Be your own life coach!

Be your own life coach!

After all, nobody knows you better than yourself!

Some people just seem to have everything together in their lives. They coast along, reaching milestone after milestone, ‘in the zone’ while notching up goals from their list of life’s objectives. But for many, there comes
a time when you get stuck, a little lost along the way, whether it’s in your personal or professional life, or even both.

You lose sight of your objectives and what makes you happy. Hiring a life coach to help you plot your way back to where you want to be or where you want to go is a great option. And having someone cheer you on, like a personal
trainer who makes sure you reach your fitness target, might be all it takes to help you focus on what you want from life or your career. However, like personal trainers, life coaching can come with a hefty price tag, making it a luxury for many. Here are some great techniques to help you reach your goals on your own.

Be honest

Before you can start navigating a new life path, it’s essential to come to terms with who you are and what you want to achieve. You need to do some digging and soul searching, even if it takes you to places where you don’t necessarily
want to venture. For some, therapy sessions (which can potentially be claimed back from medical aid) might be necessary to uncover what truly makes you happy and steers you in the right direction. You need to discover your passions and where your life’s fulfilment lies.

Look at all areas of your life, from personal development and wellbeing to health and finance, relationships and your career, and ask yourself what is motivating your need for change? What are the challenges you are facing? What is causing the disconnect between where you are and where you’d like to be? Resolving any internal disagreements is vital in helping you select value orientated goals to work towards. If goals are not connected to your values, such as losing 10kg for the summer, you’re more likely to fail in achieving them, so take the time and effort to really map out what you want to work on. As bestselling author and leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith says, ‘Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.’


Failure happens

While on your self-coaching journey, keep in mind that as with all human beings, sometimes failure happens, and setbacks are inevitable. Talk to any of the most successful people in the world and they’ll all have a similar story to tell of failures, heartbreak and lost opportunities. However, the key to their success is that they persevered and kept on trying. Don’t be afraid to drop goals or alter them as circumstances change, but keep working on those that truly matter to your happiness and wellbeing. Hold yourself accountable and responsible for your life and its direction, and don’t allow negative thoughts or self-sabotaging tendencies to prevent you from reaching your true potential.

Grit is sticking with your future day in, day out and not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. – Angela Lee Duckworth, American academic, psychologist and author

The action plan

1. Journal 

Writing not only gets ideas out of your head and onto paper, it can also help highlight areas that need work in your life. Every day, jot down what made you happy or sad or frustrated. Can some of these things be changed to help
you pursue a more fulfilling purpose? Where did you find your joy? Studies have also shown the best way to map your future is to write about it. In a 2007 study, Dr Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals and dreams when writing them down regularly. Pin them up where you’ll see them often, to remind yourself of where you’re going and how you can shape each day in order to work towards the destination.

2. One at a time 

Once you’ve chosen the objectives you’d like to work towards, tackle them one at a time, mapping out the steps
or the smaller goals it’ll take in order to reach them. Try focusing on one goal at a time so you don’t become fatigued
by constantly working towards multiple aspirations, giving yourself the opportunity to succeed rather than fail. Look at
your goal roadmap too – are there any obstacles that might cause you to stumble and fail or make it difficult to achieve your end goal? What can you do to overcome or avoid them?

3. Find an accountability partner 

In her study, Gail had a group of people who not only wrote down their goals and objectives, they also shared their plans with a friend, or ‘accountability partner’. She found that more than 70% of those participating in this group, and who sent weekly updates to their friends, reported successful goal achievements, compared to 35% of those who kept their goals to themselves, without writing them down. Having an accountability partner helps translate your goals into action and, finally, successful achievements.

4. Find a mentor 

In your career path, a mentor may be just as helpful as having an accountability partner. Finding someone you admire
within, or even outside, your organisation may be a valuable source for inspiration and motivation. Schedule monthly
catch-ups where you can discuss your goals and action plan, and listen to their advice on how to turn your goals
into reality.

5. Set deadlines 

With each goal you set, give yourself a reasonable timeframe. Be realistic and don’t set yourself up for failure by creating unachievable deadlines that may lead you to abandon your goal. Deadlines should be created to push and motivate you, and help you prioritise your goals in your daily undertakings.

Extra motivation:

Download: Website and app:
Read: Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the life you were meant to live by Martha Beck
Watch: Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED talk, Grit: The power of passion and perseverance



Joni van der Merwe

About Joni van der Merwe

Your Family’s Digital editor. Avid retweeter. When I’m not scrolling Instagram you’ll find me in my garden. Keen on DIY and I don’t believe there’s anything that can’t be fixed with some chalk paint.


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