Man Flu and Motivation

Long time…no write! I’m afraid I’ve been a bit poorly over the last couple of weeks. When I get home from work, but the time the children go to bed, all I felt like doing was sleeping. Had the shivers, achy body, cough, spluttering cold (feeling sorry for me yet?)


What it has meant is that I certainly didn’t keep updated with my blog. Nor, I’m afraid to say, did I keep up with my 100 day challenge.


What this has taught me is that when I’m feeling unwell, I have found it really difficult to maintain motivation for anything. I certainly didn’t feel like exercising, doing the chores, reading stuff I should be reading, in fact I think it’s fair to motivation was zero! That was for everything except for a staff meeting which I was facilitating around altering a culture within the team about how we work. I haven’t yet been able to put my finger on why this kept my motivation when other aspects should have done, but didn’t.  I can only assume it was because the additional goals were what I considered to be over and above my routine, hence required additional effort.


Anyway, I feel as though I have been cheated in my 100 day challenge by not being able to do as I would have liked for the last 10 days or so. Because I can…I have decided to restart my challenge. Had I been on day 50 I wouldn’t have done so, but being so new into it, I feel justified in myself that restarting is appropriate. So, day 1 was actually yesterday (yes I feel much better thank you), but a work commitment prevented the blog. So, day 1 is the 27th March, day 100 being July 4th. Always nice to work towards a target date. It will be my Independence Day (not involving Aliens…but Mrs Preston would be very happy to see Will Smith turn up!)


The goals haven’t changed, all remain the same at this time. I want to maximise this challenge I’ve set myself, losing 10 days so early on is something I could have done without!


Anyway…next blog probably after Easter now, too many family commitments, as well as being on call, I have to manage my time to fit in what I need to, so blogging can wait a few days


Have a good Easter


Day 8…a demanding long term goal

Day 8, ran for 1.5 miles today without needing to stop, and although for most of you reading this, 1.5 miles is probably easy, it’s an achievement for me having just started running again…so i’m happy!

Now today’s goal. I have been thinking over recent months that I retire in August 2019, aged 49, plenty of time for another career after the police. I could just see what comes along, but I prefer to have something to aim at. After a great deal of thought, I’ve decided hat I would like to become a teacher…of history…of secondary school aged kids. 
The problem is that to do this, I need a degree. No surprises then that is is my next goal. No not to do the entire programme within 100 days, but to see if this  is feasible to start in September with the Open University. So my goal is for the month of April, see if I can trial run with fitting the suggested 16 hours per week into my life.
So, adding up hours spent at work, keeping fit (now), family time, house chores, all those little “just jobs” that inevitably take longer, with Mrs P who works 4 days per week, and four children (two grown up, the younger are 4 and 1) , a dog and two cats, fitting his in will be easy!
The object of he trial as I said, is to see if this is feasible. It will need creative time management (I think I waste a fair amount of time at the moment), a different way of doing things, and an awful lot of support and understanding from those around me. Two things it cannot interfere with however is my commitments to my family and some quality time with them, nor can it interfere with my day job.
I will discuss in later blogs a bit about time management, where I succeed or fail during my trial run, and what goals I may need to rethink. 
If any of you have either studied history, or indeed a degree as a mature student, please get in touch, as advice and tips would be very welcome indeed!

Day 5 and my first work related goal explained

Day 5, and i have my first significant concern. Im intending on going for a run in a little while, the concern is that i’m actually looking forward to it. What’s happening to me. I’m also looking forward to going to circuit training next week…

The fifth goal I will touch on, only to say that it’s not technically my goal, but belongs to Mrs P! It’s not mine to tell, so all I will say is that helping her to achieve this ambition is my goal…hope that makes sense!
So I’ll go to my next goal, and that relates to work. I will discuss this more in future blogs, but I have a particular role that I would like to achieve before I retire in August 2019. It does mean promotion to Supt., although I have had a couple of set backs in the last couple of years. You can only take the positives out of any situation, even if at first it doesn’t appear to be anything but negative.
It has taught me a great deal about me, my resilience and response to set backs. It has also made me more determined to succeed, and importantly why I want to succeed. I read once that you should list out all of the reasons why you want that goal. It doesn’t work. If you look at it logically, sure promotions mean  some good things – if they are important to you. But it can be outweighed by the negatives. In that list, if there is just one reason that really matters, then it doesn’t matter what is in the opposing list. This is what I would call the Head v Heart dilemma. All the logical reasons say don’t (or do), your heart tells you the opposite.
So for this goal, the easier option for me is to now to concentrate on things other than my police career, at least in terms of promotion. I can’t do that. This is where my heart kicks in, and if the heart is involved in goal setting, then you work just that bit harder to succeed.
I will talk in a later blog about what I am now doing in terms of breaking a substantial goal down, but the reason for this blog is to say look why you want something. Getting the head involved is fine, but I truly believe that if you intend to seriously achieve something, then best get your heart involved too!!!

Day 4 of the 100 day challenge

7 cigarettes today, still much better than the 25 to 30 I normally have. Didn’t go for a run last night…so tonight is compulsory…if little man goes to sleep in time! 6.10 this morning I was trying to remember more random numbers in the Dominic method, a little everyday!

So what’s the fourth goal. Well it’s probably best entitled “House Proud.” We probably all hate doing the chores around the house, whether it be the day to day stuff in particular, or the stuff you do every no and again, such as clearing the loft.
In setting my goals, it would be very easy to try and manage my time, and forget about the time needed just for chores, let alone the decorating that needs doing. Add in the fact that I really not like doing it, and it’s really easy to put off.
So instead, I thought about turning these type of tasks into something positive. How could I get more of a sense of achievement. Decorating is easy, you see a finished product, but seeing a finished product as being a pile of ironed clothes doesn’t fill you with the same sense of pride (well not for most of us anyway).
I could turn this into something positive by making it a goal. I’ve got m own little schedule (that was of course subject to approval and amendment by the house manager!). I’ve diarised the time, for everything I can think of the needs doing, from he daily to the occasional, and so far I’m pretty much sticking to it.
It’s really sad, but when I’m ironing, it makes me feel as though I’m actually working on a goal. Whether it be to finish the pile, or do an hour due to time constraints, it doesn’t matter. At he end of it, I get to tick off the task as complete. Now for me, seeing that “completed” list grow does give me a sense of achievement. It does mean that I have become more focused on the task at hand, even if I don’t enjoy actually doing it. Do you know the bizarre thing is that I actually do the task quicker by focusing, rather than letting my mind drift off.
Some lessons here in terms of time management, but that’s for another blog on another day. For now, I hope your getting a picture of my evenings…doing he ironing in my gym kit ready to go for a run, if I remember…all the time wishing I had a cigarette in my hand.
Oh the life of a domesticated DCI!

100 day challenge – day 3

This is a much later blog tonight, thats what happens when the little man in the house refuses to go to sleep!

anyhow, with Mrs P not getting back until late, a late dinner because of the kids, it doesn’t look like i’m going for a run until 11ish tonight.
Today was apparently national “No Smoking Day.” Well I wish I could tell you that I didn’t smoke today, but I did. However, it was only 6 today, considerably better than I do normally. I’m getting there, and rather than beating myself up for smoking, i’m congratulating myself for only smoking 6. Less again tomorrow.
I mentioned yesterday that I have a goal around memory. Although this is a bit of fun, it has a serious side. Later on I will explain in another blog why I want to get back into studying, but for now, suffice to say that this will help me later this year.
When reading a bit on how to study (given its a long time since I have studied seriously), there was a chapter on memory. I read  bit further, and ended up picking up a book by Dominic O’Brien, 8 times World Memory Champion. Really fascinating stuff, about how the mind works, and how you need to use both sids of your mind in order to memorise. I started playing around with some of the techniques he suggests. 
One way for example (and I wont pretend to do his book justice in this explanation), is to think of a journey you know well, and at various points imagine the thing you have to remember. He likens it to golfers who seem to remember every shot around a golf course. I started by doing this with just five items. The technique he suggests works really well for me, I can now read a list of 35 random items for a couple of minutes, and still remember it a week later. Im certainly not the most gifted of people, so if I can achieve this early on, really looking forward to seeing how far I can take this now.
He also suggests something called the “Dominic method.” This is a way of recalling numbers. I wont even try and explain it, you will need to read his book or Google  it I guess, but I have adjusted it slightly to suit me, particularly to help me remember dates. 
So my objective, by the end of 100 days, is to see if I can remember 100 random things. By the end of 30 days I want to hit 50 item,  and 75 after 60 days. 
The second objective to see if I can remember 50 dates, again broken down to 10 in 30 days (because theres a way of learning these before I start properly), and 30 dates in 60 days time. 
Like I say, a bit of fun, but will hopefully help me now and in the future. I would strongly recommend the book, see how far you can get, makes you realise your memory is far better than you probably give it credit for.
Anyway, I would tell you what tomorrows objective is….but I cant remember!

Day 2 and fitness goal explained

Day 2 of my 100 day challenge. Mixed on my smoking challenge, still smoked, but only half the amount I normally do. Pleased on one hand, disappointed in my efforts to go cold turkey though! My belief is still there that I will fully stop within the week. Only time will tel whether this is the right way to do it, but being able to stop is intrinsically linked to many of my other goals.
My second goal is fitness. There are three aspects to this at the moment.
The first is to take more care of my diabetes. Whilst I’m not too bad, I could be much better. It’s really difficult when we have chocolate in the house for the children, sometimes it’s easy not to have any, other times all I feel like is chocolate, biscuits or anything else that I shouldn’t be eating. I guess all diabetics feel like that though. I’m also fairly poor at taking my tablets.
Combined with this is to lose weight. I dropped from over 15 stone in 2009 to just over 10 stone when I had pancreatitis, went back up to 13 stone, but have settled somewhere between 12 and 12.5 for the last year (but still, I’m glad to say…in a 32 waist!)
My aim is to get down to 11.5 stone by the end of the 100 days, that’s roughly 1lb per week. This will make me not only feel better, feel fitter, but will also help my diabetes (long term goal is to reduce, if not completely get off, the medication, but that’s a good year or so away).
For the 100 days, this is going to be around cardiovascular work. I’m looking to be able to run 5 miles by the end, breaking this down to 2 miles in 30 days time, and then 3 miles in 60 days time. Goals should stretch you, but by the same time be realistic. I wish I could say I was naturally fit etc, but I’m not, these targets should stretch, but they are realistic. I will be combining some gym work to help, but the measure will be running distance.
Of course smoking wont assist, so is very much tied into this goal. Longer term benefits are obvious, but by the end of 100 days, smoking is a habit I will have got rid of, and doing the exercise will be a new habit I’ve created.
My targets then for this are
1. Take the tablets!
2. Lose 14lb weight
3. Run five miles
When setting goals, the main reason people don’t achieve is within ourselvesI will look at his in more depth in a later blog, but for now, just know that finding the time is a challenge in itself for me.
Tomorrow I will explain the memory goal. This is a bit of fun, but can certainly help with another couple of goals. Might be something you’d like to try.

My 100 day challenge

Well starting tomorrow, I will be undertaking my own 100 day challenge. I will be trying to focus on these goals, and by sharing it in this way, I hope it helps me to provide the focus and discipline I will need. I wouldn’t mind your support along the way, it won’t all be easy.

Over the next 10 days, I’ll introduce each of the goals, some I’ll be really open with you about, some will need to retain a bit of confidentiality. 
Conventional wisdom suggests that to form habits, you need to concentrate on one thing at once. Well lets do away with that wisdom and try something different. 10 goals in 100 days! The goals reflect all parts of my life, at home, work and play. The broad headings are
Mrs P
And last but the most important….happiness
I’ve downloaded a couple of apps to help which I will share along the way (share…not advertise). 
Any top tips would welcome. Any support would be welcome.