I hate my car

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WARNING!  This is not going to be an inspirational, motivational post – it is a RANT so, if you want to look away, now is your chance!!

I’m just waiting while the AA man tries to find out what is wrong with my stupid car.  Again.  It seems to be one thing after another with it, always battery related but never specific….

I won’t bore you with the details, I just wanted to say that it is not the best way to start your Monday morning.  I have to admit, I kicked the car this time.  My foot seems to have come off worse than the car though…..

I have a HUGE temper when it comes to inanimate objects (and my car can be considered inanimate because it won’t go at the moment).  Computers, phones, fiddly things that break all incur my wrath if they don’t behave as they should.  I think it is because I just can’t reason with them. Or even argue.  There is nothing to be done when something stops working except try to fix it.

Or throw it.

But the car is too big to throw.  Even the kick didn’t hurt it.

So, I’m waiting while the nice AA man tries to diagnose the fault…..

On a positive note (see, I always manage to find one!), I’m sitting here on the PC in my nice, warm house with a nice, hot cup of tea, instead of my horrid cold office….

I probably need to get a new car.

Baubles

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Yesterday was Christmas Day again in our house.  We had two friends over for a day of festivities, with presents, roast duck and all the trimmings, followed by Christmas Pudding.  We wore party hats and pulled crackers and we kept the decorations up specially.  It was lovely.

Today is a day to take down the trees and cards and look forward to 2012.

The hand painted pink bauble in this photo comes out every year.  It is a bauble that used to be on our tree when I was a child so I don’t know how old it is.   I only know it is fragile, small, delicate and precious to me…..

365 Project. A year of projects!

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It’s always nice to have a new project I think.  Unfortunately, I have many ‘new’ projects -started and never finished.  Needlework, knitting (I still have a cardigan I started for my six month old daughter.  She is 29 now), painting and drawing, machine embroidery, web designing, photography, blogging (well, that’s kind of consistent in a fluctuating way), gym and keep fit….the list just goes on.

So, this year, I am going to write the list out and work my way through it and do every one of these projects by the end of 2012.

To add to the list, and a brand new project for me, I shall be starting Italian classes next week with KD.

I’m really looking forward to this as it is a very different sort of project compared to my usual ventures.  It is only a 12 week course, just to get us through our next holiday in Italy in June.  As long as they teach me how to say “Just leave the bottle on the table thank you”  and “mine’s a double”  I will consider it money well spent…..

I found the solution!

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Last year, around the beginning of November I think it was, I had some sort of ‘awakening’.  I have always struggled with exercise and I had reached the point where I just didn’t know how I was going to stick at anything.  I was a member of the gym, I had a personal trainer and I still hated it and I still made excuses not to go.

Being in the business of motivating others I felt a complete failure, not being able to motivate myself to do something I knew would be good for me.

About this time I went on some training.  Solution-focussed brief therapy training. I blogged about it at the time –  solution-focussed fitness plan 

I volunteered to be the ‘dummy client’ and I had to bring something for the trainer to work on, to demonstrate the technique.   I blogged about my first day in this previous post but there was a second….and a third.

Something clicked after that second day.  I realised that I had been approaching it all wrong.  I didn’t like the gym and it wasn’t working as I kept cancelling my training sessions.  So I knew what I didn’t like but I had no idea on what to do about it.   It was decided in this training/therapy session that I would try out some other types of exercise until I found one I liked.  I agreed to go for a bike ride and to walk after work at least twice a week between this session and the final one.  I had to come back to the third day, two weeks later,  with a report of my progress. 

The training focussed on when I had enjoyed exercise.  I realised I liked exercise more if I had company. So, with the help of KD, I started my plan that weekend.  We went on an exhilarating bike ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Every night that week, even though it was dark, we (and the dog) went for a walk.  A brisk walk. In fact it was a little TOO brisk for my liking at first but I had promised to try things out so I stuck at it.  After only three nights, I had started to enjoy it and my pace quickened.

I kept up the walking with KD almost every evening after that, until just before Christmas, mainly because of social commitments.

The most surprising thing (to me) was that I started to enjoy going to the gym.  I had 5 sessions left with the personal trainer.  We agreed I would only go once a week, rather than book two sessions in which I dreaded and that I would go on Saturday mornings, rather than after work.  This really worked.  I am most definitely a morning exerciser!  By the time I got to my last session, just before Christmas, I was almost sad that they had finished.   In fact, I will probably book some more in soon….

After three weeks, I had lost weight but, much more importantly, I felt so much fitter.  My blood pressure came right down and I felt energised.

Christmas and New Year have caused me to slip back slightly.  I haven’t done any exercise, apart from one walk and I’ve been eating all the wrong stuff.  But I still feel motivated and I know I will get back to where I was.  I have decided to start again properly on Monday, since we are having another Christmas Day on Saturday with plenty of food and drink….

I am now, obviously, a HUGE advocate of solution-focussed therapy!  If you focus on what works, rather than what doesn’t, you are going to succeed.  Trust me – it works!!

365 Project – a new plan!

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Yes, I know the idea is to blog about the same thing for a year but, seriously, a year of motivation posts?  If I haven’t bored everyone to death by March I think I will have lost the will to live anyway….there is only so much you can write about motivation.

So, true to form, I’m giving up!  Well, I’m not actually giving up, I’m just adapting the challenge to suit me. I have decided to stick to one theme per month, January being the month of motivation and February being the month of whatever it is I decide it will be about and so on….

I think I can cope with that, there will still be some structure to it and it should hopefully be a little bit more interesting than a whole year of me trying to find something interesting to say about motivation.

Does this sound like the ramblings of a de-motivated person?

Not at all.  In fact, I am INSPIRED!!!

Now, the question is, can I still be in the 365 project???

This is me, pondering…….

The sun has got his hat on…..

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Struggling today…..

It was still dark when I got up, I hate getting up in the dark.  The temptation to stay in bed a bit longer was almost overwhelming but the need for a cup of tea was stronger so I got up.

I have to go to the bank on my way in to work today, to collect a bank statement.   It isn’t possible to print one off at home now, apparently.  Their security system prevents it.  Great if the online ordering service worked but that failed me too so the only way I can get details of MY account is to trek into town, park illegally and queue up (ok, I don’t have to park illegally but I may as well make it as exciting as possible).

The reason I have to get a copy of my statement is because on Christmas Eve, I was charged £140.60 for a chinese takeaway.

Obviously, we didn’t eat £140 worth of chop suey, there was an error when they took my order over the phone.  It should have been £14.60.  With it being Christmas, this didn’t show up until 28th and I didn’t actually check my account until 31st so I didn’t realise until then.

It has been a complete fiasco since then, to try and sort it out.  I have no receipt, just my online statement.  The takeaway said if I bring a copy in they will refund me.  And that’s how come I am going to the bank this morning.  The manager of the takeaway will be in tomorrow night so I shall go and see if I can get the money back then.  The bank has a visa debit dispute dept but, apparently, that’s no good unless you have the receipt.  It has taken me days to sort all this out with them, what with hanging on the phone for ages and departments not being open and things not working properly.

The bank is actually pretty useless…..

So, anyway, that’s what I am doing this morning, before work.  It’s light now.  The sky has a beautiful pink hue to it, which isn’t a terribly good sign….

How to give up smoking

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This is the time of year when, traditionally, New Year Resolutions are made.

I myself have had many New Year Resolutions, ranging from losing weight to doing something I have never done before.

Some people say it is silly to have a New Year resolution – that if you want to do something you should be able to do it anytime, not wait for the New Year.  I think this argument is particularly applied to smoking – usually by smokers.  In a way that is right.  If you want to do something, you’ll do it but it does actually help to have a plan.  New Year resolutions are plans.

I’m going to talk you through how to give up smoking in this post.  This isn’t the only way to do it but it is a way I think works for a lot of people and it is probably one of the most common resolutions that are made (and broken) at this time of year.

First of all you need to ask yourself, how much do I want to do this? And how much do I want to do it NOW?  Might seem a bit silly because of course you want to do it – but how much?  If you are doing it because everyone is nagging you to stop or because you know it isn’t good for you but you still enjoy it really, well, your motivation isn’t that high.  And that is going to make it more difficult for you to stop.

So, the first step is to really think about how much you want to do it.  Think of all the reasons you want to stop and all the reasons you might not…..

Often, writing this down can be a very powerful way of seeing just how much you want to do something.  The list of reasons to stop will hopefully be longer than the list to continue!

 Next, decide on a plan.  Personally, I think it is pretty difficult to say you are NEVER going to do something again for the rest of your life.  Or at least, it is difficult to imagine this is how it will be.  So, short-term goals are better – with reviews.  A lot of people decide they are going to completely give up on a certain day.  This is all very well but it can make life hell for you and those around you!   There are aids to help with the nicotine withdrawal but that will be over in five days anyway.  The psychological addiction lasts much longer……

So, why not decide you will cut down at first?  This works for a number of reasons.   The idea that you can still have a cigarette at some point helps because you know you only have to go so long without.  Decide which cigarette is the most difficult one of the day to cut out and which might be the one you can most easily drop.  Then, go for dropping the easiest one.   Maybe it is the one after a meal or your bedtime cigarette?  Just cutting out that one ritual will put you in control.  Do this for a few days and then see how it feels.  You will not have failed because your goal was not to stop smoking at this point, just to cut out one important cigarette.  So, now you know you CAN do it…move on to the next step.  This might be delaying your morning ciggie.  Maybe, instead of reaching for the fags as soon as your eyes open, you set yourself the goal of having a shower and THEN having your reward.  Whatever works for you.  It might seem like a small thing but it means you have taken back a bit more control of your smoking addiction.

Once you have managed these tasks, even if it takes a couple of weeks, you can successfully say you have achieved your preliminary goal – to make a change to your smoking habit.

The next step will also be relatively small compared to the overall goal of stopping but if you continue in this way, taking it a day or a week at a time, you are more likely to succeed. The idea is to increase the times you delay your cigarette or to cut out another regular smoke, such as the one after meals or even the one you have in the morning (possibly the most difficult one of all?).  Distract yourself, do something, anything to take your mind off it.  Give yourself a time limit, say half hour.  Resist the urge to smoke for this amount of time and then you can have one.  Or, you can delay for another half hour….as many times as you can do it.  Again, you haven’t failed if you just manage the first half hour, you have controlled your urge until you wanted to give in to it.  Simple but effective.   It’s just a mindset.

The beauty of this plan is that you don’t set yourself up to fail so easily.  If you don’t manage to stick to the plan it is only a three or four-day plan, as opposed to a lifetime.  You can just go back three days and start again.  You are only three days behind and you can catch up again.  There is no failure, just review. 

If you found it difficult or impossible to achieve your short-term goals, look at why this might be.  And also, don’t forget to really look hard at the times you did manage to delay smoking or cut one out.  What made it work for you?  If you know, you can make it happen again.

This is a very wordy blog I know.  I promise they won’t all be like this.  And it only glosses the surface of motivating yourself to stop smoking really.  It is not the definitive text on the subject! It is just my take on it, based on my work and on the evidence based research that is out there.   Also, I don’t talk about how to continue with your not smoking plan….maybe I will revisit this in a few weeks with stage 2 of the plan!

Tomorrow I promise to write a very short blog about something really fascinating! (“Shit!! No pressure then, eh, Flossie??!!”)

Zero out of Ten

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Woops

The challenge isn’t going too well so far is it?

Day two and I nearly didn’t manage to post.  I have a nice little blog post half typed out on my Macbook but it needs tidying up.  It looks like an essay or some lecture notes at the moment….

Anyway, I suppose this counts as it shows I am struggling with my motivation today.  First day back at work tomorrow since Friday 23rd December 2011.  It’s going to be tough. I have enjoyed my break and being able to do very little as and when I want.   My motivation to do anything much apart from drink Cointreau is ZERO right now…..

However, I DO know that I work better under pressure so I am fully expecting to have a SURGE of inspiration as soon as I get back to work and I don’t have the time to write

WATCH THIS SPACE!

I wonder how many times this year I will be saying “Watch this space”?

Anyway, here’s a photo I took of a squirrel on Boxing Day in the cemetery where my dad and nan have memorials.  He looks like he is thinking very hard about his New Year Resolutions, don’t you agree?   I wonder what they are.  Probably won’t be to give up smoking.  Which is what my next post will be about (if I can be arsed)

Project 365 – The Conception

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Well, after spending most of the night awake, pondering on a topic to write about for a whole year (yes, I really did spend half the night thinking about this!) I have decided that the topic I am going to write about for a whole year is

MOTIVATION!

I have chosen this theme for several reasons

1. I find the whole topic of motivation fascinating.  My job means I teach motivational techniques to help my clients think about change and it never ceases to amaze me how powerful these motivational tools can be or how much can be achieved when the motivation is there

2. Despite the above, I sometimes find it very hard to motivate myself.  This blog is an example of where I have flagged and lost some of my drive to write.  The 365 project inspired me to try and stick at something for a whole year so, what better topic to write about than motivation?  I’m hoping it will inspire me to keep up with my blog!

3. I am trying very hard to become fitter and healthier this year.  I am hoping a daily reminder to stay motivated will encourage me to keep at it!

4. I can incorporate sketches and photos if I am inspired, something I really want to do more of this year as part of my resolution to start being more creative again

And finally

5. I can get away with writing a post saying very little if I can’t be arsed and say I just didn’t have the motivation that day!  The perfect get out!!

If you are intrigued by what I might write about over the coming months, well so am I!  

I have no idea where this will take me but I hope it will be a bit of a voyage of discovery for me and possibly for my readers!!