Week 26/2023: Pilates and shoulders and habits

Week of 26 June 2023

Water breaking over small rocks on a rocky shoreline, with low clouds over the horizon
Afternoon beach walk

Atomic Habits Part 6

Starting Pilates

I started my physio-supervised Pilates program last week.

How it works is, the physiotherapist has two clients sharing an appointment. This means she can set one person up with their first exercise and make sure they’re okay, then go to the other person and get them going, and once they’re settled, she can switch back to the first person. And on it goes for the whole session.

It works well because a lot of the time you’d be repeating one exercise and there wouldn’t be much for the therapist to do. This approach makes much better use of her time, she can see more clients, she isn’t hovering over me when I don’t need someone watching me, and the other client and I split the cost of the consultation between us.

So far, after two sessions, it’s going well.

One of the things my physio suggested was that now my back is feeling better, I might like to go back to my shoulder exercises. I stopped doing them when I hurt my back because they were aggravating it.

Getting back into old habits

I don’t really have an excuse now but I need to go back to the habit work I did earlier in the year and build three of these exercises back into my life.

A quick recap. This is from James Clear’s 30-day program to work through his book Atomic Habits.

Part 1 was about building an identity as the type of person who does the thing I want to do. That is, I am a person who works every day to heal their shoulder.

In part 2 I was creating the gateway to do the habit that demonstrates to me that I am that person. To do this, you have to make a tiny habit that’s so easy, you don’t even think about doing it. Then you bind it to a time and location when and where you’ll do it (or “stack” it onto an existing habit).

So, getting your running shoes out is the gateway habit for going for a run. Opening your notebook is the gateway habit for writing a novel. You put the small habit in place and build on it from there.

I have three different shoulder exercises. None of them can be much smaller, and they don’t need me to get out any equipment. But if I remember correctly, there’s a theory somewhere in the book (and also in the book Tiny Habits by B.J. Fogg) that suggests starting with just one rep of whatever you want to do (or flossing one tooth if that’s the habit you want to build) is an effective way to build a habit. Just one push up. Just one sit-up. Just one shoulder shrug.

So all I need is three things I already do where I can add one of the shoulder exercises.

The other bit of part 2 was to set up my environment so that the cue to do the habit is already at the place I’m going to do it. Mine was putting the stretchy tube by the bedroom door so when I went to bed, I’d see it and that would prompt me to do the exercise.

The tube broke and has been replaced with a stretchy band . . . which has been sitting on my desk since the day I got it.

Back when I wrote these posts, that was all I needed to get underway with the shoulder exercises, so for the remainder of James’s lessons, I focused on building a daily writing habit.

If you want to refresh your memory on what they were about, here’s a list of the posts

  • Part 3: Reducing friction and setting everything up so it’s ready when you walk into the space.
  • Part 4: Staying motivated through temptation bundling (I will only do the [thing I want to do] when I’m doing [the thing I have to do]) or by making bad habits much harder to do, like locking your phone away when you want to focus.
  • Part 5: Rewards and habits tracking  I was tracking my new habits on a printed version of a habit tracker that I really like and you can get from here.

My tasks to get back into the shoulder exercises are:

  • Identify three times/places I will do (a minimum of) one rep of each of the three shoulder exercises
  • Put the stretchy band near my bedroom door
  • Print off a tracker to track these habits over the next month
  • Begin!

Week 26 summary

What was the best thing about this week?

Seeing the platypus at Russell Falls recently inspired me to watch the documentary from the ABC, The Platypus Guardian, which is about Pete Walsh’s work to document and save platypus living in Hobart’s rivulet.

It was a wonderful documentary and showcased the important work Pete has been doing to raise public awareness, not only of the rivulet platypus, but of how we have to actually get out and take action to take care of the nature around us.

Back in April 2021, Lil Sis and I attended a talk about the platypus where Pete was one of the presenters. Part of this session was included in the documentary.

A grey-haired man facing away from the camera is addressing an audience seated in a room in red chairs. A woman in a red jumper is seated in the front row.
The platypus presentation in 2021 (photo from ABC iView)

And I learned if you wear a bright red jumper and sit in the front row, there’s nowhere to hide!

What did I learn this week?

I learned that the words of the Meatloaf song Dead Ringer for Love are “rock and roll and brew” not “rock and roll and rue”.

It’s about beer, not herbs.

Also, a crawdad is a crawfish is a crayfish is a yabbie.

What did I notice this week?

I wondered how long the Dark Mofo decorations stay up. Is it like the 12 days of Christmas where you have to take them down before 6 January so you don’t have bad luck?

A red flag agaisnt a blue sky with the words DARK MOFO in black text
The remnants of Dark Mofo

Or is their approach more like mine, that if you never take them down you don’t have to put them back up again next year? (I did take mine down. The people came to replace the windows so they needed the space to be clear . . .)

What I’m reading this week

  • The Good Wife of Bath by Karen Brooks
  • The Way of the Iceman by Wim Hof

Habit tracker

  • Morning ritual (Goal = 7): 6
  • Move (preferably before 3 pm) (Goal = 7): 7
  • Three times a week writing habit (3): 0
  • The Little Red Writing Book exercises (Goal = 5): 0
  • Listen to writing podcasts (Goal = 2): 0
  • Physiotherapy exercises (at least 4/5) (Goal = 7): 7
  • Shut my computer down before 9.15 (Goal = 5): 7
Share this
One Comment