and this takes some doing for me to maintain that focus consistently and setting out clear, precise goals with well-formed outcomes and having them printed out on my wall makes a huge difference for me. Yes I love what I do for a living and I need to create a safe and comfortable future for my kids, so I have plenty of incentives to stay on track and get the work done, which has included many late nights and early starts. I’m sure there are many of you out there who have young kids and if you’ve ever tried working from home, particularly at the weekend, it is quite a challenge to get anything done, because rightly so, kids want to be with you and play games or sit and watch TV with you. All so much easier to do than work!!

If you haven’t seen my goal setting pdf, take a look at the Free Stuff tab on here as I have put it back there for another week, it is my birthday week after all and I’m feeling generous. Have a look at the other stuff there as well and once you’ve read it I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and I’d also love to hear about how you’ve used it and how it works for you.

Have a great week, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

Simon 🙂

How To Lift the Seasonal Blues


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I deal with a fairly high number of clients with depression and the symptoms that lead up to it and maintain it such as; stress, anxiety, insomnia, negative thinking and ruminating.

All these symptoms are part and parcel of daily life in lesser forms as we all experience them to some degree or other, yet when they are combined they become like a powerful magnetic force pulling you into depression.

It seems that this time of year is historically a time where a proportion of people feel depressed and there are a number of theories about this and this is a screen shot of a Google search for information on January Blues (and yes I know it’s into February already :-))

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It’s incredible that this very quickly pulls up 245,000,000 results which leaves you wondering how this can actually come about and what makes people so depressed so early in a new year.

There are many reasons, some are personal to the individual and could be based around bereavement and a fairly common occurrence around christmas is the break up of a relationship, which can obviously lead to a period of grief, loss and a degree of depression.

Below are some of the most common reasons for feeling low in January/Feb and some suggestions as to how to kickstart your positivity and motivation to turn things round for yourself.

The festive season is over and it’s back to work – no wonder January can feel like the gloomiest month of the year.

Add to that crappy weather, Christmas debts and a few failed resolutions, and it’s no surprise that some of us can fell miserable and low.

The good news is it takes less effort than you think to look at things differently and lift your mood.

Here are the top six reasons you might be feeling the January blues – and what you can do about them.

1) Weight gain over Christmas

Studies have shown that we can gain as much as five to seven pounds over the Christmas week alone.

What can You Do About It?

Festive weight gain doesn’t have to be permanent, and we can put way too much pressure on ourselves, particularly over the festive period and we often indulge even though we feel guilty about it and think, “what the hell, it’s christmas, I’ll shift the weight in January.”

We tend to exercise less and eat more during this period so it’s not rocket science really. So by maintaining your normal exercise routine and not eating everything in front of you, and yes I’m as guilty as the next man, you can break even over the festive period.

If you do indulge over christmas, then in January follow a sensible healthy eating plan with exercise, most people can lose approximately 2lb per week – that’s nearly all your Christmas weight gain in three weeks.

Another top tip is, instead of a diet, focus on your portion control as overeating at Christmas and at all the parties either side of the big day, it’s easy to continue the habit of large meals and delicious deserts and, you can even throw this in the mix during the festivities to stop you feeling so stuffed at every meal.

Cut back to three smaller meals a day and two snacks equalling around 1500 calories per day (2000 calories if you’re a man). This obviously varies from person to person and how much exercise you do and the kind of exercise. You can get a benchmark for this by asking a trainer at your local gym to help you, or you can find loads of information on the internet for BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) This won’t necessarily be 100% accurate, it will give you a good start though and help you plan more wisely.

If you’re desperate to lose the weight at a faster rate, try the following:

  • cut out treats such as your morning coffee and muffin
  • reduce sweet snacks to once a week
  • limit alcohol because it restricts the number of calories that can be burned off.

2) General post-Christmas blues

We can all be like reluctant school kids at times and return to work with feelings of lethargy, misery and a lack of personal fulfilment.

What Can You Do About It?

If you’re already counting down the days until your summer holiday, plan more breaks into your work life. We generally spend enough bloody time there so space them out.

Try a weekend away or ‘staycationing’ – where you take leave, but enjoy time at home doing things you enjoy or just relaxing. Or why not use your annual leave for the odd spontaneous day off?

If your feelings of being fed up at work go deeper, I recommend taking a serious look at how you can improve your current role before you look for a new job. Sometimes having a chat with your manager/boss about how you can develop yourself, your role or a promotion can break the state you’re in, and your boss may be in a similar place and this could help them in the process too.

Ask yourself two questions:

  • what can you do to make your existing job more interesting?
  • what do you love most and what are your professional strengths?

The conventional wisdom of making a career change is to work out “what next?” and then make it happen – but change often happens the other way round. Make something happen at work first and then more permanent change will follow.

Ways to do this are to look at your past successes and what you’ve enjoyed doing, because these will guide you to changing the right areas of your work life.

3) New Year over-analysis

Self-reflection at this time of year can make us all focus on what’s wrong with our life, leading us to set unrealistic goals to become our ‘ideal’ person.

Small wonder, then, that a third of us lose our resolve to keep our resolutions within a week.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Although self-improvement is important, going overboard can backfire.

To lift your morale and gain perspective, make a list of everything that is already great with your life, taking stock of all that you feel grateful for right now.

It’s healthy to feel motivated to make changes at the beginning of a New Year, and avoid the mistake of only focusing on what’s missing in your life. Instead, focus on the changes you want to bring about from a balanced and optimistic perspective.

As for mistakes – who hasn’t made them? The smart thing to do is to grasp the lesson thoroughly and move on a little bit wiser for it.

Balance your drive for change with an appreciation of the here-and-now and your sense of disillusionment will fade away.

4) Family tension over Christmas

Feeling worn down by your family is normal after Christmas. Spending an extended amount of time cooped up with your relatives is a recipe for tension, no matter how well you usually get on.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

However, It’s important to realise that all families get on each other’s nerves at Christmas. It doesn’t mean you’re all dysfunctional or don’t love each other, it’s more that you’ve just spent too much time together.

It’s impotent though to recuperate by first resolving any holiday conflicts that have lingered on, because it’s these that will keep on making you feel miserable and stressed into January and beyond.

If you’ve had a big row over something, be the bigger person and back down. Why not consider an old-fashioned letter in the post to apologise or a thoughtful gift?

You will feel much happier if you try to build bridges rather than hang onto a grudge or sense of injustice.

Once you’ve found closure, forget what’s happened and schedule in some much-needed ‘me time’, remembering it’s a long time before you have to do it all again! A thought worth smiling about 🙂

5) Money worries after Christmas with a recession looming

You’ve spent too much at Christmas and you’re worried about your job because the UK economy is still a bit slow and more cuts promised by the government in 2014.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

The changing economic situation could actually be a good chance for everyone to get on top of their spending and debt.

Keep a note of your daily expenditure and focus on how you feel when you spend. This can help you adopt healthier habits that will then improve your financial situation. And, while you shouldn’t ignore your money problems, don’t dwell on your fears.

Ask yourself how you want your financial life to look this year and focus on how you’ll feel when you get the results you want.

By expecting positive results and working on changing your money habits for good, you can help change your financial future.

6) It’s cold and dark outside

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or the winter blues, is thought to affect up to two million people in the UK as the lack of natural sunlight leads us to feel depressed and lethargic.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

There is hope: the days are already getting longer, and January averages less rain and more hours of sunshine than December. although the last couple of months have been a bit of an exception, all right a lot of an exception for some parts of the UK.

Boost your mood by making a lunchtime walk a daily habit. Just 30 minutes of natural light, even weak winter sunlight, can be enough to make you feel happier and energised.

Don’t let the wintry weather put you off your exercise routine either. When it’s cold and dark outside, it is much more tempting to curl up on the sofa than to put on your tracksuit and brave the elements, and when you do get off your arse and do something, the exercise leaves you happier and more motivated filling you with positive feelings which will lift your mood and boost your motivation to do more.

Create a backup plan, so, if it is impossible to exercise outside due to crap weather conditions, you know what you can do as a good alternative. Swimming is a great option if it’s too rainy to run and you can always make use of your garage, like I do, and do a bodyweight circuit which needs absolutely no equipment.

I hope this post has been useful for you and helps bring a little clarity to why you may be feeling low and what you can do to shift it round.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments.

Have a brilliant week.

Simon

Effective Goal Setting for Success


I was watching the news early this morning and they were talking to the CEO of Fitness First and discussing how gym membership increases at this time of year yet they struggle to keep retention at the same rate throughout the year.

New years resolutions are a great idea in theory and a big part of why they fall to the wayside is because they are unplanned. Many of us have these intentions and rush out to renew or take out a new gym membership without really taking the time to think about what it is we want from it and how we’re going to achieve our goal. Now I know that you rely on the gym staff to play a big part in that, however, how much help do you really get.

The CEO was talking about how they have changed their contracts to allow more flexibility and not tie people in as  much as they used to and they are retraining their staff to help their members make the best use of the facilities and get value for money through regular and consistent attendance. This is Fitness First looking at it’s goals, reassessing and rewriting them in order for them to achieve their goals and be successful, why should you be any different.

While Fitness First updates their goals and their plan, it will certainly help people towards achieving their goals, however, without actually sitting down yourself and going through a structured process that will allow you to:

  • discover what you want to achieve
  • what’s important about that for you
  • what will you have to do differently
  • what will you have to give up
  • what will it give you
  • create a step by step plan of short terms goals that will give you constant encouragement that you’re on the right path

This will keep you motivated as will having a visualisation in your mind of what it is you want to achieve and practicing this visualisation every day and each time you practice it will add in more detail. Over time this will develop into  a deep set image that is burnt into your mind and builds an emotional connection with the end result, because as you achieve your short term goals, you can tick them off your goals sheet that you will have already created and also mentally tick them off.

In the Free Stuff tab under the photo at the top of my blog, you will find a free ‘Setting Effective Goals’ pdf that is available until the end of this weekend, after that it will be replaced with other things to help you. Grab a copy now and read through a couple of times before you get stuck in and put it into practice. It is detailed and in-depth and will enable you to create some incredible goals that will have deep meaning for you, huge value and that will stretch your comfort zone outwards, and all this will massively boost your confidence and self-belief.

If you get stuck you can email me on simon@simonmaryan.com and arrange a Skype coaching session to get you up and running.

Have fun with it and enjoy creating your future with a purpose.

Simon 🙂