Welcome Friends

Welcome to my funny little world. Sometimes it's a bit sad, sometimes it's a bit mad, but I try to give you some uplifting words every day. And in amongst them I'll give you a little philosophy and celebrate just being. If you like a good bedtime story or you are just curious about your life or mine or you want to be encouraged, then come on in, the water's lovely!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Hypnosis is better pain relief for birth than pethidine

I always felt this instinctively but now there is some research to back it up

If you click on "research to back it up" above, you will open the web article about the research. Here is the link in full: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20101010/Bathing-better-than-pethidine-as-pain-relief-during-labor-Survey.aspx

Hypnosis for birth, or "hypnobirth" classes are run at my clinic in Northampton. Click on my website for full details and look on the blog for the next course dates

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Hypnosis CDs

My range of hypnosis CDs is coming along very nicely. The first one, The Bump CD, is available on Amazon and on my own website. That one is used to aid relaxation in pregnancy, bonding with your baby, helping you to have a confident pregnancy and start to promote feelings of confidence for the birth. It is selling really well on Amazon already. So well in fact that I may have to do another production run soon.

I was in the studio last week, recording the next in the Belief Bump Baby series. This next one is all about support to IVF treatment. I was really pleased with the way that recording session went. The tracks are perfect and the sound quality is fantastic. When you add Nick Willis's beautiful music to the background, you end up with a very high quality product indeed.

It won't be available until after Christmas but watch this space - Helen McPherson Hypnotherapy CDs are going to be very popular!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Next Course Dates

The next childbirth course will be running in January. There are still a couple of places available.

The following course is booking to start in February. It's a 3 session package - choose 1,2 or all 3 sessions. Dates are 26th February, 12th March and 26th March. Just call me to book or see my website for more details.

It really is a good course, dispels all your fears and prepares you for one of the most incredible days of your life so you can be calm and confident and looking forward to it with joy. I give you lots of CDs to take away and practise with at home too.

Zoe said, "I would definitely recommend this to others... enabling us to feel a lot more relaxed about the experience."

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Let's get emotional

Yes, it's time to get emotional - really emotional! Forget the idea of balance and use all those feelings that we are used to hiding. I know, it's a bit of a step change but keep with me.

Last week I met a wonderful mentor and motivator called Sunil Bali and he reminded me of something I had totally forgotten. To place emotions on our goals. Huh??? If we use our emotions then we make something more real. If we link emotions to a memory then we recreate it for ourselves and can revivify that memory.

If we add emotions and feelings to goals in the future, the entire thing becomes more real for us. The more real it becomes, the more enthused we become with it because we do want to FEEL that emotion we have conjured, that emotional value that we have placed on a future event or situation. And let's make no mistake about this. We DO place more value on emotions than on money for example. (I'd be surprised if you have to think about that statement for long.)

So what we do is to attach an emotion to a goal and it becomes far more effective as a motivating force. We are giving the goal power – emotional power. Hopefully you have found the power of stating and committing to SMART goals this year. I know I have. Your challenge for next year is to add emotion to next years goals. How will you feel when you have achieved them? I know I felt stupidly, ridiculously happy and free and proud of myself when I submitted my tax return in November instead of on 31st January! OK, I'll pause for riotous laughter.... But it was something that I was honestly happy about because it freed my feelings. I had nothing hanging over me, I was able to stretch out and go forward without being dragged back by a nagging feeling that I had something very important to do.

So this year, goals will be SMARTE. Shall we add R for "Review Regularly"? This would make goals that are SMARTER. So to recap, goals should be:

Reviewed Regularly

I'm committing to this again for next year. Are you?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

New Year's Resolutions

No not yet! Last year's goals is what I'm talking about.

Have you been keeping up with your SMART goals that you set at the beginning of the year? Have you been regularly reviewing them?

I'll admit that my regular reviews became a bit sketchy as the year went on BUT I have just done my year end review and I am really pleased with the results. I gave myself 5 top-level goals at the beginning of the year, both personal and work related. I am pleased to say that I have either made progress or substantially achieved 4 of the 5. The one for which I have made no progress at all really was the lowest priority and I don't mind the fact that it has stuck.

The best bit is my business goals, which have mainly been achieved this year. One of my big goals concerned marketing and branding and that goal is just reaching its zenith. Really it's all due to the fact that I got round to picking up the phone to a marketing company called Create-a-Brand who have worked some amazing magic. do just what they say on the tin and you can see the results on my new website VERY soon. It's an exciting time. I can honestly say that with the branding they have created, it has given me the impetus to go forward and grab some of those goals.

BUT, it all started with proper goal setting at the beginning of the year. It's vital to your work and your personal life. So dust off those goals from January, review them and start to formulate next year's. You will be amazed at what you can achieve if you start with this simple process.

Oh, and a very happy Hannukah to those that celebrate it

Friday, 26 November 2010

New openings

Yes, HQ has a lot going on. I heard this week that I have been accepted as a Faculty member of the Institute of Clinical Hypnosis (ICH). I will be running a course next year instructing other therapists in hypnotherapy for fertility.

It's a huge and growing market, rater sadly. 1 in 6 couples in UK has trouble conceiving and 1 in 10 couples has fertility treatment. There are thousands of IVF treatments carried out in UK every year and 1.5% of babies are born as a result of IVF conceptions.

Hypnotherapy has a huge part to play in helping people overcome psychological barriers to conception and also to provide positive emotional support whilst a couple is goingthrough IVF. Even if the therapy does not result in a pregnancy, the benefit of hypnotherapy during the treatment is to help a couple cope far more easily with its stresses and strains.

So, not only am I going through surgery myself, developing courses and marketing material for hypnotherapists, I am also putting the final touches to my next commercial CD. The one for pregnancy relaxation is already available on Amazon and should be joined by the IVF Companion prior to Christmas. How can I ever fit my clients in?!

Busy time but resting!

All sorts going on at HQ HMcH. That's Headquarters Helen McPherson Hypnotherapy if you need it in full :-)

I am half enjoying an enforced rest period as I recover from a little operation on my knee. The anaesthetist was very interested in how hypnosis can be used for pain relief and for anaesthetics. I will admit that I went for the chemical versions this time! Actually I almost always do; it is hard to provide the necessary pain relief on your own, you normally need a therapist with you and have had plenty of practise.

Self-hypnosis does come into its own during dental work and other minor medical procedures. I usually drop myself into a trance and float off for a while. I believe I have fallen asleep during a root canal treatment. I should have warned the dentist on that occasion however - he suddenly got all worried about me.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Sports Psychology

I met someone on Friday who was very interested in sports psychology and how hypnotherapy can help. Let me give you a bit of a blunt introduction.

On Thursday evening I was watching Rugby Club on Sky Sports. It's a magazine type programme that rounds up all the news, views and features in rugby union. There was of course a long feature and discussion about the forthcoming England vs New Zealand game on Saturday. From the commentary and the profiles presented, it looked like it would be an exciting game and England had every chance of winning.

Every chance that is until the head coach, Martin Johnson spoke. He said, "Yes, we'll give it a good try." A good try! A good TRY???!!! At that moment I knew that England were going to lose.

It wouldn't matter what they tried to do on the pitch. If their coach is seeing the game in terms of trying to win, then the players will pick that up and will also play to try when they should be playing to win.

It's quite a simple thing to learn and put into practice. Tell your team, your employees, your managers exactly what you want them to do and their brains will process exactly what you have told them. If Martin Johnson had told his team that they were a stronger team (and they probably were) and that he expected them to go out there and play their best rugby in order to see a score in the twenties whilst defending hard in order to stop the opposition from scoring, then I suspect strongly that we would have seen a win. Perhaps Johnson did say that to the team that afternoon, but by then it was too late. He had beenon national TV telling the nation that his team were going to try hard. Players are not immune to that talk and that attitude.

This is not a criticism of Martin Johnson, I am just using the situation as an example. Use positive language, the language of winning, in order to influence your team and it will pay off. Use it on yourself too in your "self-talk," that dialogue that runs through your head and see the dividends.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

She gave so much

Many people believe that animals have a healing touch. Perhaps you have heard of places in America where disabled children go to swim with dolphins and they are changed. Or you know of people who use their horses for therapy. There are even dogs who go to visit sick people in hospital because it is known that owning an stroking an animal is good for your mental health. The programme is called PAT - Pets As Therapy

Well, in her own small way, Tilly the Patchwork Dog did her bit for therapy. I have been seeing an autistic teenaged boy for some months to help him overcome his severe dog phobia. I had been using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). He had progressed brilliantly and so we decided that we needed to step up a gear with some managed desensitisation.

So one hot afternoon in the summer we brought Tilly to meet him. Soppy, quiet old Tilly mooched around a bit and eventually flopped down in the sunshine. And after a while my brave client came and sat with us. He managed to stroke my beautiful, gentle girl and she let him get used to her without pushing him too far. I nearly cried, it was amazing. This boy really wanted to see her and meet her and stroke her, he was fascinated.

We hoped she would be well enough to visit him again but sadly it was not meant to be. I am just so grateful to her to remember that one of the last things she achieved in her life was to help a boy who wasn't able to help himself. Animals are so trusting and gentle and giving.

When I think how much Tilly gave us in her short life I am truly humbled. Such a special dog.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Radio Gaga

Well my heavens, what a busy week I am having. Not only have I finished my tax return report for my accountant way ahead of Christmas, let alone ahead of January, AND achieved one of my stated goals for the year... Phew! Sorry I am going to have to draw breath here.....

I was so proud of the tax return. It hangs over me from before its even the beginning of the new tax year! During my goal setting exercise in January, I stated that I wanted to submit my information by the end of May. Well I did in fact achieve most of it by then but then I left the remainder, and left it and left it. Until Now! What a massive relief.

And what else? Well... this afternoon I have had my Pregnancy CD accepted by a local retailer, which I am totally chuffed about. If you are in the know, it is Pink & Blue Baby World online and in Daventry, Northants.

And... I was on local radio today, talking about hypnosis for fertility. It started with an interview with the Chair of the Gamete Donation Trust as she has come out today saying that sperm donors should be paid more than women who donate their eggs. I was then asked to comment on her position. I did of course remain neutral but was able to plug my business a little. Thinking about it now in the cold light of day I don't think men should be paid more. It is less risky to them and despite the fact that this LauraVitjens thinks it takes 30 visits to a fertility clinic to donate sperm, actually it doesn't take anywhere near that many visits. And there are no risks to a man's health from doing it either.

So there you go, I am "off the fence"

And don't think that feritility issues affect "other people" either. It is a growing and silent epidemic. 1 in 6 couples has difficulty in conceiving and 1 in 10 couples has treatment for it. Everyone knows someone that has had IVF treatment or other fertility treatments, even if you think you don't.

Friday, 8 October 2010


On 29 December 2008 I wrote,

"You know that your pet is going to die before you do. You absolutely know it but to be faced with it suddenly was not funny. I really didn't think she was coming home again. And every moment with her now is a bonus, every walk is precious."

And yes it was precious, but my beautiful Patchwork Dog has gone now. A week ago we went for a walk in the morning, had our breakfast together and mooched about the house all day. At tea time, she was poorly, not eating - unheard of! Then 2 trips to the vet, a night sat up with her and she was gone. My beautiful princess dog had had to go, the old clothes not working any more, at the end of their given life.

It is VERY VERY hard. We had 20 months of her, when she had been kept alive with the skill of the vets and her medications. She'd been slowing down over the last 6 months though, almost imperceptibly winding down slowly.

Personally I have never known grief quite like this. I am a big dog lover but have never been through this before and it has thrown me. In a post a long time ago, when we knew she was sick, I promised to tell the story of the patchwork dog and me. Not right now, it is too sad but one day. In the mean time, if you want more of the story, if you click on the post labels for Dogs to the Left of the page you'll get a bit more about my dog and me, and a picture of two.

RIP Tilly 17 June 1998 to 30 September 2010.

I wonder what she was doing on Millenium Eve....?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Beauty School

Seeing is believing. Or so they say.
But what if you were on the inside, and knew that the belief was not based on reality?
One lady I met recently used to run what she described as a beauty school. But this was no ordinary beauty school. It aimed to match the inside to the outside. It was her undying belief that what we have inside shows through onto the outside and so the outside only needs a little tweaking to maximise each individual’s potential to look good. The real magic came from transforming people on the inside.

Have you ever seen Trinny and Susanna transforming people through their clothes, hair and make-up? Or that South African stylist who presents, “10 Years Younger”? If you look closely you will see that the people on these shows aren’t looking great because they are not feeling great. They have a lack of confidence or self-esteem because of something that happened in their lives. This “event” could be dramatic or relatively ordinary but the common theme is that the participants aren’t taking care of themselves because they don’t care. And they don’t care because they have lost their own confidence.

It doesn’t take too much effort to buy some new clothes, have a better haircut and learn how to apply make-up. And the lady I met with the beauty school offered all of this, but what was best is that she also offered the deep therapy to make the confidence of new clothes really stick and take hold at a deeper level. Hers was a beauty school from within, really understanding that beauty isn’t skin deep at all.

It’s easy to shine, if you shine from inside.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Hypnotherapy or not?

Prospective clients who are enquiring about hypnotherapy sometimes need to be educated. Followeres and readers of this blog and my Facebook page may sometimes be amazed at what we can achieve to help our clients live happier lives. And it feels great for me too, let's be honest!

But we are not ubiquitous miracle workers and it is good to remember this sometimes. I had an enquiry this week from a lady looking for help for her daughter who was in a hospital psychiatric ward, possibly suffering from borderline personality disorder and was apparently "emotionally unstable" as described by mental health nurses. Hypnotherapists are not often trained to deal with psychiatric diseases/pathology and I gently explained this to the enquirer.

I don't like turning people away but occasionally I have to. Possibly I could have helped the young lady in question but there is a big risk involved. We have to remember our code of ethics and not take on cases that we are not qualified to deal with.

What upset me about the incident was that the lady was desperately disappointed. That was to be expected but I was shocked that she said I was the first person she had contacted who said they couldn't help. She had spoken to some NLP practitioners who had told her that her daughter needed NLP. This course of action is dangerous. NLP and hypnotherapy are not cure-alls and practitioners must remember this. Yes we are all in business to make a buck but not at the expense of vulnerable clients and their parents.

I am an empathetic and understanding person. I really hope this lady can find some appropriate help for her daughter. I also hope it is not with unscrupulous and unethical practitioners.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Belief, Bump, Baby - More tiny feet!

No, not for me!

Another client is pregnant! I sent her a pre-conception hypnosis CD to use prior to starting her IVF treatment cycle and wouldn't you know it, 5 weeks later she is pregnant.

I am finding it hard to keep my feet on the ground - jumping in the air with joy for these couples is the best! I feel so happy it's like I am celebrating my own good news. (Quite apart from the fact that these couples have saved thousands of pounds that would have been spent on IVF treatments)

"Belief Bump Baby" is how I describe my services for fertility, pregnancy and birth - and beyond. Not only hypnosis, I start at the very beginning with fertility counselling. If you don't know whether to see a doctor, if you think you might be too old, if you don't know how to access fertility treatment, how to pay for it, where to go, I can help.

If you don't know how to interpret test results, can't decide which treatments to have, I can help. Do you need lifstyle and nutrition advice? Just ask.

If you are grieving over past losses, if you are holding onto fear of pregnancy or birth there are a myriad of techniques I can use to help you overcome the past and reach the state of parenthood that you want.

No one can promise you a pregnancy but we can help to make it a reality for you.

And then I am uniquely able to help through pregnancy and birth, teaching you techniques to enhance confidence, baby-bonding and have a happy and comfortable birth experience.

It is probably the best part of my job. Helping somene to quit smoking feels good but the work I do with fertility and pregnancy clients has to top it for feel-good factor.

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Patter of Tiny Feet

I have been so excited and busy with moving to Willow Tree that I have forgotten to post some very exciting news.

Not for me, but a client with "unexplained infertility" is now pregnant! After just 5 sessions, she conceived around the time of the 6th session, with no extra help from the fertility clinic. And this from a standing start of her and her husband being extremely depressed and upset and grieving when they first came to see me.

I feel so proud and privileged to have helped this fantastic couple. A very happy 9 months is what I now wish for them

*Beaming* :O)

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Willow Tree Clinic, by Helen McPherson

Here are some photos of the new place. My room isn't here because I can't get a good enough angle with the lens I have. The main photos are of the boardroom, where I will be giving my Hypnobirth courses. Isn't it just lovely.
Click here to view photos

New Home

Well I am well and truly installed! And my room looks fab. Not that there weren't a few dramas involved, ahem... Darling hubby was being... well, a darling, and helping me. Unfortunately as soon as I saw it free of furniture and ready for me to move in, it was obvious that the walls needed painting badly. I mean they badly needed painting - we weren't going to paint them badly of course! (Love the English language sometimes, hee, hee!)

All going well enough until poor hubby knocked the paint over and didn't realise. A litre of paint over the floor didn't do much for the new carpet. Eeek! Thankfully we have overcome that almost-disaster and the room now looks super. The whole place has a very good vibe.

In particular there is a wonderful conference room, which is going to be perfect for my Hypnobirthing courses. It opens out onto the garden where we can take a break and enjoy ourselves.

I am so looking forward to the weeks ahead at Willow Tree

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Surfing the wave

I have written this on my Facebook page but my head is BUZZING with ideas since my detox. I feel I'm on fire with things to do. Completely enthused about what I do and how to reach out to more people.

My re-branding has started, which is very exciting. My wonderful marketing helpers Archie, Louise and Simon at create-a-brand have done some amazing design for me. You can see it on my Facebook page, it hasn't migrated to the blog or the website yet.

I have also launched "Belief. Bump. Baby" which is a totally new service dedicated to family creation from pre-conception through to parenthood. "Belief.Bump.Baby" is going to take off and it's almost a case of reining it in! There is so much to be achieved in this area - pre-conception counselling, fertility counselling and advice, support to IVF and assisted conception treatment, emotional support through pregnancy and pregnancy loss, and the courses in "hypnobirthing", a practice that is gathering pace thank heaven.

I am so excited by what I am doing right now. Charles gave me a fantastic phrase - "Surfing the wave." I love it and I'm surfing!


I took the keys to my new place yesterday. It is beautiful! A really lovely new practice called the Willow Tree Clinic in Spencer Parade, Northampton. It is in the centre of town and is just a wonderful building with a very calming feeling to it. As soon as you walk in you feel looked after and held and all those other good feelings that we like to engender for our clients.

I have to do some painting and getting the room ready this weekend. I need to move my comfy hypnosis chair in there for example. I just know that my clients and I are going to love working there, it has a wonderful vibe to it.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Changing Memories - Part 2

I want to add some more to the earlier post about changing memories. If you remember that I said the unconscious mind cannot distinguish between fact and fiction.

This helps us with the client who has a disturbing or traumatic memory that is having an effect on them today. What we do is to recall the memory while the client is in a hypnotic trance. We then play with it subtly. We change the details and gradually we make it a "better" memory for them.

In this way, the client's sub-conscious has a different memory to use to direct current behaviour. So the need to act or behave in negative ways has been removed.

I have simplified the process greatly in this explanation but I hope it is enough to give you the sense of how we can use memories to create better futures. We cannot change them completely but by changing them subtly, the mind learns how to cope with them and suddenly what was once uppermost in the mind recedes and becomes less important.

We have lots of methods to help with past trauma. This is just one of them and it can be surprisingly and quickly effective.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

What a lovely job

I have had such a good day today. So good that I feel the need to tell everyone about it.

My first client today has made huge leaps and bounds in an incredibly short time. I just loved seeing her so happy and positive again.

My next client was someone who had booked in late for a single issue in a single session. What a wonderfully lovely man! One of the perks of my job is meeting so many interesting and truly "nice" people. This man however was truly something special. He works at a job at the moment but is looking to find a different path in life that reflects his true personaility. He is NLP and EFT trained and I feel sure that he would make a sensitive, nurturing and successful therapist. The work we carried out, although brief was good and effective and my client phoned me later to tell me all about his successful afternoon.

There's a lesson to us all here - sometimes we have to make a leap of faith. And sometimes we have to be employed to fund what we really enjoy in life whatever it is. And if we remain open to opportunity and instinct then we can also sometimes be fortunate enough to do what we love in return for money.

My last client of the day is proper special. He is autistic and I have blogged about him before. He has also made such enormous strides and I felt so proud of him today for the progress he had made.

And, and, and... one of my clients phoned me this weekend and everything in her life is sounding VERY promising too.

I fitted in more today, but I just had to write these parts of it down. It has been an extra special day in many ways. What's that word? Ah yes - gratitude.

Monday, 28 June 2010


I have been training this weekend, on a masterclass in hypnosis for childbirth. It has become popularly known as "hypno-birthing" but an American training company have tried to copyright the word in UK. It's a shame as the general public are only using the term in the same way as we might say "hypno-dieting" meaning using hypnosis for dieting. Anyhow, the words hypno-birthing have not been copyrighted so I will use them to describe the process of using hypnosis training to assist in childbirth.

It's a great system. If you are hypnotically trained to use hypnosis to keep calm and relaxed then you do not impede your body's ability to give birth. Very many women in our culture have come to believe that birth is a painful ordeal so they fear it. Because they are fearful they tense up and this tension actually creates pain and really can hinder the baby's smooth passage into the world.

Hypnotocally trained women have no fear, only confidence in their own abilities and so they tend to have shorter, more comfortable and simpler labours and births. They also have shorter recovery times, less incidence of post-natal depression and better breast feeding outcomes. The babies also have higher Apgar scores and tend to be calmer.

It's so simple, I don't know why every woman doesn't use hypnosis for birth!

This was a good masterclass though and although I didn't actually learn anything new, I verified my knowledge and skills and, swot that I am, I was top student too. With any luck, it will make up for England losing to Germany again. At least I didn't have to sit through the match :-)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Is it stress or too much to do?

Sometimes there really is too much to do in life. Which is why I am sitting here blogging about it, because I am bored with working and tidying and decided to write about it whilst putting my laptop back in my study.

Not only do I have a full-on day helping people, I then have to pick up a tired and often grumpy 3 year old from nursery. On arrival at home I have to coax him out of the car (safely) and get him into the house (safely) at which point I then have to deal with a bouncing and starving labrador. Trying to feed both 3 year old and dog without one of them imploding is a task in itself.

(Oh and add in the clearing up of dog sick at least once a week, in fact twice today)

After tea time, getting an even more tired small person bathed, teeth-brushed, toileted and into bed without ructions provides yet more fun and games.

So by 7.30 I am ready to start the rest of the day's work. Cooking a meal, clearing up, washing up, opening the post, checking emails, a bit of book-keeping, filing from the day's work and preparation for the next. Then after all that's done there is washing and house cleaning to do.

Sometimes I do wonder where I'm going wrong...

Monday, 21 June 2010

Changing Memories

Can you change a memory? Well to a point, yes you can.

Sometimes, people who have been through a distressing or traumatic event would like their memory of it wiped. This we cannot do. The making of a memory involves a chemical change in the brain, and this cannot be erased.

But the mind is both incredibly intelligent and at the same time, fluid and plastic, childlike and susceptible to manipulation. Aha, this gives us a way in for therapuetic use.

The mind cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy. So over time, if memories change subtly, the mind literally does not know. It can add or take away detail and emotions. So we can use this to our therapeutic advantage.

Let's give a simple example. Someone who is good at making presentations and public speaking has very many successful speeches stored away in memory. So he or she can feel confident about the next one because all his evidence is that he is good at public speaking - all his memories tell him that. The person who is nervous or panicky about it is the person who does not have this data stored in his mind. He has no evidence of previous success to work on.

So what we can do is create some "memories" for him. We work, in hypnotic trance, to create some fantasies of successful times giving a speech or presentation. Then the mind does have some successful evidence with which to back up confident feelings. We are essentially rehearsing the event mentally. there are many ways to do this and each hypnotheapist will use which ever techniques seem appropriate to the client and the situation.

And what about Bloody Sunday? Well, as we travel further in time from the original event, the memories become less reliable. If even a tiny trace of different evidence takes root in the mind, it can change the original memory, hence the reason why so many people reported that they had been the saviour of the finger. They probably all believe it too. Have you heard the expression, "He had told the lie so often, he had almost come to believe it himself" ? It is a line that I have only ever read in novels but it speaks the truth.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Memory - Fact or Fiction?

The memory is not reliable. It is in no way as sophisticated as we think it is. "Facts" are remembered inconsistently, inaccurately and can be tinged with our beliefs and values.

Just take the memory of a sports match for instance. The supporters of the side who won will most likely think it was a "good game" whereas the losing side's supporters will most often remember the negative aspects of the game play.

Some years ago there were some experiments conducted where a crime was staged in front of an unsuspecting audience. During the interviews immediately afterwards, there was little consensus over how many people were involved, what they were wearing and what actually happened. There was stark disagreement over seemingly obvious details liek whether the man was wearing a dark jacket with light trousers or was it in fact a light jacket and his trousers were dark. Such inconsistencies make us wonder about the evidence given in many court cases.

In the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday shootings, a severed finger was found in the road. It had been carefully placed in a matchbox. By the time of the subsequent inquiry, no less than 14 people claimed that they had been the person who had found and picked up the finger and put it in the box. Clearly this cannot be truth. Only one person had in fact carried out this act.

So the mind and memory can play tricks on us, and it does, frequently. How this relates to hypnotheray will be explained in another post.

And, I haven't forgotten about explaining the "inner child" either!


Sunday, 13 June 2010


I haven't blogged about my detox yet although I have bored my friends face to face and on Facebook.

In the past I have detoxed by eating fruit and vegetables for a week and I once did a 3-day juice detox. This time I really went for it in a totally different way. A couple of weeks ago I went on what you might call an "Aloe" Detox programme.

It took a little bravery to try because it was not easy in the slightest. I bought a pack from a company called Forever Living, which some of you may have heard about. It was a 9 day plan, the worst of which was easily Day 2, although the morning of Day 1 was no picnic!

It involves drinking copious quantities of inner leaf Aloe Vera gel. And I cannot lie, it tastes pretty foul. The first 2 or 3 drinks were bearable but by the end of Day 2 I had given in and added fruit juice! Tough girl that I am, there are some things that I don't really want to do. Getting back to the plan, on Day 1 and 2, all you actually "eat" is one meal replacement shake at lunchtime! Yes! The rest of the day is filled with drinking aloe juice and water and taking supplements of bee pollen and a herb called Garcinia with Chromuim.

So, honestly Days 1 and 2 weren't funny. Day 3 however was so much nicer as you start the day with, wait for it.... a meal replacement shake! Hooraaaay! So in addition to the aloe juice and supplements you have a shake for breakfast and lunch and then a real dinner! My God, how much was I looking forward to it! And yet, I couldn't finish. My husband laughed. I felt like crying.

And the next 7 days followed the same pattern. I ate small evening meals and felt perfectly full up and not hungry at all. On the morning of Day 3 I really did wake up feeling more energetic and the increase of energy continued throughout the week. It was completely amazing!

By the end of 9 days I had lost 7.5 lb in weight, 4cm off my waist, 3cm off my hips and 2cm off my thighs. HOW???? It's quite incredible.

So apart from that, I achieved what I wanted, which was to feel more energetic, wake up feeling awake, lose my sluggish mind and digestion and end my sugar and carb cravings. The 9 day plan achieved the whole lot and I remain surprised, but it honestly did it for me. A couple of weeks later, my weight has stayed off and I don't feel like over-eating or snacking. My energy levels stay up throughout the day and I am waking earlier and feeling like getting up immediately rather than struggling out of bed. My meals remain small and I am eating very few carbs and no bread.

I feel so great and am so glad I did it. I recommend it to anyone who feels like I did. In fact I am condidering telling my weight loss clients all about it as a great way of kick-starting their weight loss. I'm still suprised at the fantastic effects it has had.

Ok, I'll stop gushing now, but it's hard not to!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Progress after Perseverence

It sounds like a chapter from "Pilgrims Progress" doesn't it!

Well I have had my patience tested over the last weeks. I started working with a teenage boy who I think it is fair to say is quite a way over on the autistic spectrum (ASD). His father describes his communication difficulties as "severe."

Anyway I started working with him a few months ago and it has been tough, for all of us I think. At the start I gave his parents no illusions of my expectation of a successful treatment. It was clearly going to be experimental and I did not know how much impact, if any, my work would have on their son. And yet over the last 2 weeks, his parents have reported distinct signs of progress. His mum was so much happier and he must surely feel happier to be going through less distress, even if he can't express it to us.

I have worked mainly with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) using quite a lot of the "Choices" or "Alternate Phrase" technique, after Dr Patricia Carrington. I then started to blend a little eye movement therapy into my tapping sequences, from EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing.) I worked very instinctively as we went and I had little indication of any progress.

And now, after weeks of work with both me and his parents we have some signs of a distinct improvement. I am so thrilled for us all! And I so want this to be a lasting change.

So, in this case perseverence has been key I think. Some of my clients don't quite understand this point!

Monday, 24 May 2010


Before I get on with my subject, an update on my Retreats. I am at the stage of crystallising ideas and gathering support. And the support is there. Once I have a full programme and a location then I can go to organisations for funding, such as Combat Stress and Help for Heroes. I am still very excited about it.

But what of regression? Regression is only to take a person back in their memory to a time where something occurred which has affected a person such that their current life is still affected. A faulty programme has been cause dto run by an event that happened in the past.

A simple explanation is the person who suffered the loss of their mother or father when they were young. They never quite got over it and as a result they shy away from relationships or they can't sustain a relationship due to the underlying fear of losing a person again. Thus the event cause faulty programming to never allow close relationships.

There are many healing methods that can be employed to help a person gain perspective and feel better about their past. And when that is achieved they can learn to behave in more beneficial ways today.

Regression was the subject of my CPD this month and a fascinating weekend was spent in Kings College London in the hottest weekend of the year! I suffer for my art you see! But as well as suffering I was able to nurture my inner child and unpack some of my formative experiences. What's an inner child? It's the subject of the next blog post!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The ball is rolling

It's amazing what a new project can do for your general motivation. My Retreat project is gathering momentum. I feel at the moment that I hardly need do anything, like it will run on it's own legs! It;s not quite the case of course. There's plenty of work that I need to actually complete but when momentum picks up it's hard to stop, and that's a good thing.

I hope you are enjoyingthe sunshine even if, like me, you are shivering in the cold north winds.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

New Venture

Since I was at university I have had so many ideas for business ventures. Many of them I have seen taken up successfully by others and it's a bit galling. At the moment I am on a creative streak. I have so many ideas bubbling away that I hardly think my life will be long enough to ever achieve all of them. Perhaps it's all about that period of growth that happens in the spring time.

The idea that I am acting upon though is concerning overcoming trauma. I seem to have been doing a lot of this work recently, for social services, for motor insurance companies as well as individuals.

My vision is to run a retreat for members of the Armed Forces who are getting over time spent on operational duty. In the First World War we called it shell-shock. In the second it was termed a "Lack of Moral Fibre." Instead of being shot for cowardice men were discharged with the acronym LMF written upon their records. We now call difficulties arising as a result of operational tours Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

PTSD gets quite a bit of publicity in relation to servicemen. No doubt the most seriously affected are being treated by the defence medical services. But not everyone who is struggling is getting the help they need. Sometimes PTSD comes on insidiously. The previously ambitious family man in his early thirties who is now listless and having too many arguments with his wife may be suffering. So too the young single soldier who is drinking too much, far too much and has taken to going out on his own at times rather than with his mates.

My retreat is aimed at these sort of people, for whom life is ok but not quite what is used to be before they returned from an operational tour. Who know that something may be wrong but can't quite put their finger on it. I am planning to run a week where guests have time to be themselves, to have some physical and emotional therapy, enjoy a few low key activities. In essence to start to recover a sense of who they are.

There is a lot of work to be done yet. I have to find a location and a house or hotel for the accommodation; the costings need to be done; I need to plan the therapies and activities; conduct some more market research. I have one colleague on board already and I think between us we can make it work.

It is a very exciting project for me and although I may have missed out on some ideas over the years, this is one that I want to make work.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Holiday Season Already?

The holiday season has started and with it, the prophecy from an aviation expert that planes will fall from the sky due to volcanic ash. This is not helpful to people who are nervous and already I had 2 clients book in last week for help with fear of flying. If this is you, or someone you know, it is a fear that can be helped. It takes a few sessions so please don’t contact me 10 days before you are due to fly – give us a chance!

On a different note, some of my blog posts in January revolved around goal setting and achieving for this year. If you haven’t reviewed things out for a while, go and take a look and have an update session. It shouldn’t take long, but it will help to get you back on track.

One of my goals this year was to submit my tax return at the beginning of the tax year and not get it to the accountant on 25 January again. Maybe this year I will be back on his Christmas card list! Anyway, it is going quite well so far. I have completed the easy parts, done most of the middling difficult bits and have not quite started on the hunting-for-information for the tough parts. And this is the crux of the matter – getting on with the things we don’t like very much.

Tasks that we don’t like rarely take as long as we expect them to. Getting started is the key because if we don’t start then we haven’t a hope of finishing and finishing is the goal. And have you noticed that unpleasant tasks have a habit of hanging over you? The black cloud of my tax return starts to hover in early April and by Christmas it’s pretty dark and dangerous. Thankfully my wonderful accountant (at Cottons by the way!) saved me from the thunder and lightning of the Revenue’s rage. This year I shall be wafting a summery parasol very shortly – and mainly because I determined my goals at the beginning of the year, wrote them down and keep checking up on progress.

Whatever your goals, get started on them. Getting started on the journey is often the hardest part because once you are on the road there tend to be signposts and rest stops which can keep you going. It’s the same for dreams, whether your dream is to weigh 6 stone less, combat a fear of flying or write a bestseller, I urge you to start, because that is the only way to the end point and realising your dream.

Enjoy the Spring

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Dishonesty and Psychological Reversal

Some people reckon they never tell lies. Unlikely isn't it? The magnitude of the lie perhaps has some relevance but I am sure that we all allow untruths to creep into our lives.

Most people tell lies to save themselves or others from harm, whether emotional or physical. Some people however lie in order to harm themselves.

Why on earth would anyone do that? It's known as Pyschological Reversal. Usually the mind will do all it can to protect itself and protect the body that houses it. In a psychologically reversed individual however it will act to harm itself.

Let's take someone who engages in negative and destructive behaviours. A classic one is the overweight person who knows they are eating themselves to poor looks, a restricted lifestyle, low self-esteem, bad health and potentially early death but carries on eating regardless. This person is not acting for their best interests and has reversed that mind behaviour that acts to protect.

What a perverse thing to do! Or is it?

In a pyschologically reversed person, there are deep forces at work in the mind. Essentially, the mind believes it really is protecting the person. But the way that protection is manifested is destructive to the whole. The reversed person is usually unaware of why they are doing what they do.

One fascinating case, treated by Roy Hunter, concerns a successful and career-minded 40 year old man who was overweight. He had piled the pounds on over the last 3 years and prior to that he was a healthy weight. Whilst in a hypnotic trance it was ofund out that a few years ago, he had been propositioned by a woman at work. Attracted by her but knowing that an office affair could spell the end of his career, he turned her down. Being so focussed on his career, the mind then sought to protect this competitive aspect by over-eating, to make him unattractive and thus avoid any further propositions by any women.

The mind is a powerful thing indeed.

I write on this subject today because I have a teenage client who needs to lose about 6 to 7 stone in weight (that's 98 lb for the American readers!) This equates to about a year of focussing on weight loss. After about 6 weeks of treatment I received 3rd party information that her eating behaviours have not changed regardless that she has told me different. At our next session, I knew she was lying but ignored it. Realsing she was rumbled, she failed to show up for her next session.

This is a hard one to take for a therapist. I don't care about how difficult my client finds it. I don't care that they simply can't stop eating popcorn or having midnight feasts and secretly stuffing chocolate. I don't care that it is impossible for them to eat healthy meals on business lunches. But I REALLY care if they don't tell me this. And if they lie to me, they are harming themselves. If I know how they feel, I can help them. If they tell me their difficulties, I can help them find their way round them. If they tell me the problems I can tailor my treatment to them. But why lie to me?

There are very powerful protective forces helping my teenage client stay overweight. If only she could have trusted me that bit more, I could helped her find them and change them.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Social Conscience

I have done some interesting work recently, helping adult victims of child abuse. My clients were a young couple in their twenties, with 4 children under the age of 8, who had 3 different fathers. The children were the subject of court proceedings, with the objective of deciding whether to remove the children from the parents "under the category of neglect."

Both parents had been poorly parented themselves so they had no decent example on which to model themselves as parents. The man had been badly abused as a child. So while the court case had been adjourned, Social Services were attempting to improve the parenting skills of the couple in order that they stood a chance of keeping the children. They wanted to show the court that they had done everything possible to help the parents.

Now some would say that if they were incapbable of looking after 4 children, then the couple should lose the children and they should be taken into care and looked after properly and given a better chance in life. I will admit that I had a similar viewpoint. On closer inspection, it is not quite as simple as that. Firstly, it benefits Social Services to leave children with parents because a child in care costs a fortune. To place a single, simple child with no additional needs into any sort of care costs over £400 per week. Yes, per week! Care is VERY expensive for the taxpayer.

The second reason why Social Workers like to leave children with parents is that children in care tend to do badly throughout their lives. Most of the British prison population have been in care as children. Taking children away from parents is a marker for future social problems, which have to dealt with and paid for by the state. So the arguments for children remaining with families are quite persuasive - current cost, future cost and short and long-term wellbeing of the children.

So my role was to help these two parents come to an understanding and an acceptance of what happened to them as children. The aim was that they could move on from the trauma, enabling them to lead easier, happier lives. And Social Services aim then was to help them to learn improved parenting skills, once they had more of a blank canvas to work with. Someone who has been abused as a child has multiple problems and hang-ups that they have to deal with and they can often be quite traumatic.

The man in particular had been through a hell of a childhood and really had suffered, which was affecting him day to day. After several weeks of work, both individuals were feeling much happier and calmer. They both reported a great improvement in their relationships with each other and the children, they played with the children more and were more positive and optimistic in general.

I was absolutely thrilled. To have such a result for these people was fantastic for me and so rewarding. I saw both parents change for the better over time and I loved seeing it. Ultimately I don't know whether they will keep the children. I am just glad that I could play a small part in helping these people to enjoy their lives.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

On Deprivation (and Lent)

My last post was a little spiritual, so I thought today I would follow through, go the whole hog and mention something from the Christian calendar. It is now Lent - the season of deprivation until Easter! Or is it? I have written a lot about weight loss recently and how it is better not to deprive yourself as it only leads to you craving the object of your deprivation. This of course for Christians is a little like self-flagellation. The deprivation reminds Christians of what Jesus went through for 40 days and nights in the desert without food, where surely he would have felt deprivation keenly, to say the least. So feeling deprived is what it's all about. If you don't feel deprived, you haven't chosen the right thing to go without for the 6 weeks. The idea is to feel Jesus' pain. But there is a way of doing this differently.

Many people resolve to give up something they enjoy like chocolate or alcohol but I once heard a clever sermon for Lent which provided a different twist. This minister's idea was to give up on a behaviour or an emotion that has negative consequences. To give up bitching about somebody, to give up always sniggering at the guy in the office with the appalling dress sense, to give up taking undeserved criticism, to refrain from thinking the worst, to give up always thinking that someone else could do that tedious task, when it could in fact be you.

It dovetails neatly into my work because my clients have all taken the decision to give up on an emotion or behaviour. I have been seeing very many trauma victims recently who don't want to carry the emotions around with them any more. It feels good for them to shake off the overwhelming negativity and anxiety that comes from having been abused as a child, been in a car accident, been bullied at school. They are giving up feeling bad about themselves. They are giving up on old emotions that serve no useful purpose.

But it lasts, it's not just for Lent, it won't disappear at Easter. And it isn't deprivation either.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Touching Lives

Something a little spiritual today.

Everyone we meet touches our lives in some way. Even those tiny encounters at the supermarket or petrol station have an effect. Does the assistant barely speak and gives you the change or make some discourse with you. The former could make you feel quite grumpy and wonder what is wrong in the world, especially if you meet enough of them. The person that passes the time of day with their customer may be unaware that he is the only person that that old lady has spoken to in two days. A cheerful few words and a smile could make a difference to someone like that.

So it isn't always the people with whom we have long and close relationships who have the power to touch our lives. A chance meeting or greeting can have a profound effect. Yet everyone holds that power whether they know it or not. It can be worth considering the things we say and how we act because we don't always know their consequences.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Ban the D Word

Yes, ban the "Diet" word. It seems all-pervading at this time of year. But even if you are losing weight, please don't use the D word, it is far too dispiriting, far too negative for my world.

Firstly, it's a bastardised use of the word anyway, which means to eat a specific group of foods. My dog is "on a diet" - a restrictive diet to safeguard her liver. A diabetic is often "on a diet" as is a coeliac. A weight-loss diet however, is just a diet where the food going in is less than before and less than the enrgey being expended. Simple as that.

So don't "diet", don't restrict yourself. As soon as you ban foods or eat too little, all your mind wants to do is seek out the things you tell yourself you cannot have. Have you noticed that if ever you say you have given up chocolate, all you do is crave chocolate? It's because the mind finds it dificult to process a negative.

In order to process a negative, the mind first has to understand the positive before it can twist it into "don't." So to process the command, "Don't drop it!" the mind first has to work out what "Drop it" means in order to understand that it must do the opposite. This takes time and brain power and is more difficult than it at first appears.

The person who has given up something will always notice that thing eg. chocolate and the brain will then think, "Aha, there's the thing I cannot have," thus bringing the forbidden thing to your attention and adding to the craving. Sneaky huh?

Try it with small children. Their minds are still learning how to process language so they are that bit slower than us. As soon as you tell a child, "Don't touch that," the child will touch it. It's only a less well developed cognition than our chocolate craving.

Two lessons here. Firstly, give your children positive messages eg. "Only looking at the breakable china please"

Secondly, don't give yourself deprivation type commands like "I have given up chocolate because I'm dieting" Ugh! How many negative cognitions does that sentence have in it? Tell yourself that you can eat chocolate with a meal, if you are hungry. Trust me, you will barely notice that you are eating less chocolate.

Monday, 25 January 2010

It's that "Diet" time of year

So I wrote a whole post on this topic and it disappeared from the draft. I'm not angry, really I'm not. I just have to go and scream very loudly for 20 minutes. I'll be back...

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Blog Post I wish I had written

The title says it all, but this blog post from Kim Ayres (Ramblings of the Bearded One) describes in one post what I am trying to achieve for you in my own blog. Please read it as I don't want to copy and paste, and I cannot take credit for Kim's work.


You may enjoy his blog too.

Progress your Goals

Did that title sound a little Americanised? Well never mind, it works!

How have you got on with SMARTening up your goals/resolutions for the year? By now you should have determined what your goals are and have them all written out, in SMART format. There should be details and timeframes for all your realistic and achievable goals that are going to fit in with your life.

Now comes the part where you make those goals happen.

Every week you must look at those goals and assess whether you have made progress on them. Write this down on the page. Write down what you managed to do - and NOT do. This will focus your mind. It will remind you to feel good about the things you have done and give you a pointer or reminder to make progress on other goals. There may be a good reason why you have not done certain things and that's fine too, just make sure you are not procrastinating and putting things off for no good reason.

It's a good idea to make time for this goal review. It really only takes 5 minutes. Try scheduling it for the same time every week, Monday morning or on the train home or any other convenient time. Scheduling it in your diary makes it far more sure that you will do this.

Do try and you are already on your way to achieving your 2010 goals. Good luck!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

It's that snowy time of year again

Well the country is "gripped in the throes of winter" with inches of snow on the ground and everything coming to a standstill. I wrote a very similar post last February:


And yet again I am shocked at how quick people are to stay at home. Here in Northamptonshire we have 2 or 3 inches of snow. It's enough to make my car slide around on our little road getting in and out of the driveway. It is not enough to close the main roads.

So I took Squeaky to nursery and found all the staff there, nursery operating as normal. Yet 70 schools in the county are closed. Everyone who owns a business and therefore wants to make some money has gone into work. But everyone with a child is struggling to get to work because they have to stay home to look after children. And some of them are livid.

I think the argument goes that the schools have to make sure that staff and pupils can get home safely too as well as arrive. But when I was at school that just meant sending everyone home early if necessary. If you could get there, you damn well did.

I think the inhabitants of this country have lost their way over the past 20 years. We used to struggle in, walk if necessary or walk part of the way. But we always tried to get there. In the winter of 1981/82 there were huge dumps of snow and we did have a lot of time off school. I remember days when there were drifts of over a metre high. Clearly no one was going anywhere on days like those. Living in the sticks at the bottom of several hills meant that school buses struggled on many of the snowy days. So the bus company would send a landrover for us and transfer us to a bus further along the route. I can't see that happening today.

But what I do see happening today is that schools are closed and everywhere else is open. What would happen if healthcare workers didn't bother trying to get to work? A district nurse lives next door to us. She keeps her driveway cleared of snow at all times because she always has to go out. She has an ordinary car. And she always gets to work.

My topic for today was supposed to be change but I have rambled instead. If I get time, I will come back later and write what I planned. How are you getting on with your goal setting?

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year's Resolutions and how to keep them

Happy New Year to you all in 2010. Today's blog is about how to get to the end of the year feeling great, having achieved what you wanted to achieve.

In common with many others born before the 1980s, I do think that the year 2010 still sounds a long way in the future rather than really today. Do you remember that programme "Space 1999" where they lived on the moon or some such planet?

But I digress....

How to start the year and carry on in a good groove? I find that there are a few big depression points in the year. One is when the clocks go back in October and it feels like winter. The next is Christmas for some, then New Year, which some people detest. Thereafter the stretch from the Christmas holidays to Easter and the clocks going forward again can seem very long and cold.

When you add to that stretch the disappointment that many people feel when they realise that they have failed in their New Years resolutions, it can make for dark days indeed. So how can you make those resolutions and actually stick to them this year?

The first option is not to bother at all! This will achieve the aim but may also set you up for a depressing New Years eve at the end of the year. I'm going to give you a new alternative.

I now assume that you have a few "resolutions" for the year ahead. Firstly, don't put yourself under pressure. There is no magic about the date of 1st January. How many smokers have resolved to quit and by the morning of 2nd January are back ont he smokes? Mainly because there was too much pressure put on a date that is only a mark in the calendar after all and the smoker was not ready on that day. That's why I am writing this post today. If you have alreday slipped up, don't sweat, start again tomorrow, or on Wednesday, it really doesn't matter so much.

Your first task is to get hold of a blank book, notebook, a small folder, file, page in your filofax, note in your Blueberry etc. The next is to note down your goals for the year on the front page. Write them quite briefly and succinctly eg. Improve my fitness, Lose weight etc.

Then take another page for each of your goals and now comes the interesting part. Each goal now needs to be made SMART. Smart goals are:

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Realistic
T - Timebound

So my weight loss goal is to lose 12lb (specific & measurable) by Easter (timebound). Now I do my reality check and ask whether I CAN achieve this goal. Is it a realistic goal to set? Don't over-stretch yourself or you will set yourself up for failure. You want to be setting yourself up for success at this point. The question to ask is, "If I put some effort in, which does not impact negatively on the rest of my life, can I do this?"

If you have a goal which has a negative impact elsewhere in your life, it might not be a goal that you really want to achieve. Hence you most likely won't see it through. If running a marathon means that you spend a lot of time at weekends running and don't see your family, you may have derailed one of your values of spending time together. At some point this conflict will result in a change and the change may be that the marathon is not as important as family therefore you drop the marathon and feel disapointed in yourself. Goals MUST be realistic and fit in with your values and beliefs.

Now you have your SMART goal, put some detail into your plans as to how you are going to achieve this goal. It's all very well to have a goal but you do ned to understand HOW you will achieve it. A goal on it's own is not enough. So plan all the parts and tasks that have to come together to get to the timebound end with your goal having been achieved.

Again, each part of the plan must be SMART. For my weight loss goal I might write down that I will go to the gym. I will go once per week in January, twice per week in February, building up to a habit of going to the gym 3 times per week, which I want to achieve by May. Think about everything that surrounds these plans, make them achievable. I know for a fact that if I try to start off by going to the gym 3 times per week from today, I won't be able to keep it up. So my goal is realistic and increases with time. Too much change at once is not realistic for our poor little brains!

We are creatures of habit and the mind loves habit. So if you have a couch potato habit, the mind is going to be very resistant to a sudden change to a gym bunny habit. It will do everything in it's power to stop you going to the gym and holding on to it's couch potato life. After all, you have survived this long by lying on the couch.

Go through each goal in excatly the same way so you end up with a few pages of SMART plans, one for each goal. Now you are ready to put it all into action.

Every day or two, look at your plans and goals and check whether you have made prgress today or this week on your goals. If you do this systematically, you will jog yourself into taking action. The idea is to make progress weekly so you must review weekly at least. It is a good idea to set time in your diary to do this, just 15 minutes is enough. If you do it at the same time every week, you will soon establish this as a habit too.

You can note down your progress as you go through the months and then you can see, record and keep track. By the end of the year, perhaps you won't have achieved everything you set out to do but I know for sure that you will have made progress on each one. That will feel very satisfying to you by the time 2011 comes round.

OK, I'm off to the gym!