As you may have noticed, we have entered into a new year as well as a completely new decade, where the last one went, well that I am afraid is anyone’s guess! As we start this year’s editions of articles, we thought that we would have a look at New Year’s Resolutions, and therefore focus on the year ahead and not on the ones just gone.
So, hands up, who actually made a New Year’s Resolution this New Year?
We would imagine that a fair few people who read this will have in good faith made a New Year Resolution, and a fair few of those will have already broken it by today the 15th of the month. Some people would say that that is all down to a lack of staying power. However, New Year’s resolutions are easy to break if they are not well-
Who made their New Year Resolution on New Year’s Eve?
Again, we would assume that most resolutions were made during the day or the late evening of the last day of the year. Some may even have been made at the time of the evening when 1 or too many shandies may have been drunk and were said whilst under the influence. The timing of the resolution is as important as the planning. What you are doing on the New Year’s Eve is effectively responding to how you feel in the moment and not on something that you actually feel that you can change. This has an automatic set up to fail attitude about it. Let’s say that you did make your New Year Resolution on the last day of the last decade, and have not kept it, that is okay, is it too late to look at what you said you wanted to achieve and to look at how you can achieve it? Of course, it isn’t. Maybe even with the help of the rest of this article you may be able to get yourself back on track.
New Year’s Resolution Background
In 46BC Julius Caesar decreed that the New Year should start on January 1st, and not only this but subjects should commit to personal improvement, and thus the resolution was born.
If we look at the modern world, cutting down on the overindulgence of the Christmas period and the vow to exercise more may seem like a welcome antidote to the extremes of the frivolity that the festive season saw.
New Year Resolution Statistics
By end of first week of year ¼ will have given up their resolution
By end of year: Fewer than 1 in 10 will make it
The statistics are interesting to see that most people will not make their resolutions last until the end of the year. And the reasons are very simple in that they have not thought them through, said it on the spur of the moment or haven’t set themselves a specific target.
Typical New Year’s Resolutions
The usual resolutions that you hear from people include:
I’m going to lose weight,
I’m going to exercise more,
I’m going to stop drinking, or
No more chocolate for me etc.
These are all good things I hear you cry, and of course we agree that they are, but they are the very reason why people fail to keep them as they have not actually said what they are going to achieve.
How to do New Year’s Resolutions Better
So, this new decade, you want to achieve your resolution? How can you do that? Here we have a few simple steps that would make you more resilient to the new year fade.
1. Plan ahead,
2. Draw up pros and cons,
3. Be realistic,
4. Outline your plan,
5. Talk about it,
6. Track your progress,
7. Reward yourself,
8. Stick to it,
9. Don’t beat yourself up,
10. Keep trying.
Steps 1 to 4 – Plan Ahead, draw up Pros and Cons, Be Realistic and Outline Your Plan
Earlier we alluded to the plan ahead, and not settle on something on New Year’s Eve. On our list of success steps, plan ahead really covers the first 4 on the list.
So, you have decided that you want to make a change in your life, before the dreaded 31st December, don’t rush to find something to change on the day, sit down and devise a ‘Pros and Cons’ list. If you do this in advance you have time to consider it, add to it, amend it and to get your friends and family to assist you with it to make sure that you really are happy with all the pros and cons. Consider carefully why you want to change that part of you and what are the downsides of doing so.
Then, is the time to draw up your plan. The most important part of the plan here is to make sure that you are being realistic and using a goal that is achievable. An easy mnemonic to use to ensure that your goal and plan is achievable is SMART. This stands for:
Specific – State exactly what you want to achieve,
So, let’s go back and have a look at those ‘typical resolutions’ and see if we can change them.
I’m going to lose weight, could become
I want to fit into that really nice dress by June.
I’m going to exercise more, would perhaps be better if it said
I’m going to train to run the local 5K charity run in September.
I’m going to stop drinking could become
By March, I want to have halved my 10 pints a week.
No more chocolate for me becomes
I will eat no more than 1 big bar of chocolate a week by March.
A little change in the wording alone makes the whole resolution seem a lot more achievable and a lot less scary than if it is all so generic and big. Of course, there is a chance that you will fall off the wagon of success, but at least you have a chance of getting back onto it.
Step 5 -
We are now at Step 5 of our 10-
Step 6 – Track Your Progress
When you have a big goal in mind that you are trying to achieve, it can be so easy to lose sight of the little incremental gains that you have made along the way. These small gains that you have made should also be marked and celebrated, for argument sake you have managed to run 1K, something you have never done before, say YES! I did it. Record it and then do Step 7 and that is reward yourself.
Step 7 – Reward Yourself
It is time to look at that achievement from Step 6 and think ok, how can I reward myself for that. The answer obviously doesn’t lie in something that would affect your overall big goal, for example a nice pint or a box of chocolates. In fact, it would be much better if you treated yourself to something that you would enjoy, say a movie night with a friend, a visit to your favourite tourist attraction or maybe just a nice new pair of jeans. The important thing is you are celebrating your achievement and keeping yourself working ahead to the big goal you want.
Step 8 – Stick to It
Starting something new is difficult and challenging. In recent studies, researchers have found that it takes 21 days for a new activity or way of life to become a habit, and nearly 6 months before it becomes a part of your personality. Therefore, you have to work hard to get to where you want to be, but in the meantime keep reminding yourself that you can do this.
Step 9 – Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Ok, you have been going well for so long, and oops you slipped off that new perch you were enjoying. What do you do? Well if you are like most people, you are now going to beat yourself up for slipping. This obsession of perfection will never allow you to achieve your bigger goal. Acknowledge that you slipped up, dust yourself off and refocus. If it helps, use your plan, if you wrote it down, and all those progress markers that you have already achieved and recorded and head forward stronger in the knowledge that you can fall, but it doesn’t break your resolve to achieve!
Step 10 – Keep Trying
Step 10 is probably the step you are going to come back to again and again. It may be that as you are reading you have run out of steam for your big goal and stopped striving for it. Hey, it’s ok, you’re human. Want to get back on that goal horse? Well you can! All you have to do is remind yourself of what it is that you are trying to achieve and see if you can find a different way towards it for the next 24 hours, then try another 24 hours. Soon you will be on your merry way to that goal again because those little 24 hours are building up and giving you a solid foundation.
We really hope that whatever your goal is you are able to achieve it, or at least a small part of it in 2020, our 10 step plan isn’t just there for a New Year’s Resolution, it can be used at any point of the year that you want to start a new goal.
We will end this month with 2 very simple words for each and every one of you:
This month, we thought we would take a look at the topical illness of the time and examine the Coronavirus.
What is Coronavirus?
The virus causing Coronavirus is called Covid 19. This particular virus is a part of the family of coronavirus that has not been experienced before. It is not the same as the coronaviruses that circulate among humans that causes mild illnesses like the common cold. This particular strain was first identified in Wuhan Province, China in 2019. As we explore this virus, the number of people affected is still on the rise, and the mortality rate is at 1%.
What causes Covid19?
Initially the thought process of the scientists was that the virus was caused by snakes, many experts have ruled this out and are now suspecting bats as the probable cause. According to the World Health Organisation there is evidence that demonstrates a link between this and other strains of coronavirus that have circulated in bats, some 500 coronaviruses have been identified in bats in China. However, they say that the cause of the original exposure is unclear. They say that bats are rare in markets in China, more likely to be hunted and sold to restaurants as food. The World Health Organisation says that the most common hypothesis is that an intermediary host animal has played a role in transmission. This statement from the World Health Organisation suggests that they are still looking for the species that started the transmission of this virus.
What are the signs and symptoms of Covid19?
The main symptoms of Covid 19 are:
A high temperature,
Shortness of breath,
The signs and symptoms can also include flu-
How is Covid 19 spread?
Currently, there is little known about how the virus is passed from one person to another as it is a new illness. However, other similar viruses are spread through cough droplets. It is highly unlikely that the virus is passed from packages and through food.
Am I at risk from Covid 19 in the UK?
The UK Chief Medical Officer has raised the risk to the public from low to moderate, but the risk to individuals remains low. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone with coronavirus is currently being contacted by medical professionals.
Covid 19 in the News
On the 31st of January, a plane carrying 110 EU nationals left Wuhan heading initially for the RAF base at Brize Norton, UK. 83 of the passengers were Britons. All passengers were assessed prior to take-
Flight was due to leave a day earlier, China denied permission.
Anyone with a Chinese passport, including children of UK parents were told they could not leave, this ban was lifted.
Even though the plane was delayed, the ban was lifted too late for people to reach the airport to board and get flown back to the UK.
The evacuation of UK nationals continued. On the 2nd February 11 Britons left the Wuhan Province on a French flight, joining the other 83 in quarantine at Arrowe Park. A further 8 UK nationals and their families left on a New Zealand flight on the 4th February.
The UK chartered a final plane on the 9th to bring home further UK nationals.
Those who returned to the UK were to be quarantined for 14 days, the incubation period for the virus, at Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral.
Quarantined at sea
During a cruise off the coast of Japan, The Diamond Princess was quarantined with all members of the ship in lockdown in their cabins. The whole ship of 3,700 passengers and crew were expected to be quarantined for the 14-
Cases rose as follows:
7th February 61
8th February 64
9th February 70
10th February 135
11th February 174
13th February 218
This means that The Diamond Princess has more victims of the virus than anywhere else outside of China!
Last week, 2 events were postponed, the first on Wednesday was the postponement of the upcoming Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was thought that bringing in the large number of fans, teams, and drivers was a risk to them and the surrounding area with the virus being abundant in China. It is hoped that the race can be rearranged later in the Championship year.
Another event cancelled last week was the Mobile World Congress, again due to the virus, even though the event is held in Barcelona. The event is the place where the latest models of mobile technology are launched and showcased, with million-
Is there a vaccine for Covid 19?
Currently there is no vaccination for the Covid 19 virus.
How to avoid catching Covid 19
Whilst there is no vaccine for the virus, there are things that you can do that can help to prevent the spread of this and other viruses. In honesty, the steps you can take are basic good hygiene steps, but we have detailed them below:
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
Put used tissues in the bin straight away.
Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
You should avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you do not have clean hands.
Current Covid 19 advice:
You should contact 111 for advice if you have been:
to Wuhan or Hubei Province in China in the last 14 days (even if you do not have symptoms).
to other parts of China, including Macau and Hong Kong, in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it's mild).
to Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Republic of Korea or Malaysia in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it's mild).
in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus.
You should not go to the hospital or your GP and should contact 111 for advice and guidance.
Covid 19 Statistics
As of February 14th, the statistics are as follows:
Global Cases: 49,053
Outside of China:
World Health Organisation Risk assessment:
China VERY HIGH
Regional Level HIGH
Global Level HIGH
We hope that you have a better understanding of Covid 19
and that you are able to stay safe.
Thanks to the NHS and The World Health Organisation for facts and statistics included in this month’s article.
In this month’s article, we thought we would have a look at what we have realised is a little-
This system is called Silent Solutions.
So, to begin with, let’s start with What happens when you call 999?
When you dial 999 your call is directed to a call centre and will be answered by BT operators. The operator will then ask you which service you require. Should the operator not have a service requested from you and anything suspicious is heard, the operator will re-
If you request a service, the handler will put you through to the service you have requested.
Calling 999 from a landline
It is less likely that a hoax or accident call will be made from a landline and therefore the Silent Solutions are not used on a call from a landline.
It is always best to speak to the operator should you be able to. If, however, a call is received from a landline and:
There is no request for an emergency,
The caller does not answer the questions,
Only background noise can be heard, and the operator is unable to decide if an emergency service is required,
Then the operator will pass the call through to a police call handler, because the operator believes doubt exists.
Should you replace the handset before the operator can establish if doubt exists, the landline line may remain live for 45 seconds in case you should lift the handset again. Should the handset then be lifted the operator will put the call through to the police call handler should the operator be concerned for your safety.
Remember when a call is made from a landline,
information from where you are calling from should be automatically made available
to the call handler to assist in the response.
Calling 999 from a mobile
It is more likely that an accidental call will be made to 999 from a mobile, this is where the Silent Solutions are used.
When you call 999 and the BT operator has not been able to confirm which service you need or where there is doubt that the call is accidentally made, the operator will connect you through.
You will hear an automated police message which lasts about 20 seconds, it begins with ‘you are through to the police’. It will then ask you to press ‘55’ to put you through to the police call management. The BT operator will stay on the line waiting for you to press 55. Should you do this the call will be put through to the police, if you do not press 55 the call will be terminated.
Remember pressing 55 does not allow police to track your location.
Having been put through to the police call handler, they will try to get you to communicate with them by asking you simple yes or no questions. If you are unable to speak listen carefully to the call handler so that they can assist you to figure out the help you need and arrange for this.
What is Silent Solutions?
Silent Solutions is a system used to filter out the large number of accident and hoax calls that are received by 999 call handlers each year. The system also exists to help people who are unable to speak, but who genuinely need help from police, or other emergency services, although you will be put through to a police call handler.
Situations when you might need to use Silent Solutions
There are many situations when you may need to call 999 and access Silent Solutions. These include:
In a domestic violence situation,
In a terror attack situation,
In any situation where your life is at risk should you speak,
In any situation when you are physically unable to talk.
The Silent Solutions system has been in place since 2002. It is believed that most members of the public are unaware of the system or use it inappropriately.
It is thought that in the region of 5,000 calls out of 20,000 silent calls made daily are put through to this life-
In 2019, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a campaign to raise the awareness of this system, and even today when we discuss it in our training courses, the majority of our learners are unaware that it exists. The IOPC’s campaign was supported by the family of Kerry Power. Kerry was a 36-
Sadly, for Kerry who was strangled shortly after the call, an investigation into the police response found that she may have been given incorrect advice by a police officer previously as to when help would be sent.
It is believed wrongly that all silent calls are responded to, sadly this is not the case, purely due to the huge number of silent calls that are made to 999 each day.
Finally, this month we thought we would look at what to do if you are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech-
For this group of people there is a service called EmergencySMS. This service allows people to text the emergency services should there be an emergency.
Avon and Somerset Police describe an emergency as:
When life is at risk,
People are trapped or in trouble,
A crime is taking place,
Someone is hurt and needs medical attention, or
There is a fire.
In these situations, it is possible to text 999.
What do you need to do in order to text 999?
In order to use the EmergencySMS service you need to text the word ‘register’ to 999 and then follow the instructions.
For more information on the EmergencySMS system, why not visit the designated website.
We hope that this month’s article has helped to raise awareness of the life-
As we sit down to write this month’s article, it struck us how much has happened since we wrote our Covid-
In this article we don’t want to focus on the negativity that surrounds the world, we want to focus in on finding ways of finding the positives and keeping the positive mindset going forward.
Firstly, let’s look at the positives that have been happening around the UK over recent weeks. I think the first thing we would look to happens at 8pm on a Thursday, and is due to take place again this evening (at time of publishing) for a 4th time. And that of course is the Clap for our Carers. This has been something that has reminded the amazing people that work in the NHS and care for others that they are very much appreciated for their hard work and dedication, as well as, for placing themselves at risk of the virus for the benefit of others. Here at The Training Fox we say thank you to them.
Picture used with thanks to the Liberal Democrats
The other positive that has come to light in the world since lockdown, is the sense of being in it all together, there are members of the community who, while maintaining social distancing, are checking on their older members of the community, doing shopping or fetching medication for them as and when necessary.
Finally, millions of rainbows have appeared in the windows of many houses across towns, cities and villages across the UK. These are a symbol of spreading hope and a way of maintaining the morale for children and families everywhere. We also like the old saying:
At the end of a rainbow, there’s a pot of gold!
Having now taken a look at the events that have occurred, we wanted to look at keeping a positive mindset going forward. One way of maintaining a positive mindset is using a technique called Mindfulness.
So, what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a technique that can be learnt. The technique involves making a special effort to focus on what is happening in the present moment; this could be in your mind, body or surroundings. It is also about not judging anything in the present moment, maintaining the positivity. Many people find that practising mindfulness helps them in their day-
Where does Mindfulness come from?
Mindfulness origins are rooted in Buddhist philosophy and practice tradition more than two and a half thousand years old. The practice of Mindfulness is, in itself, an effective practice without any religious context of Buddhism, and it is often taught as a non-
Some people who actively practise Mindfulness like to explore the religious underpinnings of Buddhism; this has been known to deepen the understanding of the technique, but it is not necessary to get the benefits from Mindfulness practice.
What are the aims of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is designed to help you:
Become more self-
Feel calmer, with less stress,
Feel more able to choose how to respond to your own thoughts and feelings,
Cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts,
Be kinder towards yourself.
All of these aims are important for a person’s mental health, and the way that they feel about themselves.
‘Be at one with yourself before others’
How does Mindfulness work?
It is important to understand that the way you think, as well as what you think about, can affect the way that you feel and act. If you worry or think a lot about upsetting past events, you may then feel sad, anxious or even have a sense of self-
The whole idea around Mindfulness as found in the Buddhist background is to use various techniques to bring your focus back to the here and now present moment; it usually helps you to focus in on your body, breathing and mind.
Mindfulness can help you to:
Notice how thoughts come and go in your mind,
Notice what your body is telling you,
Create space between you and your thoughts.
How can I try Mindfulness today?
As we are in an unprecedented time, we thought that you may need, or benefit from, some techniques that you can try today to help your own mindfulness. Some of these will need a little bit of planning depending on what you have at home, others can take place right now, these include:
Mindful colouring and drawing,
Mindful moving, walking or running,
So, let’s explore these a little further.
Mindful colouring and drawing
As you draw and/or colour, focus on the colours and the sensation of the pencil against the paper as opposed to the feeling of trying to draw something in particular. If you want to you could go to your local store (on your food shopping trip) and pick up a mindfulness colouring book, usually found in the magazine section, or a simple search online will find you many images that you can colour in. An example page you could go to is:
While researching for this article we found this mindfulness image:
Why not click on the fox image to download and print it in order to colour the image in, then show us on our social media feeds your end results, using #MindfulnessFox.
Mindful moving, walking or running
As you are out on your allowed daily exercise, notice the feeling of your body moving. You might even go further and feel the breeze on your skin, the feeling of your feet and hands as they touch different surfaces and textures; it is also good to focus on the different smells that are all around you, you might even notice smells you haven’t noticed before.
The idea behind mindful eating is to focus in on the taste, sight and texture of what you eat and drink. An example that Mindful eating provides is think about a hot cup of tea or coffee, as you drink this focus on how hot and liquid it feels on your tongue, how sweet it tastes or you could focus on the steam that comes off it.
The body scan really stems from the meditation of the Buddhist origins of the technique. In order to utilise this, you will move your attention slowly through the different parts of your body, starting from the top of your head, working slowly down to the end of your toes. The idea is to focus on feelings of warmth, tension, tingling, or relaxation of different parts of your body.
The whole idea of mindful meditation is to sit quietly and focus on your breathing, thoughts, sensations in your body and things that you can hear around you. As your mind starts to wander bring your mind back to the present moment that you are in.
This is a technique which blurs the lines between 2 religions: Buddhism and Hinduism. Yoga is one of the 6 orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophical traditions. It is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices. Some people have yoga DVDs, or even still use their Wii games’ consoles to do yoga. You can even do yoga online from the comfort of your own home.
How can I get the most from mindfulness?
There are some key steps to be taken in order to get the most from the exercises:
Pay attention: Make a special effort to pay attention to the moment you are in, for example in the tea and coffee example earlier.
Notice: Pay attention to your mind wandering, it is normal for a mind to wander, just notice where your thoughts have drifted to.
Choose and return: Choose to bring your attention back to the present moment, usually by focusing on your breathing or another sensation on the body.
Be aware and accept: Notice and be aware of the emotions you are feeling and/or sensations on your body. It is important to try to recognise and accept these feelings without judgement but more with a friendly curiosity.
Be kind to yourself: It is really important that you remember that mindfulness is difficult to do and our minds will always wander. Try not to be critical of yourself, simply notice your mind is wandering, and gently bring yourself back to the exercise you are focusing on.
Set aside regular time to practise: Regular short periods of mindful meditation can work better than the occasional long one. If you struggle to find the time, it may be an idea to decide on one or two routine activities that you carry out which you can try to do mindfully each day.
Make yourself comfortable: It can benefit you to do Mindfulness in a space where you feel safe and comfortable, and where you won’t be easily distracted.
Go slowly: Build your practice up slowly. It is important to remember that you are building a new skill and it will take time to build this up.
Most people will find it hard to sit and meditate for a long period to begin with; start small and grow your time up.
Be patient: There is absolutely no need to set any ambitious goals or targets or to put any pressure on yourself to achieve anything. Take your time to feel comfortable in completing mindfulness exercises and activities.
A little bit of mindfulness at this time can help with maintaining positive mental health. If you are someone who suffers with mental health problems, studies have shown that mindfulness can help to manage depression, anxiety and stress. However, it is important to remember that it is not for everyone and if it doesn’t work for you, remember that it is absolutely fine and there is going to be something out there that works for you.
Can I dip in and out of it?
There is nothing to say that you absolutely have to do some mindfulness activity all the time, it may be that you just need a moment of relaxation, have tried the usual things and now you want to try something else, in that case why not give it a go. Don’t feel under pressure to do anything, just find that thing that allows you to focus on yourself with no pressure.
Remember, in this unusual time that we find ourselves,
Firstly, look after yourself, use your exercise time for fresh air,
Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives