Love is………

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Today is the 1st February, which I have decided is LOVE month on my blog, in keeping with my pledge to have a theme per month throughout the year.

I have no idea what I will blog about yet.  I’m sure I’ll think of something though, since the word love can mean so many different things to different people.

So, while I’m thinking about what to write about, here are some words I found that might inspire me……

I Love my Motivation!


Well, we are almost at the end of January.  My initial resolve was to take part in the 365 Project and post on the same theme for a whole year.  I chose motivation but quickly realised that I’d bore myself, let alone my readers, if I posted up about that for a WHOLE YEAR!!  So, I decided to adapt the idea and post on the same topic for a month.  I also allowed myself not to post every day.  I pretty much abandoned the 365 Project in fact!

Anyway, I have, more or less, posted motivationally themed stuff throughout January, I think, and I intend to end with a summary of how my own motivation has helped me to keep up my fitness training and started all the other things I said I would do.

Or rather, that WAS the intent

Unfortunately, I’ve just returned from a slap up meal of Tapas with copious amounts of wine and I really feel a bit of a fraud talking about how determined I am to eat healthily and keep fit.

Although I did go to a personal training session at the gym this morning. AND I have been walking regularly. AND…and this is the bestest AND….I have joined a burlesque dancing class.  So far, I’ve only been to the taster session but I’ve signed up for the full six weeks.  It’s so much fun!   The challenge for me is how to look alluring whilst trying to follow the steps.  Not quite there yet but I’m hopeful!  Anyway, I highly recommend it as a fun way to exercise.

And, joking apart, I am really enjoying my exercise, whatever form it takes.

The Italian classes are great fun too, not too hard but I’m learning new stuff.  It’s fun doing the class with KD who has a fantastic accent and we practise our new words during the week so I fully expect to be fluent by the end of the course (well, I hope to be able to order wine and food at least. Or just the wine even….).

As for the other projects I had intended to pick up on, well, the photography is slow. The weather has been poor and I have yet to find the subject that inspires me….but I will. I am a frustrated photographer.

I have not done any more drawing and I have totally forgotten about the needlecraft apart from a brief spell (one evening) where I got out the knitting needles for half hour.

Still, it’s only January.  Eleven more months to achieve my goals!

I have decided to make my theme for February ‘Love’.


Not sure what I’ll post yet but isn’t that the beauty of it all?

Ciao Belle.


Cheese-aholics Anonymous


Having said I would NEVER go to the gym again once my personal training sessions were finished, I have just booked myself in for 14 more, starting on Saturday.

Now, how’s THAT for motivation?!?!

The fact that I look like a big fat cheese due to the ridiculous amount of the stuff I have eaten over Christmas and New Year, is neither here nor there…..

365 Project. A year of projects!


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!


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!!

How to give up smoking


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??!!”)