Life coaching explained

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Achieve your goals in life with top life coach Suzy Greaves’ expert advice.

1 Make yourself accountable
It’s easy to lose the plot when you’re not accountable. Make a pact with a friend or a group of friends to help you commit to your goals. Plan a meeting and get serious. Tell them all about your goals and plans and agree to meet or phone once a week so you can report on your progress. Create graphs and charts that measure your achievements – be specific. Tell them you want to hear a lot of cheering when reporting your wins and successes and lots of support when you’re flagging. Consider doing some kind of charity sponsorship, which again makes your journey all the more public – and more difficult to renege on.

2 Focus on the next 5 minutes
Stop looking at the top of the mountain and thinking ‘I’ll never get there/lose that weight/write that novel.’ Simply focus on what you can do in the next 5 minutes – whether it be drinking water instead of wine or writing a paragraph versus watching EastEnders. Five minutes is all you need to start doing something differently. And that’s the secret. If you keep on doing the same old thing, you keep on getting the same results. You will usually find that those five minutes will turn into 20. However, those first five minutes allow you to break the old behaviour pattern and start creating a new habit.

3 Get specific about why you want what you want
Many of say we want to be thinner/richer/more successful looking etc but ask yourself – what do you think that will get you? More respect, more love, more happiness, more freedom? Once you’re clear, record a tape for yourself answering the following questions: What will it be like to have more (you fill in the blank – freedom/love/happiness) in my life? How will I feel when I wake up in the morning/when I go to bed at night? How will I handle any future challenges feeling my new feelings? What will be different in my life? How will others react to me? What will I look like? How will I feel about myself? What advice will I give to others about how they can feel this way too? Listen to that tape every day. Getting to the root of what you really want in life and then spelling out the actions that will get you more of that is a very motivating strategy.

4 Set yourself up to succeed by under promising
If your pattern is to promise to drink water, eat rice cakes and run for an hour every day for the next 30 days, it’s time you stopped sabotaging your success and get realistic. Set yourself realistic goals and then lower the bar. Underpromise, overdeliver and you’ll feel like you’re actually achieving something rather than feeling you are always failing.

5 Celebrate every mole hill
Don’t wait ’til you’ve reached the top of the mountain before you celebrate. Acknowledge yourself every day for all the small achievements and create a reward system – from allowing yourself a lie in on Saturday for going for an early morning run in the week to buying flowers for eating healthily for three days in a trot.

6 Focus on how great you are
Low self esteem is often at the root of lack of motivation because deep down, we don’t think we can change or we don’t believe we are good enough to reach our goals. To boost self esteem, give yourself positive messages about yourself constantly. Write down 10 messages from ‘You are a kind and thoughtful person’ to ‘You are wise and wonderful’ and stick them all round your house/on your bedroom mirror/on the fridge door for 7 days. After 7 days you usually stop seeing them, so write another 10 messages. What you focus on expands. It’s time to change your focus.

7 Change WHO you are as well as WHAT you do. When you change behaviour you usually just change what you’re doing – if you want to be healthier, you’ll stop eating cake and start going swimming on Monday, Try a different approach and ask yourself – WHO do you want to become? (E.g. I am someone who takes care of my body at such a luxurious level that I feel pampered) Ask yourself what actions would this person take? If you want to be become a person who has enormous amounts of energy – what would you eat, how would you deal with stress, how would you get up each morning? The focus is on creating a new identity for yourself versus simply trying to change what you’re doing. Be patient as it can take a while for the results to show up but the changes are usually permanent.

8 Improve your cake of life.
Draw yourself a circle that represents your ‘cake of life’ – separate it into 8 slices of cake – and name each piece of cake with these eight labels: relationship, health, money, environment, friends, work, me-time and family. Score yourself out of 10 for each piece of cake. Start with the piece of cake with the lowest score and for 7 days concentrate on raising your score by 2 points. For example if you need to spend more time with your partner, book a date night. Or if you need to look at your cash, book an appointment with a financial advisor. Once one week is over choose the next piece of cake with a low score and spend the next 7 days focussing on that piece. Keep working on your cake until each slice has score of 8/10 or over.

9 Focus on the small stuff.
Stop focusing on the big picture and start cleaning up the details of your life. Details generally occur in the present and you can do something about them without being paralysed with fear. Take 3 actions right now that will improve your life instantly – from booking to have your hair cut to doing the washing up.

10 Identify what you’re good at and do more of it.
Self-esteem is closely connected with happiness and scientific surveys show that success is one of the commonest sources of joy.

For more information about Suzy Greaves, founder of The Big Leap Coaching Company phone 0845 430 0221 or go to Make this your big leap year and join our Big Leap Club and get our 52 week online coaching programme.

Top five changes that people want to make
1.    Fulfilment at work.
2.    To find a life partner
3.    To lose weight
4.    To fulfil a life long ambition, be it writing a novel or climbing a mountain.
5.    To identify what it is they really want. (Often people know they are discontent but need help figuring out what will make them happy.)


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