I can hardly believe I have let nearly 4 weeks slip by without writing a Blog post.  Before we go any further, let’s get the apology out of the way:  I’m very sorry, you deserve better, and I’ll do my utmost to make that the last time it happens.  No excuses: of course it’s because I have been particularly busy, but not half as busy as most of you, so I won’t use that one in my defence.  I’m just a slacker, and that’s all there is to say.

It’s funny how picking up the metaphorical quill again is so much harder when  you get out of the routine.  Normally I reckon to write a Blog in about 30 minutes, but this one is taking much longer.  I never have to sit for 10 minutes to think about what to write – it usually just flows the minute I get set up.

So we could say my writing “muscle” has gone soft, and a bit like playing the first football match of the season at school, it all hurts somewhat.  This has got me wondering about what other muscles might have gone flabby without my realising it, from lack of regular practice.  I suddenly realise that it may in fact be quite a long list.  Oh dear oh dear oh dear!  Let’s see now: in no particular order, my flabby list of shame includes (and bear in mind these are just the ones I’m prepared to admit to publicly!) :

  •  My ability to improvise on the saxophone and indeed to get a decent sound out of it
  • Map reading (overuse of satnav being the culprit)
  • My ability to check the addition on a restaurant bill in my head
  • My ability to tie a bow tie without a mirror (obviously I am attending fewer black tie events than I used to!)

I would argue that all the above are due to lack of exercise, as distinct from the other signs of flabbiness which are much more obviously down to simply getting old, such as  not running up stairs 2 or 3 at a time as often, being much less good at reversing the car and taking longer to trim a hedge etc.

They say it takes 27 goes to turn a Conscious Competence behaviour (ie one you have learnt and have to remember to apply) into an Unconscious Competence (ie a habit – you do it the new way without having to remember to).  Practice makes perfect, basically.  I wonder whether there is any research on how it works the other way?  How many times do you have to forget to do something before you become Unconsciously Incompetent at it?  I expect the research has already been done.

So here is this week’s question for you:  go back a year or two and ask yourself how many things that used to come effortlessly to you and were habit have now, through disuse, become less intuitive or even lapsed?  Could it be time to plan to reinstate them before it’s too late?

Phew, that was hard work!  No doubt my next post will be a little easier to write, and I assure you it’ll certainly be with you more promptly than this one was.  Happy August.

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