Friday 23 September 2016

Not wanting to do the hard work

Are you prepared to do the hard work needed to achieve what you want in life?

I realise sometimes (or even often) the answer for me is "no" - so what can I/we do to move that to a "yes" - to increase the chances of having the life we want?

For me it started five years ago with the following words from a surgeon "you need new knees, but are too young to have them. Keep taking the painkillers, and come back when it gets too much for you."

Thus started my exploration of what to do for my arthritic knees - an exploration of how to reduce the pain in other ways than doing what the specialist suggested. Also an exploration to keep my knees away from the operating table.

The first thing I did was set up an Arthritis Pinterest board and put links to all ideas I came across for reducing knee pain via body, mind, heart and soul. In other words, looking at it from all angles, and yes even angels :-).

Finding all the options was the easy bit - even if not one of them was suggested by the surgeon, nor doctor. 

From that time on there there's been many many ups and downs as I've searched for alternatives. In that search I've found many things that work for either increasing range of movement, flexibility, stamina, or reducing pain. These have included: 
  • Keeping my joints moving - whether with friends, alone, in exercise classes or with the help of a personal trainer (as per picture above)
  • Doing hip mobilisation exercises - which ensure my glutes and hips are strong, flexible and switched on
  • Yoga - isolating weak or overly tense muscles, and releasing and then strengthening them
  • Regular sports massage to increase range of movement and release tight muscles 
  • Improved sleep - earlier to bed and black out curtains helping significantly to do this
I've tried many supplements and have found that they each work for awhile, and then have seen their efficacy reduce. Perhaps placebo might explain this better than efficacy of the supplements, although due to the sustained improvement I would recommend trying:
Other successes, or perhaps that should be other things I know work, have included:
  • Avoiding gluten - even if I would dearly love this not to be the case, and have repeatedly tried to test the hypothesis in the vain hope I'm wrong 
  • Avoiding rhubarb - who knew? 
  • Avoiding the nightshade family - potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and so on 
  • Adding more ginger to juices 
  • Eating or drinking beetroot
  • Keeping hydrated 
The problem has been, that whilst some of these activities are definitely on the "should do" list, or if I think about hip mobilisation even on the "must do" list, I still manage not to do them. It's as if, despite the benefit, I'm not prepared to put in the sustained effort required to keep doing them. This results in a few weeks of progress, freer movement and minimal pain followed by weeks and months of restricted movement and pain! One step forward, two, three or even four steps back :-(.

I find myself wondering if I should simply buy into the surgeons belief that new knees are the only answer, and accept I'm simply on the declining and steady route to the operating table.

Currently there is a part of me that still whispers "No" to the surgeon's belief, but these days it's getting quieter and sounding further way. 

Whilst I can still hear the "No" therefore I will continue to search for a solution that will get me back on track. After all that's what I help others do in my coaching - to get back on track - even if not often physically. 

The process I follow in coaching sessions is:
  • Where do you want to get to - desired outcome
  • Where are you now - current situation
  • How do you get from one to the other
  • What's stopping you - the hurdles and resistors 
  • Taking action 
  • Reviewing progress 
  • Amending action 
What's stopping us taking the necessary action normally falls into a number of areas:
As I've watched the BBC's 'the doctor who gave up drugs' this week I realised the missing jigsaw piece for me was not being prepared to put in sustained hard work.

I now realise I was looking for a quick fix. I'd forgotten the adage that it takes 28 days for something to become a habit. My understanding is that until that time, we'll find it easier to fall back to the old habit than continue with the new one. I'd also forgotten that whilst still in its thrall the old habit may even lie to us, and try and persuade us of the folly of our actions - focusing on our lack of progress, and highlighting the inconsistencies. Basically doing anything that will undermine our belief in the validity of the new habit we're aiming for. 

So yes I do need to remind myself of what life could be like without the current restricted movement in my knees, and to tap into my values to provide the motivation. More importantly, however, I need to make a commitment to change a few habits, and to do that effectively I also need to tell others about that commitment (I think this blog works for that - especially if you'll occasionally check in to see how I'm getting on). 

Which means for the next 28 days I commit to changing a few persistently bad habits, and starting a few new ones, namely:
  • I will eat gluten free every day (ie not go of the rails when I see a piece of white bread or chocolate cake)
  • I will do my hip mobilisation once daily
  • I will keep sufficiently hydrated 
  • I will do one thing differently every day (to keep the 'do new things' muscle working - and perhaps more importantly to keep the 'do the same things' muscle out of its comfort zone) 
No excuses, no doubts about their efficacy - just 28 days, and then observing the results, and adapting my plan from there. 

The coach in me says I should start with just one of the above not all four, but currently I feel confident that I can sustain all four for the next 28 days - especially as 3 of them are already activities I do - even if inconsistently applied. 

Will you join me? What one habit would you like to replace, and what daily action can you take to make that a reality?

Alison x

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change - inside and out 

Hypertext links in the text above link to previous blogs written on the subject either here on The Purchasing Coach site or over on my Landscaping Your Life site where I use nature as a metaphor and teacher for our lives.


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