Missing Your Goal? Change Your Aim!

Missing your goal? Change your Aim

A couple of months ago I had a call from a prospective new client. He told me that despite his best efforts and intentions his life seemed stuck. It wasn’t that he was in a particularly bad place, quite the opposite. Most people would look in from the outside and see a very successful businessman. It was clear, however that he was very frustrated with something in his life.

Clarify your Goal

I invited him over for what I call a “coffee and a chat” session, it’s an opportunity for me to find out more about someone’s situation and whether I can help as well as for them to see if I’m the right person to work with them.

Share your Goal

As we spoke and I asked questions, it became more and more apparent how hard he had been trying to solve his issue himself. He had studied self development and read many “self help” and “personal development” books. In fact, he was probably the most well read person I’d met outside the profession.
He told me how he had a specific “big dream goal”. He said that he had spent time refining his goal, making it “S.M.A.R.T.” (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound) just as the books had told him. He had visualised himself having achieved the goal in great detail – just as the books had told him. However, he hadn’t been able to progress at all towards his goal.
As I questioned and probed, I checked that the goal was still valid for him. Sometimes without noticing, we lose the desire for something we think we want. The goal was still valid and very attractive to him.
The breakthrough came when we talked about his visualisation. He had followed the books to the letter, imagined himself in the future having achieved his goal. However, that’s where the books are lacking. I asked how he visualised each action step on the way to his goal; he looked at me blankly and asked what I meant. There it was. He was so focussed on the end goal that he hadn’t considered what steps he needed to get there, no wonder he was stuck. He was aiming too far ahead.
We spent a couple of sessions refining his aim, looking at action steps and eliminating barriers.
I wrote this tip today as he called me earlier. Since his last session 6 weeks ago, he has achieved his goal and is busy visualising the steps to the next one.

If this is a subject that affects you call Mark Darlington on 0800 043 1946 or use the contact section of the website. Mark is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Success Coach based in Flintshire. His Hypnotherapy rooms are within easy reach of Mold, Deeside, Flint and Chester.

Sunday Night Anxiety

Don’t Like Sundays? Tell Me Why!

How to prevent unnecessary worry, anxiety and sleepless nights every Sunday

As I sit here on Sunday afternoon, looking out of the window at grey overcast skies, knowing that in a few short hours it will be Monday morning and time to go back to work, I feel fantastic. It appears that I’m one of the lucky few.

A new survey of more than 20,000 workers by Monster.com reveals more than 80 percent of workers suffer Sunday-night insomnia due to work anxiety.

Many of the people surveyed say their anxiety rises straight after Sunday dinner as Monday looms. With increasing expectations and pressures some workers feel the only way to get ahead is to prepare on Sunday nights — checking e-mail, mentally rehearsing for meetings and worrying about the week ahead.

Experts say Sunday-night depression is more common than most people realise. Craig Marker, assistant professor with the Centre for Psychological Studies at Nova South-Eastern University was quoted as saying ”It’s anticipatory worrying,”

If this is something that currently affects you, the good news is there are ways to cope.

“Anticipatory worrying” is so common in many areas of life and not just confined to work related anxiety. We tend to find ourselves getting worked up far in advance of actual events, anticipating all the things that could possibly go wrong. Sometimes getting so anxious it can result in a full blown panic attack. Then, in the future, knowing how scary a panic attack can be we worry about having a panic attack – which in itself can trigger the sensations of an attack. Then we worry about worrying about having a panic attack and so on. You get the picture! A very famous man (but not so famous that I can remember his name!) towards the end of his days was quoted as saying “I have experienced many, many traumatic events in my life and, you know, some of them actually happened.”

If you’re suffering from Sunday night insomnia and anxiety here are some techniques to help you cope.

Get that Friday Feeling

Prepare for Monday before leaving the office on Friday. Spend the last 30 minutes on a Friday clearing your desk or workspace and plan for the week ahead. This will enable you to write any to do lists and get any materials you need ready for Monday morning. If you think you couldn’t possibly spare 30 minutes on a Friday afternoon, you’ll be surprised at how much time this simple exercise saves you and prevents you from playing catch up all week. You can than switch off from work mode and enjoy your weekend right up to the moment you step foot back in work.

Plan your “Funday” night experience

Another plan that can work is to plan Sunday evenings to be as much fun as possible. Maybe catch up on your favourite TV programmes or absorb yourself in that book you’ve not got round to reading yet, phone family or friends and have a nice relaxing bath. It is Sunday after all, didn’t we all used to have a bath on a Sunday night before school on a Monday?

Think Inside the Box for a Change
A great technique for relaxing into a peaceful nights sleep as well as reducing feelings of stress and anxiety is what I call the “Box Breathing” technique. I teach this to clients who come to see me with anxiety related concerns. About 75-80% of my clients are for stress, anxiety and depression related conditions and I love hearing about the great results they get using this and other techniques we share.

Climb into bed, get comfortable and close your eyes. Imagine that you’re going to draw a square in your mind, choose any colour for this – maybe one you would associate with calm and relaxation. Mine is yellow by the way.

As you take a deep, relaxing breath in imagine drawing the left hand side of the square from the bottom to the top. Then hold that breath for as long as is comfortable as you imagine drawing the top of the box from left to right. As you breathe out imagine drawing the right hand side of the square from top to bottom. Finally hold that breath again as you imagine drawing the bottom of the square from right to left and completing the box.

As you repeat this exercise over and over again start to slowly relax all your muscles from your feet up to your eyes. Very soon you will be relaxing into a peaceful nights sleep.

If it’s all too much

Of course, if the anxiety of Sunday night completely washes over Sunday afternoon, Sunday morning and even starts working its special power as early as mid-day Saturday, it may be an indicator it is time to move on to another job. And if it is becoming emotionally disruptive to you and your loved ones, professional help could be the answer.

When the Solution is Simpler than the Problem

Back in the 1960’s there was a cosmic rivalry commonly known as the “Space Race” with the USA and Russia battling to put the first man on the moon.

When NASA started launching manned spacecraft they found out that their astronauts couldn’t use pens to write their essential notes and observations whilst in space. The ink wouldn’t flow down through the pen in a zero-gravity environment. NASA decided to recruit and retain a man named Paul Fisher to design a pen that would work in space.

Much research and a mere $1.5 million later, they had their solution to the problem. NASA now had a pen that worked in zero gravity, in a vacuum and in freezing temperatures.

Of course, the Russian cosmonauts had the same problem.

So they used a pencil!

Now, this anecdote isn’t entirely historically accurate and is more of an “urban legend”. The reason that the story is so widely embraced though is that it rings so true.

We often use massive amounts of time and effort looking for and creating elaborate solutions to problems when a simple answer is right under our noses.

So what’s that got to do with performing at our best?

When was the last time you said to yourself “Why didn’t I think of that?” when someone came up with a brilliantly simple solution to something? What is it that they had that you didn’t?

It tends to be one of 2 thinks; either clarity or perspective.

When we are “stuck in a problem” and “can’t see the wood for the trees” we have neither. When you read those two phrases again you’ll understand how difficult it would be to move to a different perspective if we were literally stuck or clearly see anything else if we were staring at the trees.

If you find yourself going around in circles trying to find a solution to a problem, stop! It’s time to take some time out. Step one is to take time away and relax to get some space back in your head to gain clarity, literally clear your mind of junk.

Second is to find a different perspective. Think of a few people whose opinions or successes you admire, you don’t even have to know them personally it could even be a public figure. What would they say or do? If it’s someone you know, ask them.

What new solutions have you discovered now? Enjoy experimenting with this technique.

Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

How often have you sat down and thought about being a Billionaire? Unless you are in the tiniest percentage of the world’s population, probably never.

Compare that to how many times you may have daydreamed about what it would be like to be a Millionaire, lots? Have you thought about that big business deal finally coming off, a massive stock market recovery or that day when your numbers finally come up for the lottery rollover?

What’s the difference? Does Millionaire sound more realistic or “easy” than Billionaire? Can you imagine things that can happen in your life or things that you can do to get you there? Can you make an action plan to hit that magic number?

In truth, today’s tip isn’t about money. It can be used in any area of your life that you want to make a difference in.

When Billionaire H.L.Hunt was asked the secret to great wealth he came up with a simple 4 step formula. I believe that this formula is so simple, adaptable and powerful that we can use it in any area of life.

So how do we do it?

Step One – Decide what it is you want

Example; I want to be fit, healthy and live a long life.

Step Two – Decide what you are willing to give up

Example; I’m willing to give up some time, money, sweat, processed foods and some (but not all) alcohol and chocolate. I believe a little of what you fancy does you good!

Step Three – Set your priorities accordingly

Example; Most people set goals and miss. Instead of setting goals set priorities. I will exercise daily as a priority over sitting on the sofa. I will prioritise eating tasty, healthy meals instead of take-aways.

Step Four; Be about it

Example – In order to “have” fitness I need to “be” a fit person. To do this I need to behave like a fit person and follow through on all the above even when I don’t feel like it. As someone once said “Just do it!”

Of course this formula can be used in any area of your life. Go through the exercise again and fill in what would work for you right now. Enjoy the experiment!

What do they REALLY think about you?

What do they REALLY think about you?

One of the things that people often worry about is how they are viewed by others. It can affect what we say, what we wear, the places we go and the people we choose to spend time with.

In a lot of cases it can start to affect the way we live our lives and damage self esteem and confidence. One of the common themes I encounter when working with someone to increase self esteem or build confidence is that they worry excessively about what people think.

It’s also common that we never know what people REALLY think about us. The people that we worry about can often be strangers. Take for example a shy person who doesn’t want to go shopping or socialising because “people might think I’m boring”. Strangers will very rarely actually come out with “I’m sorry, I’m leaving now because you’re boring!”

Instead, we tend to mind-read what everyone else is thinking and generally mind-read the worst. So how do we start to deal with this and what do people REALLY think of us?

Well, there are two simple ways to start to combat our own thought processes.

Firstly, let’s deal with our mind-reading. If we are going to take all that time and effort to imagine what other people think of us, let’s use it to our advantage. We can have some real fun with this too. Instead of mindreading that strangers may be thinking “You’re fat/boring/miserable/shy” etc simply change the script in your mind. Try imagining that they are thinking nice thoughts “Have you lost weight? I bet you’re interesting/fun to be around/mysterious!” What would the difference be in how you felt? Think how much netter it would be to be in control of your mind-reading.

Alternatively, decide on how you would like people to think of you. Would you like them to think that you are funny, generous, kind hearted or something else? Once you’ve decided on an answer think about how you would need to be/act so that they would have no choice but to think that about you. Once you live like the thing you want to be known for, how can anyone think any different?

Choose who you want to be today and go out and have fun experimenting.

The “Write” Way to Self Confidence

The “Write” Way to Self Confidence
We’ve talked a lot previously about building Self Confidence. It’s something I help people with on an almost daily basis. When people are struggling with different aspects of their lives, a feeling of low confidence is often present too.
Studies have shown that hypnosis can help you feel wonderfully confident in many different areas of your life. What most people don’t know however is that you can replicate the benefits of hypnosis yourself through the act of reading and writing. In fact, by the time you get to the end of this article you may well feel more relaxed and positive as you discover how to use writing as a form of self confidence hypnosis.
When you write, your whole mind is engaged. Your subconscious mind is so engrossed with the content that you are creating. I’m sure you can remember a time when you were so wrapped up in a book or film that you may as well have been there in person. Perhaps this is why authors of self-help and personal growth books seem to get more and more successful. Their mind is reinforced by what they write down.
First off, take a sheet of paper and write out what you want to achieve. Writing by hand reinforces the link to your mind much better than typing on a computer by the way.
Describe what it would be like to have the confidence you desire. How will you talk? What would you be doing? What other achievements or goals will be attained as a consequence of you gaining this confidence. The more detailed you are, the better your subconscious mind will absorb the message. Try to include all five senses in what you write down. Along with sights and sounds, incorporate smells, touch, and taste.
If you struggle writing this about yourself make up a character, a supremely confident hero type. Make the character as close to you as you possibly can same sex, age, height etc – you know where I’m going with that!
It would be best to do this a couple of times a week. Repetition is also good for embedding hypnotic suggestions. Be as descriptive as possible and enjoy how easy it is to feel confident now.
If you’re curious to know the facts about hypnosis, there’s lots of information on my website in the FAQs section and it’s all free.
Enjoy experimenting and growing your confidence.
If this is a subject that affects you call Mark Darlington on 0800 043 1946 or use the contact section of the website. Mark is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Success Coach based in Flintshire. His Hypnotherapy rooms are within easy reach of Mold, Deeside, Flint and Chester.

Have a Wonderful Life

Have a Wonderful Life
When people ask me what business I’m in sometimes it can take me a while to answer as I really have to think about it. Although I spend most of my time coaching, teaching, using hypnosis or writing, I don’t really think of myself as a coach, teacher, hypnotherapist or writer.
I prefer the way American Supercoach Michael Neill describes it as being in the “having a wonderful life” business. The one thing all the people I work with have in common is that they want to change something that’s happening now, to help them have a more wonderful life in the future. Whether that is to stop smoking so their wonderful life is healthier or to stop feeling anxious so that their wonderful life can be much calmer, I don’t remember meeting anyone who didn’t want their life to be more wonderful.
Michael asks a very powerful question; “If a wonderful life is the sum total of lots of wonderful days, what can we do to ensure we have as many wonderful days as possible?”
Here are some thoughts, very simple yet very effective.
Make today a wonderful day
Sometimes the only reason people don’t have more wonderful days is that they don’t decide to have them. Just assuming that wonderful days either happen or don’t happen, a bit like whether it’s sunny or not. Thing is, we can have control by making the decision. So what could you do to make today a wonderful day?
Have something to look forward to
Once you’ve made the decision and created a wonderful day today, keep going. Try to plan something, however small, that’s going to make the rest of the week wonderful. These can be really simple things like planning your favourite meal for dinner tonight, tomorrow phoning someone that always makes you feel great, the day after having some “you time” and so on.
Reflect and enjoy it again
When you start having wonderful days, don’t waste them. It would be terrible if you started having wonderful days without even noticing! Take a little time out in the evening to reflect on all the wonderful things that you’ve done and how great it made you feel. The more you look the more fantastic things you’ll start to notice and the more there will be to find.
Enjoy experimenting with this and have a wonderful life.
If this is a subject that affects you call Mark Darlington on 0800 043 1946 or use the contact section of the website. Mark is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Success Coach based in Flintshire. His Hypnotherapy rooms are within easy reach of Mold, Deeside, Flint and Chester.

Turning Problems Around

Turning Problems Around
Have you noticed how much easier it is to notice something that’s wrong as opposed to noticing all the things that are just going along nicely?
Even more noticeable over the last couple of weeks as Election fever swept the nation. Each politician in turn pointing out to us what was wrong with their opponents’ policies and records, rather than revealing what their triumphs and plans were. I’m writing this before the results announcement but am intrigued with what the outcome might be.
People might tell you that we “must think positively”; however it’s actually a hard wired function of our brain to seek out what needs improving or fixing. The intention behind that is not to be negative, rather efficient. Imagine trying to keep a conscious awareness of everything that doesn’t need our attention and is fine.
Instead of trying to battle this inbuilt habit we can harness it and solve our problems in a creative and unusual way. Let’s experiment with this.
First identify something in your life that needs improving. As an example let’s use improving a relationship with someone important. Traditional thinking might lead you to ask yourself “What can I do to improve this relationship?”
Not a bad place to start and you will, of course, come up with some answers. The likeliness is however, that they may not be particularly revolutionary of lots of them. A more creative way to get the ideas flowing would be to ask the question; “What would I need to do to REALLY mess up this relationship?”
Immediately you’ll notice a flow of answers. They might include; completely ignore them, constantly insult them, do all the things that annoy them, take no interest in their life.
Now, if we left it there it wouldn’t be the best experiment in the world. So this is the turning around bit. Go back to each of your answers in turn and work out what the complete opposite would be. Ask yourself what would be the absolute best way of ensuring this would never happen; and really go to town. If the answer you’re turning around is “completely ignore them” don’t settle for “Don’t ignore them” think of something like “I’ll set aside an hour of quality time to talk to them every day”.
By all means don’t limit yourself to just one turn around per “problem” answer; keep going and going until you are brimming with genius ideas for catapulting the both of you into relationship heaven.
Have fun and let me know how you get on.

If this is a subject that affects you call Mark Darlington on 0800 043 1946 or use the contact section of the website. Mark is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Success Coach based in Flintshire. His Hypnotherapy rooms are within easy reach of Mold, Deeside, Flint and Chester.

That Old New Year’s Resolution Chestnut

So it’s New Year’s Eve again. Are you reflecting back on a wonderful year and hoping 2011 brings more of the same? Or can you not wait to see the back of 2010 and think that 2011 couldn’t get any worse?

Whatever you’re current mindset January 1st can act as a signpost to new beginnings, a catalyst for change or a springboard into action. Of course, in homes and workplaces across the land the hot question on everyone’s lips is “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?” and “How long do you think you’ll stick to them this year?”

The trouble with New Year’s Resolutions is that we feel we “should” make them and do it without too much thought.

New Year’s Resolutions usually fail because of a combination of reasons; we try to do too many resolutions at once. We do too much too soon and run out of steam. We try to change the toughest habits first. Resolutions are often vague like “I’ll exercise!” – these types of resolutions come from thinking that we “should” make some. Life gets in the way.

If you recognise these from New Year’s Resolutions past, that’s ok. Here is how to give yourself a better chance of change.

Focus on one change at a time, so that your attention and energy isn’t spread too thin.

Have a very specific plan with actions built in. What one small thing can you do every day to move towards your goal?

Start out really, really easily so it isn’t overwhelming or intimidating. For example if you want to get fit, walk for 10 minutes a day rather than try and do 2 hours at the gym and build up gradually.

Give yourself 2 months to install the new habit. We often give up on our resolutions because we don’t see results quickly enough. Set your own expectations and mindset that if you consistently do small things for 2 months your new habit will be installed.

Once one habit is installed, move on to the next one.

If you stick with the method, you’ll do much better than you’ve done in the past with New Year’s Resolutions. You’ll focus on creating long-lasting habits rather than trying to reach a short-term goal that fails. You’ll maintain your enthusiasm for longer and not become overwhelmed by the difficulty of change. You’ll have habits that will change your life, and that’s no small feat.

Mark Darlington helps people like you make huge changes in life. Call Mark now on 0800 043 1946 or to book a free consultation

The Best Present You Can Give This Year

So tomorrow it will finally be Christmas Day. Hopefully the weather hasn’t disrupted your plans and preparations too much and you can settle down and enjoy the day with those who are nearest and dearest to you.

Now, chances are we’ve not met yet but I’m going to do a little mind reading. Over the last couple of weeks you will have been running around trying to make this Christmas as perfect as you can for others. Also, this year will have been harder than most for you and caused you to experience increased stress leading to tiredness and maybe disrupted sleep. You don’t have time for “me time” as you’re too busy looking after everyone else and if you didn’t do it, who would? Finally, there will be someone in your family (it may even be you) who doesn’t know what gift they want for Christmas as they “don’t need anything really”.

So how many of those rung true for you? How are my mind reading skills? And what do you give the person who doesn’t need anything?

If my description above seems to have been specifically written personally for you (and it has!) then I know the greatest gift that can give your loved ones this Christmas. Looking after Number One and putting you first for a change!

Now my mind reading skills have just gone into overdrive and I know that you will have recoiled in horror at the mere suggestion and the words “selfish and guilt” will have been in there somewhere. Truth is, if you don’t look after yourself very soon you’ll be in no fit state to look after anyone else. In order to truly give to others, you must first have as much as you need.

Here’s this week’s task;

For the next seven days I want you to dedicate just 5 minutes a day to you. Make a big list of the simple things that give you pleasure and do one every day.

Next, think of one way you can be kind to your body every day and do it. Keep it simple such as; drink more water, eat a piece of fresh fruit, go to bed early, get fresh air or eat regular meals.

Small changes make a huge difference and your loved ones will notice how much more relaxed, happy and energised you are. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Mark Darlington helps people like you make huge changes in life. Call Mark now on 0800 043 1946 to book a free consultation