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Friday, 30 September 2016

Day 7: 4 new habits in 28 days - Assumptions

 
The premise of my 28 day challenge is that without sustaining a new habit for 28 days it's far too easy to fall back onto the old habit. In the blog I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding at these new habits, and how I manage the challenges and frustrations that come up during the process. 

5 years ago I was told by the surgeon to keep taking the painkillers for my arthritic knees and come back when the pain got too much. It was only then that he would consider giving me new knees (I was too young for them at the time).

Since then I've got used to blaming my mobility, tiredness or pain to my knees. It wasn't until I had a 1:1 yoga session and the teacher saw me doing something that we realised I also had something going on in my hips & buttocks! After some hip mobilisation exercises and sports massage on some lazy glutes some of the 'knee' problem was resolved. Or if not resolved, at least a solution known of how to keep things more in balance on a daily basis. If I do the exercises that is, and one reason that it's a new habit.

How easy is it to think we know the cause of a symptom we have, to then find we've made the wrong assumptions? I'm sure we do it all the time with people too.

Where might you be making assumptions without the accurate data to support those assumptions? How can you verify the assumptions being made, and/or what evidence do you have that your assumptions are not accurate?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

You may also like a previous blog post entitled 'judgements are simply assumptions'.

Progress made on day 7:
  1. I will consistently eat gluten (and nightshade) free everyday - achieved - thankfully - after the blip yesterday - 6/7
  2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day -  achieved 7/7
  3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day - achieved - I'm certainly finding it easier to achieve and exceed. Travelling next week will be when it becomes more of a challenge 7/7
  4. I will do at least one thing differently every day - achieved - I'm still not hoovering which was Day 5's 'do something different' and is making me twitchy !! Today's activity involved watching TV from a different sofa - one that visitors always wonder why I don't use. 
Blog posts of the journey to embed the 4 new habits have so far included - finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targetsdoing things differentlyfinding support, wavering and commitment.

Anyone with Arthritis may also want to review my Pinterest board with over 150 links on how you might be able to improve living with arthritis. Just for the record - my knees cannot currently take on the position shown in the above picture :-) - although I am liking many of the more athletic pictures I'm choosing for this series of posts. 

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject.

#28daychallenge

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Day 6: 4 new habits in 28 days - Commitment


The premise of my 28 day challenge is that without sustaining a new habit for 28 days it's far too easy to fall back onto the old habit. In the blog I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding, and how I manage the challenges and frustrations that come up during the process. (see the bottom of the post for progress on these habits.)

Which of the following is the most motivational to you:
  • My doctor wants me to drink more water
  • My knees want me to drink more water daily
  • I wish I could drink more water
  • I would like to drink more water 
  • I should drink more water 
  • I need to drink more water 
  • I must drink at least 2 litres of water a day
  • I ought to drink at least 2 litres of water a day
  • I want to drink at least 2 litres of water a day
  • I hope I can drink more water a day
  • I will try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day
  • My goal is to drink at least 2 litres of water a day
  • I will drink at least 2 litres of water a day
  • I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day
For me this last statement works better at ensuring I take action - no musts, oughts and shoulds, no wishy washy would like, hope, or trying - just a commitment to do it! 

I will:

What about you? What words make most sense to you? How can will you reword your goal to ensure it's sufficiently inspiring, and involves a commitment from you to take action every day towards achieving it?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

Progress made on day 6 - with some amendments to reflect the insights from today's blog:
  1. I will consistently eat gluten (and nightshade) free every day - oh dear achieved on GF but failed on nightshades even if by mistake! I popped into the shop on the way home, and thought I'd get some GF fish in batter but they didn't have any. So without thinking I bought some fishcakes - forgetting until I started to eat them that they contained potato :-(! No idea if it's nocebo or the sports massage that mean I have painful knees this am.
See this video from David Hamilton with a lighthearted depiction on the difference between placebo and nocebo.
  1. (numbering on the blog obviously doesn't like me adding in the video) I will do my hip mobilisation daily every day -  achieved even if done during my sports massage rather than self directed
  2. I will drink at least 2 litres of water daily every day - achieved
  3. I will do at least one thing differently every day - achieved - I bought a dragon fruit although I did then have to look up what to do with it. 
Blog posts of the journey to embed the 4 new habits have so far included - finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targetsdoing things differently, wavering and finding support.

For anyone wishing to get support to embed new habits in their lives, or with a vision or goal in need of a good overhaul you may want to consider coaching. More about the coaching I offer here.

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject.

#28daychallenge

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Day 5: 4 new habits in 28 days - Support

When trying to sustain a new habit for 28 days it's far too easy to fall back onto the old habit. In the blog I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding in introducing 4 new habits, and how I manage the challenges and frustrations that come up during the process. (For more on the 4 habits see the bottom of this post.)

Commitment is what is getting me through this challenge - and yes perhaps it's too soon to tell if it will get me through to the 28th day - but I'm still here at day 5 which is a bonus - even if I did have a wobble yesterday.

Not necessarily just commitment to myself to do this but commitment to others.

I've told my coach, I've blogged, my friends know because I texted them, I've Facebooked and tweeted about it. I've even told #TheDoctorWhoGaveUpDrugs I'm doing it. Which for me provides the daily inspiration to do what needs to be done. Inspiration because connection with others is important to me. If I've told others I'm going to do it - I'll do it. In other words I might want to go to bed but if I haven't completed one of the four habits I'll do it before I do go to bed. (Let's hope that doesn't involve drinking 2 litres of water in one go!)

In the well formed outcome I mentioned on day 1 this support network is included in step 4 - it's about dovetailing outcomes and involves asking yourself who needs to know about your goal.


I'm reminded of a blog I wrote about being up a creek without a paddle which talked of identifying who are guides and fellow travellers were to help us get out of the creek and back on track. Embedding new habits requires us to do the same - to identify those around us who can help us stay on course, who can celebrate our successes with us, and cheer-lead when we're struggling.

Who can help you achieve your goal, and when will you tell them about it?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

Progress made on day 5:
  1. I will consistently eat gluten (and nightshade) free everyday - achieved
  2. I will do my hip mobilisation daily -  achieved
  3. I will drink 2 litres of water daily - achieved
  4. I will do one thing differently every day - achieved - I didn't hoover when I wanted to and won't till the weekend (ouch), I didn't watch TV and went to another room to watch videos associated with some studying I'm doing.
Blog posts of the journey to embed the 4 new habits have so far included - finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targetsdoing things differently and yesterday I found myself wavering in my resolve.

For anyone wishing to get support to embed new habits in their lives, or with a vision or goal in need of a good overhaul you may want to consider coaching. More about what I offer here.

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject.

#28daychallenge

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Day 4: 4 new habits in 28 days - Wavering

I'm wavering this morning, and realise this is what has happened before.

In these blog posts I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding in changing 4 habits in 28 days to support the flexibility of my arthritic knees. (See the bottom of the page for an update on my daily progress.) The journey to embed these 4 new habits has so far included - finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targets, and doing things differently.

Last night the part of me that wants to consume vast amounts of white crusty bread got some evidence that the hypothesis behind one of my new habits might be flawed. Making me query whether going gluten free is the way to go.

The old habit that loves gluten products doesn't need much before it pounces on the wavering, and whispers or even shouts "let's go get a big white freshly made white loaf - NOW", "I knew it - you don't have to deprive yourself of those treats", "you accused me wrongly - apologise now" and so on.

Today the evidence is in the form of pain last night - pain that I now associate with eating the jacket potato for tea.

As a result of an elimination diet 4 years ago I originally took Gluten and Nightshades (pots, toms, peppers) out of my diet, and did see positive results on knee flexibility and pain reduction. Both are commonly listed as food groups that can aggravate arthritis.

Slowly over time my consistency of keeping these out of my diet has reduced. Anecdotally I'd noticed nightshades didn't have as much of an impact - or so I thought. Which is the reason for my wanting to embed consistently eating gluten free into my life, rather than nightshades.

Perhaps because there's nothing masking the impact of eating potato, or perhaps because I've not eaten them for a few weeks it's easier to notice, or perhaps yesterday was just a bad day. What ever the reason I believe the jacket potato yesterday caused the pain. Pain that was also accompanied by bloating and indigestion which also supports that the pots were the culprit.

The surgeon said the only answer is new knees, and pain killers in the interim. I wish to disagree, and yet realise there isn't just one magic solution. The solution can only be found through a myriad of habits - regular exercise, hydration, sports massage, wearing supportive shoes, eating healthily, exclusion of health aggravateors (sp?), and inclusion of health supporters (beetroot, ginger etc). The challenge is identifying the aggravateors and supporters.

Even if only anecdotally I know gluten free and nightshade free both support my knees. There's parts of me however that love these foods, and it's those parts that will try to coax and cajole me to pointing the finger in other directions. The fact is I'm addicted to these foods and therefore any reason, however flimsy, is used as a reason to abuse them again.

I said on day one: "No excuses, no doubts about their (the habit's) efficacy - just 28 days, and then observing the results, and adapting my plan from there."

That's what I intend to continue to do, and perhaps (what's with the perhaps Alison?) add another habit:
  • I want to consistently eat nightshade free daily  
How might you be undermining your resolve to embed new habits in your life? What whispering voice of the old habit(s) do you need to silence?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

Progress today:
  1. I will consistently eat gluten free everyday - achieved.
  2. I will do my hip mobilisation daily - achieved - yippee doing something different allowed time for doing these first thing in the morning which is much better than last thing at night.
  3. I will drink 2 litres of water daily - achieved - I do find this easier when I'm working at my desk rather than out and about.
  4. I will do one thing differently every day - achieved - I had a shower instead of a bath in the morning which gave me time to do my exercises above. 
Anyone with Arthritis may also want to review my Pinterest board with over 150 links on how you might be able to improve living with arthritis - including some of the common culprits in our diet that might be having a negative impact.

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject.

#28daychallenge

Monday, 26 September 2016

Day 3: 4 new habits in 28 days - Doing something different

It does feel slightly counter intuitive to set the objective of making 'doing something different every day' a habit!

The reason for identifying 'doing something different' as a habit I'd like to work on is that the more I use the 'doing something different' muscle the more open I will be to change and new opportunities. 

Habits are mostly unconscious that's why we have them - because we don't need to give any conscious energy to doing them. I pick up my toothbrush in my right hand, and there's no energy needed to think about doing it - it's a routine I follow that's become automatic.


The problem arises when everything we do is a habit - as soon as someone suggests doing something different we freak out. Our brain goes into overload at the very thought of doing something a different way. After all isn't the reason we have a habit, because we've already thought about the best, most effective, cheapest, easiest, most efficient way to do it, and are doing it that way?

The issue is that over time things change - we change, our goals change, those around us change, the world changes. What was right even a few months ago might not be right now. Or perhaps it was never right, but it was just an easier habit to fall into than the alternative.

For example, I'm still one for going to London and hailing a cab, and yet cheaper options exist if I could release this habit and explore using Uber. Fear of the unknown is stopping me. 

Fear can be a great motivator for keeping the status quo. 

This is where the 'doing things differently' comes in - we can teach fear not to react to these new situations as it has in the past. We can teach ourselves that the world doesn't stop going around if we try something new. 

These activities don't have to be something big - just small things every day that expand our comfort zone.

I'll add what I did differently every day here in this post - including the insight I got from doing it - if any:
  • Day 1: held my toothbrush in my left not right hand - interestingly by bringing tooth-brushing into my conscious awareness I brushed my teeth and gums more thoroughly and for longer! 
  • Day 2: I bought a male health magazine rather than a female one - obviously the focus of articles and adverts are different to those I normally see - a ripped torso anyone? A great reminder that it's often marketing and sales that determines what I see ie my media experiences may not be a full representation of the real world! I also found another idea to add to my 'try something new every day' list too - 'beet kvass' it's a fermented food good for improving the gut biome apparently. Because of its lack of familiarity I also read the magazine cover to cover which is something I haven't done for a while with my more regular magazine purchases. 
  • Day 3: I made turmeric and pepper tea. I'm not one to enjoy, nor try, new 'spicy' taste experiences therefore I realise they should also make it onto this list over the next 28 days. This tea was suggested as an aid for my knees, which obviously provided the added motivation to make it, and then of course try it! The jury is still lout but I will try it again this week so it wasn't as spicy as I thought.
  • Day 4: I've just started day 4 but a decision to have a shower and not a bath, despite having the time. Whilst feeling weird, it did allow for time for my early morning hip mobilisation which is a better time to do them! 
  • Day 5a: I didn't hoover the carpets when I wanted to, and as it didn't feel too uncomfortable to leave it just one day I have decided I won't hoover until the weekend ie day 9 (ouch). Although as soon as I could on the Saturday you could find me hoovering :-)
  • Day 5b: I'm getting on a roll - I didn't watch TV in the evening at all, and also went into another room to watch videos associated with some studying I'm doing. Certainly less distractions, and more focus on the task in hand.
  • Day 6: I bought a dragon fruit - see Saturday's blog (day 8) for more on insight from doing that.
  • Day 7: I watched TV from a different sofa! 
  • Day 8: I watched ITV news at 2200 and not BBC - not a biggie but I'm working on the assumption that any shift out of a normal routine is flexing the 'doing something different' muscle. It certainly felt wrong! I also ate the dragon fruit with kidlets from next door :-). 
  • Day 9: I seem to be getting in the swing and did a lot today e.g 
  • Day 9a: Different boxing exercises which definitely brought the boxing into conscious awareness and slowed me down!
  • Day 9b: I handed over responsibility for the colour of my nails to my manicurist - which felt very strange. A great reminder that releasing control should perhaps feature more on this list!
  • Day 9c: Whilst waiting for my opticians appointment I went into a different cafe for lunch - which meant I found where I can top up my eco washing liquid near home. A revelation indeed.
  • Day 9d: I've always said I don't like Scottish oatcakes but as it was the one nightshade and gluten free option I went with it. With cream cheese and smoked salmon I have to say they were very nice. How long till I'm happy eating cheese on them like I do crackers I'm not sure!
  • Day 10: We walked to a different cafe in the opposite direction that we normally take, and walked back a different route to the one we'd taken to get there. With pain in the knees over the summer scuppering such walking, another difference would be that I walked there rather than drove!
  • Day 11: I'm driving to Manchester via the A1 and not M74/M6 allowing me to visit Bamburgh beach, and friends in Bradford en route. Something I've been doing more of since returning from my comfort zone busting trip to Shanghai - ie trying to see friends / places of interest whilst out and about. I also drank coffee after my meal - I can't remember the last time I drank coffee!
  • Day 12: When we had a comfort break during their coaching session, and because I have always said I'll stick with water, my coachee said "come on and do something different and have a tea with me". So I did.
  • Day 13: As I was in Manchester, and only 60 mins away from my mother, we arranged to meet half way for a meal. It's not something I've tried to fit into a working week before, previously I've either popped in at the start or the end of my travels. 
  • Day 14: I had a busy day working and 5 hour drive home and didn't consciously do anything different, and don't remember doing anything different either.
  • Day 15: I uploaded my receipts and started my monthly invoice for one client rather than waiting till the end of the month!! That feels so much less stressful.
  • Day 16: I tried iced latte today! Not something I'd rush to do again - especially as I don't like coffee despite Day 11's successful drinking of some. I also bought a papaya - although it's currently ripening with the banana's.
  • Day 17: I made tiger nut milk - I have yet to taste it. I also replicated Day 5's not turning the TV on which, whilst no longer doing something totally different and new, is still demonstrating the shift in a habit as a result of this challenge. 
  • Day 18: Today I'm walking the talk and turning off my phone and email whilst I concentrate on a task I want to finish today. In recent coaching sessions time management has cropped up frequently. Solely focusing on the task in hand has been one the biggest changes in behaviour I've suggested. I've just not been great at following my own advice. No TV again today.
  • Day 19: In a very non sheldonesque sort of way (From The big Bang Theory - see youtube video below) I offered 'my' sofa for my friend to sit on. I think she was more on edge than I was in the end!! That said it says something when a number of friends expected me to have problems with doing it! I also had my 3rd night in a row with no TV!
I really am loving this idea to do something different every day. It's uncovering also sorts of unconscious habits, and opening up new opportunities and ways of thinking as a result. Woop to that.
  • Day 20: I'm taking the TV watching to a different level tonight - my aim is to just watch the great British bake off, and one masterchef Australia episode and then turn off the TV! No more hopping about or just binge watching the last week#s Masterchef because I can. I ate my first papaya too - it was quite tasty and not at all Mango like as I expected.
  • Day 21: I ate mealworm flapjacks when attending Louise Gray's talk about 'the ethical carnivore' at Toppings book shop in St Andrews. Which included going out on a school night and getting back late! The showers in the morning continued instead of a bath, and I booked another late school night activity next week when I'm in Derby with a colleague.
  • Day 22: I can't remember doing anything different today. Perhaps I did and it just wasn't big enough anymore for me to remember!
  • Day 23: I bought dangly earrings instead of studs after catching myself saying "I don't do dangly earrings" and it is the subject of today's blog on why do we do the same things expecting a different response. I also had a cafe latte with a little sugar and found a drink I quite enjoy (which is a development from day 11 & 16)!! After day 9b's exploration of letting someone else determine my nail colour I was a little more adventurous with 4 different designs per hand instead of the 'normal' 2! 
  • Day 24: I had an interesting conversation with a friend about saying "yes" more and not "no" - but nothing to add to my list today.
  • Day 25: I sat on yet another different sofa when a friend visited.
  • Day 26: I stopped before the motorway and afterwards rather than try to eat on the services as I would do normally. A great reminder to look for stop off points along the way off the motorway.
  • Day 27: I said yes to attending a professional speakers meeting on an evening when I was training during the day ie I didn't got back to the hotel and eat dinner there!!
  • Day 28: I went to the cinema in the week!! 
I can't enthuse enough about the benefits I've received as a result of doing this, and I didn't think I was that set in my ways! Here's a post on the insights I got from undertaking this habit.

What did you do differently today?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and Out


The premise of my 28 day challenge is that without sustaining a new habit for 28 days it's far too easy to fall back onto the old habit. In these blog posts I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding, and how I manage the challenges and frustrations that come up during the process. 

The blog posts of the journey to embed 4 new habits in 28 days have now so far included - finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targetsdoing things differentlywaveringfinding supportcommitment, the danger of making assumptionsmeasuring progressslaying the old habits and thoughts and, by use of the Frameworks for Change Coaching Process I use in coaching, being invited to be less perfect, and to be kinder to myself. I've also explored the situation using another coaching tool, soul collage cards, too - one using the interpretation of cards when I developed themand one looking at them with fresh eyes.

Progress made on day 3:
  1. I will consistently eat gluten free everyday - achieved (I'd love for this not to be the case but whenever I abstain from Gluten my knee flexibility improves. When I decide "Oh what the heck" and eat the pasta or lovely freshly made bread from the supermarket, it might be okay for the first day but that leads to many days of "Oh what the heck", and my knees then grind to halt!) 
  2. I will do my hip mobilisation daily -  achieved - although only just before going to bed because I hadn't done them - again!
  3. I will drink 2 litres of water daily - just
  4. I will do one thing differently every day - achieved.
For anyone wishing to get support to embed new habits in their lives, or with a vision or goal in need of a good overhaul you may want to consider coaching. Either personally (more about what I offer here) or online support is also available. One online package I'd highly recommend is Acorn Principal plus who are due to release a new online product in October.

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject.

Anyone with Arthritis may also want to review my Pinterest board with over 150 links on how you might be able to improve living with arthritis.

#28daychallenge

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Day 2: 4 new habits in 28 days - Setting targets


The premise of my 28 day challenge is that without sustaining a new habit for 28 days it's far too easy to fall back onto the old habit. Too easy to decide it's not working, and give up (unless that's just me?).

In the series of blog posts I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding, and also exploring how I manage the challenges and frustrations that come up during the process. 

First an update on progress made on day 2:
  1. I will consistently eat gluten free everyday - achieved - having been inconsistently GF for 4 years I've got over the initial disbelief that's it's even possible, and withdrawal symptoms, and just know when I'm travelling with work in a few weeks time this will be more of a challenge. 
  2. I will do my hip mobilisation daily -  achieved - although only just before going to bed because I hadn't done them! I'll explore this more fully later in the week - a great example that 'what gets measured gets done'. 
  3. I will keep sufficiently hydrated - achieved - more of that below
  4. I will do one thing differently every day - achieved - I bought a men's fitness magazine rather than a female one. More about this habit in a future blog.
Embedding the above habits are the first steps in achieving my vision for flexible and pain free arthritic knees. Habits that if achieved will make achieving the goal more likely.

Nothing like not walking the talk! Rather than spend lots of time getting the wording of the habits just right I just wrote what came to mind down and got on with it.

After day 1 it became clear that the new habits needed rewording. That is were the objectives SMART ie Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound?

I realised the hydration habit wasn't exactly measurable - unless of course I'm very good at noticing my hydration and knowing what 'suficiently hydrated' looks and feels like. Which I'm not!


Hydration helps keep the knees lubricated, and certainly days when I have a lot of pain are often days succeeding a day when I didn't drink much at all.

Whilst hydration is the goal, I need to specify what I will be doing to achieve this. 

I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day.

That then enables me to measure my consumption of water during the day, and to understand whether I've reached the target or not.

This then opens up a quandary about what the target should be. 

In some explanations of SMART it suggests S should be Stretching. In which case I should set a target of 2.5 or 3 litres. However, since the reason for identifying these habits is for me to ensure consistency of action, I'm going to start with achievable goals that if sustained can be increased at a future point. 

For me it's definitely about putting in place actions that will become habits not something that would be a daily challenge. The end goal of pain free and flexible knees feels like a challenge. Breaking it down into manageable habits, that I can embed into life, that I know will support me on moving towards my goal is the priority. 

How could you amend your objectives or goals to make them SMARTer, and make it more likely you'll take the necessary actions to achieving them?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

Blogs of the journey of 28 days to embed 4 new habits have so far included - the inspiration and the vision and goal.

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject either here on The Purchasing Coach site or over on my Landscaping Your Life site where I use nature as a metaphor and teacher for our lives. 

Anyone with Arthritis may also want to review my Pinterest board with over 150 links on how you might be able to improve living with arthritis.

#28daychallenge

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Day 1: 4 new habits in 28 days - Goal Setting


And we're off.

Update: Day 1 of 28 days to embed 4 new habits - in my case habits that support my arthritic knees. Although this process of adopting new habits, by committing to do them for 28 days, can be applied to any habit in work, life or play! 

So do please join me as you also adopt a new habit or two, allowing us to silence the old habits' whisperings, and face the challenges together.

Progress made on day 1 was:
  1. I will eat gluten free every day (not just when i feel like it) - achieved - although easier than when I first went GF four years ago - I just need to be consistent 
  2. I will do my hip mobilisation daily -  achieved but again easily because we did it as part of personal training 
  3. I will keep sufficiently hydrated - easy to say achieved as I failed to set a target - oops
  4. I will do one thing differently every day - achieved - I cleaned my teeth using my left hand! More on why I've chosen this as new habit in a future blog.
Observation: 

Sh%T - too many things to think about - how will I measure progress, what's my end goal, why am I doing this, how will I share my progress and .... what about doing some work and not blogging ..... oh and what were the 4 new habits I said I wanted to commit to. Just starting to realise why it's best to keep it to one new habit not four!

First thing I need to do is understand why I'm wanting to make the commitment in the first place. What's the reason - the 'why' behind making the effort.

For me the why is about improved flexibility, stamina and less pain in my knees. Although as I type I realise that's not enough of a why - what will having that flexibility and stamina do for me in life - what will it allow me to do that I can't do at the moment. In other words what's my vision. To get a better understanding of this I realise a well formed outcome will help, and commit to do this over the weekend.



I also realise I need to understand where I am in relation to my goal currently. That way any progress made over the 28 days can provide the added motivation to stick with the new habits. My personal trainer and I chatted about these, and by Monday will have the 'current situation' logged.

I then need to double check that these new habits will support me achieving this goal. I suspect there are other new habits, and if I can get these cracked first it will make everything else a lot easier to do.

Other activities undertaken to support my knees:

Having found it easy to beat myself up in the past for not making progress, I realise there are other activities that I'm already doing on a daily basis to support my goal of flexible and pain free knees. In order to stop the beatings I'm going to remind myself daily of what these additional activities are:. 
  • Marjoram essential oil in my bath
  • Beetroot in my risotto 
  • Ginger with lemon in hot water first thing 
  • Flat and cushioned footwear - for work, rest and play
What would help you to pat yourself on the back daily?

I'd love to hear how you got on, and the challenges you're facing as we adopt new habits in our lives.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject either here on The Purchasing Coach site or over on my Landscaping Your Life site where I use nature as a metaphor and teacher for our lives. 

Anyone with osteoarthritis may also want to review my Pinterest board with over 150 links on how you might be able to improve living with arthritis. In addition to keeping hydrated and eating gluten free these also include use of beetroot, ginger and marjoram.

#28daychallenge

Friday, 23 September 2016

Not wanting to do the hard work


Are you prepared to do the hard work needed to achieve what you want in life?

I realise sometimes (or even often) the answer for me is "no" - so what can I/we do to move that to a "yes" - to increase the chances of having the life we want?

For me it started five years ago with the following words from a surgeon "you need new knees, but are too young to have them. Keep taking the painkillers, and come back when it gets too much for you."

Thus started my exploration of what to do for my arthritic knees - an exploration of how to reduce the pain in other ways than doing what the specialist suggested. Also an exploration to keep my knees away from the operating table.

The first thing I did was set up an Arthritis Pinterest board and put links to all ideas I came across for reducing knee pain via body, mind, heart and soul. In other words, looking at it from all angles, and yes even angels :-).

Finding all the options was the easy bit - even if not one of them was suggested by the surgeon, nor doctor. 

From that time on there there's been many many ups and downs as I've searched for alternatives. In that search I've found many things that work for either increasing range of movement, flexibility, stamina, or reducing pain. These have included: 
  • Keeping my joints moving - whether with friends, alone, in exercise classes or with the help of a personal trainer (as per picture above)
  • Doing hip mobilisation exercises - which ensure my glutes and hips are strong, flexible and switched on
  • Yoga - isolating weak or overly tense muscles, and releasing and then strengthening them
  • Regular sports massage to increase range of movement and release tight muscles 
  • Improved sleep - earlier to bed and black out curtains helping significantly to do this
I've tried many supplements and have found that they each work for awhile, and then have seen their efficacy reduce. Perhaps placebo might explain this better than efficacy of the supplements, although due to the sustained improvement I would recommend trying:
Other successes, or perhaps that should be other things I know work, have included:
  • Avoiding gluten - even if I would dearly love this not to be the case, and have repeatedly tried to test the hypothesis in the vain hope I'm wrong 
  • Avoiding rhubarb - who knew? 
  • Avoiding the nightshade family - potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and so on 
  • Adding more ginger to juices 
  • Eating or drinking beetroot
  • Keeping hydrated 
The problem has been, that whilst some of these activities are definitely on the "should do" list, or if I think about hip mobilisation even on the "must do" list, I still manage not to do them. It's as if, despite the benefit, I'm not prepared to put in the sustained effort required to keep doing them. This results in a few weeks of progress, freer movement and minimal pain followed by weeks and months of restricted movement and pain! One step forward, two, three or even four steps back :-(.

I find myself wondering if I should simply buy into the surgeons belief that new knees are the only answer, and accept I'm simply on the declining and steady route to the operating table.

Currently there is a part of me that still whispers "No" to the surgeon's belief, but these days it's getting quieter and sounding further way. 

Whilst I can still hear the "No" therefore I will continue to search for a solution that will get me back on track. After all that's what I help others do in my coaching - to get back on track - even if not often physically. 

The process I follow in coaching sessions is:
  • Where do you want to get to - desired outcome
  • Where are you now - current situation
  • How do you get from one to the other
  • What's stopping you - the hurdles and resistors 
  • Taking action 
  • Reviewing progress 
  • Amending action 
What's stopping us taking the necessary action normally falls into a number of areas:
As I've watched the BBC's 'the doctor who gave up drugs' this week I realised the missing jigsaw piece for me was not being prepared to put in sustained hard work.

I now realise I was looking for a quick fix. I'd forgotten the adage that it takes 28 days for something to become a habit. My understanding is that until that time, we'll find it easier to fall back to the old habit than continue with the new one. I'd also forgotten that whilst still in its thrall the old habit may even lie to us, and try and persuade us of the folly of our actions - focusing on our lack of progress, and highlighting the inconsistencies. Basically doing anything that will undermine our belief in the validity of the new habit we're aiming for. 

So yes I do need to remind myself of what life could be like without the current restricted movement in my knees, and to tap into my values to provide the motivation. More importantly, however, I need to make a commitment to change a few habits, and to do that effectively I also need to tell others about that commitment (I think this blog works for that - especially if you'll occasionally check in to see how I'm getting on). 

Which means for the next 28 days I commit to changing a few persistently bad habits, and starting a few new ones, namely:
  • I will eat gluten free every day (ie not go of the rails when I see a piece of white bread or chocolate cake)
  • I will do my hip mobilisation once daily
  • I will keep sufficiently hydrated 
  • I will do one thing differently every day (to keep the 'do new things' muscle working - and perhaps more importantly to keep the 'do the same things' muscle out of its comfort zone) 
No excuses, no doubts about their efficacy - just 28 days, and then observing the results, and adapting my plan from there. 

The coach in me says I should start with just one of the above not all four, but currently I feel confident that I can sustain all four for the next 28 days - especially as 3 of them are already activities I do - even if inconsistently applied. 

Will you join me? What one habit would you like to replace, and what daily action can you take to make that a reality?

Alison x

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change - inside and out 

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject either here on The Purchasing Coach site or over on my Landscaping Your Life site where I use nature as a metaphor and teacher for our lives.

#28daychallenge

Monday, 12 September 2016

Social media detox

In a recent workshop in Shanghai we were exploring the different ways of facilitating a more creative mindset. The theory being that a creative mindset would enable us to identify even more opportunities and options for "what next". 

Doing something different and getting out of the normal routine, whether for meetings, life more generally or these type of brainstorming sessions was high on the list.

After returning from Shanghai I had a few days at work and then, with friends arriving, committed to have a break from social media. The aim being to take time to just be in the now, and see what ideas came to mind. 
In the past I've taken the odd weekend off social media, and didn't find longer holidays that much of a problem either. These weekends might consist of use of the phone solely for phone calls and texts, with iPad turned off and left in the office. With emails happily left unopened for the duration.

Wow - how times have changed, and how easily my phone and iPad have come to provide a crutch for day to day living. A crutch that it seems has stopped me from thinking - never mind thinking creatively. 

Here's what I discovered: 

  • Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: these were easy - I just deleted the apps from my phone and iPad and left them alone. Ignoring the desire to share a picture of my friends and I on FB, and knowing it would wait till the weekend.
  • Emails: on one account I was able to leave an out of office. On the other the problem (or was it an excuse) was I was waiting for 4 or 5 replies to emails. So I decided to go email free for the weekend and just check in with emails via iPad at the end of each day. Not engaging with any others than those I'd been waiting for and that impacted my plans over the next 10 days.
  • News: the News app, along with social media and emails, has been the one major area of time lost on the phone/iPad. So I intended to restrict its use - ether watching TV news or listening to radio news. This intention was harder to keep to. 
  • Others apps: I had hoped to be able to leave my iPhone alone, and where possible I did, but hadn't realised how I had allowed it to act as a crutch for every day living for things such as:

  • Tide times for the local beach
  • Google maps for location of places we were visiting
  • Weather forecast
  • Websites for opening times
  • Twitter for Traffic Scotland updates - always useful for the A9
  • Amazon prime video - I've not watched a DVD for ages
  • MIT Edx - for Ulab MOOC
  • FMTV - source of health and wellbeing videos
  • YouTube - Ted talks, music videos (I'm mesmerised by Christine and the queens every time I venture on)
  • Amazon - say no more 
  • Recipes 
  • Sainsburys grocery shopping 
  • Kindle for reading
  • and so on

I've only been back on line a day and so far have used my phone/iPad much less than I had been prior to the break. If that continues then I will be able to say the detox was successful.

Time away from social media has given me more time to read and do things that I've missed - we'll have to see if that's just because I was on holiday?

What do you need a detox from? and when will you take it?


Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out - in procurement and those (not so) soft skills