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Friday, 28 October 2016

Did you tell the source of the problem?

I had a great reminder this week that when we have a problem with a supplier we should go straight to the source of the problem not tell every one else.

You know the sort of thing - supplier x is always late, or staff are rude, or products are faulty. Instead of taking it up directly with the supplier however, everyone moans to everyone else, or they call procurement and demand they change supplier, or even climb the hierarchy demanding that the CPO, CFO, or COO do something. In fact shouldn't someone be sacked for this sort of behaviour! 

Living where I do, near the Forth river/ estuary in Fife Scotland, we occasionally get the odd oil rig anchor off shore. Sometimes for maintenance, and over recent years just 'stacked' because it has no work, waiting until it's needed out in the North Sea (or possibly further afield?).

On previous visits the joke within the town has been that the Christmas tree has arrived. 
As it 'spoils' my view of Edinburgh across the Forth sometimes, ok often, my language has been a little strong. Even if it does stop me taking my view of 12 years for granted when I get it back - sometimes a few months later.

As I returned from delivering some training down South last week imagine the language as I turned the corner and saw the recent 'Christmas tree' had arrived in my absence.

However something was very different. For once I could also hear a dull incessant hum from said tree in my bedroom as I tried to sleep! A little like the sound of an expectant train that never arrives. Dull enough that day time background noise cancelled it out, but loud and incessant enough that it was all you could hear when in a quite bedroom at night. I even wondered about moving to my spare north facing bedroom until it was resolved.

As the weekend progressed and a dull headache appeared I was looking up who to speak to at DEFRA, tweeting the local council and generally moaning that something needed to be done. I even sent off an email to DEFRA - although I have yet to hear from them!

My neighbour and a few other locals had a better idea. Ring the company who owns the oil rig. The response from the receptionist was a contract manager's or procurement manager's dream:

"Oh dear, I'll get straight onto the manager, and I'm sure he'll be able to sort something out if he can. He's a 'sort it out' sort of guy. We'll get back to you when we know something. I can't promise it will be today as he may be on site with limited WIFI etc but I assure you we will get back to you".

She rang an hour or so later to say they had received other complaints, and a site visit was actually taking place that day to try to resolve it!

Whether by fluke or not at 1230 that day my headache disappeared, and many of those talking about the hum on social media said they'd had a good night's sleep. As a noise could still be heard with windows open - even if, from my home, less incessant and annoying - we recognised that might have been only due to a change in wind direction.

A local councillor who had also got involved posted the following on Facebook sharing the council's environment officer's update:

Cllr, Forth Ports have updated me so far as the Platform Engineer was out yesterday (26th) and rerouted an exhaust for the generator on the platform, which they believe to be the source of the hum/drone. Additional baffling is also still being considered. I am proposing to visit again tonight or tomorrow (weather dependant) to reassess if this action may have made a difference in reducing noise levels affecting the complainants

He then went on to say:

Communication routes appear to be open to try and resolve this complaint and I am hopeful these will remain open whilst we try and resolve this issue. Whilst the Platform is working with Forth Ports and ourselves and showing Best Practice, I am not considering any formal action and I hope this issue may be resolved shortly but will of course continue to keep you updated.

The latest update provided 28th Oct:

I have spoken to the Harbour Master again this morning. The Platform has had an acoustic engineer out and they have identified the need for additional work to construct baffles and/or muffler around a generator on the Rig. They have advised that it will take a few days to construct, fabricate and install. 

Isn't that what we need from a supplier when we're having problems:
  • Recognition that there's a problem
  • Not being defensive
  • Not over promising when they can respond or remedy
  • Giving us confidence about the person being tasked with solving it 
  • Keeping us updated
  • Exploration of how they can solve it
  • Trying something to solve the problem
  • Having other options if that doesn't work
  • Keeping communication channels open
Let's remember oil rigs don't normally have to think about their neighbours!

The key of course is us remembering that moaning to others and not directly to the supplier is very rarely going to resolve the situation, and if needed for the future, certainly isn't going to help future relationships with that supplier.

What action can you take today to resolve a problem with one of your suppliers - who do you need to contact, and when will you do it?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - Inside and out 

I wrote another blog about how to deal with problem suppliers in January (follow the hypertext link to read it).

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Are you on automatic pilot?


I've written many times in the past about not getting stuck on autopilot, the need to step out of our comfort zone or even comfort universe, and breaking out of the mould.

I'm not sure I'd truly understood what that meant, or perhaps the benefit of sustaining these new behaviours until now.

As part of my 4 new habits in 28 day challenge I decided to do one thing differently every day. I've updated the blog I wrote at the time to show a list of what I did differently over those 28 days.

In this post I'd like to share the insights I got from undertaking this seemingly simple habit.

There's certainly something counter intuitive about setting a goal of doing something different everyday - as if trying to make the spontaneous less so. That said it's been truly transformative.

Here's what I discovered:

  • You can't truly understand the impact of a new behaviour until you've done it for 28 days. Much of this insight only came after persisting with the habit - ie once the easier responses had been left behind.
  • It's easy for a behaviour to become a habit or a way of responding to the world without thinking. This in turn reduces choice we have about actions we take. For example I love having a bath in the morning and don't really like showers. Having a bath however had become the default setting. Imagine my surprise when I brought the decision into conscious awareness, and realised on days when I'm busy a shower could give me another hour in my day!  Ditto the habit to turn on the TV to eat my tea, and then find the evening has disappeared - sometimes with mindless channel hopping. 
  • I had no idea how often I said "No", or "I don't like", or "I don't ..."! Atleast scanning for something different to do meant I questioned my "No"s, and in a lot of instances changed them to "Yes", and for more than the 28 days too e.g. coffee drinking, tea drinking, trying new foods, and so on.    
  • The automatic response based on previous experience isn't always correct. In the past I've been very tired at the end of training sessions, and often retreated to the hotel room and more mindless TV or a long bath. During the challenge I said "yes" on a number of occasions to going out, and found that going out doesn't further deplete my energy but energises me. So much better for seeing family, friends and more widely when I'm out and about around the UK and further afield when training.
  • Handing over control to others can be fun - I let someone else choose my nail varnish colours. Yes I know it's not a biggie - but letting control in my life is big for me. As Karen found out as she herself found it difficult to take the control fearing she was doing it wrong at every stroke of the brush. An interesting observation too about the impact on others of my need for control - I'll need to consider that some more.
  • Annoying outcomes can be changed to make them less painful! e.g just because I've always done my invoices at the end of every month doesn't mean I have to continue to do so. Doing them as I go along has certainly taken the pain out of doing them.

In conclusion doing something different every day enabled me to face some habits that were long over due an upgrade.

What will you do differently today?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change - inside and out

More on the outcome of the 28 day challenge can be found here.

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

Monday, 24 October 2016

Day 28: 4 new habits in 28 days - the outcome

28 days ago, after watching the doctor who gave up drugs on TV, I decided there was much I could do personally to improve the flexibility, stamina and pain of my arthritic knees. Especially when the surgeon's only response had been "keep taking the pain killers until it gets so bad, and then we'll just give you two new knees."

I knew the biggest change would need to be sustaining the habits I knew supported my knees. These habits were:
  • I will consistently eat gluten free every day - achieved 25 out of 28 days (and nightshade (potatoes and tomatoes) 25/28) - even if I really really really wished it wasn't an effective habit. 
  • I will do my hip mobilisation exercises every day 24/28
  • I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day 24/28

Just for good measure I added a fourth habit:
    Today I wanted to share the outcome of achieving these habits as regularly as I have:
    • Walk up and down hill in local park - 8.45 mins to 7.09 mins - 18% reduction
    • 1.35 mile walk at home - 29.30 mins to 25.06 mins - 15% reduction
    • Movement of left knee - 35 cm to 27 cm - 23% increase in movement
    • Movement of right knee - 31cm to 24 cm - 23% increase in movement
    • Put sock on normally - yes (rather than pulling on leg of trousers to help pull the foot/leg upwards onto my knee)
    • Walking down stairs front ways on - yes (during the night and first thing in the morning I'd started to go down sides ways as my knees didn't want to bend when not warmed up)  
    How fantastic is that?
    A great reminder that setting goals and doing something every day to support them makes success much more likely.

    Bizarrely I never measured my pain level at the start of the 28 days. I think because its measured by the ability to bend my knee and walk quickly, ie I wasn't really taking much pain relief to start with (no more than a handful of times in the last 6 months). As has been proved recently the pain is also linked to eating gluten and nightshades (even if I'd like to hope otherwise) - so no gluten and no nightshades equals no pain!

    I've written a blog sharing the insights from doing something different everyday because they've been huge. Other blogs I've written along the way have 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

    If you do what you've always done you'll get the same result - change is where the magic happens - what will you do differently today?

    Alison Smith
    The Purchasing Coach
    Inspiring change - inside and out

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

    #28daychallenge

    Sunday, 16 October 2016

    Day 23: 4 new habits in 28 days - if you keep doing what you've always done

    As I reflected on the outcome of  'Doing something different' every for the last 23 days I was reminded of this landscaping your life vblog. You may want to turn your volume down before you have a listen.
    Thinking about what to do differently everyday has brought into conscious awareness the habits I do - those habits where I may not even think about what to do I just do them as if by rote.

    Habits such as:

    • Sitting down to eat my evening meal and turning on the TV, and it then being on for the rest of the evening.
    • Having a bath in the morning rather than a shower - irrespetctive of how much time I have. Allowing the bath to eat into my day despite what else I could be doing.
    • Saying "No I'm ok with water" when asked if I want a tea/coffee mid way through a coaching session, and missing time out of the room to stretch my legs, and perhaps even a more comfortable watercooler/kettle conversation.
    • Saying "No" to new things before I've considered if I would like to say "Yes" or the reason for my "No".
    I'm sure there are others. 

    What can you say "Yes" to today that you've been saying "No" to for too long despite getting an outcome you don't want? 


    Alison Smith
    The Purchasing Coach
    Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

    The 4 habits are:
    1. I will consistently eat gluten free every day 21/23 (and nightshade (pots and toms) 20/23)
    2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day 20/23
    3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day 20/23
    4. I will do at least one thing differently every day 21/23
      The blog posts of the journey to embed 4 new habits in 28 days have 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.

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

      #28daychallenge

      Tuesday, 11 October 2016

      Day 18: 4 new habits in 28 days - new perspectives

      At the weekend I used some collage cards I made some time ago, and shared the insights behind the making of those cards. As I reflected on the insight I got I realised that there may be further insight available if I reviewed the cards from a different perspective. That is, if I followed the process I invite clients to follow and connected with the cards today and asked "what advice do you have for me today?" rather than think about the advice the card had 1 or 2 years ago. 

      Before reading my observations you might want to think of a challenge you'd like more insight on, and then view the collage cards and see what comes to mind. There's no right or wrong just let your unconscious (or should that be subconscious) determine what you notice and direction you thoughts go on from there to find a solution.

      Here's what I discovered. 
      Today I'm drawn to the turtle and the slow easy movements as they move through the sea using the flow and currents within the sea to make progress. The message from the card would be "Breathe".
      I notice the white bird and get the same sense I did with the turtle - less flapping and more gliding using the air currents to get from a to b. The message of the card would be "Ease and flow".
      The golden 'sun/star' on the right hand side is where my focus went to immediately. Not the spiral so much as the centre that is "calm and sure". The message would be "stay true".

      Just a reminder this is no right or wrong in any 'message' you may interpret from the card - it's really only your subconscious communicating with you and making meaning from the images used in the collage.
      It's not a part of the collage I often take note of any more but the sitting figure looking at the sun rise/set on the top left is where my focus went today. The message would be "less doing, more being".

      Not sure they said much different to the weekend's blog although it feels less onerous and huge, and as a result much easier to achieve. Just be, breathe and go with the flow.

      What insight did you get from these images that you can apply to your situation - and what action will you take and when? Do you need to tell anyone about this commitment?

      Alison Smith
      The Purchasing Coach
      Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

      The blog posts of the journey to embed 4 new habits in 28 days have 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.

      The 4 habits are:
      1. I will consistently eat gluten free every day 16/18 (and nightshade (pots and toms) 15/18)
      2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day 16/18
      3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day 16/18
      4. I will do at least one thing differently every day 17/18 - I turned off my email and phone whilst concentrating on a task to do. I had my second night in a row without TV, and am aiming to have a third and fourth too!
        Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject.

        #28daychallenge

        Saturday, 8 October 2016

        Day 15: 4 new habits in 28 days - Transformation

        Today I want to apply another tool I use in coaching to help me to embed the 4 new habits to support my arthritic knees. The tool is soul collage cards. 

        I used the collage cards on day 8 when I developed a card to represent what would happen if I kept doing what I was doing. It won't really need to make sense to anyone else so long as it does me :-)   
        I said in the blog that what I was moving away from wasn't as much of a inspiration and motivation for me. Today I'm looking fowards.

        When I first learnt about soul collage cards at the Findhorn foundation I made a number of collage cards that resonated with insights from the workshop we'd had earlier in the week, or from my experiences using the Transformation Game* for over 10 years. 

        I thought it useful to remind myself of 4 of these insights today.

        If you have an issue you'd like more clarity on then do please put it to the back of your mind as you review the cards, and just notice what you notice. 

        If each card had some advice for you what would they say? 

        It's not just about observing the cards logically from the mind - but letting the heart and soul into the action. And yes that can take practice to do. Especially as we're all so much more comfortable using our mind to explain everything! 
        The above card represented swimming in a pool, and then having the walls pulled away and realising you're actually swimming in deep water. For some people a more daunting place to be, but for me there's no comparison between a chlorinated and busy pool, swimming up and down, to swimming in deep water.

        A reminder perhaps to not make these 4 habits simply a daily tick list to do, but see them more as a new way of being? 
        The trainer spoke of door A and door B - much the same way as the red and blue pills in the Matrix film. 

        That is, we have the option of taking the safer option, of staying with the old habits and just doing what we've always done. 

        Or we can choose to do something different, and take door B - even if it might involve going through the flames just like a phoenix (if I'm not mixing too many metaphors), it does allow us to be reborn anew into a new reality.

        Blimey - these cards do seem to be making these 4 new habits into something much bigger than I first imagined!
        There's a setback card in the Transformation Game*, a tool that originated in the Findhorn Foundation, and it says:

        For forgot you were a Radiantly Beautiful Cosmic Miracle - you forgot everyone else was too. 

        The above collage was my interpretation of those words.

        It's always a reminder for me to be me - and to remember that I am more than enough. No need to listen to the shoulds, oughts and musts. To just listen to my heart and soul and act from there. Or perhaps it's about directing my will in that direction (that certainly feels right as I type it - even if my head hasn't quite caught up with the full meaning of 'directing my will towards the direction of my heart and soul!?!)
        There's a 'transformation square' on the transformation game, and when you land on it there's a meditation that invites you to walk through a door into what Theory U might describe as the emerging future.

        As I imagined walking through the door in one game I found myself at the top of a cliff and a favourite poem of mine came to mind.

        “Come to the edge, he said.
        We are afraid, they said.
        Come to the edge, he said.
        They came to the edge,
        He pushed them and they flew.
        Come to the edge, Life said.
        They said: We are afraid.
        Come to the edge, Life said.
        They came. It pushed them...
        And they flew.”

        It's most often cited as being written by Guillaume Apollinaire.

        The above collage is my representation of that image.

        Time to fly perhaps? 

        Which also reminds me of a picture I sent to a friend this week:

        Oh dear that does all feel quite BIG!

        I realise the cards were all saying the same thing, just looking at it from a different perspective. Not too much of a surprise when I remember that the workshop was entitled the alchemy of transformation, and tools I often use in coaching are called The Transformation Game and The Frameworks for Change Coaching Process :-)

        What insight did you get from these images that you can apply to your situation - and what action will you take and when? Do you need to tell anyone about this commitment?

        Alison Smith
        The Purchasing Coach
        Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

        The blog posts of the journey to embed 4 new habits in 28 days have 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.

        The 4 habits feel a little mundane when taken in isolation. These cards have reminded me that these new habits are about supporting me having flexible and pain-free knees. Which would truly be transformative and life changing if it was achieved. A great reminder to persevere, especially when I didn't do even one of these habits one day this week!:
        1. I will consistently eat gluten free every day 13/15 (and nightshade 12/15)
        2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day 14/15
        3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day 14/15
        4. I will do at least one thing differently every day 14/15 - Rather than wait till the end of the month I uploaded this week's receipts onto my invoice for a client. (I can't believe I've not done that before, I generally dread the end of the month because of this).
          I did have one day this week where I didn't achieve even one of the above. Busy work, driving and late home, and therefore no focus nor attention on the task in hand. A sign perhaps that they have yet to become a habit that I do automatically without any thought - or just a busy day :-).

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

          #28daychallenge

          * The Transformation Game ©Innerlinks - www.innerlinks.com

          Tuesday, 4 October 2016

          Day 11: 4 new habits in 28 days - Frameworks for Change

          The goal was 4 new habits in 28 days, and I've blogged my progress daily here on my blog. See the bottom of the post for more about the 4 habits.

          11 days in, and it's not been without it's challenges therefore I thought I'd use the Frameworks for Change Coaching Process* I use in coaching 


          The tool basically uses cards to ask questions and invites us to see situations from a different perspective as a result of discussing and debating the words on the cards.

          Here's the cards I pulled: 
          • Insight: You value and express the quality of Kindness in the present situation 
          • Potential setback: You are setback by perfectionism in the present situation
          • Insight: You take the responsibility of using your power wisely
          • Mentor: Humour
          Before reading further please consider how you might personally interpret the cards as a solution to a current situation in your life.

          Insight: You value and express the quality of Kindness in the present situation 

          This card invites me to see myself as others do and to be kind, and perhaps also to celebrate my commitment to achieving these new habits rather than beat myself up for not achieving them (or if it looks like I may fail just quickly doing something to rectify that at the end of the day).

          If I'm not careful adherence to the habits might seen to be too harsh and certainly not kind. I'm working in Manchester this week, and out in the evenings. Perhaps I'm being invited to be more relaxed about how I achieve 'do something different every day' and not worry too much if the soup I've had was made from stock with gluten in. The blogging is also an additional habit that I'd added without knowing - and updating what I've done differently on day 3's blog. Being kind to myself is therefore about taking myself off the conveyor belt and taking the next few days off blogging and focus on what's important!

          Potential setback: You are setback by perfectionism in the present situation

          I think I said it all in the above paragraph. Embedding the 4 new habits isn't about being perfect. It's about doing them as any other human would, and will therefore include off days.  

          A Landscaping Your Life blog on Perfection resonates for this setback too. 

          Insight: You take the responsibility of using your power wisely

          Wow! It's not often the cards all say the same thing just from different angles. My attention for the next 3 days is on coaching others, and my energy will therefore be directed towards them and not worrying about measuring what I'm doing and focusing time on whether I've had 1.8 litres of water or 2! I will focus on what's important, and if everything else happens then that's great. I know that flies in the face of yesterday's advice but it's about getting the balance right.

          Mentors: Humour

          Mentor cards invite you to think of someone who is a role model to you for the behaviour(s) stated. In this example asking you what a role model for humour would do.

          Oh dear - I suspect they'd tell me it's a good idea I'm going out, and to enjoy Beth Orton and the company of my colleagues.

          As you've read my interpretation you may have noticed other meanings behind the cards. The key is being able to look at a situation and see alternative solutions of how to solve the problem. Once there's a few different solutions then it's simply a case of trying them out and seeing which is most effective in moving from the current situation towards the desired situation.

          What may you want to do differently as a result of applying these cards, or my own insights, to a current situation? 


          Alison Smith
          The Purchasing Coach
          Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

          The 4 habits that I have undertaken for the last 11 days are:
          1. I will consistently eat gluten (and nightshade) free every day 9/11
          2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day 11/11
          3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day 11/11
          4. I will do at least one thing differently every day  11/11 - I drove via the A1 (rather than M74/M6) to Manchester and so was able to visit friends in Bradford, and call into Bamburgh beach on the way past :-)
          Blog posts of the journey to embed these 4 new habits have so far included - finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targetsdoing things differentlywaveringfinding supportcommitment, the danger of making assumptionsmeasuring progress and slaying the old habits and thoughts.

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

          #28daychallenge

          * Frameworks for change coaching process copyright Innerlinks www.innerlinks.com

          Monday, 3 October 2016

          Day 10: 4 new habits in 28 days - What gets measured gets done


          The very act of blogging to update on progress has certainly meant I'm still here 10 days later having achieved 95% consistency of doing the 4 new habits that I believe will support my knees. The new habits are:
          1. I will consistently eat gluten (and nightshade) free everyday 8/10
          2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day 10/10
          3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day 10/10
          4. I will do at least one thing differently every day 10/10 - walked back a different way to what we walked to another new cafe!
          Would I have been so vigilant if I'd just said I'd do them, and not measured and kept a track of them - perhaps not. In fact - certainly not.

          Measuring that I've done what I said is of course only one way of keeping me motivated. Inspiration will also come from observing the positive outcome from doing these activities. That is, these habits have been chosen because I believe they will help improve the flexibility, stamina and pain in my knees. My personal trainer and I have therefore identified a number of ways of tracking progress - not just for the 28 days but beyond.

          One means of measuring progress is the time it takes to walk around a 1.35 mile circuit here in Burntisland. Since the summer, when my knees were really bad, we've taken nearly 30% off the time! I'm hopeful that sustained application of the 4 new habits will deliver further improvement.

          The other positive aspect off focusing on doing these activities to support my knees is that I'm much more aware of other negative habits that hinder me, and I am slowly letting go of those too. Or at least listing them as future habits to release and replace.

          How can you measure what you need to do daily to move towards your goal, and how will you measure the outcome?

          Alison Smith
          The Purchasing Coach
          Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

          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, waveringfinding supportcommitment, the danger of making assumptions and slaying the old habits and thoughts.

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

          #28daychallenge

          Sunday, 2 October 2016

          Day 9: 4 new habits in 28 days - Update

          In these blog posts I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding in changing 4 habits in 28 days.

          The journey to embed these 4 new habits has so far included - finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targetsdoing things differently, wavering, finding supportcommitment, no making assumptions and slaying the old habits.

          Just an update today:
          1. I will consistently eat gluten (and nightshade) free every day - achieved 7/9
          2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day - achieved 9/9
          3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day - achieved 9/9 
          4. I will do at least one thing differently every day - achieved 9/9 - see the blog sumarising what I've been doing differently because I was on a role today!
          Alison Smith
          The Purchasing Coach
          Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

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

          #28daychallenge

          Saturday, 1 October 2016

          Day 8: 4 new habits in 28 days - Slay the Dragon

          In my quest to do something different every day I purchased a dragon fruit, and then promptly asked on Facebook what on earth I should do with it!  


          One response was 'find the dragon it belongs to' - which I thought was a great title for a blog - and this is that very blog. Although the title morphed a little as I explored those words and wrote the post! (See the bottom of the post for more about the 28 day challenge, and progress made to date.)

          This is why I love blogging, because currently I have no idea where this blog title will take me - all will only become clear as I write it.

          I wonder what meaning 'find the dragon' might have?

          If I look up dragon tree I find this:


          Although the actual tree the dragon fruit comes from looks like this;


          What do you imagine when you think of a dragon? 

          or perhaps ;-)
          or even

          If however I ask you what words do you associate with 'dragon' then I'd expect slaying would appear. Other words when I asked others included fire, flying, friendly, and not so friendly. 

          Slaying feels very apt for the #28daychallenge don't you think? 

          After all to adopt new habits requires the slaying of old habits, and also slaying of the resistance and hurdles that have stopped us taking up the new habits before. 

          I love using metaphor and analogy (see Landscaping Your life for more on using nature as a metaphor for all aspects of our lives). I therefore wonder how sticking with the metaphor, with slaying these habits and hurdles, provides additional insight to those already explored in recent blog posts. Recent blogs that have covered: finding the inspirationvision and goal setting, setting targetsdoing things differently, resisting the waveringfinding supportcommitment and not making assumptions.

          Slaying or killing aren't words I particularly resonate with, but that's where the new habit of doing something different every day comes in. 

          What would it look, sound, feel like if I did slay a few old habits. What would you see me doing? What would you never see me doing?  

          The habits I'm slaying are:
          • Eating gluten, and nightshades (pots and toms) 
          • Not doing my hip mobilisation and other stretching exercises regularly 
          • Not being sufficiently hydrated
          Most slaying seems to take place with the help of a sword, and I wonder what this represents in this example?

          What's the saying about the pen .... the pen is mightier than the sword? Keeping track of my progress here, and having to write down '7/7' days achieved or '6/7' days achieved has certainly kept me motivated. So perhaps the sword in this instance is the pen - starting a journal or diary for noting progress. Progress in terms of achievement or otherwise of the new habits, recurrence of old habits and progress made towards my goal of flexible and pain free knees.

          I wonder if slaying the old habits also requires the following:
          • Understanding what happens if I keep doing the old habits. That is, understand the worse case scenario of continuing to do what I'm doing. Providing me with something to move away from, not just the lovely outcome I'm wanting to move towards. Use of the problem reversal technique can help to develop a list of unhelpful outcomes. I decided to use #soulcollage, and this card that I made helped me bring this particular insight alive. It's the first 'negative' collage card I've made since first learning about them 2 years ago! Another example of me doing something different ;-).

          Slaying the old habits may also require: 
          • Identifying the trigger that starts the old habit, and either shifting it or avoiding the trigger.
          • Identifying other habits that support the ones we're replacing, and stopping or amending them too. It's not always a great idea to change everything in one fell swoop, but if you always eat gluten when you go for pizza with your friends try suggesting going to a different restaurant, and certainty one with lots of GF choices.
          • Making it hard or even impossible to do the old habits. I don't really like thinking in terms of penalties for default - but perhaps it's time I did. I just know how my brain works, and think I might I know I will fight against them, and just find it all too hard, and give up!! That said it might work for others, so useful to be included here.
          Other thoughts on what slaying old habits might look like are more than welcome.

          Another aspect to the slaying includes slaying the resistance or hurdles I put in the way to doing the new habits. Hurdles that might come in the form of:
          Wow - who thought buying a dragon fruit could provide such rick picking of ideas and inspiration!

          What do you need to slay, and how can using the dragon slaying metaphor help you identify an action plan? 

          Alison Smith
          The Purchasing Coach
          Inspiring Change - Inside and Out

          More in this Landscaping your Life post on why metaphors are useful tools when we're stuck, and how they can help get us back on track.

          In these blog posts I'm sharing what I'm doing to improve the chances of succeeding in changing 4 habits in 28 days - habits that will support improved flexibility and less pain in my arthritic knees.

          The 4 habits being:
          1. I will consistently eat gluten (and nightshade) free every day - failed again - 6/8 (this time by eating the black pudding that was in my fridge forgetting that it would have gluten in it :-( - the other day I ate potatoes by mistake!)
          2. I will do my hip mobilisation every day - achieved 8/8
          3. I will drink at least 2 litres of water every day - achieved 8/8 
          4. I will do at least one thing differently every day - achieved 8/8 - I watched ITV news 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. I also ate the dragon fruit with kidlets from next door. 
          Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject.

          #28daychallenge