Changeability Podcast: Manage Your Mind - Change Your Life







December 2023
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The Changeability Podcast past and future

We celebrate 100 episodes as we take a look at the Changeability Podcast past and future.

Here’s some of the top 3s from the past 99 episodes followed by a look at the next episode in the Changeability Podcast story. 

Audience top 3 episodes

The 3 favourite episodes of our audience to date. These are the shows with the highest number of downloads so far. The longer the episode’s been on iTunes or our website or Stitcher or TuneIn the longer people have had to listen to it, so we would expect the older shows to have more downloads than newer ones and that’s reflected in these results.

Third most popular episode - ‘What is Mind Management’ Episode 6

In episode 6 of the Changeability Podcast we were thinking about our strap line phrase – ‘Mind Management’. What is mind management and what’s in it for you?

In episode 6 you found out about:

  • Kathryn and Julian’s acting skills (you’ve been warned)
  • How many thoughts you have in a day
  • Why sports people love mind management
  • How thoughts have energy
  • How you are not thoughts
  • How mind management needs training
  • Mind management can improve your personal and professional life

Second most popular episode - ‘The Brilliant You’ Episode 2

Do you know how truly amazing you are?  Well that’s what episode 2 is all about.

You might not always feel like a magnificent being, but by the end of this second episode you be agreeing with us that you’re pretty smart.

Because in this show we talk about just how brilliant you and your marvellous mind and what it means.   

  • What you’re doing as you listen to the episode (really?)
  • How you’re like an iceberg and why that’s a good thing.
  • How many things we can focus on at a time
  • What Julian learnt from a Memory World Champion (or rather - didn’t learn!)
  • The role of the conscious and unconscious brain and how they manage our minds. 

Understanding a few basics about how your mind works, will help you understand what’s getting in the way of doing what you want and what to do about it.

Most popular episode - ‘Changeability – The Start’ Episode 1

The first episode saw us introducing ourselves and the Changeability show. 

The Changeability podcast is for you if you’re interested in changing or improving something in your life or business, big or small. It’s for people like us who’re interested in finding ways to make our lives the best they can be – so we can be more successful (whatever that means to you), happy and fulfilled.

Through discussion and interviews we look at practical mind management and change techniques, tactics & tools - taken from the worlds of personal development, psychology, neuroscience, business, sport, entertainment and spirituality – to empower and inspire a happier, successful life or business.

In the first episode you find out:

  • What is Changeability?
  • And why should you care about it?
  • Why is change hard?
  • How we can self-sabotage our best intentions
  • Why it’s not your fault - and why it’s good.
  • Our story and what we’ve learnt

Top 3 countries

We love you being here wherever you’re from – so this isn’t our favourite countries – but rather the top 3 countries with the highest number of listeners out of the 167 countries we currently have listeners in.

  • Third – UAE 6%
  • Second – USA 19%
  • First – UK 48%

(And just in cast you’re interested the fourth is Australia with India in fifth place.)

Kathryn and Julian’s favourites

This was so hard to choose, especially as we decided not to include any interviews in our top 3s (maybe they’re deserving of a separate post) – but here’s three each with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure.

Kathryn’s favourites

  • Episode 3 – The Library in your brain
  • Episode 19 - Why use affirmations to manage your mind?
  • Episode 31 – 5 mind management techniques for changing your life.

Julian’s favourites 

  • Episode 43 – What is mindfulness and why you need it?
  • Episode 46 - 21 simple tips for mindfulness meditation.
  • Episode 56 What is happiness and the neuroscience behind it

Couple of extras

  • Episode 85 How to recognise toxic people and relationships
  • Episode 89 What does success mean to you

3 of our favourite reviews on iTunes

Very hard to pick 3 out of the 78 we have  so far across the different iTunes countries as we obviously love them all.  So we can’t really call these our favourites but they are reviews we’ve especially like.

Excellent - iimmmii from United Kingdom

One of the best ‘change your life’ resources I’ve come across. If you like to understand the theory and evidence (be it scientific or anecdotal) behind advice on how to change your life, this material is presented in an engaging way in this podcast. Of course they also make recommendations for how best to go about taking action. A few episodes in and you will feel like you’ve made two new friends who are supporting you on your journey of change. Well done Kathryn and Julian, listening to you makes me proud to be from the same Sceptred Isle!

A Homely Serving Up of Sound Advice/Wisdom - Ola-B. from United Kingdom

Where has this amazing couple been all my life?! :) Love Kathryn, love Julian, and let's not forget Dude!!! Love this podcast - the topics, the delivery of it's simply unique, uplifting and inspiring! Thank you guys!

Kathryn and Julian's chemistry rocks! -   LornaLi from United States

I love the concept of this show! It's so unique and refreshing! I absolutely LOVE the hosts' chemistry - their exchanges are such a joy to listen to. Thank you for all the useful tips you provide to your listeners on how to plan and achieve their goals, I'm sure many are reaping so many benefits from this show!


Thank you to you for taking the effort and making our day. By the way – we’d love more reviews. We don’t always ask for them in every episode as it gets tedious for you to listen to – and we want to provide you with a good listening experience. However, reviews are important to us not only because it’s great to find out what you think but it means iTunes makes our show more visible to people looking for podcasts.  You know yourself the power of reviews on sites like Tripadvisor and Amazon – so if you feel like helping us out that’s one way to do it. 

Dude’s top 3

Who’s been with us all through every single episode and every phase of the podcasting process – in fact he’s always with us – Dude the Dog, our faithful hound and black labradoodle.

We’ve joked we have a contractual obligation to mention him in every show – not that we’ve quite done that but he’s had more than his fair share of mentions and even made it onto the show on a few occasions.

So here’s Dude’s top 3 favourite Changeability Podcast moments as chosen by him (woof).

  • Episode 83 ‘Self-love Rituals’ – The 10th of our self-love rituals is to have Pet Time. Walk, cuddle, play with or groom your dog or cat or talk to your budgerigar. You might not get this if you don’t have a pet – but if you do have one you’ll know what we mean!
  • Episode 63 ‘How to start and finish anything with Tom Boother’ – Dude features in a cameo role when Tom starts talking about Dude and how they met!
  • Episode 98 ‘What are habits and why we need them’ – Dude gets his own moment in the spotlight. You’ll have to listen to this episode to know what we mean, or just listen to episode 100 to hear the extract.

Our top 3 bloomers

You wont know what we’re talking about here if you’ve never listened right to the end of our shows – but listen to episode 100 to hear 3 of them for your entertainment – and why they’re called Kathryn’s bloomers!

3 lessons we’ve learned  from creating 100 episodes of the Changeability Podcast

Here’s just 3 of the many things we’ve learned from creating 100 episodes of this podcast over the past two years, and they’re all relevant to you.

  1. You can’t always measure your impact

Sometimes it’s hard to measure your impact – this goes for measuring the success of a podcast or many things.  How do you measure your success or the impact you have?

On the whole people don’t tell you and it’s not always possible to make a connection e.g. between who’s listened to the podcast and who’s visited the website or bought an Affirmation or audio mind management tool or a course like our ‘Beginner’s guide to mindfulness meditation’

That’s not to say there aren’t any clues. Ways of gauging if we’re having a positive impact include comments in our FB group or page and reviews on Stitcher or iTunes. Plus nomination for national / international podcast awards – being a finalist for the New Media Europe Audience Appreciation Award and winner of the UK Podcaster’s Best Self Help Podcast Award.  But the truth of it is that for the thousands of our podcast listeners each month, for the most part it’s hard know the difference, if any, it makes to them. 

Does that matter? Yes and no.  Yes because from a resource and business perspective it’s helpful to have a handle on the impact but also no because sometimes it’s not just possible to know but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.

This is an important lesson for us all because you don’t always know the impact of what you do in your work, relationships and everyday life – but that in itself doesn’t mean you should stop what you do.

  1. Stickability and focus

Creating 100 episodes of a podcast, especially one like this, is an achievement. This is an important lesson for us and maybe also you as well.  When we do something consistently and with focus it creates results. 

We may not know the full impact of those results but there are some clear results for us.

  • 100 episodes of a podcast are out there in the world being listened to in 167 countries.
  • 100 blog posts which are the show notes on this website.
  • Winners of a national podcast award and finalists for another.

All of which is the result of focus and stickability – week by week.  And now we have this body of work that is out there in the world whatever happens in the future – no-one can take that away from us.

This goes for you as well – what is it you want to achieve? A new skill, producing something, writing a book, starting your own podcast, setting up a business.  Whatever it is clarity, consistency, stickability and focus is the key.

  1. Review evaluate and change

The third lesson for us has been learning the importance of reviewing and evaluating what you’re doing.  We’ve been doing just that with our podcast as 100 seems a good point to do so.

We’ve been looking back on the experience of the past two years, learning from it and making changes.  This is something we advocate for you too. It’s about being deliberate about what you do rather than just carrying on doing the same thing because that’s what you do or what people expect of you.  It might be a matter of fine-tuning and pivot or of big changes.

For us it’s meant reviewing our experience, going right back to why we started Brilliant Living HQ in the first place. In fact going back further than that to why we wanted to make the big change in leaving our previous careers.  Sometimes it’s good to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

One of the things we always said was that we wanted more control over our time and to spend time doing what we want to do, and more time for ourselves. We know that time is a resource, even our most precious resource.

So to put these two things together we’ve been looking at how we spend our time and efforts, in effect the resources we put into the podcast – that’s the review bit.

Next came the evaluation. Is the balance right? This is a challenging one for us because we love doing the podcast, which means it’s always high on our list of priorities, together with the schedule we set ourselves and the way we create our show.

Review, evaluate and make changes in the light of your experience to make sure you’re always taking control of your own path.

That’s what we’ve done – and to see what changing we come to the future.

The future

The result of our thinking about what we’ve done and what we want to do is that we love the podcast and you the listeners, so we’re going to continue with it but take a break over the summer for a few weeks.

We’re taking this short break for an exciting reason, because when we return at the beginning of September we’ll have the Changeability Success Club.

We’re taking the next few weeks to get this exciting club ready for you.  We’re ordering the carpets and curtains, mowing the lawn, changing the beds, only joking, it’s an online club to take the things we talk about on the Changeability podcast and make them a reality in your life. 

With everything you could want and need to help you make changes in your life alongside a great community of people like you to support each other.   More on that very soon, but for now we wanted to let you know it’s coming. 

We’re putting a lot of love and time into creating what we believe will be the best online club for you to become a member of. 

We’ve been working on it behind the scenes for a while now and now we want to put a special effort into the final push to get it ready for opening the doors.  We’ve been making videos and templates and downloadable tools including special audio tools to help you not only get clear about what you want but also give you the tools and support to make it happen – all within our special membership club for those of you who join us.

So we’re taking the next few weeks to get it ready for you and when we come back it will be here.  We’ll have one hundred places ready – it’s going to be really special and we can’t wait to share it with you.

So exciting!

What to do next

  • Subscribe to the podcast so you’re notified when the next episode goes live and you wont miss it. 
  • Get on our email list if you’re not on it already. That way you’ll be amongst the first to know when the Changeability Success Club goes live and get a chance to grab one of the first 100 places as soon as they are available.
  • And if by any chance you think you might miss us over the next few weeks:
  • There’s plenty of podcast episodes to catch up on - 99 of them to be precise. Why not start with the ones mentioned in the show today?
  • There’s lots to read on this site.
  • Follow us on Twitter, like our Brilliant Living HQ FB page and ask to be notified of updates, and join the Changeability FB group.

Thanks for being here and listening to the show and we look forward to talking again soon.

Direct download: CA100.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:03pm UTC

“Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts.” ― Mortimer J. Adler

Habits are an intrinsic part of who we are and how we function.  Habits are fundamental to how we think and behave, which makes them key to how we live our lives and make our decisions.

The achievement of our goals and success are more the product of our daily habits than any one off transformative situation or action on our part.

Habits are a key part of mind management because;

  • your mind use habits like a shortcut or brain power saving device or mechanism
  • if you manage your mind in a helpful way you can utilise the power of habits. Rather than viewing habits in a negative light as something we need to control and overcome, they become an empowering tool to enhance our lives, help us make changes and be happier.

To do this we need to know which habits are good for us and to continue and critically which habits are not supporting our goals. The first step therefore is to identify a habit you want to change for a helpful, empowering, positive, healthy or wealthy habit, or a new habit you want to cultivate. 

This an important step as the funny thing about habits (like limiting thoughts) is we’re not always aware of them. We have to take a deliberate step back to identify the habit or to acknowledge that thing we keep doing but would really love to change is indeed a habit – an habitual way of behaving in response to a situation or action.


Now you know the habit you want to change, is it a matter of using your willpower to change it and your motivation to keep going?

Yes and no.  Yes because when it comes to habits willpower and motivation both have an important role to play but they’re not enough on there own as there are limitations to be aware of.

Willpower is the power to exercise your will.  To have control over what you do and self-discipline.

But the thing about will power is you only have so much of it and when it runs out – because we’re tired or hungry or sad – it’s hard to rely on. 

This is why you can wake up with good intentions and lots of willpower but by the evening it’s decidedly harder to exercise your will.

Although you can get better at exercising willpower the more we do it, your brain likes your habits so wants you to keep them.

So although willpower has a role to play in changing your habits, it can’t be relied on to do it alone.  The same goes for your motivation.


Your motivation is the purpose or the ‘why’ behind what you do – in this case behind the new habit you want.

I think of motivation as having different levels or layers and each level or layer has a different strength.

Think of it as concentric circles –circles within circles like an onion.

The outer layer is your big ‘why’ or the purpose that motivates you.

Say you want to develop some health and fitness habits– the big outer layer motivation is to be healthier and fitter because it makes you feel better, gives you more energy, to get the most out of life, you look better which makes you feel better, and that makes you a better happier person in yourself and relationships.

In short the outer layer is you want to develop healthy habits because being fit and healthy feels good and makes me a happier person.  That’s all very well and good but it’s hard to keep that at the forefront of our mind in everything we do – and we know that willpower will only take us so far.  Especially as we move in onto the next layer.

The next layer or circle in is your situation. For example, you have a busy life, you’re looking after your house, maybe you have a family or a hectic social life or many commitments, and you’re always rushing around from one thing to the next.

Then we get to the next layer in which is your career or job that maybe demands a lot from you in terms of energy and time.

Next comes the final layer because right in the middle (like the bullseye on a dart board) is a circle which represent you.  It has the word ‘you’ of ‘me’ written in it.

This is you at this very moment or in the present moment when you’re thinking about it.

That’s the model but it’s not static, because the thickness of these layers changes over the day and over the week, they may be different at the weekend to a Monday morning,

The point is your motivation which starts off with the best of intentions can get hijacked or watered down as you move through the layers.

So first thing in the morning you start off with good intentions about changing your habits but then you get busy getting the breakfast done, getting to work, your energy dips and then the you in the middle circle – i.e. the you at that precise moment –  isn’t so worried about the bigger picture because the needs of the moment are nearer to you than the big circle on the outside. And the needs of the moment are that you’re hungry, you’re busy and need something quick to boost your energy but more importantly in that moment to overcome the hunger and to do it quickly and easily in a satisfying way. 

That’s when you don’t want to just be relying on willpower and motivation and can do with something else to help you.

Let’s think about what that could be and to do this we need to go back to the idea of what a habit is.

The habit loop

Habits have a cycle they go through.  These are the elements or phases a habits exhibits or has h to be classed a habit. A habit is made up of

  • the cue or trigger,
  • the routine, action or behaviour
  • and the reward or what we get out of it – the benefit.

This whole habit process or framework is sometimes referred to as the habit loop and it’s a crucial concept to changing your habits. 

Disrupt the loop

Now comes the clever part. You take this habit loop and use it to your advantage to reduce your reliance on willpower or motivation to help you form new empowering habits to support your goals. 

In practical terms you do this through disrupting this existing habit loop and tying the new habit you want to cultivate to an existing one.  In that way the existing habit or activity becomes the cue or trigger for the new one you want to do.

So you take a habit you do every day like cleaning your teeth or having a shower and disrupt or interrupt it – because you’re not necessarily completely changing the habit, you might be adding in a new habit.

You’re effectively hijacking or piggybacking an existing habit.

I’ve been doing this by interrupting my morning bathroom routine to insert a push-ups and stretching directly in-between cleaning my teeth and having my shower. And it works as I’ve done it every day this year. It’s now intrinsically tied into my morning routine so it doesn’t feel right to get in the shower if I haven’t done my little exercise habit.

Try it for yourself.  Tie or link your new habit to an existing one and see how long it takes to create a new pattern of normality, in other words a new habit. Let us know how you get on. 

“Habits aren’t destiny. Habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced. But the reason the discovery of the habit loop is so important is that it reveals a basic truth: When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.” ― Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do

The Changeability Podcast

Hear us talk about all of this and more on episode 99 of the Changeability Podcast.


Thank you and next steps

If you like what you’ve read or listened to please help us spread the word by sharing this post and leaving a review on iTunes and subscribing to the show while you’re there.  Thank you.

Keep in touch

Direct download: CA099.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:48pm UTC

What are habits and why they matter

Your habits are key to who you are and the change you want.

Habits underpin what we do at Brilliant Living and on the Changeability Podcast – mind management for your best life and business and how to make changes.

Lasting change, i.e. achieving your goals – is not the result of a one off transformation but a product of daily habits.

What do you want to achieve? What do you want to change?  Whatever it is, getting it is the result of your habits.  Habits play a role in what you look and feel like, in your success and relationships.

All of which makes it slightly surprising we’ve got to episode 98 of the Changeability Podcast before dedicating and episode to habits – but here we are and this is it.

So what are habits?

Habits are the things we do, but also and maybe as importantly, the way we think and what we believe.  They include the self-beliefs that influence what we do, our behaviour and the actions we take.

A habit is the repeated thinking and behaviours that become automatic, so we don’t mostly think about it.

We need to know how we form habits in order to change them.

Habits have certain characteristics or constituent parts that keep us doing them.

Cues, routines and rewards

There’s a cue that initiates the behaviour.

A cue is a trigger, or reminder, something that triggers our thought or behaviour.  Like the cue line in a play, (the line before you come in) which on hearing it reminds you to say your line, or triggers you to deliver your line.

Then comes the routine.  This is the behaviour or action that the cue has triggered – and the bit we think of as the habit.

This is followed by the third part of a habit – the reward.  This is the bit that is of benefit to you in some way, even though it might not actually feel like that, your brain is seeing it’s benefit.   Because it’s a reward or benefit your brain wants you to repeat it and so you do until you’ve done it often enough it becomes a habit.

This forms what Charles Duhigg in ‘The Power of Habit’ and Stanford professor B.J. Hogg in ‘Tiny Habits’ call the ‘habit loop’.

Many of our everyday activities involve habits with a cue, action and reward.  Here’s a few you probably repeatedly do and don’t really think about them :

  • Cleaning your teeth
  • Tying your laces
  • Riding a bike
  • Driving - remember learning to drive and how painfully slow it was having to think of each step every time. Whereas now it’s such an ingrained habit not only do you not think of each step, sometimes you can’t even remember driving somewhere.

Then there’s certain ways of behaving we get into which quickly become habits for example,

  • Getting in the habit of going to bed or getting up early or late.
  • Eating certain types of food or at certain times of the day. Why do we tend to eat different things for breakfast to dinner? There’s not really any reason, it’s a habit born out of convention.

Then there are the habits you think of as bad or unhelpful.

  • Julian bites his nails and worse!
  • Kathryn procrastinates, gets distracted by social media and emails and eats snacks late at night. That’s just for starters...

If you want proof of the power of habit – if proof were needed – just look at your pet.  Our dog Dude not only knows the time of day but exactly what should be happening in his world at what time and what order.  Especially when it comes to food and walks.

Why we need habits

Habits help us manage our minds. 

Habits save us brain power – or rather free up our brains to do exciting creative thinking.

Making habits out of the things we do repeatedly, our behaviours and actions – provides our brain with a power saving or effort saving mechanism.  An automatic response requires less creativity and complexity of thinking from us.

Gretchen Rubin in her book “Better than before” sums it up nicely:

“When possible, the brain makes a behavior into a habit, which saves effort and therefore gives us more capacity to deal with complex, novel, or urgent matters.” 
― Gretchen Rubin

Why habits matter

Habits matter because they hold great influence and sway over how we think, act and feel – which just about covers everything we do.

We get into habits of thinking, doing and feeling.

And because it’s the brain’ shortcut to behaving and feeling certain ways, it becomes automatic behaviour. 

“We become what we repeatedly do.” - Sean Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens

This is great if it’s good automatic behaviour – but what if it’s not good behaviour?  We’ve mentioned a few of our bad habits, those unhelpful habits that don’t support us in the changes we want to make and the way we want to live.  And the truth is we all have unhelpful habits.

That’s why habits matter.  They matter to us because they are such a big part of who we are and what they do.  The results of their influence is felt and seen in every aspect of our life and work.  They help to determine how we feel and what we do.

Habits underpin our mind management and how we can manage our minds to change what we do and how we do it.

And habits matter because lasting change is a product of daily habits.  The little small daily things we do that day in day out, week in week out and then month in month out, go into making the person we are - how we think, feel and act. In other words, we and our lives are the sum and result of our habits. 

Mind Work

What can we do about it? Before we think about how to change our habits – we need to identify them and decide which are helpful and which are not serving us in what we want to do or the person we want to be.

The mind work is to take a day really notice what you think are your habits.  Notice what you do and how you feel and note down a word or two or you’ll forget (you think you wont but you really will) and then determine if it’s linked to a habit and if that habit is helping or hindering you.

To take it one step further you can relate it to the there being the three aspects of a habit.  This will not only help you determine if it actually is a habit but also help you understand what triggers it, (the cue) how it shows itself (the routine or behaviour or action) and what that habit is doing for you (this is the reward and benefits bit). 

This will not only give you an increased level of self awareness and understanding but will put you in a good place to take forward some of next week’s suggestions when we look at how to change your habits. 

Changeability Podcast Episode 98

Hear us talk about all of this and a lot more – including some more of Julian’s unsavoury habits, on episode 98 of the Changeability Podcast.

Thank you

Thank you for reading or listening today. We appreciate you spending your time with us and if you appreciate us we’d love you to share this with someone you know.  Send them an email or share on social media.

Links and resources

  • Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habits
  • B.J. Fogg: Tiny Habits
  • Samuel Smile: Self-Help
  • Gretchen Rubin - Better Than Before
  • Steven Covey - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Direct download: CA098.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:00am UTC

Healthy happy eating with The Merrymaker Sisters

Kathryn and I first met Emma and Carla when we were attending a business entrepreneurs’ event in the Philippines. Meeting these two vivacious and fun loving entrepreneurs made a mark on both of us.

Their joy of life was infectious, and we wanted to know more about them, their journey and what they did.

Emma and Carla Papas, known as ‘The Merrymaker Sisters’ are real life sisters who went from being communication professionals to health and happiness advocates and health coaches!

They're the founders of where they inspire hundreds of thousands of Merrymakers around the world with real food recipes and ways to find and follow your bliss!

“If we hear ourselves say ‘we want this to happen’, we have to focus some energy on it.” - The Merrymaker Sisters

So, what better than to invite them onto episode 97 of The Changeability Podcast laugh and chat healthy happy eating with The Merrymaker Sisters.

Packed into this week’s Changeability Podcast

  • Emma and Carla’s inspirational story from food obsessive mindsets to health and wellbeing.
  • Find out what it means to be a ‘merrymaker’ and what it hopefully doesn’t mean!
  • What on earth does Carla and Emma mean when they say ‘follow your bliss’ and why you should consider it?
  • Why you are a hero of your own journey.
  • Where to start with healthier, happier, eating habits.
  • What makes healthy, happy food?
  • The effects of mindful eating.
  • Foods to give up and what we should we have more of.
  • What is a Paleo diet?
  • Why we need to be free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars.
  • What gets in the way or stops you eating healthily, even when you want to?
  • Suggestions for healthier sweet snack options when you get the munchies in the evening.
  • And more laughter and giggling you can cram into a podcast show than is good for you.
  • Plus, don’t miss my blooper at the end of today’s show!

“Life is too short to say no to dessert. You just have to make your dessert healthy” – The Merrymaker Sisters 

Links mentioned on today’s show:

  • Emma and Carla’s website –
  • Emma and Carla’s on Instagram – warning: don’t look at this when you’re hungry; it’s yummy-lichiously addictive!
  • Make it Merry: A Healthy Cookbook – by Emma and Carla Papas
  • Dr John Demartini - The Values Factor or The Breakthrough Experience
  • The Paleo Diet – Loren Cordain
  • Change your brain, Change your body – Dr Daniel G. Amen


Direct download: CA097.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

Change your brain, revitalise your body – really? Sound too good to be true?

We’ve been talking over the last few weeks about how to use the power of your brain to reach your ideal body weight, look younger and boost your energy.

And let’s face it, who couldn’t do with a bit of that!

As part of our wellness and wellbeing series we’ve explored Dr Daniel Amen’s book, Change your Brain, Change your Body, including 10 brain principles for the body you want and four ways to use your brain to change your weight. Today we conclude our exploration in change your brain, revitalise your body.

How your brain can help beautify your body and improve your overall health and well-being.

Dr Amen puts forward 6 solutions: 

1 - The Skin solution

Your skin is directly tied to the health of your brain.

People spend a lot of money on skin care products and more. It’s a huge multi-million pound business. From skin-care products to laser treatment, to the plastic surgeon, but Dr Amen argues these are only temporary fixes and the real solution lies in your brain.

It’s your brain that tells your skin to produce more or less oil, supervises the production of supportive collagen and is responsible for skin regeneration; so it’s there we need to begin.

“The health of your skin is an outside reflection of the health of your brain.” – Dr Daniel G. Amen

So what’s bad for our brain (and therefore our skin)?

Well it’s the usual suspects: Caffeine, alcohol, smoking, poor diet, too much sugar, yo-yo dieting, inadequate water intake, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, stress, unresolved emotional conflicts or PTSD, hormonal changes, untreated psychiatric conditions, dementia, medications, sun exposure, pollution and environmental toxins, climate.

And the solution:

Get more sleep, distress, exercise, balance your hormones, have more sex (really), limit caffeine and alcohol, quit smoking, eat a brain healthy diet (more of that next week), maintain a healthy weight, drink more water, balance your sun exposure (some sun is good for your Vitamin D) but not too much which can cause premature aging and sun spots. 20 minutes during the day after which protect yourself with sunscreen. And finally treat mental disorders and memory problems.

Plus you can take some supplements, e.g. Vitamin D, fish oil, evening primrose oil and grape seed extract (good antioxidant) 

2 - The Hormone solution

Did you know your hormones have a huge impact on brain function?

When your hormones are balanced you tend to feel happy and energetic.

And in contrast Dr Amen cites evidence pointing to low hormonal levels being responsible for amongst other things: low libido, depression, memory problems, midlife crises and divorce.

While high hormone levels lead to: hyper competitiveness, acne or aggression.

Once again it’s the brain that controls all the hormones in your body.

Types of hormonal imbalance include thyroid, adrenal, testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone to name but a few. Different hormones require different treatments but often begin with blood tests depending on the symptoms.

3 - The Focus and Energy solution

If you want more energy and focus (and frankly, who doesn’t) then you are probably prey to one or more focus and energy robbers.

These fall into different categories including; infectious causes, hormonal issues, low or erratic blood sugar states, anaemia, brain trauma, environmental toxins, inherited brain disorders, medications, chronic stress, untreated past emotional traumas and bad brain habits.

So if you find yourself wondering if your lack of focus could be something more that just being disorganised or lacking focus, it might well be. The good news is there’s lots you can do to counteract this.

The first step is to get any of those focus and energy robbers treated and at the same time develop and maintain a brain-healthy lifestyle – adequate sleep, a brain-healthy diet, exercise (4-5 times/week), a stress reduction program if chronically stressed, and meditation is a particularly good energy booster too. Plus, certain foods are energy boosters including fruit, veg, beans, and whole grains and protein.

4 - The Sleep solution

And then we get to solution 4 – the sleep solution. Always a favourite topic of conversation between us. One of us a night owl who can survive on considerably less than the other.

Dr Amen suggests resting your brain for a slimmer shape and smoother skin, pointing to a small study by the University of Chicago which suggests people who are sleep deprived (the test was on 12 healthy men in their twenties who slept only 4 hours a night) were more likely to choose sweets, cookies, and cake over fruit, veg and dairy products.

Practical action steps in the sleep solution include: maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoid exercise close to bed time, and what causes sleep deprivations which includes amongst others medications, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and a number of others along with these usual suspects.

5 - The Stress solution

A little stress can be a good thing but excessive stress both in good and bad forms can spell trouble for your brain and body. Chronic stress affects the flow of blood to the brain, lowering overall brain function and prematurely ageing the brain and can also affect the body making you look older.

A 2009 study of 647 women found the physical effects of chronic stress were similar to the effects of smoking, being obese or being 10 years older than their actual age.

Techniques to help calm stress and thereby have a better body include: meditation, yoga, learning to delegate, practicing gratitude, getting enough sleep, exercise, soothing music, lavender, rehearsing or practicing situations that cause stress, living in the present (mindfulness), laughing more, seeking help, self-hypnosis and avoiding substances that harm your brain (the aforementioned usual suspects).

6 - The Negative Thoughts solution

The last solution is around thinking your way to being thinner, younger and happier through avoiding negative thoughts. Dr Amen cites 9 types of ANTs or Automatic Negative Thoughts that get in the way of your being thinner, feeling and looking younger and being happier.

We’ve looked at these and more in a previous post and episode of the Changeability Podcast which you check out at – Episode 39 – 11 Negative thoughts to avoid. And how to swat them.

Change your Brain, Change your Body

Change your Brain, Change your Body’ is an interesting book that really got me thinking about whether some of the things he talks about, which I’m sometimes frustrated about in my own behaviours – tiredness, fogginess of thinking, could well be around imbalances, or poor dietary considerations and I was left wanting to explore that more.

It’s a dense book with many useful actionable steps in it, plenty to ponder and take action on and return to for further reading. It will really make you think about the mind-body connection. 

Where to start?

Start by changing a few vital habits that will have the maximum impact. That may mean replacing ‘anti-nutrition’ with brain healthy foods, or taking supplements geared to your brain type, or by gradually starting an exercise program, or getting a bit more kip (sleep). Then fine tune your life changes to ramp up your brain and body health.

Episode 96 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear us talk about all of this and more on episode 96 of the Changeability Podcast on iTunes, Sticher, Tunein or in the podcast player at the top of this post.

Links mentioned in the show

Vote for the Changeability Podcast

We received some excellent news this week. We’re through to the final of the Audience Appreciation Award 2016 at New Media Europe 2016 – which is incredibly exciting and down to you lovelies who all voted for us in stage 1 of the Award process. The winners of this award will become known later this month at an Awards event in London.

We could do with your help to vote for us from now to 10th June. The competition has moved to Twitter and all it requires is that you vote for our podcast on Twitter, by going to:, scrolling down to and click on The Changeability Podcast link under ‘The Audience Appreciation Award’. This will pre-populate a tweet which shows your support for our podcast.

One final thing– if you felt super-duper kind – please vote for us once a day up to 10th June – thank you.

Direct download: CA096.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:28am UTC

How to use your brain to change your weight

This week we’ve gone from consuming 5 course dinners every night in a lovely hotel on holiday in Wales, to thinking about weight and the brain. It’s sweetly ironic and rather timely.

As part of our mini series on health and wellbeing, this week we think about weight and if we can use our brains to help us lose weight. Today’s featured author certainly thinks so as Dr Daniel G. Amen devotes the second section of his book, Change your Brain, Change your Body, to the subject.

Last week we looked at 10 brain principles for the body you’ve always wanted. Continuing with our exploration of the link between your brain and body and how having a healthy body and making healthy decisions all starts with your brain, we turn to the subject of weight.

Weight is an aspect of our bodies that many of us want to do something about.  We might want to change our weight upwards or more commonly downwards, for our health and because we think it will make us feel better about ourselves.

So what does Dr Daniel G. Amen say about this? 

How can you use your brain to achieve lasting weight loss?

Dr Amen, puts forward four major solutions to how to use your brain to change your weight.

1 - The Craving Solution

This is about using your brain to increase your willpower and calm the urges that prevent you achieving your goals.

How often do we have a day where everything’s going well and then someone offers us a cream cake? In Dr Amen’s case  it was a caramel apple which he resisted it by walking away – but why was everything in him craving it?

Essentially, there are centres of the brain responsible for focus, judgment and impulse control – the pre-frontal cortex in the front of your brain – and there is also a pleasure and motivation centre deep within your brain plus we also have emotional memory centres that trigger behaviour.  All this comes together to influence our behaviour.

By understanding these brain circuits of willpower and control you can work towards gaining mastery of your brain and body.

It starts with our first experiences of pleasure or intense emotional experiences. These first experiences can get locked in the brain and lay down the tracks for later behaviour and addictions, because we want to replicate and repeat what led to our first pleasurable experiences.

For Dr Amen it was linked to the pleasure he associated with some of his earliest memories of making fudge with his sweet-maker grandfather.

What about you? What are your earliest memories of pleasure or intense emotional experiences?

I remember eating ‘milky way’ chocolate bars at my Grandma’s house when I got home from school and my Mother’s sherry trifles were legendry at family parties and celebrations of every kind.  

For Julian the stodgy puddings of school dinners and getting enough of it after it had been passed down the table of older children first, loom large in his memory (yes he is that person that loved school dinners)!

So going back to the idea there are different centres of the brain responsible for focus, judgment and impulse control plus a pleasure and motivation centre, it’s the relative strength and weakness of each of these brain areas that goes a long way in determining how much control we have over ourselves and how well we are able to stick to our plans.

Regaining control of these different centres of the brain depends in part on the area in question but it generally involves balancing your brain systems. If, for example your Prefrontal Cortex is out of balance, you might need to treat any PFC problems that exist but in more general terms you can strengthen this area by:

  • Good sleep
  • Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • And creating focused, written goals. All of which are designed to boost activity and blood flow to this area of the brain. (Couldn’t agree more with this and if you want to know more sign up for our Changeability Starter Kit)

Solution 2 – The Weight Solution

Here, you’re using your brain to achieve your optimal weight. While according to Dr Amen we might exhibit different clinical presentations and brain patterns and require different approaches, he outlines 13 things all of us should do to maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Know your brain type – not everyone has the same brain type. There are six main types (detailed in the book)
  2. Get a complete physical and focus on having healthy vitamin D, DHEA (a hormone in the body which can become depleted), and thyroid levels
  3. Know your BMI and caloric need numbers – the approximate number of calories you need to maintain your current weight. He gives you a formula which you can use to calculate the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.
  4. Know the approximate number of calories you eat a day by keeping a food journal and calorie log and work on getting ‘high-quality calories in versus high-quality energy out’. This is useful because people lie about their food intake, or to put it more kindly, we often underestimate our daily intake and keeping a food journal overcomes this tendency. You start using your brain to become educated about the nutrition you put in your body and can then take control over it. You can not change what you can not measure.
  5. Exercise 4-5 times a week, starting with walking fast and light strength training.
  6. Optimise your hormone levels
  7. Get great sleep
  8. Use simple stress-management techniques
  9. Stop believing every negative thought that goes through your brain
  10. Use hypnosis to keep you slim
  11. Take supplements to keep your brain healthy
  12. Use the advice in his book, to keep your brain young and active in order to lose 10 pounds (5 kilograms)
  13. Take control of your weight and do not let other people make you fat

Solution 3 – The Nutrition Solution

This involves feeding your brain nutritious foods to look and feel younger, on the basis that we are what we eat, and that the foods we eat affect our moods and our energy levels.

We’re constantly getting the wrong or unhelpful messages about food. As a society we’re bombarded with messages encouraging us to adopt bad eating habits.

‘Do you want to supersize that?’, ‘Do you want bread first?’ ‘Do you want a larger drink? It’s a better deal’, the All you can eat buffet!

Many of us send out the wrong messages to our children ‘If you’re good, you can have a treat when you get home.’ We use poor nutrition as a reward for good behaviour which later in life translates to us rewarding ourselves with food that is not good for us.

To follow the Nutrition Solution of how to use your brain to change your weight:

  1. Drink plenty of water, some green tea, and not too many calories
  2. Watch your calories
  3. Increase good fats (unsaturated fats) and decrease bad ones (saturated and trans fats) Unsaturated good fats include: avocadoes (thought you’d like that one), olive oil, rapeseed oil, peanut oil and nuts such as almonds, cashews and pistachios.
  4. Increase good carbs and decrease bad ones. Carbs are a necessary part of a healthy diet, the amount you need depends on your brain type Good carbs are complex carbs which take longer to digest: fruit, veg, beans, pulses and whole grains. Bad carbs or simple carbs are digested quickly and provide little or no nutritional value: e.g. sugar, pastries, sweets, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, doughnuts, white bread, pasta and white rice
  5. Dump artificial sweeteners and replace with small amounts of natural sweeteners.
  6. Limit caffeine intake to one or two normal cups of coffee or three cups of tea a day.
  7. Eat great brain foods, which include Acai berries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, brussell sprouts, plums, broccoli, beetroot, avocadoes, oranges, red grapes, red peppers, cherries and kiwis
  8. Reduce salt intake and increase potassium intake
  9. Plan snacks. Interestingly, he says don’t listen to the idea of avoid snacking. Going too long without eating can wreak havoc on your brain function and make your blood sugar levels drop too low. But make them healthy snacks.
  10. Take a multivitamin supplement and fish oil
  11. Recognise when you or someone you care about has hidden food allergies.

Solution 4 – The Exercise Solution

Exercise your body to strengthen your brain.

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

We’re becoming more sedentary – driving to work, sitting all day at a desk, lounging on the sofa. This is bad news for our brains, our bellies, our backsides and our backs.

Exercise is part of the solution because it:

  • Encourages the growth of new brain cells
  • Enhances cognitive ability at all ages
  • Enhances your mood
  • Helps alleviate depression
  • Calms worries and anxiety
  • And helps us sleep better, amongst other things

Episode 95 of the Changeability Podcast

Join us to hear us talk about all of this and more in episode 95 of the Changeability Podcast

What about you?

Is this something you’d like to change – sign up for our free Changeability Starter Kit.

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: CA095.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:41pm UTC

10 brain principles for the body you want

Is it possible to utilise the power of your brain, to reach your ideal body weight, to look younger and boost your energy?

That’s the question we’re asking today.

And it’s the bold claim Dr Daniel G Amen makes in his New York Times bestseller, Change your Brain, Change your Body - the subject of this week’s blog and Changeability Podcast. 

What’s the idea behind Change your Brain, Change your Body?

In his introduction, Dr Amen tells us

“Fifty percent of the brain is dedicated to vision. How you look plays a large role in how you feel. To look and feel your best, you must first think about and optimize your brain.”

Let’s unpick this a bit.

We’re visually orientated, with our brain devoting half of its processing power to sight.

Being visual creatures – how we look, or how we perceive we look, plays a large part in how we feel about ourselves and that can often determine our ultimate success.

For our own underlying health – and not just for vanity sake – we should therefore concern ourselves with how we look and feel.

And that ultimately, to look and feel your best you need to first think about and then optimize your brain.

So as the title suggests, this book is about understanding and optimizing your brain to help you reach your ideal weight, look younger, boost your energy, change how you feel about yourself and that process of changing your body (via your mind) will in turn ultimately determine your success.

In essence then, this book is about body/mind integration, mind/body connection and how you can use your brain to improve your body and health.

And I’m sure you’ll agree, that’s an interesting premise.

But what do we know about the author and how he comes to make these claims? 

Background and credentials of the author

Dr Daniel G Amen is a doctor with three decades of clinical practice at the Amen Clinics.

His interest in the brain-body connection started over 30 years ago – where intriguingly he was influenced by an oncologist who taught people to use visualization to boost their immune system in order to fight cancer.

At medical school he became trained in hypnosis and saw the effect it can have on healing the body in a variety of treatments.

But it was in 1991 that he truly started to understand the mind-body connection when he started doing the brain imaging work which he now does at his clinics.

“Our brain imaging work opened a new window into why people do what they do. It provided the missing link and allowed people to see what was going on in their brains, so they could do things to improve their brain and bodies.”

Addressing the effect rather than the cause of body dissatisfaction

How often do we look in the mirror and see things we don’t always like?

We look at our reflection and we see lines on our face we don’t always want there, or we catch a glance of ourselves sidelong and see a tum which frankly we’d prefer not to have. We notice a few split ends in our hair or excessively dry skin on our face.

What do we do?

Well, we could make an appointment with a hairdresser for a haircut.

The wrinkles – we might slap all sorts of lotions and potions onto the skin to moisturise, cleanse and fill the cracks, so to speak – and some might nip along to their doctors to make an appointment for Botox.

Basically we try and fix it ourselves (diet to lose the tum) or get some professional help. We address the effect.

But Dr Amen would say that we need to address this issue by thinking about the health of our brain, the cause.

And that many of us are walking around with brains that could do with some serious help, but we don’t know it, so we don’t do anything about it to address the issue.

The things we see in the mirror are symptomatic of our brain health and instead of addressing the causal symptom we address the effect. 

10 brain principles for the body you want

Amen’s book is based on 10 key principles about the brain and its relationship with your body, and ultimately the health and wellbeing of our bodies.

  1. Your brain is involved in everything you do. It is at the core of your very health and wellbeing and the good or bad decisions we make with our brain ultimately determine whether your stomach bulges over your belt or your waistline is trim and toned. Essentially, the moment-by-moment functioning of the brain is responsible for the way you think, feel, eat and exercise.
  2. When your brain works right, your body looks and feels better. Here the idea is that when you have a healthy brain, it’s easier for you to have the best body possible. When your brain is working at optimal levels, you are more likely to stick to a diet, follow an exercise routine and adopt wellness lifestyle behaviours.
  3. The brain is a complex organ and we should respect it. The brain is an incredible organ, more powerful than the most sophisticated supercomputer. It is also responsible for our personalities, our character, our intelligence, indeed who we are. Yet often we don’t respect it, with the things we put into our bodies or the lifestyle we live.
  4. Your brain is soft and housed in a really hard skull and needs protecting. The consistency of the brain is not firm and rubbery as we might believe but very soft – like butter or custard. Although protected by a hard skull it can still be damaged easily. Many studies indicate that a lot of contact sports can damage our brains and demonstrate that even people who have suffered minor brain injuries can often experience emotional, behavioural or cognitive problems.
  5. The brain has only so much reserve. The more reserve you have, the healthier you are. The less, the more vulnerable. In times of stress some people deal with the situation better than others and the conclusion from Dr Amen’s brain scan work is that this is something to do with brain reserve – the cushion of healthy brain function we have to deal with stressful events or injuries.
  6. Specific parts of the brain are involved in certain behaviours. Trouble in specific parts tends to cause certain behavioural problems. The brain is divided into various parts or systems. If these parts of the brain show low or high activity (which can be seen with brain scanning) we exhibit certain behavioural problems. By addressing that under or over activity through the use of supplements and lifestyle changes we can help our ability to have the best body possible.
  7. Many things hurt the brain and make it harder for you to get and keep the body you’ve always wanted. Many things help the brain and make it easier to get and keep a body you love. Things that harm include: physical trauma, drugs, alcohol, obesity, hormonal imbalances, malnutrition, inflammation of the body, stress, sleep deprivation, smoking, too much caffeine, too much TV, violent video games, dehydration, lack of exercise, negative thinking, and also making the list - excessive texting and social networking on the internet.
  8. Brain imaging gives insight into healing the brain so you can have a better body. Brain imaging can often give clues as to the type of issue – from the list above, but also the area of the brain affected, which can then be treated.
  9. One prescription does not work for everyone. We are all unique and you need to understand how your own personal brain functions. We need individualised approaches based on our own brain type and needs.
  10. You can change your brain and body! Here Dr Amen imagines a really exciting breakthrough in medicine where by targeting specific interventions and lifestyle changes, you can improve both your brain and body.

So that’s it, the 10 principles that explain why it is essential to love and nurture your brain to have your best body possible and optimal wellness.

Next time, we explore how to use your brain to achieve something many of us struggle with – lasting weight loss; plus the many ways your brain can help you beautify your body and achieve lasting wellness and good health. 

Episode 94 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear us discuss the 10 principles and more in episode 94 of The Changeability Podcast, or subscribe to all our previous episodes on iTunes

Links mentioned in today’s show

  • Dr Daniel G Amen – Change your Brain, Change your Body
Direct download: CA094.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

Nicole Keating is on a mission to live a life of Epic Wellness, and to inspire and help others in their quest for The Art of Epic Wellness – a life of physical, spiritual and emotional vitality.

Nicole maintains:

“If you treat your body as a temple, then your body is going to treat you with beautiful energy and epic vitality”

And who doesn’t want more energy and vitality? We know we certainly do.

Behind the concept of epic wellness is the belief you have the right to know what’s going into the temple that is your body, and the responsibility to share what you know with the people you love.

“It’s all about becoming involved with your food”, Nicole tells us.

And this carries on from ideas we explored on last week’s Changeability Podcast where we were talking about wellness and wellbeing.

Nicole’s website, and her podcast of the same name seeks to do just that, to explore, uncover, question, unburden and uplevel your wellness journey. After all…

“When you invest in clean food going into your body you won’t to have to invest later in your healthcare.”

With a life voyage of such life changing proportions, we thought the only decent and British thing to do was to invite her onto the Changeability Podcast to discuss not the science but the Art of Epic Wellness.

And when the California State (where Nicole lives) and good old blighty meet – that’s home to Kathryn and I – there’s bound to be room for lively discussion on living a life of such epic proportions. 

On today’s Changeability Podcast

Hear Nicole, Kathryn and I discuss: 

  • What is Epic Wellness?
  • What is Nicole’s new Art of Epic Wellness Manifesto?
  • Food integrity – the importance of source, and eating seasonally
  • Nurturing our four quadrants:
    • the heart
    • the mind and creativity
    • the spirit
    • and the body.
  • Nicole’s tragedy that brought urgency to the idea of epic wellness.
  • The changes you might need to make in your life to achieve your own epic wellness.
  • Why you might need to try an elimination diet to determine potential allergens in your body
  • How we can live more in a state of physical, spiritual and emotional vitality.
  • The concepts of unburdening and uplevelling ourselves
  • Mindfulness and eating – creating one mindful meal a day
  • How you can start that wellness journey
  • And more

“I like to think of my meal as a palette, I’m building a beautiful canvas of food in front of me and I want to see all the different colours, I want to have different textures, I like to have some things cooked and some things raw and whenever I am cooking, I’m thinking about it that way.”

Links mentioned on this week’s show

Direct download: CA093.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

What the heck is wellbeing?

Here at Brilliant Living HQ and our Changeability Podcast we’re all about helping you and us manage our minds to make changes and have more success and our best life and business.  As well as looking at mind management techniques and processes to do this, we thought it would be fun and hopefully helpful to look at some of the key areas of life that many of us want to do something about.  Earlier this year we did a series of podcasts and posts about relationships and today we start thinking about wellness and wellbeing.

“Everything that brings us well being is achieved through allowing ourselves to flow with life and be in harmony. Pain happens, it is our attachment to the pain and our resistance to change that causes suffering.” Alaric Hutchinson

Today is a beautiful day. It’s the first week of May and spring has sprung here in our little corner of England. The evenings are light and the days getting longer every day. The sunshine is making us feel better and it’s amazing the difference it makes. In fact we could say it’s increasing our sense of wellbeing - it certainly feels like that to us.  But what the heck is wellbeing?

What does wellbeing and wellness mean to us?

This notion of wellbeing seems to be everywhere, in the work-place, in magazines, all over the internet, in fact there is a whole wellness and wellbeing industry out there. 

Wellbeing is big business.  It’s a world populated by spas, therapists, therapies, fitness, gyms, dancing, exercise classes, weight loss, relaxation, supplements, closely associated to the health industry and being in a healthy state.

Wellness is the manifestation of wellbeing. Wellbeing is a particular way or specific state of being encompassing many different aspects such as:

  • Body and physical health
  • Mental and psychological wellbeing
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Economic wellbeing
  • Social wellbeing

Psychologists, economists and policy makers are all interested in wellbeing and try to measure it, so they can use it to understand more about populations and the policies needed in the future.

While our focus at Brilliant Living HQ and in the Changeability mind-work is on mind management, it doesn’t mean we ignore the physical or body side of things.

The two are totally entwined.  We know this is area where lots of us want to change things – and that’s great because we believe mind management is key to making those changes, as much as it is to making any changes in life or business.

Is it an area you want to change? Ask yourself if your level of wellbeing is having an impact on your life, work, business, interests, family or relationships?

Mind body and spirit

When we talk about wellness in terms of Brilliant Living, we see wellbeing encompassing body, mind and spirit. For us it has to be a holistic definition and approach to wellbeing that takes all three elements into account.

How do you define wellbeing? What the heck does wellbeing mean to you?

We asked our Changeability Facebook Group and is what two of our members told us:

‘Giving your body what it needs (fuel, movement, rest and recovery) self care, connection, emotional support/nurturance... Just some ideas off the top of my head 😉   Vicky

‘Wellness for me has to do with both mind and body, but I sometimes have to go along with wellness also including pain/discomfort as well. So it isn't the absence of problems, more like being happy where I am, appreciating all the good things, having a sharp mind to play with and a very useful body! Other people, communication, meaningful activities, and all the basic needs met are of course in the mix. (There’s no of course about that list for so many people, so gratitude is in there too!)’  Janet

Thanks to Vicky and Janet for these insightful definitions. 


Just as health is not the absence of disease, there’s something much more positive to it rather than being just an opposite to a negative thing, wellbeing is something positive in its own right.  As Jan points out, it isn’t about the absence of problems, but about being happy where we are – which is a relief for all of us as we’re never going to have a completely problem-free life, but we can still have wellness and experience wellbeing.

How we think and feel about wellbeing is context dependent, as wellness and wellbeing are a relative concept. It might change at different times and stages of life, and different levels of health and fitness, but the key to wellbeing remains the same. 

The key to wellbeing is feeling good

That’s it really isn’t it?  The answer to what the heck is wellbeing is – ‘feeling good’.

As our feelings and emotions are connected to our mind this brings us back around to mind management as the way to help us experience wellbeing.

So how can we summarise what wellbeing means to us?

Wellbeing is a combination of factors, some of which are more important at different times than others, but all impact on our levels of wellbeing including:

  • health and fitness - both physical and mental
  • self-esteem and self-worth
  • confidence
  • energy
  • enthusiasm and a zest for life
  • happiness
  • feeling good

That’s our quick introduction to wellbeing, what it is (and isn’t) and we're looking forward to delving into this subject a bit more and talking to some guests about it over the next few weeks.

The Changeability Podcast Episode 92

Hear us talk about all of this and much more – including how and 11 year old Kathryn got this definition of wellbeing and times she hasn’t been feeling it – on episode 92 of the Changeability Podcast.

Getting to Know You survey

Thanks to those fantastic people who’ve completed our ‘Getting to know you’ questionnaire.  If you haven’t done we’d love to hear from you.  It’s very quick and easy with only handful of questions. It’s anonymous unless you want to leave your details and will help us get to know and serve you better. Thank you.

Direct download: CA092.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

A new measure of success

How do you quantify success? What is it you actually measure?

Should it be statistics, figures, numbers? Or how about the effort put in to achieving it?

Maybe it could be a combination of these, rather like those school reports where you get a grade for achievement and a score for effort.

Or should we more concerned with experiences rather than numbers?

Statistics are certainly the easiest and most obvious way to measure success. With money wealth, income being one of most popular ways for people to measure their own or others’ success.

But it’s all relative. What constitutes a measure of success in monetary terms fluctuates according to age, the circles you move in, geographical location and your time in history.

Money can be measure in it’s own right or as an indication or measure of success. It’s not necessarily the money per se that’s important to measure, but it’s rather the way some people choose to quantify their success. The success is what drives them, not the money, but income is a useful indicator and measure of that.

That’s all very well and yes numbers and effort are a good way to measure anything, but let’s not ignore the role of feelings and the experience itself. Otherwise we run the danger of seeing success as one-dimensional and we’re not one-dimensional beings, so if we do this we fail to capture the true meanings of success.

So how are we measuring success?

During my reflection time recently (a part of my Changeability mind-work where I write whatever comes to mind during meditation or visualisation) I came to a realisation as I was musing on this very subject.

I realised that for much of my life I’ve equated success with validation. Validation for what I’m not sure, but it’s something to do with feeling valued and wanting to be seen to be good enough or for people to think I’m good at doing what I’m doing.

This was quite a revelation! I was interested in what it meant. Did I see my self-worth wrapped up in other people’s idea of my worthiness? I don’t think of myself as someone who worries too much about what others think of me, or let it stop me doing things. But maybe it’s not so much about what others think, but more that I want to be seen as good enough so I think I’m good enough myself. 

There’s a lot more to be said about this and how it shows up in what I do and don’t do. You can hear all of this in much more detail in episode 91 of The Changeability Podcast

A new measure of success

If you haven’t got time to listen to the episode now (and it’s quite a short episode for us) here’s a flavour of what I wrote in my Changeability Daily Journal:

I am going to have a new measure of success from now on. 

My new measure of success is around enjoying every day.  So essentially I will measure my daily success in terms of whether I enjoyed the day and found it fulfilling in some way.

Now of course what constitutes an enjoyable day or a fulfilling day will change from day to day depending on what I’m doing – but in many ways that is the point. 

There is no real single measure of success, but many different measures depending on what we’re trying to achieve at any time.  Therefore, I’m using this as an overarching catchall that can encompass any other measure within it.

After all, what I (and I think most people) want to achieve in life and business is to be happy and fulfilled and enjoy this amazing experience of being alive. 

What makes each of us happy and fulfilled will be different and that doesn’t matter, because my new measure of success allows me to capture this for me.

Listen to the podcast to hear me read the full extract from my Changeability Planner and Journal.

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan

Getting to know you

If you listen to our podcast or come to this website regularly then you know a bit about us – and we’d love to reciprocate and get to know more about you. So we’ve come up with a quick questionnaire to help do this. We recorded a short video to explains why – or you can skip straight to our Getting to Know You Questionnaire.

There’s just a few questions which only take a couple of minutes to complete. It would be fantastic to hear from you as the more we know about you the more we can talk about things and create things you’re interested in and will help you. Thank you.

Direct download: CA091.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:33pm UTC

6 ways to measure success

Have you thought about what success looks like to you? If so, how do you measure your success? 

Actually the first question is – do you need to to measure success?

We say yes.  

One, because when you measure your success it makes you think about it.  What is success and what does it mean to you? It makes you aware of what you want in life or business, rather than wandering aimlessly.

Two, it gives you something to aim for, and we know that as humans we thrive and are generally happier and more fulfilled when we have a sense of purpose.

Three, what gets measured gets done.

It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.” ~ Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

So how do you measure success?

That depends on the sort of success it is. Here’s 6 ways to measure success – or 6 different types of success and our (some obvious and some not so obvious) suggestions of how to measure them. 

  1. Academic success
  • Test results, marked work, grades
  • Qualifications
    • success at taking tests or being good at exams
    • a test of memory
    • a specific skill or ability such as art or sport
  • Ability to reason
  • Create a coherent argument
  1. Work and career success
  • Salary
  • Title
  • Promotion
  • Status
  • Achievements
  • Bottom line –sales, bonuses
  • Social impact
  1. Business success
  • Number of products produced
  • Number of products or services sold
  • Success statistics according to the industry e.g. online - the number of website visitors or signups; podcasting - the number of downloads and listeners
  • The ultimate measure of success is business is profit – with the possible exception of social enterprises.
  1. Body, health and fitness success
  • Weight including:
    • calories consumed in a day
    • weight loss and gain
  • Body measurements
  • Percentage of Fat
  • Cholesterol, blood pressure etc.
  • Fitness
    • Number of repetitions
    • weight lifted
    • time spent running
    • distance covered
    • number of visits to the gym or sports played in a week
  • Inches lost or gained
  • % of fat or blood pressure or cholesterol reduced
  • Softer measures
    • increased self-esteem and confidence
    • look good
    • feel stronger and fitter, able to walk further or do more
  1. Lifestyle
  • Experiences
  • Travel –
    • locations,
    • time away
    • holidays
  • Making enough money to support
    • travel
    • lifestyle
    • hobbies
    • experiences you want
    • Enough money to live where and how you want e.g. on a beach for a year like a digital nomad
  • It’s a different way of measuring success but just as valid and maybe more fun
  1. Love and Relationships
  • Number of years in a relationship or anniversaries reached
  • Love hard to define and therefore hard to measure
  • Something to do with feelings and compatibility
  • Happy family
  • Number of friends or people in your networks (although can be superficial)

Episode 90 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear us talk more about this in episode 90 of the Changeability Podcast


Thank you for listening and reading this.  If you like the show, please go to iTunes now and leave us a review – we will love you for it.


Direct download: CA090.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:19pm UTC

What does success mean to you?

We start every episode of the Changeability Podcast with the words ‘brought to you by Brilliant Living HQ .com’ because that’s our online home.  That’s where you find us, our products, the 89 podcast episodes we’ve published to date, and hundreds of blog posts. 

But this week we asked you if you’re experiencing ‘brilliant living’. If you take the dictionary definitions of the two words and put them together it brilliant living means something like ‘living life in a way that is excellent, bright and marvelous, pursuing a lifestyle that feels very good to you.’

We define ‘brilliant living’ as living life on your own terms. Ok, so its not always 100% possible, but it is definitely more possible than most people think.

Sure there are physical and social parameters, but we can push those boundaries and look at what are the real boundaries and which are those created by the cultural norms and social expectations we go along with.

What brought all this on you might ask.

Well this week we had a fabulous day in London. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was the first warm day of spring. We met our son Alexander for a full works English breakfast sitting outside at the Bankside Café – they even had three vegetarian options for me. We walked along the Southbank of the River Thames - past Tate Modern, past Shakespeare’s Globe and down to London Bridge, where we ambled round Borough market, saw the house from Lock Stock and ended up drinking smoothies in the Refectory Garden at Southwark Cathedral – all by lunchtime.  Returning along the river to the Royal Festival Hall we met with some Tropical Think Tankers for a Mastermind Session and had a fun productive great time talking business. Then back to my sister’s house for family dinner before driving home to pick up Dude the Dog and get back to our house and bed.

Reflecting on it in my appreciation time the next day I thought to myself – that was a brilliant day. This triggered thoughts about what makes a successful day.

Because in a way success is another way of looking at what brilliant living means to you. So how do you define success – what does success mean to you?

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” Abraham Lincoln

The definition of success

The Oxford Dictionary describes success as

‘The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’

‘The attainment of fame, wealth or social status.’

‘A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame wealth,'

These last two definitions are interesting because this is the sort of thing that springs to mine when we think about what success means. 

Conceptions of success:

Moving up the ladder

There is the idea that success is about getting to the top of the ladder especially in terms of career and moving up the corporate hierarchy.   Any organisational chart will make it obvious where you are in the scheme of things, but at what point on that ladder of success will you think you’ve been successful?

It will partly depend on why you’re doing the job. Is success about the status or b the influence and impact you will have?  Is it connected to the benefits or trappings of success?

Expert status

Another way of looking at success is about reaching an expert status. We call people a success when they reach a level of expertise like actors, musicians and sports people.

An interesting question is at what level do you become a success in your own eyes and in the eyes of those around you.

Financial success

The most common definition of success is probably around financial or monetary success. 

There’s a wealth connotation implied when we think about success. When we say someone’s done well or they’re a real success, more often than not the implication is around wealth, but it doesn’t need to be.

Social success

Success can equally encompass social impact as seen in social enterprises and community based initiatives and roles.

Then there is success in terms of social standing where success is being in with the right people and networks or getting into the right club and achieving some perceived level of social acceptance.

Academic success

When we’re at school, college or university, exam success is a massive part of our lives – whether we want it to be or not. People are seen as successful or not depending on the qualifications they achieve and then the occupation they go into.

Once you get into the work place that academic success which you needed to get you there becomes less and less important.

Personal success

Most of us would want to include definitions of success that revolve around success in aspects of our personal life.   It could be in terms of health or fitness or around weight, or success in a hobby we love doing or learning a skill.

Relationships success

What about defining success in terms of our relationships. It could be being a good friend or a good partner, husband or wife or a family member or a great parent or being popular.

Career or business success

Success to you might be about your career and business and it may or may not be associated with money or that it gives you the means to lead the sort of life you want to live. Part time working might not make you successful in terms of your finances but allows you to be a more successful in your parenting role.

In thinking about what success means to you it comes down to what makes you feel like a success or what makes you feel successful.

Success at different ages and stages

Success looks different at different ages and stages of life e.g. someone leaving school will define success differently to someone about to retire.  But there are elements and characteristics of success that remain consistent throughout, even if the way they’re played out changes over time.

As you think about what success means to you, think about whether your definition of success allows you to experience these.

A sense of achievement:

From being able to use your talents and skills and getting things done, seeing something through to a good outcome.

Recognition and validation:

One aspect of success is having our efforts or talents recognised and respected and feeling validated.

A sense of self-worth and self-esteem:

We feel successful when we feel valued and recognised but also when we value ourselves and our individuality and capability.

Purpose and values:

Success can be connected with purpose where you have an idea of what you want to achieve and where that purpose is aligned with your personal values. Real success only happens when its in line with what’s important to you.  So if integrity is important to you, it doesn’t matter how successful you are in the eyes of the world if you achieve that success in dubious ways. You will not experience success because that wouldn’t be your definition of success.

Security and control:

These are key characteristics of success for many people. Being successful means feeling secure in who you are and what you do and in the basics of life but also having a sense of control or being in charge of your own life and destiny. Being able to choose the sort of life you live.


Contentment with your life and the in your relationships is another facet of success.  This is about inner contentment rather than being accepting of things as they are. It doesn’t mean you don’t strive for more or for changes but that this striving helps you grow rather than scuppering you. Because when you are content inside you don’t have to rely on others for that contentment or inner happiness.


Love has a key role to play in success.  To love and be loved is an important part of what success means to many people. It’s a big part of what makes them feel successful.


Last but not least comes fulfilment.  In a way I think this is one, if not the most important characteristic of success.  We feel successful when we feel fulfilled.  This could be in so many ways but its about fulfilling potential in any area of your life or work.  Its about doing something you feel good about and getting a positive outcome for you or for others. It can also be about contribution.

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”  Marianne Williamson

So what does success means to you? How do you define success in your life - any area of your life? In fact that’s an interesting place to start. What areas of your life spring to mind when you start trying to define what success means – start with those and then move on to others. 

Because brilliant living starts with being aware of what you mean by that, what does brilliant living mean to you, what does success mean to you.  Next week we’re going to think about how we can measure that success.

If you want a bit of help with thinking about these things sign up for our free changeability starter kit.

Episode 89 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear Julian and I talk about all of this and more besides in episode 89 of the Changeability Podcast.

If you like listening to the show we’d love you to let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes – we will love you even more and at some point we will read it out on the show.

Direct download: CA089.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:09pm UTC

WHY do you need mind management?

What do you want to change in your life? Do you want more or less of something or to learn a new skill or experience different things? Or do you want to change something about your relationships or body or work or finances?

It doesn’t have to mean you hate your life or work now – but you just want it to be better in some way.  

Yes, we all want changes but WHY do we need mind management to do it.

‘Life management begins with mind management. The quality of your life is influenced by the quality of your thoughts.’ Robin Sharma 

Your marvellous mind

Your brain is amazing and has enormous power. Its big job is to keep you alive and it does that by keeping you safe which tends to mean maintaining the status quo – because that’s what’s worked so far.

This is fabulous for keeping you alive – but it’s not always so fabulous when you want to make changes – in other words you want to move away from the status quo in some way.

It’s important to know that although you think you make your decisions and plans – including what you want to change – much of your thought processes go on at an unconscious level and decisions are made without you being aware of them much of the time.

It has to do this. We have control over the conscious part of your mind, and although amazing, your conscious mind has limitations. It loses focus easily and typically holds about 7 chunks of information at any one time.

This is why the subconscious takes control of most of what’s happening in our bodies. It’s the engine driving us – leaving our conscious mind to focus on other things. 

Changing your mind

This is critically important when we want to make changes, because your unconscious mind, which is a million times more powerful than your conscious mind, is running the show.  And it does much of this based on the beliefs and habits you’ve built up over your lifetime – not all of which are serving you well.

Both parts of your mind are crucial not only to survival but also to getting the changes and living the life you want. The real trick is to get them working together to make this happen.

This enables you to use the whole of your marvellous mind brain to work for you and not against you –otherwise it’s all to easy to end up self-sabotaging what you want to achieve. We’ve all done that!

Why when you want to lose weight do you still eat the very thing that you know will not help you get the body you want?  Because your mind is screaming at you that you’ve hungry and want to eat and want to eat something that tastes nice – and your belief and experience tells you that cream cakes – especially a Victoria sponge with butter cream icing – will fill you up quickly and taste nice, and you’ve had a hard day so of course you deserve a little treat.

Now that might be irritating and throw you off course a little but it also happens in really important decisions and situations. You want to leave a job and set up a new business for yourself, but your subconscious is screaming at you – ‘are you mad,  you’ll never make a good business person, why do you think you can do it, you never see anything through.’ Or whatever it might be for you, based on your past experience.

Mind management is about becoming aware of the impact your thoughts have on yo,u and using your mind to your advantage. 

Your Thoughts

Time to take a step back - because underlying all of this is the notion that the way we think and the thoughts we think, influence what we do. 

Our thoughts influence how we feel, which influences what we do or the actions we take, which impacts how we live our lives.

It sounds obvious when you say it like that – but just take a moment to think about it and see if you really believe this is so or if you’re aware of it in your day to day life.

The thoughts you think lead to the action you take.

It therefore follows that if you change your thoughts (that’s the way you think) then you can change your actions. This means you can make the changes you want in your life, work or business. 

You are not your thoughts

It’s a fabulous concept to accept and goes hand in hand with the concept that your thoughts are things. 

Your thoughts are not you and you are not your thoughts. 

You are not defined by your thoughts.  Which means that you can change your thoughts to help you live how you want to live.  That’s what we mean when we talk about mind management.

We’ve been talking about why you mind management to help you make changes, but it’s not just about doing things differently. It’s also about improving the everyday experience of being alive. After all, one of the changes you could look for is to be happier in your daily life, or more enthusiastic for life.

It’s not just about things, its about ‘being’ as well.

And mind management is the key. 

Do we have to learn mind management?

Yes - to a large extent we do have to learn mind management because we’ve not been taught how to manage our minds. 

We don’t learn it at school – although some schools teach subjects like critical thinking but that’s something different. At best, we may have learnt something about the component parts of the brain and its functions.

Most of us don’t pick it up from our natural interactions with our parents, probably because they never learnt it themselves.

But this is your opportunity to learn about mind management now. 

So what do we know about the mind?

We’ve talked about the two major components of the mind being the conscious and the subconscious. And we know that our brain is in effect an information processing system, containing nerve cells (neurons) which are connected through synapses. 

These neural pathways are influenced and strengthened by what we do, the influences in our lives, our previous experiences, beliefs and values we have stored in our minds. And these neural networks or pathways are strengthened by repetition.

One of the potential problems of the mind is that it can be consciously (by our thoughts) or unconsciously influenced (by our subconscious). And the subconscious is the more powerful.

We’re suggesting you get the conscious and the subconscious to work in harmony through mind management. So there’s no dissonance or disagreement between the two component parts of the brain and between your actions and your beliefs.

That is the key to getting what you want and making the changes and why you need and want mind management.

We know we can influence our conscious mind – we can determine our thoughts, so we need to influence our subconscious so it aligns with the subconscious.

We also know that our subconscious mind was itself programmed, and can therefore be reprogrammed, but the process is slow and incremental. 

The captain of your ship

It’s likened to a super tanker (the subconscious) being controlled by the captain of the ship (the conscious). 

The captain (the conscious mind) may be in charge, but the instructions the captain give take a long while to affect and influence the super tanker that is our subconscious.

But the subconscious, like the formation of any habit, including thinking habits, can be influenced through repetition.

Advertising relies on this repetition of key messages to get you to believe and then buy into their product, concept or ideas.

This is why you can recall adverts from years ago, even your childhood, because of the power of repetition. Particularly when you add in a few tricks of the trade to make it even more memorable, tricks incidentally we can use to our advantage in mind management terms.

The bottom line is mind management will help you change what you want to change and achieve what you want to achieve.  

HOW to manage your mind

You manage your mind by training your mind to think in certain ways – so you develop habits and ways of thinking to support change, happiness and success for you.

Training your mind might sound a far out or like some sort of trickery, but all it means is using certain techniques and ways of thinking that you can develop through practice.

With the result that you can improve and transform your life and business through your thoughts, self-beliefs and the action you take.

What techniques help us manage our minds

Key mind management techniques include:

These are the very techniques we talk about here at Brilliant Living HQ and on the Changeability Podcast. They’re also captured into a 10 step framework which shows how they all fit together and build one on the other in the Changeability framework.

You will find the full version of this written out in a logical practical step by step framework on Amazon in the book Changeability: Manage your Mind - Change your Life either in Paperback or in Kindle.  This is the best place to get the full explanation and exact steps.

Or you can of course listen to the last 88 episodes of the Changeability Podcast! But it will be a lot quicker to read the book!

Episode 88 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear us discuss all of this and more in episode 88 of the Changeability Podcast.


  • Changeability: Manage your Mind - Change your Life book on Amazon

Thank you

Thank you for being here and being wonderful.  If you like listening to the show please leave us a review on iTunes. If you’ve read the Changeability book please leave a review on Amazon.

Direct download: CA088.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:47am UTC

At a recent business event I had 30 seconds to introduce myself and what I did. This is the so-called elevator pitch and it’s not as easy as you might think.  Having seen how some people were struggling to get their description done in 5 minutes let alone 30 seconds it was suggested we use the quick little formula – I help …. To …. By….   I was the next one up so I sat there and said:

“I help people make changes in their life or business by managing their minds”.

It worked because everyone went ‘oooohhh’ and wanted to know what does that actually mean and how do you that.

And it got me thinking that it's a long time since we've actually talked about what it is we actually do or rather the idea behind what we actually do.

So today we're going to put that right because we’re going back to basics and thinking about what fundamentally underpins everything we talk about at Brilliant Living HQ.  It’s also the subject matter of my Changeability book and underpins the whole Changeability process and practice and Brilliant Living products.

It is mind management! 

What is mind management?

The key question is what is mind management and why do we all need it.

At it’s most basic level mind management is about managing your mind.

Which maybe isn’t saying much – or more like it’s saying the same thing twice – there’s a nice word for that – tautology!

But mind management is about managing your mind and we’re very keen on the whole idea of it.

Our strap line here at Brilliant Living HQ is ‘Mind management for your best life and business’ or at least it was until we changed our site recently – we thought our logo looked better without it but maybe we should put it back somewhere so people know what it’s about!

And the strapline to our podcast (and the Changeability book) is ‘Manage your Mind – Change your Life’.

Why the obsession with mind management – what lies behind it?

Mind management is the idea you can:

‘Harness the amazing power of your mind to help you get what you want in life.’ 

In other words you can reprogram or train your mind to create the right mindset to change what you don’t like into what you do like, and achieve your desires and live life to the full.

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” ~ Wayne W. Dyer.

That’s a good start, but can we define it further and look at the individual elements of ‘mind management’ to get a better working definition? 

How do we define mind management?

The Business Dictionary defines management as:

“The organisation and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary adds a useful extra dimension defining management as:

“The act or skill of controlling and making decisions about a business.”

If we take these definitions together and replace business with the mind we come up with:

“Mind management - The act or skill of controlling, organising and coordinating the activities of the mind in order to (make decisions to) achieve defined objectives.”

This does assume that you have already determined what you want from your life, and have a vision of your defined objectives (goals) and what you have to do to achieve them.

And for us that’s where it always begins – getting clear about what you want – because there are clear mind management reasons for doing this and for using the power of your brain and mind to help you achieve those goals and the changes you want. It has to start with intention plus inspiration which equal your vision or goals. 

If you want to know more about that go to to be one of the first people to find out about our goals challenge.

So that’s the management bit. Now for the second part. 

The Mind

There are basically two major components of the mind - the conscious and the subconscious.

The conscious which is the bit we’re aware of – e.g. as you’re listening to this, the thoughts you’re thinking about what you want to eat or drink or what you’re doing later or reacting to what you’re hearing.  This is what we think about and what we’re aware of.  We tend to think of it as us – ‘this is me’ – but there is a lot more to you than that. 

Your conscious mind is like the tip of the iceberg because underneath it is what’s often called your subconscious, the bit below the conscious mind. We think of it below if thinking about an iceberg – but it’s sub (as in submerged or submarine) in terms of our not being aware of it.  The other name – which is probably more accurate – is the unconscious. 

This is the part we’re not aware of – but keeps us alive because it carries out millions of actions every day without us even thinking about it.

Taken together these two components of your mind create what is in effect an information processing system whose purpose is to keep you functioning and alive. 

The brain and mind

When we talk about our mind we’re really using the term to describe aspects of what goes on inside our brain.  People often use the two terms interchangeably but they’re not really the same thing.

There are different physical elements to our brain, which you can easily see in any diagram of the brain, but our mind is what goes on within that physical organ. Your mind is where your consciousness and personality are.

It’s a a bit like the software inside a computer. The brain is the hardware and the mind the software. But it’s not as straightforward as that as our thoughts are the result of our experiences and interpretations and feelings – so it’s more mixed.

Essentially our brains contain nerve cells (called neurons) that are connected through synapses.  This is how thoughts are formed.

These neural networks or pathways can be and are strengthened by repetition. Likewise, these pathways can be consciously and unconsciously influenced and strengthened by what we do, by the influences in our lives, by the previous experiences, beliefs and values we have stored in our minds.

This is not only one of the facets or characteristics of how your mind works but is also one of the reasons why we need and want to manage our minds.

Next week we’ll be exploring this further when we talk more about exactly why you really do want mind management to be an everyday part of your life. 


If really can’t wait until next week to learn more – then you will find it all neatly explained in my book Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life - together with a 10 step logical framework of ten practical mind management techniques, you can start using right away.  Get it here now (and it’s on special offer this week!)

Episode 87 of the Changeability Podcast

You can hear us talking about this and more in episode 87 of the Changeability Podcast. 


Join our free Changeability private Facebook group

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Get on our mailing list to find out what we’re up to

Buy the book of our mind management program Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life – on Amazon

Thank you for reading or listening

If you like listening to our show we would love you to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher – like Alex did – thanks Alex – really appreciate it!

alex 18 butterfly from the UK – October 23rd 2015

Brilliant Podcasts - 5 stars

"I look forward to listening to these podcasts in the morning on my way to work. They really help me feel positive towards the day ahead! Thank you so much for making these podcasts and please don’t stop."

Direct download: CA087.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:24am UTC

Last week we gave you the ultimate guide to recognising toxic people and relationships.

Now it’s all very well recognising toxic people and the characteristic behaviours of these relationships, but it’s not much good if you can’t deal with them.

So this week we thought we’d look at those emotionally draining vampires and the process of dealing with toxic relationships.

You let go of a toxic and unhealthy relationship not because you are weak, not because you no longer love the other person, but because you are strong enough to understand that there are times when two people will be a lot happier if they go separate ways than if they stay together.

Dealing with toxic relationships and people

So how do you deal with toxic relationships, toxic people and their behaviour?

By literally detoxifying! Or as the dictionary would define it:

a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.”

And we like that definition of ‘detox’ for that is sort of what you are doing here.  Taking time out: “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of the toxic source” (in this case the person).  It’s a process of distancing and this can take the form of mental, physical or emotional detachment.

But what if these are people that you can't necessarily extract from your life or your situation?

So this could be someone you work with, or a member of your family.

And in this instance, the approach would be about how we manage these people and their behaviours.

Essentially a process of controlling what you can and eliminating what you can’t.

We’ve identified 15 ways that can help you can do just that. 

15 ways to deal with toxic relationships or emotionally draining vampires

  1. Realise that you are more in control than you might believe. Toxic people will typically focus on problems rather than solutions. And what is it that they want from you in that situation? They want you to join in this conspiracy, so you can typically find yourself listening to these negative people and being sucked in to their negativity. To overcome this, set limits in your mind to this type of behaviour and then at the end of that time distance yourself from the behaviour or person. You can combine this with another useful technique, which is to ask the person how they would solve the problem they are complaining about.  This redirects their attention in a more productive way and makes them more responsible for their actions and resolving them.
  2. Rise above the behaviour. Rather than reacting to the irrational behaviour, or finding yourself getting caught up in the emotion of it all, view it as an experiment with you as the experimenter and the toxic person as the subject of the experiment. See in your mind if you can identify some of the behaviours we identified last week – as a scientist noticing and noting down the subject’s response.  This will keep you more distanced from the toxic behaviour and less likely to be drawn into the drama. It’s a sort of emotional distancing. So in this dispassionate state you can have thoughts in your mind like ‘O look, there’s that person behaving, negatively - or look they’ve just tried to manipulate or exaggerate the situation.  And if you want to get really scientific, you can mentally observe your own behaviour – observing how you might go about trying to justify your own behaviour, for example.
  3. Establish your limits. Just because you live or work with a person doesn’t mean you have to put up with every aspect of their behaviour. The first key to this is to recognise a toxic person’s behaviour patterns and then you can go about establishing what you do or don’t put up with. In any situation we interact more with some people than others (often on the basis of how much we like that person’s company) – so have limits on the amount of interaction time you’ll have with that person and then stick to it.  This can be quite tricky but do it consciously and on the basis of you being in charge of it, as almost certainly your limits may well be probed or tested.
  4. Stop trying to please the person and pretending their behavior is ok - in your attempts to get them out of their mood (whatever that is) or gee them up. Toxic people recognise that decent people like you will go to great lengths to ‘please’ and if your attempts aren’t working or lasting long then maybe it’s time to stop. So distance yourself from them and come back to them when their mood has shifted.
  5. Don’t continually justify your actions. In inappropriate toxic behavior the person will often project their own feelings onto you. For example, they might say – Why are you in a bad mood today, when you certainly felt you weren’t in a bad mood. In this situation remember - you don’t need to justify or defend yourself or deal with a false accusation.
  6. Be aware of the characteristics of a person’s toxic behavior. In so doing, you can spot more easily the manipulations and can name them. That way there will be less chance of you tying yourself up in knots trying to please them or excessively defending your actions.
  7. Know that it’s them – not you! We’ve said it already, that toxic people like to project guilt or imply you’ve done something wrong and guess what, as decent people we feel that guilt. But it’s important to understand this is not about you in this instance, it’s about them projecting their feelings onto you.
  8. Evaluate the relationship – ultimately, in any relationship you need to see if it’s doing you more harm than good. So evaluate the relationship, embrace the ideas that come from this evaluation and take action on that. If it really isn’t good for you, chances are you’ll know that on some level.
  9. Discuss your feelings with the other person – Tell the person how you feel in an assertive (not aggressive) way. So for example you could say something like: “When you do/say/act ________, I feel ________. What I need is ___________ (and here you would lay out the boundaries you would like from that person). It’s also helpful to add something such as - the reason why I am sharing these feelings and needs with you is _____________. (Because I love you, I want to build a healthy relationship with you.)
  10. Set and maintain your boundaries. Once you’ve set those boundaries. Maintain them. In the end, this is a process of self-preservation, so focus on taking care of yourself.
  11. Find ways in which you can protect yourself from their toxic behaviour, such as those we’ve already outlined.
  12. Take time for yourself – toxic behaviour can be exhausting, particularly in work situations where we feel obliged to deal with that person in a professional manner. So take time to recuperate and excuse yourself if need be to give yourself the breathing space to recharge your batteries.
  13. If need be - distance yourself from that relationship. This can be physically, emotionally or mentally distancing yourself.
  14. Ultimately, if their behaviour towards you doesn’t change, or you find it just too difficult, release them by letting the relationship go – this may be difficult and indeed painful but you may just need to move forward with your life and give yourself room for healthier relationships which will encourage you to grow.
  15. And finally, if it’s an abusive relationship, seek professional help.

Episode 86 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear us discuss all this and more in episode 86 of the Changeability Podcast and be certain to catch last week’s episode on ‘How to recognise toxic people and relationships’.   After all, if you can’t spot it, how can you deal with it?  Until next time.








Direct download: CA086.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

You’ve probably heard of the phrase toxic person, and are aware at least of the importance of not surrounding yourself with this type of person. Particularly, if you consider:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn

And one of those five is either someone you’re living or work closely with and has a toxic personality. 

So what is a toxic person?

The dictionary definition of toxic is a poisonous substance with the synonyms: dangerous, unsafe, harmful, destructive and even malignant (with connotations of evil, or hateful).

If we apply this to the term toxic person we might consider this to be a person who is dangerous, harmful or destructive to us as an individual.

The Urban Dictionary gives a rather nice definition of a Toxic Person as being:

“Used to describe a person who is tainted by a subconscious malevolence or psychosis that affects the lives of those who come into contact with them.”

But we’d probably put it less strongly than subconscious malevolence or psychosis and describe it as behaviour which drains you - the receiver of this toxic behaviour - of energy and life.

A person causing social tension or indeed unpleasantness, might be described as having a toxic personality, for example. 

So is it a toxic person or toxic behaviour?

It is of course important to separate the behaviour from the person. It’s not the person in their entirety who is toxic, rather it is their behaviour which is toxic.

And it’s also worth pointing out, it is your response to their behaviour, i.e. the power you are giving that behaviour in your mind that determines whether or not they are toxic to you. 

Not such a comfortable thought!

Perhaps of more comfort then is the fact that you always have the power to choose your thoughts and responses to that behaviour however difficult that may seem.  And it’s important to recognise that both the person displaying the behaviour and the person who might be on the receiving end – both play a part or a role in the toxic interactions.  So if you feel you are on the receiving end, it is equally necessary to consider your own personal role as well.

What are the signs you’re in a toxic relationship?

What are the indicators or signs of this toxicity?

Toxicity – a great word isn’t it? 

“The degree to which a substance (or person in this case) can damage an organism (or in this instance another person) as well as the effect on the substructure” – Wikipedia

(Note, our additions are in brackets)

In that definition, the actual word refers to the effect on the whole organism, such as a person, as well as the substructure of the organism. 

We even hear that effect on part of us in the language people sometimes use to describe toxic behaviour, saying things like:

“His behaviour does my head in!”

And we know that having a toxic person around can have quite an effect on a group of people. Within an organization, like the workplace, for example.

And maybe the toxicity of the individual relates to the amount of contact, or degree of proximity or closeness you have to that toxic person. Or the amount of credence, you give to that person’s behaviour.

It is quite incredible, how one person can affect so many others around them. 

Why do toxic people behave in this way?

Often the person has been deeply hurt or is suffering themselves, and on some level are unable to take responsibility for that hurt and suffering and the subsequent problems that causes in their life. So they may typically project their behaviour onto others.

How do you know that you’re dealing with a toxic person or toxic relationship?

Here it’s useful to separate the behaviour of the toxic person from the behaviour you find yourself enacting when you’re dealing with it.

Toxic behaviour of the toxic person

Typically, the toxic person will exhibit some or all of the following characteristics.

They might:

  • Create drama in their lives and the lives of those around them. ‘You’ll never guess what’s happened to me again…!’
  • Be jealous and envious of others fortunes and complain about their own lot in life. ‘Well, you’re alright – things like that never happen to you.’
  • Try to manipulate or control others – ‘Don’t you find that so and so (whoever that might be) really gets on your nerves?’
  • Be very needy (it’s all about them!)
  • Use other people to meet their needs
  • Have very narcissistic parents who have fanned this behaviour, or indeed allowed it to go unchecked
  • Be extremely critical of themselves and others
  • Indulge in substance abuse or harm themselves in other ways
  • Not own their feelings – it’s someone else’s fault, or they will project their feelings and thoughts onto you. So, for example, if that person is angry they won’t take responsibility for the anger themselves rather they might accuse you of being angry with them. ‘What have I done to upset you today?’ – When you weren’t even aware of having done anything!
  • Be typically prone to exaggerate. You know the sort of phrases: ‘You always react in this way’. Or ‘You never side with me!’ And they’re often rather good at remembering the one occasion when you did react in that way or didn’t side with them as evidence that your behaviour is like that as a rule.

So, we’ve looked at the toxic behaviour of the so called ‘toxic person’

How might we describe your behaviour or feelings when dealing with a person’s toxic behaviour

This could be characterised in the following ways or behaviours:

  • Overly justifying and defending your own feelings when you’re in their company.
  • Trying to prove yourself to them or continually tying yourself in knots to please.
  • Wondering what you’ve done to upset them or why they’re ignoring you.
  • The toxic behaviour can colour your day and behaviour.
  • Feeling as if this relationship is one sided and you are the only one contributing to it.
  • Having to choose between them and something else “If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t go to that (whatever that is), but you’d stay and look after me.”
  • Whatever you do with that person appears to be wrong!
  • Every day is like another challenge, where you’re trying to modify your behaviour to suit their expectations or prove your worth.
  • You feel uncomfortable around that person – they restrict your ability to say what you want to say, to have a meaningful, mutual two-way conversation of respected views.
  • In your mind, you’re ‘walking on egg-shells’ so to speak when you’re in their company – always weighing carefully what you’re going to say.
  • You feel like you are being controlled, or are overly controlling

What impact do toxic people or toxic relationships have when you’re trying to make changes in your life?

Tell-tale signs include:

  • Feeling like you’re not ‘good enough’ as the other person can be constantly putting you down.
  • A lowering of your own self-esteem, which is not a good basis for self or personal development.
  • Feeling like the person who you’re living or working with is not working for your own best good.
  • You compromising your own ideals and goals, or that they are significantly secondary to the needs of this other person.
  • No longer recognising your true self, because you are tying yourself in knots to please someone else. You are in effect giving away your own power to that other person.
  • Sustaining that relationship long after that relationship has ceased to be of value or benefit to you – in an attempt to not be seen to have ‘given up’ on it.
  • Not being allowed to grow and change – or whenever you try to grow, you’re met with objections or indeed drama by that other person’s behaviour which takes you off course in your process of change.

Episode 85 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear Kathryn and Julian discuss how to recognise toxic people and relationships and their own experiences in the latest episode of The Changeability Podcast.

And next week…

We’ll discuss the tricky task of ‘How to deal with toxic people and relationships.’

But in the meantime let us know if you recognise these behaviours where you are. We’d love to read or hear your comments below.

Direct download: CA085.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:55pm UTC

The heady heights of a budding relationship can quickly fall into the treadmill of something more humdrum and yet it doesn’t have to be that way.

So, what makes better relationships in both life and business?

Well who better to ask than a relationship coach.

Susie Miller, known internationally as The Better Relationship Coach is an Author, Speaker and Coach. She is dedicated to helping people create better relationships and is the bestselling author of Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less! She teaches us that by being willing to listen, open to learn and therefore ready to love – truly, deeply and kindly – any and all relationships can be reignited beyond our imagination.

Over the last few weeks of the Changeability Podcast we’ve been exploring the many facets of love and relationships: 

  • In episode 80 – Celebrate Love, we took a light-hearted look at love in all its many forms in today’s world.
  • Episode 81 – turned our attention to self-love. What is self-love and what are the signs that we don’t always love ourselves, plus six reasons why you should
  • Episode 82 taught us 10 ways to build the self-love habit
  • And finally, last week we looked at the fascinating topic of rituals and how to build self-love rituals into your life, to become a happier, more fulfilled, confident and effective person, with more self-esteem and a better sense of our own self-worth.

With all that talk of self-love, we thought our mini-series on love and better relationships with ourselves deserved to be broadened to include better relationships with our loved ones and those other key relationships we have with friends and work colleagues.

So to help us ‘put deposits in our relationship bank’, we invited Susie Millar to come and speak on that very subject of better relationships, in episode 84 of the Changeability Podcast. And what a great interview it turned out to be.

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, I will try again tomorrow.”  ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

In episode 84 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear your hosts Kathryn and Julian interview Susie and discover: 

  • How important love and relationships are to making changes in life
  • How difficulties in these areas impact all aspects of our lives
  • Why relationships are the ‘currency of today’
  • How, with all the pressures of everyday life, we go about creating and sustaining lasting and meaningful, better relationships
  • The importance of ‘intentionality’ in our relationships
  • Why we can easily find ourselves taking our relationships for granted
  • Why we need relationship goals, and concrete examples of what those goals would look like
  • Susie’s take on a ‘hierarchy of relationships’ and the need to be ‘present’ in your relationships
  • How to achieve balance between the different types of relationships we have, with our spouse or partner, our children, business and work colleagues and friends
  • How much of our relationships goes on in our mind
  • Plus, practical tips on how we can improve all our relationships
  • All this, and a little extra bonus for Changeability Podcast listeners you’ll want to check out.

Mentioned on today’s show:

  • Susie’s website – – the Better Relationship Coach
  • Susie’s book – Listen, learn, love – How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less!
  • Susie’s offer to Changeability listeners –
Direct download: CA084.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:53pm UTC

Love yourself if you want to be a happy, fulfilled, confident, effective person, able to give and receive love, have self-esteem and a good sense of your self-worth.

But it’s one thing to understand this intellectually and quite another to really know and believe it. One of the best ways to accelerate a self-love habit is through using self-love rituals. Practicing self-love rituals is an easy enjoyable way to implant and build your self-love habit and behaviour until it becomes natural. Today we look at 11 self-love rituals to get you started, but first what’s so special about rituals?

What are rituals and why are they so powerful?

A ritual involves a series of actions, sometimes in a prescribed order – which are a type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone – in this case you!

Because that’s what we’re after isn’t it – a way of behaving you do regularly and invariably, habitually and consistently. 

That’s why developing rituals is powerful, because rather than leaving it to randomness and chance or how we’re feeling on a particular day, by creating rituals we build them into our life and are more likely to do them. Once you’ve created the ritual you don’t have to think about it – it’s part of a system. It’s internalised.

Rituals will supercharge your habits and are better than habits in some ways. You can encompass more than one habit within a ritual and because rituals focus on specific ways of doing something, they are very focused.

Apart from building the habit, the other great thing about using rituals is that by following a set way of doing something you’re creating space and time in your life for it.  Just doing these rituals will send your brain the message that this is important to you – you matter.

These rituals we’re talking about of themselves nothing out of the ordinary. You might think that’s not a ritual that’s just how I’m spending my evening. Great if that’s the case – but by virtue of thinking of it as a ritual and labelling it as a ritual – it makes it a thing. It raises it up out of the everyday and mundane and it becomes something more.  It becomes that thing that you do, and what’s more you’re doing it with intention.

‘You’ time

Most of these self-love rituals fall into the category of how to spend ‘you’ time.  This is time you put aside where you focus on yourself. Scheduling ‘you’ time is one of the key self-love habits. These rituals are a great way to help you do this. How you interpret them and make them your own will depend on your lifestyle, situation and preferences, but we’ve included a few suggestions to give you the idea.

11 Self-love rituals

  1. Relaxing or pamper time
  • Spa
  • Proper moisturise and self massage
  • Brush your skin
  • Take a long bath or shower
  1. Nurture / nourish time
  • Self-development
  • Visit a museum
  • Watch a documentary,
  1. Joy time

This will mean many different things to different people. It doesn’t really matter what it is – what matters is that you make a ritual and habit of scheduling time to do something that gives or brings you joy.

  • Something just on your own or with others.
  • Volunteering
  • Get in the zone writing a novel or book
  • A hobby like painting, sketching, or a sport
  • Even better if it’s something you’re good at so you’re building your self-esteem at the same time.
  • Go for a walk in the country or around the city
  • Go to see a great film, show or play

Schedule it to make it a ritual. It doesn’t have to be the same thing every day or for the same amount of time every day.

Make a ritual of asking yourself – what am I doing today that it going to bring me joy.

  1. Laugh time
  • Read a funny book or cartoon
  • Watch comedy TV program or film
  • Go to a comedy club
  • Listen to a funny podcast

The power of laughter is immense. 

You’re telling yourself you deserve to laugh – you deserve to be happy.  Sometimes when we’re stressed or not feeling very loving towards ourselves we almost don’t feel right doing lots of laughing and having fun – especially if others are suffering – but we all deserve to be happy and making laughter a goal for your day or a ritual will help nudge it up the list and keep it on your radar.

  1. Gratitude time – for yourself

Of course at we’re big on gratitude and appreciation of what’s going on in our lives. It’s one of the most efficient and pleasing ways to ground us in our present, but more often than not it’s about other people and things around us.  The difference with this self-love appreciation ritual is it’s about self-appreciation. 

  • If you already practice appreciation each day e.g. you write a list every day keep going but ensure at least one item out of your three or however many you do is just about you.
  • Or create a separate note of 1 to 5 things you appreciate about yourself today.  It can be something you’ve done – maybe something you did well today, something nice someone said to you – a compliment or feedback – or something you appreciate about yourself.
  • For example – your body might not look exactly the way you’d like it to look in every aspect, but it sure does an amazing job of keeping you alive. There are hundreds and thousands of things to appreciate about it – so you will never be stuck again for something to appreciate about yourself.

It’s not always easy, we tend to feel a bit funny about writing down what we like about ourselves. It goes back to the old idea some of us were brought up with that there’s something unseemly about blowing your own trumpet or fishing for compliments. But this ritual will help you counteract those unhelpful beliefs.

And gratitude and appreciation stop you taking things for granted, like how amazing your body and you really are.

  1. Coffee, tea or smoothie break
  • Take a break – on your own or with a friend, colleague, partner or family
  • Make the conscious decision to take ten (or longer) 
  1. Meditation
  • Being mindful is one of the best ways of loving ourselves.
  • Practice living in the here and now – not worrying about the future or ruminating on the past – but being present with your thoughts.
  • Spend a few minutes in mindfulness meditation.
  • Focus on your breathing and observe the thoughts as they come up and let them go.
  • Don’t judge your thoughts but just be with them and let them go.
  1. Affirmations

Affirmations are one of our favourite rituals.

  • Affirmations are positive statements that affirm (or make firm) the behaviours and ways of thinking and being that help us be the person we want to be and achieve how we want to be.
  • You can use affirmations for anything but they are by their very nature a great self-love ritual because they have all the essential elements of a great self-love ritual.
  • They are repeatable – indeed their efficacy relies on repetition – it’s the constant repetition that helps to counteract previous thoughts and beliefs and starts to build and reinforce the positive affirming statements that you want to make into your new way of thinking.
  • They are very personal – they relate to you and your thoughts.
  • Some people might say that by using affirmations you’re reinforcing what you don’t like about yourself – but it’s the opposite. You’re accepting that this is how things are now and opening the door to creating new thought patterns and beliefs that will serve you well – this is a loving thing to do for yourself.
  • This is putting yourself first so you can become more effective at something or happier or more fulfilled in some way – which will have a positive effect on others but it is primarily about you and how you feel.
  • We start off our Brilliant Living™ affirmations and suggest you do it too with with the words ‘I fully love and accept myself’. This is an immensely powerful statement of self-love.

If you want to be more loving towards yourself, start with our Brilliant Living™ affirmations for love.  Treat yourself (they’re very reasonable) to bring more love into your life, including love for yourself.

  1. Food self-love rituals
  • Be intentional with a meal and make it into a ritual – so you’re intentionally feeding yourself health-giving food
  • Instead of rushing to get something on table, take your time to do something special or different (maybe bake a cake). Put some nice music on and accept it’s going to take you an hour and that you’re going to enjoy the experience.
  1. Pet time
  • Walk, cuddle, play with or groom your dog or cat or talk to your budgerigar

You might not get this if you don’t have a pet – but if you do have one you’ll know what we mean!

  1. Say ‘I love you’
  • Tell yourself ‘I love you’ everyday
  • Look in the mirror and say it out loud
  • It’s like an affirmation but is worth stating separately.
  • Say it first thing in the morning or last thing at night or both. 

That’s enough to be going on with for now.  We would love to hear your suggestions which you can leave in our Facebook group or on our Facebook page.

We’re not suggesting you do them all every day (but how great would that make your day!) But make some ‘you’ time that is non-negotiable. Decide what’s going to be in that ‘you’ time, and it might include 1, 2, or 3 of these self-love rituals.

Have a lovely time this week being purposeful about it. That’s the secret to all of this - remembering to do it and bringing it to your awareness on a daily basis so it becomes a ritual and then a habit.

Episode 83 of the Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 83 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talk about all of this and more.

Links mentioned in the show:


Direct download: CA083.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:55pm UTC

It’s all very well knowing we should love ourselves but how do we do it?  Find out how with these 10 ways to build the self-love habit.

‘To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.’ Oscar Wilde

What a lovely quote from the unique and fantastically brilliant Oscar Wilde but

what did you think when you read it?

Did you think that’s a clever little quip, or it’s a bit over the top or fanciful?

Maybe you think it’s narcissistic or you haven’t thought of loving yourself as a romance with yourself.

Whatever thoughts came to mind are an indication of your view towards you and self-love.

Self-love is an inner love and acceptance of who we are and how we are.

Last week we talked about what self-love is and why we all need it, in our blog posts and on the Changeability Podcast (episode 81). We looked at 6 ways or clues that show us we’re not being loving towards our self. 

We understand what self-love is and why it’s good for us, we’re looking out for those times we’re not being self-loving, but how do we go from the ways we tend to behave where we’re not being loving to ourselves, to growing our self-love until it becomes the norm or a habit.

10 ways you can build a self-love habit for yourself

  1. Choose yourself

Give yourself permission to do what you want.  Don’t wait for others to give you permission.  You might think this doesn’t apply to you, but ask yourself if there’s anything you want to do in your life or at work where you’re waiting for someone else’s permission to do it.  You might not have realised it before, but tacitly you’re waiting. 

It can be more explicit or obvious in our close relationships. You seek someone’s permission before starting something new or maybe even to go out. 

This isn’t about not caring about what your family, partner, boss or colleagues think. It’s about not holding back from being who you want to be or doing want you want to do because you’re scared or reluctant to ask or because you think you need someone’s permission.  When often it’s an excuse for procrastination and you don’t need that permission at all – you only need your own permission.  So give it to yourself.

  1. Create ‘You time’ and use it

Neglecting your own needs was one of the key signs for not loving yourself and this is the antidote.  Make space in your life for you.

One practical way to do this is to make time for you.  Carve out your own personal time to do something that pleases or excites you, or enhances you or your skills in or just makes you feel better. 

This is a time when you put yourself first.

This doesn’t mean you don’t look after children or do your job well, but it does mean there is a time when you’re not putting other first.

When you create ‘you time’ you become a better parent, wife etc. You set a great example to your family and colleagues of one of the ways of being an effective person, and send a strong message that you matter and want to be treated as if you matter. 

You matter enough to yourself to spend time on yourself and tend to your own needs and desires and they need to respect that.  And they will respect that – even it it takes a little while to get you and them into the swing of it.

If you find this an uncomfortable prospect, ask yourself if rushing around, doing lots of things for others, however worthy, is feeding an underlying limiting belief (like I need to be busy or look after everyone else to be valued) or is it because you really want to do it.

  1. Be realistic and double it.

Unless we’re talking about SMART goals you don’t normally hear us talk about being realistic. However, we’re not talking about a lack of ambition or not having big dreams or goals;  this is about being realistic about what you can achieve in a given timescale.

Or to put it another way – don’t overstretch yourself or take on too much. 

One of the times we hear our inner critical voice is when we get impatient or cross with ourselves that something’s taking us too long or we’re not as far along with a project as we think we should be. 

  • When you find yourself signing up for something, whether for you or someone else, stop and ask yourself
  • Am I being realistic here?
  • Can I really get this done in this time or am I expecting too much of myself
  • What will be the price of doing it in this timescale – will I have to stay up all night to finish it or will something else I really want to do suffer?

However long you think something is going to take – double it! Or even triple or quadruple it depending on the sort of person you are.  This is about self-knowledge.

Basically don’t give yourself so many things to do.  Don’t think you can fit in ten things before you go out for that appointment when you’ve only got tine for two – you’ll either fall short and be disappointed with yourself or be late!

Examine your beliefs around being busy and time.  Is your time something to be used or enjoyed? Do you feel that you have to be rushing around filling up every moment in order to be valued? Because let us tell you - you don’t.

  1. Learn to say no

This fits with the above three and is one very practical way to help you accomplish them – to choose you, create and use your time and curb your expectations of yourself.

Learning to say no is a very practical skill.

You learn it by doing it – but there are a couple of techniques to help you.

If you’re the a person whose automatic reaction is to say yes, then you want to break that automatic response – which is a habit.

One easy way to do this is to buy yourself some time .This doesn’t mean you won’t say yes to a request, but that you will not automatically say yes – without thinking about it. 

To give yourself some time say ‘I’ll get back to you’ (if you might need a little while) or say ‘I’ll go and check my diary or calendar’. This gives you the option to think about it and obviously see if you have something on or not. 

But it’s not just about if you are free, but if you actually want to say yes or not.  Don’t just say yes because you’re free.

You can even practice saying no. Start with very small things, or when it doesn’t really matter. Once you’ve done it a few times it will get easier and you wont feel you’re letting people down. 

Watch out for being a people pleaser and thinking that people will only like you if you say yes.

  1. Be kind and gentle on yourself

Much of the time we can be quite hard on ourselves – I should have done this or why didn’t I do that or can I do more or why didn’t I achieve that or why did I fail to reach that goal.  This is not self-love and can be rectified by being kind and gentle on yourself.

Do you sometimes expect more from yourself than you do from other people? We often have higher expectations and standards of ourselves than we do of others.

But if you want to love yourself more - then accept you’re not perfect, and life will be a lot easier.

Perfectionism is a scourge and one to be avoided or downgraded.  Doing a good job is great but there comes a point where it tips over into more than good enough to the detriment of you and your performance.

So be kind to you.  Be gentle. Give yourself a break – both physically, in real terms but also figuratively speaking.

  1. Calm your inner critic

Your inner critic is never going to go away completely and that’s a good thing.  It’s helping you stay safe and keeping you on your toes or on track, pointing out when something could be improved or isn’t helping you – but it can also be detrimental to your happiness and to loving yourself.

So accept your inner critic for what it is.  An inner voice trying it’s best to help you out – albeit in a often misguided way.  It is working from the confines of its experience of you and the world and that’s not your inner critics fault, it’s just a matter of fact.  So you need to help it to see where it’s not helping you and retrain it to be more supportive and helpful.

Accept that your inner voice and critic is a part of you.  And loving yourself also means loving this inner voice but that doesn’t mean that you need to accept everything it says or let it stop you making the changes you want in your life.

Be aware of it, listen to what it’s saying but don’t accept it as the truth.  Examine it and take notice where it’s helpful or overrule it where it’s not. 

You can even talk to your inner critic – ask it why it feels like that, thank it for it’s observations and opinions, answer back by suggesting ways in which you can modify your behaviour.

Sometimes it will be telling you the truth, maybe an uncomfortable truth, But often it’s reflecting the results of the experiences you’ve had throughout your life – particularly in your formative years. This experience might have left you thinking you’re not good enough in some way, or your behaviour is inappropriate or you’re veering into new and therefore dangerous territory.

Listen out for your inner critic, acknowledge it, see what’s underneath it, accept it, deal with it, negotiate or quieten and calm it. One of the best ways to raise your awareness and calm and quieten it is through our next suggestion.

  1. Be mindful

One of the ways to address, put into practice and tick off the things we’ve talked about so far, is to be mindful and practice a simple form of meditation.

Because when you meditate you put yourself first – you are with yourself in that very moment – your mind might be thinking about a million things but you bring it back to the present moment and are aware of you. 

This is your time – so you’re taking or creating some ‘you time’.

And you’re setting a specific time – however small that might be – to use for yourself and be realistic about it. 

In that time during your meditation you’re bringing a calm awareness to yourself and what’s going on in you (including your inner voice) and around you at that time.

  1. Find your energy

Look for what energises you. If you don’t know, search for it, find it and do it. 

It might be something creative like drawing, painting, writing or speaking.

It might be something physical like playing a sport, swimming, dancing or walking – it might be taxing but could be gentle and be about getting your body moving or getting out in nature.

It might be something that gets your adrenaline pumping or where you get lost in the zone. For us it’s singing and being on stage – it’s thrilling and nerve wracking and fun and challenging and all those things – it’s not always a pleasant feeling but is ultimately energising. 

That’s what you’re looking for - something for you that makes you feel alive

  1. Develop yourself

This incorporates making time for yourself and choosing yourself or putting your self first (not all the time but some of the time) and takes it a step further by taking a positive decision to develop yourself. 

Congratulations because you could say that by reading this or listening to our personal development podcast you are doing this right now.

Developing yourself involves leaning a new skill or changing something you don’t like about you or your life or improve yourself.  It takes effort but the effort is worth it – because by spending effort on yourself you show yourself that:

  • you are worth spending time on
  • you’re worth developing
  • you deserve to improve
  • or change things for the better
  • or do things that are going to ultimately make you happier and more fulfilled.

One of the keys to personal development is getting clear about what you want and then finding the best way to achieve it – and that means setting clear goals around what you want to achieve for yourself (and of course for your family and friends and community). There’s nothing more self-affirming than achieving something that means a lot to you.

So self-love means developing yourself – and at you’re in the right place to do that. And we have something coming up soon if you want a systemised supported way of doing that – you find out more here.

  1. Know you are enough – and believe it

Knowing you are enough is the start, and it’s a great start, but it’s one thing to know it intellectually and another to believe it. 

That means taking it to the next level.  The things we’ve been talking about will help you to know it – and as you make them part of your life you will come to believe it. 

Because creating and building a self-love habit like any habit requires thought and action and repeated action until it becomes an automatic way of thinking and behaving.

And one of the best ways to accelerate this process of building a self-love habit is to use self-love rituals to implant the thinking and behaving. 

But that’s for next week!

Episode 82 of the Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 82 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talking about all of this and more.

And if you like the show please let us know by email at and by leaving a review on iTunes – we love reading them!

Goals challenge

If there’s somethine you know you’d like to change in your life then you’ll want to know about our forthcoming goals challenge! We’ll be sharing more about this soon but just want to let you know that if you want to be involved in the first group (and you surely do!) – you can sign up at to get on the list. We’ll send out more details when we have everything finalised. But it’s going to be exciting – or we’re excited anyway!

Direct download: CA082.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

‘Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.’ William Shakespeare, Henry V

Last week we were celebrating love and Valentines, which inevitably led to thoughts of romance and different types of love.

But despite a lot of talk of love everywhere – from card shops to films to books and the media – we see evidence of a lack of love all around us.  That lack of love is not only evident in the terrible things we hear on the news, but also in something closer to home.  And that’s the love we have for ourselves – or self-love.

What is self-love?

What are we talking about when we talk about self-love or loving yourself?

A good place to start is by saying what it’s not.

It’s not about being selfish or self-centred – even though it’s easy to jump to this conclusion when we talk about loving ourselves.

And it’s not about showing off or having an over-inflated ego or sense of self.

Nor is self-love about being narcissistic. In fact narcissism is the opposite of self-love because we’re seeking approval of ourselves, as this quote from Emily Levine illustrates:

‘I am a recovering narcissist. I thought narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it. It is actually drearier than self-love; it is unrequited self-love’. Emily Levine

So that’s what it’s not – but what is it?

Self-love is about our ability to deal with and cater to our own needs and desires. It’s about having a healthy view and sense of our self.

It’s tied up with our sense of self-esteem, self-worth and confidence in ourselves.

Yet how often we don’t love and respect ourselves.

6 ways we don’t love ourselves

What does it look like when we don’t love ourselves?  Here are 6 tell tell signs to look out for, clues that indicate you’re not being loving towards yourself.

  1. Negative and derogatory self-talk

This is the inner dialogue that goes on in our mind. For example:

I  can’t or I couldn’t do that

I’ve never been any good at…

Why would they want to hear what I’ve got to say…

They wont be interested in me

 I’m not clever enough to…

Stupid man …. Why am I so silly or stupid (one of Julian’s favourites)

I feel disappointed in myself that….(one of Kathryn’s favourites!)

  1. Being Critical and impatient

It’s not just what we say to ourselves but also what we say out loud and in front of others, including when we put ourselves down in front of others.

This is where you’re critical of  yourself e.g. ‘why can’t I do that’, or where you’re impatient with yourself for getting something wrong or with how long it’s taking you to get something right. 

Think about when we’re learning something new.  It might be a new or complicated skill like playing a musical instrument, so of course we’re not going to pick it up straight away. But still we somehow think we should be able to do it much quicker than we realistically can.

We’re impatient, as if it’s some defect or lack in us that’s the cause of our slowness. We get frustrated or even angry - when really it’s our expectations that are unrealistic.

The same goes for when it takes long time to do a task or our work.  Impatience or criticism creeps in and we question why we can’t focus more or why’s it taking so long to get it done.

These are the signs of being hard on yourself that we both recognise only too well!

  1. We don’t look after ourselves

One of the classic signs of a lack of self-love is when we don’t look after ourselves physically.  We might show a blatant disregard for our health and what we put into our bodies or what we do with our bodies, such as indulging in risky or dangerous behaviour.

When you love someone you want the best for them. Yet many of us fill our bodies with food and drink that’s no good for it and harmful in the long run. Is it we don’t love ourselves enough to give us the best we can, or is the quick reward of eating something we like the taste of, more appealing? 

It’s a complex subject and might not apply to you – but it’s worth thinking about what you eat and if you’re being loving to yourself. Or is that little something you call a treat and reward, really the opposite?

  1. Neglecting your needs

This applies to you if you run around looking after everyone else whilst neglecting your own needs. Many parents will relate to this.  Of course most people love looking after their children and doing things for their family, friends and community but there is a point at which it becomes about everyone else  - which is fine until you find yourself neglecting your own needs.

Another form of neglecting your needs is when you live how others think you should live rather than following your own dreams and aspirations.

  1. Shame

Sometimes shame gets in the way of loving our self.

You might shame yourself about the decisions you make or have made in the past.  Or you try to hide something from your past because you think it puts you in a bad light or you regret it.  But you might also try to hide parts of you from those around you because you’re ashamed or don’t like some aspect of yourself.  Maybe you’re afraid they wont like you if they were aware of it, or you fear opening up the whole you will make you vulnerable to getting hurt.

  1. Lack of self-worth

These are examples of when we exhibit behaviour and characters lacking in self-love, but they also describe a lack of self-worth.

This is when people don’t consider themselves worthy or deserving of looking after or nurturing themselves, because or an underlying, possibly unrecognised, sense that they don’t think they’re worth it. 

But they are worth it – we’re all worth it. We need to think of ourselves in loving ways and to feel and experience that self-love. Not in a selfish way but because self-love is good for us, our families and society.

What to do next

Be on the look out for how you do or don’t love yourself, especially those signs of when you’re not being loving towards yourself like your inner voice and critic.

Catch it out and if you’re serious about this make a note of it. Write down the thought or word or action and the time and date. This will help you in two ways:

  • It will help you to look out for when you’re not being loving to yourself by raising your awareness of how and when you do it.
  • If you do this practical action and note the date and very importantly the time, you might be able to detect a pattern. So does it happen when you’re tired or stressed or when you’re around particular people or a specific situation or you’re doing a particular activity, like learning or practicing something.

In case you’re worried about being selfish, it’s not selfish to look after yourself, or want to change yourself and your situation.

The fact is we have more to offer others when we care for ourselves first. Love starts with you.  Improve your life and you’ll improve the lives of those around you and have more love to give.

Episode 81 of the Changeability Podcast

In episode 81 of the Changeability we discuss all these aspects of self-love and more.  You can listen now either on this page or on iTunes, Sticher or TuneIn.

If you enjoy listening to the podcast you can subscribe to it from here or your phone and get each episode downloaded automatically. 

Share the love

If you get something out of reading our blog posts or listening to our podcast, please share this with your friends, or leave us a review.

Direct download: CA081.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:47pm UTC

“How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, The Changeability Podcast today takes a light-hearted look at something we all want in life and if we haven’t got it, we’re often looking for it. 

And that is love.

So episode 80 of the award winning show is our opportunity to celebrate love – in all its rich diversity.

“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds” ~William Shakespeare

The Beatles told us ‘All you need is love’, we know that ‘love is a many splendored thing’ and we may even have said ‘I’m not in love’ when clearly we are.

So with love all around us and the shops urging us to spend, spend, spend to show and celebrate love, we thought we’d offer our own take on a subject that’s dear to our hearts. 

In Episode 80 of The Changeability Podcast discover:

  • How many Valentine’s Day cards are produced each year to celebrate love
  • Who buys the most Valentine’s Day cards?
  • How we came to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day
  • What Emperor Claudius II did to married men to make them better soldiers
  • When the oldest known Valentine (poem) in existence today was written and where it’s kept today
  • Why one word to describe love is never enough and how New Testament Greek had many more to explain the various forms of love
  • How old Kathryn might be!
  • The origins of the word ‘Charity’
  • Why we should not take love for granted
  • And how you could do something to celebrate love with others in your life

Mentioned on today’s show

Direct download: CA080.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

This week’s guest on the Changeability Podcast is Tarun Stevenson, joining us all the way from sunny Australia.

“When you’re setting goals, start working on becoming a person that can actually handle the goal you’ve set yourself.”

It being the beginning of February, this is traditionally the time of year when people begin to struggle with the impetus and enthusiasm of personal and business goals they may have set for the year, so we invited Tarun to talk about keeping your goals on track.

“The problem is not the problem, the problem is you keep talking about and thinking about the problem.”

Who is Tarun Stevenson?

Tarun is a personal development coach, teacher and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. He works with individuals and organisations, to identify obstacles and limitations in their growth and through development of leadership and communication skills help them realise their full potential.

We had a fascinating discussion with Tarun, in which he offered a wealth of information and knowledge on keeping your goals on track.

“If you have a dream, but you don’t believe inside of yourself that you either deserve it or you are somebody that could achieve it, then really you’re always going to find ways to sabotage yourself, you’re always going to find ways to limit you achieving that goal.”

In episode 79 of the Changeability Podcast, discover:

  • Why you can give up on your goals so quickly
  • How important mindset is to achieving your goals
  • How to stay on track, re-engage or maintain enthusiasm and motivation to achieve your goals
  • How to learn from your failures
  • The value of short term, measurable, incremental goals to achieving your bigger vision for life
  • The satellite navigation (GPS) goals analogy
  • Why the SMART goals acronym is helpful if it’s helpful to you
  • The stuff psychologists are talking about now to retrain our minds
  • The link between self-esteem and goals
  • The mistakes we make around money goals
  • Turning what helps you grow into a habit
  • And more

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: CA079.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:19pm UTC

‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’- CS Lewis

Start talking about goals and it wont be long before the subject of SMART goals comes up. Possibly the most popular and well-known of all goal setting tools and techniques, but are SMART goals always the smartest way to set goals? Today on the Changeability Podcast we we ask, and answer, the question - do goals need to be SMART?

You can’t go far in the worlds of business or personal development without coming across smart goals and last week in episode 77 we talked about what SMART goals are in ‘A smart guide to SMART goals’.  Because they are used so much all over the world and particularly in business, they tend to be accepted as the best way to set goals but maybe not everyone is so enamored with them.

Yes, there are those who totally get SMART goals, they love them and accept them as the best goal setting technique, but are they really always the best way to look at goal setting.

The word SMART is an acronym which provides a goal setting framework to ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.  Goals that meet these criteria are said to be SMART goals and the assumption is that we want our goals to be SMART – but do we need our goals to be SMART?

One of the key potential pitfalls with using smart goals is that because of the very nature of SMART goals they tend to veer you towards thinking small.

If you think about how to set a good smart goal, you've got to have quite a good idea about how you're going to achieve it before you set that goal.  You need to know what likely timescale you can achieve it in, and how you can quantify it in someway. This means you’ve already got an idea of the numbers involved whether that be time, money, widgets, weight or any other way of quantifying goals.

It’s great you've got a concrete target to aim for. We know it’s good for our conscious and subconscious to know what we’re working towards; something tangible and specific we want to achieve. And for that SMART goals are an excellent tool.

But one of the issues with quantifying your goals in such a way, is that you’re looking at them through the lens of your present experience. This may or may not matter but looking at your world, life and ambitions through the lens of your present experience can mean you don't aim as high as you might because straight off you’re aware of the need to quantify it.

It’s not just this need to quantify your goals but also the need to be relevant, realistic and achievable or attainable.  Taking these elements together can constrain us or make us narrow-minded in the way we use our imaginations and vision. It can mean we can end up thinking smaller rather than aiming higher. And consequently start out with goals that are just a bit boring or a little dull rather than exciting, empowering and part of a bigger vision.

Another potential downside of SMART goals to watch out for is that by constantly quantifying your goals you might just be setting yourself up for failure or at least for fewer chances to feel good about yourself and what you’ve achieved. 

For example, if you measure a fitness goal by going to the gym 12 times in the next month and something comes happens and you go 10 times have you failed to reach your goal. Yes, you’ve missed your goal and you know you’ve missed your goal but does that make you a failure. Of course not, you’ve been to the gym 10 times, which is probably 10 more times that you went this month. But the very act of getting so specific puts the focus on the numbers rather on the activity and how you feel, and how you’re actively pursuing and being a fitter person.

These may seem like small points but can change your perception of yourself and your goals.

So what can we do about this.

You can get around this by not starting off with SMART goals, but start with thinking about your bigger vision. How you want to feel and the sorts of things you could do to make you feel like that, the lifestyle you desire, how you want to spend your time, what you want to look and feel like. Take this as your starting point looking through the big wide lens of potentiality.

Now of course at some point you might want to, or have to, ‘smarten up your goals’, because you need to quantify them in some way and think about the actual actions you need to take. Yes of course you are going to have to do some of this, but the point is don't start there.

Start bigger, then think about what you can do, and how you can start making those goals a reality for you. Yes, this will probably involve some element of timescales and quantities plus actions of course, as without action you’re not going to achieve anything - and your vision and goals will remain as wishes.

Start out thinking big and hone in and smarten up your goals until you’re thinking more specifically about each part of what you want. You might also look for other ways to measure the progress and success of your goals, or opportunities to leave them a bit more open and less specific, and more about the experience than the outcome.

This is a a good starting point if you want to make significant changes. However, if you're setting goals in the workplace or business and they’re not of significant proportions like wanting to change major things in your life, then smart goals may very well be the best option.

If you’re talking income, expenditure, turnover, profit, productivity, in other words goals based on numbers and being specific and quantifiable, and within specific timescales, then SMART goals are indeed a suitable technique to use.

Episode 78 of the Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 78 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us chat about all of this and more as we we ask and answerthe question - do goals need to be SMART?

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about our goals course leave your name at and we’ll get back to you with more information.

If you want to make big changes in your life a great place to start is reading Kathryn’s #1 Amazon best seller -  Changeability: Manage your mind – Change your life – available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

This is what what one lovely reviewer called Ian wrote on a couple of weeks ago: 

5.0 out of 5 stars: A good place to start if you want to re-focus your life

‘I've read tons of self help books in the past; I then gave it all up when life just got too hectic and I got caught in the grinding mill with work, kids, unhealthy living, etc. Ten+ years later I found this little gem of a book, it does bring together the best of what is out there (good instruction, enough but not too much details as to why) and it has helped me re-focus my life. A Happy customer :)’

Thank you Ian wherever you are. We really appreciate this and every review we get on Amazon and iTunes.

If you’ve read the book or listen to the podcast and haven’t left us a review on iTunes or Amazon we would love it if you could take a moment to do so.

Direct download: CA078.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:16pm UTC

In this week’s episode of the Changeability Podcast we’re talking goals and more specifically we’re talking SMART goals.  What are they and why do people like them – in our smart guide to SMART goals.

Goals are dreams we convert to plans and take action to fulfil.’ Zig Ziglar

As we write this, we’re three weeks into 2016 and so far this year we've been thinking about goals. In episode 74 we looked at why some people don’t like the idea of goals or setting goals and some ways to overcome those objections.

We chatted to Richard Scott in episode 75 about his experiences and insights into goals and how to achieve them.

On last week’s show, in episode 76, we thought about why our brains like having goals.

We’re at the end of a very goal focused week ourselves, having been working on two specific goals of our own simultaneously. One of which is ironically about goals – to finish writing all the scripts for our new goals course. And the other goal is to transfer this website over to a new theme (Thrive themes if you’re interested), so it will look better and be more responsive and therefore more useful. So far so good, though there may still be some glitches to sort out but we’re getting there. We like to set challenging goals that gives us lots of things to do at the same time!

As we’ve got goals on our minds this week we thought it would be good to think about different types of goals, and more specifically about one type of goal which is incredibly popular in personal development and business - the SMART goal.

You can’t go very far in the worlds of business or personal development without coming across SMART goals, so listen to the show to hear our smart guide to SMART goals. 

Episode 77 of the Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 77 of the Changeability Podcast to find out more including:

  • What a SMART goal is
  • Why they’re called SMART goals
  • How it’s not easy to say smart guide to SMART goals quickly
  • A description of what each letter stands for and alternatives used
  • Examples of SMART goals
  • Why we want you to like our Facebook page
  • If we love SMART goals or not
  • How to help us meet a SMART goal
  • The questions to ask when you’re setting SMART goals 

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about goals sign up at and leave your name and we’ll get back to you with more information.

Direct download: CA077.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:02pm UTC

An interesting conversation occurred on our Facebook group ( this week. We’d posted something about ‘Why people don’t like goals (and are they right?)’ and one of our Facebook members made the comment:

“Setting goals chaps my behind.”

The Anglo-Saxon aside, what a great comment from someone who is obviously not a total convert of goal-setting. Direct and to the point.

And that got us thinking. As Kathryn is the writer of the international best-seller “Changeability: Manage Your Mind – Change Your Life” and goal setting is a key element of developing your Change-ability, the ability to manage your mind to make changes in your life, then surely we need to be able to explain ‘Why your mind needs goals.’

So we set about explaining just that.

Entrepreneur, author and writer, Jim Rohn has always plenty to say on the subject of personal development and so this quote caught our eye as in part answering the question.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~ Jim Rohn

No plan, then in essence your plan is likely to be someone else’s and chances are they’ll be looking after themselves more than you in that process.

But what’s going on in the actual brain? 

Why your mind needs goals

The brain operates on two levels – the conscious and the unconscious or subconscious with the conscious being less powerful but crucial to achieving your life’s aims. We know, for example, that all great ideas must begin with the conscious thought of that idea.

So your conscious mind is often where it begins, and that’s also where we often decide on the actions we need to take to achieve that goal.

But the conscious mind has limitations, it quickly loses focus and holds limited amounts of information at any one time – thought to be around 7 chunks.

So it needs a subconscious to process things in the background. All those myriad functions our bodies and brain must undertake to keep alive.

But how does your unconscious mind determine which bits of the millions of pieces of sensory data it takes in every second of every day through your senses it should make your conscious mind aware of? 

The subconscious minds’ function

It decides its reaction based on a comparison between new incoming data (through the senses) and existing data stored in your subconscious and then taking an appropriate response.

It’s like having a library in your brain (memory to you and I) with a record of all your experiences, values and beliefs.

Essentially your subconscious is trying to keep you safe, so when something happens it compares this situation with previous situations it has stored in your mind and formulates an appropriate response which it feeds to your conscious mind.  You know the sort of thing – fight or flight and in practice the brain is primarily concerned with just maintaining your safety (and some might say the status quo!)

Now this is all well and good most of the time. You want to know hot things burn from previous experience and your conscious mind with those limitations we talked about earlier needs to only know what it needs to know.

Furthermore, there’s a filter mechanism in the brain – the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which processes everything it receives through the senses and then judiciously selects what the conscious mind needs to be aware of! And remember, it’s primarily concerned with your safety!

And in deciding what it makes known to the conscious mind, it chooses this based on what you’ve programmed your brain to focus on – rather as Google searches for matches to the words you type into the search engine.

So what happens if you haven’t set goals?

Then we default to what we already know, based on your previous experience, habits, values, etc. stored in your subconscious. Essentially, more of the same.

But if we use our conscious mind to set the coordinates of travel, i.e. we set goals, then our subconscious will look to provide the conscious mind with evidence to support our ideas or goals we’re searching for.  We’ve in effect by passed the gate-keeping function of the brain, or at least tipped off the gate-keeper to let our conscious minds know of things which fit in with what we’re looking for. It’s in effect providing a lens through which to focus the subconscious mind, plus giving a nod to our gate-keeper the RAS to let through to our conscious mind things which might support this goal or aim.

Episode 76 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear us discuss this in full and more, plus a sneeky, dramatic look at the effects of the wrong way to use the Google in your brain, in episode 76 of The Changeability Podcast.

Go on, you have to be at least a little curious!

The last word, or do you have that?

We’ll leave the last word to Melody Beattie in The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditation on Codependency:

“Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.”

Where do you sit? 

Let us know in the comments below.

Direct download: CA076.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:43am UTC

“You can prepare yourself for success, you can step into the feeling of actually having achieved the goal, see what it feels like, tweak it a little bit and see if it really is the goal that you’re after.” ~ Richard Scott

Today’s guest on the Changeability Podcast is Brisbane based, Richard Scott at  We asked him onto the show for his valuable insights on the subject of goals, goal-setting and making your goals a reality.

Richard’s work combines Psychology, NLP and CBT with traditional and modern hypnosis to bring the latest techniques in mindset motivation, psychotherapy, and stress management.

Richard's highly successful techniques are world renowned with clients spanning over 30 countries, including celebrities, world champion sports stars, members of royalty, X-factor finalists, government, special forces and everyday people from all walks of life.

We’re sort of guessing, we’re the latter of that list! 

Episode 75 of the Changeability Podcast

On this week’s episode:

  • Why Richard is collecting the alphabet!
  • Why set goals and indeed should we set goals?
  • The value of SMART goals (and the debate over the realistic element of SMART)
  • The place of visualization in achieving your goals
  • The accountability factor
  • The question that Richard’s never been asked before on goals, and his response!
  • What are the most popular goals people want to achieve?
  • Can you fear ‘success’?
  • Taking the emotion out of goal-setting
  • Planning for things going wrong when goal-setting
  • Techniques for removing negative emotion or emotional trauma
  • How trauma in early life can sometimes defeat goal-setting
  • About the lady in her 70s who had a trauma when she was two
  • The main reasons why people don’t achieve their goals
  • The “disillusionment stage” in achieving your goals
  • Resilience and goal-setting
  • Tracking your progress – and the goal you shouldn’t do this with
  • Why giving up some things needs realism in your goal-setting plans
  • Soda-pop addiction and more.

“If you slip try harder the next day or try a Plan B, or side step around the challenge, but don’t beat yourself up.” ~ Richard Scott

Links mentioned in the show

  • Find out more about Richard Scott at and receive a stress buster .mp3 plus details of a free 25 minute ‘rapid change’ consultation.
  • Richard on twitter @myndworks_intl

Next steps in goal-setting

If you want to achieve your goals, it starts with setting goals that work.

Find out about our new course on how to set goals for success in life and business at

We look forward to hearing from you and are excited to see what's going to happen for you and all of us this year. Let us know your plans in the comments below.

Direct download: CA075.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:30am UTC

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” ~ Melody Beattie

Welcome to the first post and podcast episode of 2016. If you're reading this in real time - a very Happy New Year to you.

In our last episode (73) we asked ‘What are you proud of today?’ We talked about things we were pleased about, and how all too often we focus on what's going wrong or the things we don't like about ourselves.

It doesn’t matter you’re reading this at New Year or not – but one of the great things about New Year is it represents a cut-off point in time. A natural opportunity to re-evaluate what you’re doing and think about what you want to achieve in the year or months or weeks ahead.

It’s a fantastic chance to move on with the new. And one of the fantastic things about life is there’s always an opportunity to start something new - a new way of thinking and a new way of doing things. We all have the potential to change things, which is of course the basis of the Changeability Podcast.

Setting goals is a great way to start thinking about the new and what you want to achieve. But if that’s the case, why doesn’t everyone do it? Indeed, as you’re reading this you might be thinking you don't much like the idea of goals. If so you’re not alone, because many people never set goals because they don’t know what they are or how to do it, or they don't like the idea of them.

Episode 74 of the Changeability Podcast

That being the case, in episode 74 of the Changeability Podcast we ask why people don’t like goals – and are they right?

We think about the reasons why people don't like goals and suggest answers including:

  • Why people don't like goals, or think they don't help us get what we want or make the changes we want.
  • Alternative ways to think about goals to overcome negativity about them.
  • The unhelpful link between work goals, objectives, targets and performance reviews.
  • Imposition versus ownership.
  • What can psychologically hold us back from really embracing the concept of goal setting.
  • The power of language and reframing the language of goals.
  • Think themes rather than goals.
  • Will your goals restrict you and narrow your focus?
  • How goals lead to freedom and productivity.
  • Staying curious and setting your goals.
  • Why goals are not just about facts and figures.
  • When goals don’t matter.
  • Will goals make you feel like a failure?
  • Why goal setting is part of a continuum and process.
  • Can goals make you unhappy?
  • The need for clarity about the ends and means of your goals.

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default." ~ JK Rowling

If you want to achieve your goals, it starts with setting goals that work.

Find out about our new course on how to set goals for success in life and business at

We look forward to hearing from you and are excited to see what's going to happen for you and all of us in the coming months and year.

Direct download: CA074.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:30pm UTC

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are or, as we are conditioned to see it.” Stephen R. Covey

The impetus for this week’s blog post and podcast was in part inspired by a conversation between the two of us.

We’d been to see a couple of films and Julian was feeling a little stupid that he hadn’t really fully got to grips with their plots. During a conversation he said ‘You know, at the heart of it – I think I’m not very bright.’ Of course, as soon as he said it he realised it was a limiting belief and on some level knew it’s patently not true, and yet on another level he realised this was in part what he believed about himself.

Having The Changeability Podcast and a personal development site like this tends to make you notice this type of thing but doesn’t make you immune from it, and here was an unhelpful belief rearing its ugly head.

That got us thinking about unhelpful beliefs, which in turn got us thinking about counteracting them.

The Stephen Covey quote mentioned above goes on to say something interesting;

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms.”

How can we describe ourselves more positively and change our perceptions of ourselves, or make a paradigm shift in what we believe about ourselves?

It’s the end of December at the time of writing and recording, which makes it an appropriate time to consider the year past. One way to begin changing your self perceptions is to think about what you’ve achieved or what are you proud of in this past year.

Here’s a few things we achieved this year.

  • 52 episodes of the Changeability Podcast produced – showing consistency and stickability.
  • Won an award at the UK Podcasters Awards 2015 of Best self-help podcast as voted by you (thank you) and endorsed by a panel of judges.
  • Kathryn’s first big presentation and closing key note for a Shell conference in London on how to thrive in times of change.
  • The launch of a new podcast – Podcast Divas – which has just spent 8 weeks top of New & Noteworthy in podcasting and technology on iTunes in the UK.
  • Our first joint presentation to SIMS (Suffolk Internet Marketing Specialists) on The Power of Podcasting – The what, why and how of podcasting.

What about you? What are you proud of achieving this year?

Doing this exercise for yourself

  • Emphasises what you’ve achieved, so you see the year in terms of progress, rather than what you haven’t done.
  • Focuses on the positive rather than the negative, which we as humans have a tendency to do.
  • Counteracts your inner voice. Your inner voice or inner critic frames your perceptions. By concentrating on the positive, you frame the world in a more positive way, seeing it is in terms of your achievements and less how you’re conditioned to see it, through the lens of your limiting beliefs and childhood perceptions.

It doesn’t have to just have to be about things you’ve achieved this year? We started with achievements for the year, because of the timing - but it could equally be something you’re pleased with today. In many ways it’s more useful to do this on an on-going basis than once a year.

So what are you proud of today? Write down one or two things you like about yourself or you’re proud of doing or being, or pleased with how it went or how you behaved. You can do it daily.

It could be a characteristic, the way you think,a skill, an act of kindness, something you’ve produced, something you are e.g. a parent, brother, sister, child, friend, colleague. Being happy or smiling at someone. Maybe you’re a good listener, or you were there when someone needed to talk. Or you contributing to your community or entertaining people or are a good conversationalist. Maybe you just like the way your hair looked today or your outfit.

This helps counter-balance the lack self-esteem most of us experience - feelings of not being worthy or good enough, like ‘I don’t feel I’m very clever’.

But all meanings and labels are meaningless apart from the meaning we give them, and yet they colour our lives and have a massive impact on us and the way we feel about our lives, which impacts what we do.

The whole idea of cleverness is an artificial construct – something that only exists because of the meaning we give it. What on earth does being clever mean? Is it intelligence – if so what does that mean? It must be more than an IQ score which only measure a very specific narrow set of thinking skills, and which only matter in a certain context.

It’s all about the meaning you give it. If you don’t believe those things yourself they won’t affect you. Someone can tell you you’re as thick as two short planks but if you don’t believe it yourself, it doses’t smatter. It only matters because of the meaning you give it.

It’s time to reinvent the meaning by noticing the things you are good at, or like about yourself or are proud of. This is the contrary evidence to your negative beliefs that will boost your confidence and general sense of well being and belief in yourself.

We tend to focus on the future and what we need to achieve, our goals and aspirations – and indeed we’ll be looking at this soon – but it’s also time to recognise and celebrate your achievements, big and small, and the things you like about yourself and what you’ve done – today.

One of the films we saw this week was the last of the Hunger Games films (The Mockingjay part 2). At the end of the film Katniss Everdene says she copes with thinking of the horrors they’d been through, by making a list in her head of all the good things she’d witnessed, the good things that people had done and the kindnesses shown. And that’s what you’re doing, here but for yourself – about you.

I look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears I know I've left behind
I step out of the ordinary, I can feel my soul ascending
I am on my way, can't stop me now and you can do the same, yeah

What have you done today to make you feel proud?
It's never too late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud?

You could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud?

From Proud sung by Heather Small and written by Wayne Anthony Hector, Steve Mac and Andrew Gerard Hill

Episode 73 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear us talk about all of this and more in episode 73 of The Changeability Podcast.

Thank you

Thanks for listening to the Changeability Podcast. We love having you here and appreciate you spending your precious tine with us.


10 things I’m proud of and the rewards of pride in your achievements - blog post

Let us know your comments

What are you proud of today? Let us know in the comments below.


Direct download: CA073.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:41am UTC

I just don’t have the time

If you find yourself complaining you don’t have time to do what want because you’re too busy, here’s 12 suggestions of how to free up your time and energy. They come from our guest on episode 72 of the Changeability Podcast, Rob Cubbon, who shares interesting insights into the drains on our time and energy that sap us of the will to achieve what we want in life.

If you recognise the name it’s because we talked with best-selling author Rob Cubbon in episode 58 about his book: ‘Free your thoughts: How I re-programmed myself for happiness and how you can too.’ We realised there was one aspect of the book that deserved wider coverage, so invited Rob back to discuss his advice on how to free up your time and energy.

The rationale

If you spend your time involved in negativity, you’re not using that energy and time for more positive pursuits.

Look at your habits, would you have more time and energy if you did without them.

What are these activities and habits we’d be better off without?

How to free up your time and energy

  1. Don’t watch the news – The news has the potential to affect your beliefs and colour your views. It can make you feel stressed and doesn’t on the whole galvanise you into action.
  2. Don’t buy or read newspapers and avoid the websites of newspaper or media companies – Newspapers and media companies perpetuate myths and prejudices, especially about other countries and religions. Furthermore, we tend to buy those that reflect our existing views of the world around us.
  3. Don’t watch TV – It’s a potentially huge drain on your time. Be aware of the, time you spend in front of the TV rather than just switching it on for the sake of it, or having it on in the background. If you particularly enjoy watching television, try being more conscious of the programmes you watch. Another strategy is to use a favourite programme as a reward when you have finished an activity. We live in an age where you can watch programmes when you want, so be selective in your viewing.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others - All comparisons between yourself and others, in terms of success or indeed other criteria, is futile and a waste of time. You are not that other person; you are your own individual self. Your ultimate success is dependent on you and your endeavours, so compare yourself only to yourself and measure your own improvement over time.
  5. Ditch your friends – Well don’t ditch them all, but consider seeing less of those who are a negative influence on your life, sap your energy or hold you back. Travel can broaden your experience of others as can being part of a mastermind group, which brings you into contact with those who enrich rather than rob you of energy.
  6. Don’t blame anyone or anything – Blame is rarely going to do you good, it’s a negative emotion whether blaming yourself or someone else. You can benefit from finding out what went wrong and why in a situation, so it won’t happen again, but blame itself serves little or no purpose.
  7. Don’t worry or anticipate that more bad things are going to happen – Accept that things will happen to you but don’t focus on them. Because your focus will be on fear, and the anticipation of pain or worrying will stop you doing the things you want to in life. And so often the pain is never as you anticipate, so in this sense it’s an exercise in futility.
  8. Ape the characteristics of those who are happy and successful – If you see yourself being petty and judgemental, imagine the persona of who you are trying to become. Ask yourself if the trait you’re exhibiting at this present moment is conducive with that persona. If not, look to and mimic those that do exhibit the traits you see as admirable.
  9. Don’t complain – Complaining increases the stress on you and doesn’t free up your time or energy. It is sapping. Find a more positive language to describe what’s going on, rather than complaining. This in turn helps lift your thinking on a subject. Talk in terms of a solution rather than a problem.
  10. Don’t identify with abstract concepts – Avoid identifying yourself by concepts such as your religion, politics, or affinity with certain groups (like a football team). You are aligning yourself with something, which is not you and can ultimately be a cause of unhappiness. By aligning yourself with one group, you are in effect misaligning yourself from another group.
  11. Stop beating yourself up – Do what you can and stop beating yourself up about what you haven’t or should have done.
  12. Don’t take Rob’s advice – Rob’s final words offer an interesting perspective. His tenets sound prescriptive but ultimately are just suggestions to save your time and energy.

A final thought

We’re not saying you have to do any or all of the above, but suggest that these are potential drains to our time and energy. Of course ultimately it’s for each of us to decide what we want to do with our lives.

But maybe, when you catch yourself complaining about not having the time or energy to do something you’d like to, this list will serve as a reminder of where to look first to free your greatest assets - time and energy.

Episode 72 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear Rob and us discuss how to free up your time and energy on this week’s episode of the Changeability Podcast, as Rob joins us from a shared working space somewhere in the world.

If you’d like to find out more about Rob and what he’s done to change his life and work, you’ll find him at 

Resources mentioned on the show

  • Gretchen Reuben – The Happiness Project
  • Rob’s book - Free your thoughts: How I re-programmed myself for happiness and how you can too.

What’s next?

Which of the suggestions do you agree with? Which don’t you agree with? How do you free up your time and energy? Do you practice any of these suggestions yourself and why? Let us know in the comments below.




Direct download: CA072.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

“When you are not attached to praise or criticism an interesting freedom is yours.” Kute Blackson

We all find ourselves subject to criticism - not least from ourselves, but also from others. And we don’t like it. It makes us feel horrible - hurt, rejected, guilty, fearful, let down, misunderstood, angry, humiliated, insecure, embarrassed or unappreciated.

What you can do about it? You can’t always prevent it or stop it - but you can handle it, by changing the way you feel about criticism and how you deal with it.

“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.”

Here’s 37 ways to deal with criticism. Read them or listen to episode 71 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talking about 37 ways to deal with criticism and more.

  1. Listen to the criticism - Yes - really listen. It’s not about what are you hearing - but about what are they saying. Firstly, is it criticism? Secondly, is it justified - is it valid?
  2. Be aware of how you’re interpreting what you’re hearing when someone criticises you.
  3. Is it a misunderstanding or miscommunication?
  4. Don’t get defensive.
  5. Be objective - as if you’re a spectator, looking in on the situation as a neutral observer.
  6. Don’t make excuses.
  7. What’s the intention behind the criticism? What’s the motive? Is it to be helpful or hurtful? Or is it an opportunity to impose power or status? Is it to be rude or to benefit you?
  8. Is it for construction or destruction?
  9. If you’re not sure what’s meant or intended by the criticism, ask for clarification. Don’t try and escape as soon as possible but ask follow-up questions. It shows you’re interested in hearing what they have to say and will give you further insights into what is really being said, rather than what you think is being said.
  10. If you require further clarification or don’t necessarily agree but aren’t sure about it - ask for examples of the behaviour, work or activity being criticised - and seek clarity about what the desired outcome is.
  11. Take notice of the manner in which the criticism is being delivered, as this should affect your response. What is the tone behind the message? Is the person shouting, in which case you might be quicker to dismiss or challenge it? Is it a well thought through, measured and reasoned critique, which therefore deserves your measured, well thought through and reasoned response?
  12. Don’t be afraid or worried to challenge criticism where you think it’s unfair or unjustified. Not least to get to the real meaning behind it. One way of doing this is to speak it back to the person - saying what you think they’ve just said. This shows up inconsistencies in their argument, if they exist. Or make them explain it further.
  13. Give yourself breathing space. Take a moment to be calm and collected - or at least to collect your thoughts. Don’t jump straight in with a defence or get upset. If possible, take a few mindful moments - with a quick burst of non-judgemental mindfulness.
  14. When you find yourself responding to criticism by getting upset, uptight, hurt, angry etc. - ask yourself why you feel like this. Examine the underlying beliefs. Is it saying something about you? What are you afraid of - rejection, not being appreciated, not feeling good enough?
  15. Are you looking out for criticism? Are you a people pleaser? If so why? Is it because you fear you’re not enough or good enough for people to love you for whom you are rather than what you do for them?
  16. Are you expecting criticism? Are you waiting for it or dreading it? You know there’s some truth in it and hope that people don’t see it, but you think they might so you’re waiting for it. Is there a part of you that knows you haven't done your best with this work or behaved in your best manner? If so is it because you have unrealistic expectations of yourself or because deep down you know you’ve fallen a bit short.
  17. Know your strengths. List them. Acknowledge them. Believe in them and your abilities.
  18. Are you reacting badly because you have a lack of confidence in yourself or your ability to accomplish what needs to be done or to be liked and loved?
  19. Be confident and stand on your own two feet - so that when criticism comes you have the confidence to deal with it and graciously accept it or refute it with a good account of yourself and your efforts.

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Norman Vincent Peale

  1. Are you unhappy about some aspect of yourself? For example, your body image, your weight, your job, the way you talk, your relationship or lack of. What is it you feel vulnerable about yourself - because that’s when you’re likely to interpret comments as criticism. Even well intentioned comments that are just comments. The conversation of friends and relatives you take as implied criticism, like ‘when are you going to get married’ or ‘no man on the scene yet?’. But to them it’s a conversation filler. People say things without thinking of the consequence or intending to hurt but when we’re sensitive to the subject already we’re quick to assume criticism. Personal comments about the way we look, our hair, clothes or weight are perceived as criticism when we’re sensitive about them, even when it’s not the intention behind the comment. And if it is intended to be critical but you have confidence in these things you can brush them off.
  2. Smile or laugh. Even if you don’t feel like it, smiling a big wide grin will give you a moment and make you feel better. Even better if you laugh it off. That doesn’t mean to ignore it criticism where it’s valid, but to rise above it if it’s not, and deal with it if it’s important for you.
  3. Are you reacting to this criticism or seeing it as criticism because it’s pushing your buttons? We all have things that get us going - sometimes without us really even noticing or knowing why. These are the old wounds, often going back to childhood and associated with the people who know us best - our families. Sibling rivalry and interaction from years ago that linger well into adulthood but get hidden behind a veneer of maturity. Yet something happens and we’re right back to the feelings we had when we were 10. The way a parent or teacher talks down to us or treats us without respect, or the feeling we’d never be as good at something as our brother or sister. They all come back to haunt us when we relive the criticisms of years ago today.

“A child that lives with criticism learns to condemn.” Ronald Russell  

  1. Get rid of your buttons - then they can’t be pushed. Identify them, acknowledge them, forgive them, visualise letting them go.
  2. Is the criticism saying more about the person saying it, than you? For example, are they trying to impose some level of control over you to make them feel more worthy, or give themselves status or importance? Is it their inability to praise that makes them so ready to criticise?
  3. Don’t get sucked into their negative energy. Visualise yourself with an aura, force-field or bubble around you - repelling their negative energy.
  4. You are responsible for how you react to criticism. Don’t give that power away. Think about it and take back your power.
  5. Is their criticism relevant - if not don’t worry about it?
  6. Is there something else behind the criticism? Is the criticism hiding the real communication and true meaning of what’s being said and you’re hearing as criticism. Look for the underlying message. It might be a call for your attention from a friend, partner, parent or child when they criticise you for always going out, or accuse you of preferring work to being at home or spending more time with your mates than them. Maybe what’s really being said here is I want you to notice me, I want you to spend more time with me, I want your love and approval.
  7. Don’t take criticism personally - unless it is personal. If it’s made in good faith, for constructive reasons and the best of intentions then it’s not about you as a person, but about what you’ve done or how you’re doing it. Don’t see it as a criticism of the whole of you and everything about you.
  8. If it’s personal, negative and unjust, or a form of bullying, one up-man-ship or the symptom of a power struggle - don’t give it your energy and focus. No dwelling on it or mulling it over but move on to more positive pursuits and use of your time, energy and resources. The best way to stop think about something is to think about something else.
  9. Look for the positives in the criticism. Is it an opportunity to improve your work or relationship, to learn something about yourself or grow in some way?
  10. Have you heard it before? If so there may be some truth in the criticism and it’s time to listen, take note and do something about it.
  11. Learn to value criticism and not just praise. Acknowledge the benefits criticism can bring - like making you a stronger, more able or better skilled person.
  12. Criticism consists only of words and an opinion at the end of the day. Yes it hurts but let be the end of it – once the words are said they’re gone. Life and conversation moves on and so can you.
  13. Ask if you’re putting other people's opinion of you above the one that really counts - your own!
  14. Think about how criticism can make you better and practice asking for it and dealing with it.
  15. Thank your critic and give credit where credit’s due. Giving positive helpful criticism that comes from a good place is hard. It takes skill and empathy to do it well. It’s something we often avoid doing, even in the workplace where it’s part of our job, because it can be uncomfortable, so acknowledging where it’s done well is a win win.

That’s 37 ways to deal with criticism.  We’d love to hear any you’ve got any to add – leave a voice message, comment below or join our FB group.

Here’s a final thought about criticism; accept the truth – you’re not perfect.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

Direct download: CA071.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:27pm UTC

“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle

If you don’t want to be criticised - don’t do anything .Although you’ll probably then be criticised for not doing anything, or for doing nothing - if that’s actually possible.

The meaning behind it is clear - the more you do the more people have to criticise you about. the more you open yourself up to judgement.

We’ve all met people who always seem to be worried about what other people think about them. So much so it’s the determining factor in deciding if they do or don’t do something.

But let’s not let such thinking keep us living small lives and stop us getting out there, making an impact or doing what we want. Because the truth is that whatever you do you’re likely to be criticised.
Whoever we are, we will experience criticism.

Not least because we all do it. We criticise ourselves and and we criticise others - even if it’s only in the privacy of our own minds. But it’s actually a lot more out there than that if we’re honest.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been talking about feelings and being criticised brings up all sorts of feelings in us, so we thought it would be good to think about criticism and why we don’t like it. Starting with what it is, when and how we experience and ending with why we don’t like it.

What is criticism?

There’s many ways to describe criticism and they involve the following elements and concepts:

  • Judgement
  • Feedback
  • Evaluation
  • Analysis
  • Opinion
  • Disapproval
  • Critique

The modern word of criticism comes from the 14th century French expression critique and has roots in Latin ("criticus" - a judger, decider, or critic), and, even earlier, in classical Greek where "kritos" means judge, and "kritikos" means able to make judgements. this conveys the notion of the critic owning a sense of discernment - which isn’t often the first thing we think about when we’re being criticised.

The Oxford Dictionary carries 3 definitions of criticism

  1. The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes.
  2. The analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work.
  3. The scholarly investigation of literary or historical texts to determine their origin or intended form. - For example The Bible - really a subset of the second definition.

We’re talking predominantly about the first definition here.

When do we experience criticism?

We all experience criticism, at least in the sense of feedback, by virtue of growing up. It’s practically impossible to grow up and not be subject to criticism of some sort - and there are key sources of it.

For most of us it begins, and keeps going, in the family. Staring with our parents and our siblings and maybe extended family too like grandparents, uncles and aunties and cousins.

Then we go to school and it really kicks in big time and carries on into college and university - hopefully in a constructive feedback variety,even if it doesn’t always feel like that.

This continues into the workplace - only now it’s called 1:1s and performance reviews or even team meetings. It also happens if you work for yourself or are involved in a creative enterprise.

We’re not immune from criticism from our friends either. In fact the closer or more intense the relationship the more likely we are to experience criticism.

Which leads us to another potential source of criticism - our nearest and dearest - our husbands, wives or partners.

If you have children you will at some point endure their criticism - especially during those teenage years they’re trying to break free, find themselves and put their own stamp on the world, and you get criticised for much of what you do and stand for.

Do we ever welcome criticism?

There are occasions when we welcome criticism. We actively seek out people’s opinions on something, with the expectation they will be critical, by critiquing something we’re working on because we want to improve it or get buy-in.

Or we want to choose between alternatives and look for the discernment of others (like the original definition from ancient Greece) where the criticism is to determine a preference.

Or we know there’s something wrong with a project or creation and want honest guidance or feedback to help us improve it or get a different perspective on it.

When learning a new skill, criticism can be the mechanism to teach us where or how we can improve.

The way it’s delivered determines whether it’s seen as criticism or teaching or guidance. And not just how it’s delivered but how we hear it (more of that next week).

Whilst there may be times when we welcome or seek criticism, although we might not call it that, for most of us most of the time we see criticism as an unwelcome fact of life.

Criticism and why we don't like it

We don’t deny it may be good for us, that we can learn from it and become better at something or improve some aspect of ourselves - but we don’t like criticism. Why is that?

Because we don’t like the way it makes us feel. Isn’t that at the root of it?

In fact we don’t like the way that being criticised makes us feel so much that we almost fear being criticised.

We don’t like criticism because when someone criticises us:

  • It taps into the most basic of our fears - that we’re not good enough.
  • We fear rejection.
  • We fear the feeling of being judged and found wanting.
  • It highlights our insecurities because we all want approval.
  • We worry it might jeopardise our feeling of belonging and we all have a basic need to belong. Like our dog who hates to be told off and sent away, we’re like pack animals who don’t want to be left out because it goes against their basic survival instinct . It makes us feel uncomfortable at our very most basic of instinctual reactions, as if our very survival depended on belonging to a bigger community. We’re not actually thinking of all this but it’s one of the reasons we don’t like criticism.
  • We don’t like it when the criticism goes against our values or our sense of who we are or how we want others to see us, or the characteristics we see ourselves possessing or want to be seen as embodying.
  • For example, if we see ourselves as a hard working or very capable person, someone who always does a good job, and we get criticised for a piece of work or for not producing enough work then we feel totally crushed. It’s as if something we see as being a part of us, isn’t a part of us anymore, or isn’t being recognised as a part of us.
  • And if we consider the criticism invalid or unjust it makes it 10 times worse. We think the person is not recognising the work we’ve put in, or that we are the sort of person who delivers good work.
  • It could be the same with any aspect of your character or behaviour. if you see yourself as having integrity or being honest or straightforward to deal with and someone accuses you of going behind their back or criticises you for talking about them or not supporting them, you feel really bad because you don’t want to be seen like that because that’s not the sort of person you want to be or how you see yourself.
  • This is also true when we think of ourselves in relation to people. If we get criticised by the people we’re close to, it doesn’t sit well with how we think of ourselves in relation to them, if we think they’re calling into question the fact we’re a good son or daughter or brother or sister or friend or colleague.
  • We don’t like criticism because it can be hurtful.
  • Sometimes we don’t like how it makes us feel and how we then react to it - like feeling stressed - especially if we see it as unfair criticism or just something that’s difficult to deal with or rectify.
  • It can leave us feeling misunderstood, or downright angry or outraged, generally an unhelpful response.
  • Or it makes us feel guilty. This is when we’re made to feel like we haven’t lived up to expectations - those of others or our own.
  • Talking of horrible feelings if the criticism is stinging, it can dent our pride and leave us feeling humiliated.

If you have a high level or strong sense of self-esteem you might still feel these things we’ve talked about today - hurt, humiliated, outraged, rejected, guilty, uncomfortable, and also unappreciated - but it will be short-lived and you’ll bounce back quicker. You’ll have more resilience and your sense of worth isn’t dependent on what others think of you so much. You can’t avoid criticism but you can deal with it better - whether it’s justified or not.

But there are things we can do to help ourselves change the way we deal with criticism and that’s what we’’’ going to talk about next week in episode 71. So if you have any ideas or ways you do this we’d love to hear them.

Episode 70 of the Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 70 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talking about criticism and why we don’t like it.

We’d like to hear what you think

We’ve been thinking about what we might do with the podcast next year. There’s two things we’d love your feedback on:

  • We’ve thought about going to a fortnightly format - to free up our time to do other projects - and want to know what the impact will be what do you think? Would it stop you listening or would you listen more or the same.
  • What would you like us to cover in the podcast next year? What questions would like us to think about or get someone to talk about.

Please let us know - you can get in touch with us by:

Thank you for listening and reading - we look forward to hearing from you.

Direct download: CA070.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:23pm UTC

‘A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally’   Oscar Wilde

We are emotional beings with feelings, and together with our thoughts (which are intricately linked to our emotions and feelings) is what make us us. But our own feelings don’t exist in isolation. We are after all social beings and exist in groups, communities, nations, continents and the world.

Our feelings and behaviour affect other people’s feelings and behaviour and other people’s affect us - in a positive or negative way. And the way we deal with the feelings of others can have a positive or negative impact on them or us.

You only have to look at the news to recognise that as a human race we’re not always very good at dealing with the feelings of others. We see examples of religious intolerance, and social and political inequalities around the world and close to home. Our feelings do not exist in isolation and we are part of a larger community (whether we want to be or not).

The more aware you become of your own feelings, the more you will find yourself able to tune in to the feelings of others. Exercising your own feeling muscle enables you to understand and empathise with others better.

Empathy is a key concept here. It’s the idea of experiencing something alongside someone - putting yourself in their shoes. It differs from sympathy, which is more about feeling sorry for someone.

Empathy is linked to the idea of emotional intelligence. This is the skill of managing our own emotions and being able to recognise and deal effectively with the emotions of others and handle our relationships with empathy.

Empathy is a skill, and one of the indicators for happiness, we talked about previously.

But how do we get it? It’s a social skill we learn and pick up as we’re growing up, but some people more so than others.

‘Humans aren't as good as we should be in our capacity to empathise with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were 'reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.’     Neil deGrasse Tyson

You might say emotional intelligence and empathy can help us become better, more effective and successful people, and better for the communities in which we operate.

Paying attention to the feeling of others is a good place to start.

A question for you

How often do you ask yourself in a particular situation, where you are talking with a friend, colleague, or family member:

“How does anyone else feel right now?”

And perhaps a more interesting question is:

“How might the way they are feeling be affecting the way they are behaving?”

Last week we looked at setting feeling goals and suggested ways to do it, including keeping a diary of your feelings and how you behave when having these feelings.

This increased awareness of your own feelings and associated behaviours gives enables more insights into the behaviour of other people.

An important distinction

Notably the distinction between the person and their behaviour and the role feelings plays in the the relationship between the two. It’s helpful when dealing with people’s feelings, to separate the person - and their inner feelings - from the person’s behaviour - which is how they are acting or what they have said.

As human beings we have a tendency to conflate, or combine the person and their behaviour into one.

If a person is behaving angrily, on some level (whether we would say it consciously or not) they are an angry person. We associate the person with their behaviour.

Now as we know from ourselves, this is not the case. You might have just had a very distressing meeting with someone which left you feeling very angry, from which you bounce straight into another conversation where you’re perceived as aggressive, defensive or angry. If you assume the person and their behaviour are one and the same thing, you might see them as behaving unreasonably towards you and react accordingly.

But if, when someone is behaving very angrily, you can practise separating their behaviour from the person inside, you can respond to how they are behaving rather than reacting to them as a person.

This is of course easier said than done! There’s a temptation, as we discussed in ‘dealing with negative thoughts’, that we ‘mind read’ what we think the person is feeling from their behaviour.

Here’s a little exercise you can do:

Over the next couple of days keep a note of how other people demonstrate their feelings.

  1. What did they say?
  2. How do you think they were feeling?
  3. What evidence or hunch do you have for this?

Dealing with unfamiliar feelings

It’s harder to deal with other people’s feelings when they’re feelings we ourselves are less familiar with. This in turn affects how you respond to them.

But how do you determine which feelings you’re less familiar with? You draw up a feelings map.

The feelings map

Draw up a list of your feelings under three categories: physical, emotional and state of mind:

  1. Physical feelings: e.g. cold, tired, agitated.
  2. Emotional feelings: e.g. angry, sad, happy, frightened.
  3. States of mind: e.g. guilty, inspired, fulfilled, ashamed, creative.

Then plot these onto your feelings map.

Draw 4 concentric circles (circles within circles).

On the smallest circle, write in the word ‘often’; on the next circle up, write in the word ‘sometimes’; the next one up again, write ‘rarely’ and the final circle write ‘never’. Now divide those circles in three (like a third of a cake slice each) and on the outside of the cake slices (thirds) write the words: Physical feelings, emotions and states of mind.

Now map your physical, emotional and state of mind feelings onto that feelings map. So if you feel you ‘never’ express the emotion of sadness, then under the emotion segment of your feelings map, write ‘sadness’ in your ‘never’ concentric circle.

(See Feelings Map)

This gives you a map of your feelings, divided into physical feelings, emotions and states of mind and how often you feel them.

Now you’re able to look at your feelings map and see at a glance which feelings you feel least often and armed with that knowledge ask yourself:

“Which feelings do I feel least often and how do I tend to respond when others are expressing those same feelings?”

Love and anger

For example you might find you don’t express feelings of love very often and therefore tend to ignore that emotion not only in yourself but also when others are expressing that emotion. Now you’ve recognised those feelings of how you deal with love within yourself, you can develop a strategy for dealing with it in other people. So you might decide your strategy will be to say something very positive about that feeling and to explore with the other person how they are feeling.

“Wow, that’s wonderful. Tell me more about it?” In effect you are exploring the feeling in others.

Where as before you were judging them by your own standards of how you would behave, you are now sort of stepping into their shoes.

If you find anger difficult to tune in to and express yourself, your strategy for dealing with angry behaviour in others could be to focus on separating their behaviour (anger) from who they are (the person) and practice assertively standing your own ground.

It’s worth saying that none of this is an excuse for bad behaviour on anyone’s part and we’re certainly not suggesting you should put up with unacceptable behaviour or when people are riding roughshod over your feelings.

Group feelings

We’ve talked about dealing with the feelings of others on a one to one basis. What about group feelings? Human beings are after all group or pack animals. We’re social beings and are affected and influenced by those around us - particularly in group settings.

It’s easy to get caught up in the wave of what’s going on, unless we’re clear about what we feel. You only need to go to a football match or pop concert, to see this in action – generally in an enjoyable way where we take pleasure in the camaraderie of our fellow supporters or fans. But of course this same process can also be used towards less innocent ends, like mass rallies - where people can be influenced towards a more dangerous end.

Group feelings are also present in the smallest groups, in our own home within our own families or in the offices and places where we work, and influence how we feel and act as individuals.

It can be helpful to think about the way group feelings can affect you and ask yourself:

  1. In what situations, and how, are you influenced by group feelings?
  2. And what do you want to change about this, if anything?

By paying attention to the feelings of others and by being aware of how we deal with our own feelings we can ‘deal with feelings’ more successfully.

The Changeability Podcast Episode 69

Hear us talk about all of this, including how often we think we’re aware of other people’s feelings (we have different views on this) and whether we think animals have feelings (of course they do but are they really ours?) and much more in episode 69 of the Changeability Podcast.

Direct download: CA069.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:30am UTC

“Don’t allow your mind to tell your heart what to do. The mind gives up easily.” - Paulo Coelho

For many of us, our behaviours are often influenced by our childhood and underpinning those behaviours can often be a feeling of needing to be loved.  The manifestation of that particular ‘feeling’ may well take the form of always striving to achieve – and by being in perpetual ‘doing’ mode - continually trying to prove yourself worthy through what you do. Something I’m sure many of us can recognise in ourselves even if we don’t always realise or acknowledge the cause.

Recognising our feelings is perhaps the first stage in a three-fold process of dealing with feelings. How we deal with those feelings successfully is then second part and if we can do that whilst being mindful of the third step – the feelings of others (as well as ourselves) then we are well on the way to feeling good.

The process of undoing years of engrained thinking patterns and the way we feel about ourselves, our feeling patterns, is hard, with no ‘quick fixes’ but is a path worth travelling.

And one way we might assist this process is to go about setting feelings goals – goals about how we want to feel in our lives.

But firstly…

Why set feelings goals?

We’re probably all aware of the concept of engrained thinking but we might not always think about engrained feelings.

Feelings often bypass the rational mind – and we just find ourselves reacting to them – often in an habitual way –perhaps because feelings tap a more primitive part of the brain.

Setting goals around how we feel then, is a practical way of putting into practice what we’ve talked about in our last two blog posts and podcasts:

Setting feelings goals

So the first thing about setting feeling goals echoes the earlier comment about how ‘it’s hard to undo years of engrained thinking patterns’.

These are long-term feeling goals and as such this is an incremental journey. But a rewarding journey none the less.

And just because its not a quick fix, doesn’t mean it’s ‘unfixable’. Give yourself some time with your feeling goals.

The first step is to identify what you want your feelings goals to be about. What aspect of your feelings do you want to think about?

Different sorts of feelings goals

Do you want to:

  • Feel more, or less, or differently about certain areas of your life
  • Be more aware of your feelings
  • Have greater control of certain feelings
  • Be able to acknowledge them
  • Feel more comfortable and accepting of your feelings
  • Express them better or more openly
  • Tune in to your feelings more so you can use them to your advantage
  • Use your feelings to help you set other goals and achieve more

It might be advisable not to take on too many feeling goals, so it may be you initially decide on one feelings goal and aim for that.

What can you do to think about and create feelings goals?

Here’s 7 ideas to get you started. You don’t have to do them all at once, some you will deliberately set out to do but others will come to mind at different times and situations.

1. Feelings diary

A good way to explore your feelings is to keep a ‘Feelings Diary’. In it you might jot down particular feelings you have, the strength of those feelings, what prompted you to those particular feelings, how you responded to them and indeed how you might respond to them more appropriately moving forward.

Or note down at key moments in the day, what your body is telling you about how you are feeling at that moment.

Through doing this you come to recognise underlying situations or themes to the way you feel on a day-to-day basis.

2. Change the way you talk about your feelings

Be personal in your conversation, rather than using generalised statements based on what you think you should feel, or even what you think others should feel. Instead of expressing yourself in terms of ‘you’, ‘one’ or ‘they’, make a connection with how you really feel, by using ‘I’. E.g. Right now, I am feeling…

In other words, speak for yourself not others.

3. Reflect on your feelings

We can only really understand what we’re feeling and the effect of those feelings on us, if we take the time to regularly reflect on our feelings.

Give yourself a moment in the day, perhaps before you drop off to sleep to have those thoughts.

4. Spend time with people who accept your emotions

We hopefully all have people in our lives that accept us for who we are, and with whom we can share our emotions and feelings.

Prioritise your time by spending it with the people who’re supportive of your emotions and with whom you can share your feelings.

5. Conversations around feelings

When I was younger, a friend and I used to have classifications of how we conversed with people. Essentially, conversations were divided into Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 type conversations.

Level 1 conversations – were small talk. The weather, the football scores, whatever and it surprising in life how often our conversations with key people in our lives essentially stay at this level – the level of small talk. We always have similar conversations and they do not stray onto unsafe territory – whatever that might mean.

To have more meaningful conversations, however, we have to switch up a level, to level 2.

Level 2 conversations – were typically more intellectual conversations. Conversations about religion, history, politics, view on women’s rights, to name but a few and here you get more of a sense of what a person is like and the commonality of your views with that person.

Level 2 conversations can be more heated, particularly if there is disagreement. But you certainly get an idea of what a person is like from these types of conversation – including if you are going to share or differ in your opinions. Once again, many conversations with people in life do not stray beyond level 1 and 2, but you probably feel you know people better who you have had level 2 type conversations with on a regular basis.

Certainly these level 2 conversations do reveal more about you, albeit on an intellectual level.

Level 3 type conversations are on another different level again - conversations of emotion and feelings. Here you reveal a lot more about yourself – personal stuff, stuff you might only reserve for your closest friends.

Rather than dive in and reveal everything about yourself – which can be a little overpowering - you might test an initial Level 3 type conversation with a person, by revealing a small intimacy or personal fact and seeing how the conversation went with that person – did they respond by revealing a little bit more personal stuff about themselves? Or did they keep on safer territory?

Although this might seem trivial, or just a bit of fun, in fact it is quite an interesting statement on the nature of our relationships.

Do you always conduct your life on the safer grounds?

If you believe that might be the case for you, try deliberately revealing a little more (shifting to Level 2 or Level 3 type conversation) when you’re next chatting with someone who you know quite well but have always had the same type of conversation with and just gently explore and observe the response.

In the lovely book The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery, there’s a lovely quote which says:

“One runs the risk of weeping a little if one allows himself to be tamed” – The Little Prince

But I firmly believe it is a risk worth taking. Who knows it could be the start of a wonderful new deeper relationship?

6. Write an open letter

If you think you might have difficulty expressing your feelings person to person, another useful little technique is the open letter.

Write down in a letter to a friend, a partner or even yourself, what you’re feeling about something. And don’t worry, you don’t even have to send it (though you could if you feel able) – the act of writing it down will help to clarify the feeling and may help you realise what you want to achieve from expressing the feelings in writing.

7. Letting go

If you have difficulty expressing your feelings, try letting go a little more. Little by little, see how emotionally expressive you can be. View it, if it is easier, as an experiment – though the idea is to explore feelings rather than totally distance yourself from the process.

So there you have it. 7 ideas to get you started with feelings goals.

What next for your feelings?

Hear what we had to say about ‘Feelings Goals’ in Episode 68 of The Changeability Podcast – an award winning podcast dedicated to help you manage your mind to make changes in your life.

Or let us know what you thought about our 7 suggestions in the comments below.

Alternatively, leave us a voicemail by clicking the pink tab on the left hand side of this page and who knows, your voice may feature in a future episode of our podcast.

I’m rather feeling - you’re spoilt for choice!

Direct download: CA068.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

“Feelings, nothing more than feelings” – Morris Albert

It’s been a week where I’ve had to deal with “nothing more than feelings” in a very public way, speaking as I have at my father’s funeral. An event of this magnitude can bring up many feelings and I think it would be fair to say I’ve experienced the whole spectrum - feelings of sadness and grief but also gratitude and joy as we celebrated as well as mourned Dad’s life.

“And feelings like I’ll never have you again in my life.” Morris Albert

And yet amidst the on-going sadness Kathryn and I have also experienced other feelings like accomplishment when we recorded 8 videos in 2 days for our business and happiness and gratitude when Kathryn’s podcast, Podcast Divas hit the top of New & Noteworthy in iTunes in 4 categories. So it seems fitting therefore to think about the process of dealing with feelings.

Last week we asked what are feelings, what purpose do they serve, and how do you recognise and own your feelings? Now it’s all very well recognising you’re having them but when you’re in the presence of intense feelings, what do you do next?

Whilst it’s true you can’t always choose how you feel, you can choose how you respond to how you feel, and that’s what we’re talking about today, dealing with feelings.

So once you’ve recognised you’re feeling something there are a number of choices you can make with how you go about dealing with them. Here’s five ways.

5 ways of dealing with feelings

  1. Express your feelings – in other words let them out. So if you’re angry, you might smash something, or shout. If someone has upset you, you might tell them how you are feeling: “I’m really hurt by what you’ve said, and right now I’m feeling resentful.”

    Now this can be helpful in that expressing your feelings can give a sense of release, and clarify how you feel. It may also prevent you getting more embroiled in a situation because you have expressed it in the open. Plus, it can make others more sympathetic to you. It may encourage them not to take how you are behaving personally, if they realise that they are not the cause.

    But expressing your feelings, especially if forcefully, can alienate people, could potentially lead to violence, and can be bad for your health. We all know of people who frequently ‘lose the plot’ in their anger and can only imagine the longer term consequences of these outbursts to health.
  1. Channel your feelings – into some other activity of your choosing. Like going for a run if you’re feeling frustrated after sitting all day in front of a computer screen in your office! Or perhaps channelling your anger into more logical ways of thinking about the subject. Writing that letter to an authority, if you’re feeling frustrated about an aspect of service. Many of us channel feelings constructively into creativity or sporting pursuits. But be aware too of the potentially destructive side of always channelling your feelings into something else – feelings do sometimes need to be dealt with.

  2. Switch from one feeling you’re currently having into another feeling of your choosing. You know the sort of thing: “I know I’m angry about this, but I can either get really worked up about it or I can just choose to laugh it off.” Switching your anger into laughter can be highly appropriate as a release mechanism in moments when we’re feeling tense. But we’ve all been aware of when we’ve inappropriately got the giggles at an event where we’d rather not have had them. And taken to extremes - switching feelings of jealousy to anger or revenge, or expressing a feeling inappropriately like laughing at someone’s misfortunes is the flip side to switching feelings constructively.

“Teardrops, rolling down on my face, trying to forget my feelings of love.” Morris Albert

  1. Controlling your feeling for now – Choosing not to express your feelings in that moment, but instead waiting until it’s a safer environment to let it out. At the funeral this week I chose to control feelings of wanting to cry before giving the family tribute, reasoning that if I’d started showing my feelings through tears, I might not be able to give the tribute I’d prepared. Sometimes it’s good to control you feelings when letting your feelings out may just make things worse, plus it also demonstrates self-control. But conversely, it’s necessary to let feelings out at some point – the death of a parent is after all a hugely significant moment - and sometimes controlling feelings can be destructive: It can cut you off from yourself and your own feelings and from other people, because they just don’t know how you feel. And you miss a chance to be supported or share in these feelings. At the extreme then, too much control becomes avoidance.

  2. Reasoning the feeling through – Reflecting on whether it is actually worth getting so worked up about what you are feeling. This is about using your rational mind to think through your feelings. Examining your feelings to see if they continue to be appropriate or have changed in some way. So it might be healthy to reason through feelings which have led to a long-term grudge for example, particularly if it’s affecting your health or outlook. We’re all capable of taking advantage of our ability to rationalise or reason through our thoughts, and using this capability with our feelings will enable you to manage your life more effectively. Reasoning your feelings through is also helpful when it stops you rushing in and making a mistake you might live to regret, or stops you expending unnecessary energy on something and through rationalising you come to recognise more fruitful ways of dealing with those feelings, but as always it can be destructive when reasoning is your only tool in your armoury. We do need to feel – it’s what makes us feel alive.

So how do you judge which will be the most useful in any particular setting?

A good rule of thumb is to consider what makes the circumstances better for you in this situation or ideally better for you and the other person(s). Or you can consider what makes the situation worse and avoid that. So ask yourself if you’re really feeling fed up with someone - would expressing my feelings make the situation better or worse?

And how do you balance those 5 choices?

A nice way to consider how to balance your feelings is to do the following for each of your five ways of ‘dealing with feelings’.

So taking the example of ‘Expressing your feelings’. Say to yourself?

Do I need to express my feelings more, or am I expressing my feelings about right or do I need to express my feelings less? You’ll know the answer if you listen to yourself.

Repeat this process for channelling your feelings, switching your feelings, controlling your feelings and reasoning your feelings and you’ll get an idea of how you predominantly deal with your feelings. You’ll also be aware of the other options you have and which ones you’re under using. In the end the skill of dealing with feelings is probably about balancing those 5 ways, rather than defaulting to one in particular.

Tell us how you deal with feelings

Tell us how you deal with your feelings by leaving us a voicemail using our new voicemail service – it’s a pink ‘Send us a voicemail’ tab found on any page. And who knows we may feature your voice on our podcast. We’d really like to share your collective knowledge of these matters. Or you can leave us a comment below. If you feel like it of course! And talking of podcasts…

In episode 67 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear us discuss all the above, plus:

  • Why do people avoid what they feel
  • Things we should look out for in our own lives which show that we are avoiding how we feel
  • The warning signs of not dealing with feelings
  • And more.



Direct download: CA067.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:36pm UTC

“I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Having recently talked about the ups and downs of life and a week when we experienced what might be called extremes of feeling, this week we put feelings in the spotlight.

How are you feeling right at this very moment as you read this?

We all have feelings, they’re an intrinsic part of our human experience, but what are they and what purpose do they serve?

What is a feeling?

How do you describe what a feeling is?

  • Something to do with emotions - an emotional response
  • A physical manifestation of our emotions.
  • A notion about something.
  • A bodily reaction representing our immediate response to a situation - a gut instinct.

Dictionary definitions of a feeling include:

  • “An emotional state or reaction.”
  • “A strong emotion” – like ‘I love you’
  • “An idea or belief, especially a vague or irrational one.” E.g. ‘He had a feeling he was being watched.’

That’s what feelings are but what’s the point of feelings? Why do we have them?

Feelings have a purpose

First thing to recognise is that feelings do have a purpose. They are like a bodily alarm system, alerting us to dangers and opportunities in life.

We can respond to feelings in different ways:

  1. We can choose to act on our feelings,
  2. We can choose to observe them
  3. We can choose to ignore them

But to ignore them disregards a powerful tool in the changeability armoury. To discount our feelings removes some of the meaning from life, as feelings are powerful indicators of our bodily and mental emotions. Taken to extremes, totally repressing our feelings can lead to mental and physical problems.

Feeling skills

Being aware of our feelings, and how we respond or choose to express them, is a skill. A skill we’re not normally taught. But one we think can be taught and learnt, (we would say that wouldn’t we), and developed into a useful tool.

We all have instances when we haven’t dealt with our feelings in a helpful way.

  • It might be the way you deal with traffic jams (Kathryn!)
  • Or how you react when someone cuts you up on the road – is it with feelings of road rage or do you just shrug it off.
  • Someone says something unkind or insensitive and we respond with feelings of hurt, or lash out and retaliate badly.

One of the keys to developing the feeling skill is summed up in the phrase:

“You can’t choose how you feel, but you
can choose how you respond to how you feel.”

Recognising and owning your feelings

The first step is to recognise you’re having the feeling in the first place.

This involves getting in the habit of tuning in to what you are feeling and taking ownership of those feelings.

You can find clues in your speech.

‘I’ not ‘you’

We often express our own feelings by using the ‘you’ word. We might tell a friend,

“You know, you feel really upset when someone doesn’t listen to you properly.”

When what we actually mean is,

“I feel really upset when I’m not listened to properly.”

Such phrases appear like general statements but are really statements about the way we think and feel or the way we believe others should think.

Substitute ‘I’ to make it a statement of your feeling and you

  • Speak for yourself, not others, and take ownership of that feeling.
  • Make a connection with how you really feel – you recognise the feeling.
  • Don’t make generalisations based on what you think you should feel.

Mindfulness and feelings

Mindfulness can help us recognise and own our feelings.

“Mindfulness is the awareness, that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

One popular mindfulness meditation technique is the body scan, where you pay attention to sensations in your body as in your mind you progressively scan your body from the tip of your toes to the top of your head, becoming aware of the sensations in your body but without attaching labels to them.

You can use a similar process for recognising your feelings.

Bring your awareness to your breathing to make a connection with your body. Your body is where your feelings connect, it acts as a channel for your feelings and reflects them.

If you listen to episode 66 of the Changeability we talk you through this but if you want try it for yourself now start with a couple of breaths in and out and begin to observe your body.

What is your body telling you about your feeling right now?

Using the ‘I’ word say to yourself: “Right now, I am feeling …    

You might have said tired, angry, irritated, annoyed, hungry, sleepy, alert, bored, energised – sad – or a completely different feeling of your own.

Typology of feelings

There is a huge range of words to express our feelings but broadly speaking they come under three wide categories of feeling:

  1. Physical feelings: These mostly relate to your body, e.g. thirsty, hungry, tired, warm, cold, etc.
  1. Emotions: These are the root of your feelings, covered by four basic categories of joy, anger, fear and sadness. Emotions can relate to both your body and state of mind.

How do you feel when you watch a really good horror movie? Perhaps a sense of fear, but one related to your body exhibiting characteristics like feeling on edge or a fast beating heart and heightened sense of awareness. After all eliciting feelings is a key driver of a film.

“A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” Stanley Kubrick

  1. State of mind: These are more to do with your attitude towards the thing you’re thinking about. These are often more complex attitudes towards a situation, that give your life a higher purpose, such as a sense of fulfilment, motivation, inspiration, purpose and also a sense of the morality of a situation, e.g. a feeling of guilt, shame or responsibility.

Quantifying your feelings

Once you’ve identified, recognised and owned your feelings you can take it a step further by quantifying the strength of feeling using a simple process like red (for very strong) amber, green – or assign a number from 1-10.

Remember to focus on the whole range of feelings, not just the more negative ones we’re sometimes more aware of but also feeling happy, joyful, thankful, excited, exhilarated.

Episode 66 The Changeability Podcast

Listen to the episode 66 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talking about all of this and more and join us next week to explore what we do next in ‘dealing with feeling’.

Say hello

We have a new feature this week here at – voice mails! Yes you can very easily send us a spoken message – for free – and we’d love to hear from you.

Why not humour us by trying it out and letting us know who you are, where you live, and something you like about listening to the Changeability Podcast or the website – go on, we’re waiting for your call!

Direct download: CA066.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:18pm UTC

“I really want to help people to be the best expression of who they’re made to be. And often I think we need people to call that out of us” ― Luke Strickland

Our guest this week is Luke Strickland of The Potting Shed Podcast who joined us in the studio to help us with exploring creativity.

About Luke Strickland

Writer, thinker and dreamer Luke Strickland, is the host of the The Potting Shed Podcast, an eclectic exploration of a variety of topics helping you to be the person you’re created to be. His warm, engaging style is like a chat with a supportive friend.

In the best Potting Shed traditions, it is nurturing - nurturing and guiding with honesty and humour as he shares his struggles and successes along life’s way.

Join us as he talks about exploring creativity in his life and how you can do the same in yours.

Episode 65 of the Changeability Podcast

In this week’s episode, we explore:

  • Why Luke named his podcast ‘The Potting Shed Podcast’ and what he gets up to in it
  • How to make space for your dreams
  • Releasing personal creativity and freeing ourselves from constraints preventing us achieving our full potential
  • How to think bigger
  • How we are all ‘works of art’ called upon to make a masterpiece of our lives
  • How are weaknesses are our strengths
  • How Luke uses metaphors to structure stories to illustrate life
  • How to find the best expression of who you’re meant to be
  • How life is about leaving behind the things you are not
  • How we are all unique individuals
  • Being authentic and why it’s ok to be a ‘work in progress’
  • The dangers of perfectionism
  • How to see yourself in a different light – and Luke’s Damascus Road moment!
  • The value of accountability
  • Immersion song-writing and how to write 20 songs in a day!
  • The value of momentum
  • Ways to find your own creativity
  • The value of a community in exploring your creativity
  • Playfulness and creativity
  • Exploring different senses to open up your creative juices
  • The value of collaboration and community
  • And more

If you like what you’ve heard please leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

If you’re wanting to make changes in your life or business we invite you to sign up for our Changeability Starter Kit - a free video course delivered to your inbox - and start getting clear about what you want.

Thank you for reading and listening and we look forward to being with you again next week.



Direct download: CA065.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:30am UTC

“Life has its ups and downs. When you are up, enjoy the scenery. When you are down, touch the soul of your being and feel the beauty.” ― Debasish Mridha

This week we’re talking about the ups and downs of life and how we react and deal or cope with them.

True to say partly spurred on by the week we’ve just had.

It’s included the normal ups and downs of everyday life but on top of that there’s been some heightened ups and downs.

In today’s episode (64) of the Changeability Podcast we share a couple of major events that happened to us this week and use them to think about the highs and lows, ups and downs of life generally, together with suggestions of things we can do to help us cope with them.

“The unpredictability of life sucks. One minute you’re riding high with the wind whipping through your hair and the next minute you’re flat on your ass with a face full of gravel.”  Alison G. Bailey

Life is full of ups and downs

It might sound obvious but ups and downs of life are just part of life.

However calm and stable someone’s life appears, a closer look will reveal ups and downs. We all have them because they’re part of the human experience – a condition of our humanity. Whether of our own making or down to circumstances outside our control.

This week we’ve experienced both.

From down to up

Kathryn had the pleasure of giving a presentation to 150 Shell employees at a conference at Canary Wharf, London. Talking about how to thrive in times of change, it was a privilege to share the agenda with Baroness Susan Greenfield and VPs from Shell, Microsoft and Cisco.

The whole experience went from a down point of being outside the comfort zone and a fear of uncertainty prior to the conference, to the up of meeting fantastic people, delivering an adrenaline fuelled performance and accompanying sense of accomplishment, boosted by lovely feedback.


“There would be no cloud-nine days without rock-bottom moments left below.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich

From up to down

Following the conference Kathryn returned home from London to the news that Julian’s father had taken a turn for the worse, and he sadly died a few days later.

The death of a loved one is the ultimate downer or low point, but is still a bittersweet experience. A mixture of ups and downs even within the low points.

A slight sense of relief for the release but shock at the dawning realisation of the finality of the situation.

Thankfulness and gratitude for the relationship and the memories you find yourself talking about together in the time spent preparing for the rituals and ceremonies accompanying this time.

“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It's a journey of discovery - there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair”. Rick Warren

That’s been our experience this week which got us thinking about some of the ways to help cope with the ups and downs of life. Here’s 20 of them.

20 ways to deal with the ups and downs of life

Life is not linear; you have ups and downs. It's how you deal with the troughs that defines you”. Michael Lee-Chin

  1. Acknowledge that life has ups and downs and it’s a normal part of the human experience.
  2. Enjoy the ups and celebrate the wins. Make the most of them because although we know they don’t last, that’s part of their beauty.
  3. You cannot have the ups without the downs or the highs without the lows. They can’t exist in isolation because there would be nothing to compare them with. It would be a bland sameness with no curves.
    The highs are great but let’s think about the opposite, because these are of course by their very nature more difficult.
  4. Accept there will be downs, rather than fighting them or asking “why me”. It helps maintain perspective, depersonalises a situation, and makes it easier to accept.
  5. Look for the positives.
  6. The down times help us grow, become more rounded as individuals and develop empathy for others who’ve been through similar experiences, e.g. grief or illness.
  7. Use the lows to gain a greater understanding and knowledge of yourself and others.
  8. Look for the lessons challenging time teach us and use them to help change. The ups and downs can be times of transformation, even though you often only see it as you look back and join up the dots.
  9. Use the experience to make you more resilient. You’ve been there before and have survived and can do it again. Resilience is this thing that helps you bounce back and the more resilient you are the quicker you bounce.
  10. Focus on the good, even in the downtimes – look for the opportunity that might be lurking there amongst the challenges.
  11. Remember the good times because you’ve been there before and will be there again, even though you’re not feeling it now and don’t know how you will again in the future. But you will at some point, even if life is never quite the same. It might be different but there will be ups.
  12. Focus on what you appreciate now. It might be regarding something in the past but you’re thankful for it now.
  13. Turn your attention on the now. Don’t worry about an unknown future, because when we experience the lows of life we’re often fearful of what might happen in the future.
  14. Practice mindfulness. Don’t fight what’s happening but give it your attention and let it be.
  15. Allow yourself to feel, but without judgement.
  16. Just go with it – accept what you can’t change and change what you can.
  17. Be forgiving of yourself, the past and others. Forgiveness is a release.
  18. Look after yourself. Be kind to yourself not hard on yourself.
  19. Give yourself time and space.
  20. Finally remember that everything passes in time.

“The sun will set and the sun will rise, and it will shine upon us tomorrow in our grief and our gratitude, and we will continue to live with purpose, memory, passion, and love.” Brent Schlender

Episode 64 of the Changeability Podcast

You can hear us talking about all of this and more on episode 64 of the Changeability Podcast.

If you like what you’ve heard please leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

If you’re wanting to make changes in your life or business we invite you to sign up for our Changeability Starter Kit - a free video course delivered to your inbox - and start getting clear about what you want.

Thank you for reading and listening and we look forward to being with you again next week. 




Direct download: CA064.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:37pm UTC

If you ever wondered how to start and finish anything in life, then you can’t help but be inspired by Tom Boother’s story.

“Become the thing, complete the challenge!” Tom Boother

Tom Boother studied politics at the University of Leicester. And on graduating he did what all graduates do and sought to become a racing driver. Unfortunately, however, racing driving did not seek him and he was unsuccessful in securing the necessary funds to race at the level he wanted.

So he returned to college to study Law, at the College of Law in London. It was whilst here, and with no athletic ability that Tom literally stumbled into the bizarre world of Ultra running.

Ultra Running is an extreme form of running where runners typically cover large distances over rugged and challenging terrains.

What’s a large distance, we hear you cry? Well, the official definition is anything over a marathon, though in reality the distances are considerably longer and the ground significantly rougher!

Using the metaphor of Ultra Running, Tom now speaks on how to start and finish anything - including big challenges and projects in life and business. It’s a unique slant and his stories though sometimes literally bloody provide valuable insights and illuminate how we can start big challenges, become the person who is capable of completing them and embrace the pain necessary to complete them.

“We’re always on a journey and that journey is what we want it to be. Running summarises that (journey), rather nicely.” Tom Boother

And it’s this starting and finishing which is so intriguing. Why do some people achieve what looks to others as impossible? And do we need challenges in life for fulfilment.

At the heart of it all, Tom outlines three key components needed to complete big challenges and in this order:

  1. Do it – To do something worthwhile in our lives we need to actually do it. To experience it first hand and discover if we actually like it. The like part, Tom would say, is critical because through liking it – some might say, having a passion for it – we are more likely to see it through and complete it.
  2. Become it – In the second phase, we transition from doing something to becoming something. Tom talks on how he became a runner in other people’s eyes and more critically his own, though this could equally apply to other disciplines – becoming a pianist, for example, or a social media marketing expert.
  3. Write a plan – Perhaps untypically, in our corporate worlds of business planning, this is the final stage. With the experience gained, write your plan, based on the pain or cost required to complete the task.

Business typically spend a huge amount of time writing plans and setting corporate and employee targets. Tom’s refreshing relook, emphasises the need to get in there and do it, exploring the overall importance of doing tasks to ascertain if we like them, perhaps prototyping them and learning what is needed to succeed prior to then formalising this in a plan of action.

“I look at the plan in terms of pain, which can easily be transferred to cost.” Tom Boother

Fascinating stuff.

Episosode 63 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear about all of this in episode 63 of the Changebility Podcast and discover:

  • Gory tales from running long distances
  • How running illuminates life
  • Becoming by doing
  • Winning the inner game
  • Rewards in achieving
  • How to overcome boundaries and reach for stretching goals in your life
  • The effects of sleep deprivation
  • When to quit
  • And if you have the capability of doing anything in your life


  • When not to go to hospital
  • Jelly babies or Marshmallows?
  • The film and book character that Tom is sometimes likened to
  • If Tom can run the equivalent of up and down Everest
  • Details of Tom’s craziest challenge yet
  • And more. It’s a cracker of an episode.

Links mentioned on today’s show:

What’s next for you?

If you’ve been inspired by Tom’s story let’s us know in the comments below. What lessons have you learnt? We’d love to know.



Direct download: CA063.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:01am UTC

Following on from their recent success of winning best self-help podcast at the UK Podcasters Awards ceremony 2015, Kathryn and Julian were invited to the BBC to take part as guests on Lesley Dolphin’s afternoon radio show.

‘On the Sofa with Lesley Dolphin’ – is a BBC Radio Suffolk feature interviewing local people about their lives and successes.

So with the tables turned and the spotlight glare firmly on Kathryn and Julian, we sat down for a warm-hearted discussion and interview about Changeability, winning an award and life – ‘On the sofa with Kathryn Bryant and Julian Illman’

Episode 62 of the Changeability Podcast

On today’s podcast discover:

  • Behind the scenes at Brilliant Living HQ and the Changeability Podcast
  • How the show came into being
  • The motivation behind starting an award winning podcast
  • Life lessons learnt from podcasting
  • If mindfulness is just a trend
  • How Changeability is not just about the big changes in life
  • Tales from Kathryn and Julian’s youth
  • Royal connections and a tantalising secret past
  • Life before Brilliant Living HQ
  • Details of Kathryn’s new podcast show – Podcast Divas
  • And if there really is a sofa at the BBC

Links mentioned on today’s show:

What’s next for you?

As always, thanks for listening to the Changeability podcast. We would love it if you could take a moment to leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher of our show – we read them all and it might be yours we feature on our next show.

Alternatively if you’ve learnt something new about us, we’d love to read your comments below. Bye for now.


Direct download: CA062.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:44pm UTC

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” 

Dalai Lama XIV

According to neuroscientist and psychologists, one of the significant aspects happiness is it can be a learned response because the characteristics of happiness exhibit plasticity.

Yes, this means we can take specific actions to make us feel happier. And when we when we practice or repeat them they build up into a habit.

You know this from your own family, friends and colleagues that some people seem naturally happier than others, but this doesn’t mean your happiness level is a pre-determined given. Because what we’re talking about here means that we can develop and build up a happiness habit over time.

Another key finding is happiness is the sum of lots of small actions and happenings rather than one big event. So it’s better for our happiness level to do lots of daily little things like kissing your loved one, enjoying a laugh, or eating something you like, rather than one big thing.

All of which is brilliant news for brilliant living because we can do something about it.

Following on from last week’s article and episode 60 of the Changeability Podcast, 10 ways to be happy here are 10 more ways to be happier.

1. Appreciation

Every night before you go to bed write down three things you appreciate in your life in an appreciation, gratitude or thankfulness notebook - Big or small things about your day, about you and others or the world.

Date it and think about them as you go to sleep – and finish your day in the most positive of mind-sets.  

2.Step out into nature

Get out into nature and daylight.

Immersing our senses in the natural environment stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine, which makes us feel happier by heightening our mood and gives us a dose of vitamin D.

This also gives you a fractal hit. Fractals are naturally occurring patterns that are pleasing to us – and nature is full of them everywhere you look. You might not be aware of it but subconsciously you love them and nature is the the place to soak them up.

3.Stay curious

Be interested – whatever your age and circumstance.

Don’t you think that the most interesting people are those who are interested in others and the world?

They take a wide view – not small or narrow minded but always wanting to know about people and the world.

It’s easy to get in a rut with work, where we live, the people we know, and what we do for fun. Travel and holidays are great for experiencing new things and meeting new people, but we don’t need to travel to do this.

Staying curious is the opposite of being cynical and small-minded – it’s being interested and big-minded. Learning something new, which boosts our self-esteem, gives us a sense of accomplishment and leads to us feeing happier.

4. Give up complaining

This is a real challenge - give up complaining – about anything.

Try it starting today and see how long you can last.

It probably wont be long. Because like so many things we do, think and say - complaining is a habit and breaking this habit will make you happier.

Every time you're tempted to say something negative, notice it, stop and don’t say anything at all, or find another way to frame what you want to say in a positive light. We didn’t say it would be easy (we’re still working on this big time) but even being aware and reducing it will decrease negativity.

5. Be purposeful – have purpose

This is about intention and purpose - and having some!

Think about the things that give you purpose in life, these are motivation behind what you do.

It could be something significant like how you want to live or achieve this year, month, week and why.

It’s not necessarily about one overriding purpose – but finding the purpose in the multiple ways we spend our time.

We can find purpose in almost anything we do.

“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”  L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

6. Find your strengths and values

Find and focus on using your strengths and values. The research of positive psychologists like Martin Seligman show the happiest people recognise and use their character strengths and virtues.

Character strengths include things like persistence, hope, critical thinking, zest, gratitude and virtues like humanity or justice.

What are yours? Think about when achieved something you’re proud of – what personal qualities allowed you to accomplish it.

You can measure your strengths through questionnaires. The University of Pennsylvania’s VIA survey of character strengths will determine your top 3 signature strengths. It’s free but you need to register.

We value our relationships, job, and interests more when they’re in alignment with our personal strengths and virtues.

Research shows that one of the best ways to boost long-term happiness is to use our strengths in new ways and situations, stretching ourselves a little (but not too much) rather than focusing on our weaknesses.

7. Take control and change what you don’t like

This is a big one, and ties in with purpose and intention, and living to your strengths and in alignment. Because if your life is full of things you want to change then it makes it tougher to live in alignment and be happy.

This doesn’t mean we want perfect lives – we’re not going to get that. But there may be certain things that you really don’t like about your life, or you want to improve or have more of – if that’s the case, and it’s something that can be changed, then you need to change it.

If you want to change what you don’t like to what you do like, you can start today with our Changeability Starter Kit. This free mini-course of 7 videos, mind work and practical actions, helps you kick-start change and make the fist crucial steps towards the changed life you want.

One of the big benefits of getting the Changeability Starter Kit or making the decision to change is you start to take action and control.

A sense of control over the parts of our lives we can have control over is an essential ingredient for happiness.

This is self-efficacy, feeling that what you do makes a difference – that you are at the centre of your actions rather than things happening to you.

8. Be Social – Relationships

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” George Burns

This funny quote is not necessarily true because our relationships and being social might be the most important ingredient of all when it comes to happiness.

When asked about the causes of happiness in an Harvard Business Review interview, the Harvard Psychology professor Daniel Gilbert said if he “had to summarize all the scientific literature on the causes of human happiness in one word, that word would be “social…If I wanted to predict your happiness, and I could know only one thing about you, I wouldn’t want to know your gender, religion, health, or income. I’d want to know about your social network—about your friends and family and the strength of your bonds with them.”

Find ways to nurture the love, friendships and relationships in your life – we all take them for granted at times but relationships really are the most important thing in our lives.

9. Find your spirituality

There seems to be a link between religion or spirituality and happiness.

Psychologists think that religion and spirituality may make us happier for several reasons.

The social aspect and support of being part of a community of like-minded people.

A belief in something bigger than ourselves can give people a sense of hope and meaning to life and provide solace, support and resilience in times of trouble.

The link between spiritual practices like prayer and the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, like a reduction in stress and anxiety and increase in calmness and positive thinking.

This is one of the key findings in the book by neuroscientist Andre Newberg and therapist Mark Waldman called ‘How God Changes Your Brain’

But you don’t have to be involved with organised religion to benefit from this. It’s about finding a way to connect with your spiritual side and make time for sacred moments.

10. Laugh and smile

Smile and laugh a lot – every day.

Even when you don’t feel like it – it will still do you good and make you happier.

Try it now – make a great big smile.

If you’ve ever heard ‘The Laughing Policemen’ you’ll know that laughter is contagious, but it’s also good for us.

“Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.” Norman Cousins

According to the Mayo clinic in - Stress relief from laughter – it’s no joke – laughter is not a cure-all but does have a positive effect on us mentally and physically.

When we laugh we take in more oxygen-rich air, our heart, lungs and muscles are stimulated and endorphins released by our brain. Our stress response is activated and relieved and our heart rate and blood pressure increased all of which makes us feel more relaxed.

There may also be longer term benefits to our immune system and improvements in our mood.

Best of all, laughter is fun, free, and easy to use. So smile more and find things to make you laugh.

If you remember nothing else from this, keep in mind this final thought - If you think you’re happy – you are!

Episode 61 of the Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 61 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talk about all of this and much more – including Julian’s impersonation of the Laughing Policeman and keep listening for the real thing!

What to do next?

  1. Sign up for the free Changeability Starter Kit video course if you’re looking to take control of your life and change what you don’t like to what you do like, and be happy along the way.
  2. Subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes

Links mentioned in episode 61

Direct download: CA061.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:08pm UTC

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters.”  Audrey Hepburn

The amazing thing about happiness is it’s a skill we can learn and practice and make into a habit. 


As mentioned in What is happiness and the Neuroscience Behind It, four of the key characteristics of happiness exhibit plasticity, which means we can do something about it, we can grow and develop more happiness.

"Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design."  Jim Rohn

There’s nothing lucky about being happy. Happiness isn’t down to our circumstances, luck, money, career, success, talent, education, weight, looks or age.

The good news is there are simple actions we can take to make us happier.  It turns out that simple actions are exactly what it takes to be happier, because the fascinating thing about happiness according to psychologist Ed Diener is that the frequency of positive experiences is more important for your happiness than their intensity. This means we’re more likely to be happier if we have lots of rather nice small things happen in a day rather than one amazing thing.

In other words as Daniel Gilbert, author of the 2006 best seller, Stumbling on Happiness noted in an interview for the Harvard Business Review,

So wear comfortable shoes, give your wife a big kiss, sneak a french fry. It sounds like small stuff, and it is. But the small stuff matters.”

Here are our first 10 ways to be happy. This is the small stuff, the actions we can do everyday to make us happier and hone our happiness habit.  

Most of them don’t take long, and are free. 

1. Choose happiness

Make the decision to be happy.

Say out loud  ‘I choose happiness’.   It sounds ridiculously simple and it is – but ultimately being happy is a personal choice. 

Being happy is about attitude and the approach we take.  Happiness is a skill we can learn and a habit we can foster, and it all starts with the decision to be happy.

2. Look up

It doesn’t need to be complicated.  Here’s one of the simplest quickest ways to feel happier.

Go outside and look up at the sky.  Stand up straight, put your shoulders down. Take in the vastness of the sky and know that you are an integral part of this amazing universe.

3. Be kind and spread the love

Say or do something nice for someone today.  It will make you both feel good and especially you. 

If you want to feel good – do good!

It’s not just about money, it could be giving time or skills, or just helping someone out with a random act of kindness.

Even a kind word or smile can make a difference to someone’s day.

Try going around smiling at people – it does make you feel good.

4. Move it

Get moving - dance, walk, jump, run, skip, swim, gym – however you choose to do it, get some exercise and release your happy hormones.

Research into the link between depression and exercise shows exercise improves our mood and makes us feel happier.

5. Be positive

Think positive thoughts and experience positive emotions.

Positive emotions help us become more perceptive and open to the world, and flexible and creative in our thinking. Which in turn helps us be happier.

Thinking positive thoughts means being aware of your thoughts and the self-talk when it veers into the negative and replacing them with more positive empowering thoughts. One great way of doing this is through affirmations.


6. Cultivate optimism

Is your glass half full or half empty? It might be a cliché but it nicely demonstrates the different way in which optimistic and the opposite of optimistic – pessimistic, people view the world.  The same events and circumstances elicit very different responses based on our attitude.

It sort of stands to reason that optimistic people are happier because they’re not looking for the negative in a situation or others. But there is research to show optimism has other benefits as it’s linked to life longevity and other health benefits like improvements to your immune system and being better able to cope with illness with quicker recovery.

7.  Look after yourself

The body and mind intimately connected. One influences the other so it’s not just about looking after your mind, happiness is about your relationship with your body.

Boost your energy, enhance your mood and optimise brain function through eating healthy food (most of the time), drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep. 

8 hours often cited as optimal but it varies a lot person to person – something we need to work on!

But fact is that it’s harder to be happy if you’re tired, hungry and dehydrated.

8. Be mindful of the present moment

Be  mindful of the present moment and notice what’s going on around you.  Stop and look and make an effort to do it rather than rushing around not seeing what’s around us. Be mindful about what you’re doing like how you eat or how you interact with the important people in your life.

Try Mindfulness Meditation – being intentionally and non-critically aware of the present moment. Sit quietly with closed eyes. Focus on your breath and don’t ponder the past or future but experience the present moment – on purpose and without judgement.  Just ‘be’ for a few minutes.

Find out more with our Beginners Guide to Mindfulness Meditation.

9. Get in the flow

Alternatively do something that concentrates your attention on the here and now in a way that gets you in the flow. 

This is that state of being when you can get lost in or caught up with something you’re doing.  You become so completely immersed in what you’re doing that you lose track of time. You suddenly realise an hour has passed.

It might be a physical or mental activity like singing, practicing an instrument, being creative, playing a sport or dancing.

It’s when you become totally absorbed in concentrating of something.

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that flow is highly correlated with happiness.

10. Do something new

Do something fun, try a new experience, take new opportunities, try a new sport, interest or hobby. Do at least one of these every day to feel more alive, keep your plasticity going and make you feel good.

Episode 60 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear us talk about all of this and more in episode 60 of the Changeability Podcast including:

  • Why we’re feeling happy this week – hint – something to do with winning an award and launching a new podcast
  • Where todays show fits with our happiness mini-series
  • Why plasticity is important for our happiness
  • 10 ways to be happier


What to do next?

  1. Share your happiness tips in the comments below.
  2. Join us next week for 10 more actions and tips on how to be
  3. Subscribe to the Changeability Podcast on iTunes so you never miss an episode and have access to all the episodes including the first 10, which you don’t see in iTunes now.




Direct download: CA060.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:52pm UTC

‘Being happy is something you have to learn. I often surprise myself by saying “Wow, this is it. I guess I’m happy. I got a home I love. A career that I love. I’m even feeling more and more at peace with myself.” If there’s something else to happiness, let me know. I’m ambitious for that, too.’ Harrison Ford

How happy are you?  This begs the question – how do you know how happy you are?

Is it something you can measure?

Is it something we should measure – and at what level can we measure it or could we measure it, if it’s possible.

At an individual level or what about something bigger, like a county or state level or even a national level.

How do you know how happy you are?

That’s a bit of tricky question isn’t it?

Because we don’t really go around measuring how happy we are - do we?

We sort of know it don’t we, that’s even if we stop and think about it which we don’t do most of the time.  We just get on with going about our lives until something notable, good or bad happens, or maybe we plan something so we’re looking forward to it and thinking about it makes us feel happy.

Happiness is something we have a feeling for.

Websters describes it as a "a state of well-being and contentment."

We all know the physical effects of happiness; like smiling and laughing. And there’s also physiological reactions when we’re happy, like increased activity in the brain's left prefrontal lobe and decreased amounts of the stress hormone cortisol in our bloodstream.

We often think about happiness in terms of the negative or in retrospect.

We realise when we’re not feeling happy. Something happens to make us sad and we look back and think that we were happy then, even if we didn’t necessarily think about it at the time.

How happy we feel can frequently change depending on the context. As we talked about in episode 56 on ‘What is Happiness?’, this is reflected by the different types of happiness. The short lived experiential happiness of doing things that make us happy and the longer term underlying sense of wellbeing.

So you could have a different answer for ‘am I feeling happy today’ to ‘am I happy with my life’. 

If we stop and think about it, we sort of know if we’re happy in the moment or not, or with our overall sense of wellbeing – but is there a way to measure happiness for ourselves and wider communities?

How to measure happiness

It turns out there are lots of ways to measure happiness and quite a lot of psychologists are doing it.

In an interview with the Harvard Business Review Harvard, psychology professor Daniel Gilbert said: 

“It’s only recently that we realized we could marry one of our oldest questions - “What is the nature of human happiness?” - to our newest way of getting answers: science. Until just a few decades ago, the problem of happiness was mainly in the hands of philosophers and poets.

Psychologists have always been interested in emotion, but in the past two decades the study of emotion has exploded, and one of the emotions that psychologists have studied most intensively is happiness. Recently economists and neuroscientists joined the party. All these disciplines have distinct but intersecting interests: Psychologists want to understand what people feel, economists want to know what people value, and neuroscientists want to know how people’s brains respond to rewards. Having three separate disciplines all interested in a single topic has put that topic on the scientific map.”

Measuring happiness is mostly done through happiness surveys where people are asked to rate their satisfaction with aspects of their lives. For example, one of the most critical questions asked in the World Values Survey is:

"Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy or not at all happy?" [source: World Values Survey]

This enables comparisons between sections of the population and internationally such as the sophisticated broad ranging survey measuring subjective well being carried out by the OECD, the Better Life Initiative. The OECD survey acknowledges there’s more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics. So they created an index which lets you compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics they identified as essential in material living conditions and quality of life.

More than 60,000 users of the Better Life Index around the world have shared their views on what makes for a better life and you can share your own index on what makes for a better life and see how you score on it.

In the UK the ONS Office for National Statistics has developed new measures of national well-being, to provide a fuller picture of how society is doing by supplementing existing economic, social and environmental measures. Measuring National Well-Being: Life in the UK March 2015 and another one on International Comparisons, provide a snapshot of life in the UK today across the 10 domains of national well-being. It’s the third annual summary to be delivered by the Measuring National Well-being programme.

The tiny country of Bhutan is a champion of measuring national progress not only through gross domestic product, as economists do, but through tracking Gross National Happiness. The Bhutanese government has been surveying it’s citizens since 1971 on their psychological well-being, health, education, living standards and time use. They also track cultural diversity, cultural resilience, quality of governance and community vitality as well as ecological diversity and resilience.As well as asking people about their happiness in the moment and overall life satisfaction, some psychologists have found more creative ways to measure happiness, including monitoring social media for happy tweets, Facebook feelings and Instagram grins.

How can you measure your own happiness?

If you want to measure your own happiness you can take the numerous multiple choice quizzes available online. They will help you think about where you are across different criteria.

Or you can do that with our chart your life exercise, which you will receive if you join our Changeability Starter Kit. This gives you a quick snap shot of where you are now, and is a good place to start.  You can then measure yourself on these scales in a few months time if you want to see if things have changed.

Or if you want a quick multiple choice quiz there’s one on the TIME website. 

With the 4 key questions that Edward Diener devised for the Satisfaction With Life Scale in 1980 and has been used as the basis for many studies since.  You score yourself on a scale of 1-7 for each orf these statements:

  1. In most ways my life is close to ideal
  2. The conditions of my life are excellent
  3. I am satisfied with my life
  4. If I could live my life over I would change almost nothing


Although it’s quick, convenient and interesting to ask yourself these questions, it doesn’t really go anywhere after that.

So the best way to measure your happiness is to keep a happiness journal where you record how you feel throughout the day. The emotions you experience at different times. Or you can do an overall summary at the end of the day, but isn’t quite so robust as our feelings and emotions change considerably throughout the day.

And that’s the challenge of doing these online quizzes they are literally a snap shot of how you feel in that moment.  What you’re after is a more in-depth realistic assessment, if you’re serious about it, by recording your emotions over at least a week.

Episode 59 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear us talk about all of this and more in this week’s episode of the Changeability Podcast – on iTunes, Stitcher and TuneIn or the player at the top of this post.

Choose happiness and make it happen

So what about you? Do you describe yourself as very happy? Comment below.

If not do you want to do something about it?  Listen next week for our tips, actions and techniques on how to be happier. 


Thank you

Thanks for reading or listening – and if you want to help us out please subscribe to the Changeability Podcast on iTunes and leave us a rating and review – it would be much appreciated.


Direct download: CA059.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

Here at we love thinking and talking about how our thoughts impact our lives.  How what we think makes a difference to what we do, which is where the concept of mind management comes in.

When we realise we don’t have to be defined and confined by the way we think, because they’re just thoughts and we are more than our thoughts, we can do something about it to make changes and get the life we want.

We call it managing your mind. Our guest for today, Rob Cubbon, calls it ‘freeing your thoughts’ and he’s done just that. So we just had to talk to him and now bring you the conversation in this week’s episode of the Changeability Podcast

Rob Cubbon is an Amazon bestselling author, online teacher, graphic designer, digital nomad and all-round good guy! Rob helps and inspires people to build sustainable online businesses, earn passive income and experience greater freedom and happiness in their lives. 

“We are all born free. We are all freer than we think we are. But sometimes when you get up for work in the morning, freedom seems like a privilege reserved for the rich and famous…It isn’t.” Rob Cubbon

Rob’s also the author of ‘Free your Thoughts: How I Re-programmed Myself For Happiness And How You Can Too’, his latest Amazon bestseller about the mindset shift he enjoyed which enabled him to sort out his life and start his own business, find his own calling and happiness. 

“If there’s one thing I want you to know, it’s this: you can do it. What was at the beginning of the mindset shift that saved me? The belief that I could improve my life by my own efforts and my own efforts alone.” Rob Cubbon

Episode 58 The Changeability Podcast

In episode 58 of the Changeability Podcast Rob talks about how he did this, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly, including:

  • What Rob was up to in Crouch End, London in 2003
  • Why Rob thought he was unlucky
  • The turning point that started Rob on his changed path
  • What Derren Brown, a newspaper article and Buddhist monks taught him
  • How he made the shift from his old beliefs to a new belief system
  • Rob’s favourite technique for freeing your thoughts
  • How Rob gave up smoking almost overnight
  • How to overcome negative self-talk
  • Rob’s favourite affirmations
  • Where you stop and the world starts
  • What life is like for Rob nowadays
  • How you can do it - start to free your thoughts and re-program yourself for happiness

“Mindset is more important than technical ability, more important than people skills, and more important than any other capability you may have or may gain in the future.” Rob Cubbon


  • Rob’s book: Free Your Thoughts: How I Re-programmed Myself For Happiness And How You Can Too
  • Rob’s website:
  • Affirmations

If you enjoyed this interview please send Rob a tweet to let him know at @RobCubbon 

Direct download: CA058.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

When have you been at your happiest?  Do our happiness levels change throughout our life? Does happiness depend on your age?

This week we’re talking about the link between happiness and age and thinking about how happy we are at different stages of our live, does it change and what does it mean for us.

When have you been at your happiest?

When you look back are there times when you felt really happy?

Was it your childhood, first love, student days, staring out with your career or family, or maybe getting a big promotion.

We tend to look back at happier times, which might make us think we were happier when we were younger, and our carefree school days or at least the long summer school holidays were a time of happiness.

We didn’t have to worry about paying the mortgage or bills but there were probably other insecurities, maybe a worry about what others thought and wanting to fit in, not to mention the pressure of homework and exams.

Whilst for those who couldn’t wait to become an adult, the happy times began with leaving home and starting out on your own. 

Age as a happiness factor

Although individual circumstances vary, according to research our happiness levels change throughout our lives, so how happy you feel could also be influenced by your age.

According to a study by Dr Hannes Schwandt of Princeton University for the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, we’re happiest at 23 and 69, and unhappiest in our mid 50s.

Our happiness levels are U shaped throughout our life.

The optimism of youth and looking forward to future achievement accounts for a peak of happiness at 23. But the other happiest age of 69 is more surprising.

Life is exciting in our twenties and thirties, getting on at work, maybe meeting a partner and starting a family.

And then you get into your 40s and 50s and the pressures started building. You’re getting higher up in your career with more responsibility, or re-entering the workforce after having a family. Your children are getting older, bringing different pressures to bear on you from one end, whilst aging parents present another dimension of worry and potential stress. You’re caught somewhere in the middle.

The LSE study was based on a study of a panel 132,609 life satisfaction expectations matched with subsequent realisations. And one of the striking things about their findings is that there was little variance between socio economic or culturally diverse groups or genders.

And this U shaped pattern of happiness over the life span (high during youth and old age, low during midlife) has been observed in other studies also. It seems to hold around the world and has been documented in more than 70 countries, in surveys of more than 500,000 people in both developing and developed countries, according to a paper by David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswold of Warwick University,Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?

The researchers in the LSC paper measured people’s expected life satisfaction and actual life satisfaction, and it basically showed that we aren’t very good at estimating how happy we will be in the future.

Why? Because we all tend to overestimate the likelihood of positive events and underestimate the likelihood of negative events. This is the optimism bias. So e.g. we tend to expect to be healthy in spite of an unhealthy lifestyle.

According to neuroscientific research this ‘optimism bias’ is due to the selective processing of negative and positive information in the frontal brain and this is what which allows us to hang on to our biased expectations even when confronted with evidence to the contrary.

Basically we’re not very good at estimating how happy we’ll be as a young or older person - but there’s a difference in the reason why.

Young people tend to overestimate their future life satisfaction or future happiness while older people underestimate it. 

So as young people we expect to be happier in the future whilst we’re young but expect to be less happy as we get older. 

But this isn’t what actually happens.

One of the reasons is we overestimate the impact future changes will have on our happiness. This is because we don’t realise how quickly we adapt to life changes such as changes in income.  We think earning more money will have a bigger longer lasting effect on our life than it actually does, because we very quickly adapt to the new situation and become used to it.

At the other end of the spectrum, we anticipate a drop in income when we become elderly and we think this will have a big negative impact on our happiness levels and satisfaction with life. Once again we overestimate the impact this will have because we adapt to it quickly.

That explains the high points, but what happens in the middle at the bottom or low point of the happiness age bias U shape.

The researchers put the midlife dip in wellbeing down to unmet expectations. 

When we’re young we have high expectations but as we get into middle age we realise we’re not going to achieve everything we thought we would or wanted to, and we start to abandon our higher unmet expectations.

Then as we get older we have less expectation of doing so much and become more accepting of our situation or as the researchers say – we experience less regret. So from our late 50s wellbeing starts to increase again.

According to an article in the Huffington post – it keeps rising until we’re 85 – which is good news because it was also found that those who stay positive live 7.5 years longer.

Other reasons why people get happier as they get older are that happy people live longer and it has been found that as people age they enjoy "ordinary" experiences more.

People become more satisfied with their life through family, health, and home, and have more time and energy for hobbies and interests.

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” ― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

What does this mean for us – is there anything we can learn from this?

It means you’re fine if you’re 23 or 69 – because they’re your happiest times of life.

Of course academic studies don’t directly reflect our experience on an individual level in this way really.  But there are some general points we can take away.

Firstly to be aware of what these studies about happiness and age tell us:

  • How we over and underestimate our predicted levels of happiness and why.
  • How we can adjust our expectations and not worry so much about not meeting aspirations.
  • The merits of recognising and appreciating our everyday more ordinary experiences now. Not waiting until we’re older, but appreciating them right now as this will help to increase our happiness.
  • Our happiness levels are so much to do with perception.
  • Although there may be generalised times in our lives when we are less happy or more happy, there is nothing inevitable about it.

And finally just because it looks like 69 and thereabouts might be a high point, happiness isn’t something to wait until you’re 69 to experience.

The Changeability Podcast Episode 57

Hear us discuss all of this and more in episode 57 of the Changeability Podcast including:

  • What we’ve been doing in a film this week
  • What we learnt from an interview with top director Paul Greengrass at our local cinema
  • How failure leads to happiness
  • At what ages we’ re happiest in life according to 500,000 people
  • What is optimism bias and what does it mean for us
  • The surprising truth about old age and happiness
  • What causes the midlife dip in wellbeing
  • What we can learn now from studies of happiness to make us happier now – whatever our age


Thank you

We know there are millions of blogs and podcasts out there, so we really appreciate you being here.  If you would like to support the podcast further we would love you to:

Subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn and leave us a rating and review.


Vote for The Changeability Podcast in the UK Podcasters Awards – up to the end of August 2105

Links mentioned


Direct download: CA057.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

We all want to be happy, but what is happiness; is it a skill we can learn, and what does neuroscience have to say about it?

What is happiness?

What do you want in life? To be happy?

That’s what most of us want -but what is happiness and how do we get it?

The dictionary definition of happiness is

“feeling or showing pleasure or contentment”

But surely there’s more to happiness than a fleeting feeling.

Whilst happiness is relative as it means different things to different people depending on circumstance and interest, it would seem there are two distinct types of happiness.

Two types of happiness

There’s things that make us feel happy, the experiences of things we love doing and we want more of.

This is hedonia – pleasure and fun. It’s transitory, in the moment – it happens, it makes us feel happy, and then it’s gone and the moment’s passed.

Then there’s a more fundamental type of happiness. The sort of happiness which ideally underlies or underpins our lives.

It’s a state of being that comes with being content with yourself without relying on other people or external props.

This is wellbeing or ‘eudaimonia’ which captures the idea of living a meaningful life as first described by Aristotle.

This sort of happiness is more enduring.

Happiness and Brilliant Living

When we were thinking about the characteristics of brilliant living, we kept coming back to ideas about happiness because the characteristics of brilliant living equally apply to wellbeing and happiness.  This is what we came up with for starters:

  • Sense of control – being in charge of one’s own destiny, choosing the life you wish to lead, and taking positive action to get it.
  • Inner contentment – both within yourself and your relationships with the world.
  • Purpose – you have a clear concept in mind of what you’d like to achieve in your life which is in alignment with your personal values and how you want to live your life.
  • To love and be loved  – to love oneself and also to give and receive love in its wider form, through friends, family and the intimacy of connections.
  • Self-esteem – recognition of your own worth and a respect for others alongside a need for your own individuality.
  • Achievement  – mastery of your own talents, recognition and respect of your efforts by yourself and others.
  • Fulfilment – experiencing and fulfilling your creative potential.

The neuroscience of happiness

Is there a scientific basis for understanding what makes you happy?

There’s been a lot of scientific interest over the past 10 years into what’s going on in our brains when we experience emotions such as happiness.

Developments in neuroimaging have greatly assisted this, as scientists can monitor reactions in the brain in real time.

Richard J. Davidson and Brianna S. Schuyler in an article on The Neuroscience of Happiness highlight four constituents or elements of happiness and wellbeing.

Happiness and wellbeing levels are higher when people are better able to sustain positive emotion; recover more quickly from negative experiences; engage in empathic and altruistic acts; and express high levels of mindfulness.

  1. They looked at how long people held on to positive emotions, because studies monitoring brain functions with fMRI indicate that how long a positive response lasts indicates general levels of wellbeing and happiness.

  2. Then how quickly they recovered when really sad things happened. This is where resilience comes in, keeping a high level of wellbeing in the face of adversity. They found recovery from negative events was a good measure of wellbeing. Happy and resilient people of course experience sadness but recover more quickly.

  3. The next finding was that one of the strongest predictions of wellbeing is the quality of our social relationships. Add this to the fact that good social bonds are associated with better health and longer life expectancy, it’s fair to say social relationships are key to a happy and maybe longer and healthier life. 

    The neuroscience also highlights the importance of empathy - sharing feelings of others and compassion - feeling concern for others and a desire to improve things.

  4. Mindfulness is the final positive indicator for wellbeing.

Results of a study by Killingsworth and Gilbert where 2000 people recorded on a phone app how frequently their minds wandered and how happy or unhappy they felt at that moment, showed their minds wandered 47% of the time and they experienced significantly more unhappiness than when they were focussed on an activity – almost any activity!

Mindfulness meditation training results in a decrease in what is activated in our brains during mind wandering.

The conclusion

One of the most significant findings of the neuroscientifc evidence is these 4 constituents of wellbeing all exhibit plasticity. Which is a huge finding because it means with training and practice we can develop and transform these behaviours and ways of being.

“…data are available that indicate that some of these training regimes, even those as short as two weeks, can induce measurable changes in the brain. These findings highlight the view that happiness and well-being are best regarded as skills that can be enhanced through training.” Richard J. Davidson and Brianna S. Schuyler, The Neuroscience of Happiness

Now that is significant for all of us. We can actually increase our happiness by learning how to grow it effectively and enhance it through training.  It ultimately means happiness is a skill we can train for, practice and get more of.

Episode 56 of the Changeability Podcast

Hear us discuss all of this and more in episode 56 of the Changeability Podcast, on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or download or listen at the top of this page.

Links mentioned in episode 56

Only days left to vote for the Changeability Podcast for Best Self-Help Podcast in the UK Podcast Awards. Voting closes 31st August 2015 and we would love your support. Many thanks if you’ve already voted.

You can also support the show by subscribing to it on iTunes and leaving us a review on Stitcher, TuneIn or iTunes, this helps us greatly and we’ll read your review if you write to us and let us know you’ve left one – write to


Direct download: CA056.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:46am UTC

We all feel overwhelmed at times. Seemingly insignificant circumstances can tip us over the edge into feelings of overwhelm that on other occasions wouldn’t bother us at all.

What one person finds overwhelming, others cope with comfortably or even thrive on.

People have different thresholds and causes, but we all experience it and it’s not nice or good for us.

So what is it, what causes it and how can we go about dealing with overwhelm?


"The challenge in my life really is keeping the balance between feeling creatively energized and fulfilled without feeling overwhelmed and like I'm in the middle of a battlefield" ~ Amanda Palmer

What is overwhelm?

Overwhelm according to psychologist Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, is what happens when we’re ‘feeling completely overcome in mind or emotion…When we think a stressor is too great for us to manage, we feel overwhelmed.’


We experience it in our emotions – feeling anxiety, anger or irritability; in our thoughts as worry, helplessness and doubt and in behaviour like crying or panic.

Causes of overwhelm

The list is endless and personal to you but here are 9 common causes.

  1. Busyness – not a problem in itself but becomes overwhelming when there’s too much to in insufficient time.
  2. Worry – feeling worried leads to overwhelm went the worry gets out of hand.  For example financial worry.
  3. Stress – if we’re already feeling stressed about something it can quickly escalate to overwhelm.
  4. Circumstances – things that happen in our lives like family or work commitments or expectations of others.
  5. Illness and pain – when we’re ill our reserves for resilience are depleted and we become much more susceptible to overwhelm. 
  6. Emotional times – emotions like grief or love can overwhelm us.
  7. Constant communication – the fast paced constant presence of technology, including social media, can make us feel overwhelmed with the need to keep up with what’s going on and a perceived need to be available.
  8. Lack of autonomy – when we feel imposed on or lacking control over what’s happening to us, e.g. in the work place.
  9. Self-generated pressure – from perfectionist or controlling behaviour.



"At some stages of your life you will deal with things and at others you are overwhelmed with misery and anxiety." ~ Nigella Lawson

Dealing with overwhelm

Be realistic

Be realistic about the commitments you take on and how long something will really take to do.

Give up multi-tasking (it’s a myth anyway).

Learn to say no

If you think you can’t do it well or don’t have time to do it or just don’t want to do it – if there is any element of choice – learn to say no.

Many of us find it hard to say no to requests for our time and attention because we think people wont think so much of us or like us if we say no to their request. Practice saying no.  Avoid saying yes straight away by developing a tactic to give you a chance to reflect, like checking your calendar.

Take control or give up control

Find a way to seize an element of control in an overwhelming situation.

E.g. if you’re finances are overwhelming you – start organising them, get familiar with them – face up to it and start taking some control.

If you’ve taken on too much because you want to be in control then it’s about giving up control – letting others in to play their part. Ask for help and accept it.


Keep things in perspective

Does it really matter that much if it doesn’t get done, or it’s late?

Why are you getting worked up about it – are you worried about what others will think. Notice your underlying self- beliefs.

Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen.

Change your energy

Do something to dissipate the negative energy building up and change it to a more positive energy like get up or go out and do something physical – walk, jump, dance.

Break the cycle and put a bit of distance between you and the situation that’s causing you overwhelm by doing an activity you enjoy and can immerse yourself in.


Break a downward spiral of thought by finding a small slightly more positive thought connected to the situation that give you a small nudge from negative towards the positive, and then another so you gradually pivot.


Find something to be thankful or appreciative or grateful for.


Look at your priorities – and prioritise them. Don’t try and do everything because no-one can.

Set boundaries for yourself – around your time and activities..


Take a few moments a step back physically and mentally and slow down your mind – focusing on the present moment – not worrying about the future – even the near future and everything you have to do – not worrying about the past and what you didn’t get done – but spending a few moments in the here and now in a non-critical non-judgemental way.

Affirmations and visualisation

Affirm the behaviour you want to have and visualise the person you want to be.

The Changeability Podcast episode 55

Hear us talk about all of this and more in episode 55 of The Changeability Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or the podcast player at the top of this page.

Links mentioned on the show this week:



Direct download: CA055.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:15pm UTC

 “Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you'd like to act.” ~ Bob Dylan

1 year of podcasting

It’s celebrations all round at Brilliant Living HQ as we celebrate the first birthday of our offspring – the Changeability Podcast.

Podcast Award Finalists

Plus a massive bonus celebration. We’re thrilled the Changeability Podcast has been nominated as a finalist for the UK Top Self–Help Podcast Award.  How wonderful is that

A huge heartfelt thank you all you marvellous people who nominated the Changeability Podcast.

And if you want to be totally fabulous all over again you can vote one more time for us until the end of August. Only one vote per IP address is allowed. Click and vote via FB, Twitter, G+ or anonymously. It’s really quick and easy!

The award ceremony will take place at New Media Europe – an amazing conference for anyone interested in digital media, podcasting, blogging, social media, business and the internet.


10 mind management techniques on the Changeability Podcast

In our first year and 53 episodes of the Changeability Podcast the theme’s been how we can manage our minds to make changes in life and be happier. We’ve looked at it through the 10 mind management techniques featured in the book, Changeability: Manage your mind - change your life.

In episode 53 of the Changeability Podcast we take a quick romp through these 10 techniques – to remind you and give you a quick overview and to share snippets from some of the shows.

Starting with this great quote – which sort of sums up the notion of change.


“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.” Jim Rohn 

Mind management

The idea behind mind management is we can use our minds to help make changes or have more success. If left to their own devices, our conscious and particularly subconscious minds can sabotage our best intentions and efforts.

1. Vision setting.

Get clear about your aspirations, dreams and goals, so you know where you're going.

What do you want to change, achieve, have more of, improve or do differently from now? This is the vision of your changed life and the milestone goals to get you there.

2. Taking stock.

Step back to your starting point and look at what holds you back from changing what you want to change and being the person you want to be.

These are your limiting beliefs, negative self–talk and inner dialogue.

3. Clearing the ground

Having identified your limiting unhelpful beliefs, it’s time to examine and release these disempowering thoughts. 

4. Empowering positive affirmations

Replace negative self-beliefs with empowering positive thoughts and affirmations, to affirm how you want to be.

5. Visualisation

Imagine or visualise the outcome you want. Whatever you want to change – see it in your mind’s eye as if the changes are in place – and importantly, how you got there.

6. Appreciation

Place yourself in the here and now by appreciating what you have now, on route to your changed self.

Practice appreciation to make it a daily habit, and train yourself to look for more to appreciate - you’ll find it. 

7. Mindfulness Meditation

Practice mindfulness to notice being in the present moment on purpose, without judgement or criticism.

Experience the benefits of Mindfulness meditation in return for a simple focus on your breathing for a few minutes every day.

8. Action

This is where mindset meets actions and stuff happens, based on the previous techniques. Take your vision and milestone goals and break them down into actions and trigger actions, so you know what to do, can fight procrastination and build momentum.

9. Accountability

If you want to achieve your goals and boost your success, make yourself accountable because:

“Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions.” ~ John Di Lemme

10. Reflection and celebration

Learn from your experiences and find and take every opportunity to celebrate your successes – however small.

Episode 54 links and resources

Listen to episode 54 to hear more about the 10 techniques with excerpts for previous shows – including some of our favourite bits.

What to do next

Thank you for reading and listening. Please vote for the Changeability Podcast before 31st August 2015.



Direct download: CA054.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:05pm UTC

‘The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.’ Oprah Winfrey


We all like celebrating don’t we?  But do we do enough of it.

There’s lots of reasons to celebrate – sporting victories, birthdays, weddings, new job, and ways of doing it – party, slap-up meal, presents – and so the list could go on and on.

Important and great as all of those are, that’s not the sort of celebration we’re talking about here. Because we’re interested in why and how celebrating can help us make changes in life and business and achieve our goals. it all comes down to 6 reasons why you should celebrate success.

All too often this side of review and evaluation gets missed. We focus on what’s not working so we can change it and forget to recognise what’s gone well and to purposefully stop and celebrate it.

And not just in passing but – but also to recognise it and do something positive about it – in other words to celebrate it – on purpose.

We’ve got lots to celebrate this week

  • The Changeability Podcast turns 1 year this week
  • In top 100 self-help podcasts on UK iTunes
  • Our 9th wedding anniversary
  • Surprise birthday night out

These are all special occasions but what about the more everyday things we do – especially around achieving our goals, making changes, and getting more success.

Why should we celebrate?

So that’s all nice and lovely but what’s the big deal with celebrating our achievements and successes – is there an actual reason why we should do it. In other words how will it help our changeability.

You wont be surprised to hear that there is?

1. To learn and adapt

To recognize what’s working well and why, and if there’s is something you can take from it to inspire or replicate in other actions and goals. So basically you can do more of it.

And what about from a mind management perspective?

2. Developing a success mindset

Whatever we want to change, achieve or have more of – be it money, health, fitness, romance, happiness – success lies at the heart of it.

A large part of success is about your state of mind – so it’s about having a success mindset.

And this success mindset requires cultivation.

Yes, techniques like affirmations and visualisation have a part to play, but celebrating your success is another tool for cultivating a success mindset.

Focus on what you’ve accomplished, rather than a long overwhelming list of what you’ve still got to do.  Celebrate every success, no matter how small the win, to cultivate your success mindset.

By telling yourself ‘I am successful’ or ‘I can succeed because I’ve succeeded before’ you build up your self-belief and success attitude.

Conversely by not noticing or downplaying your success, or thinking it’s down to luck or others, you may be telling yourself you haven’t done enough to be proud of, or you don’t deserve to celebrate.

Whereas when you notice and celebrate your successes you then start to see yourself as someone who is successful rather than someone who’s trying to become successful.

3. Motivation

Motivation is also connected to mindset - because we are motivated by our successes. So give yourself as many opportunities to be successful as you can.

Notice the small wins along the way. If you break your goals down into milestones, actions, and trigger actions, each give you the chance to mark up a success and reinforce the changes you’re making.

This can have a cumulative effect leading to the magic of momentum.

4. Feeling good

One of the best reasons to celebrate success is simply that it feels good.

Feeling good is what it’s all about after all, isn’t it? We’re driven to make changes in our lives because we want to feel better, be happier and feel good. 

Or as Esther Hicks puts it, ‘There’s nothing more important than that you feel good’.

5. Happy chemicals

There’s a reason why it feels good when we celebrate success and it’s to do with the neurohappy chemicals in our brain.

Dopamine is released into our brain when we anticipate achieving something or we achieve it - and it feels good, so we want more of it.

We also get it from not such healthy pursuits, so why not build lots of opportunities for that dopamine rush into what we do, like setting small goals so we have lots of chances to celebrate success.

6. Sharing success

Celebrating success isn’t necessarily just about you. It might be, but it can also give others the chance to join in with your celebration, be motivated and have a share in your success.

And a good point to remember is you have to recognise your own success if you want other people to as well.

How you do it is up to you – but just do it and have some fun.

Episode 53 of The Changeability Podcast

You’ll hear about all of this and much more in episode 53 of the Changeability Podcast, which you can hear on iTunes, Sticher, TuneIn or the top of this page. Including:

  • What a good old knees up is
  • What’s weird about celebrating our birthdays
  • Julian singing his favourite song from High Society
  • What went from medication to meditation
  • Is there a difference between lilac and lavender
  • Celebrating #1 on iTunes and Kindle
  • When people don’t want to celebrate success with you
  • Learning through celebration
  • How celebration can change your mindset
  • Feeling good and releasing happy neurochemicals
  • The link between celebration and momentum
  • How celebrating success motivated us this week
  • Sharing success


Links mentioned in episode 53


Thank you for reading or listening

We’re celebrating you today for reading this and listening to us and for generally being amazing.

So what about you – what are you going to celebrate achieving today and how? Let us know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to sign up for your Changeability Starter Kit

Direct download: CA053.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am UTC

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

Thus wrote Aristotle and whether you agree with his ancient Greek wisdom or not, honest self-reflection and review is a powerful and underused tool for success and change.

Yes it’s hard, yes it’s scary, yes it might seem like a bit of pain – but evaluating your progress might just be the difference between learning from your experience and repeating your mistakes.

How do you know what you’re doing is effective unless you measure and evaluate it.

In episode 52 of the Changeability Podcast we explore the importance of evaluation. How we do it and what we’re evaluating.

In episode 52 you find out:

  • What years of giving out large sums of project money taught us about evaluation
  • Why you are your own project
  • The link between progress and measurement
  • Why you need to ask what you’re measuring
  • Why it’s time to leave the HR objectives game behind in real life
  • Don’t fool yourself about what counts as success
  • The bottom line if you want to lose weight
  • How to measure your money
  • You need the action plan (see 'Action planning for success')
  • The link between evaluation and value
  • Are you formal or informal
  • If you’d benefit from developing the schedule habit
  • Whether to diarise or not to diarise – and who doesn’t like that word
  • Dealing with setbacks and Julian’s bad day
  • It’s all about perception and learning
  • 2 everyday examples of feedback not failure
  • 6 key questions to ask yourself

Links and resources mentioned in episode 52

Like the podcast? nominate it for an award

Show us some love by nominating the Changeability Podcast for a UK Podcaster’s Awards.  It’s super simple to do and we will think you are truly wonderful. You can vote for us once a day every day until the end of July – so that’s only a few days left to go.

Go to this link and click ‘Nominate this podcast now’

Vote via email, or Facebook or Google


Direct download: CA052.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates

Nobody likes the ‘f’ word. And we’re not talking about that old Anglo-Saxon epletive some people call swearing. No, this is much worse!

This is something that absolutely nobody likes or wants to be familiar with. It’s FAILURE.

No-one wants to fail. In fact we’re programmed to avoid it where possible – or at lest to avoid what getting out of our comfort zone might do to us.

The Fear of Failure

The fear of failure runs deep in all of us.

It lurks buried in our psyche, only to raise it’s head when we want to change something in our lives or business or try something new.

It seems virtually impossible to become an adult and escape picking up a fear of failure along the way.

The fear of failure scuppers invention and enterprise; stops us fulfilling our potential and living our best life – if we let it.

We try to avoid it where we can, either by staying safe, living small within our comfortable familiar world, or by procrastinating over any action that might incur failure.

But if we want to live an examined life – if we want to reflect on our progress towards the life or business we want – then open honest reflection with ourselves is the way to go.

Many resist such honesty – either from within or from others.  We don’t seek out the critique that might help us change or be more successful.

We carry on doing the same things we always do, and you know where that leads – nowhere.

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” Narcotics Anonymous

We like the familiar – because our subconscious wants to keep us safe and that means sticking to what we know – even when it’s not serving us well.

And facing up to things not working might make us feel like failures and that we’ve wasted the time and effort we’ve already put into it that thing. It might be years - with a job or business, or a relationships.

We shy away from failure because of what the word means to us – the negative connotations.


“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”

But what if instead of avoiding the ‘f’ word, we were to embrace it?  Make a virtue of it? Change the way we think of it and even the very word itself.

What if you were to look at things not going as well as you’d hoped as simply feedback rather than failure.

So every time you thought about potential failure you saw it as feedback.

What if you were to reclaim the ‘f’ word in a positive context.

No need then to avoid the ‘f’ word.

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” ~ Thomas Edison


You are like a scientist observing an experiment of honest reflection without a failure label. 

If we change the way we look at failure to see it as feedback, we don’t need to be afraid of it.  In fact we can totally change our whole approach to life and how we do things.

Imagine if you weren’t afraid of failing – what would you do? 


The Changeability Podcast Episode 51

In episode 51 of The Changeability Podcast we chat about all this and more including:

  • What gets in the way of reflection
  • Where our fear of failure comes from
  • Why it’s good and bad
  • What makes us procrastinate
  • When we’ve been afraid of failing
  • Avoiding the ‘F’ word
  • How to reframe (even though Julian hates that word)
  • What a difference a word makes


 Links mentioned in episode 51

Vote for us

If you like the Changeability Podcast please nominate us for a UK Podcasters’ Award at

Vote via email, Facebook or Google

If by email don’t forget to confirm the email that comes to you to verify you’re a real person.

If we’re worth it you can even nominate us once a day every day for the rest of July – which would be fantastic.

Thank you


Direct download: CA051.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:08am UTC

We’ve reached episode 50 and Step 9 of The Changeability Podcast – hurray!

Not entirely sure why, but 50 seems a significant number – a bit of a milestone. And we’re marking this 50th episode with the launch of the Changeability Starter Kit.

Sign up now for your free short series of videos to get you started on your first Changeability step.


“Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions.” ~ John Di Lemme

Today’s episode calls you to be accountable.

If you’ve set your goals, worked on your inner self talk and beliefs through affirmations and visualisation, know the actions to make those goals happen for you and you’re all set to go – what’s going to keep you on track?

What will motivate you when events throw you off course, you reach a plateau or your goals feel out of reach?

It’s the 9th of our 10 Changeability steps and it’s a big one – accountability or to put it another way - find a way to be accountable.

Accountable for your actions, your goals, yourself.

In episode 50 of The Changeability Podcast you’ll find out:

  • The sort of numbers Kathryn likes (random!)
  • What’s The Changeability Starter Kit
  • A definition of accountability and other ways of thinking about it
  • Why accountability isn’t dull
  • Why you didn’t want to be a Roman engineer
  • What weight loss companies, coaches, mentors and mastermind groups have in common
  • What’s a mastermind group anyway
  • Why we were working 2 hours before leaving for Heathrow when we should have been packing
  • 6 ways to be accountable
  • Why you want to join the private Changeability Facebook Group

What to do next

Sign up for your Changeability Starter Kit today

Join the Changeability Facebook group and share your goals – use us to keep you accountable

Links and resources mentioned in episode 50


Vote for us

Show us some love by nominating the Changeability Podcast for the first ever UK Podcaster’s Awards.  It’s super simple to do and we’ll be forever grateful to you. 

Go to this link and click ‘Nominate this podcast now’

Vote via email, Facebook or Google

If by email don’t forget to confirm the email that comes to you to verify you’re a real person.

And if you really like us you can nominate us once a day every day for the rest of July – you amazing person!

Direct download: CA050.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:41pm UTC

“Thought and theory must precede all salutary action; yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.” ~ Virginia Woolf

You know what you want, you’ve created your vision and set your goals. You’ve got in the right mindset and done the mental preparation.

You’ve planned your actions and know where to start – so what now? Well it’s time to actually do it – it’s time for action.

Planning for action is key but none of it matters if you don't put your plan into action and follow through on your goals.

Changeability is about taking action.

But it’s not a ‘running around like a headless chicken’ sort of action. It’s not being busy for the sake of it action.

It’s about managing your mind to make changes in your life, and that means it’s action based on mind management techniques.

The very techniques we talk about on The Changeability Podcast and are laid out in the Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life book.

If you follow and practice these your action becomes:

  • Action born of your vision and goals
  • Action grounded in attaining the results of your visualization.
  • Action in line with the empowering beliefs of your affirmations.
  • Action founded on the energy generated through appreciation.
  • Action centred in mindfulness of your present experience, making it count.
  • Action stemming from the creativity of your subconscious.
  • Action implemented with the clarity and focus arising from meditative practice.

It’s time for action, but there’s potential traps stopping you.



Procrastination is the number 1 killer of action, but what’s behind it?

  • Fear - Sometimes we’re afraid of either the action itself or the outcome if we achieve it, so we find other things to do to distract us
  • Uncertainty - We’re unsure what to do to get going
  • Perfectionist tendencies

Overcoming procrastination

  • Examine the thoughts and beliefs behind the fear and use affirmations to replace them with positive affirming beliefs
  • Acknowledge the fear and get on with the action
  • Recognise it wont be perfect and this is a delaying tactic
  • Think in terms of days not months or years, to bring your future self nearer to your present self and raise awareness of the price of not taking action

Busyness for the sake of busyness


Sometimes we just like to feel we’re busy. Being busy is almost addictive and makes us feel like we’re achieving something even if it’s not the actions we need to take to get us to our goals.

Set your priority and prioritise it

Make this your one thing to get done before moving on to other activities

The ‘to-do’ list

Surely the most simple productivity tip of all time is the good old fashioned humble to-do list.

  • Try writing it by hand with a box to tick it off when completed
  • Write your to-do list the night before, so you can get up and get on without thinking about what you need to do


Action on action

The time for action is now – and the key is consistency and purposeful activity.

  • Take positive consistent action every day
  • Ask yourself if your actions today support your goals

The Changeability Podcast episode 49

In episode 49 of The changeability Podcast – Time for Action – we talk about all of this and more including:

  • What stops us taking the action (even when we think we want to take it)
  • Tips for overcoming procrastination and being busy
  • What’s going on in Kathryn’s mind when she should be taking action
  • 5 ways to help you take action everyday
  • What to do when you feel stuck
  • How to deal with self-sabotaging thoughts
  • The question you need to answer everyday


“It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” Hugh Laurie

What about you?

What are you taking action on today? Let us know in the comments below.

If you like listening to The Changeability Podcast help us out

Nominations have opened for the first ever UK Podcasters’ Awards and are open for the whole of July.  If you like our podcast we would absolutely love it if you’d consider nominating us for a UK Podcast Award.

You can nominate us up to once a day for each day of July – so if you really love us you can do it everyday – but even once would be fabulous.

Simply click here and then on ‘nominate this podcast’.

You’ll be asked to verify it with an email address, Facebook or Twitter (this is to make sure it’s only 1 vote per podcast per day).

Thank you very much K and J xxx 


Direct download: CA049.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:44am UTC

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Changeability is the ability to change. It’s the fundamental ability underpinning your approach to what you want in life and how you get it.

It’s what The Changeability Podcast is about - developing the ability to change through managing your mind. Getting you in the right mindset and way of thinking to achieve what you want to achieve.

And the Changeability book Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life is basically a 10-step framework of tools and techniques to do just that.

Yes it’s crucial to focus our thoughts and use the power of our thoughts and mind to help us do what we want to do – but that’s not the end of the story.

Today we’re talking about what comes next.

Because it’s all very well doing all this prep, getting yourself in the right frame of mind and developing the positive mindset to get you where you want to be – but you still have to actually get there. 

That means taking action.

The one thing that differentiates those who read this and think it's interesting from those who change something as a result is they take action.

And to take action you need to plan for action.

But not just any old action. It’s not about being busy for the sake of feeling like you’re doing something.

Effective action comes from knowing what you want to achieve, and what to change to get there. It’s the big picture stuff your goals come out of.

Reverse engineering  

Reverse engineering is the term for a technical process, where you start with a finished product and take it apart to see how it works, the components and interrelationships, so you can put it together again or improve it.

Reverse engineering begins with the product and works through the design process in the opposite or backwards direction.

Basically that’s what you can do with your life – start with the finished product, how you want your changed life to look, and work backwards to see the steps that need to be taken to get you there.

Action planning

  1. First you have your vision – what you want your life to look like.

    Then what do you need to change to get that life.

    But these are still big goals and dreams, but not yet actions.

    They’re what you need to achieve in order to have the life you want, but don’t indicate how you do it. 

    To do this we need to break it down further.

  2. The next layer is the milestone. These are interim goals that unsurprisingly work like a milestone.  A stone sign that in the olden days (as children say) told you how many miles it was to your destination. You weren’t there but you were on your way and this was a defined place along the journey.

    Your milestones show you’re on the right track. Interim goals that when you achieve them, build towards your big overarching goal or vision.

    You might have a vision goal to be slim – but it doesn’t mean anything on its own. So your milestone goal gives you something to aim for on the way to becoming slim e.g. be 10 pounds lighter in one month’s time.

  3. Now you have something concrete to aim for – the milestone – and the next layer is to identify the measurable actions to get from where you are now to the milestone. For instance,

    - Enrol at the local gym (by a certain date).
    - Attend 3 gym sessions or classes a week for the next two months.
    - Choose a suitable eating plan (date).
    - Remove all unhealthy options from my kitchen (date).
    - Create some health eating affirmations (date).
  4. The final layer is the micro-step or trigger action.

    As the name suggests, these are the first tiny steps that trigger the next action and make it easier and more likely you’ll take it. 

    For example, leaving your gym clothes laid out in your bedroom or your gym shoes by the door, so you don’t have to think about getting ready to go straight to the gym when you get up in the morning.


When you don’t know where to start

It all seems to make logical sense – but what about when you don’t know what actions to take. You’ve got your vision, you’ve set your milestone but don’t know how to get there?

Some goals will have more obvious actions to take, like a healthy eating plan or training regime, but sometimes you wont know what to do.

The trick here is to find a way to take the first step.

Think around the subject; do a bit of research and make an educated guess about where would be a good place to start. 

It doesn’t have to be perfect; it’s about finding a way in, getting started and building momentum.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ Dr Martin Luther King Jr.


The Changeability Podcast episode 48

To hear us talking more about action planning for success and other things along the way listen to episode 48 of The Changeability Podcast.

Resources and links mentioned

Thank you

Thank you for reading and listening to the podcast.  And a special thanks to the action takers who’ve been generous enough to leave The Changeability Podcast a review.

This is very important to us as it makes a big difference to the visibility of the podcast which in turn means more people listen.

So if you have a couple of minutes to help us out we would very much appreciate a review and rating on iTunes or Stitcher.

Direct download: CA048.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

Is Mindfulness Meditation good for you?

As amazing as some of the claimed benefits of meditation might seem, there is a growing body of work that suggests mindfulness meditation is indeed good for you.

Putting aside the inevitable caveats and variables, the evidence of hundreds of studies is that meditation is good for you – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And the surprising thing is that many of the positive benefits are felt after only a few weeks of mindfulness meditation practice.

Episode 47 of The Changeability Podcast

In episode 47 of The Changeability Podcast we talk about what these benefits of meditation are. Listen above or on iTunes, Stitcher or Tunein (and subscribe so you get every episode automatically.)

You can find references to the academic studies they’re based on, in the books listed in the resources section below. (Also good further reading on the subject.)

But it’s not just about academic studies and therapists. What we’re talking about is also based on the evidence and experience of people like us.

We asked the Changeability Facebook group if those who meditated experienced any benefits.

You can hear their answers in the podcast episode.

Listen to hear the full version, but here’s a summary for you.


"The goal of meditation isn't to control your thoughts, it's to stop letting them control you"

The benefits of meditation include:

  • Mindfulness
    • Through focusing on the present and being here now.



“Meditation taught me to let go of those worrying thoughts and concentrate on what's happening in the present.” Melissa

  • Improved focus, concentration and clarity of thinking
    • Through developing the habit of deliberately applying your attention.



“It definitely helps my concentration. I'm not as distracted when I meditate and I can focus on tasks more quickly and for longer duration.” Craig

  • Engendering a sense of tranquillity, peace and well being
    • Through the refreshing impact of stilling your mind leading to calming of the emotions.



“I meditate mainly to slow my often at times busy or ruminating mind.” Ange

  • Developing a deeper self understanding, awareness and acceptance
    • Through overcoming the habit of mental chatter and calming your mind.



“The more we know our thoughts, the better we get to know ourselves.” Craig

  • Increased creativity and inspiration
    • Through openness to the subconscious.
  • Producing an optimum state to make you receptive to creating change in your life
    • Through reducing your brain wave pattern from normal everyday beta level of consciousness, to the deeper alpha and theta levels more conducive to deep learning, changes in behaviour and increased moments of insight.
  • Becoming more compassionate
    • Through practising being less judgemental and more open to others.
  • A sense of perspective
    • Through enhancing an ability to stand back from the world and yourself and observe from an unbiased or non-critical place. Literally taking a breather (if you’re using breath as the focus of your meditation) can help you take a new perspective or gain a sense of perspective. 



“A break from reality for me.” Rich

  • Rediscover or uncover a love of life
    • Through knowing that thoughts and feelings come and go and you have an element of choice about what you do with them.
    • Through making more of the life you have right now.  Appreciating what is around you and being more present in the present.
  • More happiness and contentment
    • Psychological studies show people who meditate on a regular basis are happier and more content than the average population.
    • Dealing with everyday anxieties and stress through positively affecting the underlying brain patterns associated with negative thought patterns.
    • Through changing your emotional set point. Which is not a set emotional thermostat to which you always revert, as was previously thought.


“I love meditating - makes me calmer, more grounded, less wound up about things in general, gives me distance, makes me nicer to be around I think!” Jan

  • Helping you take control of your life
    • Through learning to accept you are not your thoughts.
    • By recognising negative thoughts are just thoughts, to prevent them spiralling downwards or taking a hold.
    • Through greater awareness, and to ‘look at the world with open eyes.’ (Williams and Penman, p.31)
    • Through being more autonomous, doing more of what you want to do rather than what others think you should do.


“Grounding (emotionally, spiritually, psychologically), quieter mind, greater ability to step in between events and reactions.” Vicky

  • Medical benefits
    • Studies show regular meditators spend less time in hospital and visit the doctor less.
    • According to Professor Mark Williams, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for people suffering repeated bouts of serious depression, halved the depression of those suffering the worst form and was at least as effective as antidepressant drugs, without the downsides.
    • Can help people deal with pain and serious medical conditions and relieve dependency on alcohol and drugs.
    • Can reduce stress and high blood pressure and bolster the immune system.
    • Can improve the control of blood sugar in type II diabetes (Mindfulness for Health p5)


“Having a way to do a quick check of the body and find the stressed or off balance points is really useful.” Keith

  • Improved memory, faster reactions, increase in physical and mental stamina
  • Resilience
    • Through boosting hardiness and the ability to bounce back and deal with life’s ups and downs.


“Learning to meditate saved me from going under during a very stressful period in my life, money worries, job worries, too much on my plate.” Janet

  • Mindfulness may reduce ageing at a cellular level
    • Through promoting chromosomal health and resilience


Now that really is something!

It’s great to hear about medical and other benefits of meditation, but what most of us are after is everyday happiness and resilience, experiencing more joy in our lives getting the most out of life.

This is what mindfulness can deliver if we make the small effort to practise it.

Try mindfulness meditation for yourself

If you want to try mindfulness meditation for yourself and start experiencing the benefits there’s 3 ways we can help you.

  1. Listen for free to the short guided meditation in episode 44
  2. Download "Meditation Moments: With Breath in Mind" - our guided meditation mp3 which has 6 x 10 minute tracks starting with fully guided and progressing to a timed meditation
  3. Sign up to Julian’s short course on Udemy – A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness Meditation

Resources and links mentioned in episode 47


Thanks to Ange, Craig, Vicky, Rich, Janet, Keith and Melissa, from the Changeability Facebook Group for your insights and quotes.



Direct download: CA047.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:02am UTC

“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day,” said Pooh. ~ A. A. Milne

If you want to make today your favourite day – everyday – mindfulness meditation is a great place to start.

It helps us focus on the present moment rather than worrying about a future that may not materialise or a past that’s gone. So in a way it helps us make the most of every day by living more in the here and now.

It gives us a space to stand back from our thoughts and internal chatter and see them as just that – thoughts which are not us and don’t have to define who we are.

The basis of mindfulness meditation is simple. Gently focus your attention on something like your breath going in and out of your nose and be purposefully aware, in a non-judgemental way, of thoughts that arise and let go of them.

But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s always easy and straightforward to do in practice. It can be but equally it takes practise and commitment.

Here are 21 simple tips for mindfulness meditation, to help you start and/or stick to your meditation practice.  They’re tips we’ve picked up from others or are our take on what we’ve found useful in answer to common issues. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list so let us know if you have any to add to the list.

Issue – My mind keeps wandering and I’m getting distracted by thoughts

This is normal. It’s the nature of our minds to wander and all part of the process of mindfulness meditation.

It might be frustrating sometimes when we get distracted with thoughts abut what we’re planning to do or replying something from our past. But mindfulness meditation is not about stopping the thoughts or getting it right or wrong. 

It’s about practicing a way of thinking, of gently focusing attention on something specific like your breath going in and out, whilst being aware of the present moment in a non-critical way.

Tip 1 - Notice your thoughts

Notice your thoughts – what you’re thinking – acknowledge them and let them go.

Tip 2 – Name your thoughts

Name your thoughts. For example say to yourself –‘oh I’m an unhelpful thought’.

But bear in mind that one of the facets of mindfulness is to observe on purpose but without judgement or criticism. So the trick here is to observe and acknowledge the thought in a matter of fact way, as devoid of emotion as possible.

Tip 3 – Thoughts as bubbles and clouds

See or visualise your thoughts as something, give them a physical representation of them – e.g. bubbles, clouds or waves.

Tip 4 – Acknowledge your thoughts and take gentle action

Once you’ve recognised it - do something with the thought. If you see it as a bubble, burst it.

If it’s a cloud, let the wind blow it across the sky in your mind and out of sight.

Tip 5 – Quickly record truly persistent thoughts

If you have a thought that just keeps coming because it’s about something you absolutely have to remember to do, you can have a notebook to hand to jot one word to remind you – and then get straight back to your meditation.  This is not necessarily recommended but is one way to deal with a doggedly persistent thought.

Issue– I haven’t got time to meditate

Yes you have and the answer is to make time so you can try it and see for yourself. You may find like others have even though you’re spending more of your time on meditation, paradoxically it seems to give you more time.

Tip 6 – Set a regular time

Set yourself a regular time to start with. It’s all about building a habit and that takes a bit of commitment, so set a reminder on your phone or put it in your diary.

Tip 7 – Get up earlier

If you really feel you haven’t got 10 minutes to spare in a day then set your alarm to go off 10 minutes earlier in the morning. Get up and meditate before the day starts – everyone can survive on 10 minutes less sleep in a night.

Issue – I could never meditate – it’s not for me – I can’t sit down for more than two minutes – I can’t stop my brain working

You don’t need to stop your brain working. No one can stop their brain working and you wouldn’t want to or you’d die! Revisit the first 5 tips about dealing with distracting thoughts if you’re worried about how you can’t stop the thoughts.

Tip 8  - Think about what you’re saying - because you’re worth it

Look at the reasons behind what you’re saying.

Are you saying that everything in your life is more important than your wellbeing. Or maybe you don’t think you deserve to spend this time on yourself for some reason.

Maybe it seems a little self-indulgent to be spending time on what might seem like a self-centred pursuit. If so read our article - Self-help or self-indulgence.

Tip 9 – Take a realistic look at how you spend your time on different activities in a day

This also ties in with the time issue.  But can you really not sit down for 10 minutes in a day.

Spend a day noting down everything you do and the likelihood is you can fit in 10 minutes and you can sit down. Indeed you probably have sat down for 10 mins today. 

Don’t forget that every time you watch television you’re sitting down and using time you could use for meditation – or at least a few minutess of it.


Tip 10 – Count your breaths

If you find it hard to sit down for a few minutes and softly direct your attention to your breath, you can help yourself maintain focus and bring yourself back to the present moment by counting your breaths.

Count each in and out breath up to 10 and back, and as you get more used to this type of focus, count just the out breaths.  Or count to a smaller or larger number, whatever you find helpful. Maybe 5 maybe 100.

Issue – I sometimes fall asleep while meditating

This is close to our hearts – especially for Julian! 

There are different views about whether we should do anything about this or not. Some say if you fall asleep it’s alright because it shows you need the sleep.

Whilst that might be the case we think it’s good to try and do something about it, like get more sleep at night if you need it, but also there are some people who just fall asleep very easily and often! So here’s a few tips to make it less likely.

Tip 11 – Keep your eyes open

One way to deal with it is to keep your eyes open.  Many people like closing their eyes when they meditate, like we do, because it helps take away the distractions of what you’re seeing, but you can meditate with your eyes open.

If so try lowering your eyes, let them glaze over a little (sometimes called having a soft gaze or focus) and not really focus on anything in particular.

Tip 12 – Light a candle

One way of helping keep your eyes open but your gaze soft, in other words not getting distracted by looking around you, is to gaze softly on a lighted candle.  This gives you something to rest your eyes on without really looking at it. 

Tip 13 – Think about your position

Are you lying down to meditate or reclining right back? If so, your body may be too relaxed and in an all too convenient a position for nodding off.

So think about the position you’re meditating in. Which leads us to our next tip

Issue – I find myself slumping over

If you find yourself slumping or drifting down your chair it’s worth thinking about posture or position. 

Tip 14 – Sit up straight

It seems to be generally acknowledged that whether you’re sitting on a chair or the floor or using a meditation cushion, you’ll have a better meditation experience if you can sit with your back straight, away from the back of the chair. Otherwise you’re tempted to lean against it and before you know it you’re back to slumping over. 

Tip 15 – Shuffle on your chair to get evenly distributed!

Shuffle around on your chair for a second before you start, rocking from side to side to get comfortable and distribute your weight evenly.

Many people (including us) don’t actually sit straight most of the time but have a tendency to slightly lean to one side.

If you don’t believe it, look at how you’re sitting right this minute – is your weight evenly placed on your seat?

Tip 16 – Imagine you’re a puppet

There are a couple of little visualisation tricks to help you keep a better posture. Imagine there’s a string coming up your back and neck and out of the top of your head – like a puppet. 

Imagine your head is touching the sky.

Issue – I don’t know how long I should be meditating for

Like so many things in mindfulness and meditation there is no right and wrong.  It’s about what suits you and your lifestyle.

One minute is better than no minute, and 10 minutes is often better than 1 minute, simply because it may take you a minute or two to settle into your meditation. 

But 1 minute spend in mindfulness meditation can be enormously beneficial in some circumstances, like a stressful situation at work or home where it can help to step back and take time out.

Tip 17 – Do what you can

Try starting with however long you can manage or feel comfortable with.

If you’re worried about the amount of time then 5 minutes is a good start.

If you like to have a set amount of time to aim for, 10 minutes twice a day seems to be enough to experience benefits and cultivate the habit.

Tip 18 – Build up gradually

Start with 5 or 10 minutes and stick with that if it’s convenient and doable – or try to build it up a few minutes a week. 

And you don’t have to do the same amount of time everyday – sometimes you can do it for longer and other times keep to the 10 minutes. 

It’s about regularity rather than overall time. 

Issue – I wonder if it’s better to use music, sounds or silence

It all depends on what works for you. 

Many people like to be silent where possible because it’s about being aware of the thoughts in your mind, and you might find it easier to notice your internal chatter with the least distraction.  You can meditate with any sounds going on around you either from others or of your own choice.

Tip 19 – Try a selection of sounds

Whilst silence is golden, you may like to try meditating to other sounds sometimes.

It’s not so much about listening to the sounds but having them replace or cover other more distracting noises in the background. 

This can be good where you can’t meditate in silence – e.g. on the bus or train or in a café or park.  It’s a matter of trying it to see what suits you.

You can use meditation music or natural sounds, for instance we have a seascape on our guided meditation – with a choice of a silent background or seascape with sea and seagulls.

Issue– I’ve heard a lot about it but I’m not sure meditation is for me

The thing to do is just give a go. You’ve nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Tip 2o - Keep a journal

Keeping a journal or diary about your meditation practice can be useful, especially when starting out and you’re not sure what to make of it all.

The idea is that you act like a scientist observing an experiment from the outside and take notes of what comes up for you.

Tip 21 – Start with a guided meditation or short course

And we have just the thing for you.  If you’d like to do a short course where in 1 and a half hours from now you will be up and running and have a guided meditation to keep – then Julian’s Beginner’s Guide to Mindful Meditation is a quick and reasonable way to get started.

Alternatively download our guided meditation mp3 ‘Meditation Moments - With Breath in Mind

Episode 46 of The Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 46 of The Changeability Podcast where we talk about all these tips and more.

You can listen here on or on iTunes, where you can subscribe to get every episode downloaded automatically, or on Stitcher and TuneIn.

Links and resources mentioned in Episode 46 – 21 Simple tips for mindfulness meditation


Hope you find these tips helpful – we’d love to hear your suggestions – so send them and any comments or questions to or send us a message on Twitter or our FB page at Brilliant Living HQ

And don’t forget to download your guided meditation course or .mp3


Direct download: CA046.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

If you’ve tried mindfulness meditation, you can’t help but notice the thoughts keep coming. Here’s 7 simple techniques for dealing with your wandering mind.

“Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

If you’ve tried mindfulness meditation, either following along with the short guided mindfulness meditation on The Changeability Podcast episode (44), or you’re a regular meditator – you can’t help but be aware of the mind’s tendency to wander around during your meditation session.

You’re just settling into a few minutes of focusing on the here and now, you’re noticing your breath going in and out and suddenly you’re aware of thoughts crowding in about all sorts of things. 

Maybe it’s something you should have done, or an upcoming meeting or event you’re organising.  It might be you’re hungry and can’t stop thinking about your next meal.

Whatever the thoughts are, this is normal – if a little irritating sometimes!

Some people feel that if they can’t clear their mind and not think of anything then meditations not for them, or they can’t do it.

But everyone can do it – it’s just how you define ‘doing it’. 

It’s not about getting it right or wrong.  It’s about practicing a way of thinking, of focusing your attention on something specific – like in our case we’ve been paying attention to our breath.

It’s about the practice – which is why ‘practice’ is such a great word in relation to meditation. Because it’s about the experience of doing it rather than getting to an an end point or destination.

It’s about gently being aware or turning your focus onto your breathing, and re- turning your attention back to your breath and the here and now as other thoughts start coming into your mind.

The thoughts keep coming and gradually you get snatches of moments where they don’t – they may be incredibly fleeting on some days and other days, with practice the space between them gets longer.

But it takes practice and to be honest, some perseverance and commitment.

So don’t be surprised or hard on yourself if you find it challenging or think you’re failing in some way, this is part of the process.  There is always the opportunity to re-commit and get back to it.

So to get back to mindfulness meditation and your wandering mind – there a few little techniques you can try out to help you turn your attention away from the thoughts and back to your breath. You can hear us chat more about these in episode 45 of The Changeability Podcast, but in the meantime here are a couple of ways of dealing with your wandering mind.

Notice you’re thinking these thoughts – you might even think ‘I’m having a thought’.  Then find a way of letting it go. 

One way of doing this is to visualize the thought as something. You might it in a bubble that bursts, leaving the thought to evaporate and disappear.

Another technique some people like to use is to count your breaths, either in and out or just out.  This helps you to bring the focus back to the breathing.

None of these stop the thoughts coming but can help you deal with them so they don’t become too distracting and take you away from the purpose of your mindfulness meditation – being in the here and now in a non-judgemental way.

On Episode 45 the Changeability Podcast you’ll find out:

  • Some interesting things about Alexander Graham Bell
  • Why mindfulness meditation is not about getting it right or wrong.
  • What’s going on in Julian’s head as we delve into his mind!
  • What’s been irritating Kathryn this week in her meditation time.
  • It’s not about stopping the thoughts.
  • 7 ways to help deal with distracting thoughts and wandering mind syndrome.

Links and resources mentioned in episode 45

What to do next

If you’d like help in getting going with mindfulness meditation – and a shortcut to help you stay on track, we have a couple of Brilliant Living® resources for you.

A short course where in 1 and a half hours from now you will be up and running and have a guided meditation to keep with Julian’s 'A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness Meditation' short course.

Or if you just want a super quick way to get going, download our guided meditation mp3 ‘With Breath in Mind’. Six 10-minute tracks to choose from.

Talk to us

If you have any ideas, comments or questions we’d love to hear from you at




Direct download: CA045.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

“Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb.” ~ Pythagoras

He might have lived a long time ago but it’s fair to say Pythagoras knew a thing or two about the power of the mind. He knew he did his best thinking in the silence of a quiet mind – and he certainly did a lot of brilliant thinking.  Coming up with new ways of thinking about mathematical equations.

Now we don’t have to be mathematical geniuses to appreciate the benefits of a quiet mind but most of the time life doesn’t seem like this. We rush around busy in body and mind – so how can we can learn to manage our minds?

How can we learn to be silent so our quiet minds can listen and absorb and do much else besides? One of the best ways is to manage your mind with mindfulness meditation.


Why do we need to manage our minds? Because all too often our minds are full of thoughts about what’s happened in the past or planning what’s going to happen in the future.

Of course we need to think about these things sometimes but not at the expense of what’s going on around us in the here and now. So the idea of mindfulness is that we’re mindful of the present moment, but that as far as possible we do this in a non-critical way. (See last week’s post for more about this)

Mindfulness is about purposefully being aware of the here and now and in a way that doesn’t judge it or put meaning on it – but just experiences it. And one of the best ways to do this is through a simple form of meditation.


Meditation itself comes with a long history which crosses cultural and geographical boundaries.  It’s a feature of many of the world’s great spiritual traditions, but we’re not talking here of meditation in spiritual or religious terms.

Today meditation has become part of the mainstream with millions using it as a tool to improve their lives and wellbeing.

Meditation is becoming increasingly popular amongst the business community with prominent companies such as AOL, Apple and Google, offering meditation and mindfulness classes for their employees.

Meditation is increasingly seen as a success tool with the potential to unlock productivity and creativity.

At Brilliant Living HQ we see meditation as a key mind management technique –maybe the most important of all the mind management techniques and tools we advocate. Not only is it of huge benefit to us in many ways (more on this very soon) but it enhances all the other mind management techniques we talk about – like visualization and affirmations.

It’s all about attention

So what’s the common factor across the traditions and disciplines and different ways meditation is used?

It’s attention. Meditation is about focusing attention in a relaxed way on a something – it might be a chant or mantra or something physical like beads or an image. Or it could be something as simple and fundamental as your breath.

This is a simple form of meditation anyone can learn to do.  There’s no great mystery or intricate elaborate ritual to follow – you just need to be able to breath and focus your attention on your breath.

If you can breath you can meditate

When you start this simple meditation technique of focusing attention on your breath, the first thing you’ll probably notice (apart from maybe wondering what you’re doing!) is that your mind wanders off all over the place.

Straightaway you might start thinking you’re not doing it right, but don’t worry because this is all part of the meditation experience. Remember that mindfulness is about not being judgemental about what happens in the moment. So the trick is to not judge it or get irritated but to bring the focus back to your breath.

Doing this will help you become more aware of your body, your feelings, your thoughts and perceptions and the incessant activity of your mind.

At the same time you’ll keep returning your awareness to the present moment, rather than dwelling on a past you can’t change or worrying about an undetermined future.

Of course it’s easier said than done! But the brilliant thing about when you manage your mind with mindfulness meditation is that it’s all part of the process. The whole point isn’t to get it right or wrong but the experience of the practice. Yes, we find it hard to sustain our attention.  Our minds flit away from this simple task. But by returning the mind back to the breath when it wanders, it can gradually help us observe our thoughts.

You are not your thoughts

You are not your thoughts and mindful meditation gives you a way to sit back and watch your thoughts as they enter your mind, and to recognize the sort of thoughts they are and their impact. The aim is to view these thoughts without self-judgement.

It’s almost as if you step outside of yourself for a few minutes as an observer.

This helps you realize that your thoughts are just your thoughts in that moment. You don’t need to be defined by them and can change your reaction to them or let them go.

So if you can breathe and be quiet for a few minutes you can meditate.

Episode 44 The Changeability Podcast

If you want to manage your mind with mindfulness meditation now’s your chance.

In Episode 44 of The Changeability Podcast we chat about mindfulness meditation and talk you through a quick guided mindfulness meditation, so you can try it for yourself.

You can listen to it here on this page or on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn

Quick-start meditation

Many people like to follow a guided meditation to keep them focused on their meditation, specially to begin with. Our guided meditation Meditation Moments: With Breath In Mind is a great place to start.

Just download the MP3 tracks, sit back and think along to Julian’s calming voice.

Links and resources mentioned in Episode 44 – Manage your Mind with Mindfulness Meditation

Direct download: CA044.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:23am UTC

Everywhere you go it seems people are talking about mindfulness.

It seems to be the new ‘in-thing’. 

Of course it’s been around a while, thousands of years in fact in its oldest forms, and more like 30 or more years in its present western form, but it’s come right into the mainstream now.

Companies like Google have staff queuing up to participate in mindfulness courses they’ve instigated.

Entrepreneurs are falling over themselves to let us know how many minutes they’ve been meditating on their newly discovered meditation apps.

Celebrities are tweeting their love of mindfulness meditation.

So there’s certainly a lot of it about.

But what lies behind this media interest?

That’s what we explore in Episode 43 of The Changeability Podcast.  Mindfulness – what is it and why you need it?

“The Queen said, ‘The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today.’

‘It must come sometimes to jam today’, Alice objected.

‘No, it can't,’ said the Queen ‘It's jam every other day. Today isn't any other day, you know.” ~ Lewis Carroll

Do you ever feel a bit like Alice in this quote?

Life sometimes feels like you’re always looking back or looking forward while life today seems somehow out of your grasp.

It’s like you’re a time traveller worrying about the future, or reliving past wrongs (or maybe good times).

Do you ever drive somewhere and can hardly remember the journey because your mind was so full of thoughts and concerns that you barely noticed the countryside you were driving through, or the architecture of the buildings in the city around you.  In fact more worrying, you didn’t even notice the other cars on the road.

This is what happens when we’re not aware or ‘mindful’ of what’s happening in our day-to-day lives -  and don’t worry – we all do it!

But mindfulness can help us deal with this.

Mindfulness seeks to resolve this by helping us focus on the present moment – the here and now.

To be mindful – or aware.

And to do so, as far as possible, in a non-judgemental way, because that is where the real power of this mind management technique kicks in.

One of the godfathers of modern mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn whose Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) has spread throughout the world and he describes mindfulness as:

“The awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally. “

Mindfulness Meditation

And one of the best ways of doing this is through Mindfulness Meditation.

Starting with simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes at a time – you can become aware of the thoughts rushing through your mind and what you’re focusing on.

The trick is to gently refocus your thoughts on your breath.

We’ll talk more about mindfulness meditation over the next couple of weeks, but for now it’s enough to start noticing your thoughts and being present in your day.

Links and resources mentioned in episode 43 of The Changeability Podcast

  • Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life - Mindfulness Meditation is the 8th of the 10 techniques featured in the book and is a key part of this Mind Management Program.
  • Episode 33 on time.
  • Episodes 34, 35, 36 on Appreciation.
  • Episode 39 on Negative affirming thoughts (NATS).

A Beginner’s guide to Mindful Meditation

Start Mindfulness Meditation today with a special half price offer on our “A Beginner’s Guide to Mindful Meditation”  - in 1 and a half hours you will be meditating. This link will take you to the special page on Udemy (the online learning platform where the course is hosted) for listeners of The Changeability Podcast.

Direct download: CA043.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:42am UTC

We’re just back from a long trip.  We’ve had great times, met wonderful people and had a lot of fun.  But it wasn’t all sweetness and light. 


We had our share of things not going to plan, which can be especially frustrating when you think you’ve planned something carefully.


If you heard episode 41 last week you’ll know about our trip because we talked about the benefits of travel – and some of the good things we learnt or have been reminded of while away. That was part 1 – so this must be part 2!

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right… and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” Marilyn Munroe

In episode 42 you’ll find out about:


  • Who does the travel planning at Brilliant Living HQ
  • When things don’t go to plan
  • The hire car incident
  • How many cases Kathryn and Julian take on holiday
  • The right apartment but wrong key incident
  • A double dose of snow
  • Why fortune-telling is a waste of time and energy
  • Trust in the process
  • Wi-Fi and a love hate relationship
  • The late podcast episode
  • A missing microphone
  • Going with the flow
  • Change what you can – accept what you can’t
  • Deal with it or let it go
  • Nature and the pursuit of happiness
  • The power of silence
  • Mixing life up

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” – John Muir

Send us your stories

Let us know about something you’ve learnt while travelling, doing something different to your normal routine or when things don’t go to plan.

Send it to and we’ll include it in a future podcast.


Direct download: CA042.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:42pm UTC

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

We’ve been having an adventure. From the surrealistic glitz of Las Vegas to the silent arid beauty of Death Valley, the splendours of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks to the bustle of LA and finally the tropical paradise of the Philippines .


We’ve spent the last 5 weeks travelling for business and pleasure and on today’s episode of The Changeability Podcast we talk about the benefits of travel we’ve experienced along the way.


Episode 41 is part 1 of our personal perspective on things we’ve noticed as we’ve been travelling around, starting with the benefits we’ve seen.


In episode 41 we talk about:


  • “Naia is a no “wang, wang” zone, please fall in line, CCTV monitor in use”
  • The man with encyclopaedic knowledge
  • People are interesting
  • What if there was a reason we met
  • Openness
  • Welcome to America
  • Different perspectives
  • Away from the comfort zone

Your experience of travel and it’s benefits

What about you?  Tell us about your experience of travel and it’s benefits. Write to us at or join our private Changeability Facebook Group today and talk to us there.


Direct download: CA041.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:28am UTC

“There are two types of people in the world. Dreamers and haters and the only difference is one thing, haters gave up on their dreams.” – Answer to the author of this quote is found in the podcast.

Joe Pardo is a New Jersey-based dreamer, who has always believed that society starts with you, and that to make changes in society you must first change how you yourself think.

His innate curiosity about people inspired him to start the motivational Dreamers Podcast and he now aptly considers himself a “recorder of dreams.”

Joe’s just released his first book (April 2015) called 31 Life-Changing Concepts, a book for people like him who hate to read books. He’s packed it full of pictures and very direct messages and challenges for the reader.


Changeability Podcast – Episode 40

Here us talk with Joe about his book, his dreams and those who’ve inspired him in episode 40 of the Changeability Podcast.  Listen by clicking above or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

In Episode 40 you’ll discover

  • Lessons learnt from people who dare to dream of a bigger life
  • Common themes amongst these dreamers

  • What ignites people to pursue their dream

  • Why starting small might be the solution to you following your own dream

  • The question that Joe ‘cringes’ at.

  • How Joe gave up a secure job in a multi-million dollar family firm to chase his own life vision

  • How a guy who doesn’t like reading came to write his own book

  • How the answer to the meaning of life isn’t 42 but 31!

  • Joe’s top 3 Life Changing Concepts

  • Why you don’t need permission to follow your dream

  • What OMG really stands for!

  • And how to view life as a game of percentages

  • Plus a lot more chat and laughter.


Resources and links mentioned in Episode 40

Direct download: CA040.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

Our thoughts are critical.  

“If you realised just how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” - Peace Pilgrim

The wrong types of thought, the negative thoughts that often come to mind throughout our day, can make you feel bad and stop you achieving our best.

So today we’re thinking about NATS.

And we don’t mean those pesky little insects that buzz around you and over your head when you’re enjoying a warm summer’s evening walk or drink outside the pub. 

We’re talking Negative Affirming Thoughts (NATs for short).

And if you’re not recognising them, then they might just be preventing you living your fullest life now and getting in the way of you achieving your goals or making the changes you want in your life. 

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” - Eckhart Tolle

So today we want to look at the different varieties, or maybe we should say ‘species’ of NATs out there. 

Because if you’re aware of them you’re more likely to recognise them and do something about them when you notice yourself thinking them. And sometimes just catching out that thought is enough to dissipate it or stop its influence on your behaviour.

Why are these thoughts affirming?

You probable think of affirmations as something positive (like those we’ve talked about before) but affirmation just means affirming something, or making it firm, and this can be in a negative way just as much as in a positive way.

So with negative thoughts the danger is that you constantly reaffirm or reinforce them until they become the way you think and then get in the way of you doing what you want to do.

In his book, Change your Brain, Change your Body Dr Daniel G. Amen puts forward 9 types of negative thought (that he calls ANTs – automatic negative thoughts).

David Burns, in Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, outlines 10 common mistakes in thinking, or thinking errors he calls cognitive distortions.

NLP has a similar concept so we decided to roll them all into one bundle and somehow we’ve ended up with 11!

So here’s all 11, how you can spot them and then swat the little beggars!

So go on, see if you’re thinking these thoughts and learn how to stop them before they take a hold (you know you want to!)

The 11 Negative Thoughts 

1.     All or nothing thoughts

This is when you think some is all good or all bad, all black or all white. 

You miss a day on your diet - you think you have no self-control and give up. 

You’ve given up smoking and then had a quick puff?  Immediately you tell yourself “I can’t do this no-smoking malarkey, I just can’t quit!”

It’s all or nothing with you and if you’ve set yourself an aim of doing something, in your eyes you’ve failed.

Swatting those NATs:

Recognise, one slip up doesn’t mean you’ve given up; it means just that – you’ve had one slip up.

2.     ‘Always’ thinking – overgeneralization

Always thinking or overgeneralizing is typically accompanied by words such as always, never, every time, or everyone. 

“You never have any respect for my feelings” or “Every time I ask you to do something you always say you’re too busy!”  or indeed “I always mess up!”

This kind of thinking makes you feel as if you’ve no control over your actions – and as such it’s disempowering.

Swatting those NATs:  

Ask yourself. Does this always happen, every single time?  Really? If not then recognise you’re overgeneralizing. Say to yourself – just because one event happened, doesn’t necessarily mean I am permanently this way of being.

3.    Focussing on the negative

NAT number 3 sees only the negative in life, even when the positive is staring you in the face. It’s like you have a mental filter that mostly focuses on the negative or upsetting aspects whilst ignoring massive positives.

“I set myself a task of losing 10 pounds this month, and I’ve only lost five. I’m a failure.”

Focussing on the negative makes you more inclined to give up.

Swatting those NATs: Put a positive spin on your thoughts.  “Wow, 5 pounds weight loss, my goal is getting ever nearer.”  This encourages you to keep going and makes you feel better about yourself.

Learn to look for the silver lining in every cloud and count your positives rather than your negatives – in other words look for the positives in situations.

4.    Thinking with your feelings or emotional reasoning

“I feel like I’m never going to get to grips with my bad back.”

Here thoughts occur when you have a feeling about something.  You assume it’s correct and never question it.

This species of NAT mixes up and confuses feelings and facts – which leads you to make decisions based on how you feel rather than objective reality.

It’s important here to recognise that feelings can lie.

Swatting those NATs:

Look for evidence to see if it’s really true.  If you feel you’re never going to get a grip with your bad back, then book an appointment with you doctor or physio to see if there’s anything that can be done about it.

5.    Disqualifying the Positive

This involves always shooting down good or positive experiences for no real reason – so you can keep a negative belief even though the evidence points to the opposite.  It’s as if the good stuff doesn’t count because everything else is bad about your life.

Swatting those NATs:

Think about what does count and why.

Learn to accept compliments by just saying ‘thank you’ (so when someone compliments you on your new shoes just say thanks instead of – well they were only cheap, or I got them in the sale)

Or try bigging yourself up – or bolster your view of yourself by listing your good qualities, skills and accomplishments.

6.    The Guilt Trip or ‘should-ing’

Spotting this one is a cinch.    You’re thinking in words like ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘ought to’ and ‘have to’.

“I really should get this job done” or “I feel like watching TV, but I ought tobe doing my gym workout.”

Here you’re using guilt to control your behaviour.  And guess what? When you feel obliged to do something, you rebel against it!

Swatting those NATs: Although guilt isn’t all bad, don’t use excessive guilt to control your behaviour.

Try asking yourself questions like - what is stopping me doing this, or what rule says I should, or simply ask ‘why should I?’ Another technique is to use ‘could’ instead of ‘should’.

7.    Labelling and mislabelling

Ever guilty of labelling yourself in some way? Of explaining your behaviours by labelling it?

“I’m useless at maths.”  “I’m such a loser.”

There’s an error in logic going on here, where you make a leap from a behaviour or action to an identity, so the identity is determined by the behaviour.

Guess what?  If you’ve given yourself an all-embracing label it takes away your control over your actions and behaviour.  Now although this might be a good excuse for lack of action on occasions it’s also taking away your control and self-efficacy – which is never a good idea.

Swatting those NATs:

Ok, so you may not be very good at maths at the moment, but you can’t just give up before you’ve even tried.  That’s just defeatist.  You didn’t say when you were a child “I tried walking once and I was useless at it.”  You didn’t, did you?  OMG!

8.    Magnification and Minimisation

This is where you magnify or exaggerate the negatives and minimise or understate the positives – people often do this to themselves.

I can also be where you catastrophise – or jump ahead to the worst possible outcome, expecting the worst case scenario to actually happen. Or thinking that a situation is unbearable when it’s just unpleasant; like when you think ‘I  can’t stand this.’

Swatting those NATs:

Ask yourself what would happen if you did stand this.

Examine exactly how something is so bad – and compared to what.

9.    Fortune telling – jumping to conclusions

Here you predict the worst, even though you don’t actually know what will happen. You’re anticipating things will turn out badly, as if your prediction is already a fact.

Whenever I try to give up smoking, I end up giving up!”

Fortune telling thinking can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. it becomes true.

Swatting those NATs:

Talk back to those thoughts.  Ask how you know it will turn out this way. Say - Ah, that’s fortune telling thinking –  and tell yourself it doesn’t always have to end that way.

10.Mind reading

Another form that jumping to conclusions takes is when you think you know what someone else is thinking even though they haven’t told you.

“She’s looking at me strangely, she must think I’m stupid” or “He’s looking at my tummy, he must think I’m fat.”

A chance look from someone doesn’t mean they’re judging you.  She/he could like you, or noticed that you’ve spilt something on your top!

Swatting those NATs: It ain’t true unless someone actually tells you that’s what they’re thinking.  Examine the evidence – check out the facts and if in doubt ask.

And how about letting go of a need for approval because you can’t please everyone all the time.  As to thinking about you, the truth is most people are too busy thinking about themselves to think about you.

11.Blame -

In the blame game you blame yourself for situations and others behaviours that are not necessarily directly connected.

So for example, your son’s doing badly at school so you think you must be a bad mother.

Or you might find yourself saying “I can’t diet because you never support me” or “It’s your fault I’m in this situation.”

Blaming others for your own problems and not taking responsibility for your actions is toxic and disempowering.

Swatting those NATs:

When you find yourself blaming yourself ask how much of this problem is really your responsibility.

And quit blaming others and take responsibility for your actions.  If you are smoking, it’s because you choose to and equally, you can choose to quit!  Empowering, isn’t it?

And finally.

Remember, recognising negative affirming thought patterns is the first step in learning to change them. 

Changeability Podcast – Episode 39

Here us talk about all of this and more in episode 39 of the Changeability Podcast.  Listen by clicking above or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Resources and links mentioned in Episode 39



Direct download: CA039.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:15am UTC

What are the ingredients for a fulfilled life, how can you get them and what gets you going in the morning?

Just some of the massive questions we’re discussing with Gary Ware from Breakthrough on today’s episode of the Changeability Podcast.

We’re delighted to welcome back Gary to talk about these massive questions and more and to share with us an exciting online event he’s organising - The Elixir of Life Summit.  And you don’t get a better name than that for an event – after all who wouldn’t want the elixir of life?

Before we get to that, Gary tells us the story of his self-development journey and how he came to be putting on this event. From feeling unfulfilled and lacking a sense of purpose to being fired up by a huge goal much bigger than himself.

One of the defining activities in this journey for Gary and many others has been the introduction of a specific morning routine. 

This is a routine of morning rituals which work together to perfectly set your intentions for the day.  Gary shares how he went from everyday being a scramble to get to work and get things done to a changed perspective and way of doing things. He even looks forward to jumping out of bed at 5.30 every morning.

We talk through the steps of this morning routine and if you’re a regular listener to the Changeability Podcast or you’ve read the Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life book – you will recognise most of them.

It’s great to hear how Gary does them everyday and how he fits it in with his busy schedule.  And if you’re thinking you’re a night person or you could never do all this in the morning Gary shows you how you can get it done in as little as 6 minutes if you need to, but assures us we’ll love it so much we’ll want to get up earlier to do it more, and never hit that snooze button.

‘How you do anything, is how you do everything’

You will also hear about this amazing online summit Gary’s put together to help people feel better, get unstuck, be happier. Listen to the episode for the detail but here are a few key points about it. 

The Elixir of Life Summit – Ingredients for a fulfilled life

It’s an online event so everyone can attend – 27th April to 1st May

It’s a great opportunity to get into the detail of each of the ingredients for a fulfilled life including, health, wealth, mindset, personal branding, productivity, living life on purpose, goal setting, mindfulness, improv and more...

23 (in the words of Gary) ‘awesome people’ presenting the sessions – we couldn’t possible comment as we’re one of them.

Free to watch in real time.

All profits from the sale of all access passes (after the event and with bonuses) going to Pencils of Promise to build a school in Guatemala.

Sign up here 

Resources and links mentioned in episode ?

  • Elixir of Life Summit
  • Tony Robbins, Awaken the giant within
  • Hal Elrod, Morning Miracle
  • Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life
Direct download: CA038.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:57am UTC

What have self-development and improv got in common – well quite a lot it turns out, according to our guest in today’s episode of the Changeability Podcast - Gary Ware.

Gary is a breakthrough mixologist! (Listen to find out what that means!)

By day a digital marketer, by night a comedian specialising in improv comedy. 

At the end of a busy day, he also has his own website and a podcast of the same name helping ambitious professionals live up to their full awesomeness potential.

We talk to Gary about how he got to this point and why he took up improvisation, what he’s learnt from it.  How it helps him in his work and life, and what we can learn from it too – even if you don’t want to get up on stage and try it out for yourself.

There’s lots of gems in here but a couple that really resonated with us were:

Say yes – even when out of your comfort zone.  But don’t stop there and don’t say “yes but…”, say “yes and…”  Gary explains what this means most eloquently.

Our perception is failing equals bad – but we can learn more from our failures than our successes. How we perceive and interpret failure is all down to our mindset and what we look for.  And Gary’s looking for fun. We’re working on this!



“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Steve Jobs

In episode 37 we find out:

  • Who is Gary Ware and why ‘Breakthrough Cocktail’
  • What a breakthrough mixologist does
  • How Gary got to where he is now
  • How failure helped Gary succeed
  • The power of a mentor’s influence
  • Why Gary took up improv
  • How scary was it
  • 6 principles of improv we could all benefit from using everyday
  • Why Gary’s on the lookout for fun
  • 2 important common themes from Gary’s podcast guests
  • The beauty of lateral growth and what it is


Resources links mentioned in this episode

Find our more about Gary or contact him at:


If you enjoyed this episode tweet Gary a tweet to let him know @GaryWare 

Direct download: CA037.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

‘Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.’

We often look to the future to make us happier.  We think about the changes we want and that somehow we’ll be happier once they’re in place. Or we think we want more of something to make us happy, more money, more cars, more holidays, more tech. 

It might seem counter-intuitive but studies indicate that in reality these aren’t the things that make us happy. 


It doesn’t mean we don’t want to change or improve things in our lives, or indeed have more – but that those things alone are unlikely to increase our happiness and fulfilment, if we’re not happy now.

They may give us a temporary lift but all too soon it becomes the norm and we’re looking for the next thing, when we might be better finding ways to bring more joy, time and experiences into our lives.

Gratitude and appreciation can help us do this by focusing on what we have rather than what we want.

We can train our brains to look for the positive and the good and what we appreciate and are thankful for, and as we seek it out we will find more.

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough” ― Oprah Winfrey

Research indicates that one of the best ways to be happier right now, in the only time we know we have, is by practicing gratitude – or appreciation.


But how to do it?

Here are 15 ways to practice the art of appreciation.

Choose those what appeals, try it out, pick and mix:

  1. Write a list of 3 or 5 or 10 new things you appreciate – daily or weekly
  2. Tell yourself why you appreciate each item on your list
  3. Appreciate yourself – at least one day a week make it about you
  4. Start with the big things and hone into the detail – you’ll never run out of things to appreciate.
  5. Reflect on the minutiae - find gratitude for the mundane
  6. Appreciate the people who’ve influenced you in some way
  7. Write a letter of gratitude to someone – send it, deliver it or keep it
  8. Tell one person a day something you appreciate about them – your spouse, partner, friend, family, colleague
  9. Write your list at the same time every day or every week
  10. Make your gratitude practice a habit by tying it to another habit like taking a shower
  11. Set the timer on your phone or use a productivity app to remind you to appreciate
  12. Share what you appreciate about your locality– show a visitor around
  13. In annoying situations dilute critical thoughts and irritation by finding some aspect to be grateful for
  14. Spend 10 minutes immersed in full on gratitude and appreciation of things around you right where you are – don’t writ, just experience
  15. Kick-start your habit with the 'Appreciate to Accumulate' guided gratitude mp3


Changeability Podcast CA36

You’ll find all of this and more in episode 36 of the Changeability Podcast, including:

  • 15 ways to build and hone your appreciation habit
  • Why you deserve your own appreciation
  • How to never run out of things to appreciate
  • Finding joy in the mundane
  • What Kathryn appreciates about Julian
  • A simple tip to help you, your marriage and relationships
  • What’s the OOPs Game and how to play it
  • How to never get annoyed at another driver again
  • Going on a rampage of appreciation
  • How to make good use of your time in the supermarket queue
  • How to quick-start your gratitude habit
  • How to supercharge your appreciation list


Links and resources

Direct download: CA036.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

‘Gratitude is a habit of the heart.’ Alexis de Tocqueville 

It’s all very well knowing gratitude is the best attitude but how do we actually do it – how do we do gratitude?  Because we’re not talking about noticing a lot of nice things today that make us feel all warm and fuzzy and then forgetting it all for the next month. That’s not going to help us much.

And the evidence tells us that gratitude and appreciation are helpful to us.

They make us feel happier right now, and in our lives in the future, they put us in a good place from which to make the changes we want.

As we mentioned last week, by deliberately seeking out gratitude filled moments you train your mind to be on the look out for more.

An article by Eric Barker in TIME Magazine this week ‘Here’s How to Scientifically Train Your Mind to Be Happy’ talked about the very same thing.

He wrote that training your mind to look for errors and problems (as happens in careers like accounting and law) can lead to a pervasive pessimism that carries over into your personal life.

Yet these negative ways of thinking can be overcome by training your brain to seek out the good things in life. Primarily through counting your blessings day by day, i.e. practicing gratitude and appreciation. Alongside using retrospective judgement, basically putting a positive spin on negative past events to remember the good, and expecting things to get better because optimism can make you happier.

Cultivating the habit of gratitude

And the key to getting the benefits of gratitude and appreciation is to make a habit of our gratitude.

So how do we do that? Well how do we make any habit? We practice it (either intentionally or not) by doing it over and over again, until with repetition it becomes ingrained in our mind. 

But how do you practice gratitude and doesn’t that sound a bit like hard work?

OK so like most things worth doing in life it might take a little effort.  And we’re certainly not saying we have this perfected ourselves by any means. But we’re trying it – we think it’s worth the effort and we invite you to try it out for yourself too.

After all what have you got to lose?  Feeling better about your life and the world, enjoying and making the most of your life, and having a positive impact on those around you as you’re happier in yourself.

The appreciation list

The most simple straightforward way to kick start your gratitude habit is to write down 3 new things you are grateful for and appreciate each day.

And if you want to really supercharge the launch of your gratitude habit then start your appreciation list with 10 new things you appreciate every day.

Do this every day for 30 days and by the end of a month you’ll have a list of the 300 items, people, experiences, and sensations you’ve appreciated on purpose. And reading through this is sure to make you feel good.

Episode 34

Hear us talk about all of this and more on ways to turn gratitude from a few nice thoughts every once in a while to a mind management technique that works. Listen to episode 34 of The Changeability Podcast.

Resources and links mentioned in this post and podcast episode 34:


Direct download: CA035.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

If you want to jump out of bed in the morning shouting ‘I love my life’ at the top of your voice (and mean it) - the time and place to start is here and now. 

It’s brilliant to have a vision of how you want life to look – and goals to get you there.

It’s great to use tools like affirmations and visualization to put you in the right frame of mind to achieve those goals.

But it’s not just about looking forward to happiness in some future time.

It’s about where you are now, being happy with who you are and what you have now.

And this is where gratitude is the best attitude kicks in.

Gratitude and appreciation give you a simple yet amazing mind management tool with the power to change how you feel right now and carry you forward towards your goals.

‘I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude.’ Brene Brown

Gratitude is one of the universal themes from our shared experience of what it means to be human.

It crosses cultures, gender and age, and features in the world’s great religious traditions.

Every language in the world has a way of saying ‘thank you’.

But despite the fact it’s easy to say, and we throw out cursory ‘thank you’s everyday, it’s not so easy to feel and experience. 

To make gratitude a deliberate part of our daily lives takes practice.

So is it worth it?

Psychologists have quantified benefits in the well-being of those who carry out simple but regular gratitude practices like writing down 3 good things that happened to them a day. 

Writing down 5 things they were grateful for once a week for ten weeks, had a measurable positive impact on the happiness and health levels of a group studied by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough of the University of California.

And if when it comes to managing your mind, gratitude is the best attitude to focus you on the good things in your life and train your mind to look for more of the same.

‘Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.’ Zig Ziglar

Gratitude and appreciation act as a bridge from the here and now to where you want to be. They put you in a good place by realising and feeling great about all the marvellous things in your present life.

This doesn’t mean you don’t want to make changes but that you’ll be in a better place from which to start making those changes whilst experiencing present life to the full.

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire

Episode 34 of the Changeability Podcast

We talk about all this and more in episode 34 of the Changeability Podcast – where we ask if gratitude is the best attitude.

Links and resources

Emmons, R. A. (2007). THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Episode 33 - The Time of Your Life

Appreciate to Accumulate – a guided gratitude MP3 to kick-start the appreciation habit

Direct download: CA034.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

You think you have time

Does this apply to you? 

The trouble is you think you have time” Buddha

The answer, if you’re being honest, is probably - yes it does. 

We all think we will always have more time.

We know on an intellectual level we wont.  We understand the concept that our time here is limited. We see the evidence all around us.

And yet we often don’t accept it on an emotional level, and don’t act in accordance with it.

We carry on living our lives as if there will always be a tomorrow. Another time for us to make the changes we want to make and live the lives we want to live.

Maybe even another time somewhere in the future when we’ll be happy. With that happiness depending on changes we have yet to make.

So we find ourselves saying I’ll be happy when…(fill in the blank).

Time as a Present

If this all sounds a bit depressing, what about this then?

Yesterday is history, Tomorrow a mystery.
Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the Present.  

This is the flip side.

We can only ever really know the here and now – the present. Which is more reason to make the most of each day.

This saying also captures the essence of mindfulness – of living in the present moment and being mindful of the here and now.

Time as a concept

Time is an odd concept.

We take it for granted but what is it?

Is it a conceptual construct or convenient unit for us to measure changes and progress?

And how do we relate to it in our personal lives.

The Changeability Podcast Episode 33

These are some of the questions we’re asking in episode 33 of The Changeability Podcast – where we’re talking about The Time of Your Life.

We get a bit philosophical in this episode as we talk about time and how we relate to it, based on 3 things that happened this week to bring the subject of time to the front of our minds.

Specifically in episode 33 you find out about:

  • What these 3 have in common:
    • Prep for an online presentation
    • A final goodbye
    • The Tower of London
  • Where time starts
  • What happens to the time we loose
  • The one universal experience
  • Why time goes quicker the older you get
  • Who has the longest average lifespan out of the UK, US and Japan
  • How many days you have left
  • What happened in the year 1100AD
  • Why we’re obsessed with the Tudors and what we learn from them
  • Which century saw the most executions at the Tower of London
  • What this time talk means for us
  • Two positive ways of looking at time
  • Why this a good time to make changes in your life


Direct download: CA033.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

What is it that stops us doing what we want to do?  We’re not talking about the things we think we should be doing but those things we think we truly want to do. Yet even though we want to do them, something gets in the way of us actually doing them. 

It might be starting that new business, or the novel you know is inside of you.  Maybe it’s shedding the excess pounds getting you down, or eating the healthy food that’ll give you more energy.

Whenever you want to do something but you don’t see it through, you are resisting it on some level.

You are experiencing resistance to your goals, desires or dreams.

And we all experience it, that’s not the issue.  The issue is what we do about it. 

Do we let resistance win out and sabotage our intentions, or do we recognise it and deal with it.

That’s what we’re talking about in episode 32 of the Changeability Podcast with guest Tony L Brown.

"Knowledge alone is powerless, it’s what you do with that knowledge."
Tony L Brown


Tony is a coach, consultant, speaker, trainer, digital marketer, and host of the 3Vs Podcast, who helps people transition from employee to entrepreneur.


Tony’s also a man who knows all about resistance in his own life and with those he works with. 

Tony believes in battling resistance and shares with us 5 steps to overcoming resistance.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1v7

In episode 32 you’ll find out about:

  • How worrying about failure, rejection, and criticism are signs of resistance.
  • Why limiting beliefs like ‘I don’t...I can’t…I’m not’ are clues to what you’re resisting.
  • What resistance is and why you should care.
  • Where resistance comes from.
  • 5 steps to overcoming resistance.
  • Recognising resistance and limiting beliefs.
  • Being intentional and accountable.
  • Not worrying about what others think.
  • Why Kathryn doesn’t do matinees and what it says about her.
  • Why you’re a fighter.
  • It’s what you do that counts.


Direct download: CA032.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

Are you a rudderless boat being tossed about in life’s sea or are you on course to get what you want from life?  These might be difficult questions to answer but the secret to getting the changes you want in life starts here - being clear about how you want your changed life to look.

“Do you know where you’re going to, do you like the things that life has shown you, where are you going to, do you know?”

Whether you recognise the song or not, the words capture the first technique to manage your mind to get what you want in life and business.

It’s about setting your intentions and then finding out what’s getting in the way of making them happen. 

The likelihood is there are self-beliefs and negative thoughts lurking about in your subconscious working hard to keep you precisely where you are now. Nice and safe and secure, at least as far as your mind is concerned, even though you might not realise that’s where you want to be!

Yet recognising those thoughts is a great step forward and the start of getting rid of them.

But what to replace them with.  This is where positive affirmations come in, fortified by the power of visualizing the future you want.

Today we’re taking you back to school for a little revision session –starting with a little test - but don’t worry, you don’t have to tell us your score!  And by the end of it you’ll be up to speed with the 5 mind management techniques we’ve talked about on the Changeability Podcast so far.  

You’ll find out:

  • If you’re on course or being tossed about!
  • A simple question to uncover your purpose and goals.
  • The big difference between ends and means when it comes to your goals.
  • How to catch out your negative limiting beliefs.
  • Why Julian’s singing ‘Let it go’.
  • How to trick your subconscious into believing in yourself.
  • How to be the star in your own movie.


Direct download: CA031.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:31pm UTC

‘If you don’t like it – change it - may be simple to say but not so simple to do. Change can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be. You see it’s not your fault. Change is supposed to be difficult because that’s how we’re programmed to be. Yet once you understand that programming and how to work with it, you have a way to increase your success in whatever you want to do.’

This excerpt from Changeability – Manage your Mind – Change your Life sums up what we aim to do, not only with this book, but also on the Changeability Podcast. 

Our aim is to help you understand that internal mental programming and give you ways to work with it so you can change what you want to change, improve what you want to improve and have success in whatever you want to do.

This week on our 30th episode of the Changeability Podcast we look back at some of the key themes of the past 29 episodes.  These are the big ideas that underpin what we talk about on the podcast, write about in the blog and lie behind the Brilliant Living® products.

We believe that by understanding and taking these four themes on board you put yourself in a stronger position to make this quote come true for you.

“If you don’t like it – change it” 

Changeability Podcast Episode 30

In this episode you find out:

  • Why we’re celebrating reaching our 30th episode.
  • Some great advice about us from
  • The main underlying theme that runs through everything we do at Brilliant Living HQ and why it’s crucial for you.
  • Why you want to use the power of your mind to work for you.
  • Why we self-sabotage our good intentions.
  • The important difference between your conscious and subconscious.
  • If you’re like a super-tanker.
  • Why your subconscious doesn’t necessarily want what you want!
  • You can change your thoughts.
  • Change is up to you.


Direct download: CA030.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:41am UTC

Do you like to daydream? As a child were you told off for daydreaming in the classroom when you were supposed to be doing your school work? Maybe you were imagining what you were going to do with your friends after school, or what you wanted to be when you grew up, or how great it would be when you were old enough to do what you wanted. 

If so don’t knock it, you were practicing a useful technique to help you get that life you dreamt of having.  Because visualization is like daydreaming on purpose.

“To dream by night is to escape your life. To dream by day is to make it happen.” Stephen Richards


And with some tips on how to make the most of your imaginings and a bit of practice you can hone your daydreaming so it becomes a great mind management tool for you. That’s what we help you to do in episode 29 of the Changeability Podcast.

Episode 29 The Changeability Podcast

This week’s episode is a slightly different format (not that we really have a set format!) – with a practical show of two halves.

In the first half we give you through a step by step visualization guide. We share exactly what you can do to get the most out of your visualization experience – and enjoy it as a positive step on the way to making it real for you.

In the second half we have a guided visualization for you to listen to. But only do so where it’s safe to listen and relax (so not while driving at 70mph down the motorway).

We wanted to give you a way to get started straight away on some visualization practice if you haven’t done it before – and if you’re already into visualization then it will give you another visualization to use.

We decided to share a visualization for abundance with you, as many people would like more abundance in their life.  An abundant life is one full of the things you want it to be full of, which for most of us includes love, security, health and money amongst other things.  

Free gift

We’re excited to hear what you think of this guided visualization and as a thank you for listening to our podcast and for taking action to develop your changeability, we would love to give you a separate mp3 recording of this visualization for free.  We do sell a version of this in the website shop which has two different voices, so you can have a male or female version – and if you’d like this you can buy it here.  Or you can get your FREE version (female voice) here.

We hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing how you get on.

Specifically in this episode you find:

  • A step by step visualization guide to achieving your goals
  • The basic visualizing technique you can easily learn and do yourself
  • What to think about when you visualize
  • What to do if you can’t ‘see’ with your mind’s eye
  • How to be the star of the film of your life
  • You can be in the film or in the cinema
  • How to make it a ‘sensational’ experience
  • Why it’s like watching a play
  • How to finish your session
  • The key to success with visualization and mental rehearsal
  • How guided visualization and imagery can help you get what you want
  • A guided Visualization for Abundance
  • How to get your Brilliant Living® MP3 - Visualization for Abundance – for free

If you’ve got any other tips to add to make your visualisation even better in some way please let us know –drop us an email to and we’d also love to hear from you, as always, about how you get on with your visualization or what you’ve successfully visualized.

Direct download: CA029.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

What does it take to be successful in any part of your life? 

Yes, setting goals.

Yes, being clear about what you want.

Yes, doing the work and putting in the hours to create or improve or develop the skill or the relationship – or whatever it is you want to achieve. 

But what if there was another ingredient that you could throw into the mix to give you that extra edge?  Would you use it to up your game or even get ahead of the competition?

These might sound like sporting metaphors and we’ve used them on purpose, because this is the very thing that many people, including sportspeople, use to give them that extra something that leads to their success.

So what is it that they have? Well it’s something we all have it’s just they use it for a specific purpose.  It’s IMAGINATION. 

They use the power of imagination to create the success they desire, and you can do the same.

It’s true that the imagination is where this success initially starts, and where it plays out until it becomes reality.

But in that imagining and playing out of your vision of what success looks like and how to get it, you’re planting the neural seeds that grow into expectation and even memory, both mental and physical.  

This is all about mindset and getting your subconscious mind to work for you.

If you’re after inspiration to imagine your way to success, you’ll find it in episode 28 of the Changeability Podcast where we look at some of the people who have done just this.

You’ll hear from and about people who’ve experienced massive success in their field, whether in sports or entertainment. But it’s not just about the rich and famous as we also share some more everyday examples of how visualization can help you imagine your way to success, whatever that success looks like to you.

The Changeability Podcast - Episode 28

In this episode:

  • Test your powers of detection as we share the voices and experience of people who’ve used their imagination to visualize their success.
  • Hear the words of a super achiever who’s excelled in 3 different areas
  • Learn about the mega personality who used the practice of ‘future history’ to win win win
  • Find out which premier league footballer uses the power of visualization to play the perfect game
  • Hear how Johnny Wilkinson imagines scoring those rugby goals
  • Listen to how one London 2012 gold medal winner visualizes events to her advantage
  • Find out how Julian ended up with a hippopotamus and Kathryn passed her exams
  • Understand what happens in your brain as you imagine your way to success


Direct download: CA028.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:37am UTC

If visualization is one of the key mind management techniques sports people use to perform better and reach their goals, then mentally rehearsing what you want to achieve can do the same for you.

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to experience the benefits of using your imagination to visualize the future you want.

But how to visualize to get what you want?  What’s the best way to do it?

In episode 27 of the Changeability Podcast we take a look at what you can do to get the most out of visualization.

These are the little tricks of the trade of how to visualize for maximum effectiveness – in other words – how to visualize to get what you want.

It’s got a lot to do with rehearsing and making it as real as you can.

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. – George Bernard Shaw

In episode 27 you find out:

  • The vital link between visualization and rehearsing.
  • It’s all about acting – luvvies!
  • How Julian’s turning bad
  • What Julian’s doing to a song from 'The Pirates of Penzance'
  • And other slightly off subject but loosely connected stuff - including how Kathryn and Julian met.
  • You’re the actor and director of your own show
  • About the power of an emotional punch
  • How evocative music is
  • What is Julian’s favourite song
  • If your subconscious cares about the future


Direct download: CA027.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:00am UTC

This week we’re talking about a straight up, full on, mind management tool you can use in life and business to help you make changes and achieve your goals - VISUALIZATION.

Visualization uses the power of your imagination to create the life you want, by creating in your mind’s eye what you desire or want to achieve, and repeatedly visualizing it.

Far from being something way out or weird, visualization is natural and we all do it everyday of our lives.

We visualize when we’re being creative or planning something.  We use it in a positive way - like looking forward to our next holiday, or in a negative unhelpful way - like when we unnecessarily imagine things going wrong for us. (We talked about this in episode 20 ‘What is Visualization’ when we first looked at visualization.)

So if visualization is something you do naturally – wouldn’t it be great to take the visualisation you do naturally everyday, enhance it and make it work to your advantage? As a mind management tool - using the power of your mind to do what you want in a deliberate way (we’re all for that at BrilliantLivingHQ).

That’s the theory and In episode 26 of the Changeability Podcast we start looking at how we make it a reality – through using the technique of MENTAL REHEARSAL.

We look at what mental rehearsal is and how to use it to get the most from your visualization.

And if you think you find it difficult to visualize, we talk about different ways people can ‘see’ things in their mind.

What the mind can conceive and believe – it can achieve.  Napoleon Hill

More specifically in episode 25 you find the answers to these questions:

  • What is visualization?
  • What if you think you can’t visualize?
  • Can anyone visualize?
  • What is mental rehearsal?
  • What is Julian rehearsing?
  • Who uses mental rehearsal?
  • What exactly should you be mentally rehearsing to get what you want?
  • What are process simulation and outcome simulation and why should you care?
  • How can mental rehearsal help you resist a cream cake?
  • What’s it going to be - fantasy or expectation?
  • Can visualization solve your problems and challenges?


Direct download: CA026.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:31am UTC

If you want to get inside the mind of a successful entrepreneur and businessman, then episode 25 of the Changeability Podcast is your chance.  Because this week we talk with Chris Ducker who takes us on the roller coaster experience of what being an entrepreneur has been and is for him.

Chris shares the highs and lows, fears and rewards of his entrepreneurial journey so far and we chat about the mindset, techniques and tactics, which have made him the success he is today. And it’s not all sweetness and light, as Chris opens up about the challenges he’s faced along the way and how he’s dealt with them.

“Do what you do best – delegate the rest” Chris Ducker

Chris, of – is a serial entrepreneur and accomplished businessman, with a bricks and mortar business in the Philippines employing over 200 staff and an online business helping become people start or improve their own businesses.  He is also a coach, blogger, author of the best selling book Virtual Freedom, sought after speaker and host of the popular New Business Podcast. And as of this week, co-host of the #1 business podcast – 1DayBB alongside his friend Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income fame.

“Time is our most valuable commodity – use it wisely” Chris Ducker


More specifically on episode 25 you will find out about:

  • How Chris went from employee to employer at 37,000 feet
  • The fears Chris faced and how he dealt with them
  • The blessing and curse of the entrepreneurial mindset
  • The self-beliefs that get in the way of achieving our best
  • The cost of success
  • The day Chris couldn’t get out of bed
  • What to do when you’re tied to your smart phone
  • The biggest fear faced by entrepreneurs
  • Superhero syndrome and how to cure it
  • The birth of the virtual CEO
  • The importance of goals
  • Chris’s impersonation of Roger Taylor of Queen
  • The power of a Mastermind group and how they helped Chris achieve over and above his expectations
  • The challenge of writing a book
  • How to pronounce ‘paleo’ in an English accent
  • How many hours Chris works in a day and weekWhat success look like
Direct download: CA025.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:18pm UTC

5 words for a great year ahead

The power of words 

There is power in words. We all know the power of words to motivate, educate and communicate.

We use words to communicate with each other and also with ourselves.

Our thoughts are formed in words and we have an inner-voice that commentates on what we do and think, and not always in the most positive of ways!

So why not use your words to your advantage?

One way of doing this is to have a few well-chosen words that sum up the essence of what you want to achieve or experience in the year ahead.

These become your words for the year.

The idea is you write them out and place them where you will see them every day. And you regularly repeat them, think about them, look at them and use them, until they’re impressed onto your subconscious and become part of how you think, act and behave.

In short, these words work as shorthand for your aspirations and as affirmation of the way you want to be. They are a reminder of your goals and reinforcement for your intentions.

Your words for a great year

So what are your 5 words for a great year ahead? Choose between 1 and 5 words to sum up what you what to achieve, experience, be or or have in the year ahead.

Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:


If you want this year to be better than last year, then thinking about what you want to change is a great place to start. Will this be a year of change for you and if so what is it you want to change?

It’s no good doing everything the same as you did it last year and probably the year before that, if you want to have a different outcome.

So think about the word change every day. What is it you're changing this year, what is it you want to do differently? How do you want your year to be different from last year? What is it you want more or less of, what is it you want to improve?

All of these things can be encapsulated in that one little word change - which is why it's so great to have it as one of your words of the year. Write it out and look at it every day and remind yourself every day what it is you’re changing in your life.

And if you want to have the changeability - the ability to change – you might like to start here.


People say money makes the world go round and of course we all need money but what about love? The Beatles sang all you need is love and we know that's not true either. But the truth lies somewhere in between.

The fact is that love is what makes life great. Love is what motivates us to do things and makes us feel good.  This can be love for your family, your spouse or partner, your colleagues and friends and love for yourself.

By having love as one of your words this year it helps to remind you of the driving force of life and the thing that holds us together as families and as communities.

If you'd like a way of reminding yourself about love or want to open yourself up to more opportunities for love in your life - check out these affirmations for love.


Abundance is a bit of an old-fashioned word that is also a great word because it captures the essence of so many things. Whatever it is you want more of in your life - the word abundance can capture it all.

Do you want abundance in monetary terms; this is how most people think of the word abundance? It’s a lovely word for it because it gives this beautiful idea of having more than you need. Abundance suggests there is no limit to what you can have.

This is an abundant world we live in with more than enough to go around. There is no limit on money, it’s an energetic exchange of value and a commodity.

So if you want more abundance in your life, if you want money in your life in this coming year, focusing on the idea of abundance is a great way to start thinking positively about what you have and how you can have more of it - what ever that might be.


The word growth encapsulates the notion of learning or developing or getting better at something. It could be a new skill, or the way we want to act, it might be a characteristic we want to develop like being more attentive - or maybe we want to read more because reading and learning is at the root of development of any type.

Maybe you have a business and want to grow your business - so the word growth is great because it can be whatever you want it to be, personal or business related. But as with all your words – as you write it down, as you say it, as you think it, have an idea in your head about what you mean by it otherwise it’s just a vague concept.

Thank you

Appreciation, gratitude, thank you - they’re all words which bring us back to the here and now and help us be grounded in our everyday experience. In doing so we become aware of all the amazing, fabulous, wonderful, gorgeous, lovely things in our life that are going well.

Having the words thank you or appreciation or gratitude helps to remind us every day of what we already have and how privileged we are to live in this age, in this time of comfort, luxury and modern medicine.

The Changeability Podcast Episode 24 - CA024

You can hear us talking about all of this and more in episode 24 of the Changeability Podcast, where we also share our own words for the coming year.

Direct download: CA024.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:05pm UTC

The first of January was dedicated by the Romans to their God of Gates and Doors - Janus. Janus had a distinctive and unusual look – he had two faces which rather cleverly meant he could look behind him with one face whilst simultaneously looking forward with his other face.

Just as doors and gates look in two directions, this god could look both backward and forward at the same time. This made him not only the guardian of exits, entrances and transitions, but just as you go through a door or gate to enter a new place, Janus was seen as the God of Beginnings.

We of course remember Janus in the name of our first month of the year, January, but he represented beginnings and firsts of all types. This makes Janus a perfect symbol for us at this and any time of the year.

So although we’re doing the two-faced Janus thing of looking back (in last weeks Changeability Podcast - episode 22) and looking forward to new beginnings today at the beginning of January – it doesn’t matter whether you read or listen to this in January or any month or day of the year.

It’s about new beginnings of any type at any time. Indeed Janus was originally honoured on the first day of every month and at other key times in the year and people’s lives such as harvest, birth and marriage.

Whilst the passing of one year into another lays down a useful marker in time to think about our lives, we can take any time as a cut off point to sign off a portion of our lives and start a new segment afresh.  Compartmentalising our thinking into years, months, weeks or even days,  gives us a convenient time span to divide and measure ourselves by.

The great thing is that any moment in our life can be a gateway to a new and different pathway – to new beginnings.

In today’s episode of the Changeability Podcast we’re talking about the concept of looking forward.  And asking you what you’re looking forward to doing, achieving, experiencing and being this year.

Are you approaching this year with excited anticipation and embracing it as something to literally look forward to. Because when we look forward to something – we expect it to happen – we’ve set an intention to do something and are now looking forward to it.  We’re looking at ways of doing this on today’s show.

Specifically in this week’s episodes we look at:

  • Your score for last year score out of 10 (and ours)
  • A totally insignificant unscientific sample of what people are saying about the new year.
  • What is a tabula rasa and what’s on yours (and why does Julian like showing off with Latin)?
  • What are you looking forward and expecting to happen this year?
  • What will you score for this year be?
  • How to reverse engineer this year.
  • What do you need to change or do differently to get to your new rating?
  • Making happy and energised two important words this year.
  • What are your themes for the year?
  • The positivity challenge.
  • A big warning about what happens if you don’t do this (hint – nothing).
  • Are you meandering or living on purpose?
  • Who’s setting your agenda?
  • What are you literally looking forward to this year?

5 questions to kick-start your year

  1. In one year’s time how will your score this year out of 10?
  2. What do you need to do and change to reach that score?
  3. What are your big themes or goals for the coning year?
  4. What is your ‘why’ or purpose behind these (in other words - the reason you have these themes and goals)
  5. Are you looking forward to an amazing year?

Here’s to a great year ahead.  We appreciate you being part of ours and hope we continue to be a part of yours. 

For action

  1. Answer the 5 questions to kick-start your year
  2. Let us know your big themes and goals for the year in the comments below or in our private Changeability FB group – which you can join here


Direct download: CA023.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

We’re at the end of the year – so how was it for you?

What have been the highligh