In my last post I wrote about how I got into an unhealthy vicious circle in regards to physical exercise. And I mentioned that in the next post I would delve into what triggers that vicious circle into spinning action. So here I am. Come delve with me.

My vicious circle

Vicious circle picture - Blog post 31-Jul-2014

My vicious circle is work hard, play later (relaxation and exercise is play), work very hard, do not get to play, gain weight because I do not move as much, do not sleep well because of weight gain, am tired more often, so move less, and do not feel as well about myself.

Who made the choice to work first and play later? Me.

Who made the choice to work VERY hard? Me.

Who made the choice only to work and not play? Me.

It was down to me. All. Of. It.

The awareness that came from realising and acknowledging how we self-sabotage ourselves gives us more choices on what we can do next.

The trigger’s source

Trigger picture - Blog post 31-Jul-2014

Realising that I held a belief of ‘work first, play later’ and placed a high value on work, which triggered the vicious circle into spinning action, allowed me to look at this in more depth to get to the trigger’s source. Asking the following questions helped me to devise new actions to take: How does this belief and value serve me now and what I want for the future? What are the good things about this belief and value that I want to keep? What are the unhealthy bits I can leave behind? Is there scope for giving those unhealthy bits a new and more healthy role?

I learned that working hard enables me to get a lot done and achieve, which can be a good thing.

But working very hard at the expense of doing things that are truly good for me, like exercise and relaxing, is not. However, I could take the energy behind working hard and apply it to exercise. I could have a go at flipping around the ‘work first, play later’ to ‘play first, work later’. Like go for a walk in the morning and doing that just a few days a week at the start as that felt achievable. And if that did not feel achievable one day, I could do some work first, go for a walk in the early afternoon, then do some more work after.

Paying attention to how the trigger felt in my body, getting to really know that feeling, then giving it words, illuminated the underlying driver in my choices and actions. When I was triggered to work hard and say no to play, i.e. exercise and relaxation, I stopped myself mid-action and noticed where I felt the feeling in my body. I physically felt something pulling me to my computer to sit down to work. I noticed the pull’s voice changed based on the activity I felt pulled to do. Some activities had a curious, excited, ‘I can’t wait to get started’ pull. Other activities had a worrying, demanding ‘I have to do this, need to, should, because they want’ or will get upset’ pull. I reached the trigger’s source.

This new awareness helped me determine which activities deserve more of my time, attention and devotion.

I know that if I start my day focusing on the activities where I feel that worrying, demanding pull, I tend to work on them all day and not get to the activities that have that curious and excited pull. So I chose to do the worrying/demanding pull-like activities at the end of the day, thereby fixing the amount of time I focused on them. Focusing first on the curious/excited pull-like activities conversely gave me a new kind of energy to give to the worrying/demanding pull-like activities.

This kind of change is at a deeper level. It can take some work. It can take time. You know it will be so beneficial in the end. And it’s more sustainable over the longer term. Yet sometimes you just do not want to do it. And at those times, I just have to be super stern with myself and tell myself no, this is what I am going to do. And really notice what doing something different feels like.

But what about my bottom and my desk chair’s relationship?

If you were wondering about my bottom’s intimate relationship with the desk chair, which kicked all this off, here’s an update. That relationship is moving on to something different, more of a ‘the desk chair is here to serve a limited purpose’ which is to provide a comfy seat while I do some inspirational work, and that is all. Said bottom has moved on to kayaks. So now I am a happy potato who loves kayaking.

Happy Potato - Blog post 2-Jul-2014Kayak picture - Blog post 31-Jul-2014

If I could combine these pictures so the happy potato is in the kayak, I would.

Getting out of the vicious circle bit by bit

So in the meantime, I have been chipping away at the triggers to my vicious circle in an effort to uncover a virtuous circle. The day I wrote my last post, 2nd July, I visited a local sailing club that also has a kayak group. The following Sunday, I went kayaking with them. I have since joined the local sailing club and have been kayaking once a week. On top of that, I have been making the effort to take advantage of the fine weather we have been having here in the UK and go for walks several times a week.

Physical exercise is getting more focus and devotion. I think I’m going to need a smaller desk chair.

Over to you

What vicious circles do you get yourself into? How do you know you’re in one? What action are you taking or have taken to create a virtuous circle? Feel free to share and leave a comment.


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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2014

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