So, it’s the moment of truth. When we published a blog of mine on 26 May, about Good, Bad and Lapsed habits, I promised I’d update you as to my progress in four weeks’ time. So here goes:
The good – excellent maintenance. 10/10!
- My daily gratitude list.
The gratitude list goes from strength to strength (e.g. Monday’s entries were: grateful for an hour long walk with the dog on a stunningly beautiful evening; for the comfort of my new Simba mattress after a weekend staying on friends’ sofa-beds and spare rooms and finally for the marvellous invention that is FaceTime – allowing me to connect across the miles and time zones with my lovely husband in Canada, although he’ll be home by the time you read this).
- Piano practice.
This has been interesting. I haven’t been able to do it every day, because I simply haven’t been at home, but when I have, I’ve been forcing myself to work harder on a tricky new piece that I’m learning, rather than sticking to what I know.
Of course I breathe all the time (I’d be deid otherwise, as they say in Scotland). I mean proper deep breathing for relaxation. I feel much calmer than I did four weeks ago because I’ve been doing my breathing exercises morning and night. Brilliant.
- Power Pose.
Yes yes and yes. Do watch the Amy Cuddy Power Pose talk if you haven’t already. Power Pose before training; coaching; the big audience gig and the important phone call? I’ll say so. Power pose for two minutes before writing the last four sentences? Yes – because why not?!
The lapsed – doing better, but must try harder. 7/10!
- Daily stretching.
More like every other day – but that’s a huge improvement. I noticed yesterday evening on that lovely walk with the dog that I was feeling much more limber in my movements. What’s stopped it being every day? Travel and hotel rooms. Frantic weekends. Still – no excuse. I must do more.
- Fasting – the 5:2.
I’m not – because I’ve found something that I think is even better – please visit “The bad” for more information!
- Learning for pleasure.
Yes. This is good. I’ve finished my little course that I’d signed up to, and have really upped my reading for pleasure too. And I’m currently working my way through Sheryl Sandberg’s “Option B” about one of my favourite topics, resilience. And tonight’s bedtime reading is all about the imposter syndrome in women – something that I’ve read a lot about, but feel the time has come for a refresh and top up.
- My cookbooks.
Oh yes. Several new recipes have been tested, and a few old but forgotten favourites have been resurrected. Lovely .
The bad – significant improvement, up to a 9.5/10!
- Snacking because I’m bored and not hungry.
- Eating rubbish (and see above).
I could not countenance coming back to you and telling you that I’d failed on this. The headline is that I’ve lost nine pounds! Nobody has noticed yet, because if you see people a lot it takes around two stones of weight loss to notice apparently, and if you haven’t seen them for a while they’ve forgotten what you looked like anyway. I haven’t done it via the 5:2. But I don’t want to tell you yet how I have done it, except to say it’s healthy, sane, and I think has provided me with the solution to a lifelong challenge. I’d like to come back and do that when I’ve lost a stone in total….and so keep the thread of my self-improvement blogs going. Watch this (diminishing) space!
- Lapsing into pessimism.
Martin Seligman might just be my hero. I love his work on the development of optimism, as natural pessimist. I’ve been working very hard on my permanent/pervasive/personal explanatory style when things go wrong, seeking instead to look at the temporary/specific/external one instead (although not forgetting to throw some honest self reflection into the mix at the same time). It’s been really helpful to do this after each of the events I’ve delivered in the last four weeks – and really constructive. I am feeling wildly optimistic!
I’m not. The only thing that I’ve really allowed to worry me in the last four weeks has been being on a different continent to my loved one. And even then I’ve tried hard to see the bigger picture and remember that it’s alright. So a significant improvement.
As before, you may be asking, “So what’s next?”
Well it takes us three months to feel as if we’ve changed our behaviour sufficiently and consistently enough to call it a habit, so it’s early days. I plan to keep up the good work, and report back in another eight weeks’ time, taking us up to the three month mark.
And again, if you have any handy tips do feel free to contact me on how to build and maintain my positive habits (and rid myself of the bad ones) at email@example.com. I’d appreciate it!
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