Lessons from a Coach: BRIDGET PADDON on running, relaxation and getting real with your goals

We're big advocates of health and wellness. But we're also big advocates of making it work for YOU and YOUR lifestyle. It's all about finding enjoyment in exercise and the healthy choices you make that will help you continue on your journey, and catapult you towards success. Whatever that looks like to YOU! 

Bridget Paddon from Goal Diggers NZ talks to us about what health and exercise means to her, why she loves being a Goals, Growth & Fulfilment Coach, and her secrets to living a happy and healthy lifestyle. 

If you're searching for a bit of inspiration to get you started, or accountability to keep you on track, or motivation to push further - then Bridget is your girl!


Career as a coach

For those that don't know you, tell us a bit more about Bridget Paddon, the empowered woman behind Goal Diggers NZ... 

I’m a born and bred Southland girl where I spent most of my childhood growing up on a sheep and beef farm in rural NZ. I’m a huge holistic health advocate, I empower women to start putting themselves first and promote the idea that you are your biggest investment. I’m 27 turning 28 this month! I like to think I have my shit together, but I don’t, who does? I’m a registered Primary School Teacher but no longer teach. I’m a human being, like you. I’m an everyday gal that doesn’t have a defining ‘story’ of who I am or how my world changed, I don’t believe we need to have a story to define who we are today. We choose who we are today with our thoughts, actions and intentions. I enjoy sharing my achievements, my good times as well as the very raw and real hard times with my followers too.


What inspired you to become a Goals, Growth and Fulfilment Coach?

My own personal experience inspired me to become a Goals, Growth and Fulfilment Coach. I was not living a fulfilling life. I remember I would go to bed with a huge to do list in my head checking off what I needed to get done the next day then in the morning sometimes I would feel physically ill from anxiety created by the day ahead. I was living for the weekends, they had more value than the weekdays. The things that I wanted to be doing were at the bottom of the priority list and everything I thought I ‘should’ be doing was at the top. Becoming a coach has allowed me the flexibility to live a lifestyle that I want to live as well as empower others to make changes to their daily life so they too can live a kick ass fulfilling life.


What does a normal day usually look like for you?

Every day is different and I spent a lot of this year travelling around New Zealand, and was fortunate enough to travel to Fiji twice. So it has been a mixed bag this year. When I’m at home though it is usually made up of coaching calls or face to face sessions, creating social media content, emails, answering questions for epic interviews like this one, getting out into the fresh air at least once a day, some form of spiritual practice which may be yoga, meditation, gratitude journalling and I love to keep on top of personal development daily as well so I’ll either pop on a podcast at some point throughout the day or wind up the day with an insightful read - I’m addicted to self help, personal growth and spirituality books!


What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?

Such a good question! I am terrible at reflecting on my own achievements, which is something I have set aside in my goals for next year as well as include it as a bigger focus for my 2018 coaching clients. Most memorable moment has probably been this year in general. This was the first year that I went full-time with GDNZ (as I had been relief teaching the previous year) and was able to travel for a third of the year through New Zealand and Fiji.


Where do you see yourself and Goal Diggers NZ in 5 years?

I would like to think that GDNZ will be a household name when it comes to goals, growth, fulfilment and coaching. There will be numerous teams of coaches around the country. There will be several extensions of GDNZ that are businesses in their own right, under the GDNZ umbrella. But who knows!


Health & Wellness

How has your approach to your health and fitness changed over the years?

I used to eat KFC at least once a week, sometimes multiple. I think the older you get the more aware you become of how you’re fuelling your body and things just naturally start to change. Your priorities shift from satisfying short term needs to making positive and healthy choices for your long-term holistic health. I’m at the point now where I like to think I’m in tune with my mind, body and soul that I can confidently listen and feel what my holistic health needs are. There are days I need chocolate. There are days I need brocolli. There are days I need yoga. There are days I need connection. Take the time to listen and your body will let you know what is best for you too.


What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt along the way?

The biggest lesson I think everyone needs to and will learn at some point, is the importance of learning to listen to your body. Many people ‘burn out’ these days, because they don’t take time out when their body is screaming at them to rest. They’re still in the ‘busy is good, stress means I’m successful, resting or slowing down is a sign of weakness’ mindset and that kind of mindset backfires, big time. I believe it is best to take some time out as soon as your body starts sending you those signals, have one or two days out of action as opposed to letting it snowball and having to have weeks and weeks off while your body recovers. This goes for your mind as well. Mental health days are a real thing guys, use them.


We’re all about finding an exercise style that you enjoy. What is your favourite way to move your body?

My favourite way to move my body is getting out into nature, discovering a new walk or running track or creating my own. I’ve recently started running without my headphones in so I can listen to the magic of bird calls, and be fully present in nature. I highly recommend it, if you’re used to pumping the beats on your runs. In terms of industry fitness, I love a quick sweat sesh with a mixture of weights and body weight exercises in an AMRAP or For Time style WOD.


Top 3 items to help you have an epic workout, anywhere:

  1. Pacer or any other fitness timer app. I love this one as I can set different timers for interval training, tabata, emom - which are all great styles of training when you’re away from home with no equipment.
  2. Music! I’ve created a few playlists for the #GDNZSQUAD to follow if you want to get amongst them. Search ‘Bridget Paddon’ on Spotify, and the playlists are: GDNZ Sweat Sesh, GDNZ Running Bangers and GDNZ Dance Party. (I’ll keep adding to them.
  3. A mate - I usually work out on my own, so when I do workout or run with a friend I notice the benefits. All about the accountability. 


training for a half marathon

Not only do you help your clients reach their goals, but you also set yourself some big targets! What made you decide to run the Queenstown Half Marathon?

Funny story. Half-marathon has been on my list for awhile, as I’m sure it is on a number of people’s bucket lists. I mentioned the fact to one of my coaching clients who had signed up for the 10km in Queenstown and next thing she was inspiring me to step up by holding me accountable by telling the rest of my Goal Digger’s. Kind of got bullied into it. Kind of wanted to do it. Haha. It will be great to tick off the list, get the medal and be able to say I’ve done it. I’m also raising money for an amazing charity, KidsCan, who partner with low decile schools throughout New Zealand to provide Kiwi kids with the basic necessities who aren’t fortunate to have what you and I do. I originally set this goal for $500 but have recently increased it to $1000, I would truly appreciate your support and donation, even if it is only $5! Every dollar counts.  

**Donate now to help Bridget reach her goal for KidsCan!**


How have you had to adjust your training, mindset, and diet to help you get race-ready?

Huge changes here. Before the half marathon training kicked off, I was walking every morning, strength training 6 days a week, a couple of yoga sessions a week and a run here and there. Now I’m running 4 days a week, getting in a strength session when I can and allowing lots of time for recovery. As for mindset, there has been a lot of shifts take place here. Originally I wanted to run the half marathon in under 2 hours but with that in mind the training became a drag as I was focussing on speed, my time per km and how far away I was from my goal. So I happily made the decision to not worry about what time I finish it in, and that the achievement of completing my first half marathon is huge in itself as well as fundraising for a very valued NZ charity. My runs following on from that decision have been the best runs of the training. Diet hasn’t changed too much, but I have justified more Whittakers Dark Almond chocolate into the nutrition.


What would be your best piece of advice to help others find their love for running?

Hmmm. I think definitely start out running for enjoyment and putting the least amount of pressure on yourself as you can. Find a track you love, take a friend and go run it at a comfortable pace. Enter in a small event and see how you feel after that. I’m really looking forward to getting back to being able to go for a run because I feel like it, not because it’s in the training programme.


Quick-fire round. What are you craving....

Favourite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

Current workout jam: Pumpin Blood - The Jane Doze Remix

Favourite book: I don’t think I have a fav, I just couldn’t choose. There are so many goodies out there. Currently reading You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. So good!

Person you turn to for inspiration/motivation: I’m fiending on Oprah lately.

Favourite travel destination: Can it be somewhere I haven’t been before? I really want to go to Spain.

Favourite way to relax: Face mask, cup of tea, book - with all technology off!

Favourite food: Mexican, tacos, coriander mmmm.

Surefire way to boost your mood: Dance party

What advice would you give to your younger/teenage self: Oh it’s advice that I still give myself daily from the great Eckhart Tolle, this too shall pass. Nothing we experience will last forever, both good and bad. So embrace it while you can, because you will never be in this exact moment or have this exact experience ever again. Oh and have more dance parties.  


Bridget Paddon: Goal Diggers NZ

Bridget only has a couple of spaces left for the last intake of the Goal Digger Coaching Package for 2017. If you have goals you want to achieve, looking for business or personal support, or are wanting to end the year on a high in any other way then make sure you get in touch with Bridget! Find our more about the Goal Diggers Coaching Packages here. 

Bridget dishes out doses of inspiration on the daily. You can follow her via Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat (@goaldiggersnz), and her home of all things coaching at Goal Diggers NZ.

Don't forget to donate to Bridget's cause and help KidsCan continue to do the amazing work they do for Kiwi kids. **Donate here today.**