In 2014 I started creating my first online programs. It started out really simple, just learning the ropes of the online space and getting to grips with things like technology.
It was a means to an end.
Ben and I had decided that we would be moving from London to Bournemouth in September 2014 to live by the sea and have a better quality of life. In doing so I would leave all the physical business I had spent 7 years creating and I would have to start over again from nothing.
We made the move in after the summer and it was do or die if I was to earn a living. I plunged fully into the online space.
(and if you have got this far and are wondering what this has to do about the New Year? Don’t worry – it get’s better)
When I created my online program 3 years ago, I was pretty clear on what it was going to look like and who I was going to work with. I wanted to work with women who wanted to optimise their training and nutrition and were also interested in health and functional medicine.
This was what I was creating, but, the clients who ended up coming to me needed so much more.
My clients have been the most amazing teachers over the past 3 and a bit years and I am so grateful to each and every one of them because without them I would not be where I am now. Fact.
They have taken me on a journey which has forced me to really deepen my understand of why we behave the way we do and feel the way we feel.
So as many perhaps are looking to start a new diet regime or improve upon themselves in the New Year. I wanted to share a few modest words with you to help you shape your positive intentions in a powerful way.
There are three main things I want you to consider.
1.We need to know what we want.
2. We need to know how we intend to get there.
3. We have to set boundaries to keep us on our path.
1. The What – Connecting Emotionally With Your Goal
What is the goal?
It might be to eat better, start exercising, lose weight, go to bed earlier, drop a dress size, run a marathon or just live a healthier life.
Whatever it is, that is the tangible goal. What I am most interested in, is the emotional goal.
How does it feel? Who would you become? What would you need to believe about yourself to achieve this goal? (my clients hate it when I ask them these questions – yes, I know they are hard to answer but they are important to answer)
To achieve something you have never achieved before (like losing weight and actually keeping it off this year), you have to become someone you have never been.
When you set a goal, yes you want to achieve it, but the transformational journey is about who you become.
It’s really funny – a lot of the time when I ask my clients what they want – it is easy to rattle off a list of things they “don’t want”.
When I ask them how it would feel to live the life they desire, they can often tell me how it “doesn’t feel” but struggle with how it would actually feel if they got to where they think they want to go.
If losing weight will give you joy, happiness, confidence, love or zing – how can you achieve your goal if you are living in self-loathing, anger, hate, depression and lack?
You MUST be able to connect with achieving your goal on an emotional level and start to live from that place every day.
This is why I meditate.
EVERYDAY (Okay, I might miss one here and there) I sit down and meditate for AT LEAST 25 minutes and I spend some time sitting in the emotional energy of my goal. Imagining how it would feel to already have achieved it. I see myself doing the things I need to do that day with that energy and it inches me closer and closer.
And just for the record. Somedays I am not perfect. I am grumpy. I get angry. I get frustrated. I spend too much time comparing on social media. I have “bad” meditations when I am unfocussed and self critical.
But I keep showing up.
2. The How – Know Yourself
This year I had the very interesting experience of striving to achieve a goal in a way that I thought I “should”.
What happened was I pushed, I forced, I muscles my way through – as an achiever I am good at over-riding most signals with my incredible achiever power.
But the end result was that I burn out.
I lost my enthusiasm for my work. I lost my energy to train. I spend every weekend exhausted. My body was in pain every day. I felt depressed. I had no energy to be any use to anyone in my life. I was literally googling Chronic Fatigue and Depression and wondering if I should shut up shop.
My business and my life took and incredible knock.
A knock that I am incredibly grateful for because it taught me a very important lesson ( a lesson I re-affirm often in my meditations).
I am the most creative and successful when I am true to myself.
To be true to myself I have to know myself. And so do you.
Know what makes you happy. what energises you and creates the emotional energy of achieving your goal. You also need to know what drains you and creates the emotional energy you might be living in now.
Everyone is different and I have no expectation that anyone needs to be like me. But I wrote down a few things about me as an example. You can create your own list.
The things that make me happy, fill me up, allow me to be in flow are:
- I need to get enough sleep – I cannot sleep late so I like to go to bed early
- I love to move my body every day whether that be gym, yoga, a run or just a walk
- Meditation energises me when I feel low
- I love people but I prefer small groups and closer connections than large parties
- I need time alone and personal space
- I love to go outside and be connected with nature and do things like hiking and swimming
- Eating well and good food is important to me – I love treats like everyone does but 1 to 2 days of less than optimal eating has been craving all the vegetables
- I love to write – hence the fact I have produced 2 ebooks this year and I am writing this blog today
- I love learning new things in the mindset and personal growth space as well as nutrition space
- I love travel and exploring new places and trying new foods
- I love to put my face against Jacob’s (kitten) body when he sleeps and hear him start to purr.
- I love baths with epsom salts and oils and to get into my pjamas and watch Grey’s Anatomy and have a little cry – it’s always sad when the old people die
- I love cake and a big treat is to take myself (or go with Ben) out for coffee and a cake on a random day of the week.
- Thai takeaway on a Saturday night with Ben and our crazy dancing in the kitchen
- I’m definitely a main and dessert person compared to a stater and main person ;)
What don’t I like? What drains me? Where do I have to set boundaries and say no?
- The biggest one for me is to stay true to my “lark” and introvert tendencies.
- I am a morning person and bed time is usually around 8:30pm/9pm – I need to get enough sleep which means working in the evening is very draining for me. I know many people need to have appointments after they finish work but if I was working too many evenings a week there would not be Anna Marsh Nutrition for much longer. I can help the people I do help so much better by only offering evening appointments once a week.
- As an introvert I need to set boundaries around personal space to make sure I have enough alone time to recharge. This means that I am very conscious of not over-committing socially so that I can have that time or if I meet with friends it is often one on one or in a small group and we might do something like a walk and talk so I hit that nature time button too.
- Good food! This comes so naturally now it is hardly a boundary. I don’t mind eating what is on offer when I travel or visit friends. But I always love to come back to my own kitchen with plenty of vegetables and protein.
- You may have seen me a lot on video on social media but I learnt this year – I actually find it a very tiring thing to do. I much prefer to write and express myself in words – so I just have to make sure I don’t do too much.
- Something that can drain me is taking on the problems of others. And to be clear this is not a reflection on anyone else but me. As a coach, I use a technique called “active listening”. That means that when someone speaks to me I am listening beyond what they are saying and hearing what their language and their stories say about their belief systems or whether they are playing victim or victor in the story of their life. Once you learn how to do this it is a button you cannot switch off. Which can be quite tiring if you are not in a formal coaching session with someone. A bit learning this year has been how to protect my own energy so I don’t carry too much of other people’s “stuff” with me.
- I can also become drained in large groups of people where there is a lot going on. In February 2017 I ran an event with some clients and for a week afterwards I feelings of inflammation – headache, body ache, low energy, foggy brain – because energetically it was just too much. It’s not that I won’t attend events, I just have to be careful of how I protect myself both before and after.
3. Stay on your path -Setting Boundaries And Saying No
This is so easy when you have done part 1 and 2 properly.
Over-committing leads to burn out and exhaustion. It’s difficult to achieve any goal, eat well,exercise and prioritise sleep when you are too busy and too tired.
The pattern I have observed in my clients is that many don’t say “No” because they don’t know what they really want to say “Yes” to.
It’s easy to fill life up with a lot of stuff that you don’t want when you don’t know what you really do want.
Just from experience I have noticed that often there can be a tendency to overcommit to people please to get back the love that we lack for ourselves. Seeking approval of our worth externally, instead of affirming it internally every day.
What I have learnt from my clients over the past 3 and a bit years is it is working on the love we have for ourselves that makes the biggest difference in taking that sustainable step forward in our weightloss and healthy journey.
It is getting plastered all over social media now but when you eat “for” you, move “for” you, sleep “for” you and make space “for” you to be present and connect with yourself, there is more to give to others. When I talk about eating “for” you – many people will say – but then I’ll just eat crisps, chocolate and take-away! But that isn’t true. If you really slowed down enough to connect with your heart, you might want to have some treats, but most of the time you would find you want to eat food that makes you feel good every day.
When we love ourselves first it can radiate from us, instead of waiting until we’ve lost the weight, dropped a dress size, run a marathon, got the promotion etc. so we can feel worthy to feel good.
Once we know the what and we know the how, the biggest internal battle to saying no and setting the boundaries is believing that we are worth it and loving ourselves enough to follow through.
Know that we all struggle from time to time with feeling good enough. Myself included. Some days are worse that others but what is important is that we can live along side it, not let it debilitate us.
I once heard the quote: Saying No might let others down for a moment but it will set you free forever!
True transparency here, I wrote this blog on Saturday morning. I re-read it this afternoon (Sunday) and I wasn’t happy with it so “quickly” decided to rewrite it. It’s now 25 minutes before we are due to go to our favourite Thai Restaurant for a meal and I am frantically typing so I can put a clean shirt and some mascara on. I have not proof read it so I apologise for the typos. So I will wrap up…
The message is simple.
- You MUST connect emotionally with your goal and live from that place now – don’t wait! You get to feel good now. When you can change how you feel, changing how you act is easy.
- To live from that place you MUST know you. What lights you up, what drains your soul? Write that list.
- Love yourself enough to set boundaries and say know. You are worth all the happiness in the world. I promise.
That’s it from me! If you want any help with this stuff – that’s what coaching is for. Please fee free to reach out to me if you’d like to have me be your coach. I will be taking on new clients from Janaury.
And if you need some help with your intention setting for 2018, I’ll leave you with some journalling questions to answer…
- What was amazing in 2017, what did you love?
- What were the moments of true magic?
- What did you hate – what do you not want to happen again?
- What challenged you and what was the gift and learning, how did you grow from these challenges?
- What were the important decisions you made?
- What decisions will you make in 2018 as a result?
- What do you want to welcome more of?
- What do you want to let go of?
- What is your goal?
- What does it feel like emotionally to achieve that goal?
- Write your energy in list.
- Write your energy out list.
- What are some of the boundaries you want to set in 2018?
Happy New Year!