Wednesday, 5 January 2011


When I was first diagnosed with cancer I wrote a list of all the things I was doing and had changed in my life to create health. It acted as a motivator and as a form of reassurance that I was doing things differently - and if you do things differently it stands to reason that you get different results. I wanted my body to get a different result - I wanted my body to get rid of the cancer and embrace a healthy state of being. That list has changed over the years. Many things on it are so second nature and part of my life that I have forgotten that I didn't always do them. I can't even remember some of them. It's also true to say that I fell off the wagon a little last year when I was helping to look after my father-in-law, and it is very difficult to go back to doing some of the things as religiously as I was once I've stopped doing them. Juicing , for instance. But it's the start of a new year, and I'm back on track and going for it.

I have read a lot about goal setting. There seems to be a lot of research on brain science going on at the moment and it's all fascinating stuff.There are numerous people writing books on the subject, and I have pulled out a few pointers that seem to be keys for me - newly found, or re-learnt ancient wisdom !

  • Firstly, make the goals easily achievable. That means underestimate what you can achieve. It's easy whilst thinking about what you need to achieve to be lulled into the belief that you are motivated, energetic, and superman, and that you can meet your targets, all your targets, in no time flat.This is rarely the case and the best of us have bad days and setbacks. If you make your goal easily achievable then you have far fewer setbacks, far less sense of failure, and less demotivation. So my goals are ones that are easy to exceed, then I can give myself a pat on the back. I've not just achieved, I've surpassed myself. And I'm likely to sustain the effort past January 10Th !!

  • Secondly, plan for the long term. That means that I'm not just trying to get from A to Z in the shortest time possible. A to Z is a long trip. Why overwhelm myself ? I'm going to take it one step at a time, and I will plan with a long time frame in mind. So it might take a few months - maybe years - but I'll get there and I'll enjoy the journey - I'll enjoy the scenery as I go. After all it's not the destination that's important, but the travelling and the sights and experiences on the way - the living of it. So I plan with a destination in mind, but not a destination that I'll never reach, and a time frame, but one that is long term and achievable.

  • Some people suggest starting a project with a specific goal and where you want to be , and then decide on a target end date. The plan is to then break down the time between start and finish into steps - perhaps weekly, perhaps monthly - whatever suits - and determine what needs to be achieved by each step. Like stepping stones you eventually end up having achieved all that needs to be done in order to reach your end goal and Viola, you've got from A to Z . I've tried this before and I think that whilst it is appropriate for some goals, it's just not right for all goals. Certainly not with a health goal in mind. Having an end date for my project of health has burdened me in the past with expectations ( I wanted the tumours gone !! ), and not everything in life conforms to expectations. And disappointment is DEMOTIVATING !!! There's no room for demotivation in my quest for health, so I simply plan with an open ticket - a no fixed date termination. I suppose that's to do with the nature of my goal which is life and its enjoyment.

  • Keep the goals simple. Life is complicated enough. My tick list is simplicity itself, and it is visual and easy to read.

  • Concentrate on the positives and what you are achieving, and not on failure. After all, it's what you do consistently that matters, not the little blips. And I have found that concentrating on the negatives makes them bigger. You get more of what you concentrate on. It's something to do with how the brain works, and all those chemicals we are constantly shooting round our bodies. Don't ask me the specifics because it's a little complicated and time consuming ! Just trust me on this - from a girl who can see the glass half empty at least as easily as half full.

  • Reward yourself with praise and acknowledgement of what you have achieved. Let's look at what we're doing well. And let's re-frame our difficulties and acknowledge them as challenges. And they are just part of the journey, part of the scenery, and they change over time. Things I thought I could NEVER do - like juicing and drinking six 250 ml bottles of vegetable juice daily ( just not presently ! ) did become part of my daily routine - and will be again. But when I first read about the Gerson Treatment I thought that there was never going to be any way to even attempt it because I struggled to make juice at all.

There's loads more I've read and learnt, but this post wasn't meant to be a manual on how to set goals. Suffice to say this is how I manage my goal-setting. This is what I do to keep myself on track.

So for the first week of the New Year, these are the items on my tick list







  7. BLOG




At the bottom of the page are the following




These are easily achievable for me, and a good place to start. They are part of my daily routine, and it's good to have a row of ticks. It's also good not to have a bunch of other things on the list with no ticks at all ! It's a small list this week which I'm happy about. It's about a new beginning, and it's about keeping it simple. I'll go through and explain why and how I do these things in the next few posts, and rest assured I'll be adding in other things as time goes on. Join me if you feel up to it. Obviously not everything is appropriate for everyone else - you wouldn't be wanting to take Arimidex if you didn't have to, and Essiac Tea isn't essential ( it is sometimes recommended for cancer patients and it supports the liver, but there are other ways to do that and less expensive ways also ! ) I am documenting my own idiosyncratic health promoting lifestyle improvements, but most of them would benefit anyone. Who could argue with making laughter and fun a priority. Making love and connection a priority. And anyone who has cut out dairy, meat and/or caffeine will heartily endorse the health and energy benefits of doing so.

My list will end up a long one, but that's because I like a compelling reason to believe I have changed myself - my body chemistry - my circumstances. The definition of madness is to continue to do the same thing over again and expect different results. My tick list is visual proof that I have changed some fundamental circumstances. I'm hoping to step it up a notch this year, and I need all the encouragement I can get. My tick list has served that purpose in the past and I believe it will continue to do just that. So although it may seem daunting, it only takes moments to fill it in and I get a big kick out of all the gold stars I award myself, and the visual reference it gives me.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


This question has caused me some hesitation over the last year. You might notice that I stopped any regular posting. But I'm making blogging part of my New Years resolution, and I think I should tell myself why I choose to blog.

I don't know why others blog. Some do it to run in tandem with a business. I don't run a business and really wouldn't have the energy to try. Some blog to keep in touch and to let others know what's going on in their lives. Some blog , as I have , to keep an online journal and record of their progress toward some goal, or to pass on information. Some blog for amusement and fun. There must be hundreds of reasons for others to blog. I am only really interested at the moment in why I am blogging and the reasons are
  • To act as a motivator to keep me on track toward my goal of health and enjoying life.
  • To act as a memory saver - to remind me of what I've learned.
  • To pass on any information I think might be useful to whoever may stumble serendipitously upon this blog
  • To give myself a purpose - important in the healing process.
  • To give myself some kudos. I was at a lunch just before Christmas chatting to my neighbour and was asked what I did. My immediate response was "Housewife " ! Not Homemaker, Not any of the numerous roles I fulfil in my life. Just lowly HOUSEWIFE . Wife to a house. And as that was a gut reaction - so fast I didn't have time to think - it's a cry from my unconscious. So I am a writer if I write a blog. And I'm published - around the world ! Maybe not read, but certainly published to my mind. So perhaps another reason to blog is for self respect. Whether my unconscious will take this on board is another matter !
  • I think also that blogging gives a feeling of connection. Perhaps not to many individually - it is cyberspace after all, but it is a connection to the universe.
  • Blogging helps me feel part of the culture. Not a total geriatric dinosaur. And I really don't want to picture myself as some old geezer who looks like something the cat dug up that should really have been left in the ground.
  • I am not a great blogger, my writing style could be better, and I don't at the moment know how to put on photo's or videos. There's lots to learn. I believe there are two mental states my mind habituates and they are fear and growth. If I am learning something my mind is occupied, I am engaged, and I am positive in my outlook. If I am fearful, my mind is filled with dread, anxiety and thoughts of possible dire futures - not the present moment - and I am in a very negative frame of mind. I choose - as often as possible - to be in an open, engaged positive state of mind and I occupy that state while blogging.
  • Lastly, I want to blog for amusement and fun. One of my targets for this year is to fill my life with fun and laughter. And I don't find it easy knowing where to start with that. So I'm watching comedians on TV; I'm watching romantic comedies on the DVD and funny videos on YouTube. I'm playing Monopoly with my family and connecting with friends who are fun. And I'm blogging.

These are my justifications for blogging. For taking the time to sit in front of a computer screen and write to myself. They're OK with me.

Monday, 3 January 2011


It's the start of another year, and I am blessed to be able to experience it. I don't normally do New Year resolutions, but I am drawn to them this year, once again. I suppose it's the thrill of filling in a new calender and diary. I also keep a tick list of what I do to enhance my health and I'm starting that all over again - from point zero. I have a new book from Paper Chase to enter my goals and ticks, and I love using new stationery ! And that puts me in the mood for new beginnings. So here I sit in front of my computer pondering on the start of another year.

New Years can start at any time of the year, and on any day. They can be very personal. Mine often starts in September and follows the school year. It could just as soon start in February, on my birthday, or on the Chinese New Year. It could start in March with the start of the new growing season in the garden. It could start on the 21st of June - the longest day of the year, or midsummer's night. It could start in July when schools close and we start our summer holidays. New Years Day is , to me , quite an arbitrary day. I pick and choose it for myself. But the Western world follows a calender that decrees that New Years day is officially the first of January. And I'm going with that at the moment. But it's comforting to know that should I get discouraged and feel that I've not lived up to my potential and that I've lost my way I can always start again without having to wait for next January to roll around.

Thinking of when my New Year starts has set me thinking of when my week should start. Once again, it's quite arbitrary. My calender likes to think the week starts on Sunday. My diary starts the week on Monday. I have had calenders in the past that start the week on Saturday. But I don't have to follow the dictates of society at large. I can choose for myself when my week starts, and I have started to think that this decision will influence how the week goes. If I choose to start my week on a Monday , as I always have in the past, then the emphasis is on housework. What I have to get done between Monday and Friday so that I can enjoy the weekend work-free. I've spent a few years now spending Mondays gardening, but it is still on my list of "things to do and appointments to keep " . I could start my week on a Saturday. That would show that my priorities are with spending time with my family. But I would spend it waiting on my family - waiting for my husband to come back from golf, and waiting for my daughter to get out of bed. I can't say that I much relish the thought of starting my week in limbo. I could start the week on Sunday. I love Sundays. It's a family day. I spend Sunday morning with my husband and at some point after lunch my daughter joins us and we perhaps do something together. But I still spend time waiting for my daughter to get up. So I'm still feeling a little bit left on hold. I could start my week on Friday. I sometimes do a class in flower arranging on a Friday morning. So that would be doing something fun and creative and for the house. I then do laundry in the afternoon. Sometimes I shop for groceries if I'm disorganised, but I hate shopping in the supermarket on Fridays when it's full of the retired and elderly. Starting on a Friday gives me a build-up to the weekend which is my favourite part of the week when I spend it with my family. A Thursday start could also work. I would have Thursday to tidy the house and shop for groceries, Friday to prettify the house, and then spend the weekend with family. Or perhaps a Tuesday or a Wednesday would be good days to start as these are days that are largely free and I choose how I fill them. But they can be lonely and isolating days. It turns out that although I believe the day I start my week on will be influential in determining the mood of the week, it is not as simple to choose a day as I thought. I think I'll sleep on it and decide another time. I don't need to decide this week. My husband starts his week on Tuesday this week. My daughter starts hers on Wednesday. I may need a day or two later to get back into my routine and start my week again. My work-week. And that brings me back to Monday where I would be in sync with the rest of my culture. It's food for thought anyway, but food for another time I think.

I would just like to wish anyone reading this a very Happy New Year. One filled with joy and laughter, with family and friends, with comfort and peace, and with the best of health both physical and spiritual. May 2011 be a most auspicious and treasure filled year for us all.