How do i change my life?
I want to make a change
You eagerly seek change in some area of your life, but struggle to ACTUALLY make a change happen. Whatever it is: changing your career, being more confident, sorting out your head; it has been on your mind for a while. Wait, let’s rephrase that: IT’S BEEN ON YOUR MIND A REALLY LONG TIME!!
Occasionally you have kick-started your initial attempts full of enthusiasm, but after a while your motivation just goes out of the window and your energy levels wear off. So far you’ve given in, and consequently given up. Looking back on these experiences, you might feel quite annoyed, guilty, down, or maybe even pretty frustrated about that. These feelings might linger around at this very moment. And that’s OK. Because it shows that you care about these things. They matter to you because you care about making a change.
YOU’RE NOT SUPERMAN, YOU KNOW.
I struggled with change too
I’m not sure how long it’s taking you to make a change, but back in my late twenties, it took me almost two years (!) to build up the confidence to follow through on what I wanted: another career. Freshly graduated from uni, I started as an energy policy consultant in Rotterdam. To any outsider, it seemed like I made it. A secure income, an opportunity to work yourself up the ladder, a profession that could make a difference. But after about 18 months in, I felt like a wrong fit.
Working behind a desk week in, week out. Typing policy documents I sincerely believed nobody really read (and if someone did, surely it wasn’t followed up). I was writing about topics that at that time mattered to me, but I wasn’t making any difference. It all felt so abstract. That feeling only grew stronger as time passed.
But I needed to change
Almost two years into the job, I decided to listen to my feelings and paid for an expensive 9-day NLP Practitioner training. That’s where – well, let’s say – I had my epiphany and found the courage and confidence to chase that was on my mind for so long. One of the exercises we did during the retreat really helped with that: making a wooden inspiration board. No more than 15 by 15 inches. We had to specify what to make a change was really about. On one side, we wrote all the good stuff we wanted to have in our life. The other side was dedicated to all the things that needed to go out of our life.
Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? I spend some time over it during the next couple of days, and eventually I had my own visual inspiration board. A board that I could hold, almost like a compass telling me where to go. Where I wanted to make a change. My trigger words were sun, sea, beach, adventure, action, focus, love, swim, cliffs, follow your guts, trust yourself, action, start a business, the outdoors, etc. You can see the original in one of the images, albeit it is in Dutch.
Looking back on it, most of those words stemmed from a wonderful holiday experience in Wales only six months earlier. That inspiration board, as simple as it was, however, gave me some clarity on what I wanted to focus on. To make a change is ambiguous, and cannot be acted upon. However, as scribbled on the board, to move closer to nature is not. It created some space from thoughts that usually stopped me in my tracks. Thoughts like ‘just be grateful for your career‘, ‘what would your parents think if you didn’t use your degree properly‘ or ‘Stop being so stupid, childish and selfish‘. In one way, the board committed me to submit an application letter to a local coasteering business. And yes, after a few funny email conversations with the business owner o “I’m wondering accommodation and transport, etc. The Netherlands to Wales is a mammoth daily commute….”, I got lucky. I was given the opportunity to fly over for a job interview in the sea.
I decided to take on the gamble, booked a flight and travelled over for to Wales for two days. Long story short, I got lucky and got the job and two weeks later my life was totally different. Instead of sitting behind a desk, I was out in flip-flops on the beach. Sure, the pay was a lot less, but the main thing was that I was happy again about what I did on a day-to-day basis. Every day, I felt more confident that I was doing the right thing and moving towards the stuff I cared about. Connecting with people, the outdoors, being active and exploring new places.
So how do I change my life?
Actions of confidence come first, feelings of confidence come later. Everybody’s story is different, but most of us have something going on in our head that we aren’t really willing to share yet. A thought that continues to linger in your mind. Maybe a picture of where you want to go, a person you aspire to become, or something exciting you just would like to try. Deep down, just like me, you know the change that’s on your mind might be worth pursuing as well. I didn’t know at the start that my move was a particular good one. It looked quite stupid at the start to be frank. After being an outdoor pursuit instructor, I became a behavioural therapist. Day-by-day, I was carrying out fun and positive interventions for individuals with learning and/or behaviour needs. It gave me a hands-on understanding of applied behaviour analysis, the foundation for any modern CBT intervention these days. I used this experience to move on as a qualified life coach and trained ACT practitioner in West Wales.
Although we can’t stop complaining, stop worrying, stop being fearful, stop having doubt in our hearts, this doesn’t mean you cannot make that initial leap. To let yourself be vulnerable and just follow that gut instinct and give it a go. Take an action, no matter how minuscule it is. Try and set a few new dots & keep moving forward towards it and see where it takes you. It’s better than doing nothing, isn’t it?
behaviour change applied
In 2017 I completed my final assessment in Cardiff to become a Qualified Life Coach with ILM (Instute of Leadership and Management). I’m also listed on the UK life coach directory, a nationwide database of qualified coaches and NLP practitioners.
ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and is part of the so-called ”third wave” of (evidence-based!) behavioural therapies that places special attention on committed action. Behaving towards the stuff that matters to you, the stuff you stand for (but perhaps struggle with so far). I’m listed as an ACT Practitioner on the ACBS, the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science. Specific ACT Training I have completed in the last two years: ACT for Difficult to Engage Teens with Ben Sedley (2 hr workshop, 2020), Telehealth: How To Do ACT Well Via Video or Audio with Russ Harris & Joe Oliver (2 hour workshop, 2020), ACT for Adolescents with Dr Russ Harris (16hr online training, 2020), ACT for Adolescents with Dr Louise Hayes (12hr workshop, 2020), ACT as a brief intervention with Russ Harris (6 week programme, 2021), Trauma Informed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Russ Harris (6 week programme, Nov 2022), ACT for Adults with ADHD (Oct 2023)
I am a delivery partner of multiple Neurodiverse coaching contracts active in the UK. I deliver high quality strategy coaching for adults in and outside the workplace. These adults have either been identified with a neurodiverse condition (e.g. ADHD, ASD, dyslexia, dyspraxia) or are struggling with long-term chronic health conditions (e.g. migraines, strokes, Parkinson, chronic fatigue syndrome).
I have a Master degree in Consumer Studies (Wageningen University). My specialty lies in Behavioural Economics, a branch of economic research that adds elements of psychology to traditional economic models in an attempt to better understand decision-making. My MSc thesis studied the effect of conspicuousness and status on evaluations of pro-environmental behaviour.
In 2015 I completed a nine-day training to become a certified NLP Practitioner. I learned various NLP techniques, including submodalities, Swish patterns, anchoring, learning strategies, metamodel, milton model, and your subconsciousness (time line therapy, hypnosis). Also other techniques were included, such as Mindfullness, EMDR, EFT, TA, Hypnose, Timeline therapy, RET, and Wim Hof (Iceman).
As a former Behaviour Therapist I dealt with behaviour change and motivation on a daily basis. Using applied behaviour analysis (ABA) I provided fun and positive interventions for individuals with learning and/or behavioural needs. ABA forms one of the building blocks for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
From September 2020 till April 2023 I volunteered for a cancer charity in my local area. I provided Acceptance and Commitment Therapy sessions for individuals (or family members of) coping with cancer. The support stopped as the charity no longer provided face-to-face sessions in my local town and moved elsewhere.
Facilitating change: our history
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Years ACT experience
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