Good Intentions

Many readers of this blog will know we moved house at the beginning of the summer. Twelve long weeks ago we packed up and relocated a whole three miles up the road. Three miles is not a long way. I can run three miles in under thirty minutes on a bad day. In the rain. On a clear day from the train station I can actually see our old neighbourhood. So hardly a massive move.

But you’d think we had relocated to another country when you look at the disruption its had on our day to day. We’ve sorted out the basics, but my schedule has taken a huge knock. The exercise routine is ad-hoc at best and I found myself eating cereal for dinner on more than one occasion, because I’ve not sorted out the groceries. Its not a good look. I am a fan of structure, and clearly don’t deal with change well. What started as a whirlwind love affair with NW2 and its beautifully well behaved neighbours has turned into a magnum eating, sofa loafing, social surfing lazyfest.

Willesden, we have a problem.

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Stella feeling the chilled out NW2 vibes

Back in W10 I was highly motivated to be out of the house as much as possible. take a small flat combine with despicably noisy neighbours, a hyper-active dog and being surrounded by a LOT of cafes and parks meant I was rarely home. I was out and about giving Stella her daily dose of Portobello love (she’s minor celebrity around those parts) and saving my ears from the almost constant deluge of noise from upstairs.

Here in NW2, we have our own sun trap of a patio garden, a living-room big enough to get a wii-fit game on the go (we haven’t) and neighbours so quiet I suspect they walk around in feather lite slippers all day and are perhaps mute. I can’t lie. Its freakin’ wonderful. So I am very happy to come straight home and then stay there as long as possible. Basking in the silence. On my sofa. Eating ice-cream.

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And THAT is the problem with living in the ‘just as soon as’ frame of mind. The Good Intentions Zone. You know it. It goes something like this. Just as soon as we move, Just as soon as we sort out the xyz. Just as soon as we finish abc…THEN we’ll get on top of everything. Good Intentions.

There were a number of things I was sure I would do ‘just as soon as we moved/ unpacked/ got settled’

Here are the Top Three

* Get Into Yoga

I have no flexibility. And I have all the kit so really feel like I should put it to good use. And everyone I know does Yoga so I am just succumbing to peer pressure really. If only so I can stop nodding and smiling when they talk about Pigeon Pose (I thought it was a East London Band for weeks)

* Figure out The Garden

So far I have managed to pull out weeds. Get stung. Water plants. Pull out weeds. Get Stung (by a bee this time). Get covered in mud and burrs. Plus the gardening malarkey works well with my Yoga plan. I’ll be all zen and into nature and have the core strength to really get to grips with those effing weeds.

* Learn to Cook Like a Grown Up

For god’s sake I am 33 years old and I can barely make an omelette. Its embarrassing and a little pathetic. Given how much I like to eat.  I have been relying on the gastronomical expertise of my wonderful hubby for far too long. And seeing as he’s going through a Brussel sprout phase (eww) I need my own repertoire up my sleeve.

 

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THIS

 

Any takers who’d like to join in my yoga practising, garden tending, cooking experiment? All welcome! I will try not to poison anyone. In fact maybe just join in on the yoga and gardening. I can’t guarantee your safety with my cooking. Yet

 

 

Fighting the Cookie Monster

This week, I have been lucky enough to have the week off work while my sister and her family are visiting from South Africa. While we have planned a pretty hefty itinerary, with 7 days to play with I was also hoping to catch up on my running, finish off a few blog pieces I had written and even scope out the yoga studio down the road that a friend recommended. Plenty of time too, I thought, to catch up with freelance friends and check out the summer sales.

Its already Thursday and I have done zero running, very little writing, no yoga and one whistle stop visit to Gap. And while I have spent some fantastic quality time with my family, playing tourists and eating cake, I have also slept in far too late, wasted hours and hours watching Law & Order Criminal Intent and re-arranged my entire social media profile. Queen of Time Wasting. Turns out, I regress to a surly teenager when I lack structure and I revert to hibernating, eating badly and zoning out by staring at a variety of screens. I avoid being productive and become self sabotaging.

It’s not new and its not clever, and I do it because it easy, instant gratification and I am lazy. Classic avoidance strategy. But in the long run it feeds into a much more insidious low level anxiety due to too much sugar and caffeine, general lethargy due to the few additional pounds acquired and a general apathy that is in no way A Good Thing.

 

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A  few things have changed in my thirties. Time isn’t something I am comfortable wasting any more. And not in the ‘go faster, do everything’ mentality that the city demands, but more about the quality of the activities I give my energies to. I am becoming more ruthless about how I spend my time and with who, acutely aware that Life Really Is Too Short. This requires a bit of discipline, planning and structure to make the most out of it.

But how to stay motivated and on course when you hit an unexpected ditch?

When I’m locked into a positive cycle of eating well, exercising and looking after myself its not hard to do. The benefits are obvious on both a mental and physical level and I feel energised and engaged. But what I have found is a small change to my schedule, a bump in the road or a left field challenge leaves me stranded back in duvet land eating magnums by the carton load.

And life is made up of bumps, changes, out of the blue emergencies. I need to be able to address these and not fall out of whack. I am finding this is coming up in the blog project. The quest for perfection for every piece means I am writing less and not more. In fact it gets to a point when I don’t write at all. Its too easy to just stop than trying to work through when it doesn’t come naturally.

This is a default setting for me. If its not perfect first time I tend to give up. When I was sixteen I tried to learn guitar and it was hard (obviously, its a musical instrument!) so I gave up after two lessons. I gave up martial arts as it required more training than twice a week classes and my flying kick was terrible, so clearly I just ‘wasn’t cut out for it’. I dropped kick boxing as I was too tired to train regularly, I’d take the whole week off as I had missed the Tuesday class, so I had somehow broken the schedule. I demand perfection of myself immediately. Its the all or nothing approach and and the moment I am opting for nothing.

So I am going against my default setting here and writing anyway, a spontaneous post that I know isn’t quite on point but is going up regardless. I am trying to practise being a bit more relaxed, flexible and open, so that when life happens and that curveball hits, I don’t let the whole plan fall to pieces. One cookie is enough. And a 5km run is not hard. In fact I could run and eat the cookie. AT THE SAME TIME.

Problem solved.