Winter Survival Guide 2020/21 - MARCH

Previous posts can all be found here. Follow along on Instagram @fjcoaching for regular nudges.

I can hardly believe we have reached the final theme in the series! There are so many more I could choose from, so much still to share and uncover. Perhaps for that reason, I’ve landed on a March theme of CHOOSE. So here we go, and I’ll try very hard not to sound too much like that opening scene from Trainspotting…

Things to think about

It turns out (brace yourself)…to a very great extent you can choose how you feel. This is a big one and sometimes difficult to believe and to do, however it is particularly powerful when it comes to gaining control over your mental and physical wellness. Given the right conditions you can even DECIDE that this will be a great day. Make choices that would make that true for this particular moment in time. This may call for a check-in with yourself, to gather your 'data'. What is your body and mind telling you they need? Another half hour in bed, or an early morning walk? Watch the news or read another chapter of a book you’re enjoying? A glass of water or another coffee? None of these options is inherently right or wrong – its all about what you need today. There’s a little caveat here: you may NEVER feel like leaping out of bed to go for a run, but you might also know that you’ll feel better if you do. Choose to be disciplined when it serves you well. Choose to be kind to yourself - and notice that this might look different on different days.

One of the most interesting and difficult things to unlearn is the phrase, ‘they made me…’. They made me so angry, they made me feel sad, or small, or stupid. My boss/sibling/energy supplier was so thoughtless it justifies my angry response, my bad mood. Here’s the thing: nobody can MAKE you feel anything. Other people can behave badly, say rude or hurtful things, deliberately antagonise, and sometimes of course that will trigger a fast reaction, especially if you feel offended or treated unfairly. When all’s said and done, you can seldom, if ever, control other people, how they think or behave (or how long you’ll spend on hold before being put through). But you have a great deal of control over your response, if you choose to exercise it. It takes practice. Choose how - and whether, and when - to respond. Remember that you always have the option to not respond at all. You don’t have to agree, and you don’t have to argue back. You could, at the very least, pause to think and then choose your words carefully. You can certainly choose the volume of your voice and the speed of your words, which can do a lot to moderate some strong emotion.

Choose to notice that you have a whole box full of tools acquired here over the last 6 months, so deploy the right one for the job. If you’re not sure that something is for you, choose to give it the benefit of the doubt and try it. You don’t have to have a total epiphany, the aim is to lift the mood, focus on the positive and notice that there may be a lot to be thankful for. Choosing to notice is a really good one. As I said to a friend* the other day, every single time I leave my house there will be something interesting or lovely or thought-provoking, if I choose to notice. A window, cloud, reflection, view, a face, an idea or memory or sound – it might be small, but there is ALWAYS some tiny thing of note.

Choose when to step up. When to intervene and when to let it go. Let it go more often. Choose what matters, what will make a difference, and what is a wise use of your energy. What will be the outcome? What will be the impact on you?

Choose what to believe. Choose not to mind if that puts you in the minority. In the words of Dumbledore himself, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”. And who am I to argue with him?

Things to do

-         Notice how often you give yourself an excuse for an angry response. What would happen if you simply chose not to be angry? How might you put that time and energy to better use?

-         Recap all the earlier themes in the series and consider which are the ones that could have the biggest impact, depending on what you need more of at the moment

Tools and resources

- Here’s a 2-minute read about the power of choice

- Re-watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for a lesson in making great choices. And just for fun.


*her name is Lucy, meaning ‘light’. An excellent example of nominative determinism at work. Choose to be around people who leave you feeling full of energy. Hi Lucy, and thank you! xxx