Friday, 14 January 2011

Crazy lady coming through

To help keep some perspective during what was without question the most horrible year of my life, I read a whole range of self-help books: 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' I was exhorted, 'I can make you happy/rich/thin/sleep' (yes please, Paul, all of the above), 'Happy kids, Happy you' (except that they can be mutually exclusive concepts...)

I found that after reading each book I was raring to go and full of positivity: to write that novel I've started several times, exercise regularly, learn to crochet, re-start my hypnotherapy practise... and then once the glow of the book wore off, I'd be back to the excuses: no time, too hard, too expensive, can’t fit it around the DDs...  So much for positive thinking.

Then one morning, I had a mini revelation: Every day we do things out of necessity and habit. We don't need positive thinking to take a shower, to put the bins out on rubbish day, to change the beds etc. No decision-making process, no pep talk. We just do it. So I thought I'd try this re-frame on other areas of my life, starting with exercise. From now on, I thought, I'd just do it.

And I have. For the past fortnight, I have managed to workout 3 times a week. Might not sound like a lot but that's probably more than I did for the entire previous year. I don’t have gym membership, I nearly always have the DDs with me when I’m not at work and only the hardy want to train outside in this weather. 

So I get up at 6am and jog around my kitchen table for an hour. No, really. I include boxing, weights and a bit of pilates, but generally the plan is to just keep moving. I'm not sure if the rear of my house is overlooked but I have my suspicions that any early risers get a thrice weekly vision of a wobbly brunette in bunches, stripey socks and Bon Jovi t-shirt (from the 'Bounce' tour... yes, thank you...)  like a hamster on a wheel, tripping over curious cats and sleepy kids slowly surfacing for breakfast.

It’s imperfect and a little nuts. But it’s doing the job. The trick I think is this: when the alarm goes off at 5.45 on my workout days, I don’t lie there and think “do I feel motivated to do this?” Because believe me the answer would always be a resounding “NO”! and I would burrow into my duvet. Without giving myself time to ask questions I just chuck on the first clothes I can lay my hands on and get jogging. The looks on the DDs faces the first time they encountered nocturnal mummy were delightful. They have been known to join in so we looked like a Benny Hill sketch, falling into each other as I shouted "TURN" - it's only a 6-seater so we have to alternate regularly to avoid motion sickness.  

Now I am looking at how I can apply this to the other areas of my life. Writing that book will be next. I have a plan and it starts now. Whether I feel like it or not. Because all this self help and motivational awareness can just be used as an excuse not to start anything. And the only thing that seems to get results is not positive thinking, but positive doing.


  1. I couldn't agree more! Keep up with the positive doing and just think how much you will have achieved by this time next year.

  2. I just can't believe it took me so long to work it out, Mum in the Middle. It's life altering stuff this!

  3. Its very true. The more time I spend thinking about exercise the less I seem to do. I need to adopt your approach.

  4. Go for it, Helen! You'll be amazed how easy it is with just a mental reframe. Good luck.

  5. I am also trying to get more active naturally - if I get up when my alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze I could do a 20 minute exercise stint...

  6. I love my snooze button too, Becky, but I get to hit that the other 4 days of the week. Why not set yourself a goal to just do it for a month? You might be pleasantly surprised.