Ali Croft Logo RGB web

Blog

  • No more notifications = more free time…

    Do you find yourself checking your work emails every time you see that familiar pop up notification in the corner of your screen telling you that you have a new message? What about checking your phone each time you see a new alert pop up for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, messenger etc? Ever feel a bit like your phone/ipad/tablet/laptop controls your life to some extent?

    By having notifications set up for every social media platform as well as for our calls, messages and emails, it is all too easy to feel like we are simply being responsive and alert in this fast paced society in which we live. The reality, however, is somewhat different. By checking our phone each time it goes off we are interrupted from the task we were working on, losing valuable time in completing it, and often in doing so all we have gained is to see that Fred has just had eggs for breakfast, while Sophie has been for a run…!

    Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely think that social media has its place, in helping us to network, build our businesses and connect with friends, but I think that by managing our interaction on these channels, as well as the amount of time we spend on emails and texts, we can buy ourselves back a huge amount of free time to do all those things we claim we never get time to do.

    The average person in Britain has four social media accounts and spends a staggering one hour and 20 minutes each day browsing them. If you also take into account that research has shown that it can take up to 25 minutes to return fully to a task after being interrupted, you might start to see how much more productive you could be by turning off your notifications and checking your texts, emails and social media accounts at set periods of time throughout the day.

    Instead of reacting to every notification you receive, in addition to browsing on these channels whenever you fancy a break from your day, try turning all notifications off other than your actual phone calls, so that includes social media, emails and texts. Then set yourself times throughout the day to check and respond to any messages. Outside of these times resist all urges to go online and instead invest your energy in other tasks like going for a run, focusing on a particular project, spending time with your kids or loved ones, or working on your business plan… anything that is productive rather than just idly flicking through social media.

    So, for example you could keep your mornings free from all external communication and instead enjoy breakfast while planning the day ahead. Follow this with one of your scheduled media checks and respond to anything that you need to. After this you could set aside a couple of hours to work on something particular, before maybe checking your phone and emails again at lunch. Continue this type of pattern through the day and you will suddenly find yourself being a lot more productive, with less time wasted checking endlessly on Facebook each time one of your friends updates their status.

    By not responding constantly to external influences we take control of our lives, often feeling more fulfilled and a great deal more productive in the process. Try it for a week and see how much more time you suddenly find yourself with.

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • The importance of self-belief.

    I think this is the perfect quote to start a post about self-belief, as it sums it up perfectly. Our belief in ourselves, whether that is positive or negative, is a hugely accurate reflection of how we interact with the world, and of how successful we are.

    Truly successful people may have the odd moment of self-doubt, but what truly stands them apart and makes them more successful, is that ultimately they believe they will achieve their goal, which automatically puts them in a great place to do so.

    Take, for example, Sally and Tina. Both are aspiring fitness gurus, and they are both of similar intelligence, creativity and physical prowess etc. The only difference is that Sally truly believes that she will be one of the UK’s best fitness experts, while Tina is wracked with self-doubt, believing that everyone else is better than her and worrying that people won’t take her seriously.

    As a result of her beliefs, Sally takes steps to help her achieve her goal, giving talks to anyone who will listen, writing blog posts and putting up online content, as she truly believes that she has something to offer and that people will want to hear what she has to say. Simone also starts making steps to reach her goal, but she passes up on the speaking opportunities offered feeling that she doesn’t know quite enough yet to be able to pass on her expertise, she shies away from offers to write articles in case she says something wrong, and she feels a constant fear as to whether she will ever be good enough…

    Who do you think is more likely to become successful? It is absolutely Sally, with her greater self-belief. She believes she can, so she will.

    So, if self-belief is so important in helping us to reach our goals, how do we go about achieving it?

    Focus on your positives

    Instead of standing in front of the mirror identifying the body parts you don’t like, try picking out two or three that you do like – maybe it’s your blue eyes or your curly hair – and focus on them. Find yourself drifting back to your ‘slightly larger than you would like’ thighs?? Stop yourself and take your attention back to those bits you love.

    In addition, take time to celebrate your successes. That evening class you breezed through, or the fact that you are a great mum or friend, make a note of these and add to this list every time you achieve something new. When you are feeling a bit insecure read back through the list and remind yourself how great you are.

    It’s also a good idea, not only to accept compliments when they are given – and no you don’t need to counteract it by mentioning your big bum or your inability to sing in tune – but also to write them down, along with the date and the name of the person who gave it. This, again, makes a great pick-me-up on days where your self-belief has taken a bit of a hit.

    Take care of yourself

    This is probably the simplest one of all, but the one that most people struggle the most with. Do you ever find yourself saying things like this: ‘why should I spend that money on a new hair cut when I’m so overweight, nobody will notice anyway’… Ignore that voice, spend time looking after you, with healthy food, regular exercise, time to relax and the occasional treat, whether that is a manicure or a new outfit. The more time you spend looking after yourself the better you will start to feel about yourself.

    Connect with people who love you

    How do you feel after a night out with a close friend who makes you laugh, pays you compliments and values spending time with you? I’m guessing its better than how you feel after the time you spend around negative people who criticise you and appear to wish they were anywhere else… Choose who you spend your free time with wisely, the more time you spend with the people you love, the more loved and special you will feel.

    Set yourself a challenge

    Make it something that you have always wanted to do. Climb a mountain, cycle London to Paris for charity or even just go to a bar on your own for a drink, if that feels out of your comfort zone. By setting yourself a new challenge, no matter how big or small, and achieving it you will feel on top of the world and your self-belief will receive a real boost.

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • A healthier cake?

    It’s common to think that embarking on any sort of diet or healthy eating plan means that you will be forced to survive on a diet of broccoli and white fish, and that sweet treats are a thing of the past.

    This is the joy of adopting a healthier way of eating as way of life, rather than opting for a ‘quick fix’ or ‘fad’ diet, you have far more choice in what you can eat, and you can even include delicious snacks like this, which are far better than a chocolate bar from the petrol station.

    Try making a batch of these banana muffins (courtesy of Hemsley and Hemsley) at the weekend and keep them in the fridge for a delicious snack (after school/4pm slump etc) that all the family will enjoy.

    As well as filling you up and satisfying your craving for something sweet, you will also be getting the benefits of Vitamin E and Magnesium from the ground almonds, and Omega 3 from the flaxseed.

    This recipe makes about 20 small muffins or 12 larger ones.

    Ingredients (use organic ingredients if possible)

    • 3 ripe medium bananas

    • 3 large eggs

    • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    • 30g unsalted butter

    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

    • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

    • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    • 200g ground almonds

    • 25g ground flaxseed

    Method

    • Melt the butter in a saucepan and then allow to cool slightly before adding all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and mixing until smooth.

    • Line your muffin tray with individual muffin cases.

    • Add a couple of tablespoons of the mix to each case, you are aiming to fill them almost to the top as they won’t rise as well as traditional muffins.

    • Pop the tray into a pre-heated oven (160c) and bake for around 20 mins. This is slightly dependent on the size of the muffins so do keep an eye on them.

    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

    • Enjoy!

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Put that energy drink down!

    Come 4pm in the working week, do you find yourself reaching for an energy drink or sugary snack to give you a much needed boost to get you to the end of the day?

    You probably won’t be surprised to learn that in addition to upping your sugar intake and adding unwanted pounds to your figure, you are also affecting your sleep quality and potentially increasing your risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

    While energy drinks and treats from the vending machine are quick and easy to obtain, a simple bit of planning ahead ensures that you have healthy snacks to hand which won’t cause your blood sugar to peak and then crash. Try a handful of raw veg with hummus, a handful of nuts (not salted!) or, if you prefer something sweet, then try this fab shake which takes just a minute to make in the blender.

    200ml almond milk

    2tsp almond butter

    1tsp maca powder (a daily dose of maca can not only increase your energy levels and stamina, it can also help to regulate hormones and help to keep your teeth and bones healthy.)

    0.5tsp cinnamon

    Banana

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Here's to 2015!

    New Year is the time to look back and reflect on the year that has gone in terms of successes, failures and goals that have been achieved, and also to look ahead to the forthcoming year. It is an exciting time and one filled with possibilities. I would go as far as saying that it is one of my favourite times, as everyone seems so full of hope and excitement.

    For me, 2014 was a year of extremes, from the darkest lows to the highest and happiest times. I have learnt more about myself in the last 12 months than I knew was possible. My life now is somewhat different from where I thought it would be 12 months ago, but it is also happier than I ever imagined. As a result of the past year I have nothing but excitement for 2015, knowing that whatever challenges I face through the year, I will beat them with the same strength that has seen me through this year.

    By looking back, not only at what worked but also what didn’t, we are able to refine our plans and goals, learning from our mistakes and the challenges we faced, and planning ways to achieve more successes as we go forwards.

    It is around this time of year that I always create a vision board, and encourage my clients to do the same. I know that a lot of people write them off, but for me there is nothing more inspiring than creating an image of my goals and motivations for the year ahead. Having it there to look at everyday also helps to keep me on track in terms of conquering them.

    By planning our goals in detail we become more focused on them, and therefore more likely to achieve them. So if you haven’t already done so, take some time out today or tomorrow and have a think about what you want to achieve over the next 12 months – whether it is to find a new job, run a marathon or lose half a stone – then write it down and set out in more detail what steps you will take to achieve it.

    Whatever your goals are, make them exciting and meaningful. I plan to run two marathons and two half marathons for charity, and in terms of fitness, preparing for these will keep me focused throughout 2015. I have the name of the charity and my reasons for running on my vision board as inspiration to get up and train on those days where my motivation is not at its best! A goal that is meaningful and visual is much easier to achieve.

    So I would advise everyone to take time out and reflect on 2014, then set yourself some exciting and inspiring goals for the year head, including the steps you will take throughout the year to reach them, then go out there and smash them!!! Make 2015 your best year yet!

    Happy New Year!

    Read more...

    0 comments

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.


Get Flash Player