Try these five simple yet effective life coaching tips to improve your happiness and success levels by changing the way you think and behave.
In this article, I share five valuable life coaching tips to help you feel happy and enjoy your life.
Working with a life coach is powerful. A life coach is trained to help you achieve your goals AND increase your happiness, success, confidence and motivation. Life coaching and NLP therapy will help you get what you want in life or even to change your life, if that is what you want.
1. Life coaching tip #1: Let go of old stories to increase your happiness
If you keep running old stories in your mind, such as ‘he did this to me’ or ‘if only I had done X’, you are not being present; you are living in the past.
Living in the past means you are wasting time and energy in the present moment. The past is unchangeable.
Action: Letting go of these old stories may at first seem hard but is in fact a straightforward process. You can CHOOSE to keep running the program of such stories in your mind, or you can choose to stop or change the program.
Watching TV, you flick through the channels and choose which station to watch. If you don’t like one channel, you change it. It’s the same with your mind stories; you can change the program to something more helpful and enjoyable such as how much you are looking forward to seeing friends at the weekend, how grateful you are for what you have today or a new way to reach a personal goal.
You can choose to stop negative thoughts and instead choose to focus on positive thinking.
Another way to let go of old stories is to practice forgiveness. Read The Healing Powers of Forgiveness - How to Forgive Yourself and Others
2. Life coaching tip #2: Know your needs and wants for the year ahead to increase your success
It is important to know what you want and need in life. When you are clear in your mind on what you need and want, you can make choices and decisions with clarity and develop good habits to move forward.
A need is something you have to have
A want is something you would like to have
The Oxford Dictionary definitions are:
A need is something you require because it is essential or very important, rather than just desirable
A want is to have a desire to possess or do something
Many would say that a need is something that is essential for you to survive, such as water, food, shelter. (How we each determine essential is subjective.) A want requires your energy and effort to make it a reality.
I personally have a need for respect; this is very important to me. I want to have enough money to live on, to have a loving & supportive relationship with my partner, to live in a hot climate and to write a book.
Action: What are your needs and wants for this year? Write them down for clarity. Make two columns on a piece of paper and write your needs on one side and your wants on the other. Needs and wants change at different points in life, sometimes several times a year, so it is worth doing this exercise regularly.
3. Life coaching tip #3: Stop saying ‘I should’ and ‘I can’t’ (one of my favourite life coaching tips)
Your self talk and the way you talk with other people has a huge impact on your mindset.
You may often say ‘I should’; for example, ‘I should do X’ or ‘I should be more Y’. If you switch should to could, you will stop punishing yourself and you will create choice. Everything becomes a choice with ‘could’ because the alternative to could is could not.
‘I should apply for this new job’ > ‘I could apply for this new job’
Alternative is I could not apply for this new job; I choose not to apply for this new job
‘I should drink less wine’ > ‘I could drink less wine’
Alternative is I could not drink less wine; I choose not to drink less wine.
‘I can’t’ is another example of unhelpful language. ‘I can’t’ says you have limitations, which are usually only in your mind. By changing ‘I can’t’ to ‘I don’t’ puts you back in control of your thoughts and actions because you are choosing.
‘I can’t lose weight’ becomes ‘I don’t lose weight’ (I choose not to lose weight)
‘I can’t give up my job’ becomes ‘I don’t give up my job’ (I choose not to give up my job)
‘I can’t end this relationship’ becomes ‘I don’t end this relationship’ (I choose not to end this relationship)
Action: Each time you hear yourself think or say out loud ‘I should’, say the sentence again with ‘I could’. Each time you hear yourself think or say out loud ‘I can’t’, say the sentence again with ‘I don’t’. Notice the impact this has on your mindset and sense of control over your actions.
There are more life coaching techniques to help you improve your self talk in my 1-hour online positive mindset course.
4. Life coaching tip #4: Get out of your own way
Have you noticed that your mind frequently creates hurdles to stop you moving towards something you want or need. There are a number of mental avoidance tactics at play:
To spot these tactics requires your mindful awareness of your thoughts. When you begin to notice them, you will see how you are not moving forward because of them. The next step is to challenge them which creates new neural pathways towards success and happiness. To show you how this works I will share a personal example:
When I wanted to leave my London career and move overseas to Thailand, here are some of thoughts that came up:
What if it doesn’t work out?
What if I don’t have enough money (without my nice monthly corporate salary)?
If I wait until next year, I might get a bonus at work which would help.
Am I competent to run my own business, without the support of a boss, organisation, office space, deadlines? I’ve always worked for a company; have I got the balls to do this?
The weather in Thailand isn’t its best right now, I could wait until it’s hotter there.
Do I REALLY want this? Maybe I am okay staying where I am.
I know these are natural thoughts when one is making life-changing decisions, but let me know explain to you how I challenged them all:
What if it doesn’t work out? This is FEAR & SELF DOUBT
Response: What if it does work out? What if it is incredible?
What if I don’t have enough money (without my nice monthly corporate salary)? EXCUSE & FEAR
Response: Enough money, for what? Get clear on what 'enough' money is; look at ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses; what can I sell before I go that I won’t need any more?
If I wait until next year, I might get a bonus at work which would help EXCUSE
Response: Even though more money would be handy, this is another delay tactic to avoid making a decision at the present time
Am I competent to run my own (coaching) business? INVALID REASONING, SELF DOUBT & FEAR
Response: There is no need to doubt my abilities... 1) trained and been certified as a coach b) have 15 years' experience in business 3) have purposefully surrounded myself with and learnt from many entrepreneurs in the past year, absorbing their spirit, to make this transition happen?
The weather in Thailand isn’t its best right now, I could wait EXCUSE & INVALID REASONING
Response: Delay tactic. Plus, the weather in Thailand is good nearly all year round, bar a short monsoon season
Do I REALLY want this? Maybe I am okay staying where I am PROCRASTINATION
Response: This is just a way to either buy some more time or to eliminate the idea all together
Action: If you spot when you are getting in our own way – when your mind is creating hurdles that are holding you back – you can challenge the mind and push back. A really great question to ask yourself is: ‘What will happen if I DON’T do this?’ Quite often, you will realise that nothing will change and you will continue to feel unsatisfied, strengthening your resolve to more forward.
5. Life coaching tip #5: Protect your time to increase your happiness
Your time is precious, and there is much to do in this lifetime. It is important to protect your time so you can have time to do the things you like, either with the people you love, or alone.
A client, Lucy* spent hours organising and attending coffee dates with people who always wanted her advice on their personal situations.
She kept doing this because she felt she ‘should’. It became draining for her and she began falling behind with her own life projects.
Lucy was spending 10-12 hours a week organising and attending the coffee dates. That’s half a day a week, a huge amount of time as she also has three children, a busy job and would rather be doing something else.
I asked Lucy to share what she wanted to get out of life and how she would like to spend her time:
To meet new, different people, and potentially a partner
To learn new skills
To have new experiences
To have fun
Lucy then wrote three simple questions to ask herself each time she was asked to meet up for a coffee. If she didn’t get at least one yes, she declined the invite:
Will I meet new people who are different?
Will I learn something new?
Will I have fun? Will I laugh?
Action: How do you want to spend your time, and what questions can you ask yourself to protect how you spend your time? Write down what you want to get out of life and then create 3-5 questions you can apply to such situations. This will help you evaluate invitations differently and get back on track with doing things you really want to do.
* Name changed