If you think you can…

It’s the start of a new year and the urge to write something inspirational about planning for a wonderful, goal-oriented 12 months is upon me.  January is a popular time for people to focus in on what outcomes they wish to achieve during the year and it is pretty common for weight loss goals, fitness goals and financial goals to top the list!  

Yet from our experience of working with people who are striving for change, these things come up but so too do aspirations around less measurable element.  Such as “peace”, “contentment” or relaxation.  I believe that many of us are simply seeking to increase the amount of satisfaction and contentment we have with our lives. 

Whatever your desire, January seems to be a great place to contemplate what we really want and how we are going to go about getting it and making this year, even better the last year!  Yet I am sure that despite your intuitions to spend reflective time over the holiday period (clean out your inbox, sort out your office and spend more quality time with your live ones – worry free), some of you, like me, haven’t quite managed those ambitious projects.  And somehow we find ourself on the 7th January wondering whether a holiday might be necessary to recover from the last one!!  Or perhaps not.  And you are relaxed and ready for anything.  We are where we are and as the saying goes, “onwards and upwards”, we are very enthusiastic about planning our year ahead.  So what will make this year different from last year?  Is there something that you want to achieve last year that you didn’t manage?  And if so, what got in the way?

This reminds me of a Sixty Minutes segment that I saw towards the end of 2012.  It was an amazing account of how certain patients were achieving incredible recoveries from operations or drug-treated conditions, by believing they were recipient of the treatment, whereas in fact they were given a placebo!  Now this isn’t a new phenomenon but these really were exceptional cases.  Knee surgery was performed without the doctor actually doing things, and lo and behold the problem abated.  Of course this wouldn’t work in every case, but the medical world were excited and curious to work out how they could use this “placebo effect” to cure more people.  Their intentions were honourable.  However, the results seemed to go hand in hand with what could really only be described as deception of one kind of another.  and what I was really impressed with was the evidence that the power of the mind was vastly under-rated.  Surely there would be a way of tapping into this self-belief without the need for pseudo treatment?!


Good old Henry Ford has been quoted so many times and in coaching, we remind people of this time-worn saying constantly.  Because it’s true.  But how we do really change our self-belief to one of confidence and positivity instead of doubt and uncertainty that can destroy our chances of success?  No magic pill will do this – despite the research.  As behaviour change requires “doing” as well as “thinking”. 

But there are ways that we can slowly build our self belief.  Some of the following tips might speak to you:

Secrets to Positive Change

Remember what you have done in the past that required effort and how you persevered and used your strengths.
Recognise your strengths and celebrate them.  Be proud that you are organised/dedication/creative/tenacious/brave.
Decide how important the change is and be sure that you really want it.  What else could change for the better?
Experiment.  All or nothing thinking can be our undoing.   Take small steps.  This approach can really work with perfectionists
Slow down and take time to think, plan and build self belief.
Never give up and take each set back as an opportunity to learn and grow.
When  you feel low in confidence, act as if you are quietly confident.  Fake it till you make it.
Our thoughts are our choice and what we focus on becomes our reality.  Is there a better way of looking at that situation?
Read everything you can that inspires you and lifts your spirits.  
Stop trying too hard.
Don’t try to change everything.  Pick one or two things and start slowly.
Remember the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.
Now these ideas may not all work for you.  But perhaps one or two of them strike a chord.  Does your life reflect  your values are are you living in an atmosphere of growth?  (Read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin if you want more on this.

I encourage the practice of gratitude in my clients, my colleagues and most of all myself!  (We teach best what we most need to learn.)  One of my biggest joys in life is that I work in the field of wellness coaching and with like-minded people who feel the same.  We are looking forward to a wonderful year of meeting many of you and spreading the word about coaching as a means of empowering others. Thanks to all of you who have written to use during last year telling us what you are doing with information we have shared.  

There are some fantastic stories.  

Happy New Year!