Episode 51: It's not what you do, It's how you do it.
In this weeks episode I want to think about our routines, the things that we do on a daily basis.
I had a lightbulb moment recently.
I was listening to Dr Chatterjees podcast episode with Helen Hall, a running coach, titled 'The Secret To Pain-Free Running (and Walking!).' I’m not particularly into running, but I loved her approach to movement. She was discussing that sometimes it’s not what you do - it’s how you do it.
She went on to discuss that if you improve how you do something, such a running, it can become more pleasant and enjoyable.
This got me thinking about aspects of my own life and small tweaks that I could make.
In today's conversation, I'd like to share with you some personal examples of what initially appear to be quite mundane things, that have now become more nourishing and enjoyable…Because life is too short to spend it not enjoying it as much as possible!
I will also conclude this episode with my 5 tips on how to change how you do things, so you can begin to make some changes and live your life with more joy and ease. I think it’s important to remember that the choices and actions we make currently, have an impact on our life and health further down the line. You can listen to the full podcast episode here, or keep reading for more.
Sometimes things in life just feel so much like a bit of a chore or a struggle.
Take walking the dog as an example….
I love my dog Tilly, she’s a real character! She has a glossy black coat with a white chest, sandy paws and a tail that looks like a feather duster.
But if we rewind to two months ago, I was feeling pretty bored of walking her, my left knee would niggle and taking steps would often feel hard work in my wellies that I had returned to wearing since the weather has been colder and the ground muddier, my comfortable sketchers trainers really weren’t going to cut it.
I’ve spoken before about how I changed my footwear to something more comfortable and lighter and how it really had a positive influence on my experience of walking. So, I knew if I could get some suitable winter footwear that would have a similar effect. I eventually decided to invest in a pair of vevobarefoot walking boots, they give plenty of room for the toes as they are feet shaped rather than shoe shaped and help me navigate different terrains with more confidence whilst being more grounding.
Since the first day of wearing the boots, I have had no knee niggles and my feet have felt much more open! I quickly became hooked and wore them constantly, however - 3 weeks down the line I am still wearing in the heels, so I’ve opted for wellies these past three days and already my feet feel tight and the arthritis in my toes is causing some discomfort.
So how I am walking has improved thanks to my new boots.. This reminds me that it’s important to have the right tools for the job!
Now lets talk about the boredom of my dog walking...
What I am doing is still the same - walking the dog.
But how I am doing it has changed.
I’ve realised that Tilly has changed too, she doesn’t need a long time off the lead in the morning to be manageable for the rest of the day, so we can go for a lead walk in nature and I can let her off briefly for a run around.
I feel I can choose what suits me and my energy levels in the morning rather than focusing on what suits her, I enjoy the new sense of freedom this gives me!
On the whole I am really enjoying our walks. I still take Tilly out each day in the mornings and at lunchtimes, the 'what' hasn’t changed, but the 'how I go about it' has changed and that makes the experience so much more nourishing and enjoyable!
Is there something you do regularly that you’re feeling a bit bored of - how could you make the experience more enjoyable?
Let's think about another example...
I am learning about the properties and uses of different herbs as part of my Ayurvedic health coaching course. I wanted to try Aloe vera to see if it would help with some inflammation I've been experiencing in my body, showing up as acid reflux and red marks on my face.
I got off to a good start, I ordered the aloe vera juice, I tried it and to be honest I really wasn’t keen on the taste. I told myself to think of it as medicine and to stick with it. However, I found it hard to get into the habit of taking it before meals. It also needed to be stored in the fridge and I was conscious that I prefer drinking warm drinks, especially near meal times, to support my digestion.
This niggled in the back of my mind - another reason not to take it, along with the unpleasant taste!
After attempting to consistently drink it 3 times per days, I noticed over a 2 week period that I found myself having it less and less to the point that I had stopped completely.
I decided I needed some support.
I made a deal with a friend that we would each keep one another accountable for a new habit we wanted to incorporate into our day. For my friend it was a daily morning yoga practice and for me, the aloe juice before meals. I planned to message my friend after every meal to say I had taken it.
The support and accountability massively helped and I think without it I may have given up completely.
I still wasn’t enjoying the chilled juice or the taste, my friend suggested leaving the juice out by the cutlery so I would see it at meal times to prompt me to take it. Whilst I didn’t want to leave it out of the fridge, I decided to pour some out into a glass and leave that by the cutlery draw.
All of a sudden I was enjoying the juice a lot more, it was warmer, it tasted better and the nice glass was also more appealing.
Amazingly I now no longer dread having the aloe vera and, I am even beginning to enjoy it.
I think the key here has been to make it attractive and convenient, it’s even beginning to feel like a normal part of my day!
My acid reflux and my skin are actually improving too, so after deciding only a few days ago that I was going to continue with the aloe vera I have just ordered my second bottle without dreading it. And as the days go on I am remembering to drink it more frequently - the habit is becoming stronger!
Simple and small changes to how I was taking the juice has made what I’m doing so much more enjoyable!
Is there something you would like to make part of your day that you dread, but know would be good for you? How can you make it more attractive, convenient and eventually feel normal?
This leads me on to my 5 top tips:
1. Ensure you have the right tools for the job. Like having the right footwear for walking or even the right knife for chopping food, let’s make how you do the job easier!
2. Mix things up and try new things, such as new walking routes or re-vamp your morning routine so it’s more appealing and uplifting!
3. Don't be afraid to ask for support and accountability to help you make changes to the way you do things and embed heathy habits.
4. Do experiment and try things out and be honest when you don't meet your intentions, like me with the aloe initially, learn and ask yourself, how can you change what you’re doing to make it more convenient? I suggest starting with something small that you do regularly, as one change will then be repeated many times for maximum benefit!
5. Remind yourself why you are doing something (and check it’s still relevant - because things change like Tilly needed a big run in the morning), and ask yourself what would make this more enjoyable?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this conversation, could you relate to any of my examples?
If you would like to listen to the full episode, click here.
Let me know your key takeaways from this episode and I invite you to share with me, or someone you know a change you would like to make to how you will go about doing something,
and no change is to small!