Benjamin Hardy on How to Become a Different Person

Have you always seen yourself as an introvert? Maybe you’ve never been able to lose weight and get fit. Do you struggle with public speaking? Are you labelled the office clown, but really want to be taken seriously? Sometimes we can get into ruts, thinking that’s just who we are. That these traits are part of our personality and always will be.

Think again. According to organisational psychologist Benjamin Hardy, that just isn’t true. It might not be easy, but you can change your personality. Want to know more about what he says? Then read on to learn three concepts from ‘Personality Isn’t Permanent’ by Benjamin Hardy.

Many of us love those magazine quizzes which reveal our personality, but they may be limiting your beliefs
Personality isn’t a Fixed Entity

Benjamin Hardy says you only have to consider how you behave in different situations in order to undermine the premise that your personality is a fixed entity. For example, I am sure that the version of you that your grandmother sees is very different to the person who goes out with your friends on a Saturday night. Compare who you are at home with your children to the you that arrives at the office every morning. According to Benjamin Hardy the problem with the traditional approach is that it leads people to have a fixed mindset about themselves, rather than realising that they are able to make changes.

I believe that seeing personality as a fixed entity can lead to self-limiting beliefs, a concept that I learnt from the life coach Natalie Bacon. If you have a rigid view of yourself and your skills, you may use that to justify why you can’t adapt to new situations. For example, I will always be overweight, I will never be good at maths, I’m a procrastinator. These are unnecessary ways of labelling yourself which will limit your future and your personal development.

It’s nice to look back at the past, but it shouldn’t restrict who you want to become
The past does not have to predict the future

I work in the area of behaviour change. One of the statements I hear often is that ‘the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour’. Benjamin Hardy says that this doesn’t need to be the case. If you are committed to making choices and sticking by those choices then you can change your life.

He says that within society there is the belief that your life is pre-determined and that you don’t have choices. This is not true. As I talk about in this post, you can decide on the type of person that you want to become and make choices that lead you to grow into that person. Instead of wondering where you’ll be in five years’ time, decide where you want to be and make a plan for how you’re going to get there.

We all catch ourselves on a few thorns along the way. We need to remove them and move on.
We define ourselves by past traumas instead of dealing with them and moving on

Why are some people forever defined by what has happened to them in the past, yet others manage to deal with past trauma and move on?

Benjamin Hardy refers to a section in the book ‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael Singer in which a woman gets a thorn in her arm. Instead of getting it removed she changes her whole life to avoid anything ever touching the thorn. She lives a restricted life in the long term instead of going through the short-term pain of removing the thorn.

We all have thorns in our lives, some more so than others. You need to remove those thorns. Either through therapy, help from your family or just by reframing your childhood. Then you can move forward.

Write your own future
your future self

Very much in line with the thinking of Benjamin Hardy is the idea of creating your future self. This is a concept that I learnt from Natalie Bacon and which she talks about in this podcast.  

It is all about developing a picture of the person you want to be in the future and then working out a roadmap of how you’re going to get there. If you have a purpose, a goal or a vision of your future you can align your daily choices with this. You can then move closer to your end goal, whether that’s losing weight, starting a business or just being a calmer human being.

Want to hear more from Benjamin Hardy himself? Listen to him being interviewed by Paula Pant on the Afford Anything podcast.

Want to learn more about life coaching and how to design your life? Why not check out ‘Grow You’, Natalie Bacon’s life coaching programme (affiliate link).

Seven Creative Ways to Fit Exercise into Your Day

We all want to exercise more. Unfortunately when you have a job which involves sitting in front of a desk, this can be challenging. Here I’m going to give you a few simple ways to exercise which will fit easily into your day.

To show the time of 10pm
Get up just 15 minutes earlier to fit some exercise into your day
Get up earlier

Okay, I know, we’re starting with a difficult one, but according to Laura Vanderkam ‘before the rest of the world is eating breakfast the most successful people have already scored daily victories that are advancing them towards the lives that they want’. One of the things they use this time for is to nurture themselves such as by doing exercise. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot earlier. Even just fifteen minutes would give you time to get your heart rate up. You could do a quick exercise routine from YouTube or take a short walk around the block. If you want some help with getting out of bed a little earlier check out this post.

Leave the car at home when you can

I know that this isn’t always possible, but if you think hard I’m sure that there are times when you could walk instead of drive. If it’s too far to walk how about cycling? You don’t have to do this every time, but if the weather’s good think twice before you reach for that car key.

Use these more often
Take the stairs when you can

Unless you live in a bungalow or are posh enough to have a lift in your house, we all use the stairs every day, but when we’re out and about and a lift presents itself, we are usually inclined to get into it. Lifts are often in front of us, whereas the stairs are frequently tucked away. Go and find them and walk up them. If you get tired on the way, stop and catch your breath. The more often you use them the easier it will get.

Do your own housework

It’s rare than I find someone that enjoys household chores, but if you think of them as your own personal gym, you might start to feel different about them. Cleaning can be very physical, particularly lugging a vacuum cleaner around or get up and down a ladder to clean windows.

Don’t just sit in front of the TV, trying doing some exercise instead
Exercise whilst watching TV

We all seem to be able to find time to watch TV of an evening. I know that sometimes this is about being too tired to do anything else. Whilst I would advocate trying to watch a little less TV, when you do watch it how about a bit of multi-tasking and doing a little exercise such as some yoga, Pilates or even just some stretching. If you have a theraband or some weights why not leave them out near the TV so you’ll be reminded to do a bit of exercise next time you switch on the set.

Dig your garden

Gardening it a bit like housework outside, although often a lot more strenuous, particularly digging. There’s also raking and just generally bending and walking up and down the garden. I find that it’s much easier to do my 10,000 steps a day on weekends when I’m out in the garden.

Do a few lunges whilst making a cup of tea
a few lunges whilst cooking dinner

A few lunges or shoulder stretches with a theraband need only take five minutes. If you’re making a cup of tea or just keeping an eye on things whilst dinner’s cooking, why not do a short burst of exercise before your evening meal.

Hopefully that’s give you a few ideas to add some more movement to your day, something which we all need to do a bit more of.

Want to learn more about life coaching and how to design your life? Why not check out ‘Grow You’, Natalie Bacon’s life coaching programme (affiliate link).

How to Have a Great Staycation

Thinking you might not be able to get away this year, but not looking forward to staying at home again? I’ve got some ideas for you about how to make your staycation week extra special.

A clean bed
Change all your beds so you can enjoy clean sheets on the first night of your staycation
Prepare for your guests

Clean your house as though you were expecting guests to arrive. Treat yourself as you would others. If friends or family were arriving you’d clean the house from top to bottom, put clean sheets on the bed and provide fresh towels. When you’re the guest why treat yourself any different? We all feel a lot happier in a clean environment and you’ll enjoy your week so much more if you are happy in your accommodation. Nice touches can be to buy some flowers and order a daily or Sunday newspaper.

Box of cakes
Make sure you’ve get plenty of treats in
Enjoy Some Treats

Long leisurely lunches or dinners with a nice bottle of wine are what most of us look forward to when we’re on holiday. Going out for a meal may or may not be an option during your staycation. It might be that you live in an area where lockdown is still in place, or maybe you’re just watching the pennies. There are other ways to treat yourself.

Perhaps you could buy some more ready-prepared food than you normally would do. Some indulgent desserts or even just a pizza and garlic bread. Your budget might not stretch to a three-course meal at a fancy restaurant, but you could have a takeaway or even just fish and chips.

As well as treats for main meals, stock up on other goodies such as biscuits, cakes, crisps and your favourite tipple. Don’t forget breakfast. How about a fry up on a Sunday morning or making some pancakes?

phone showing email
Decide whether you’re going to allow work to interrupt your week or not
Set some rules

The difference between having a staycation and just being at home for the week is that you need to behave as though you were away on holiday. It’s up to you to decide what that means. Agree with the rest of the family what the rules are. They might be no work i.e. work phone off and no checking work email. Remember there’s no need to get up early, not unless you want to and you certainly shouldn’t be doing chores. If you’ve cleaned the house before the staycation you shouldn’t need to anyway.

ordnance survey maps
Get one of these and explore your local area
Plan your Activities

The basic rule when it comes to staycation activities is to explore your local area. You may be surprised with what’s on your doorstep and none of it needs to be expensive. Buy an ordnance survey map, or an A-Z if you live in a city, and either plan a route or just wander. You could get a nature guide out of the library to help you explore the great outdoors or some books about your area.  You might find one about local walks or historical sites that you can visit. Does your local town have a town walk? If so you’ll probably find the details on the internet. If you’ve always wanted to be a photographer why not take some photos when you’re out.

Other ideas for outdoor activities are cycling, hiking, going for a picnic or playing games in the local park such as rounders or football.

Activities at home include watching an episode or two a day of a box set over the week, having a games afternoon or doing some baking. Never get time to read? Choose a novel or two to immerse yourself in for a few days. If you’ve got enough space and own a tent, how about camping out in your garden? This is particularly good if you’ve got young children, who will enjoy the excitement of being outdoors for the night. How about having a stay-at-home spa day? Treat yourself to a facial, manicure or a massage – even if you’re on your own you can massage your feet. Buy a special hair treatments and have a relaxing bubble bath. Treat yourself to homemade afternoon tea, with little sandwiches, cake and even champagne or at least some cava.

I hope that you’ve got some good ideas for how to enjoy your next staycation, whether it’s enforced as a result of lock down or a choice if you’re trying to save money.

If you want some more ideas check out this post by Emma or my post about Having a Holiday on a Budget

Want to learn more about life coaching and how to design your life? Why not check out ‘Grow You’, Natalie Bacon’s life coaching programme (affiliate link).

Seven Simple Habits to Help You Get Up Early

Want to regularly get up early? To be the type of person who leaps out of bed at 6am and plunges themselves into their morning routine? I’ve talked about the importance of having a morning routine and many successful people cite the hours before everyone else gets up as the most important in their day. How can you embrace this lifestyle? Here’s seven habits to help you transform from a night owl into an early bird.

To show the time of 10pm
If you want to get up at 6am you need to be in bed by 10pm
Go to bed early

Count back 8 hours from when you want to get up and make sure your head is on the pillow by that time. If you want to be out of bed at 6am then by 10pm you need to be in bed, trying to sleep. I’m always amazed when I see Whatsapp messages from friends after 11pm. No wonder they struggle to get up in the morning. My understanding is that humans benefit from 7-9 hours sleep every night and therefore if you want to get up early, you need to go to bed early. Simple as that. Natalie Bacon has a post here about healthy sleep habits if you want to read a bit more about this.

Make sure your bedroom is dark

Worried that in the summer, if you’re going to bed early, your bedroom may not be dark enough for you to fall asleep? Or that in the height of summer you’ll wake up when the sun rises?  Some modern curtains are very thin and don’t block out light. To avoid both of these problems purchase some curtains with blackout lining or if that’s not an option wear an eye mask.  

A television in a bedroom
Get rid of that TV in your bedroom
Don’t have a TV in your bedroom

Love your box sets or Netflix before bed? The trouble is that watching some of those thrillers before bed will keep your mind racing and stop you from sleeping. There is also some concern that looking at a screen before bed can give you insomnia. Try to have some time before you go to sleep when you’re not looking at a screen.

Keep your phone in another room

Use your phone as an alarm clock and are constantly distracted by all the notifications? Replace it with something else. Don’t have a landline and worried you won’t be contactable in an emergency? Perhaps have your phone in your room, but not on your bedside cabinet or just outside the room with the volume turned up. Ideally, it should be downstairs and either switched off or charging.

Have different tog duvets for different times of year

How many times have we been on holiday in the summer to find the bed has a really thick duvet on it? You need to be comfortable. If you’re too hot or too cold you won’t sleep well. Use different thickness duvets for different times of year. Your partner’s always too hot and you’re always too cold? Try a thinner duvet and have a blanket on your side of the bed.

Toothbrushes to show morning routine
Just brushing your teeth tells your brain it’s time for bed
Tell your MIND that it’s time to go to sleep

Create a bed time routine. This can be as simple as brushing your teeth, washing your face and reading a couple of pages of a book. Here’s another post from Natalie Bacon, this time about morning and evening routines.

Use a sunrise lamp

Hate waking up a dark room, having to reach out your hand to the lamp and feeling blinded when you turn it on? Want to be woken up gently by ‘the sun’, no matter what time of year it is? Buy a sunrise lamp. I bought mine from John Lewis a few years ago and I think that it was about £50, so they aren’t cheap, but I wouldn’t be without it now. I think that I’ve forgotten what it’s like not to have one.

That’s it. Hopefully some great practical tips to turn you into that early bird. Why not start today and have an early night? You won’t regret it.

Prefer to listen to a podcast? Check out episode 40 of Mamafurfur’s podcast, The Prosperity Project about her morning routine for prosperity.

Want to learn more about life coaching and how to design your life? Why not check out ‘Grow You’, Natalie Bacon’s life coaching programme (affiliate link).

How to Love Your Job Again in Eight Easy Steps

Bored and fed up with your 9-5? Managers driving you crazy? Spend all week wishing your life away until Friday rolls around? In this post I’m going to suggest eight ways that you can begin to love your job again. I’m not promising you’ll look forward to every Monday morning, but I know it’ll be a whole lot more enjoyable than it is now.

Woman on a sofa on the phone
Remember this moment and how you felt
Remember why you chose your job in the first place

There must have been something that attracted you to this position. Think back to how you felt when you were told that your application was successful. How were you feeling on your first day in post? Sometimes when we are so familiar with something it becomes boring. Some of the most exciting jobs might be perceived by some as tedious. But take a step back and really focus on the purpose of the role and what function it serves. To others it may look interesting and you need to try to recreate that curiosity in yourself again.

Accept You can’t enjoy everything all of the time

Accept that we all have parts of our jobs that we don’t like e.g. admin tasks, difficult clients, long meetings. Natalie Bacon says that life is 50-50. That is, 50% good and 50% bad. Work is like that too. There’s the days when you love your job; the reason perhaps that you applied for the post in the first place. Then there’s the other bits, that come with every job. Instead of resisting these, just get on with them. See them as a necessary evil. Then you can put your energy into the parts of the job that you love.

remember Managers will be managers

Feel that you already have too much on your plate and yet your manager is trying to give you more to do? Don’t take it personally. Your manager’s job is to give you work. They may have pressure from above. I would recommend that you ‘pick your battles’. Try to be positive and accommodating most of the time. Then when you do put up some resistance they are more likely to take you seriously and listen. No one likes being told what to do, but that’s the nature of being an employee.

Even if you disagree with decisions the manager has made, at the end of the day they are the manager and it takes less energy to accept and just get on with what they are asking. You can waste so much time and energy feeling negative, whereas if you just do what is asked you can forget about it and move on to something more enjoyable. That’s likely to be the ‘deep work’ that you took this position for in the first place.  

Try to do a good job

You are likely to feel more positive about work if you get some job satisfaction, which I think comes from seeing a job well done. You are also more likely to get positive feedback from a manager or be selected for a promotion if you are seen to be someone who works hard and takes pride in what they do.

Two women in an office smiling at each other
Make your colleagues into your friends
Make friends at work

If you work full time then you are spending the best part of your week with your colleagues – well at least when we all went into an office. Your days are going to be so much more enjoyable when you feel you have a connection with those around you. We can’t all get on with everyone, but I am sure there are some of your colleagues you’d be happy to be friends with.

Take an interest in the lives of your colleagues and if you cooperate with other organisations or companies this can extend to those too. This can make collaboration so much more enjoyable and you can share your day to day lives, good and bad, with those that you are working with. When the opportunity arises, such as lunch or coffee breaks, take some time away from your desk to relax together. Have a look at my post about Tom Corley’s advice on building rich relationships.

Try not to get on the negativity bandwagon

Human beings, or at least a lot of the people that I know and some of whom I work with, have a tendency to focus on the negatives. How often do you bump into someone and their first question is ‘Busy?’. They moan about the manager, then about the company in general. Being in that negative vibe all of the time can be really draining. It’s not easy being the one who challenges the status quo, but there may be others who’ll be glad to hear your positive thoughts. They might have been thinking the same thing, but were reluctant to say so.

Take advantage of workplace benefits

Whether that’s taking all of your paid leave, using the office gym or taking advantage of the bike to work scheme. It’s always worth finding out what’s available at your place of work. We commit a lot of our time and energy to our company and if they reward that in ways other than your salary don’t be afraid to take advantage of that. Check out my post about the benefits of working in the public sector.

Computer on desk showing the time
Have a set logging off time
Have good work boundaries

I know that this is easier said that done, particularly when many people are working from home. Having set start and finish times and making sure you take a lunch break can prevent you from resenting work, as it doesn’t spill into your home life.

There we are, a few ideas to make your Monday to Friday a little more enjoyable. If you still can’t love your job you could move to a new position, but remember that after the novelty of a new job wears off you may begin to feel the same dissatisfaction as you did in your old job.

Perhaps you might want to think about opting out of work altogether. Why not start planning your ‘Work Optional’ life?

If you want some more ideas about positivity I would suggest checking out this post.

Want to learn more about life coaching and how to design your life? Why not check out ‘Grow You’, Natalie Bacon’s life coaching programme (affiliate link).