December 2015

Two inspirations ago, in the fable of The frogs in the milk pail I told you about starting my day with some physical exercises to wake up my body, followed by a 20 minute meditation session. In the meantime I have been doing this long enough for it to have become a habit. I no longer stop to think about it. I get up and do it, just like brushing my teeth.

Taking up new habits is surprisingly easy for me, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction. After having read Gretchen Rubin’s “Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Life”, I now also understand why, and that it is not as easy for everyone or that not everybody is equally interested or feels like doing so. She describes four types of “tendencies” when speaking about how people deal with habits.

I recognise myself in what she calls an “Upholder”. These types tend to meet outer, as well as inner expectations. They do not like to make mistakes or disappoint people, including themselves. They possess a lot of self control and have little difficulty to hold their promises or to respect deadlines (they often even finish something too early). They like a reasonable set of rules and regulations (provided they make sense) and can sometimes struggle when the expectations or rules are not clear or change suddenly. Upholders can easily make promises to themselves when they want to achieve a certain goal and they will also stick to them. They love habits.

Are you curious to know which creature of habit you are? Click HERE to take the online quiz and discover your dominant tendency for dealing with habits. This quiz is totally based on Gretchen Rubin’s book on the one hand and on the other hand on the test which is available from her own website (who said you always need to be 100% original?). By the way, the book deals with much more than these four tendencies. It is certainly a must-read.

I am curious to see if your answers will confirm the procentual analysis of Gretchen Rubin regarding the distribution between Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels. I will keep you posted!

Each of the four “tendencies” – as Rubin describes them – deals with habits very differently. And although the Upholders apparently deal with them most easily, the happiest and most successful persons are those who know how to use their “tendency” to their own advantage and, equally importantly, have found ways to counterbalance the limitations.

What I have mainly learned is that everybody is different and you cannot expect someone else to handle or see matters in the same way as you do. Self knowledge and understanding of how other people experience life is crucial if you want to avoid unnecessary and useless tension and conflict. In family relations, but also in a professional environment this can bring peace and harmony.

Do you feel like getting to know yourself better and learn how you experience life and which creature of habit you are (but also much more)? Contact me for a free introductory session. Since I will start with my certification in January I charge reduced fees (but rest assured, the coaching quality is not reduced, quite the contrary).

And if you want to comment on this article or share your experience regarding habits (or who knows your tendency), click on the title to activate the comment field below the article. Talk to you next year!

I think that nearly all of us wish to improve our lives, in one way or another. This is nicely illustrated by our recurring New Year’s resolutions to start a new habit.

The new habits we strive to adopt usually fall within one of the following categories:

  • Eat and drink more healthy (no or less sugar, more fruit and veggies, less alcohol)
  • Move and exercise more
  • Manage our money more sensibly or improve our budgeting (save more regularly, pay off debts, donate to a good cause, stick to our budget)
  • Rest, relax and enjoy more profoundly (no watching TV in bed, switch off our mobiles, spend more time in nature, embrace silence, get enough sleep)
  • Achieve more and stop postponing (learn how to play an instrument, work without interruptions, learn a language, start a blog)
  • Simplify, declutter, clean and organise
  • Embark on meaningful relationships, with other people, the world, spiritually.

But often we are left frustrated, because despite our good intentions, our resolutions lead nowhere. The transformation we long for is not achieved, everything stays as it was – or maybe we never even try to make a change in the first place.

The reason why most resolutions fizzle out is because they are linked to DOING something and taking action.

“I will DO this…” (eg lose weight) “–> … so I will HAVE X ….” (self esteem) “ –> …and then I will BE X …” (confident)

The average New Year’s resolution is not aimed at the core of the issue, namely “BEING”.

Positive and lasting change is easier to achieve if you follow this order: BEING –> DOING –> HAVING. It means that if you really want to change something, you should start from the “BEING” level. When you start making changes to this level in your life, DOING and HAVING will follow much easier.

Moreover, I have experienced that a change on the “BEING” level is faster and more profound – it not only happens in your mind and thoughts, but in your whole “being”. That is also why it is so gratifying as a coach to work via the body, to make people feel where their emotions are, to make them stand up and move, to make them pay attention to their breathing, to literally make them crawl inside the skin of their dream and make them experience how that feels.

Does this appeal to you or do you have a resolution that you really want to achieve? Don’t hesitate to contact me. As a coach, I can help you with this.

Another fascinating element in this change process is learning new daily habits. I will tell you more about this in the next Inspiration. See you in two weeks!

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When I drew back the curtains this morning, I looked out at a frozen garden. There was frost everywhere – on the grass, the leaves, the roofs and fences, with a clear blue sky and winter sun above. A very peaceful scene, in stark contrast to the past windy and wet autumn days, where the rain seemed to be pouring down relentlessly. I notice it has a positive effect on my mood and my thoughts. Is there any synchronicity at play or is this pure coincidence?

In my previous Inspiration I told you that I have been experiencing these past weeks as very chaotic, without any clear direction. Doing several things at the same time, reading 3 books in parallel, jotting down ideas and to-dos on scraps of paper that are scattered all over the place,… in other words, my focus is lost.

It made me very uneasy and dissatisfied, until my husband pointed out the concept of the “Groan Zone”, a term used in group process facilitation in enterprises and organisations – his field of expertise. The Groan Zone is situated between the divergence and the convergence zone. In the divergence zone people explore ideas and become aware of the different possibilities. It is where they experience expansion and opening.

But then there is that Groan Zone that I got to know pretty well recently. You have all these ideas that go in all different directions. You are struggling to put everything in its right place and give it structure. You get stuck and feel like you are moving backwards instead of forwards. Apparently all of this is needed and useful, as after this phase clarity and order will be created from what seems chaos, in the convergence zone.

With groups it is important to have a trained facilitator managing this process, but I will have to be my own manager. And as I said before, not to lose courage and continue with confidence, like the frog that had suddenly churned a lump of butter.

The peaceful winter scene that I see from my office window this morning puts me in the right mood. And to complete the synchronicity, a ray of sun appears on the wall in front of me. Speaking of clarity and focus!

Next Thursday you will exceptionally already receive a new Inspiration in your mailbox. You will understand why.