Changing Habits – Days 2-4

This is an ongoing experiement to change some of my habits, initially through relying more on my left hand to perform many tasks I’d usually do with my right hand. You can catch the first part (+ some great comments) in my Changing Habits – Day 1 post.

I have not had much trouble switching to my left hand, but am having to fight the compulsion for the right hand to take control – I’m finding when I don’t focus on the task (i.e. let my mind wander onto one of the many other things I think about), the right hand creeps in like a burglar just lying in wait to steal your goodies!

My exercise in eating is not a problem, breakfast is slower now (which is a good thing as I was gobbling down my cereal too quickly), teeth brushing is still awkward, I have yet to try writing/painting with my left hand (or either foot, for that matter – refer to the comments here for more info)

One thing I can do very very well is use my knife in my left hand – because I always have! When we were growing up, my brothers and I realised that the fork was the most powerful weapon to fend off other people stealing food from your plate – you’d want to arm your strongest hand with the fork to perform the task of defence, should a stray hand wander across your plate. I will endeavour to switch this behaviour around and use my knife/fork the ‘correct’ way to help break some habits and form new neural pathways!

This long weekend will provide some non-work activities for me to continue the experiment and broaden my habit-changing experiences!

Oh and the zucchini seeds I popped into the ground are starting to sprout! πŸ™‚

Changing Habits – Day 1

Spurred on by a comment from Tim Brownson on his blog topic When is a habit not a habit, I decided to document & share my thoughts on reprogramming my brain through the focused, deliberate changing of some of my everyday ‘habits’. Notably, my efforts will initially be to use my left hand more than my right (yes, I am right-handed).

There are some things which cannot be changed due to the nature of some of our technology/society (by way of example, the throttle on a motorcycle is controlled by the right hand; for efficiency, it’s easier to use my right hand to open the car door (for those that drive on the left-hand side of the road).

I initially started a few weeks back sporadically brushing my teeth using my left hand, as awkward as it was. Then I started to think about other areas of my daily life where I could do the same task, only in a different way. Here are my findings so far:

  • Teeth Brushing – with my left hand, it seems far more awkward to go side-to-side than up & down. I can brush my teeth to my satisfaction. I am more engaged with the task and often have to consciously think which way to brush next. Everything seems automatic when I use my right hand
  • Computer Mouse usage – I had toyed with using my left hand for the mouse a month or so ago but gave up after a few mins as it was just way too awkward, and I wasn’t getting much work done – my fine motor skills had deserted my left hand and taken a holiday to the Bahamas. Today, I stuck it out and began to work more efficiently than before. For those who are interested, I have only moved my mouse to the left and kept the button assignments as-is for a normal right-hand-side mouse.
  • Getting dressed – You may not realise it but most people get dressed in the same order ever day. I now consciously stop myself and ‘switch’ around the order, most easily seen when getting into/out of a pair of pants/shorts, as well as putting on socks & shoes (sub your clothing items where appropriate). (I caught myself in a habit that I had picked up more than 15 years ago – when I had a foot injury, it was easier to get my foot into/out of pants by supporting my left leg with my right hand).
  • General observations – My right hand feels like a hanger-on. It’s awkward, not really knowing what to do. Some other things I have on my list: Any kitchen-related task (pouring milk, stirring tea, chopping, etc), Opening doors (using keys). I’m also vowing to be more positive/less negative and letting little things slide, but this is a whole other topic in itself! πŸ™‚

I’ll be trying everything in a different way for the next few days. What other things do you think I can try doing differently over the next few days?

Our Inner Story

Something that has been bouncing around in my mind for a while now is the notion that a lot of us have an ‘inner story’ that not many people know. Either we do not show this side of us, or it’s something generally not asked about.

I recently uncovered one such inner story of someone I know, and it goes to show that you may not know everything about everyone you come into contact with. Plato said:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”

The story moved me to start finding out more about the people I know, as well as some of the new friends I’ve met through Twitter. I’ve got some ideas on how I’d like to approach this but would love to hear from you if you have a suggestion or 3 – leave them in the comments section or you can find me on facebook.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle

Changes whilst donating blood…

I donated blood today and noticed a number of changes (it’s been 70 days since my last donation…)

  1. The donor consent/medical history form has changed (it now asks if you have ever been out of the country)
  2. There’s a sign asking you to contact the Blood Bank should you feel unwell, nausea, have diarrhoea, etc. within 7 days after donating blood (in the past everything focused on events prior to that donation)
  3. They now use a different bandage and different tape (thinner and weaker). When I asked the nurses why they changed, they muttered that it’s ‘likely’ to save money – ironic when it was explained that they now needed to use more {of both} than with the older products.

One of the nurses asked me how come I noticed so many changes, and upon a quick think (because I had not consciously thought of this in the past) I put it down to being more observant of things being different. We discussed the fact that change is required to keep things moving/progressing, but change for changes sake, or change for such a one-dimensional aspect (saving money without factoring in the increased usage) is just ludicrous. The staff won’t thank management for it, if anything, it will drive a wedge between them and management.

I wonder how many ‘upper management’ decisions truly encompass the views and inputs of the people using the items on a daily basis? Will the Blood Bank truly save money with decisions like this? How many other false prophecies are being played out every day in companies, large and small?

I’m all for change but like to know that consultation and communication are included as part of any decision to make changes (for whatever result).