February , 2024

We met with life coach, journalist and founder of The Priorities Method, Lily Silverton, to chat about mindset and changing the brain...

How did your journey as a journalist/coach begin?

I’ve been a journalist in some way since university – at 22 I helped found a magazine with the art-duo Walter and Zoniel and from there I moved into editorial positions at more established fashion and art magazines – Pop, Lula, Hunger. I found coaching through yoga (which I’ve done since I was in my early teens). Some of my yoga teacher trainings included elements of thought-repatterning and mindfulness and seeing the immense effect of some very simple questions and methods I quickly thought – this is what I want to do! I left magazines in 2018 but I now integrate all of my mindset coaching work into journalism as well – freelance writing on wellbeing for sites like Vogue as well as through my podcast, Priorities.  

What have been some of the challenges that you encountered along your way? And how did you overcome these?

I think the biggest challenge I encounter is rejection. As a freelance journalist I am forever having pitches rejected (which is in large part why I started my newsletter, Prioritise This). Also, as any small business owner will relate, I am constantly coming up against ‘failures’ in my business – a project doesn’t have the success I anticipated, or a client decides they don’t have budget for a course anymore. I think it’s made me pretty resilient; I feel a bit dejected for a few hours and then I pick myself up and keep going! I also know I’ve learnt a lot from my failures, so I see it all as a learning opportunity (even if it feels crap at the time!)

Do you do any specific wellness rituals which empower your spirit your practice? What are some tips you can give our readers?

I’m a big believer in finding what works for you, and then organising your life so that you can do more of that whenever possible. Meditation is a priority to me, as is cold-water swimming. Honestly though, I think the most important rituals are the ones you create internally with your thoughts and general approach to life. I try (and don’t always succeed!) to have perspective on situations of stress, to make it a ritual to see things from another person’s point of view and to not make things more difficult for myself by letting my mind think a load of unhelpful thoughts.

How would you describe your personal wellness routine?

A mess! No seriously though, it is. I have two small children, so a lot of my ‘routine’ is simply convincing them to eat breakfast, put on socks and get out the door on time. After I drop them at school/nursery I like to meditate and then have a cup of coffee. I try to move as much as I can – bit of yoga, a cold water swim or a PT session – but these very often fit in around everything else. I’m quite into skincare, so I probably have more of a routine for bedtime where I give myself a little face massage, use oils for my pulse-points and spray my pillow with lavender. I don’t know if it works but I like doing it!

I started Priorities in May of the 1st lockdown – I couldn’t teach any of the large-scale events that my career had been based on, so I took the opportunity to launch the podcast (which had been lingering on my dreams list for far too long!)

I’d had the idea for years – I wanted to interview guests about what was important and unimportant to them. How did they steer their lives in the digital age? Where did they assign their time and energy? What did they care about? The podcast has really set me on a path of understanding that the most important thing is life is what we prioritise and value – these are the foundations to our lives!

"When water pours over rock over thousands of years it starts to form grooves, and then eventually the water only pours down those groves. Thoughts in the brain are the same – we form thought ‘grooves’ i.e develop mental synapses, and over time our lazy brain (which loves to conserve energy) just thinks those thoughts. We can change our thoughts and our ‘grooves’. "

Can you tell us a bit about your yoga and meditation history, do you incorporate that within your practice?

I’ve done yoga fairly regularly since I was 12 (meditation came later, around 2013), I did my first trainings in both in 2016 and it definitely gets incorporated into my coaching – I use meditation and breath-work in workshops and courses, and I offer it with my private clients as well. I believe so strongly in the mind-body connection and I think these kinds of practices are so helpful when combined.

Which authors, books or creatives have influenced your practice? Do you have any favourite examples or quotes that you’d like to share?

Edith Eger’s The Choice, The Body Holds The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, Mo Gawdat, Shahroo Izadi (who I interviewed for the podcast)… I’m sure there are loads I’m forgetting! I’m also really inspired by my friends and past colleagues, my previous work in fashion magazines still informs my aesthetic for sure. I like the quote “Stay in your lane”, helps me to remember not to get too distracted by what other people might be doing!

For people struggling with mental health, what would be your advice to begin the process of healing? Do you have any tips for people just starting?

It very much depends on the severity of the mental health struggles, of course the first step for some people would be to talk with a professional as soon as possible… Otherwise, there are some boring but solid pieces of advice that can help anyone with less severe (but still impactful) struggles – more movement, better sleep, less alcohol/drugs, routine to the day etc… I would really encourage someone to ask themselves what they think they might benefit from and what they can do to support themselves and/or who can help around them. And I guess I’d share my own story, which is that I suffered from terrible mental health difficulties for many, many years and I’ve seen first-hand what an impact strengthening your relationship to your body and mind can make to your mental health. Now I would describe myself as someone with strong mental health (which I could never have imagined myself saying in my 20s!) – that doesn’t mean I always feel great, I have hard days still like anyone else, but I have a great toolkit and support network to see myself through. I’d encourage anyone to seek out and create that toolkit for themselves.

Do you think it is really possible to change ones brain - as stated on your website?

Yes I do. I can’t remember where I learnt this, but thoughts in the brain behave a bit like water over rock. When water pours over rock over thousands of years it starts to form grooves, and then eventually the water only pours down those groves. Thoughts in the brain are the same – we form thought ‘grooves’ i.e develop mental synapses, and over time our lazy brain (which loves to conserve energy) just thinks those thoughts. We can change our thoughts and our ‘grooves’.

What does your dream day-in-the-life look like?

A very good night’s sleep – 8 solid hours please – then… 5.45am wake up, 75 mins of meditation and yoga or exercise, tea and cuddles in bed with my children, a cold swim then morning spent writing and creatively planning, lunch at home with my husband, a nap (!), running a workshop in the afternoon, kids go to bed early and easily (ha!) and then out for dinner and drinks with my husband and our closest friends (River Café if we’re really dreaming here). Then maybe onto somewhere dancing, since I had that great night’s sleep the night before…

What name do you like to go by?

Lil or Lils

What is your ethnicity?

British Jewish - going back a bit further a mix of Irish/Austrian/Ukrainian.

What’s your star-sign?


Favourite genre of music right now?

Impossible to choose - completely changes depending on my mood. I like a bit of mantra invocations in the morning, some piano music like ludovico enaudi while I work, the kids love UK garage classics for school drop-off, and we’ll very often have a dance party before they head to bed which can include anything from Stormzy to some Disney soundtrack songs.

Favourite time of day? - Sunrise, sunset, or midnight?

Sunrise and sunset, both for their potential just in different ways… I love getting up before everyone else (very rarely happens these days!) and making the most of that magic, creative early morning vibe. But the first sip of a dirty martini at sunset with loved ones and the whole night ahead is one of my favourite moments in time.

Yes! I created The Journal to make coaching more accessible for more people, as well as to serve as an accountability tool – we all know how easy it is to think up new habits we want to start, much harder to actually stick to them! The Journal follows my coaching method to empower the reader to work out what they want from their life, and then has a yearly undated planner to help them achieve it. It flips traditional goal-setting on its head, and focuses much more on priorities and values ie the truly important stuff in life. From a very selfish perspective as well, I just couldn’t find a journal or planner than suited my own needs and aesthetic – they were all daily which I never end up keeping to (The Journal is weekly) and they also didn’t speak to me on a visual/tonal level, I didn’t like the bubbly type or saccharine tone of voice. And I wanted to create one with sustainability and my general values at the core - the journal is printed and bound in the uk, the cover is made from ocean plastic and i’ve hired an all female team to work on it with me which has been great, I’m a big believer in putting more economic power in women’s hands. Gosh that’s a long answer sorry!

As above! It’ll help you find clarity and motivation in this busy and demanding world – using it will empower you to cut through the noise of all the many daily commitments and needs we all have, work out what’s actually important to you and then learn to put it first. You’ll set goals, but only once you’ve really done the work to figure out why they’re significant to you as a person (rather than something arbitrary or some idea of success you’re clinging onto that doesn’t actually align with what you want). It won’t make your life perfect, but it will make it feel like the best version it can be.

How would you advise someone who hasn't been able to adhere to their goals at the beginning of 2024 or whose year hasn't started as they had hoped?

If you set goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year and are struggling to stick to them, don’t worry you’re not alone. It’s hard to maintain motivation, especially when it’s cold and dreary outside. But there are a few things you can do to help yourself stay on track and, crucially, stay feeling good about yourself regardless. Here are a few of my top coaching tips...

Think Process not Outcome

When you think about what you want from your life it’s easy to focus on a specific outcome. However, you’re much more likely to stay motivated if you focus on what you enjoy doing and what’s important to you, and then build out from there. You will much more easily stick with a new habit if you actually like doing it – don’t start running if you already know you hate running! Rather than focusing on an arbitrary goal, try to create days and moments that make you feel good – sounds cliche but focus on the journey, rather than the end point i.e. process not outcome.

Define Your Priorities

Goals can be useful for increasing your motivation and helping you feel inspired, but if you don’t put in the work to choose the goals that are right for you, they can actually end up being hugely disheartening and de-motivating. Take some time to dig deep into the priorities and values that underpin your goals – this will help you understand whether your goals truly matter to you, which makes you more likely to stick to them. Goals that are built from priorities are inherently more meaningful and more likely to be achieved. Also, this practice will help you build up your sense of self so that if your goals don’t quite work out, you’re still happy with the steps you’ve taken and the life you’ve built.

Find One Thing

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the new year and everything you need to do? Stop and ask yourself: What one thing can I do, right now, to make things better? This question puts you in the driving seat of your life and is a quick way to see what you need to prioritise in that moment. It doesn’t need to be something huge – small habits create big changes, so think: drink a big glass of water, get outside for a walk, do 2 minutes of meditation, read 3 pages of a book etc.

Don’t Let Failure Keep You Down

All too often when we fail at something or don’t meet our goals in the timeframe we’ve set for ourselves, we can feel de-motivated and discouraged. We can even turn against ourselves. Nothing good will ever come of this. Failure will strike you down, but it’s up to you whether you stay down. In essence you need to pick yourself up, give yourself a mental hug and pep talk, and go again. Remember: when you see other people’s successes you almost never see the many, many failures they’ve overcome along the way. Stay kind and compassionate to yourself and remind yourself that there’s always the potential for change.



Lily's dreaming of...

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