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Why it’s so hard to restart

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

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If you’ve ever procrastinated or struggled to start something despite having every intention to, you’ve undoubtedly felt this huge force: friction.

One definition of friction is ‘the force that opposes the motion of an object’. And while that works, another definition, one far more relevant to the context of today's topic, is a ‘conflict of a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions’.

And when we look at friction as it pertains to motivation or habit change, that’s exactly what it is: a clash between who you are right now (Present You) and who you want to be in the future (Future You).

“Future You” is the mature, rational part of you that wants to do all the things it knows it should be doing like eating better, going to the gym, getting enough sleep, etc.

“Present You” is the childish part of you that wants to keep doing what it’s always been doing. It doesn’t want to change because change is hard and scary and it means taking responsibility.

For example, Future Me wants to write this article while Present Me wants to go on Instagram and mindlessly scroll for hours because it's easier than writing.

These two conflicting goals create an insurmountable amount of friction, so, instead of doing either, I end up sitting here watching the cursor mockingly blink at me as time passes by.

Then, before I know it, it’s lunchtime and I have dozens of other things to do and writing this article gets relegated to the imaginary place that is tomorrow where the entire process repeats itself.

Of course, you’re reading this article which means I overcame Present Me, finished it, and sent it for publishing.

How to beat Present You

1) Set small, achievable goals

Set small, realistic goals you’re confident you can achieve.

If your goal is to lose 30kg, for example, break it down into 2kg chunks.

2) Focus on the actions that will move you towards the goal

Now that you have a goal in mind, focus on the things you need to do every day that will move you towards your goal. You can do the same thing with nutrition.

3) Get a quick win

One of the reasons Present You is so reluctant to do the things you want to do is because it doesn’t believe you can do it, so you need to prove you can by getting a quick win as soon as possible on starting your goal.

4) Give yourself a deadline

If you don’t have a deadline, it’s very easy to become complacent and lose urgency. Having a deadline keeps you focused and stops you messing around.

What should your deadline look like? It depends, but I'd suggest setting a goal of losing 0.5-1% of your total body weight per week, and then use that as a rough guideline to work out how long it will take you.

5) Reward yourself

Nobody wants to work hard on a goal and not see progress. The rewards solve for that.

Each time you achieve your small goal, you receive a small reward that tells you you're doing a great job and you're on your way to your bigger goal.

It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit demotivated as you restart on your goals. Use the tips in this article to help you restart.

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Jobs to keep gardeners busy

The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy! Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, […]

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The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy!

Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, Phormiums and topiary plants such as Buxus and Bay laurels. Heathers give colour all winter, as do ornamental cabbages. Winter pansies, violas and Batchelor’s buttons are all in stock now, and will provide colour for months, Cyclamen are beautiful – but beware! They do not like getting too wet, so ideally use them in pots and window boxes which do not get too much rain.

Bulbs provide a welcome splash of colour in the early spring, at a time when things are looking grey and grim. Choose from an extensive range – tulips, daffs, crocus, snowdrops – to name but a few. Planting mixtures of different varieties can lead to stunning displays in a pot, for example, plant in layers: tulips at the bottom, then daffs, hyacinth, crocus and anenomes for a long lasting pot of colour. In the garden plant bulbs in informal clusters of uneven numbers to give a natural looking display. Alliums are particularly trendy at the moment, these ornamental onions are available in pinks, white and yellow.

PRUNING

Pruning is one of those jobs which can give immense satisfaction. All old flower heads, the straggly growth of herbaceous plants and branches of unkempt shrubs can go into the compost heap. Pruning equipment can be confusing for the new gardener, so here are a few guidelines: there are two types of secateurs, bypass and anvil. The anvil secateurs is used for dead wood, but the bypass secateurs can be used for live as well as dead wood. The hedge shears are used to prune large shrubs or hedges, but is best for soft or thin growth. Loppers are used to prune trees and thicker branches and have long handles. These also come as anvil or bypass. Some of these are geared, these take the strain and strength needed out of the job, an excellent invention!

As the days get shorter and wetter, moss will start to grow again. Treat paths before they get slippy, with a product such as MossOff. Try to keep fallen leaves off lawns as they contribute to poor growth of grass and strong moss growth. A leafblower makes the job easy – especially a cordless one!

Lawns benefit from a final treatment in the autumn with a product such as an Autumn Lawn Feed and Weed or Viano Recovery from the producers of MO Bacter. These products both treat the roots of the grass, making the plant itself stronger for the winter. They do not cause excessive growth.

Finally, if there are empty beds in your vegetable garden, consider sowing a green manure such as winter rye or red clover. These will prevent weeds from taking over as well as enriching the soil with nitrogen. In the spring they can be cut down and dug into the soil, providing essential organic matter.

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Take the stress out of a career change

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve. Other people are prompted […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve.

Other people are prompted to change because of ambition to develop professionally, the desire for more meaning or purpose, job security or to earn more money.

Whether career change is forced upon you through organisational restructuring or is an active choice you are making, it can bring a mix of emotions. Among them is the fear and a lack of confidence on how to navigate the change effectively and the feeling of overwhelm associated with not knowing where to start. Conversely, it can be a time of great excitement about the possibility of taking on a new (and maybe very different) role or opportunity. Either way, drawing up a career action plan that breaks down the process into manageable tasks will help to ease any stress associated with career change and save you time and energy in the long run.

UNLOCKING YOUR POTENTIAL

Start by thinking about where you are now and where you would like to be – what are your priorities and non-negotiables and what are the practicalities you need to consider? To dig deeper do a self-assessment audit of your transferable skills and competencies, your career values and character strengths. Journal your career change journey by recording anything interesting you find out about yourself or career areas you are interested in. Some people like the idea of drawing up a career vision board as part of the process. Set clear goals and a specific timeline for yourself. As you gain more clarity, write out what your ideal job specification might look like, this will guide your job search. Explore options to up-skill or retrain if you feel this is helpful or necessary. Do a spring clean of your CV so that it reflects you accurately and favourably. Reach out to people in your network who may be able to assist you as you navigate this transition. Think about possible side projects you could work on to explore different areas before taking a big leap. Set up or update your LinkedIn profile, it is an important part of career development. Practice interview skills, you want to be able to perform confidently when they come around. Think about this process as unlocking the potential of your ‘career brand’ so that you and prospective employers have a strong sense of who you are professionally, what you value and what you bring to the workplace. Doing this work will enable you to approach your job search and career change with renewed confidence. It will take some time but it will be worth it!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Careers Advisor – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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