Raising your awareness to your mood and your thoughts is a constant work in progress for all of us and one that we at @brightyellowcoaching and @happiness_transformation believe passionately we should continue to prioritise and invest energy in. The understanding we gain from our thoughts and our body helps identify and hone your happiness goals and gives you the tools and strength you need to achieve them. And who doesn’t want to achieve real happiness?
When you first start out on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, self-critiquing thoughts and mindful life choices feel alien and laboured. We are not going to dress it up, its bloody hard work and something that needs focus and dedication to keep front of mind, for all of us. We are all work in progress – the media is full of messaging telling you ‘you are not enough’ – not thin enough, not rich enough, not successful enough etc – which frankly only further spurs on the cycle of negative self-talk and dissatisfaction in areas of our lives.
As an aside, please know that you are enough. You are good enough. You deserve the happiness you wish for yourself. That doesn’t mean that you are off the hook though and that there is some magic short cut to health and well-being that you didn’t know about. The point above still remains, its bloody hard work and a life-long effort.
But as with everything, after a while, elements start to become easier, more second nature, until before you know it you have successfully embedded one new self-care habit in to your life so that is runs on auto pilot for the majority of the time. This in turn creates a stepping stone foundation for you to progress to your next mini mission.
It’s all about the constant cycle of raising awareness, goal setting and action.
Let’s break things down in to phases.
Phase 1 – Raising awareness
In both coaching and in understanding your current nutritional and fitness habits, the first stage is always self-awareness. This is hard to achieve alone as by their very nature, your unseen habits, behaviours and moods are hidden from your consciousness.
CBT therapy in particular is specifically very effective at helping you identify and create strategies for mood management, learned behaviours and reactions. However, if you don’t feel ‘unwell’, therapy isn’t necessary the most powerful way to seek insight and eventual transformation.
The unique approach of a coach is not one of expert, but as the mirror and empathetic provocateur, raising your awareness to what is unseen and offering the support and challenge necessary to interrogate and understand what you find.
Through listening and insightful questioning, a coach helps you understand your habits, your belief systems, your values and your behaviours in the here and now. They help you connect ‘what is now’ with ‘what may come’ and facilitate empowerment, responsibility but most importantly autonomous choice for the future within their client.
Similarly, in any nutritional intervention, the first order of the day is understanding what your body is currently telling you. Logging what you are eating, when you are hungry, how much water you take in etc all help create a picture of your consumption.
But @happiness_transformation believes that the self-awareness required for true wellness requires more than this. How many times a day do you eat out of habit and not really because you are hungry. How many times do you get “hangry” and eat, instead of rehydrating which is what your body is actually saying? What can your digestive system tell you about what’s happening in your body right now? How are your hormones affecting your hunger, mood and energy levels? How and when do you sleep? When are you at your best? Really interrogating the impacts of what you consume helps feed the bigger picture of mapping ‘what is’ in your life and signposting areas that can be woven in to your master plan of self-improvement and happiness seeking.
Phase 2 – Goal setting
Considered and stress tested goal setting is often the bit that is overlooked when we think about what we want in our lives. Sweeping new year’s resolutions and unrealistic fitness or career targets are often the cause of further spiralling down the opposite path.
For goal setting to be robust and truly inspiring, we must ensure that goals align with our core values and beliefs and satisfy our humanistic and socialistic needs. Goals inherited by societal pressures, family demands, peer pressure and senses of duty are rarely truly achieved and we would argue, enjoyed.
The gift of unconditional positive regard and safety you are granted in the coaching space gives you permission to dream, experiment and explore like no other platform. As a coach, I greet every new client with intrigue and uncapped excitement about what they can achieve in their lives and share in the joy as they do. At the same time, I create a structure and format that allows all options to be considered, rationalised, tested and quantified to help my clients ensure that what they really want is indeed what they want and what they need. This creates ‘stickier’ and more bought in to goals from which to create an achievable and realistic action plan from.
From a nutritional perspective, using the understanding of ‘what is’ from phase one enables tailored targeted nutrition to be adopted by the client. There are some fundamental rules, such as sugar is bad for you and consuming more than you are burning, will lead to weight gain. Beyond that though and in terms of diets, no one rule fits all, we are all unique. The person who knows you best, is you. Helping you to be more intuitive and then using that new-found insight, along with the expertise of @happiness_transformation as to what nutritional tools and lifestyle changes are available, will be used to help you target specific health goals, be that sleep, mood or energy etc. This collaboration enables you to take control of the choices you are making, assess what’s driving them, and harness what best supports your body, to achieve results.
Phase 3 – Action
Usually the hardest bit of any transformation, action born out of truly understood goals routed in deep self and bodily awareness somehow becomes a little easier. Plans made with the support of professionals are more realistic and achievable and therefore naturally more likely to be achieved and indeed understood (and appropriately adjusted when they are not – let’s face it, there is no Nirvana here).
Once you can readily identify the difference between feeling “fine” and feeling “content” or between “sluggish and distracted” and “energised and focussed”, each action that creates an achieved outcome fuels the next action. Your body and mind rewards striving for and reaching your goals in ways that you weren’t noticing before, but now relish and give time for.
Coaching programmes span longer between sessions (4-6 weeks) than therapy (1-2 weeks) to allow time for just this to start happening between them. Action taken → micro goal met → self-reflection (and goal/action plan adjustment) → Action taken and so forth.
When run in parallel, with the nutrition reset, the success rate of sustainable change is higher, establishing positive habits, instead of short-term fixes that are quickly forgotten. Looping back in to the logging, observation and listening to your body’s signs as they get more space to be heard, continues to feed and refine the goals you are able to conceive, and indeed action, to achieve. @happiness_transformation gives you the access to the supplements, products and meal plans required to make the actioning as simple and accessible as possible, giving space for the occasional days where you stick a straw in a bottle of prosecco and scoff half a pizza in front of the TV…. also very important in balance (80:20 rule and all that)!
I am a work in progress
Embracing that we are all work in progress and letting go of your “be perfect” or “please people” driver so many of us use to push ourselves forward in life, ironically opens you up to being a better version of yourself and therefore more available and enriching to those around you. No matter what your goals, an innate understanding of who and what you are is the most powerful tool in helping you to achieve them.
Let us collaborate with you in your journey to happiness. Check out our Reset and Reclaim programme http://www.resetandreclaimprogramme.com and learn how combining powerful nutritional interventions from The Happiness Transformation with coaching from Tracy James of bright yellow coaching can rocket boost your journey.