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Meditation - heading towards 90 days

Sunday, February 03, 2013

I started an experiment in December, to have a daily meditation session. Usually in the evening, sometimes both in the morning and in the evening.

I see this is an often overlooked part of healthy living: recovery. After overhauling my nutrition and exercise habits, it was a straightforward decision to start experimenting with recovery, by which I mean sleeping, resting, meditation, having massage, relaxation and similar activities.

After successfully passing the 30-days, I liked it a lot, and decided to continue for 90 days, and see.

Funny, before, it looked so much effort - another 15 min to squeeze into my day.
Now, I notice it is less and less effort to do it, and it's slowly becoming part of my usual daily activity. I'm starting to doubt I could do without.

In my previous post, I shared some "inbetween" learning. Now here are some post 30-day trial learning:

1. It was good that I set a shorter time (15 min) vs the optimal time for meditation (I would have gone for 30 min as optimal). This lowered my resistance to "I do it anyway" level, and helped me on those days when I was tired, or busy.

2. I re-live these feelings in many of my 30-day trials.
- The first couple of days are easy and full of excitement.
-Then it becomes difficult, and seems to be a lot of effort to keep on going.
- Then after 10-15 days, it starts to get into more comfortable.
- After around 30 days, I arrive to a "neutral zone". If I want, I can keep on doing it, or abandon it, if the outcome is not so interesting.

3. I see more and more the positive things even in otherwise "not so nice" events. I feel grounded.

4. Now, an occasional miss of meditation for a day has little effect on my overall motivation to do it. In fact, I'm looking forward to it much more then not.

5. My girlfriend became interested, and started to join me after some time.
Now, we often do it together.
It's in a way both "me" time and "us" time.
I never planned for this before, and this a real surprise benefit.

Here's a shot of our our Sunday hike:

I received so good tips on my previous post, thank you a lot!
I would be happy again for any tips, ideas, experiences on meditation (even if it's a repetition - then probably it's even more interesting).
- How you do it?
- How often, and for how long?
- What benefits did you notice?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ON2GOALS 2/15/2013 8:54AM

    I love the way you are incorporating the whole person, body, mind and spirit, in your healthy maintenance. emoticon

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    Meditation is awesome. I usually do it on a daily basis for 12-20 minutes. The website www.meditationroom.org has some awesome meditation "rooms" where they play meditation music. What I like about it is that the music fades away after the 12-20 minutes making a soft transition when the meditation time is done versus setting an alarm and being startled at the end of it.

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-AMANDA79- 2/3/2013 11:49AM

    Glad you are enjoying your meditation time!

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The Meditation Experiment

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

For long, I wanted to make daily meditation part of my life.
Finally, I started a 30 day trial on 18th Dec. It looked like an easy enough - difficult enough challenge to keep my focus on healthy life during the holidays.

I calibrated it for 15 minutes, which is less then my ideal goal, but my focus now is to establish the habit of doing meditation. When I am regularly doing it, and find the time for it in my daily schedule, I can scale it up to be longer.

So far, I am on track every day, and very happy for the results.

Some benefits that I already see:
1. If I do it in the MORNING, my day has an energized and in focused atmosphere. Somehow I work more on the things that matter. Strangely, my hunger is less, and I have more wish to go out for exercise.

2. When I do it in the EVENING, it is a great way to close down the day, and wind down all the happiness and stress from that day. My sleep is much better afterwards.

3. Having a healthy lifestyle goal in FOCUS makes other challenges that show up much easier to deal with. Somehow, if I pay attention to this one, automatically I have more "energy" to do the other things right, too.

It feels great just to do meditation every day.
If it works well this way for the whole 30 days, I will experiment with doing it both in the morning and in the evening, making a frame for my day.

I wanted to this for years, and was wondering why it happens now, and not before. Some funny facts I found:
1. There is a nice warm carpet now in the room, which invites for sitting, kneeling, laying down on it.
2. I found my watch which can make only one "bip" when the countdown timer finishes. So I have a gently transit out.
3. Winter and especially "dark" December fosters looking inside.
4. As in maintenance mode, my nutrition in general is on track, and my exercise is on track. So I can start to improve the third big area, rest/recreation.
5. I went to a 4 day silent retreat in Dec 2012, which boosted my motivation to start this trial. I expected it would boost it, so it was a good decision having done it!

This is a look-out tower nearby. It was near freezing conditions, and the heavy fog blocked all visibility. It was a really funny to walk in this "white air mud". Everything was so silent and calm.

Are you doing meditation?
How you do it? (Time, place, format?)
Or are you doing any other type of recreation/stop in the morning or the evening?
Any tips are welcome!

Happy new year!

A friend of mine recommended this podcast on meditation.
Looks good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMBOT 1/4/2013 4:29PM


Comment edited on: 4/8/2014 1:51:25 PM

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PEPPYPATTI 1/3/2013 6:21PM

    Way to go on your meditation. I find it hard as I have ADHD but I usually set aside 5 minutes in the morning to just focus on breathing.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GREENGENES 1/3/2013 3:47PM

    Meditation is not something I have tried but it sounds like a good idea. The podcast sounds like it would be very helpful. Thanks!

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KRISZTA11 1/3/2013 4:45AM

    Thanks for sharing your experience,
and I'm glad it is going so well!

I did meditation (20 minutes every day, sitting and counting breaths) for several weeks when I started SP and the effects were similar.
I stopped doing it when I started running regularly, and the morning runs had the same positive effect on my mood and energy levels.

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BEATLETOT 1/2/2013 8:12PM

    Oliver, you are always such an inspiration, doing things I wish I'd done or should do or want to do! I love your experiment and your insights thereof. Cheers!

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FLPALM 1/2/2013 4:32PM

My form of meditation is PRAYER! Now this may sound different but everyday....
my routine is:

Get up, take morning vitamins, have breakfast, clean up, then SIT DOWN and READ, yes READ, my prayers! It takes time, and even though, I know them, by reading them, it makes me FOCUS on the WORDS, "talking to GOD" my higher power. I have several booklets, prayers that I read.

When I do this, I feel ENERGY, FOCUSED, and a CALMING EFFECT, of Serenity, to CHANGE what I can do, ACCEPT what I can not, and the WISDOM to know the difference....and yes, even though I am NOT part of a well-known organization, the good feeling is what I use.

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HHB4181 1/2/2013 1:50PM

    I am not, but like you, I've been wanting to for a while....

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HEALTHYKIM101 1/2/2013 11:45AM

    Maybe I should look into this.....thought provoking..... emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Very cool goal. I like hearing about this!

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RUNNING-TURTLE 1/2/2013 8:45AM


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Drinking Fast and Slow

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

One feature of maintenance mode is regular drinking.

I didn't consider it to be so important, but it has a tremendous effect on how much I eat, and my hunger in general. So here are my experiences from the past 2 years on drinking. A longer read, but hopefully with many tips for you for inspiration.

I remember when I started to drink regularly about 8 cups (2L) of water a day, it was so strange.
First, it felt it to be a lot, I was feeling like forcing water inside me. I could not imagine how someone can drink 8 cups of water in a comfortable way.
Then, the other issue was how to remember drinking? And in fact, this was an even bigger challenge. There were days when around 5pm it took me by surprise - OMG I didn't drink at all during the whole day!

I started by counting, first on the exercise tracker, and keep track in my mind. It worked, but was way too much effort. There are so many things to remember during the day, and I cannot focus on just to remember drinking on every single day of my life.

So I spend some time to change my environment in a way that drinking happens automatically. After a few weeks of experimenting and tweaking, I have a setup I am happy with. In fact, I don't even think about it. It just happens, and I often drink more the 8 cups, depending how much exercise I do.


I observed a lot of improvement after starting to drink regularly. Paradoxically, I considered it a simple thing, I didn't even consider it contributing to weight loss, but had such a big impact on me.

1. Hunger is partly related to the pressure in the stomach. If there are more things in, there is less hunger. The best way to fill it up is with water - no calories.

2. After reading an article on this topic, I started to experiment by judging if I'm really hungry or thirsty. It explained that thirstiness usually goes away after 1.5-2 hours, and is replaced by hunger. It turned out that most of the time I was lacking water, when I felt hunger.

3. Somehow my metabolism get into a new path, maybe faster, maybe more intensive, I can't really tell this, but by drinking regularly, the whole digesting-calorie burning system felt more in place.

4. My weight stabilized from day-to-day. As I started to drink similarly every day, the ups and downs in my weight from one day to another disappeared, as I had a constant high hydration level. I was also playing a bit with this, and the maximum I reached was 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) from one day to another, just by drinking and not drinking.

5. My weight in general went a bit up, due to the water present in my body, as my hydration level was back.

6. Coke, coffee, beer, soda, fruit juices, and many other drinks somehow just started to disappear from my diet, and I started to enjoy drinking water. I drink now wine, and bear, and fruit juices in a way much lower quantity (not that I was a drinker before), and value the taste more. Before, I needed to drink a lot, to feel better.

7. Lot of un-explainable headache disappeared. This I only noticed later on, and the main difference I could identify was drinking regularly.

8. My skin looked better...

Equipment - they are all filled, of course! :-)


Let me share you some experiences that worked for me to make drinking regularly part of my life:

1. Instead of counting 8 cups during the day, I developed habits for drinking. These are "anchor rituals" that happen anyway during my day, and I linked drinking to them.
a) when I get up, and automatically measure my weight, right after it I drink 2 glasses of water
b) at the start of the big meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, I drink a glass of water. If the morning 2 glasses are close to breakfast then I don't drink an extra glass. I know, I also read those articles that say digestion is way much better when food is not diluted with liquids, but I accept to have a less then optimal digestion in exchange of better hydration.
c) before doing exercise, and getting out of the door, I drink 1 glass of water
d) after exercise, I drink a glass of water

2. I made water "easily accessible" around me. I almost bump into water to drink.
a) there is a glass always in my kitchen close to the tap (we have drinkable water), ready to take it for a drink. I always keep it there.
b) I have 2-3 0.5L water bottles filled in the morning hanging around that I can grab, and have it at hand
c) in the office, I place a glass and a water bottle on my desk. If I go on meetings, I just bring it with me

3. I made a contract with myself to detect false hunger. When I feel like snacking, first I drink a glass of water. Then I still have my snack, but I drink first a glass of water. This results in much lower snacking.

4. After snacking, I drink a glass of water, to clean my mouth and prevent the "sweet" taste making lingering on my receptors to crave for more sweet.

5. When I go out with friends and order drinks, I made a similar contract like with snacks. I order some water with every single drink I order. So I always order a bottle of water PLUS a beer, a some water AND a glass of wine, a glass of water AND a Tequila.

6. When having breakfast, I go for tea, instead of milk, chocolate drink, fruit juice and similar. Or if I do, I still go for tea, and milk.

7. When leaving home or the office, I carry a foldable water bottle in my bag. I used to have just a plastic bottle, but for fanciness and motivation, I bought this Vapour 0.5L bottle, that I can roll up when empty. Looks really cool. So when I leave home, I always fill up my water bottles and have water on me. So the water bottle is a fixed companion of any bag I carry with me.

8. At the airport, after passing the security gate, I fill up my water bottles. So when on the plane, I have water on me.

9. On the plane, when drinks are served, I always ask for 2 glasses of water. When they come again, I ask again for 2 glasses of water. If I want to drink something else, too, I still ask for the 2 glasses of water. I usually tell them that I am very thirsty, and hope it's not a problem, and it never was, so don't feel guilty for asking more water on the airplane.

10. For fruit juices, I made the deal - I love fruits, but instead of liquid form, I take them in a chewable form. And I drink water.

11, When on conferences, workshops, business meetings, etc. I ask for permission to take a bottle of water with me. So when I need, I can drink. It was never a problem, nor in Mexico, nor in Singapore, nor in Russia. Apparently people drink water all over the World.

12. I have some cash with me for the case I want, I can buy a bottle of water. I made the deal not to judge if it is over expensive, I just buy it, and drink it. I save money elsewhere (for example spending less on snacks).

13. When going by train or by car, I take more water with me then I think I would need. There's always someone around who also want to drink, and sometimes I cannot refill, or just there is no opportunity to get water. If it's too heavy, I can always pour it out.
I have a shelf full of different sized and shaped water bottles. So when I go on a trip, I have a choice for size, material, and so on. I have more then I would need, but I rather have more, then not having one when needed.

14. Even with this systems, there are days once in a while, when I'm reaching for the 3rd snack and I discover that I am on this conference and they have no water for the coffee breaks. So I am always taking in new ideas, tips, experimenting with them to improve continuously.

As you can see, if I add up all these occasions, it is much more then 8 glasses of water a day. And that's the whole point of it. I don't have to think about counting it, and paying attention to drink enough. It's just around me, and my life is now organized in a way that drinking happens without thinking. So my mind is free to focus on more valuable things than counting glasses of water.

From my run today - winter colours in Austria.

Do you drink enough?
How do you organize it for yourself? I'm always happy for tips.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUOVAELLE 12/6/2012 1:48AM

    I also use the strategies you mentioned at your first point. First thing in the morning, before and after exercise, before and after meals.
Thank you for all this useful information. I particularly liked the false hunger detection and I think I'll put this strategy to use as well!
emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 12/5/2012 9:39PM

    I got rid of unexplained headaches years ago, when I went off caffeine cold turkey. I didn't stay totally off caffeine, but I'm more aware of it.

Apparently, caffeine is mildly addictive, and the headaches were withdrawal symptoms. To avoid them, I needed to keep a constant level of caffeine in my system. Constant near zero is a lot easier to maintain than constant at a higher level.

I suspect that, as a side effect of drinking more water and less of other things, you're putting less caffeine in your body and keeping what caffeine you do have at a more stable level. That would account for the random headaches going away.

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GREENGENES 12/5/2012 8:47PM

    Awesome plan. I usually have 1.5 cups in the morning when I get up. At work I have two 2.5 cup water bottles I keep filled. One of them I keep with me at all times and refill regularly (it clips nicely to my backpack so I can keep my hands free). The other one is is for a back-up if I don't have a chance to refill the first one. This way I always have water handy. My flavored beverage during the day is usually tea although I will occasionally have a diet soft drink (which doesn't count for my water intake).

They installed a new filtered water dispenser ("hydration station") in my building which is great. Every time I go anywhere during the day I make sure I walk by and refill my bottle. When I head to class I fill the bottle and drink at least half while I'm teaching (often more if I end up doing most of the talking :-) and then refill the bottle when I head back to my office. When I head to a meeting, the same thing. I also make it a routine to get up and walk around several times a day so I always take my bottle with me and refill it at the dispenser. Some people in the office next to the water dispenser have commented that I sure seem to drink a lot of water :-).

Comment edited on: 12/5/2012 8:52:28 PM

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ALDEBARANIAN 12/5/2012 6:13PM

    Yea. I drink more than the recommended 8 glasses every day.

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LEIELD 12/5/2012 4:50PM

  I start my day with a glass of water

I make sure I drink a glass of water with each meal

I drink water during and after exercising and walking.

I sip at 2 cups of water in the evening.

I usually get my full 8 cups in each day and most times more .

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I am the project - walking the work talk at home

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One of my daily work activity in the past years have been project management. It's about creating a plan about something to reach, and then follow that plan until it is reached. Often the plan needs update, and the goal changes, but at the core, I see it as this planning-doing the plan.

However, it seemed difficult to use some of those "work skills" in my personal life. Because it's personal, so it's free, finally I don't have to focus, finally I want to do something that is not "work".

I have many friends, who implement a lot of planning and structure in their work life. Dealing with budgets, sticking to deadlines, figuring out ways on how to overcome obstacles. But to use these same skills in personal life - I don't know many friends who do.

For myself, it took some time until I discovered that I can use the same approach for myself in my healthy lifestyle that I use at work. To benefit from all the knowledge I acquired at work for my personal life. Set a goal, create a plan, and just go with the plan until I reach the goal to be healthy. In fact, the change started to happen when I first spent time, about a month planning how I will be healthy, instead of starting it right away. It was rather accidental, not intentional. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I used something I already have, but in a new way, reinventing the path.

Last week I was in Leuven, Belgium. One of my healthy habits is 10 min exercise, no matter what. My colleague was not able to run, so we made a loooong walk together to move some calories.

Now, in maintenance mode, I intentionally channel many of my R&D project manager "work skills" to be healthy, like:
- look up research articles on healthy living
- understand food labels in depth
- write constructive feedback/complaint to food manufacturers (either to give praise or request change)
- coach others for being healthy to keep my energy around healthy living and motivation
- use tracking and data analysis to understand what's happening
- explore new healthy technology/gadgets/ideas to give motivation (as an R&D engineer, I explore a lot of new technology and ideas)
- use Gestalt OD approach for my own process
- and so on

These are all things that are easy to use for me, because they are already in my skill-set. A discovery for me is that it doesn't feel "work" at all, it's fun.

I was wondering, what do you use from your "work skills" in your personal healthy lifestyle?

Small update 21 Nov 23:02 Paris Time
Thank you for all the comments! You make me really happy! :-) :-)
I will be travelling this weekend for an MMFC event in Germany, I can come back to you to reply only on Monday and onwards.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUPERSYLPH 7/7/2013 11:01AM

    That's great! What useful work skills!

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NASFKAB 1/5/2013 5:32AM

  great job

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ADELCASALE 1/4/2013 1:48PM

    Nice going!

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NLYR20 12/18/2012 9:55AM

  Wonderful approach....

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LETHANIA 12/5/2012 5:08AM

    Great blog! Ten minutes each and every day is my new goal. ..... also sort of interesting is my father and I just had a long talk about planning and I was thinking exactly that, what if I applied those principals to this part of my life. It is crazy the way are and you'll hear a repeated theme over and over sometimes... its like.. hey are you getting it yet LOL.

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EFFRAYECHILDE 12/3/2012 9:12AM


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BEAUTY_WITHIN 11/27/2012 11:17PM

    Pretty awesome idea! Thanks :)

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WHITEANGEL4 11/26/2012 8:55PM

    Great blog, thanks for sharting

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SERASARA 11/26/2012 1:05PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HZGLORY 11/26/2012 12:54AM

    Really great Idea and I see it worked. I will have to think on all this a bit more. I am sure you are right and now I need to think how I can use my skills to bring myself success in my own personal journey, Thank you for getting me thinking. Susan

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1DRWOMAN 11/25/2012 5:22AM

    Great blog!

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SATCHMO99 11/24/2012 5:23AM

    A friend at work, who is a dance instructor in her spare time, got everyone at an All Staff meeting active and engaged by starting with swaying their hands side to side, then split us into 3 groups and got us Mexican waving. Sit down, stand up, sit down.

It sure got the blood pumping, and was so much fun.

Another time, in a team meeting, she got us to do a salsa dance before our meeting.

It boosts engagement, and creates a buzz, so everyone feels chatty and happy.

Gotta love Charlotte!

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TDWANDD2MYK9 11/24/2012 3:34AM


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LYDIASPURPLE 11/24/2012 1:07AM


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REENIE131 11/23/2012 11:31PM


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TERRIJ7 11/23/2012 1:05PM

    That is a great way to look at my health journey. Thanks for sharing the insights

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KIMBOLEAN 11/23/2012 12:32PM


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TDWANDD2MYK9 11/23/2012 8:39AM


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THEIS58 11/23/2012 8:12AM

    Still like it!

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TINAJANE76 11/23/2012 12:41AM

    Super blog, Oliver! It's pretty ironic that many of us have had so much professional success but often have a hard time transferring those skills over to our personal lives to help us along with our weight loss and maintenance. Staying healthy sure feels like a job sometimes so maybe we need to become more serious about treating it like one!

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JIBBIE49 11/23/2012 12:09AM

    emoticon Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor. emoticon

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STUFFNEARTABOR 11/22/2012 11:42PM

    Great Blog - I'm loving the application of the planning process @ home!

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KIMBERTA99 11/22/2012 11:39PM

    You continue to amaze me with your hard work and dedication!! emoticon

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5KYOURWAY 11/22/2012 11:10PM

    yes little reminders through the day.

making it a little slot like a fast break 10 minute focus on healthy me.

simple but effective.

i am going to get the spark book to study.

consider 10 minutes exercise with staff during my shift.

something fun to generate some humour.

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J2740LOU 11/22/2012 9:35PM

    emoticon Great idea. Apply work skills to your personal life. Thanks for sharing a great approach to addressing and solving a life style change. emoticon

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HDHAWK 11/22/2012 8:25PM

    Great blog! I have many skills I use at work. I will think about using them to get healthy!

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SUSHMASH 11/22/2012 8:17PM

  Great blog Oliver . I like the title too . Cheers emoticon

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CHANGING-TURTLE 11/22/2012 5:33PM

    Great blog, makes one think

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HEIDIE6 11/22/2012 5:19PM


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MYBULLDOGS 11/22/2012 2:32PM


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WALLINMW 11/22/2012 1:10PM

  stay motivated

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TRISHMO1 11/22/2012 1:08PM

  Great blog emoticon

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CRAZYGYMGIRL 11/22/2012 12:52PM

    Until I read this, I hadn't realized that I'm doing the same thing. Worked in several areas and have skills including budget, project management, research and negotiations. I have a very detailed plan for a healthy lifestyle which includes budget, tools, timelines, checkpoints and I evaluate on a regular basis to determine if I need to modify the plan. I keep track of the various components of my plan on a series of spreadsheets. Interesting way of looking at this journey of ours... I am the project. And at the end, when the goal is completed, you can't just drop the whole thing. The product requires continued monitoring and maintenance.... brilliant.

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NASFKAB 11/22/2012 9:53AM

  great ideas thanks

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TWNOMWE 11/22/2012 9:47AM

    emoticon great blog and wonderful ideas.

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JOANNHUNT 11/22/2012 9:36AM

    emoticon Blog. Very interesting and educational. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THEIS58 11/22/2012 6:34AM

    Just great- thanks!

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LEANMEAN2 11/22/2012 6:30AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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BLUEJEAN99 11/22/2012 1:55AM


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JAMER123 11/22/2012 12:27AM

    emoticon blog that is emoticon !! emoticon

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PRAIRIECROCUS 11/21/2012 11:50PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CLAYARTIST 11/21/2012 11:48PM

  emoticon emoticon

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CM_GARDNER78 11/21/2012 11:42PM

    What a fantastic idea. I kind of was on this wave length, and blogged something similar as you - but you put it very eloquently! I think that this is a GREAT idea to use your skills in other areas, and apply them to weight loss! Thanks for a great blog!

~ Christa

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LIVELYGIRL2 11/21/2012 11:15PM

  Excellent thoughts. Also, enjoyed seeing your views! emoticon emoticon

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PYNETREE 11/21/2012 11:08PM

    Great way to implement your talents!

Loved that you shared the picture from your travels! You really get around! emoticon Do you always travel so much?

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SHOAPIE 11/21/2012 10:18PM


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NOTSOFLUFFYDAD 11/21/2012 9:57PM

    Fabulous blog!

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Lowering resistance: Percieved difficulty and the stairs of Stockholm

Saturday, November 03, 2012

There's an interesting phenomenon that I observed during my healthy lifestyle journey. I name it perceived difficulty. Maybe you also noticed it.

I am here in this conference on Gestalt Organisational Development, and one concept we use in our work is dealing with resistance in organisations. I also work with resistance in my own transformation on becoming healthy. And one feature that I noticed that gets developed during living a healthy lifestyle is the ability to distinguish between difficulty that is really big, and difficulty that is in fact OK.

What is this? Let me explain.

It's raining. Do I want to go out to run? I picture myself being out there, running in the wind and cold, and sounds like a task for a Navy Seal.
I am in the conference room. We have coffee break in a few minutes. I imagine all the cakes and sweets waiting for me. There might be fruits, but how will I be able to resist, and make a healthy choice? Sounds like a willpower-blackbelt task.
Shall I take the stairs, or the elevator? I imagine being tired and sweaty on the stairs, arriving with heavy breathing, and no way I would do that.
And I could go on with this for long.

However, I noticed, that after practice, although it feels so difficult before, actually, when I'm in the course of action, it's not that difficult. Of course, it needs some effort, but somehow it's much less then I imagined before. There is resistance in the system about the difficulty, but way much less then I thought there will be. So, I focus on taking the first step, and see what happens.

Did you ever run in the rain? I did, and although from inside, it looked as it would be a terrible experience. However It was not that cold, it was not that wet, and although it needed some effort, in fact it was fun.

Did you go for fruits at the buffet table? It turned out, that the grapes, apples, and all the other fruits are very tasty at this conference (for sure they come from some Southern country), and when I tasted the cakes in the very last minute of the coffee break, they were nice, but rather felt just the usual sweet stuff.

How was it taking the stairs? Actually, I enjoyed the exercise, and I met some colleagues on the way up, and said a a smiley hello.

Two days ago, in the underground of Stockholm, I met this set up: stairs, and escalator. As you can see, most people take the escalator. I had luggage on me, two bags, and a handbag. I was not in a rush, but I had to be on time. After some hesitation, I took the stairs. I imagined it will be tough with the luggage, and "that's not the easy way".

I knew from my previous experience that this difficulty that I feel big actually is not correct. The stairs are not high, I am fit, my luggage is not that heavy, and there are other people also taking the stairs, so it should be OK. So, I just focused on the first step, which was about choice. Let's start, and see what happens.
But when I was on the stairs, it turned out it's not that difficult at all, and in the end I was up sooner vs. the people on the escalator.

To my personal experience, getting over resistance, through acknowledging a difficulty to be low, although perceived high, needs training, or coaching.

Either I learn trough training myself that what I sense as the amount of difficulty is not correct, and it is lower, and it is OK to go for it, and when it is not OK to, because it is really a big difficulty. Or, I have someone with me, whom I trust, and guides on the way to distinguish between what is in reality little effort, and what is big effort.
I'm learning the POSE method of running, and for this, I follow the advice of my coach, how much is a good distance to run. Last time we had interval training, and I was running 4 K/min. I never run that fast ever in my life. And in fact, it was not difficult at all. However, I thought it would be that difficult, and therefore I never experimented with it. Following his advice on how, and when to do it, I got into it. And now I know, it is something I can do, and even if it seems to be a difficult task, I know this is just my perceived difficulty to it, in fact I can do it. This way, I overcome my own resistance thanks to the experiential learning I had before with his help.

So the other experience I have that trough training, the resistance that was big before, becomes tolerable, or even disappears.
When I started to develop the habit to run, I had to organize techniques to trick myself into running. I did ZERO exercise those times in my life. I started with 10 min per day, and it was quite an effort to make it happen. After 1.5 years of running, I enjoy going out to run, and look forward to it. Gradually trough training myself, I can lower the resistance. However, from the outside, when just starting, this could look like as a hero willpower act. Running for an hour looked like a great hero achievement when I just started. Today, it's fun, and I don't consider it as 'big'.

Now, I use this technique consciously, both for myself, and supporting others. I identify where is my resistance in doing something healthy. Then I check that difficulty, and alter the system, either myself or the environment, to make that difficulty as low that it happens by itself, or that I have experience about the real difficulty vs. my perceived difficulty. This is a good strategy to overcome my resistance.

So, which way do you take? Stairs or escalator?

Update (03 Nov 2012): I changed from "perceived resistance" to "resistance, and real vs. perceived difficulty".

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CELIAMINER 11/30/2012 8:17AM

    I'm glad Kaliswalker pointed me to your blog! Right now I'm at the point of needing to rekindle that inner spark into a flame before it dies, and reading experiences like yours helps. Thanks! And, like Zellazm, I walk up the escalator, and woe to the unwary tourist who does not heed the unwritten rule to stand on the right. :-D

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CHARITY1973 11/24/2012 4:38PM

    I like your thinking, Oliver! I have the same experience with perceived versus real difficulty. I will give you an unusual example. I am divorced. It took me 1.5 years to actually make the decision to leave. It was exactly like looking out into the rain and thinking it would be difficult to run in that weather. I looked at divorce and I thought I couldn't do it. I thought I was trapped by difficulty. But those people whom I trust most of all said things to me about how strong I was, that it wasn't impossible, that it wouldn't be as bad as it seemed. They said to trust myself and give it a go. And when I made the decision, it was not that hard. It required planning and perseverance but not in the way my mind had pictured it. I am still amazed that I could say, "I'm leaving" to my ex-husband but I did. I am still amazed that I could return to the house and continue living there until I could move out. Yet each time I got past the internal resistance, the imagination of horribleness, I found I was more capable than I knew. And that has allowed me so much more freedom in myself. It has helped to create self-trust, self-care, and more internal peace.

And I run like you. I run faster than I ever imagined. I run further than I ever imagined. My body is changing in ways I never imagined. And I enjoy certain foods (brown rice!) I never imagined. I believe that it is the 'trying' that breaks the spell that my internal resistance creates. Nothing is ever as bad as I imagine. And those truly terrible thing that happen in life, I have never actually imagined before they happen so, my not just give it a go!!

Since you are a techy, how do you rate the Garmin910? My partner wants to buy one for our trail running in the mountains.

I'm so glad I found your page on SP.

I hope you get some movement in your day.

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GERMANIRISHGIRL 11/13/2012 12:46PM

    emoticon emoticon

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POPSY190 11/11/2012 5:21PM

    emoticon blog. It's all in the mind!

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MOTLEM 11/10/2012 10:32PM

    Where we have escalators, there are no stairs. But where we have elevators, I usually opt for the stairs.

Great blog! emoticon

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KALISWALKER 11/10/2012 6:34PM

    Oliver I really enjoyed your blog and read it a few times.

'So, I just focused on the first step, which was about choice. Let's start, and see what happens.' I really need to make that my first thought about trying new exercises and being more active.

I hope you have good weather this weekend wherever you are.


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    Well said!!

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MOBYCARP 11/3/2012 8:43PM

    Stairs instead of escalator, because I am impatient and it's faster to walk up the stairs than to wait on the escalator. It would be faster to take the escalator and walk up as well, but in an airport setting I can count on being stuck behind someone who doesn't want to walk.

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THEADMIRAL 11/3/2012 2:22PM

    I'll take the stairs, thank you! I take them because I want to conquer them, because I want to keep my middle-aged muscles working and strong, because I want to show that young people that middle-aged people can be strong and fit and - by the way - beat them to the top of the escalator. I only take the escalator or elevator when I'm truly ill. Period.


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KRISZTA11 11/3/2012 12:24PM

I take the stairs up to 4-5 floors, and elevators if I go higher.
In my previous exercise-less years I usually took the elevator because I felt tired.
My perceived resistance decreased : )

A strange example of resistance is the one I often feel against going to bed early...
I stay up late, surfing and tapping on my laptop, even if I know I need the sleep - and what is easier and less heroic than going to bed.

And running in the rain is fun really... I never regretted it : )

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SHOOPETTE 11/3/2012 7:57AM

    Excellent blog! and I do also love running in the rain

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SWEDE_SU 11/3/2012 6:20AM

    good blog - we've been talking about this, as well, just how much harder it seems to get out to run (or even walk) when it is gray, dreary, and rainy out than when bright sunshine seems to invite you to tie on your running shoes. but once we get out, it is never as bad. though somehow, when shopping, we always look for the closest parking place - even though we count every mile we walk toward the goal, we seem to forget that when out in the car! enjoy stockholm!

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ZELLAZM 11/3/2012 5:56AM

    I usually take the escalator to save time but walk on the way up!

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NUOVAELLE 11/3/2012 4:37AM

    Stairs, of course! I never use escalators or lifts unless I'm injured or sick.
But, to get to the point of your blog, I perfectly agree with training perceived resistance. It needs constant focus and trying but it really helps with making the right choices. The more we try, the more the resistance is reduced and the will-power gets stronger. It's not that some people have will-power and some don't. We all have it and the more we train it, the stronger it becomes. Just like a muscle!
Well said!

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