Google+ the digital iris
the digital iris the digital iris

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Power of Microresolutions

I've been reading a lot recently about habits. Not so much in the sense of bemoaning bad things that we do, but more in terms of how we can modify our routines & behaviours to bring about positive changes in our lives. Fascinating stuff I can tell you. And it's surprising how many things have popped up in my life on this subject since I've been thinking about it!

Probably the most interesting idea I've come across so far is the microresolution. At the start of every year many of us make commitments to ourselves to 'get fit', 'lose weight', 'be more organised' ~ you know the kind of thing. But by February our promises are inevitably long forgotten, victims of pressures of time, work, money and just about any other excuse you can think of. In short, they were over-ambitious and not specific enough.

The microresolution concept is as follows:

1. No more than 2 resolutions at a time
2. Easily achievable
3. Specific

4. Immediately measurable

If your resolutions meet the above marks, you stand an infinitely better chance of changing or introducing a new behaviour and embedding it into your personal 'autopilot' so that this becomes something you do or don't do without even having to think about it. And once you've got one or two small habits safely under your belt, you can add in a new one which moves you further towards your goal.

An example might be that you want to improve your fitness. Rather than go hell for leather at the gym 6 nights a week, you could make a microresolution to walk for an hour one lunchtime per week? You're not committing yourself to walking every lunchtime ~ you'll soon get tired and bored of it or resent not being able to spend that time doing other things ~ but on the other hand you're leaving the way open should you feel inclined to walk more often that than. This is what is meant by making the resolution 'easy'. It might not be physically easy for you to walk for an hour to start with, but it should be fairly easy for you to keep this small commitment to yourself. It's going to be pretty hard to come up with a reasonable excuse to yourself 7 times in a row about why you can't go for your walk!

You might be thinking you'll never get any fitter walking just one lunchtime, but over time it will make some difference and you might feel inspired to crank things up a notch. Plus what's the alternative? 2 weeks of fat-busting gym mania, followed up by absolutely nothing for the rest of the year? Think about it!

Another example could be that you want to get more sleep. How about a microresolution to be in bed by 11pm on 4 nights a week? Or to organise your clothes for the next day as soon as you get home from work so that you can have a bit of extra time in bed in the morning?

Also important when breaking or making habits is the 'cue' ~ something that makes you think about what you're going to do and thereby increases your chances of doing it. The cue for walking at lunchtime, for example, might be finishing eating your lunch. The cue for getting to bed by 11pm is the clock and for laying your clothes out when you get home it might be the first time you walk into your bedroom after arriving home. You need to drum these cues into your mind at first, but with constant repetition they'll become second nature.

Since learning about this technique I've successfully incorporated two microresolutions into my daily routine:

* to walk up the final escalator of any tube journey when travelling alone

* to finish my bottle of water before leaving the gym

As you can see, they are tiny details really, but one gives me an extra fitness boost at least twice a day during the week, and the other ensures I drink more water after exercise, which is something I've often been pretty bad at. Winning!

Microresolutions shouldn't be seen as an easy option. You still need willpower, perseverance and patience. But they do work well with the nature of the human psyche. By introducing new or different behaviours little by little and embedding them one by one into automatic routines, you can't help but feel that you can reach your goals and stay motivated to keep moving forward.

If you'd like to read more about microresolutions, I highly recommend the book Small Move, Big Change

Other interesting takes on habits:
Positively Positive


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Juicefest 2014

Last week I was invited to a bloggers' event in London hosted by Currys, to test out Philips' latest range of juicers.

I do love a good healthy juice, as you may know, and I've previously posted some of my favourite recipes here and here.

We've had a juicing machine at home for a few years now and when our first one gave up the ghost, we spent quite a lot of time researching online before choosing our next model, which just happens to be one of the type being tested last week.

I'm a really big fan of these Philips juicers for several reasons:
1. Super easy to clean ~ all parts go in the dishwasher & the filter just needs a wipe with a sponge
2. Good pulp capacity ~ you don't need to keep emptying it all the time
3. Compact upright shape ~ fits nicely on the kitchen worktop without taking up too much space

First up, Derry Temple from Urban Kings gym talked to us about the nutritional benefits of juicing. I was particularly interested in what he had to say about vegetable juices versus fruit juices, especially after my experience of giving up sugar, including fructose, during Lent this year. I really do believe that fructose is highly addictive and makes us crave more sugar or carbs. So the bottom line is that it's best to have a high veggie content in your juices.

After Derry we got to dive in and get our hands on the beautifully laid out fruit & veg, putting together whatever combos we fancied and smashing it down into a range of juices from jewel to sludge coloured (or was that just mine?!). 40-odd people in a room with 20-odd juicing machines? It was a true juice fest!

I'm not sure how enamoured I was with mine ~ it was kind of over-carroty ~ but it was fun to make and also see what others were up to.

Just to make sure we really got a healthy kick out of the evening, we finished off with a body conditioning session with Derry over at Urban Kings gym. Great competitive team fun, but boy, did we need our recovery juices after that!

Thanks to Currys for inviting me to this event, it was a lot of fun! I'd really recommend the Philips juicer range ~ and that's from having one myself, before I even came to this event ~ so if you're thinking about investing in a machine, these are serious contenders.

You can read the Currys blog post about the event here.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The August Break 2014

This year I'm taking part in Susannah Conway's August Break photo challenge. The 'break' part relates to taking time out from regular blogging, instead taking a photo a day and posting it.

Instagram: #augustbreak2014
Flickr group

I can't wait to get started. I've done similar challenges before and they're always fun ~ I especially like the sharing and interaction with others who are taking part.

If you'd like to join in too, here are the suggested daily prompts:

Hope you enjoy seeing what I come up with! I'll be back to regular blogging again in September

Friday, 25 July 2014

Weekend Picks

Summer, summer, summertime...!

// Live
Fellow country-citiers will enjoy these pictures of London in a different light

How to choose the safest plants to create a care-free cat garden

// Shoot
Some nice tips for shooting cityscapes

Fantastic beach photography

How to create bright & sharp iPhone photos

Another take on my favourite activity: photography as a tool for personal transformation

// Eat

Get the BBQ fired up and try out the 8 veggie burger recipes

Easy vegan pancakes ~ using only 6 ingredients, these can be whipped up in just 10 minutes!

// Health
I'm loving this beginner's guide to meditation

// Feel
How to stay sane when travelling and have a better commute

10 ways to make your mind calm & peaceful ~ oh yes!

// Make
Homemade terrariums ~ I so want to do this, and this step-by-step tutorial shows you how

Can't bring yourself to donate certain nostalgic things? Check out these ways to reuse your old clothes

Gotta try my hand at this no-sew kimono!

// Travel
Find your way around the capital with Google's new 3D map of London

Some pretty ideas for golden manicures

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Simple Pleasures of Summer

♥  Morning sunshine
♥  No socks
♥  Lavender
♥  Day trips out of London with a picnic
♥  Frozen yoghurt runs from the office at lunchtime
♥  Lazy Sunday afternoons in the hammock
♥  Weekend lunches in the garden
♥  Kitty sunbathing on the shed roof

♥  Relaxing in the kitchen with the back door open
♥  Getting the week's laundry washed, dried & put away the same day
♥  Saturday evening BBQs
♥  Quieter journeys into work

What are your simple summer pleasures?

You might also like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...