Should You Try To Be Positive or Realistic?

When thinking about our lives, there are a number of approaches we can take. For example, do we look at life on the bright side? Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Or, do you choose a purely scientific approach and simply describe your glass as “containing 50% beverage, 50% air”? No matter how you view your life, it has a huge effect on how you function! When people visit an expert life coach in New Jersey, one of the ways to change your life fast is to change the way you look at it. Read on to find out more about the differences between being positive and realistic, and when each is most helpful!

The Positives of Positive
Positive thinking has many great benefits. It can boost your mood, help you notice the good things in your life, and give you the “boost” you need to tackle tough projects. Have you ever found yourself wondering “how do I build motivation?” or “how can I feel happier?” Try positive thinking! When you focus on the good things about your project or life change, and direct your attention to the positive, you can improve your mood and your motivation. This is especially true when you feel stuck—a life coach can help you see the positives that you want to stick with!

The Benefits of Realism
As much as positivity feels and sounds good, sometimes we don’t feel positive about something because we know we need to change it. That guilt you feel when looking at the overflowing laundry basket? That’s not positive—but it is real. Just as much as we need to embrace positivity, reality can help us to know when we need to make changes.

How to Balance Both
How do you stay positive while still being realistic? Finding this balance is the goal of many who seek professional life coaching in NJ. There are hundreds of tricks to balance these two competing needs, but an easy one that you can try is to focus on being “real” only with those things that are in your power to change… for the rest, try to stay positive. If you feel under appreciated at work, can you change that situation by taking a new class and improving your skills? That’s real and goal-oriented. For things out of your control, such as “the world is such a violent place,” try to find a positive example to counteract it, like someone helping others.
Remember, your attention shapes how you view the world! Find a balance between “real” and “positive” on your own, or seek help from Life Coach JB in aligning your priorities most effectively.

Learn How to Use Your Values to Set Goals

Every New Year, people make goals or resolutions. By the end of January, unfortunately, most of these have failed. How can such a time-tested tradition fail over and over again? Some experts suggest that people aren’t really making goals that will work because they aren’t aligning them effectively with their personal values. Translation: If you don’t care about your goals, you won’t achieve them. Read on to find out a better way to set goals from your trusted life coach in New Jersey!

Why Set Goals?
Goals are a great way to ensure ongoing self-awareness and personal development. By setting goals, you are working on making yourself better in the future—for yourself, for your job, or for others. Goals make sure we don’t stagnate and become boring. For some, setting goals can be the start to major changes in life. Unfortunately, this is just what goals should be. In reality, people often pursue goals for other reasons they don’t work as well, such as to please another person, because they think “I should,” or because someone else is doing them.

Why Do Values Matter?
You have to be motivated to achieve your goals. Intrinsic motivation (the kind that comes from inside of you) is much, much better than extrinsic motivation (the kind that comes from other people or other things). Silly phone games are intrinsically motivating—nobody tells you to do them (in fact, they might tell you to put it down!), but completing them is rewarding enough that you might catch yourself sneaking in a game while waiting in line. On the other hand, a report from work should be motivating (paycheck!), but most people report procrastinating and feeling unmotivated. Values matter because they increase intrinsic motivation—you want to make these changes for yourself!

How to Set Better Goals
To start making better goals, think about your values. There are free quizzes to assess values online, but mostly, you need your brain. What is truly most important to you? Identify your top five areas. Popular values include family, personal development, humanitarian ideals, relaxation, peacefulness, integrity, honesty, giving to others, or compassion for animals—but there are thousands! Once you have chosen your top five values, set goals that support these values. For example, if you have placed your children’s success as a top value, your goal might be to take them to a cultural event each month so they are well-rounded. If you placed your professional development as a top value, your goal might be to listen to a new podcast each week on the way to work.
By connecting your values to your goals, you can increase meaning as well as increasing your changes of success! For more help setting great goals, contact Life Coach JB today!

What the Research Says About Life Coaching

As a professional life coach in New Jersey, Life Coach JB has helped many people to take the next steps in their lives, clarify and achieve their goals, feel more confident, and create positive change. Those who have benefitted from life coaching know how great it is, but for those who have never tried, it can be an unusual concept. Does life coaching really “work?” We’ve scoured the best research literature for some definitive answers—spoiler alert, the research is good!

What Life Coaching Helps
Life coaching can prompt the “aha!” moment that helps clients to link behaviors and goals, promoting more effective changes in behavior (Robinson et al., 2018). Life coaching has proven effective at creating real change in people’s lives, bridging goal-setting and goal achievement (Freeman, 2016). The life coach helps the individual to assess his or her environment, identify realistic goals, and set the path toward achieving those goals.

Specific Problems
For some, life itself isn’t the challenge, it is specific problems or life events that prompt a need for coaching. For example, those who beat cancer often find that they feel less confident in themselves, causing challenges in social and emotional life. Fortunately, just five sessions of professional life coaching helped to improve feelings of self-efficacy, hope, wellbeing, quality of life, and goal attainment, while reducing anxiety, depression, and social difficulties (Wagland et al., 2015). Coaching can also be helpful for work-related issues, such as improving workplace performance, achieving desired skills, wellbeing, coping at work, self-regulation, and attitudes toward work (Theeboom et al., 2014).

Special Considerations
The training your life coach has can affect the effectiveness of life coaching. Executive coaches with a background in psychology, as well as those with more experience in the field, often helped their clients to make better gains and progress toward goals (Bozer et al., 2014). Fortunately, Life Coach JB has plenty of experience, as well as certifications in the life coaching field. To find out more about life coaching and how it can work for you, check out our research sources below, or set up an appointment with Life Coach JB today!

Bozer, G., C. Sarros, J., & C. Santora, J. (2014). Academic background and credibility in executive coaching effectiveness. Personnel Review, 43(6), 881-897.

Freeman, A. (2016). Life coaching from an evidence-based perspective: An interview with Oana David. Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, 16(1).
Robinson, T., Morrow, D., & Miller, M. R. (2018). From Aha to Ta-dah: insights during life coaching and the link to behaviour change. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 11(1), 3-15.

Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & van Vianen, A. E. (2014). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1-18.

Wagland, R., Fenlon, D., Tarrant, R., Howard-Jones, G., & Richardson, A. (2015). Rebuilding self-confidence after cancer: a feasibility study of life-coaching. Supportive Care in Cancer, 23(3), 651-659.

How Visualization Can Help You Reach Your Goals in the New Year

As a professional life coach in New Jersey, I work with many people who have wonderful goals. However, they come seeking life coaching because they just can’t make these goals turn into reality! Fortunately, there are ways to help you take this next step. Today’s blog will focus on the technique of visualization, sharing ways that this technique can help you reach your goals in the New Year.

What is Visualization? And what is it NOT?
Visualization is a psychological technique to help you view, imagine, and work toward your goals. To use visualization, you imagine that you are already achieving your goals. Imagine how accomplished you feel, how different your life is, the work you have done to get here, and how your life looks. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you may visualize yourself thinner, exercising regularly, fitting into those pants you love, or eating a reasonable portion at mealtimes. What visualization is NOT is simple positive thinking? If you just sit and visualize forever, you’ll be stuck sitting and visualizing forever!

How Does it Help?
Visualization helps by making goals and the work needed to accomplish those goals clear in your mind. In the example above, one might visualize a healthy relationship with food. What does that look like on a plate? Does the visualization include a change in food patterns? Visualization not only makes goals clear, so you can work toward them, it prepares your mind. Just like rehearsing a song in your head helps you remember the lyrics, mentally rehearsing your goals and the steps you will take to get there makes it more likely that they will happen.

Maximize Your Visualization
Want to get the most out of your visualization? Affirmations can be a great way to keep your progress on track. These are not simple “feel-good” statements such as “I am the best employee ever and will find a job,” but positive reflections on actions taken toward goals, such as “I am preparing myself for my new job by doing research in my field every day.” If you find it difficult to stay focused on your visualizations, try making them more “visual” by writing or drawing them.

Even the biggest goals for the New Year can be tackled bit by bit! To start reaching your goals with the help of a professional life coach in New Jersey, contact Life Coach JB today!

Why You Don’t Need to Feel Happy to Feel Good

Many people seek a life coach to feel better, happier, more fulfilled, or something else. Often, people seek life coaching in New Jersey to feel happier, and come in very frustrated, as they are trying various things to feel happy, that “should” make them happy, but they don’t. This article will talk about good feelings, happiness specifically, and why happiness isn’t always the end goal you should seek!

Positive feelings: A Primer
Ask most people over the age of two to describe a good emotion, and they’ll often respond with “happy.” We like to feel happy, and often seek things that we think will make us happy, such as new products, interesting experiences, time with loved ones, and thrills. But what about those other positive feelings? When pressed harder, most teens and adults can also identify positive feelings such as pride, accomplishment, relief, and gratitude. Sure, you may also feel happiness during these other feelings, but happy is not really the defining factor… which leads us to our next point.

Is “happy” really your goal?
“Of course, I want to be happy!” most people exclaim initially. However, when thinking through it more carefully, being “happy” all the time is not what most people feel the best about. Clients I have worked with in life coaching report far greater enjoyment of getting a project completed, doing a favor for a friend or loved one, or getting a burdensome task off their plate—even if the process was rather miserable.

Accepting your feelings.
Our ancestors defined happy much differently than most people do today. If you ended the day in a safe place, with food in your stomach, and not mauled by a mountain lion—and neither was your family—you were happy. Today, we must find our own happiness, which starts with the definition. People on TV look happy 24/7 because they get paid to. Throughout your life, you get to experience a wide variety of emotions that satisfy and fulfill you in a variety of ways.

To find out how to start feeling more satisfied, productive, or even happy, consider working with a skilled life coach in NJ. You’ll feel better once you take the next step!

How to Set Boundaries During the Holiday Season

Sometimes it seems like it might be better for everyone if we just called off life during the last two months of the year—between fickle weather and holidays every other week or so, it can seem like there is just no time to make progress toward your personal goals, or even to take a breath! Many life coaching clients report frustration during this season, sometimes even giving up on their goals and insisting that they will “reset” with a New Year’s Resolution. This might work but setting good boundaries might be just as effective. Read on to find out how to keep the time you need for the things you need to do, even during the holidays.

1. Assess your commitments.
Before the holiday season, you need to define your boundaries. Just like setting up the “in” and “out” areas of sports, you need to decide where your boundaries lie. This is a great step to plan with a skilled life coach in New Jersey, as a life coach can help you to explore and express these priorities. Figure out how many tasks you have compared to the time and energy you have and figure out what you realistically want to do.

2. Schedule and commit.
Now that you’ve planned, set it to paper! Or the calendar on your phone, whatever suits you. The important thing is that you schedule those things that are important to you, so you don’t get stuck thinking you have “nothing” to do. Want to see a holiday light display? Pencil it in between picking grandma up from the airport and holiday brunch the next day. Buy tickets in advance for popular events and share your plans with family and friends. The lure of “let’s just stay in” is less compelling when all the work is done for you.

3. Say no!
This is the hardest part of setting boundaries. Tap into your inner two-year-old and say “no!” You can stomp your foot and shake your head for effect if you need, but the only person you need to convince is usually yourself.

4. Embrace flexibility.
That schedule you made in step two? Not the holy grail. If you truly want to do something, find a way to make time for it, even if it means skipping out on something else. Remember, doing what you love is more important that doing what you planned.

5. Remember the basics.
You, just like every other being, have physical needs! You need to eat some healthy foods, get enough sleep to feel rested, and exercise for at least a little bit each day just to take care of your body and be at your best. Many people cut into this time for other tasks, but don’t be tempted. You’ll be better off well-fed, rested, and exercised!
For more great tips, visit the Life Coach JB blog regularly for new articles!

Flow: What it is, How to find it

Do you flow? Many people think of flow, and they think of smoothness, consistency, and ease. You’re not wrong! However, there is a very specific definition of flow in productivity and wellness, and we’re going to talk about it today. Julie Barros has worked with many people in New Jersey for life coaching, helping them to visualize their goals, improve productivity, feel better, or just take the next step. Flow is a great tool in this process, so read on to find out what it is and how to feel it!

What is Flow?
Flow was first named and defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in 1975, including the state of being fully immersed in an activity, energized, focused, fully involved and enjoying it. When people flow, they often report the sensation that time is disappearing, without feeling pressured or uncomfortable. Time spent playing your favorite phone game, talking with your best friend on the phone, or engaging in an interesting project often produces a flow state.

What does flow do for me?
Sure, flow sounds like a great way to work, but does it have benefits aside from being enjoyable? It sure does! When you flow, you are likely to enjoy your work more, be more productive while still feeling energized, and you’ll avoid the dreaded concept of burnout! Many people who seek life coaching in New Jersey want to find a way to reclaim their “flow” in what they do!

How can I “flow” more?
You can’t force flow, but you can make it more likely to keep happening. A key component of flow is to manage frustration and boredom. Think of an exciting scavenger hunt where you have to search for each item for a few minutes, and maybe some a little longer, but they are always discoverable. Now, think of a scavenger hunt where everything is neatly lined up on a table. Boring, right? Alternatively, think of a scavenger hunt that is nearly impossible and each item takes hours to find—if you can find it at all. This would be so frustrating that you might give up. Situations where you are challenged, but not too much, are the best for promoting flow. Of course, eliminating distractions and focusing on what you truly love can help as well.

While we would love to live in the flow state all day, this is not always possible. However, a skilled life coach can help you meet these goals and feel great about your accomplishments!

A Creative Way to Assess Your Values and Priorities

Working as a life strategies coach in New Jersey requires a lot of flexibility. Unlike some professions, where there is a clear “good,” “bad,” “right,” or “wrong” way to go about doing things, life coaching is all about helping you to be the best you can be in your life—and this looks different for everyone. One of the first tasks I start off with in many cases is helping clients to understand their values and priorities. Many people come in not knowing themselves very well, and though coaching, they can find out how to do this better. Today, I’ll share a creative way that you can assess your values and priorities, often called the Johari Window.

The Johari Window
This technique is popular in psychology, social work, life coaching, organizational consulting, and more, and for great reason! It is simple, fun, and can be creative. The technique was developed back in the mid-1900’s by psychologists, and helps to make values and priorities clear.

How it Works
The process is simple. Draw a box and divide it into four parts, like a window pane. You will have two panels across and two going down for a total of four. On the top is yourself; on the side is others. The first box is “known,” the rest are “unknown.” By combining, you will find that the top-left corner represents those things that are known to yourself and to others, sometimes called the “public arena”; the top-right corner represents those things are not known to yourself, but known to others, otherwise known as your “blind spot”; the lower left-hand corner is known to yourself, but not known to others, representing your “hidden self”; and the lower right-hand corner is not known to yourself or others—this is a big mystery! After drawing your grid, fill in the corresponding values and priorities. The lower left-hand corner is often represented simply with a question mark, indicating that you don’t know it yet. This represents your future growth and hidden motivations.

What it Means
The exercise is the most important part of this task, as it encourages you to think through the various levels of “knowing” and reflect on how you see yourself, as well as how you think others see you. You can use this information to plan your future, take the next step, or move forward past something that is hindering you. Need more help? Set up an appointment with a skilled life coach in New Jersey for personalized assistance and life coaching.

Learn To STOP and Make Better Decisions

Part of my job as a life coach is helping people make good decisions. While I am not a judge, parent, or sage wise-woman who knows your inner desires, I have studied the best ways to create and maintain healthy changes. When I work with clients for life coaching, I use a variety of techniques to help you understand, express, and move toward your goals and dreams. I see this as a collaborative process, like working with a skilled mountain climbing guide to scale a mountain. However, sometimes, you just need a quick tool to make a great decision on your own. Today, I am going to teach you how to STOP!

The Importance of Sleep to High Performance

Could you use a nap? If so, you’re not alone: Up to a third of Americans report that they don’t get the sleep they need to feel rested. But this is just a part of normal life, right? Think again! This week, we’ll be talking about the importance of sleep for high performance in your life—whether that’s making important decisions at work, being there for your family, or just feeling great about yourself. As a life coach, I have seen plenty of people who are sick and tired—of not sleeping!