The illustration is a breakdown of the brains memory space. It shows a profile sketch of a human head.

Hands up if you’ve downloaded countless abs challenge apps or 30 minute-a-day yoga apps? Now a show of hands for those who persisted and committed to those abs challenges? Yeah, neither did I. So, here’s how to detox and get stuff done – no juice required.

January 2019 has come and gone. The Independent reports that My FitnessPal was awarded most likely to be added to the nations’ phones in the New Year along with music streaming app Spotify, set to be the second most popular app. This was followed by Mindfulness Daily, VoucherCloud and 7-Minute Workout.

By late-January I came across a brilliant blog by Derek Sivers through Thin.Rich.Happy. who reminds us “the world pushes us to add because that benefits them. The ‘adding’ mindset is deeply ingrained in us and its easy to think I need something else. It’s hard to look instead at what to remove.”

So, I turned to Natasha Page, a psychologist to ask her what we can remove from our lives to make more quality time and ultimately achieve our goals.

head and shoulders shot of interviewee Natasha Page

Portrait of Natasha Page [Natasha Page]

“People need to be realistic about their goals. It’s often the way we view a situation, that really impacts our outlook to assess whether we succeeded or failed at something. Firstly, it’s about taking small steps. If you achieve smaller steps towards a bigger goal, you can view that as a real positive and therefore feel more motivated to reach the end goal.”

Small Steps

“There are physical steps to achieving success. Everyone is different and will require different approaches to achieving their goals. I definitely think that writing down lists and goals can be really helpful,” Page tells me. “Having a clear goal at the beginning is important. In therapy for example, when I work with clients, I’ll always help them think clearly about the goals they want to achieve. Because sometimes it’s not until you sit down and talk to someone about the goals you realise WHY you want to achieve them.”

Weight loss is a common goal in January, with memberships on the rise the “gym feels too full” according to Zoe Williams from The Guardian. “The only way to get a gym right in January is to go at 2:00 am” to emphasise the busyness of the gym.

Do you want to lose weight because it’ll make yourself feel better, or because you feel other people around you look better? If the latter, it is not enough motivation to create goals around because those people will always look better to you, but if you want to be healthier and feel better in yourself then you can create small goals as targets and it will keep you motivated.

Page gives the example of weight loss to explain how necessary smaller goals are. “Say I want to lose five stone, for example, there has to be a combination of efforts to get there. Thinking about the smaller steps, there are cognitive behavioural therapy techniques that you think about the situation can entirely change the way you feel.

“It can be engrained in us to have negative thinking patterns. It’s very common in therapy that a lot of people have had low confidence or low self-esteem their core values about themselves might not be the healthiest. Through therapy, it can help to become more aware of their thinking patterns and how that impacts how they feel.”

I want to eat healthier, drink less, run a marathon. It’s easy to recognise the negative when you didn’t eat healthily, you had one glass of wine when you said you wouldn’t, and you only ran one and a half miles, not three. But what’s important is to mentally reward and recognise the positives more and tell yourself well done when you did do something towards your goal.

Page encourages us by saying “keeping a food diary or drink calendar or downloading an app to tell you far you have run, can actually be a real positive, if you allow it to be.”

'Small Steps' a Childs journey along stepping stones/

Small steps are more effective [Wikicommons/Wikipedia]

“There’s a process, in order to achieve a goal you need to know where you’re trying to get to. You have to have a clear image of what life will be like at the end of your goal. It’s not to say that all those things will be fulfilled within a counting arena it might not be that after six sessions all the goals will be completed.

“This can be transferred to thinking about goals, in general, it might not be that you get to achieve everything, but in terms of those smaller steps they really can help to feel as though you’ve achieved.”

So the way to achieve success is to set small steps and achieve the big goals to feel more fulfilment: “Depending on what the goal you want to achieve. It is a fantastic idea to look at your life and rebalance the way you spend your time and how you balance it. Having a healthier work-life balance is very important. I work on employee assistance programmes.

“Sometimes, the issues I come across are personal issues but a majority are work-related issues with the common theme of not having a good work-life balance. Getting someone to start to feel more in control of their time and managing their lives more receptively is challenging, instead, it can feel like its consuming you.”


switching off your phone for quality time

Turning off your phone [Georgia Casey]

Page explains how phones and the outside world can invade into our homes and private time; “Certainly, screen time is more of an issue in the current social and work agendas of most people. Phones have great facilities for tracking how much time we are spending on our phones.”

“You may need to consciously put your phone on silent or moving it out of the room so that you can really focus and get more quality time with family, friend and loved ones. It’s easy to turn around and say I don’t have much time to spend with my friends or with my family in the evening, but actually, when I talk to my clients I find it’s the quality of time they’re not really getting. They don’t allow themselves to be solely invested in the room and they’re not separating work from the quality time.”


Writing down what you are grateful for

Gratefulness Diary [Georgia Casey]

“To mentally minimise the impacts of money it’s about being realistic, set the smaller goals to see what the end goal looks like in chronological order with those smaller goals. Try to set goals that are achievable too.

If there is too much pressure on a goal, then this becomes an ineffective way of working. In a want-it-now generation, this is easier said than done but good things take time. Re-evaluate what money plays in your life.

Of course, it’s important to people, it helps us to have nice things and achieve things we want in life but also you need to be able to recognise that it’s not everything and actually there are lots of other things in life that contribute to our health and our well-being.

So, taking time out for the things that we are grateful for the things that we do have. I encourage lots of my clients to keep a gratitude diary, so they can start to become really grateful for whether its small things like sharing some nice company with somebody or a warm bed to sleep in.

Sometimes when it feels like you have nothing to be grateful for you only have to eat a warm cooked meal or the warm bed you have to sleep in because those things may seem quite trivial, but some people don’t have those things. This can also take the pressure off striving to have the things that you’d really like to have.”

Top Tips from Natasha Page

  1.  Be realistic.
  2.  Break down the goals to smaller ones and feel the positive impacts of achieving.
  3.  Focus on what is that positive change going to look like at the end.
  4.  Get rid of the negative mindset, turn it around, praise yourself for the positives.

Reduce your schedule to enjoy more quality time with family/work/friends/relationships/yourself. It makes sense as a principle doesn’t it?

To all the Artefact readers who are aiming to be a bit more: vegan; yogi; bloggers; with-absolutely-no-cellulite-ANYWHERE on social media: having that cheeseburger after your yoga session, having that glass of wine after Susan’s long meeting and being lazy in bed all evening after skipping that circuits class.

That’s okay. The truth is you’re already one up because you are listening to your body. The hard bit is finding the balance.





If you’d like to get in touch with Natasha Page you’ll find her contact details and further information here.

Feature Image from Flickr: Lovelorn Poets