I have always been an overeater, but before the lockdown, I’d really begun to get on top of things and was beginning to feel healthier, happier and much more energetic. During lockdown, all my good work fell apart and I went back to my old habits. Now we have more freedom, I just can’t seem to find that motivation to start again. Can you help?

The first thing we would suggest is to revisit those early stages of change. Think for a while and remember what it was that prompted you to take those initial steps. The next thing you can do is to examine your current mind set. When faced with something so overwhelming as a global pandemic, many of us understandably get completely knocked off course. We might ask ourselves questions like ‘What’s the point?’ or write a new narrative that suggests you are merely a passenger in events that you can have no control over. We say rewrite the narrative. Once you have tapped into what you did before, start by setting yourself some steppingstone goals. By this we mean going from doing absolutely nothing to making one or two small changes and sticking to them. And the menu for change is extensive. Many small steps will eventually make one giant leap and you’ll look back and be surprised how far you’ve come.

I’m a 16-year-old girl who lacks confidence when dealing with others. Although I am quite good academically, I hesitate to answer teachers’ questions in class and end up stammering and mumbling. Can you help?

The key is to identify and to establish your own current comfort zone. You can even write down at what point you’re most comfortable in terms of your own self-confidence levels – what you’re happy to be seen doing and what you’re happy to be heard saying. We often encounter kids who are bold, energised, opinionated, direct and confident at home and yet the moment they leave the home, they are shy, quiet and self-conscious. Why? Because they are out of their comfort zone. But the paradox of becoming self-confident, is that you must break free of your comfort zone – counterintuitive, but essential. Ready to step out of your comfort zone even further? Why not try other activities such as debating groups, amateur theatre, public speaking – any group where you need to be heard! These will teach you how to address any gathering large or small. Finally, remember that confidence breeds confidence – the more you have, the more you’ll get.