Resolutions Part 3: Review Time parenting
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This image pretty much sums up how I feel about the progress I made last week.

It’s time to crank up your responses from questionnaire 2 and let’s take a look at how you did last week. Hopefully, you did a wee bit better than I did.

This is article 3 in our series on using your values to be a better parent- you can read the first article hereIf you are following along with us and want to dive straight in and review how you did- here is questionnaire 3.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”how it went for moi” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23ce879f” google_fonts=”font_family:Oswald%3A300%2Cregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]My plan to be ‘present’ was centred on devoting Wednesday afternoon and evening to the kids. I pick the kids up from school, so the plan as per questionnaire 2, was to:

  1. Pick them up.

  2. Upon returning home put my phone and my laptop away upstairs until they were in bed.

  3. Do something creative, or an activity with them like go for a cycle ride.

I’d identified readily accessible electronic devices as being a potential problem, so I would leave them upstairs, out of sight out of mind.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”what went well?” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23ce879f” google_fonts=”font_family:Oswald%3A300%2Cregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]I have to say, absolutely nothing. Jeesh!

On Wednesday, instead of going as planned, we had to run an unforeseen errand, which mean that my plan went out of the window.

At the 1st flippin’ hurdle no less. I’m supposed to be a paragon of virtue here… what’s going on?[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”where did I go wrong?” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23ce879f” google_fonts=”font_family:Oswald%3A300%2Cregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]That’s what this review process is for, so looking back I made 4 very simple mistakes:

1. ‘Starting small’ needs to be more than just one thing a week

My aim was to start small and build, that’s the advice from James Clear and others, which I thought I was doing by devoting Wednesday afternoon and evening to the kids- that’s just 4 hours out of the entire week. However, looking back my entire strategy hinged on a one-off event, if that didn’t work out for whatever reason (and guess what), my whole plan was totally screwed.

2. I had not thought through everything that could go wrong

I did think through some things, I just missed the obvious one! Once Wednesday had come and gone, there was no Plan B.

3. My plan wasn’t S.M.A.R.T. or detailed enough

Had we managed to get home as planned, I hadn’t thought about what I was actually going to do with them. Therefore I had no idea how this activity would help me to achieve ‘being present’?

4. Outta sight = outta mind

Despite me writing about this experiment, once I had set my plan and Wednesday was gone, that was it, I totally forgot about what I was trying to do ! My desire to be more present disappeared from my mind. If you remember, one of my 5 mistakes from my previous failed resolution attempts, was that my enthusiasm waned over time, this was in part, thanks to not keeping my goals front of mind. I’d only gone and done the same thing again![/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”how I’m going to solve these problems” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23ce879f” google_fonts=”font_family:Oswald%3A300%2Cregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]My solutions are:

1. ‘Starting small’ needs to be regular and easy.

There are two elements at play here, firstly I need to build habits, this is done by daily activity, once a week is too infrequent to build the neural pathways. And if the ‘you know what’ hits the fan, there’s too long between activity to make any progress (or to feel like you are).

Secondly, small means easy. You need to choose a behaviour that has very little friction to your normal situation. James Clear talks about Stanford Professor BJ Fogg starting a flossing habit by flossing one tooth a day. In the beginning, performance is irrelevant, it’s just turning up that counts.

2. I had not thought through what could go wrong.

I’m not going to beat myself up about this one- you can’t foresee every eventuality. However, one thing is clear, doing something daily allows you the grace to be able to make little adjustments as and when challenges crop up. Leaving it too long between your new behaviours simply means that you never get to build any momentum.

3. My plan wasn’t S.M.A.R.T. or detailed enough.

I’d not really thought beyond stage 1. There was no detail, no understanding of whether my activity would, in fact, help me to achieve my objective.

I am struggling a bit with defining this one it has to be said. ‘Being present’ at least in the ‘Eckhart Tolle Power of Now‘ sense is more of a feeling (at least to my understanding). I am going to read the book again to clarify my thoughts and for the time being, I will content myself with a more attainable activity, that can be easily measured (see new plan below).

4. Outta sight outta mind.

Daily activity will help to solve this problem. I have also decided to use a habit tracking app, which will remind me to actually do the activity and will also serve as a way to track my performance.

One other thing I am going to do is ‘stack’ my new habit onto an existing one. Both James Clear and Develop Good Habits extol the virtues of this. And it makes a great deal of sense to me. I am still going to get rid of my phone (distraction) when I get home, as soon as I get home with the kids I get changed, I will use this habit as a catalyst for my new habit by leaving my phone in my bedroom with my clothes.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”so what’s the revised plan?” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23ce879f” google_fonts=”font_family:Oswald%3A300%2Cregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The phone is a big distraction for me, I always use this as a crutch to kill time. There’s always something fascinating on twitter to be read! This is not in anyway helpful to ‘being present’ in fact, it’s the opposite of that- so… the phone has to go.

I will use my getting change habit as a trigger for this new one.

Secondly, I tend to eat quite quickly and consequently finish before everyone else, I then am bored, so I get up and start tidying the kitchen, loading the dishwasher etc… if I took my time and used eating as a catalyst to being present I’m hoping that that will make mealtimes a more connected time as a family.

We are lucky, we get to eat breakfast and dinner together each day, so my new strategy is to chew each mouthful 30x. This will help me slow down, be more present and there’s added health benefits.

My stacking trigger? I’ve written 30x on the label of my dining mat. I sit at the same place at the dining table and we have our own dining mat. Ever time I eat I will see this reminder.

See you next time for an update!

Take care, Dominic[/vc_column_text]

I'm ready to rock

you'll find questionnaire 3 here- it will help you to review how you did last week

[vc_text_separator title=”Footnotes”][vc_column_text]Eckhart Tolle has a unique perspective on being present and mindful- if you haven’t before we can recommend The Power of Now- fantastic read you can buy it here.

James Clear is excellent of the subject of habits and personal growth his fantastic free download on habits is well worth it.

Steve Scott and his site Develop Good Habits is also an excellent resource. You can see his stuff here on Amazon- well worth a read.

We like the habit tracker, it works well, we tried a couple but the one we liked best was HabitBull. It has a nice irreverent way about reminding you (which we like) and it’s free- which is nice! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]