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16th May 2019

There’s something a little bit magical about Summertime. For me it’s a warmth thing. Not just a sunshine kind of warmth, it’s an all over feeling about the season and what’s ahead, plus the odd moment when I catch myself drifting down memory lane and of days growing up in Somerset.
 

Breaking up for the school holidays and knocking for my best friend next door are some of the fondest memories I have. We’d head off on bikes to play tennis or crazy golf, and while away the days in local parks. If we were feeling extra grown-up we’d spend the afternoon in town buying lip gloss or hanging out in our department store's coffee shop nursing a chocolate milkshake seeing who else might turn up - get us! But they were the best times.


One summer we even managed to make friends with some older boys - nothing romantic of course - just secret crushes, awkward flirting and lots of blushing! Then came college, first cars, alternative nights out, and a group of friends I can still cry with laughter with to this day.


Of course time moves on, but the magic’s still there. These days it’s my garden, the odd unplanned weekend away with my husband, seeing those friends and reminiscing and the joy of seeing my boys growing and doing their thing plus all the hardwired worry that comes with parenting. The simplest things make the best memories don’t they?


So, with Summer on your doorstep, I wonder what it holds for you this year? A holiday? A staycation? Or maybe you’re up against it with a few tricky weeks of juggling work and round the clock childcare? Perhaps you’re running on empty and in need of some JOMO (joy of missing out) to get your mojo back.


Whatever it’s looking like, here’s a collection of heart-warming ideas followed by a reflective exercise that I hope give you a Summer that's big on making moments, memories and just a little bit of magic.

  • Make a new playlist

  • Visit a new restaurant

  • Watch the sunrise

  • Do some gardening

  • Wake up by the sea

  • Eat something different for breakfast

  • Go to a festival or a country fair

  • Fall in love with an old hobby or passion all over again

  • Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and plan a picnic

  • Give yourself an afternoon off

  • Treat yourself to a new hairdo, why not go for it and change the colour too!

  • Tell those closest to you how much you love them

  • Do something daring

  • Book a stylist and arrange a makeover

  • Treat yourself to a new candle

  • Find an offbeat quirky cinema and go watch a cool film

  • Go to an outdoor concert

  • Visit a flower show or garden open to the public

  • Have a wardrobe weed

  • Paint your toenails a wild colour
     

I wonder, what kind of response did you have to reading the list? Here are a few options to get you thinking:

1) Did you view it as a random collection of things to do and that was the end of it? 
2) Did you think there's actually some really simple ways to do something memorable?
3) Did you secretly hope you’d hit upon your ‘holy grail’ activity to make it a summer to remember, but felt disappointed that nothing took your fancy?
4) Did it make you realise that there’s nothing out of the ordinary and any/all are possible - it’s just a question of making an effort to do them?
5) Did you enjoy reading the list, and go through a mental process of elimination and carefully try to classify them some way, like in order of appeal, ease or difficulty?

So why the self-evaluation? Well, I think the way we take in information and then how we respond to it can give us some important clues about our likes/dislikes and how motivated and committed we are to change, which can be very useful in terms of what we can learn about ourselves.

Indeed, one of the fundamental things that coaching can help you with is the ability to challenge your beliefs. Beliefs are often described as the hidden rules by which we live, and as with all rules, some serve a purpose, indeed define our purpose, and some do not and hold us back.

Once you realise that you’re in the driving seat, the things that you once believed were off limits or 'not me' are now within your grasp, and that can be a game changer.

So go on, seize the moment! Imagine what you might learn about yourself, because change can happen very fast if you let it.

20 ways to make moments, memories and magic this Summer

21st March 2019

These new favourite words became the subject of a fascinating conversation I had with a coach and friend of mine following a morning of entertainment and adventure.

 

To set the scene, there we are, headsets on, ready to do a live radio show about life coaching. Literally off the bat! I remember thinking, we’re on air! But I needn’t have worried. We were treated to great hospitality from our wonderful DJ who lined up the topics of conversation effortlessly, topped off with us getting to play some of our favourite music. It all felt very different and very creative.

 

Two hours later we emerged buzzing and headed off for a debrief which went something like this:


Routines:


We know that life is all about routines because they provide the familiar structure we need to go about our daily business. This show was in no way any part of my current routine, and so with something new came the inevitable question: Can I do this? What might be in store? Will I be in for any surprises?

 

Rather than talking myself out of something, I discovered that seizing the moment can offer you something new.

 

In fact, how can you have so much fun doing something so unfamiliar? And all without a sniff of preparation. It broke all the rules! This tells us that going off-piste every now and again is good for you!


So, in the spirit of going off piste, ask yourself, what is it about my routines that I enjoy? How do they help?

 

Then, broaden it out a bit to include other aspects of your life. Is there something in the off which could present an opportunity? An event or something similar where you could try something new? Also have a think about which routines could do with a bit of a shake up? What have you become bogged down by? What are you bored of? You get the gist…


Rituals:


This is where it got interesting. The topic of conversation we mulled over was weight-loss. Something I’m very passionate about having struggled with my own weight for decades until I asked for help and started adopting new rituals around food. Rituals help you feel in control and that makes them powerful. This is especially true when you’re learning to adopt new habits. 
 

The distinction I would make between routines and rituals is that routines are the things we do without thinking, so they’re habits in action. Like being on autopilot. A ritual feels deliberate and purposeful,
so whilst we’re acutely aware of what we’re doing, they may also feel out of character – at least to start with.


We came to realise that if we practice a ritual enough, bingo, it becomes a habit. Rituals take some work, but with practice, it’s where the all-important change we seek in ourselves takes place. 

 

Holding onto that thought, what habits would you like to break or stop? What new rituals would you like to adopt to create some new routines?


Adventure:


In a nutshell, this is how to turn something you’re not looking forward to or maybe avoiding, into an adventure.

 

The story here was taking a friend to hospital for an appointment. A situation where the fear of not knowing what might happen would typically make you anxious and fretful. So, what do you do? You take a picnic! You accompany your friend in the examination room, offer support and lots of
light banter and make it an experience to remember.

Of course, this is not to make light of more serious situations, however, inviting adventure in where there would otherwise be fear or doubt, is a novel way to overcome situations we would rather avoid or prefer not to have to deal with.


Now it’s your turn!


What springs to mind when you think of your routines?

What new rituals could you adopt?

And as for adventure, why not seize a moment today and go off-piste. It’s often the small things we dare ourselves to do that work wonders…

Routines, Rituals and Adventure

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