Push

Ever had one of those days, weeks when you just can’t seem to get motivated?

It’s happening to me a lot at the moment and I can’t quite pinpoint why. I suspect my diet is to blame.

It’s actually probably a combination of things that I’ve slowly let creep up on me but it knocks on into everything.

Recognition 

Is key. For me, it’s the workouts that drop off first, reflecting a lack of energy. This in turn leads to an inability to ‘power’ my way through the working day or week.

This is enough warning for me to take action. Depending on how bad I’m feeling, I’ll do a debrief of recent events; the objective being to find that something that needs addressing. An issue at work, a parental worry or something more fiscal is usually at the heart of the matter.

Ordinarily I’ll tackle things head on but every now and again, the needle goes into the red and the tank is empty.

crushed

 

Turning point

I have a word; a key phrase that I’ve conditioned myself to quickly take stock and re-energise myself whenever I say it…

Push

Well push, actually..

Just that, and that alone.

Pavlov

I read a book after I finished studying psychology entitled, ‘SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION’ by Emile COUE.

It’s a little dated, so the vernacular can seem out of place but the premise is very much valid today. To summarise, it discusses the transformation of your physical environment by controlling your cognitive process.

I’ve mentioned before, that thoughts become things and this carries on that theme. For me, associated with me closing my eyes and saying ‘Push’, my breathing automatically slows, which in turn brings down my heart rate which calms my physical being.

I also quickly cycle through memories of past adversity, which I have successfully overcome.

It’s not easy and it doesn’t always work but more often than not, I find from somewhere, the energy to get through whatever wall I was facing.

I’d like to try something new; do any of you have a keyword or a process for overcoming adversity?

Let me know in the comments and lets get a discussion going.

XperiaZ3 722

BSD

Why fit

Some times I bang on about training.

I work out most days; more times than not. Sometimes twice a day.  I have been known to overtrain, but I’ve also grown quite good at listening to my body now I’m in my 40’s.

I’ve also recognised just how stressful modern living can be. 24 hour connectivity means little time to properly unwind. Never ending emails, rising costs v falling wages all add up to some really awful stress levels with people just being unable to switch off.

To combat this, personal physical fitness is essential. Make your body strong and your mind will be too. To some extent it doesn’t matter what form of exercise you take as long as you do something. I also have this motto:

If it doesn’t challenge you; it doesn’t change you.


Digging around in the garage

I found the old Wii fit board. My daughter was delighted! So was I secretly. Once I’d managed to shoo her off of it, I discovered an old routine I used to do.

wii.jpg

If you’re not familiar with Wii Fit, it’s a games console and a special board (digital scales with no readout) and a load of different games and exercises.

You get a personal trainer who will demonstrate the exercises for you, then you perform them yourself. The majority of them use the balance board, which uses witchcraft to tell you if you’re doing it right. It judges you if you’re not.

A feature of the game is customised workouts. You string the exercises together to make a workout, for a set duration; simple. All you have to do is start.

Will it make you fitter? In my opinion yes.

Will it make you fit? No

It doesn’t give you willpower, you still have to switch it on and it doesn’t tell you what to eat, 6-packs are made in the kitchen.

Like those ads you see for ab crunchers etc, sold to you by Amazons and Adonis’, what they don’t tell you is that you’ll probably need to make some serious lifestyle changes to get in shape. It’s not easy but the rewards are so worth it. Not just the ability to master your stressful lifestyle but also feeling great and having abundant energy.

Yesterday I created two personalised workouts for family members; I’ve challenged them to complete the exercises for one month. Three times a week for her and four times a week for him.

As they both read my blog, here’s my workout:

  1. Warm up – 200 star jumps
  2. Chair squat
  3. Front squat
  4. Press-up with side stand
  5. Tricep extension
  6. Single-leg reach
  7. V sits
  8. Parallel stretch.

As I said before, you’ll need to supplement any exercises here with lifestyle changes to make a real difference but the usefulness of Wii Fit shouldn’t be underestimated. Will power not included.

large.jpg

Follow this link to buy your very own!

BSD

Co-parenting goal

The beginning of this week was a test

My ex and I had recently been discussing joint holidays due to the cub’s ages. Stories of child abductions etc. are enough to make any parent shiver so we decided (for the time being anyway) that we would plan a trip together.

Nothing major, just a camping trip in the New Forest. My daughter’s love of wildlife would be satiated and my son would be in a new environment, great for his development.

people-children-child-happy-160946

Mental set

What I didn’t want to do was ruin the experience by relentless arguing.

Whilst our relationship was deteriorating we’d successfully managed not to argue in front of the kids. I wasn’t about to foul this now whilst on a break so I went about adjusting my behavioural confirmation biases through a process of autosuggestion.

I believe in quite a few things. I was raised as a Christian, fell out with the premise but have recently fallen in again. I believe in the law of attraction, in that what you think about most you will manifest. I also believe that with practice, you can control your environment by altering your perception to whatever the heck is in front of you.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy but the application of counter scripts to the behaviours that you know you will witness work wonders when they do indeed arise. This made responding to them, or not, slightly less stressful. After all, what better way to put all those years together to good use than by counter-scripting every single element of their behaviour that caused frustration.

All for a good cause

She arrived. We loaded the already packed car and set off. I promptly went to sleep. Tactic one completed.

I woke up for a snack break then we set off again; I went to sleep again.

We arrived. It was a lovely site if a little water logged so we looked for a suitable pitch. Found one, in a clearing under light canopy; perfect.

Tent pitched; no dramas

Sleeping quarters sorted; no dramas.

Cubs running relatively free in a beautiful forest and staring in amazement at wild cows and horses.

light-forest-trees-morning.jpg

Proper planning prevents poor performance

Success! 3 days passed and we remained civil throughout. More importantly the cubs loved it. My daughter, ever the adventurer discovered a total of 4 frogs, 2 newts, an extremely tame Robin and a Treecreeper. She missed the Tawny Owl, whose mid-night screech went right to my very D.N.A and had me wide eyed and staring for quite a while.

There was one fall from grace; a heated sentence or two regarding dirty clothes but this was quickly quashed. It was probably more to do with 3 nights on a hard forest floor whilst my camping mat remained safe and warm in the garage, than our normal head butting.

Advice

So that’s the key; prepare yourself mentally and you can get the outcome you require. I’m sure it was equally as testing for her as I’m no saint. It also helped that it was a short period of time or I’m sure we’d both have got more snappy.

Autosuggestion wins the day. And sleep.

black-and-white-sport-fight-boxer

BSD

 

Short ones..

A collection of times my cubs have made me laugh

#You babe; draw back your bow, you babe; draw back your bow!

‘Actually darling, it’s “Cupid”.

‘That doesn’t make any sense…’

‘Yeah. I prefer your version’

#You babe….


Cub 1 to cub 2; ‘Tickle Punch!’

Cub 2, punches her squarely in the face.

‘DADDY!!’

Play with the bull; get the horns. Both of you; naughty step.


‘Darling; start to take your hair down so we can wash and plait it’

‘Ok dad. Have a look; do you think I’ve still got it in my hair?’

‘Got what?’

‘DO YOU THINK I’VE STILL GOT IT IN MY HAIR!?’

‘Darling, if someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying, rather than shouting you should find a different way to say the same thing’

Silence

‘DO-YOU-THINK-I’VE-STILL-GOT-IT-IN-MY-HAIR!!!’

‘Did you understand what I just said to you? that was just slow shouting..’

‘I miss mummy. I think she understands English better than you.’

‘Naughty step’ (not really, but I thought it)


‘Daddy?’

‘Yes?’

‘You say “Christ” a lot’

‘Just asking for help darling’

‘Maybe you should try the Police; at least we know their number’

Christ

BSD

CONTROLLING THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS – time to stop running and start hunting. pt.4

Time to start hunting.

My inspiration; and my first plug

I was introduced to this book 10 years ago when I started going through management training. I was very skeptical at first. It’s plays quite heavily on religion and even though I was a Christian at the time (more on that paradigm shift later!) I found it quite heavy going. I was missing the point.

Move forward a decade and the pages of my copy are well thumbed, dog eared and colour coded.

I’ll try not to make this a War & Peace length post but here’s my interpretation of this bestseller

  • Be proactive. (Get ahead)

More racing

Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen! One great excerpt from this chapter is “act or be acted upon.” There have been times in my life when I’ve procrastinated myself into a needless situation. No more. I now practice Flexible Planning.

  • Begin with the end in mind

black-and-white-sport-fight-boxer

You need to know where you want to end up, but not necessarily how you’ll get there. Take those first tentative steps and you’ll be surprised at what doors open.

  • Put the first things first

first things first

Estimate a timeframe. How long you think it should take to achieve. Then work backwards. If I want to be achieve X in 5 years time, where do I need to be in 2.5 years? I’ll need to have achieved Y. To achieve Y in 2.5 years where do I need to be in 1 year? Where do I need to be in 6 months etc, all the way until I have an idea of what I need to do next.

Taking those tentative first steps is a little easier when you know where to plant your feet. The importance here is to be flexible! Life tends to get in the way of plans but stay focused!

  • Think win/win

win win.jpg

This took me a while to fully understand. I used to think in a binary terms of win or lose. For me to win, someone had to lose and vice versa. Wrong. This ideology placed me in direct competition with everyone and anyone and is destined to fail. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, how knowledgeable you are, how fast or strong you are, someone will be that little bit better than you. Read my lesson in humility here..

I now aim for win/win, or no deal. What if we work together? Imagine what we can achieve? Find others to help you reach your goal and help them reach theirs. If someone is where you want to be or doing what you want to do, learn from them! Read what they read, do what they do and if possible, move in their circles.

Don’t ever compromise your values to achieve a deal. This will not sit right with you and will be unsustainable in the long term.

  • Seek first to understand then be understood

listen

Shift your focus a little. No one is obliged to understand you. Other viewpoints exist and just because they do not align directly to yours, it doesn’t mean they are wrong.

Senator John McCain defended his then opponent Senator Barack Obama at his own Republican rally, when one of his supporters began a personal attack. What amazing strength of character. I’m a Brit by the way but I’m interested in politics and great orators.

Look to understand someone else’s viewpoint and you will understand what drives them. This involves active listening.

  • Synergise

synergize.jpg

Creative cooperation. Working together to achieve more. For example, I’m involved in a number of projects outside of what was the norm for me. It has taken a lot of learning and self discipline to get where I am (I’m not actually broke!) but there is still work to do. I planned this blog for 6 months before I began it but there was only so much I could do alone. I had to jump in and then the second part of my learning could begin. I now learn from you, my fellow bloggers. I read your blogs for information, entertainment and more importantly in order to  improve mine.

  • Sharpen the saw

stacked stones

The principle of renewal and the greatest invest of all; the investment in yourself.

  • Physical (exercise, nutrition and stress management)
  • Social/emotional (service, empathy, synergy and intrinsic security)
  • Spiritual (value, clarification and commitment, study and meditation) and
  • Mental (reading, visualising, planning and writing).

Balance and clarity in these areas can help you achieve balance in life. I have prioritised or neglected all four of these at one time or another and suffered the consequences. It’s a work in progress.

Time to go and get what you really want.

Sticking to this stuff takes discipline. Mine fluctuates! When I stick to it; life works!

Don’t just take my word for it; read it for yourself.

Follow this link for a hardcopy 

Or here for the audiobook

 

BSD

CONTROLLING THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS – time to stop running and start hunting. pt.3

But as I said last week; a day is just a day. We make it what it is and our internal coach has a huge part to play in that.

Neutrality

Ok; we’ve established that now; there is no such thing as a bad day or a good day, but how do we really live up to that? How do you stop that one occurrence in the morning from clouding your whole day?

You need to coach your inner coach, and here is why.

You wake up, you stub your toe getting out of bed; what does your coach have to say about that?

“Awesome start you klutz!”

Now at this point, you have a choice; write it off as a one off or let it snowball..to some degree it does depend on what happens next, or more importantly how you reference what happens next.
A thought that becomes an > expectation that manifests into > a reality that forms an > experience.

Let’s go deeper; what if that whole process I described is repeated, and the experience is the same?

Kolb’s Experiential Cycle

This is a theory that really stuck in my mind when I was studying psychology. My mind likes order and I see in models and algorithms.

Kolb

 

Concrete Experience

You stub your toe; you lose your keys; you get toothpaste on your tie; you ladder your tights; you’re stuck in roadworks….

roadworks

Reflective Observation

You think about what’s happened/happening  and give that event a label mentally.

Abstract Hypothesis

Here is the watershed; the fork in the road. You can label the event as ‘bad luck’, or ‘That wasn’t the outcome I wanted; I should change my approach’. This is the most important part of the cycle and where thoughts are reinforced in our minds.

Fork in the road.jpg

Left or right…?

Active Testing

Deal breaker; if only we recognised it.

Active testing is the part of the scientific method (a set way of doing and testing things. This is where in theory, we test our concrete experience against our perception of the outcome. For example, leaving the house at the same time, taking the same route and becoming stuck at the same set of roadworks, instead of either leaving earlier or taking a different route.

OK, I’ve over simplified things in that example but it serves to illustrate my point.

If you attribute too many experiences to bad luck, you will conclude that you are an unlucky person. This isn’t true.

It self fulfils and we now have a behaviour that is based on those concrete experiences that just keep happening to us. We expect it to happen because it has done so many times before. So we find ourselves in the situation again and guess what? The same thing happens..

Why?

This know as a self fulfilling prophecy and usually climaxes with an ‘I told you that would happen’ from that internal coach. It can work for us, stopping us from engaging in harmful activities, or it can work against us, stopping us from pushing through our barriers.

But if our thoughts are that powerful, what would happen if we could only imagine the best for ourselves, all the time?

Breaking the cycle

Now we know what our limiting beliefs are we need to take action to stop them. This is easier said than done, don’t forget you’ve probably had these thoughts all of your life; I know I have.

Perhaps given to you by your parents then reinforced through those oh so real experiences they are now well and truly engrained.

Technically speaking it should take the same amount of time to rewrite them. If that’s correct, I’ve got something to look forward to on my 86th birthday.

Well I’m not having that; and neither should you!

Next week: Let’s finish this. I’ll explore some scripts that work for me in pt.4

BSD

Champ

Things I’m thankful for…

I’m thankful for making it to day 2 of my fitness challenge; work in progress!

I’m thankful for my son, who cried to get into my bed and once I acquiesced, told me he didn’t like the fan and went back to his bed, leaving me wide awake.

I’m thankful for my daughter, who despite being only 7 managed to occupy territory (in my bed) roughly the equivalent of Luxembourg.

I’m thankful for my son, who after his usual bath and bedtime routine dropped a poo bomb that saw us repeating the whole process.

I’m thankful to my daughter, who woke up 20 minutes after I got to bed to get me to choose my favourite character from Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” (children’s edition) whilst covering my bald head in stickers. I love my life and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Ps; I’m growing things on my window sill now. Lettuce and mint. The idea was to eat more healthily…

DSC_0008.JPG

The mint has gone in gin.

DSC_0009.JPG

BSD