After the indulgence of Christmas comes the annual round of self-recriminations and desire to do better. Resolutions are set, gym memberships bought and diet books are dusted down. Enquiries to therapists, personal trainers and coaches spike this month as people focus on self-improvement. As we know deep down, this interest rarely lasts; New Year resolutions are quickly abandoned. Three weeks into January – are you still following yours?

Change is hard. Especially in cold, wet, winter months when money is tight. External change, decorating a room, changing hairstyle, losing a few pounds, is always easier than internal change, because the results are quickly seen and it’s clear how to go about it – go to your local DIY store, hairdressers or cut down on food and exercise more. But how do we achieve real lasting change from within?

Perhaps you are someone who finds it hard to complete a project.  Or do you struggle to get started? No matter how hard you try, do you find yourself putting other people’s needs before your own? Are you too busy working, looking after the kids, dealing with email and social media to do that project you’ve always dreamed of? There are so many demands on our time, so many restrictions whether it is money, space or resources.  Surely these external factors need to change before we can achieve our dreams?

Or do they? In a coaching session we explore what is holding you back. There are always many barriers but the biggest and most common is lack of confidence and self-belief. Understanding ourselves and what makes us tick is the first step to changing our internal landscape. Self-awareness allows us to notice what we want to keep and what no longer serves us. Limiting self-beliefs are sneaky. Often established during childhood, they loiter in our subconscious, ready to trip up our dreams. Deep listening and astute questioning draw them out into the day light, allowing us to examine them for what they are – beliefs that are no longer relevant, that are holding us back. Once faced, explored, prodded and poked, a limiting belief loses its power. Through the right questions, maybe an exercise or two, new ideas, new solutions, come to mind. Suddenly, those barriers to that project aren’t as huge and looming as before. Further work enables us to break down what needs to be done into achievable small steps. From feeling it’s impossible and not knowing where to start, your issue becomes tangible; your idea realistic, an action plan is formed.

To embed internal change, it is not enough to talk, it is important to do. One can explore the fear of public speaking, break down old beliefs, create an action plan of how to give the best speech ever, but it’s not until you’re up on that podium receiving a round of applause, that you will really believe that you can do it. But that outcome has to start with work on yourself. What would you like to change? What is holding you back?

This new year, how about a resolution to work on your internal self? When your beliefs change, and thoughts change, you change. When you change, anything is possible. What could 2019 hold for you?