Life Coaching, Motivation

What is NLP?

You probably already know about my certification and you’re wondering what exactly is NLP?

Well it is good to wonder… because when we ask questions we learn new things. And when we learn new things we grow, which is a good thing, is it not?

Definition of NLP

Back to NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. What is it?

Well there are various definitions, many going along the lines of “a set of tools or techniques to structure our internal systems and deal with obstacles in order to achieve our desired goals”. 

My personal favourite is the one from Chris Howard, NLP Master trainer & author:

“An owner’s manual for the mind”

It can be described as a set of skills and techniques which would help a person overcome a problem. These techniques work with the mind and cause a change in behaviour.

Basically, NLP uses certain communication strategies to help one achieve greater success in all areas of life.

Philosophy of NLP

When it comes to Neuro Linguistic Programming, the main focus is on the process of our thinking rather than the content of our thoughts. 

Yes, the focus is on the “how”. How we perceive the world. How our conditioned mind affects this perception and our thoughts. How our thoughts affect our behaviour and, in turn, the lives we live. 

The “why” is considered as irrelevant. Ruminating on why we ended up with things or situations that we didn’t want in life isn’t going to help us to achieve what we do want.

It is much better to focus your thoughts on what you want to achieve or something that helps you solve the current problem.To sum it up, a driving principle of NLP is using positive language in our thoughts and directing these thoughts towards our goals. For example, instead of saying “I don’t want to get fat”, say “I want to be fit and healthy.”

Simply, focus on what you want and not what you don’t want. 

lifestyle, Motivation, Reblog

Reblog: How To Work 10+ Hours A Day And Live A Healthy Lifestyle

Did you know that 62%* of people around the world are in paid employment ? Out of those, 1.3 billion** are in full-time (i.e. 9+ hour working days). That is 1 in 4 adults worldwide.

And did you know that about 2 billion out of a global population of 7 billion fall into the overweight & obese categories?


Clearly there is a link here between employment type and individual lifestyles. It is no news that leading a busy & stressful life will wreak havoc on your health and weight.

But it doesn’t have to be so. We all have the power to change and steer our lifestyles (& health), if we only knew.

That is why I am extremely happy when I come across articles such as Heidi Jones‘ tips on how to lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle in today’s fast-paced world:

As a driven, hard-working and successful individual it is natural to want to be successful in every way at living a healthy lifestyle, by not starting and waiting for the perfect situation you are creating a ‘get-out of failing’ zone for yourself, “if it isn’t perfect then there is no point in doing it.”

Setting realistic expectations are the small stepping stones to creating the dream life you desire.

What it is not, is lowering your expectations – it’s making them actionable and achievable.

You may not be able to do everything you want, but what you can do is make changes that bring in elements to living the lifestyle you want.

Read the full article (and amazing tips) here.

*62.8% of global working-age population in employment as per the latest World Employment & Social Outlook report

** Source: Gallup article, 2014

lifestyle, Motivation

20 Ways to Beat Stress

Last week I was lucky to attend a stress management workshop by Heidi Jones, a Dubai-based integrative health & nutrition coach. Read below to find out what I have learned.

Heidi Jones

Most of us are living a busy, fast-paced life where 24 hours never seem enough. All sorts of pressures & deadlines loom over our heads, making us feel stressed out. It is important to be self-aware and to know how stress affects the body and our emotional wellbeing.

We have all heard about the fight or flight response when we are in a stressful situation – but did you know that it can cause a host of physical as well as mental symptoms? Stomach ache, indigestion, heart palpitations, jitters – these are just a few of the physical signs showing that we are stressed.

Normally, a bit of stress is good for us. Why? It helps us be more focused and do what needs to be done. Once the stressful task is complete we go back to our ‘rest & digest’ zone, where the body and mind are relaxed.

However, in today’s day & age we are more likely to be almost constantly in the ‘fight or flight’ zone as we claw through a long list of deadlines or urgent and important matters. This is certainly not good for our long-term health.

So what can you do to help yourself spend more time in the ‘rest & digest’ zone? The questionnaire below, developed by Heidi Jones, will help you assess your work-life balance by looking into which stress management strategies you use often and which ones you need to start using:

Stress Management Questionnaire


Now that you have a list of 20 very practical and easy to apply stress management strategies, you may want to think about what is stopping you from using them in your day-to-day life.

One thing we all have in common is that we all have 24 hours in the day. People are achieving amazing things in those hours – and so can you!

“You have to be very, very clear on what it is that you want. If you know what you want, then you know you need to work towards that and it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice anymore. It feels like it is part of the journey, it’s part of the process, it’s part of you growing as a person to get to where you want to be.” – Heidi Jones

We believe that we can’t do it, we don’t have time… but these are just beliefs – they are not facts.


So here you are: start by implementing practical strategies to relieve yourself of stress, but don’t forget to take the time out and ask yourself what you really want to achieve in life. Sometimes not knowing what we want to achieve is the biggest stress!


If you need more help or would like to know more about how to transform your life, go to Heidi’s blog – – where you can get in touch with her.


Why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions

NYE Post

Happy New Year!

It’s day 2 of 2016 and you have probably already made some resolutions for the rest of the year.

But will you stick to them? And are resolutions really useful?

Personally, I don’t believe NY resolutions really work – they’re more like a tradition which people follow blindly and forget about the minute they return to their daily routine.

However, setting yourself certain  goals and objectives is definitely a must if you want to achieve something, not only this year but in life.

So here’s a better way of doing this: create a 10-year vision. Yes, 10 years is a long time, but as we all know time flies so we need to get crackin’.

A year ago I attended a vision-setting workshop (you can do it online here) by Lululemon Athletica where we learned how setting visions and goals can help you create and seize possibilities.

Possibilities Quote

Here are a few tips to help get you started on your 10-year vision:

  • Write down what you want to achieve on a personal, professional and health level. Then write down what you do NOT want. Don’t feel bad about not reaching all of your goals, just write everything down. Check out Susanne Conrad’s goals here as an example of what the end result of this exercise will look like.
  • When writing those goals don’t be afraid to be audacious – it’s OK to fail 50% of the time (as long as you learn from your mistakes!).
  • Once you are clear on what you do and do not want in your life, start with a 10-year plan. Jot down in a couple of bullet points what you would like to have achieved in 10 years in your career, health and personal life. Here’s a template to guide you:
Lululemon Vision & Goals Worksheet
You can download this template from the Lululemon site here
  • Then, based on these goals, write down what you need to achieve in 5 years’ time and then in 1 year’s time. Breaking your bigger goals into smaller once will help you stay on track.
  • Now for the tough part – writing your vision. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Write your vision as a story – see it, feel it, hear it, smell it. Don’t hold back. Be true to yourself. Be specific.

Writing your vision may take a bit of time – don’t worry. Just close your eyes and imagine where would you be 10 years from now?  Here’s a video from Susanne Conrad, Director of Possibility & renowned leadership and communication advisor:

Good luck!



Learning to be Spontaneous

Almost a month ago I was told to be more spontaneous & less ‘in-control’. This made me realise how pervasive my need for planning & organising has been throughout my life. The idea of waking up and not having a plan for the rest of the day is one which would send me in a mild panic attack – how can I not know what I should/need to do?!

I guess this stems from my fear of the unknown and that of missing out. Having a plan somehow gives me a sense of purpose, of advancement, of not wasting a single moment even. Yet how often do things go to plan? What a paradox, ay?

So here I am, almost a month off and slowly doubling my toes in the unknown sea of spontaneity.


For starters, I joined some colleagues on an unplanned trip to the cinema after work. Off we went to the mall, smuggling our hot dinner in to the movie theatre – felt like I was in high school skipping class (or may be that was because we watched We’re Your Friends with Zac Effron?). It was great fun, but as it was mid-week (and I missed my bedtime) all I could think about the next day at work was my bed. Discovery #1: spontaneity can tire you out.

Next up, I went a week without meal prep 😼 It was a nice change, bringing back excitement in the ‘what’s for lunch?’ question. I could explore new dishes and remind myself of old ones. My tummy was happy, my heart was light and yet my wallet was even lighter. Discovery #2: being spontaneous can cost you a bit.

Finally, during our long weekend here in the UAE my colleagues suggested going on a road trip. I ‘spontaneously’ agreed and my plans to spend some of the days off in bed or by the pool were put on the back seat (pun intended). We did a bit of research, rented a car and off we went one fine morning. It was all smiles and laughter until our phones started running outof charge and the realisation that we had no physical map dawned upon us. Luckily for us, we had a powerbank and a charger which kept us going, but it was close, very close.


Funnily, I had planned to buy a map but in all the excitement of the trip (and my mental calculations of how much food to take with me) that task had somehow slipped out of my mind. I had also planned for a big lunch and dinner on the way back / at home. Once again, however, spontaneity took charge and we ended up having a late lunch which also required a significant detour. The bonus was a quick dip in the sea and yoga at dusk, followed by dinner on the beach. Hey, not bad right?

Yet, this lovely little detour meant that we had to rush back to return the car… with 15% battery charge and all other devices off. This is a control freak’s nightmare, and needless to say the situation did not bring out the best of me. Discovery #3: a little planning and organisation helps.

So have I learned to be spontaneous? Not yet as I have a way to go. But I have learned that sometimes it’s ok to go with the flow and be a little bit adventurous. Key word: sometimes.

My conclusion: there is a time and place for being spontaneous.


The Subtle Signs of Life

So it has been more than a week since I last wrote a blog post. The reason for this MIA is the usual excuse – life got in the way. Needless to say the last couple of weeks have been very stressful and busy.

But then I realised I was sweating the small stuff and missing on some important ‘signs’ (if you believe in this kind of stuff) around me.

I have been trying to change my mindset for a while now. Trying not to worry so much. To be more spontaneous and accepting of fate. However such things are easier said than done.

I always try to start the day positive, yet at the first challenge or misfortune my mind slips into negativity – anger and frustration morph into desperation and misery.


However the past week has been different. I think I may have truly began to change my mindset. Of course this process started a while back – there was no ‘game-changing’ day. Now I am finally seeing the culmination of those small actions, signs and chance discoveries.

So I noticed that over the past few days a lot of things have been screaming at me. Those ‘things’ or signs came into 2 forms: people and perceptions.

Interesting people = interesting conversations

Everybody wants to talk but few are willing to listen.

Sometimes we forget to truly pay attention to other people’s stories and often times we forget to even ask about their story and current life situation. Science has proven than talking about ourselves has a similar effect to drugs – it makes us feel good. But in our endeavour to get that dopamine hit we can easily miss out on the important life lessons others can share with us.

This week I have been blessed (either that or my ears have developed a new level of hearing abilities 🙂 ) with a few enlightening conversations that really hit home one message – everybody is fighting their own battle; just as there are people better off than you so there are people in much worse situations.

Yes, we all know there are people worse off than us, but how many of us actually think about that before we erupt in anger or fall in despair over non-life threatening situations? *Note to self: don’t sweat the small stuff, nobody died right?

Yet lessons can be learned not just from those worse off than us – a lot of people nowadays have inspiring stories of success or unexpected achievements. A girl coming back from the dead, an Irishman fluent in Russian, a boy who’s working two jobs to achieve his dream despite supporting a family, including a member who was in a hospital ICU.

We can find inspiration from many around us only if we bothered to ask and truly listened to their stories. Everyone is looking to grow and discover themselves and we can all share our experience and knowledge.

Everything happens for a reason and everything has a solution.

Just as I was starting to question (and get frustrated about) the direction in which my life was heading, a random check on social media alerted me to some interesting opportunities. After further research I was surprised to discover that two of my acquaintances were already involved in those. *Repeat: everything happens for a reason.


Read the signs

So sometimes we just need to open our eyes (and ears!) and be more aware of the things happening around us. We need to be more perceptive and inquisitive. For example, in the past days I saw a few near-misses on the roads (a common thing in Dubai). But seeing it happen so close to me really made me think. Especially after hearing the screams of a man on the side of the street who had been hit by a car moments before I drove by. *Note to self: Life is precious.

This was followed by a couple of friends sharing personal stories of very serious health problems – and I was worried about my stomach bloating! By being aware of these different realities we can adjust our mindset and be grateful for what we have. The way we perceive things can have a huge impact on our actions (and reactions).

Our thoughts can also subconsciously attract events and signs related to those thoughts. No, I’m not going to talk about The Secret and how your thoughts and the universe are intimately connected (thank you Oprah for enlightening us 🙂 ).

I did, however, encounter a few interesting coincidences. I’m currently reading a book on Australia and by default my mind tends to gravitate towards that part of the world. So when I was doing some fitness competition research I was surprised to find that some of the best in the industry here hailed from Australia (people and products).

Also a couple of conversations ended up with interesting information about Oz land (and I wasn’t the one initiating or sharing the facts!). Very interesting indeed.

So my point is – be more mindful about the things and people that surround you and also of your own thoughts and reactions. You would be surprised what you can discover!


Life Matters: Why I Always Prep for the Week Ahead

Hello weekend!

Time to catch up on sleep and relax right? But oh there is so much to do! See friends & movies (or both if you like to multitask!), do the house chores, get involved in your favourite hobby and get ready for the week ahead.

Wait, by the time you get to the end of the list is there really any time left to ‘get ready for the week ahead’? And what exactly does this involve?


For some it may be just making a to-do list for the week, for others it may be a much more complex operation. Unfortunately, I fall in the latter category.

For me getting ready for the week ahead means planning all of my meals and my outfits (for work and for the gym) . Sounds simple enough but it can take a good part of the day and leave me drained and unwilling to venture much further than the sofa (after doing all the cleaning and laundry of course).

A lot of people wonder why I do what I do and how I do it. Let me answer those questions for you.

1.Why I spend a good part of every weekend preparing for the week ahead

I work out 5 days a week. I also work, in an office, 5 days a week (ha, no surprise there!). And I am the type of person who needs a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night, plus having sleeping problems does not help.

This means I have to be very organised and make sure that my time during the work week is optimised and used efficiently. Having everything ready on the weekend, means I only need to pull out whatever I need for the next day the evening before. I.e. it saves time and energy. And nothing beats coming home tired after a long day and knowing that you can just relax and have a nice dinner without having to do countless little chores.


But most importantly it helps me to stay consistent on my journey to achieve my goals. Having already decided on my meal plan for the week helps me avoid temptation or simply falling off track because I was too hungry and had nothing to eat. I know what I have put on my plate and I know it is good for me. I also don’t have to faff around thinking what to eat or what to wear – I can just get on with important business. No more wasting time on minor life decisions.

Think of Steve Jobs. Ever wondered why he always wore the same black turtleneck sweater? It was because it saved him time. You see, he didn’t have to think every morning what to wear. He had more important decisions to make. It allowed him to concentrate on the big picture. And he’s not alone – Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and many other successful people often have a signature ‘uniform’ which helps them pare down decisions.

Now imagine how many times a day we have to make decisions about what we eat? Let’s say the average is 3 to 6 times a day. Add to that all the other minor decisions of the day – what to wear, whether to take the lift or the stairs, when to eat, etc. Now that is a lot of time to spent on thinking about minor details and it can lead to ‘decision fatigue’ – making poor decisions.

2. How I get ready to face the coming week

Screenshot_2014-11-10-08-12-03All you need is a strong will and a bit of discipline. Yes, preparing all those things in advance can take up to half a day, but you (and your mind) are free of petty decisions and tasks for the rest of the week.

Typically, on working days I’m up by 6.30am and leave the house by 7.30am. I don’t return home until around 7.30pm and as I usually struggle to fall asleep I always aim to be in bed by 9.30 – 10pm.

This leaves me with barely a couple of hours before bedtime, and I wouldn’t want to use this precious little time for cooking, making sandwiches or ironing clothes. Oh, no. That time is sacred.

So instead, on one weekend day I plan my meals and make a grocery list, do the shopping and cooking, iron the clothes and put everything in order. That way all I have to do during the week is make a quick salad in the evening and wash my food containers, but no more. The rest of the time is spent unwinding from the day’s stress.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day, but how we choose to spend them is what makes the difference. Nobody said it’s easy, but if you have a dream and a goal you have to find ways to work towards it. Like they say – there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.