Houston, we have a problem!

Another week of too much of life happening! Seriously! Moving to a new house and doing renovations is not for the feint-hearted. Add flagging energy levels and an iron infusion. And managing aging parent health issues almost all converging at the same time. And all our lofty goals and micro-habits and best intentions go out the door! Acknowledging that I am only(?) human – things were bound to go a bit awry.

On the step goals. Well, if it wasn’t for my trusty Fitbit – I don’t think I would have remotely even been aware of stepping or even stepping out. I would choose to remain on my couch eating a copious amount of chocolate. Yes! Dopamine needed in large quantities and my carrier of choice is chocolate!

Moving along. I manged to average over 6000 per day but alas – not an improvement on the week before but at least I managed that goal. Water intake has been zero really. But OK. We are not staying stuck in #sabotagemode!

This week I continue living on a building site. But at least I am no longer squatting in the lounge. Shower still not done #sadness. I will write another blog on renovations at a later stage. Right now. I’m still living it. It’s raw. So, it sucks! I hate it! Friends encourage and say – it will be lovely. Right now. I don’t care. #nonewhomeownerglow here!

But out of that springs some inspiration. That creativity is alive. That the human spirit can triumph no matter what. And that #hopespringseternally if we tap into the right sources and appreciate the small wonders that’s all around us.

Ms Samajoy is secretly sketching again. And I have to say is this little hidden gem creeping out between a lifeless calendar (marking times passing) and a keyboard (the tool which most of us labour at every day) just makes me happy!

Image by @Samajoy73

On that note I wish you a happy week ahead. Yes, my post is somewhat late. But its happening right NOW!

Resistance to change…

I had always thought I was a person who was quite open and adept to change. And yes in certain things its been quite easy. Changing jobs being the thing I was best at changing. But coming down to daily habits. WOW! This has been an interesting journey so far.

I have had a lot happen in the past couple of days.  Still living on a construction site of sorts. Squatting in the lounge. Managing multiple service providers. And then also some health related issues. But as they say. Life happens!

So what has suffered.  Well I struggled to muster the energy to write this post. I am this close to saying maybe tomorrow. But Monday is the day I publish. And publish I will. We do not only practice our disciplines when we feel like or when everything in life is perfect. Else we will never really achieve anything of value or that we would personally feel proud of.  So I write this blog entry, with a sense of pride, that I am doing the thing I said I would do. Publish a blog post once a week.  Again. If want to be a writer/blogger – whats the key thing I need to do. WRITE! REGULARLY!

Monday publishing did not happen. Life and things just happened but I will push publish for this week’s goal.

Short and sweet but published. Step goals were met by the way but that’s just because my Fitbit kept reminding me. 

Happy Tuesday!

When the system fails… also known as Moving Meltdown!

So, there was a lot happening this past week.  Week 5 truly sucked the lifeforce out of me. I packed up a flat. Moved to a new house. Immediately started with some home reno/refurb.  And I am currently living on a construction site.  I don’t want to complain though. Yay! I just bought a house.  There are people with worse problems.  And, this too shall pass!

What I learnt from this past week’s happenings:

  • Moving to a new house is traumatic no matter how many times you have done it (believe me I have done it quite a few times). Don’t underestimate its impact.
  • You can’t plan for every single detail.  So, let go of some things and delegate where you can. And then just decide you are not She-Man, Master of the Universe.
  • Hire a reputable moving company with a good project manager on the ground on the day.
  • No amount of preparation will prepare you for living through a refurb. Its unsettling. Its traumatic. And it’s up there with moving. If you can, live somewhere else. If you can’t – brace yourself and just focus on a happy place in the future when its all done!
  • And therein lies the new home-owners dilemma. Are you ever done?
  • While the joy of shopping for new fixtures and things like tiles, taps and sanitary ware can be exciting… it sucks when you’re not quite sure what to do. You can research to the hilt and know that you need theoretically. Grout and adhesive, spacers, dirt traps and flushing mechanisms and all that ish. But when it comes down to the wire. You’re trusting your gut and the very kindly elderly tile salesman who could probably see the fear and trepidation on your face. Or alternatively, the owners are very clever to let the older “Uncle” help out those tentative looking customers.  Either way, I really wanted my Dad! He’d have project manager this entire thing. Worked out the measurements. Bought the ish and probably even done the job himself or micro project managed it!  But I had to be happy to have either a crafty salesman or some faux-Dad/Uncle type person who worked it all out for me and gave me the confidence to go off with my piece of paper and drop a F-ton of cash 😊
  • I really wanted to be able to be THAT Chick that’s all DIY-ish and stuff. You know. The ones with their own Youtube channels telling you how easy it is to refurb your kitchen cupboards and not break a nail or have a hair out of place! I even did a basic woodwork course. Yes, I did. Except, I honestly don’t like that hard work. I want to go and pick out the pretty things and then let someone else make it happen. Of course, that does put the price tag up significantly. But really. Sometimes I do wish I was born in another era.  Just so that stereotypical jobs can be done by some big burly man! 
  • OK. Shut up feminists. I am in no mood for any rants you might want to have.  I am PMS’íng! And I am not referred to as Bruce Banner for nothing when that happens!

So back to the system failing.  Well surprise, surprise.  In all that mayhem and chaos. I managed to have a step average for last week of over 9000 steps per day. Moving was hard work. I did lots of carrying and trips from the 4th floor to my car! But alas, the system worked despite what was happening around me. So yay me and my Tinyhabits self!

Roll on Week 6! May the Home Reno gods be with me!

Peace through habits & tracking!

There is nothing like momentum.  Both positive and negative. Each one will take you some place. That place could be one of punishment and self-beratement. If that’s not a word I just made it up. And the other will lead you to a place of peace. A place where instead of beating yourself up because you didn’t do what you set out to do, you find a newly discovered land that you didn’t know existed. A place which gives you an inclination of what flow or bliss could be. Who would have thought that there is indeed peace to be found within routine and on the other side of discipline?

Don’t get me wrong. I am have not suddenly become the epitome of a disciplined, habit-forming zen-minded ninja. But I am slowly learning to appreciate the achievement of small things on a daily basis. There are lots of areas in which I would like to simultaneously tackle every area I want to “fix” but I am staying focused on doing the small stuff.

This past week’s goal of 6000 steps per day was achieved. You will have to take my word for it. why? Because I switched tracking devices during the middle of the week. Initially using the iHealth app on my phone. I indulged with a bit of a splurge on a Fitbit Charge 2. And boy oh boy has this now thrown a whole new dimension on tracking. I had long read about how gamification is a trend – not just for gamers but for anything. From education, training and development and changing behaviours. So, you can read something and understand the theory. But only when you experience it for yourself and it resonates with you that you truly get it.

Discovery Health recently published an article on some research they had conducted into how fitness tracking devices had actually increased levels of activity. I just thought blah blah interesting at the time. But until you can apply the research for yourself – only then does it really make sense. And now I am wanting to be part of the stats for their next research 😊

So, I have joined the legions of fitness tracking fanatics. OK. I am not quite in the fanatic stage yet. But seriously getting there. When my tracker says, “Feed me some steps” or “Do you want to take a stroll?” – I am like YES! And I suddenly realise why kids in the 90’s went crazy for the Tamagotchi. Except in this instance I am the Tamagotchi I am trying to keep alive. Well, fit and healthy enough to thrive.  Not just now. But definitely putting down solid foundations for a fit an active old age. Onwards and forwards.

Hello Week 5

Habits vs perfection

Changing anything in your life is not about the right or perfect circumstances or the right or perfect environment for this change to happen. It’s about habits.  Those daily rituals that lead to the circumstances eventually becoming the “right” ones. My natural tendency is to think that if everything were perfect I would drop the weight. Be a regular gym goer. Prep healthy meals. Eat healthy all the time. Meet the right guy. Be 100% happy and fulfilled in my job all the time. Have perfect relationships with friends and family. If only everything were “right” or perfect! But what am I doing daily that’s actually leading me towards the perfect circumstances or “right” situation?

We (me) are so obsessed with what we perceive as overnight successes and seemingly impossible overnight transformation stories. Except, we never see what that person does on a daily basis in order to be that “overnight” success. The road to success can seem boring and lack lustre.  And yet we very much want to be part of that legion of athletes or “overnight” success stories.  And still we are not prepared for the daily tasks required to do so.

Ask any athlete what it takes to achieve a personal best. Ask any successful business person or entrepreneur or chef what they do on a daily basis. It requires a huge amount of daily rituals, practices, habits or discipline to achieve something that you truly value.

They don’t say, I’ll start on Monday. Or I’ll hit snooze and sleep for 5 more minutes. Or I’ll do it tomorrow. Or I’ll start next week. Imagine we said that about something like brushing our teeth or bathing. Yes, you could do that. But you wouldn’t be very popular or get invited out much. The people who continually achieve their goals hold themselves accountable to a much higher standard.

They value their daily habits and they do them!  They know it’s the foundation of something greater! Their reward is not just the end result but the process of unfolding. Or to use that much used cliché – it’s about the journey as much as it is about the destination. They take action EVERY DAY!  Not just on a Monday. Or when they feel like it. Or when there’s a full moon. Or when the weather is perfect.  Or they spend hours researching the plan as opposed to doing it! These are people of action! EVERY DAY!

So last week I set out to do a daily habit of 5000 steps per day. And I have to say navigating the mental game required to do that in itself was quite challenging. I ensured that I monitored my daily progress towards 5000.  Also tried to build in as many ways to hit that goal. Longer walks to my car. Lunchtime walk with my colleague. And if I didn’t hit the goal by the time I got home – I did laps within my flat! Yes, it looks crazy and weird but I don’t care! So yay me!

Also another thing I added just last night – every time there was an ad break during the movie I was watching – I did some steps!  And voila I started the new week off with a 5000-step day! But this week’s average is upped by 1000 steps! So its a 6000 step target.

Hello Week 4!

Consistency is key

Week 2 proved to be a lot more challenging, but we celebrate the victory of small things and the art of the re-start 😊

Even this blog post was touch and go – albeit late. But I am happy that it is live and published.

So what detractors, negative behaviour or wall did I hit this past week?

My world was definitely not set up for success. No planning. No prep. And definitely no daily deliberate focus on the small actions.  So why is this?

Sometimes we are the sabotagers of our own success. Motivation alone is not enough to sustain us. Motivation gets us started but it’s definitely discipline and daily action that keeps us going.

I recently heard Will Smith refer to the analogy of building a wall. The mindset we follow is to think “I need to build a whole wall.” This would definitely talk some of us out of starting. Especially those of us (me) that love procrastinating. We would get lost in looking at types of walls. Wall-building methods. Looking at other people who have built successful walls. Dreaming about walls. Looking at online inspiration for walls. But did we even lay the first brick!

So, according to Will (yes we’re on a first name basis now that I am into wall building) you need to focus on the first brick. Then the next brick. But you just focus on each brick. Make sure you lay that brick in the best possible way. But you just keep laying those bricks. And yes, you can argue that you may end up with a divider wall between your toilet and your shower. Or you could end up having built the next great Wall of China. But guess what? Without laying one brick at a time, you end up with what? Nothing. Just maybe that first brick you put down. Or the first couple of bricks you put down. But no wall. So not only did you lose out on building the wall. But you also lost out on really becoming a kick-ass brick layer. Again. Consistency. Disciplined. Daily practices.

So what’s really holding you back from making he changes you want to make? Sometimes the key lies in what seems like adversity. Sometimes you have to go at a slow pace. Sometimes you have to take another viewpoint of your situation in order to unlock things. Ask yourself:

  1. How badly do I want to make the changes? Maybe, if you dig deep enough, you may find you really are not that committed to making the change.
  2. What’s the daily action or steps I need to take consistently? What’s the brick that needs to be put down? Break down your goals into actionable steps. Eg don’t say I want to lose 10kgs. What do you have to do on a daily basis that will make you become a person that has lost 10kgs.  Meal planning. Meal prep. Daily exercise. But even further.
  3. Break it down into the smallest possible actionable step that you can take daily.
  4. Then do it!  Every day. If you miss one day its fine. But two days in a row and you are now not creating a new habit. So you start again with laying the first brick in your wall.  Just keep going!

So how has this translated for one of my habits.  I believe I do need to exercise consistently on a daily basis as part of building my weight loss “wall”. But if I can’t lay a fundamental brick of moving every day – then the wall is not even an achievable thing. So, what’s my daily brick? 5000 steps. Yes, I know that 10 000 has been touted as the minimum to get any kind of benefit (I am well versed in the theory of weight loss thanks! But it’s the implementation that’s a problem!). So, if I can’t consistently do 5000 a day. How the @$@#$@#4 will I achieve 10 000 steps a day? And therein lies the rub. We set such lofty unachievable tasks that we are sunk before we even start.

For Week 2 of the year, my step average was 3043 steps. Way below my target which I only hit once last week. So, I know what I need to do each day this week!

So, here’s this week’s thought. What’s the bricks you need to put down on a daily basis in order to build your wall? Roll on Week 3. 

The Power of Small Stuff

Week 1 of 2019 is done!

I have seen all the posts on social media and various blogs. New year, new me. 356 days, 365 opportunities. New year, new life. Blah blah. And so, we already feel pressured into #livingmybestlife because it’s #newyear.

We spend our entire existence on some form of timeline. Whether by choice or subliminal influence from everything that’s around us. Somehow there is a need to re-invent, re-new or just re-start everything at the beginning of a new calendar year.

By week 2 of the new year (if you made it that far) those resolutions already start dwindling fast. And so, you start the year off feeling like a #failure! #StopIt!

I have been doing a fair amount of research on goals, goal setting, listening to podcasts and reading blogs on what makes one stick to the goals, resolutions or things you think you want to achieve! One word. DISCPLINE!

But that word tends to conjure up all kinds of imagery around punishment. Leading a spartan existence. No fun. No excitement. Generally sucking the joy out of your very existence. No?  Maybe just me? Anyhow this is for those who get my meaning.

At the beginning of the year, or maybe just before then. We start this process of thinking about the things we want to change and be better at. Or do better. Fitness. Weight loss. Better relationships. More money. Whatever it is. And yet we end up not being able to maintain the pursuit of the very things we want to achieve by Week 2 of the new calendar year! What’s that about? We tell ourselves we lack the discipline and then go about our undisciplined lives hoping Monday we can make a new start.  Every Monday. Again.  Just me?

2019, I am going to Maya Angelou the hell out of you. When you know better, do better. For me, I am trying a new approach. I have not set any new year’s resolutions! As in, this year I am going to get fit. Or this year I am going to lose weight. Or this year, I am going to achieve my financial goals.  I am not setting myself up to feel like a failure by Week 2 of 2019.

I had stumbled across the work of BJ Fogg a while ago. I had done his Tiny Habits challenge and that’s how I got to make daily flossing an automatic habit. He also opened my eyes up to the myriad of habits we perform daily without even thinking about them. I learnt about anchoring new habits to existing habits.  Then I came across the work of James Clear (still reading). Again, it’s about those small daily things we can do that actually makes us already more disciplined than we give ourselves credit for. If you are currently not doing the stuff you want to do, all it takes is creating new habits to replace the ones which were not serving you.  Sounds simple enough. But I would suggest you read more from the experts on this and find a way to make it work for you.

So, this year, instead of setting big lofty goals.  Which I secretly know I am not going to achieve, I am doing small things daily. I had started doing small stuff towards the end of last year. Like taking the four flights of stairs to my office every morning.  Parking my car further away. Probably looking like a nut as I do a square route to my car as opposed to a straight line. Taking a walk at lunchtime with a colleague. Tiny daily practices which I didn’t do before. I have by no means dropped weight miraculously or become an athlete in the process. That wasn’t the aim.  The aim was to do them daily. I wasn’t always 100% successful, but I kept plugging away. And now those small acts seem to be coming part of what I do every day. Believe me, I am not suddenly a non-procrastinator or the beacon of health who makes sound nutritional choices.  Instead I am just focusing on those daily tiny things I can do without really thinking about it too much.

I do have big stuff I want to do this year. Not so much goals but plans really. And you could argue it’s just semantics and I will say, you just need to find what works for you. Then just do it! Every day!

This quote by John C Maxwell sums it up quite nicely. You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.

I wish you a happy and fulfilling 2019 filled with the small stuff that leads to big stuff 😊. Hello Week 2.

Mermaid by Sama

This beautiful illustration is done by my friend. The very talented and creative Sama. She needs to do a daily habit of illustrating which she will be posting on Instagram soon. Watch this space.