Monday, December 18, 2006

Issue 397 - Are Those Melons Down Your Top?

I hope everything is ok where you are.
Last issue of the year, and whereas last week I talked about motivation, this week I want to touch on goal achievement.

As I type this a chap called Christer Fuglesang is in space, aboard the Discovery shuttle docked to the International Space Station.
He's in a crew of 7, and one of 5 who is on their first trip to space, so why single him out?

Because he's Swedish, that's why.

Zap back in time several decades and imagine the hoo-ha over the first man in space (Russian), the first man on the moon (American) and so on.

Fuglesang is the first Swede in space.
Sweden is a small European country, with a population of 9 million.
Compare that to the US, which has recently crept over *300* million.
Fuglesang has been waiting 14 years to get into space - now that needs motivation for sure!

In press conferences he has been saying how much he enjoys it.
Let's face it, after 14 years, he's not likely to say 'it's crap' is he, but what a superb reward for all that effort.
However many Swedes follow him into space, he will always be the first, so a big fat well done to him.

The European curling championships finished this weekend.
Whereas the game in Scotland is in good shape, in fact the men are current World Champions, in England it is still struggling to get a foothold.
As you know I am really into it, having discovered the one and only rink in England last season, about 45 mins drive.
I checked out how someone gets to the Europeans, Worlds and Olympics, and it goes something like this...

The top 8 finishers at the Europeans get into the Worlds, and the Olympic qualification depends on results at the Worlds.
The European Champs are split into A & B divisions, with the top 2 in the B division getting promoted.
Also, the winner of the B gets to challenge the 8th place in the A for a place at the Worlds.

Following along?

The English men and women are in the B division, and the women came 3rd, just missing out on promotion.
In order to get to the Europeans in the first place, you have to win the English National Champs.
They are held in January at my local rink.
I'm not sure about the men, but in the women, it was uncontested last year - there was only one team!
This year, a team from my club wants to put together a challenge, but get this, the team of 4 consists of 3 Scots and a Canadian!

If you've lived here in England for 2 years you quaify to play for England.
Pish posh in my book!

Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against the Scottish or the Canadians, but come on!
If you asked any of the 4 if they were English, they would say 'no', so how can they call themselves an English team?
They can because the rules allow it of course, so good luck to them, but it shows the game in England struggles to get 4 women together as a team!
I wonder if I wore a wig and shoved a couple of potatoes down my jumper, maybe I could sneak in?

Hmm, maybe pears instead of potatoes.
Hmm, maybe pomegranates instead of pears.
Hmm, maybe melons instead of pomegranates.
I can often be heard remarking that you can't beat a good melon or two.

Next year I aim to be in a team at the English mens, that's all I can say.

Ok, that's it for this week, and for this year as well.
I've hope you've enjoyed reading my wafflings in 2006, I'm nudging Issue 400, so look forward to having you along for the ride in 2007.

If you celebrate Christmas, have a good one, if you don't, have a good couple of weeks, and I'll see you on the other side, (Christmas Schmistmas)

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,
Support your own favourite cause at:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Issue 396 - A Right Kick In The Peculiars

I hope Monday finds you well.

It's a motivation issue this week.
I found out at the end of last week that I hadn't got into the London Marathon.

I knew the chances of me getting in were fairly small, so I made plans about what to do if I didn't, basically doing my own marathon on the local streets at the same time on the same date.
I was surprised to find that in fact my motivation took a huge blow.

It was like a kick in the you-know-wheres.
A kick in the never-you-minds.
A kick in the ne'er-do-wells.
Do you get the picture?

In fact, get your imagination working on this one.
I want you to imagine you and me, standing facing each other, like 2 cowboys ready for a duel.
Legs akimbo, arms by our side.

Now I want you to change your image to a construction worker.
We're getting into Village People territiry here, but stick with me on it...

So, you are a construction worker, in a hard hat, overalls, and steel toe-capped boots.
I'm in a cowboy outfit, and there's plenty of sequins around (Village People).

Ok, now imagine you run towards me, as fast as you can, take a full swing with your leg, and your steel toe-capped foot lands smack in the middle of my peculiars.
Now *that's* how my motivation feels!

At the moment it feels lke the only reason to carry on training for another 4 months is just because I said I would.
One feature of long distance running which may sound obvious, bur doesn't really hit home until you do it, is that after a certain distance, it hurts to carry on!
You have to push yourself past the point at which your body is saying 'enough'.

What I'm going to do is take a few days off training, and use one of my goal achievement tricks.
It's a good one, has worked for me many times, and I'm sure will work again, and it's this...

When you go through a bad patch, or hit an obstacle, do *not* take negative action.
What I mean by that is to not take any backward decisions during this period.
Knocks are inevitable when trying to achieve something and motivation will ebb and flow.
When motivation is high, put things in action which will bear long term fruit.
When motivation is low, it can be easy to put things in action which you may regret when your motivation returns.

Is it possible that your motivation doesn't return?
Yes, and that's an indication that you didn't have the desire you thought you had for the goal.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, at least you won't look back and wonder what if.

If you desire the goal enough, your motivation will return, probably more than before, and when it does, you'll be glad you took no negative decision when motivation waned.

Ok, that's it for this week, remember my trick for any lulls you get in motivation.

Have a good week.
'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,
Support your own favourite cause at:

Monday, December 04, 2006

Issue 395 - Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

I hope everything is ok where you are.

So we've lurched into December, and as I walk around the shops I can now grudgingly accept the shops being full of Chrstmas stuff.

Regular readers will know that I get driven to distraction when the Christmas products start appearing in mid-September.
In my view it implies that the last 3 months of the year are not worth anything, they are little more than waiting months until Christmas, which is complete baloney maloney.
I can understand the market forces behind it - if shop A stocks Christmas stuff, then shop B has to, or they will be losing custom.

Last year, I bought some Christmas fruit cake slices which had a best before date of mid November!
This year I decided to ask the shop about it, (not that I held a bitter and twisted 12 month grudge of course!)
At the end of September I took a deep breath and ventured into the Christmas aisle, and sure enough, individual Christmas fruit cake slices, best before date of November 11th.
I had to smile, and since they were buy one get one free, my smile was that bit larger as I shoveled a couple of boxes into my wonky-wheeled trolley.

After the 11th Nov had passed, I went to Tesco's website, where rather bizarrely there isn't an email contact to be seen!
I decided to write snail mail, asking for an explanation as to how Christmas cakes could have a best before date of 11th Nov, meaning you either had to eat them 6 weeks before Christmas, or eat them at Christmas 6 weeks out of date.
I still havn't had a reply, and let's be honest, my letter is still probably flying around the Tesco's internal email system, or has been filed in the 'nutcase' draw.

So I decided to ring them up.
I got a stonewall answer, the chap kept saying that they were definitely Christmas cakes, but obviously still had a best before date.
I realised fairly early on in the conversation that -

a) He wasn't going to grasp the 'Christmas not being 11th November' concept
b) Tesco's were not about to send me a year's supply of fruit cake, which had been my main goal all along.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Tesco, remember earlier this year when I lost my keys on an early marathon training session, it was Tesco's that found my address from my keyfob and sent them back to me, but in this case they have got it wrong.

To me it doesn't make any difference, I can see the funny side, but I can well imagine some old duffer who bought their cake slices nice and early, only to find them tasting a bit peculiar come Christmas.

It brings up one of my favourite life sayings, and it's this -
'Say what you mean, and mean what you say.'

I'm a big fan of acting with integrity, and if you follow the 'say what you mean' mantra, you won't go far wrong.
There is nothing better than having friends and colleagues, dare I say it loved ones, know that when you say something, you mean it.
It makes you a rock that can be relied on, and also means that whenever you need help, people will be all the more willing to give it.

Ok, that's it for today, if you got your Christmas goodies early, get the cupboard open and check those best before dates!

Have a good week.

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,
Support your own favourite cause at: