Lazy Lockdown or Constructive Covid-time? 5 easy steps to accelerate your personal progress…
If I told you that more time is available to achieve what you want in these unusual times, I wonder how interested you’d be?
At the end of our second week of isolation in the UK, I’ve noticed the ever-changing content and tone of our social media posts.
If like many, you’ve “enjoyed” consecutive pyjama days despite the challenges of working from home, whilst juggling home schooling or even rearranged you homelife to fulfil your keyworker role and keep your own family safe, the following strategy is to ensure that you get some time for YOU by getting up a little earlier and developing a few simple, yet life changing habits. In the first instance, you may think twice but
when you realise the benefits to be had, I think you’ll agree you’re worth it.
Initially on social media, there was a lot of camaraderie between key workers and the communities they serve; followed by requests to keep supporting not just our key workers in hospitals, schools and beyond but also EVERYONE that’s supporting our food chain [from the farmers to the plate] as well as the refuge collectors, the post people and those shop assistants that are working hard to ensure a continued sense
of normality, not to mention our basic needs.
Our keyworkers are getting up and out, as usual, whilst the rest of us stay at home and post about our new routines – staying in our pyjamas, leading home schools and taking our businesses online; as well as great aspirations for how we can use the extra time. Some of you, I notice, plan to write a book, develop an online course or other new product; learn to play an instrument or increase your exercise – to name but a few of the goals I’ve read, so far…
Now, I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that every new venture starts with a thought. Disney himself noted, “If you can dream it, you can do it”, but if you ask yourself now whether you’re using your time as well as you can, I wonder how many of you have slipped into a semi-holiday mode, or opted for more duvet than action. Maybe, you’re still adjusting to a new way of life and maybe you’re ready to adapt your daily routine to make the biggest difference to you.
A year or so ago, I read Hal Elroyd’s best seller, “The Miracle Morning” and since reading it I gradually tweaked the start of my day to achieve so much more. It was going really well until five months ago when I became a full-time parent/carer again when 24-year-old [a beautiful young lady with Down Syndrome] flew back to our nest. Initially, she needed lots of TLC and personal care, so I gave myself permission to drop down a gear or two in driving my new business, until I reached a point when I realised enough is enough. Suddenly, we were a few months into family living again and whilst I’d continued seeing clients and teaching online, my creativity in terms of creating new products had slowed right down. I was running the risk of putting the publication of my first personal development book on hold for the foreseeable future. When I asked myself if that was what I wanted, my reply was of course, a BIG, FAT, “NO”!
Richard Bandler, Co-creator of NLP, teaches his students that it’s when we get to the point of enough is enough, that we’re really ready to change. So, if there’s something you really want to achieve in your “Covid-time” that is at risk, I wonder what it will take to make it happen.
If like me, a routine makes all the difference, you may want to get up earlier and give yourself time to prepare well for your day so that you achieve your goals seamlessly and stay on target during unusual times.
The strategy that I share with you today is not only inspired by Hal Elroyd’s “Miracle Morning” but also one of the presuppositions of NLP that as humans we all have the resources inside to make the changes we want to make. There are no spoilers for you if you decide to read Hal Elroyd’s publication of start your own NLP journey; rather more, it gives you my sequence that you can follow or adapt to work for you. And to keep it current, I’ve aptly used the acronym COVID to inspire you to make the most of your COVID time and realise so long as you’re safe and well, there’s no time like the present to use the following five steps or create your own sequence to success. So, my invitation to you is simple. Get up an hour earlier and follow the acronym C.O.V.I.D, to enjoy time for YOU and lay the best foundations for another productive day.
Since I reinstated my wake-up routine, I haven’t looked back. My first book is nearing publication and the accompanying online course and trance download are well underway, as well as other new products in the pipeline. I’ve adjusted to seeing clients from home via the Zoom Room and the newness of our changing circumstances already feels familiar.
1. Calm – Enjoy a calm start to your day; silence and nothing else [5 minutes]
Keep Calm and Carry On was a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for WW2. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public who were in fear of the impact of mass air attacks. This week, I’ve lost count of the references to Keep Calm and Corona On and I’m wondering if people realise the important message behind each catch phrase.
Put simply, fear of COVID 19 or anything else activates sympathetic nervous system [SNS]. This is called the Fight or Flight response. Blood flow to the brain and muscles is increased, whilst blood flow to non-essential muscles & is decreased. The adrenal glands are activated to provide us with the energy. If this happens too often, increased levels of adrenaline and cortisone is detrimental to health and well- being. A calm default mode via the parasympathetic nervous system [calming techniques] counteracts this and helps to keep you well.
Research shows that any mindful meditation produces the happy hormones Serotonin and Dopamine. So, go inside, slow down your breathing and enjoy the silence. You can simply breathe in for 7 and out for 11, and notice that on each out breath you relax even more until your breathing settles and you’re aware of that slow and low belly breathing that occurs at the edge of sleep.
2. Orate – Tell yourself what you want, why you want it and how you are achieving it [5 mins]
Every successful coach will tell you that success depends on busting limited beliefs and ensuring that success for the individual is right on every Logical Level [Robert Dilts].
As NLP coaches, we teach our clients to program their brain to ensure the positive beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that will propel them to achieve their goal. You can do this simply by answering a few simple questions in relation to your goals.
- What do you want for yourself and others? [Goal/mission]
- Who are you in relation to your goal? [Identity]
- What is your belief in relation to your goal? [Values/Why]
- What skills do you have and how are they supporting you [Capabilities]
- What are you doing reach your goal? [Behaviour/Actions]
- Where, when and with whom do you work to achieve this [Environment]
Be sure to affirm each statement in the positive as your unconscious doesn’t process negation. If you state, don’t waste time. It will hear the command, waste time. For example:
- I am an author whose publications help others.
- I’m sharing my knowledge so that other people can learn new skills to achieve success
And so on…
3. Visualise – Close your eyes, plan your schedule and see yourself doing well
As NLPers and hypnotists, much of our “magic” comes from enabling our clients to rehearse their success in trance, prior to any activity. This is because your brain doesn’t know the difference between real life and role play. However, when imagine your success your brain thinks it’s already achieved it. Thereafter, in a waking state, you’ll access a flow state and achieve them easily. Top tip: Decide what state you want to be in for each activity. Remember a time when you were in that state. See what you saw, hear what you heard and feel how you felt. Give that feeling a name [e.g. colour] to glue it in your brain. This NLP anchoring technique will enable you to quickly re-access this useful state when you need it.
4. Invigorate – Exercise, freshen up and get dressed! [30 mins]
The benefit exercise is well known, and I know I don’t have to tell you how good it feels to give your energy a boost. Aerobic exercise [walking, running, rowing, jogging] supports a healthy cardiovascular function also triggers the production of endorphins [happy hormones]. The rhythm of continuous exercise or dancing, as well as singing [in the shower or elsewhere] boosts the flow of those feel good hormones. So, if you want to feel happy, as Dr Richard Bandler would say, “Why wait?”
And now back to the pyjamas…
Recent research shows that dress can affect the quality of both thinking and production! So, get out of those comfies and dress for the task in hand.
5. Downtime – Read or write without a screen! [20 mins]
The definition of downtime, according to the Cambridge dictionary is, noun: the time during which a machine, especially a computer, is not working or is not able to be used.
Many of you have posted that your using you plan to use your time on isolation to catch up on reading and that may well be happening in practise but wouldn’t it be wonderful to establish a schedule that enables you to read and write early in the day both now and when the current pandemic is behind us.
I started writing journal writing a few years ago, when my own life was turned upside- down for a while. The reflections [ideas, breakthroughs, successes, opportunities, learnings and realisations] proved invaluable; not to mention the fact that when you “park” a thought that’s been worrying you, you can interrupt any negative internal dialogue and turn your attention to the positives. Many people like to keep a gratitude journal, which may prove interesting now when it may be harder to source the things that may previously have been taken for granted.
Finally, enjoy time for you at the start of every day for the duration of Covid 19 and beyond…