30 days of growth mindset: day 10

Alright, after a thousand posts on the theory of growth mindset, it’s time to share some of my daily learnings since I started this 30-day challenge.

One of the things I’ve been doing since about December last year has been to write in my journal at least one thing I learned that day. It might be a fact, a hint or tip, or lesson I’ve learned from something I did that day. I have a lot of hints and tips gathered in this way, but haven’t done a lot with them! How unlike me. (*Collects more underpants* )

Here’s a few examples of things I’ve collected since the challenge started.

Day 1: Gretchen Rubin wrote “the opposite of a profound truth is also true”. She writes:

As I’ve worked on my happiness project, I’ve been struck by the contradictions I kept confronting. The opposite of a profound truth is also true, and I often find myself trying to embrace both sides of an idea.

One of the examples she gives is  to “accept myself, and expect more of myself”, which I have already written about. A couple of other ones I like are:

  • Use my time efficiently, yet make time to play, to wander, to read at whim, to fail.
  • Take myself less seriously—and take myself more seriously.

Day 3: From the Dan Harris 10% Happier podcast with RuPaul on meditation: “The real you is not your thoughts. It is the awareness of your thoughts.” RuPaul suggests the real you can be seen as sitting on a riverbank watching your thoughts drift by.

It’s a bit like leaves on a stream exercise that various counsellors have suggested I try when I can’t get rid of troubling thoughts. I am a giant failure at this exercise. I can’t see the stream, I can’t see the leaves (I cannot form a mental picture of anything, no matter how hard I try) and the thoughts won’t get out of my head. Even so, I’m continuing to practise through daily meditation. I know this is something that isn’t going to happen overnight and the more I persist, the easier it will get, but it will take a long time. I’m not giving up.

One of my readers recently suggested trying slightly longer meditation sessions might help, and I’ve noticed that sometimes my thoughts seem to start calming at about the 10 minute mark – when it’s time to stop. So I’m going to try that and see how it goes.

Day 5: Roasted Brasil nuts and raw carrots are a very tasty combination. I learned this by accident. You have to try this!

Day 6: Keep spare gloves, beanie and scarf in my bag. It’s winter. Read the weather forecast. Enough said.

Day 8: In Sanskrit, swastika means “crossed legs”. Swastikasana is one of the basic poses of yoga. It’s essential asana while practising  breathing techniques (Pranayama). I knew the word swastika had come from Sanskrit. I didn’t know it was the name of this yoga pose.

Day 8: A tip from the Power of Moms podcast that I mentioned in my post yesterday: Develop “modes” for your time at home, and stick to doing what you have to do when you’re in each mode.

For example, when you’re home, you might have: Mum mode, me mode, work mode, and whatever other modes you need to have. Explain these modes to the kids so they know when it’s their time with you, and make sure they have things to do when you aren’t in Mum mode so they can entertain themselves (obviously this works better with kids that are old enough to be capable of entertaining themselves for the relevant time).

Stay fully engaged in whatever mode you’re in. Don’t check your phone when you’re engaging with your kids, don’t try and do work around the kids’ activities, don’t entertain the kids when you’re working. When it’s Mum time, be with them 100 per cent.

The importance of this became apparent on Wednesday when we got home from work. I’d spent an hour with Kramstable after school, and I had about 45 minutes between when we got home and when I had to go to my yoga class. I needed to do some admin stuff and finish Wednesday’s blog post. Kramstable wanted me to watch 15 minutes of his new favourite movie (which I can’t stand, but we won’t go there) and I was frantically trying to finish the post, while watching this movie I had zero interest in because it was important to him. I couldn’t help but feel like I’d disappointed him and felt very guilty for not focusing on what he was trying to share with me.

Explaining that I wasn’t in Mum mode at the time but I would be after I’d finished the post might have worked out well in this situation, because I could have concentrated on the post and got it done quickly, rather than flipping between writing and watching the movie and taking longer to get the post done, and running out of time to watch the movie. End result: I was flustered, he was disappointed and both of us were unhappy.

(I’m going to write a bit more about how I handle time with Kramstable doing things that make me want to poke my eyeballs out with burnt sticks – like watching this particular movie – in a post about one of the books I’ve read recently.)

So there you have it: some actual stuff I’ve learned. Great hey!


30 days of lists – day 29

I finished List 29 a few days ago, but am still thinking about List 30 – the final list for the 30 days of lists challenge.


Day 29: Next month’s plans.

Next month (is now actually this month) is going to be fantastic. I’m taking some leave to hang out with Juniordwarf in the school holidays, and then I’m taking four weeks off work to give myself a proper break.

I’m excited!

The last time I had any length of time off just for me was, well, never. I had several months off for maternity leave. Not really a break. I had a longer break when Slabs and I got married, but that was mostly spent getting married, travelling and then recovering.

So have finally listened to Me-two and I’m going to take some time to rest, relax, reassess and refocus.

I really enjoyed writing that list.

30 days of lists – days 25-28

Almost there! Just two more lists to complete for my first ever 30 days of lists challenge.

It’s been fun and made me think a bit, but I haven’t really been interacting much with the other people who have been doing the challenge.

Day 25: My family’s quirks

ImageThis was one I had a hard time with – identifying my family’s quirks. I’m sure people outside my family could come up with a much bigger list. It’s one of those things I think I’m too close to.

Day 26: Rules for being my friend

ImageI chose to interpret this more as giving people advice on how to deal with me and my particular preferences and personality, rather than as “rules” which seems a bit harsh and prescriptive.

Day 27: Favourite courses, classes and workshops

ImageI went way back to high school for this one! I was reminded about Grade 9 English by a conversation I had with someone on Twitter. It’s funny sometimes how you get allocated to a teacher you think you’re going to dislike, only to have them end up as being one of the most memorable teachers from your school life. I had a similar experience with a boss once. Never pre-judge.

Day 28: In my fridge

ImageHa! I didn’t forget the wine this time!

30 days of lists – days 21-24

So much for a list a day!

Day 21: My food pyramid

ImageI interpreted this one slightly differently, to make a list of the things I’m trying to do to improve my diet and health. Some of this is based on work by Michael Pollan, who writes some very interesting books on food. One of the easiest to read is “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”, which is a good starting point for learning about “real food”.

I wrote some posts on quitting sugar earlier in the year. I haven’t been 100% successful, but most days I’m doing well.

Someone asked me what I meant by numbers – well that’s basically additives preservatives, colours, flavours – anything you see in an ingredient list that has a number. Some are worse than others and it’s good to know which ones to avoid always, and which ones aren’t quite so bad. A really good reference about this is the book Additive Alert, which is the book that first sparked my interest in finding out what’s in our food.

Day 22: Recent DreamsImageThis one could be dreams or daydreams and, since I never seem to have dreams any more, I decided to look at daydreams. I wrote about my dream cottage back in 2011.

Day 23: Things people don’t know about me

ImageThat’s just a few. There, don’t you feel like you know me better now?

Day 24: How to have a better day

ImageWhen I was writing this I was thinking about how to have a better day when your morning starts out really badly. I had one of those mornings a couple of weeks back and one of my Twitter friends cheered me up immensely by posting a link to this story.

Someone pointed out I had forgotten to add wine to the list. Yet again, a list where wine would have been an entirely appropriate response. I think I got away with it this time, because when I’m having a bad morning, I don’t usually reach for the wine bottle. A bad evening, on the other hand …

30 days of lists – days 17-20

Moving on and trying not to get any further behind, I have temporarily abandoned List #16 of my 30 Days of Lists project. Here are the next four lists.

Day 17: Favourite things about my home

ImageDay 18: I ask for help when . . .

ImageI think it’s fairly obvious that I struggle with this particular issue.

Day 19: Qualities I admire in others

ImageI found this list quite challenging, because when I thought of qualities I thought I admired, I realised that some of those qualities in others can also annoy me a lot. Perhaps because they are directly opposite to the way I am. So I suppose the main thing I admire is this capacity to understand others and to behave in a way that acknowledges and is sensitive to the situation other people find themselves in.

There’s a quote I saw recently that was something like “Be kind, because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”, which some people have attributed to Plato. That’s sort of what I was trying to get at anyway.

Day 20: Comforting me this week


I had a good discussion with my supervisor last week and some things have become a lot clearer in my mind. And did I mention I was going on leave soon?

30 days of lists – days 9-12

Carrying on with the catch up theme, here are the next 4 days of 30 days of lists.

Day 9: Weird stuff that makes me cry. 

Someone asked me why the Melbourne Cup makes me cry. I know there is lots to dislike about the racing industry and most horses are not as lucky as these elite racers, but there is something that really moves me seeing these magnificent animals give their all in such a huge race. I loved watching Makybe Diva race and I think I cried every time she won.

Day 10: Meaningful gifts given or received.

  • Photo shoot and photos (coordinated by Lil Sis) for my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary.
  • Engraved cake knife for Juniordwarf’s first bithday
  • 40 years album for Slabs’ birthday
  • Brooch Slabs gave me for our 10th anniversary
  • Everything Juniordwarf makes for me

Day 11: This was meant to to be “things my family taught me” but I decided to make it more relevant to me now, and included my (work in progress) list of 12 commandments, as inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project.

Day 12: Favourite things about this month – which could be this month to date, or this month in general. I guess I included a bit of both

30 days of lists – days 5-8

A lot has been happening, so the next few days will be catchup posts.

To start with, here are the next four lists for my 30 days of lists project. (Days 1-4 are here). I’m having fun with this challenge, even though I’ve dropped a few days behind.

Day 5: Things I tend to worry about:

I tend to worry big. There wasn’t enough space to fit in all the small stuff . . . As for making mistakes, I think I have to re-read my own post on the subject several times. One day it might sink in.

Day 6: Rules to break:

This one was hard. I’m not very good at breaking rules. But I thought of another one to break: “Keep up to date with the challenges”. 

Day 7: Today I saw:

Day 8: I changed this one to suit me (that’s one of the great things about this challenge – if you don’t like the prompts you can change them). It was originally “childhood chores”, but I though it would be more interesting to make it more current, so it has become “Saturday chores”: