Why Waiting to Change Your Life Can Be Dangerous

Why Waiting to Change Your Life Can Be Dangerous

There are days that your life will change forever, in an instant, never to be the same again. You don’t know it is coming. You haven’t prepared for it. It just happens to you. I had one of those days a couple of years ago. I was facilitating a meeting for a group of Self Employed Women. As we were having lunch my phone rang and my husband’s name flashed up on the screen. “That’s strange” I thought. He never phones me if he knows I am running a business meeting. But when I answered it wasn’t my husband’s voice at the end of the line. It was a paramedic. “ I am calling to let you know that your husband has been in a serious car crash.” I can’t put into words how getting that sort of call feels. “Is he OK” I managed to blurt out. “He is trapped in the car. The fire brigade are working on getting him out and we have doctors with him.” “But is he OK” I insisted. “He is conscious and the doctors are with him right now” is all she would say. But I already knew it was serious. First of all, I knew if it wasn’t serious he would have called me himself. And secondly, they don’t call doctors out to the scene unless it is serious. I got to the hospital as quickly as I could. It was a whole agonising hour waiting before the ambulance finally arrived. The reason I was there so long before the ambulance was that the car was so badly smashed up that...
Change Your Friends, Change Your Life

Change Your Friends, Change Your Life

“I expected more from you Trudy Murphy” – Mrs Matthews Mrs Matthews was my favourite school teacher. She was a short, buxom woman with a really kind disposition and smiley brown eyes. I loved being in her class and tried so hard to do well on my assignments for her. But during the year Mrs Matthews was my teacher, my best friend moved away and I started hanging out with a whole new crowd of friends. Close by to our school was a large vacant plot of land with a creek running through it. Local neighbourhood kids had built dirt bike tracks through it and a makeshift flying fox swing across the river. During lunchtime, my new friends and I would take off to “The Creek”, as we called it, to hang out.  Of course, leaving school grounds during school hours was forbidden so it was exciting to sneak away. But one day, we returned late, after the class bell had rang, and as we stood deciding if we should go in or skip class altogether, the Principal drove by and caught us. You can imagine the hell storm that followed with our parents being contacted and detention assignments for what, at the time, felt like an eternity. But the worst part, and the moment that still lives inside me today, was the look of disappointment on Mrs Matthew’s face when she saw me and her words “I expected more from you Trudy Murphy”. During her meeting with my parents, Mrs Matthews warned them that I had fallen in with “a bad crowd”and she was worried that they would...
Get What You Need To Change Your Life

Get What You Need To Change Your Life

We have enormous resources at our disposal. We each have 24 hours a day, each packed with 60 fresh minutes. We have a beating heart and lungs full of air in a body capable of incredible things. And there is usually even a little money. So why is it that despite all of these resources, we often find ourselves stuck, unable to do anything, unable to make desperately needed changes in our life? Let me tell you why. Because it has all been spoken for. All of our resources have already been allocated. A Personal Story This used to be me: selfless and sacrificing. Life was busy and stressful, and there was never quite enough time to do what I like, to pursue my dreams or even just relax. I thought that this was how life was meant to be, that this was as good as it gets, until, as if out of nowhere, my marriage was falling off a cliff. This was three years into what I thought was the perfect marriage, and we already had a small child. I found myself sitting at the therapist’s office with tear is my eyes, mumbling “My life is an endless stream of obligations. I can never do anything I want.” That’s when I knew it was time for a change. Pushed to the edge of my limits, having donated all of my time and energy to my family, I was utterly miserable and my life was falling apart. Enough was enough. I became acutely aware of everything that I have been giving away. Suddenly, it was clear how to make a...
Always and Never: Why Setting Firm Limits Can Change Your Life

Always and Never: Why Setting Firm Limits Can Change Your Life

Are you struggling to make changes in your life? Perhaps you always start off with good intentions – but slowly, old habits creep back in. You promise yourself that this week, you’re going to eat healthily – and you do fine on Monday. But on Tuesday, your boss buys donuts for the office, and then on Wednesday, it’s a friend’s birthday party and you just can’t resist that chocolate cake… If your attempts at change seem to get constantly derailed, then you might want to consider setting some clear, non-negotiable rules. Setting Firm Limits: Always and Never Sometimes, it makes good sense to have a very clear limit on what you will (or won’t) do. For instance, your change might look like one of these: Always meditate for 10 minutes before breakfast Always eat at least five portions of fruit & veg a day Never drink alcohol Never smoke As Oliver Burkeman puts it in This column will change your life: just say no: For many people, it’s just easier to do things 100% than 98%. That’s the approach of Alcoholics Anonymous: once you’ve decided to stop drinking completely – or never bring work home, or go for a daily run […] – you needn’t waste time or energy weighing the merits of each potential exception, because there aren’t any. Of course, you need to make firm rules that will actually work. “Eat healthily every day” probably won’t – it’s too vague. “Only eat dessert at the weekend” or “Have a salad every day at lunch” is a much clearer rule to stick to. When Firm Limits Trip You...
The 7 Deadly Sins of Change

The 7 Deadly Sins of Change

I have learned a lot over the past few years about making changes. But nothing taught me more than the things I did wrong – the sins of change. These 7 deadly sins will prevent  you from making changes. Avoid them, and you have a much better chance of success. 1. Changing fast I see people who attempt to change fast all the time. They’re at the gym, smiling at me with their naive, toothy grin. “I’m going to start coming here every day,” they say. Sadly, I know this isn’t the case. I usually see them the next day, then in a few days, then not at all. Why is this? Is it from lack of motivation or lack of discipline? I don’t think so. It’s because they change too fast. I see them dripping with sweat after their run on the treadmill – huffing and puffing like they’re about to pass out. It must be painful to push yourself that much. And this pain is remembered the next day. This pain makes them quit. What if they went slow? Instead of pushing themselves, they stopped at a reasonable time. Then they slowly increased their time working out. Going to the gym would be a much better experience. They would be more motivated to go to the gym regularly. I have discovered that changing fast, rather than slow is the most deadly sin of change. By going slow, you don’t get burned out. You can make your change a habit, rather than a fling. 2. Being inflexible Planning was an old friend of mine when it came to...