Monday, 4 March 2019

Personal goals and the office party

I have written about making resolutions before (here), and about socialising at work (here), but sometimes socialising at work can get in the way of what it is we are trying to do.

Having been in a radical change situation myself, I thought I would share four tips that worked for me. I think all of these can be adapted.

Since I was 11, I have had migraines. I had a particularly bad one, then - based on some research and a protocol developed by a US Doctor (here) - I changed my diet. The changed worked: I went from up to 24 migraines a year to 1 or 2. However, for catering and socialisation purposes, I became the really difficult person to fit into any plans.
  1. Firstly, tell. I told everyone in the simplest possible terms what I was doing, and why. It doesn't matter if it is a congenital illness (i.e., migraine is a genetic faulty serotonin receptor) or whether you are setting yourself a bucket-list challenge. Telling people why allows them to help you, not to unconsciously undermine you.
  2. Secondly, organise. Ask who is doing the event organising, or catering, and provide feedback early on what is being planned so you can fit in most easily. I would organise behind the scenes with caterers that they would have plenty of soda water on hand because of my limited drinks options. NB: you could also offer to organise the event catering yourself.
  3. Thirdly, plan. Sort out a backstop position for yourself. When there was a function, I would check out the venue and menu options ahead of time (and usually arrange an undressed garden salad). If it was at someone's house, I would bring a small container of my homemade roasted, salted peanuts, own recipe hummus and cucumber slices (all things that worked within the protocol) and meant that I didn't have to make a drama over what to eat just in case something had changed. 
  4. Fourthly, buddy. You are going to find out if any of your work colleagues have things they are doing differently. You are going to forge bonds with those people due to the differences, and you are going to swap ideas. In our shared office, I think four out of five of us are now on a keto diet, due to competition fitness, illness or personal goals. Experimentation is contagious.
It is important to participate. That helps forge a team, and gives you colleagues who will have your back. That is what makes work a good place to be, after all.


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