personal development

HIGHLIGHTS: How to Master the Number 1 Skill That All Successful People Share In 6 Simple Steps Part Two


Last week we discussed the value of knowing your goals and having a crystal clear picture of where you are headed, this week we look at steps two and three which help us foster greater levels of self discipline.


Step Two: Don’t Pay Any Attention to Enablers


The first stumbling block I came upon when trying to instil more self-discipline in my life was with my enablers. You probably know them, the friends who will do anything to encourage you to come out for ‘one drink’ or ‘go to the cinema’ at a moments notice.


HIGHLIGHTS: How to Master the Number 1 Skill That All Successful People Share In 6 Simple Steps Part One


We’ve all done it. We’ve all chosen instant gratification over long-term gain at some point or another. The problem for my twenty-five year old self was that it became my default way of being. For many of us, we continue this approach to life well into our thirties, despite the clear advantages of having higher levels of self-discipline such as increasing our productivity, achieving our goals and ultimately being happier.


But self-discipline has a bad reputation, it’s the dirty little word that most people associate with book worms or scientists. In reality though, all successful people possess self-discipline, even interesting creative types, like well known actresses and famous musicians. It is the one quality which enables us to master all others and without it, our goals become infinitely harder, if possible at all, to achieve.


How do we foster more self-discipline? Is it possible? Although I am not as disciplined I would like to be, I am incredibly self-disciplined compared to my twenty-five year old self, for example this past Christmas I wrote over 15,000 words for my following years blog articles.


So yes, you can absolutely foster more self-discipline and become a pro at achieving your goals, whether in life, love or work. True self-discipline remains a skill that relatively few possess and, by developing your own self-discipline, you will ensure you stand out from the crowd.


HIGHLIGHTS: Achieving Change – How to live the life you long for; Part Four

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto


It is no exaggeration that Tony Robbins has mastered the science of change and self-empowerment. Keen to gain insight through Tony’s teachings I went to his Unleash The Power Within programme. Held over four days, Unleash The Power Within would help me to understand what motivated me, allow me to face my fears (often an obstacle to change) and change my life for the better. I completed my fire walk on the first day and the sense of achievement in having overcome the fear I felt was profound. What I didn’t expect was that in going to Unleash The Power Within I dealt with my biggest gear which had held me back – my fear of intimacy. Tony helped me to gain a crystal clear image of what this fear had cost me and as a result I was able to change my past behaviour by facing my fear (just as I had done in the fire walk) by telling a good friend that I liked him, something I otherwise would not have had the courage to do. If you want to face your fears and affect fundamental changes you want in your life I would recommend going to Unleash The Power Within, it truly is a once in a lifetime experience. Alternatively, Tony’s book Giant Steps reveals small changes we can all make that will lead to giant leaps forward in our quality of life.


Naturally when we make changes there will be set backs along the way but it is worth remembering that this is normal and does not equate to failing. When we realise we have gotten off track we simply need to revisit both the cost of not changing and the benefits of changing to boost our motivation, cement our resolve and review if we need to adapt our approach. After all, the more we practise something, the more likely it will become a habit and stick. It is also worth building in rewards for when you stick to your new changes, like going to the cinema or setting aside an evening off just for you. You could do this to celebrate your first, second or even six month anniversary since sticking to the changes you set yourself.


HIGHLIGHTS: Achieving Change – How to live the life you long for; Part Three

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto


Now we know our values it is time to make our resolutions and goals. Usually resolutions and goals are confused for one another however it is useful to remember that resolutions are based on habits which we would like to adopt in our day to day lives whereas goals are our desired achievements with deadlines and are likely to be bigger in scale. Please read Augusts series ‘How to turn your dreams into reality’ for an in-depth look into discovering and creating meaningful goals.


Ok, so our values, resolutions and goals are all aligned. What next? More

HIGHLIGHTS: Achieving Change – How to live the life you long for; Part Two

Achieving Change

Picture courtesy of Openphoto



Just as critical to achieving lasting change is to focus on the benefits of changing our behaviour. Imagine the best case scenario in your mind’s eye and how much better your life would be if you kept to this resolution or goal. Imagine every detail of what your life would look like with your new changes in place. Take this time to list the benefits of achieving the change you desire and place this list somewhere you will see it every day, like your mirror or fridge. In visualising the value a change can make to our lives we reinforce the reason we desire to change. If you ever find yourself lacking drive re-read this list, visualising your new life as you go through it. This should serve to boost your motivation and resolve to continue to implement the change.



HIGHLIGHTS: Achieving Change – How to live the life you long for; Part One


Picture courtesy of Openphoto



Tony Robbins, international bestselling author, world renowned life coach and motivational speaker once famously said “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” For many of us the start of the New Year represents a chance for a new beginning – a chance to make valuable changes that will improve our quality of life. Sadly our New Year resolutions are often discarded by the time February arrives as we remember just how difficult it can be to break old habits and form new ones.


It is a widely accepted fact that it takes twenty one days to form a new habit however this is usually contradictory to what we experience when trying to keep to our resolutions or new goals. Interestingly, a recent study by University College London has found that on average it actually takes sixty six days to fully embed a new habit into our daily regimes – that is nine and a half weeks! But is there any way to help speed up this process? Can we ever change quickly? According to Tony Robbins we can affect change in our lives faster if we focus on what our old habits are costing us and examine the benefits our new changes will bring.


Let me share my own experience of rapid change with you.


HIGHLIGHTS: ‘Tis the season to be stressed – How to leave stress behind you for good; Part Three


Last week we looked at decreasing our demands. This week we focus on the fun bit – how we can increase our resources. This is just as essential when tackling stress, as it helps us to gain a more objective and balanced perspective. When our resources are high we are more likely to see the situation for what it is and this can reduce our tendency to enter into a heightened fight, flight or freeze response. There are many positive ways we can actively increase our resources. For instance, if I am stressed at work an early nights sleep will greatly increase my resistance to stress the following day. Unsurprisingly, lack of sleep can significantly increase our stress levels and so it is vital that we make sleep a priority when we are stressed. An early night or a lay in over the weekend can make a vast difference and improve our resources tenfold.



HIGHLIGHTS: ‘Tis the season to be stressed – How to leave stress behind you for good; Part Two


The first and most important step is admitting to ourselves when we are stressed, hopefully last week’s exercises will have helped you to see more easily whether you are stressed. Admitting we are stressed can often be difficult in our society which promotes a busy lifestyle. How many programmes on TV have you seen featuring ‘essential’ festive events and activities we simply cannot, and should not, miss? When being busy is the norm, admitting we are stressed can seem like announcing we cannot cope with the demands of daily life, but this is not entirely the case. Usually those of us that suffer from stress have chosen to take on what others would not and, consequently, have been burdened with demands that are unmanageable given the resources available to us.



HIGHLIGHTS: ‘Tis the season to be stressed – How to leave stress behind you for good; Part One


It’s December and the festive season is upon us once again. Ahead of us lay hours of rushing through shops trying to mark off items from our seemingly endless shopping lists, barging through the crowds on our way. And then there are the party invites flooding into our inbox, several of these falling on the same night and all – without fail – impossible to decline less our friendships be strained forevermore. Add to this the torrent of cookery shows impressing upon us the urgent need to be a Michelin Star chef come Christmas day and no wonder the season fills us with an overwhelming sense of stress.


Recalling last Christmas it was clear I was stressed, I had just finished planning my parents honeymoon and was completely burnt out. At the time I was aware I wasn’t myself but, in the depths of my stress, I just saw a seemingly endless to do list which absolutely had to be done – whether I was up to it or not. It’s often so easy to recognise when we have been stressed in the past, but what do we do when we are in the midst of it? How can we learn to recognise what to look out for and react accordingly to reduce it?


HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part Four


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock


Although being assertive may seem quite challenging at first, the benefits of open, honest communication are enormous and well worth the effort. When we learn to behave and communicate in an assertive way we immediately feel empowered and more in control. Most importantly we safeguard ourselves against the aggressive and passive aggressive games others play. After we have practiced assertiveness for a while our self-worth and self-respect improves, leading to greater levels of self-esteem and confidence.


Practicing assertiveness then becomes more natural as it reflects the higher value we have placed on ourselves. Eventually this leads to a greater sense of personal freedom. Like anything, the more we practice, the easier it gets.


For most of us assertiveness does not come readily. Becoming assertive involves changing the way we normally react to people and this is a new experience for both us and those around us. When I first set out to be assertive I did not get it right all the time, in fact I got it wrong more than I got it right! I knew that if I wanted to become an assertive person I needed to be patient with myself. When we feel like we have tripped up it is important not to give up, after all we are undergoing what can be a massive adjustment.


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