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Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.

Earl Wilson

Change 4 Life
Why Stop at Diet & Exercise?


Looking at LifeStyle more Widely


Change4Life in the UK

Since January 2009, in response to worrying changes in the UK's health patterns, the UK government has been running it's Change4Life campaign. It's message simple message:

Eat Less, Move More, Live Longer

- is punchy and to the point.

The "Five-a-day" message is interesting in the way it has been enshrined in the national consciousness. There must be very few people who don't know what it means. We all accept that more fruit and vegetables is a good thing which will protect our health throughout our lives.

"60 active minutes" is less well-known, but I'm sure it'll get there, too.

Change4LifeChange 4 Life - it's all you have

Change4Life More Broadly

In my life coaching practice, I see lots of folks who want to change things, and we do, and it's wonderful - but it's almost always long overdue. Usually, things have to get pretty bad - the pain has to be larger than the forces of resistance (pessimism and fear, mostly) before we take action, and it's usually in our late thirties or early forties when that tipping point arrives. What a waste of life-time!

I would like to see a government campaign called Change4Happiness. It's strap line might be :

Parent Well, Find your Hot Button, Press It!

Let's look at each of those in detail

Parent Well

There is no doubt in my mind that parenting is the biggest opportunity we have to build happy people who will make happy, productive societies. Parenting is a vastly larger greater opportunity than life coaching will ever be. And, as an ex-magistrate, I can confidently say, it's infinitely better than our penal system, too.

Parenting is were we spend our childhoods. Our parents are our role models, and they tell us - explicitly and implicitly - what to think. They tell us right from wrong, who we are, what the world is like, and what we can expect from it. They tell us what works and what doesn't, and we drink it all in as gospel because they are the gods from which all things essential to our existence comes from. They are our window on the world. Our personality is fully formed by 12 years of age.

By the time we work out that our parents were just struggling people doing the best they could, we're already adult and, and it's hard to change the beliefs we were given. Life Coaching helps us to see those beliefs and dissolve their power, but really - why put them there in the first place?

To use the Change4Life analogy - why diet hard? Better not to learn to eat badly in the first place.

It's a big topic, but I'm working more and more on parenting skills. Here are my big ideas for your parenting:

  • Give your children your unconditional love, but that has nothing at all to do with discipline
  • Give them rights and responsibilities in equal measure according to their ability to cope with them
  • At every turn, encourage them to examine their own thinking and undo the things which are wrong
  • Model and encourage high standards of personal integrity and conduct
  • Constantly encourage independent, questioning thinking
  • Teach them to be resilient; accept setbacks, to feedback where most see failure
  • Constantly encourage them to think about their instantaneous and long-term happiness, and invite them to take the major role in improving it

I'm fairly certain that many of you will consider these ideas totally un-workable in real life. Let's talk!

Know Your Hot Button

Here's my favourite quote - I make no apology for quoting it so often - Lily Allen said:

I always wanted to be someone,
but I should have been more specific

Dry wit combined with powerful insight. I Love it! In coaching terms this means know what you want from your life. Get really specific! (by all means use the free goal system to help you).

Almost always, we focus on what we don't want about what we currently have, rather on what we'd prefer. When we shift the focus and start to "imagineer" what we'd prefer, we at least open the door a crack to a better life.

Unfortunately, it won't prize the damned thing open, and it certainly won't get your boot through it either.

Go For It

This is the universal stumbling block. As always, pessimism and fear are our constant enemies. Do any of these resonate with you?

  • Yeah right - so now I'm going to be an astronaut, right?
    Give me a break!
  • Of course, I'd love to be that person, but I'm not and I never will be,
    and I have to stop thinking otherwise, because it hurts!
  • You have to be realistic
    (Will Smith said: Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity)
  • I sort of hate the world, because it never gave me what I wanted,
    and I feel cheated and bitter
    (this is the route of almost all antisocial behaviour,
    by the way)
  • My role now is to learn to tolerate the misery which is my life
    (these are the lives of quiet desperation which Thoreau spoke of)

I'm sure you have others to contribute :o) Why not post them on my Facebook discussion area and I'll give you some helpful insights if I can. Also if you disagree with any of this, I'd love to debate it with you in that forum.

For sure, life seldom rolls over and gives you what you want immediately. That's why building setback-resilient children is so important. Most of us aren't built that way - but we can still succeed - perhaps with some help.

Your Broader Change4Life

The takeaway from all this? Well, it's too late to undo your parenting, but you can start now on changing the way you parent and I can coach you in this.

I can also help you to focus your life goals to give a crystal clear vision of what you want for your life.

Lastly, and most powerfully, I can work with you on making real progress - on making stuff happen to further your goals.

There is a wealth self-help material on this website and in my newsletters. For specific, focused, powerful help in your situation, you can speak to me.

Let's get things moving for you!


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