Season 3 Episode 2 Transcript
It’s Late Spring here in the Philly area, and I’ve been watching the HBO series Mare of Easttown, and reading a bunch about the making of it. One of the frequent stories that I find about it is the accent, that the Philly accent is so. Hard. and that filmmakers and actors don’t really try for it. Apparently this show’s accent, from Delaware county, is even more difficult. My pilates clients are talking about it a bunch and I gotta say, it’s HARD to hear a regional accent from inside the region! But I didn’t grow up in this, and I was made very acutely aware of my coal-region accent when I did arrive about 20 years ago. So if you’re listening to my podcasts from outside Philly and its environs, the one thing I’ve been noticing but didn’t have an explanation for before all this accent discussion is the way I NOW say words like “o-v-e-r”. Most people would shape their mouth to say “ohver” but it turns out I have really embraced the relaxed mouth “oever”! So, listen on and who knows what else you’ll hear!
OK, Intentional Conveniences and Inconveniences. All the way back in season 1, episode 1, I introduced these ideas. Simply, they are ways to make things that you want to learn to do more convenient, and ways to make things you want to do less, more inconvenient.
For example, I want to walk more. So one thing I do is make it more convenient by keeping some appropriate weather gear and headphones in my car. This way it’s much easier to hit the park and listen to my audiobook or a podcast. I've also found that the closer I am to home the more I want to BE home, and the less likely I am to go to my closest park, so I’ve started coming home on a road that parallels the one I live closest to, that also goes right past my park. Since I’m already there, and to celebrate missing all the red lights on the main road, I might as well take a few minutes to do a few laps!
The other thing I’ve done is found a walking buddy. This way, it’s actually inconvenient to cancel on her, and we’re both much more likely to meet up as planned.
If you go back and listen to my season 1 podcast episodes, you’ll hear lots of tips for these intentional conveniences and inconveniences. Basically the idea is, how can we make it easier, or harder, depending on what you want to do? The solution is called “stacking”- layering things together.
Say you want to get better at a new habit, like stretching. You’re looking for ways to intentionally make it more convenient for you to practice, since the act of creating a dedicated stretching routine is where most people fall flat- that’s too BIG of an initial commitment for a lot of us.
Specifically, let’s say you want to stretch your hamstrings. These are some super helpful muscles to stretch- I highly recommend it! So, to stretch them you need to bend at the hips, right? What if you stretch them every time you reach to load or unload the dishwasher or the clothes dryer. Or maybe you stretch them as you brush your teeth. Or here’s a great idea that combines a number of good habits- use the Pomodoro technique to take more frequent breaks, during which you stretch! This is a time management technique that alternates 25 minute work sessions and 5 minute breaks to keep you focused, engaged, and not so “sitting disease” oriented. My favorite Pomodoro timers are the MarinaraTimer.com one and the Pomodoro chrome extension. I'll link them in the transcript.
The idea here is to combine multiple, short experiences of stretching your hamis with things you already do in your day, stacking them together so it’s easy- it’s convenient- to practice.
Now, intentional inconveniences make it harder to do something you want to do less of anyway, or harder to forget to do something. Say you’ve adopted the Pomodoro technique but you’re still not stretching- your break hits and you take off for the bathroom or a snack or your Instagram every time instead.
Ok, so leave your phone on the other side of your office. Sure, you can grab it and scroll on a break, but you have to go over there to get it and that’s a reminder to stretch- you put it there on purpose! Or maybe you throw a pillow on the floor by your desk chair or in the doorway- it’s in the way, it’s reminding you to take a quick stretch before you step over it- ha! Did you hear it? Before you step OVER it.
Stacking intentional conveniences and inconveniences are like tying strings around your fingers, except that the ultimate goal is to make these habits you’re trying to influence automatic and unconscious. If you ever watched the Great British Baking Show (that’s what it’s called in the US, but I understand it’s Great British Bake Off for real in the UK- sorry about the name change) one of the bakers a few seasons ago was Val, of the singing cakes. She was always moving, doing side steps and all kinds of little, almost fidgets, to get a little bit of extra movement in. That’s a habit she intentionally created decades ago for herself, and she doesn’t have to remember to do them now- for her, baking just includes exercise. That’s the kind of stacking and automation that we want for our own choices.
The challenge is, then, for you to pick a thing you want to do more of or less of, and to brainstorm a bunch of ways you can stack it. Then, start with just one or two intentional conveniences or inconveniences and start building. You’ll quickly find that you can make these tiny adjustments and influence huge changes in not a very large amount of time!
I would love to hear some of the intentional conveniences and inconveniences that you come up with! Share yours with me over on Instagram, I’m @paulasherbals
Fun Fact: I'm an herbalist and a movement coach. Not a doctor, or a pharmacist, and not pretending to be one on TV.
This is a public space, so my writing reflects my experiences and I try to stay general enough so it might relate to you. This does not constitute medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss concerns with your doctor. Remember, however, that the final say in your wellness decisions are always yours- you have the power to choose, you are the boss of you.
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