Going to the gym.. no I really am going.. honest.

I’m trying to get fit at the moment. I don’t just mean fitter, because that implies some basic level of ‘fit’ to improve on. I’d even settle for fit-ish to be honest.

I have been to the gym this morning. I’m supposed to go three times a week, however last week I went once, and the week before I’m not sure I managed it at all. But here’s the thing – whenever I do make it to the gym, I do quite enjoy it. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that thinking about going to the gym is far worse than actually doing it.

I could spend the rest of this blog post speculating about why that is, but I don’t think that’s a particularly helpful question at this stage, so here’s the one I’m going with:

How can I get myself down the gym even when I don’t want to go?

Seeing as I’m going to attempt two more trips this week, I thought I’d better try to answer this question, so I can refer back to it later if necessary. Here’s what I have come up with so far:

– Don’t think about it (this was my tactic this morning). Decide that you are going (preferably the night before when it’s a safe distance away), and then refuse to think about it again.

– Arrange everything beforehand so that it’s easy for you to do it. This morning I put everything in my car that I would need before I did the school run, then when I got back I didn’t need to go in the house for anything, and didn’t risk a sneaky sit down turning in to a two-hour email marathon.

– Tie it to another activity, so that in your head both are linked – this morning for me this was the school run and going straight to the gym afterwards.

– Arrange a reward for afterwards (no, not cake). My gym has a jacuzzi so sometimes I bribe myself with a relax in the bubbles afterwards.

– Realise that, no matter how important it seems to reply to this email RIGHT NOW (or finish that game of Candy Crush), actually the world is not going to end if you take an hour out for yourself.  I have started to see the gym as some me-time, and as something that I am doing for myself, to improve my health and fitness, and general quality of life. It’s very easy to lose yourself in the demands of other people, and it’s a really important and special thing to be able to set aside some time that is just for you.

If you’ve got any more tips about getting yourself to the gym, please comment below – I may need some backup on the days when even my top five aren’t cutting it!

Now, I just need to see if I can apply these principles to doing my tax return…. 😉

Cat x

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How to Make Stuff Happen

Well, the pressure’s on now! Having decided to write an inspirational blog to show that ordinary people can be awesome, I now have to work out what to write…!

A couple of years ago I was working through an exercise which asked you to look at a situation where you had achieved something, and pick apart what it was that you did in order to do that thing. No matter how much you might think that things ‘just happen’, there are always steps that we go through (consciously or unconsciously) in order to get to that place. If you can pinpoint what it is that you do when you are at your most successful, then you can use this formula and apply it to other situations which may seem challenging.

The example I picked was when I first started running a festival, which had been a dream of mine since university. My formula for success turned out something like this:

– First I gathered a team of people round me who also wanted to make it happen, and were committed to helping me to do it.

– I had good reasons why I HAD to make it work. It was something I desperately wanted to do, and in addition to that, it was something that I felt was important for my local community and something that ought to be happening – if I could do it, then I should do it. Those are good enough reasons to try, but I realised I also had something else – something worth losing if it didn’t work out. The three key things for me were my reputation, my pride, and the money I faced losing – failure was simply not an option. It wasn’t a case of trying and seeing whether it worked, I was going to MAKE it work whether it wanted to or not.

– I committed to it emotionally. It was a big risk, and I had to accept that and the fear associated with that as part of the committment. It’s not that I wasn’t afraid, or that I didn’t worry – but that I accepted that fear as part of the process and didn’t let it stop me doing what I wanted to do.

– On the practical side of things, I worked out a broad timescale of what needed doing and when. Which were the big important milestones? When did I need to have these decisions made by? I focused on the big stuff, and left the little bits to sort themselves out along the way.

– I did the bulk of the work in a few large chunks; put in the time, got stuff done, and then it needed a relatively small input on a regular basis to keep it ticking over.

– I shouted about it A LOT. I got in everyone’s face, whenever possible; I never left the house without a leaflet or business card that I could press on to an unsuspecting potential punter, I took posters and programmes to meetings and handed them out to people who thought they were attending to talk about something else entirely, and I actively searched out any opportunity to put myself in front of people where there was a vague chance they might be interested.

– It was on my mind all the time. Everywhere I went, everything I did, I would be thinking about potential for the festival. Four years later I am still doing the same thing – every time I walk in to a building I find myself running a quick mental check of how it could work as a venue!

– And finally, always have an end in mind. I’m not necessarily talking about having a detailed plan of everything that’s going to happen; I often have no idea what my project is going to look like at the end, but I always have some sort of concept or goal in mind. For me personally, this often relates to how something is going to feel when it’s working out right, or the way in which people are going to react to it. For you it might be a picture, or a mental image, or perhaps you’re that person who details out every step of the way! For the festival, I had a firm, unshakeable belief from the start that I wanted to run an event that the local community would feel a part of, and feel ownership of. That intention influenced every decision I made, and was the thing that helped to mould the concept of the festival as it grew in my head. Having an intention or goal simplifies things, because every decision can be boiled down to whether it takes you further away from your goal or moves you towards it.

So that’s a rough guide to how I get stuff done – but your way may be completely different! I would really encourage you to take some time to think about a time when you did something successfully, and analyse the steps you took in that process. What are the values that stand out for you? What were the beliefs underpinning your actions?

I’d be really interested to hear how you get on – drop me a line in the comments below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter!

Cat x