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 '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 out but I will try it again this week as it wasn't as spicy as I thought.
  • Day 4: I've just started day 4 and made a decision to have a shower and not a bath, despite having the time. Whilst feeling weird, it did allow 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 10 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 for me!
  • 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 in the cafe 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! (2018 postscript - I now enjoy Scottish oatcakes, having said no to them for over 10 years!)
  • Day 10: We walked to a different cafe in the opposite direction to the one 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 and let them go off to the kitchen, 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 about my 'habits' 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 all 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. (2018 postscript - I now only wear dangly earrings so perhaps time to switch it about again). 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.


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