The Power of Habits

We have all made that "New Year's Resolution" to start the Gym, eat healthy, start the diet, quit smoking, dry out or some other activity that conflicts with our desired state of personal well being.  Other resolutions maybe to get ahead with financial matters, work life balance issues, changes in fortune or prosperity or to deal with several minor health issues.  You may decide to "bury the hatchet" with a Family member but not know how to start or look for a new job, but procrastinate and decide to stay as you are in the safety of routine!  Sometimes we can set ourselves up to fail by setting goals that are perceived to be out of reach or contradict our natural desire.  I mean, we have often failed in our new endeavour before the end of January, right? 

The key to changing areas of our life for the better is not necessarily about setting huge goals or having radical initiatives that are not sustainable.  The key to permanently changing our life's for the better rests with developing better habits.  It is our attitude to life that is the catalyst to a more suitable habit.  So, what do we mean by attitude?  This can be defined in the dictionary as an "habitual way of thinking and feeling."  If we support a positive attitude, then we think positively and feel positive about ourselves and our environment and general outlook.  Conversely, if we opt for the negative attitude, then we think and feel bad about ourselves and our environment.  The circumstances still prevail regardless of which way we choose.  However, the positive attitude will promote possibilities, ideas, opportunities and motivation for personal change.  It will enable the mind to be resourceful and the subconscious mind to work on our behalf why we are resting.

The starting point for re-forming your habits really depends on two things:  You have to be able to answer these two questions with honesty in order to start to form more "life aligning" attributes and habits. 

1. What do you want your life to look and feel like?  How must it change?

2. What are you prepared to sacrifice in order to get what you want?

I mean, think about it.  If you want to progress with your career, you may have to enrol at night school to obtain the additional skills you need to make the application.  But if you are not prepared to sacrifice the evening and put more work in as well, then it doesn't work.  I remember working in a job that I really disliked (understatement).  I desperately wanted an opportunity to do something better and waited for something to come along.  I waited for someone to help me!  I waited for an opportunity to present itself!  Although I'm agnostic, I preyed to the good Lord above to intervene and change my circumstances; but no one came.  You have to take the first step and identify what is acceptable to sacrifice in order to move forwards.

We all form habits throughout our life.  Some are aligned to supporting positive well being and some are not.  Sometimes we give in to temptation that we know will go against our desired well being.  An example may be to decide not to exercise for several weeks or maybe to binge on chocolate and cake etc. instead of sticking to our enlightened plan of exercise fruit and veg.  Habits are the key to personal well being and are best developed over time by taking small steps constantly and consistently.  This prevents the "all and then nothing " approach of a New Years Resolution!  So, just to summarise, if you want to make that all important change for your personal well being, first observe your attitude towards yourself and the environment.  Make it positive, to make it negative makes no sense!  Secondly, observe your habits.  What can you change that would start to transform your life into the one that is worth pursuing?  Remember, sustainable continuous development is built on small tiny steps that helps to form a positive habit.  Be patient, things won't change overnight, but you will see the development.  If you have a set back, i.e. you don't make the gym one night or one week, then do not be too hard on yourself, you are allowed some flexibility.  Just try it, what do you have to lose?

Believe in Better.

Obviously I stole the title from Sky TV's strap line, but this is in a different context.  I'm a big fan of the NHS but maybe they can learn from some of the commentators on alternative treatments and diagnosis.  I was lucky enough to have the NHS to fall back on for a Hernia operation back in November 2012.  I always said this is "routine operation"  unless, of course, its you!  By January 2nd I was taking small steps back in the Gym.  It wasn't until about April that I was back to fitness and running for 4 or 5 miles.  This was when the pain and aggravation started with the hips and pelvis area.  I remember playing a round of golf and literally crawling to the 19th hole.  By July 2013 I went to the Doctors who advised me to "rest up" for a while.  I went on Holiday and then came back and proceeded to rest for a few weeks due to the fact I was busy with an extension we were having at the time.  Trying to run again led to the pain and discomfort which led to another Doctors visit in November 2013.  The Doctor decided to send me for an X-ray which later revealed I had arthritis.  I was told to take "pain killers" if I wanted to run and was referred to a physio.  I asked why I had pain in the pelvis and back area, but was told these areas are not connected.  The physio asked questions but could only offer anything other than giving me an A4 sheet with some basic exercises on it.  She did say, "you could probably Google better exercises".  I did these exercises everyday for 8 months and then started to cycle regularly.  During this time I would lecture at work on some days for 8 hours.  Lecturing only consists of standing and walking a little, and of course talking, but I would be in pain for seven out of the eight hours.  I had to sit down when possible!  I just accepted that this was the way it would be and I had to take my own medicine and "be positive".  I wasn't happy, but what could I do, other than "appreciate what I have", more of my own medicine.  In September I was walking around Alfreton Park show (in pain) and came across a lady exhibiting KORE therapy for a variety of conditions, including arthritis.  I very sceptically gave it a go, what could I possibly lose?  I then arranged a follow up session at the clinic for the cost of £40.00.  When I arrived there was a consultation, (very professional) followed by a series of treatments I had never experienced before, acupuncture, cupping and pelvic balance.  Apparently I had a twisted pelvis with one leg slightly longer than the other which was causing the pain!  This treatment would rectify this problem according to Mara.  As always, I was sceptical but booked a follow up session for £40.00.  The second session was much the same with a few added twists and manoeuvres.  When this was completed, Mara said I would be surprised by the improvement.  I walked back to the car, and to be honest, could not detect any difference.  I had planned one more session for two weeks later, but to my amazement things had started to improve.  I did go for the last session, but felt that this was probably not necessary.  I have recently been Lecturing for up to 10 hours on one day of the week and generally pain free.  Up to 95% of the pain has gone and I can stand for hours without the pain.  It is only now that I realise how intense the pain was and how much it was present in general day to day activities.  So, should we believe in better?  Mara offers a range of treatments for any number of conditions.  I'm not saying it will work for you, but it did work for me despite my initial scepticism.  I'm not sure how acupuncture works, but my research suggests that many western specialists accept that there is evidence to suggest it gives some benefits, albeit, they cannot agree on how.  The eastern practitioners talk about Chi flowing through meridians and this flow of Chi helps the body to function better.  Personally, I don't care either way if it gets the result you want.  Good Luck!