It’s back to work this week after a long Christmas break, and we’re not only heading into a New Year, but into a whole new decade! Milestones like this are a great time to indulge in a spot of self-reflection, to review our past challenges and achievements,  to check in on our progress, and to make plans and goals for the future.  From my own personal reflections, having launched my Babyproof Podcast venture this time last year, I’m thrilled to have broadcast 43 episodes, to have learned a massive amount in a short space of time – and can’t wait to add more options to our Babyproof resource offerings this year (watch this space!). In the meantime, as we head into 2020 fired up with ideas and excited about what the coming months may bring, let’s have look back at some of our favourite blogs from 2019.

1. Get your self-care regime back on track. 
After a busy Christmas season with not much routine and a lot of mince pies, it’s time to put your health and well-being back on the agenda.

Top tips.
1. Check in on yourself – how are you feeling physically and emotionally?
2. Reflect on your current self-care practices – are they serving you properly? What do you need to do more or less of?
3. Change just one thing. Make a checklist, but focus on one aspect. Wait for this to become a regular habit before you move onto the next thing.

Key takeaway
– Look after yourself first, and the rest will follow. For more advice on self care, listen to the podcast episode #6.

 

2. Babyproof your body – why exercise is key to achieving balance.
My brilliant personal trainer Holly Aldridge, shared her top benefits of getting fit – and it’s all to do with balance.

Top benefits.
1. It’s great for your mental health and mood.
2. It’s time set aside solely for you and your self-care.
3. It can help maintain weight and assist with weight loss.
4. It can boost your confidence.
5. It can help you cope better both pre-and post-natally.

Key takeaway
– Exercise should be about looking beyond the superficial facets of weight and appearance and focusing on our mental and physical strength and stability which can help us live a balanced life. Listen to the full interview on podcast episode #30.

 

3. How the fear of failure can hold you back in your law career.
How many of us start the new year thinking of all the things we’d like to do, but being to afraid to actually try them? Psychologically we are programmed to be risk averse – and to avoid scary or unknown things. But succumbing to these feelings of fear can negatively impact your career progress.

Here’s how.
1. It makes you reluctant to take on new challenges.
2. It makes you self-sabotage (procrastinate or allow yourself to be distracted) when you need to take action or make a decision.
3. It gives you poor self-esteem and affects your confidence.
4. It prevents you from setting big goals.

Key takeaway – It’s not failure per se that stops you from achieving your goals, it’s the fear of it. Experiencing failures, learning from them and continuing on your path is how you fulfil your potential. Listen to the podcast episode #4 on how to use failure as a source of strength.

 

4. Am I good enough? 10 reasons you might be relying on external validation for your self-worth.
This is surprisingly common amongst high-achievers. So many people learn to define their worth through their interactions with others and struggle to communicate their own value by themselves. Are you one of them?

The signs:
1. You feel disappointed and/or anxious if someone criticises you or disagrees with you.
2. You feel that specific negative feedback is a general reflection of your worth and character.
3. You feel unwilling to express opposing ideas (in meetings etc.)
4. You need to receive regular positive feedback from others.
5. You say you agree with things that you don’t agree with.
6. You wait for someone in authority to articulate your worth to you before you put yourself forward for projects or promotions.
7. You do things you don’t want to do because you can’t say ‘no’.
8. You do not complain if you have received unfair treatment, etc.
9. You concede points even when you know you are right.|
10. You apologise for speaking up.

Key takeaway – If you are always beholden to what others think of you (or what you think they think of you!) – you can never direct how you progress or how you make balance work for you. Learning how to self-validate instead of seeking external validation, will give you the same stimulus to achieve, but without the loss of control – and the emotional unpredictability. Listen to podcast episode #35 on Internal Validation for a strategy on how to start doing this.

 

5. 5 ways to boost your self-belief.
Scientific research has proven that positive thinking expands the mind and fosters further positive experiences and emotions. The better we feel, the more active we become, the more we achieve and the more positive we become. Challenging negative assumptions and self-beliefs is key to this.

Here’s how to start.
1. Explore your negative beliefs – what’s your current narrative? Where does it originate?
2. Overcome your confirmation bias – understand your beliefs are beliefs, not facts.
3. Question everything – what is the evidence for your beliefs?
4. Research the science (look at Barbara Fredrickson’s groundbreaking work on positivity)
5. Repeat positive affirmations.

Key takeaway – We don’t need to be perfect or superhuman to reach for the stars, we just need to believe positively in the talents and potential we do have. Check out the podcast episode #12 on how to believe in yourself.

 

6. How to say ‘no’ more often.
When demands on your time and energy increase, you need to learn to set boundaries in order to maintain balance in your life. Learning how to say ‘no’ is essential for setting these boundaries, and showing others how you want to be treated. You need to reframe your mindset about saying ‘no’.

Here’s how:
1. Understand the fear – reflect on why you find it hard to say no to people.
2. Remember that these are beliefs (for e.g.. – that you will be offending someone) and not facts.
3. Challenge your existing beliefs. Ask yourself – ‘what if the opposite were true?’
4. Consider how your own beliefs will contribute to how your ‘no’ is perceived.

Key takeaway – Take ownership of how you spend your time and how you allow others to treat you by using the power of ‘no’ more often. Challenge your limiting beliefs about what it means to say no, and tune into podcast episode #27 for more tips on how to say no.

 

7. Why you need to stop being a perfectionist.
While dedication, effort and excellence are always laudable, perfectionism pushes these traits to an unsustainable and unhealthy extreme which can have negative and counter-productive effects.

Here’s why you need to curb your perfectionism:
1. It’s inefficient – it’s hard to complete work if you think it could always be improved, and if everything needs to be perfect, tasks take much longer than they should.
2. It’s impossible to achieve. The perfectionist, by definition, never has the satisfaction of achieving perfection and can never experience a sense of accomplishment or pride in their work.
3. It causes stress and anxiety.
4. It encourages a fixed mindset. If anything short of perfection means failure or disappointment – there’s no room for growth and improvement.

Key takeaway – the challenges of working in a stressful career while raising a family are such that compromise and prioritising are necessary. Perfection is impossible without risking your health and sanity. Embrace imperfection to achieve balance. For more tips on how to do this tune into podcast episode #37

 

8. 8 reasons to embrace the joy of growing.
Personal growth requires significant personal effort and courage on your part. Doing things that are novel to you, that stretch you, that require you to learn new skills or try something different, to enter situations where you could possibly fail – all of these things can make you feel scared, avoidant and uneasy. But it’s worth it.

Here’s why.
1. Growth and improvement are the basis of physical and mental health and well-being.
2. Learning and mastering new skills makes you feel more passionate and motivated.
3. The better your performance becomes, the happier and more confident you feel.
4. The more experiences you try, the more avenues are opened up to you.
5. The more you explore new directions and different outcomes, the more neural pathways and connections grow in your brain, and the more your creative and lateral thinking is boosted.
6. The more you proactively seek out experiences and the more you learn, the more choices and control you have over your own destiny.
7. If you don’t actively move forward in life and your experiences and skills, you effectively move backwards as others who are growing, overtake you.
8. It helps give you the confidence to be ambitious in your career.

Key takeaway – the joy of growing is actually a virtuous cycle. The more you try, the more you learn, the more you grow, the more you achieve, the better you perform, the happier you become. Growing is what it really means to ‘live’. For practical tips on how to embrace the joy of growing, tune into podcast episode #36.

 

And on that positive note, I’d like to wish you all a very happy and productive 2020!  That last blog really is the babyproof philosophy in a nutshell.  This year I want to help you learn, grow and become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be – to take ownership of your life and career and to achieve the balance and success that you desire. Stay tuned for more podcasts and blogs – and look out for some more resource surprises coming your way. If you’d like more information on my ‘Having it all’ coaching programme – sign up here.