Over the last few weeks I’ve been spending time going back over some of the many things I bookmarked and haven’t got round to looking at. Does this sound familiar? Rather than getting distracted I developed a system for saving things when I came across them. Of course I had every good intention of, once a week, going through them. But, guess what, my best intentions went astray and my system got clogged up. So, the start of a new year and time to do a bit of housekeeping. I’ve discovered some real gems and wanted to share something which appeals to the occupational therapist and personal coach in me.

Have you been drawn recently by the idea of monitoring some aspect of your behaviour? Maybe you were given some new wearable technology at Christmas? Whether it’s the steps we take, the duration of our sleep, the number of units of alcohol we consume or calories we eat, it’s all so numbers based. Maybe because it’s the start of a new year it feels like we are surrounded by prompts to undertake some form of self-monitoring.

Well, here’s something which caught my attention – I discovered the Do Lectures. I want to take a quick detour to tell you about the Do Lectures because they are fun to dip into. Here is a short description of the ideas behind the Do movement:

It all started with an idea. A simple idea. Just a tiny seed. In their clever country called Wales, Clare and David Hieatt set out to bring the DO-ers of the world together – the movers and shakers, the disrupters and the change-makers – and asked them to tell their stories. Under star lit skies, in a bind with nature, they would inspire others to go out into the world and DO, too. 

The annual Do event is described by the Guardian as an ‘Ideas Festival’. Similar events have been held in the US and Australia. All of the talks can be accessed on the Do website along with a series of podcasts. This is a real treasure trove to explore. It isn’t focused specifically on health or research but you will find ideas that will ignite and challenge your thinking about how and why you do things, how things could be different and what happens when you dare to dream bigger.

By now you may be wondering what this has to do with activity monitoring. Well, one of the talks was given by Ian Sanders (a consultant, coach, storyteller and author) and called Finding Your Story, Your Purpose and Your Compass. In the talk Ian describes what he calls The Good Times Experiment. The whole talk is approx. 24 minutes but if you want a quick listen the extract about the Good Times Experiment comes towards the end.

So what is the Good Times Experiment? A way of developing your own personal data set about what fires you up, gives you energy and lights a spark inside you. Now doesn’t that sound more fun than counting?

It’s simple to do. Allocate time each week to reflect on the week and make a note of the things that fired you up, made you feel alive and gave you energy. For those who may, like me, love stationary this is just calling out for a wonderful notebook or journal. Don’t feel constrained in what you write down, this is about you. That’s it, setting aside some time for a bit of focused reflection.

Over the weeks you are building your own dataset. When you are feeling low or needing a refuel you can look back over your data and see what it tells you about what you need to do to re-energise.

With pressing deadlines, increasing workloads and pressure to do the things we feel we ‘should’ be doing it is easy for things that have heart and meaning to get lost and fall off our ever expanding ‘to do’ list. I see this time and again through my coaching work – the tendency to loose perspective on our own self-care when we are under pressure. To give ourselves permission to do things which energise us and not focus attention in the wrong place.  To connect with the things that lift us up not drag us down and build some intention around being clear what those things are.

Photo by Riccardo Annandale via Unsplash