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.



  1. When I challenge coaching clients to do something different every day I often also ask them to take a few minutes to figure out what they learned as a consequence of doing their different - it might be learning about the world out there or about their inner world. It's sometimes surprising how much one can learn from apparently trivial or pointless things - try brushing your hair with the 'wrong' hand.

  2. I agree Geoff - today's insight as a result of going into a different cafe was I now know where to top up my eco washing liquid. A new boxing move demonstrated how resistant I am to things I don't undertand or know :-). I'm adding insights to the summary of things I'm doing differently in my day 3 blog