Stuck in a knot with your whats and your hows?

Charlotte Sheridan
3 min readNov 8, 2022

This is the Swim Jump Fly Advent calendar — 12 bite-sized pieces of advice from my new book Swim Jump Fly: A guide to changing your life. Here we’ll cover another stage in my 5-Step process, looking at the what and the how.

What is the thing you’re doing that you want to change — friendships, relationships, the place you live, physical or mental health, or your work. We’re often so focused on the what that much of the time we leave out the how altogether. Or, if we remember it, we give it less attention than it deserves. However, successful change needs a bit of both. If we’re unclear about our hows, we may put our focus in all the wrong places.

I’ll bring it alive with some examples. Take work. How you’re doing that can often be the key to your happiness. Are you chained to a desk all day, but would rather be doing something physical? Or is it the people you work with? Let’s say you’re always in large groups, but you’re an introvert and you enjoy working on your own.

Or maybe you need to slim down after the holidays, so you’re on a diet. You’re eating fewer calories and this makes you tired. The knock-on effect is now you’re doing less exercise. In the end the calories in and calories out are the same as before. If this is the case then exercise might be the area you need to build on, re-balancing your focus on both calories in and calories out.

Perhaps you are exercising, but you just don’t like the how of it very much. You’re finding it hard to keep going because you’re sociable, but you’re exercising alone. What you’d really like is to join a boxing class and be with other people.

Here’s an exercise from the book that will help you untangle your whats from your hows:

1) First, think about a change you’d like to make. Then take a piece of paper, or a notebook and draw two columns; the first is what and the second is how.

2) Write in your what in the first column. You may find it useful to go back to exercise in my first blog post to check you have enough control or influence to make this change.

Charlotte Sheridan

Psychologist, coach, writer, photographer… juggling them all but often dropping balls.