Live Train Perform

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Episode 6: The Power of Habit

by Shaun Kober
May 29th 2020
00:24:16
Description

Welcome to the Launch series of the Live Train Perform podcast.

Your habits account for up to 40% of the decisions you make on a daily basis. They can be productive, or they can sabotage y... More

What's up guys? Sean Cobra here of the live transform podcast Over the next two weeks, while I launched this podcast, I'm going to be dropping one episode per day, then I'm gonna drop back to one episode per week. The first episode is an introductory episode explaining who I am, my background, my knowledge, my experience. The second episode is all about goal setting, that's going to be followed up by progress tracking, then building habits, doing the things that you enjoy doing consistency, restricting, temptation, meal preparation, accountability, crap foods, getting started and building momentum along with hierarchy of value, motivation, direction and your environment. Now, if you go back and listen to each one of those topics again, they are all relevant or optimizing your performance and your everyday life. It's not just to do with health and fitness. Yes, I am a strengthening edition coach, that is my background, that is my specialization. However, I'm a coach first and foremost and I need to optimize the other 23 hours of the day so that I can get the most out of my clients for that one hour that I'm with them.

I'll also be answering some of my followers questions that have posted questions on my Q and a memes and I'm going to incorporate those answers into the pertinent episodes. Mhm Yo yo what's up guys, welcome to the next episode of two week launch series in today's session, we're going to be covering off on habits and why habits are so important. Now, it's been shown that up to 50% of our daily decisions are made or determined by our habits. Our habits are essentially these hardwired default patterns that we fall back on when our energy levels are low, when motivations low, when inspiration and willpower, et cetera are low. So we fall back onto these default patterns. Now these default patterns, our habits can either be positive and manner or negative in manner. So when we have negative habits, for example, then that's going to sabotage our results and it doesn't matter what area of life we're talking about.

Okay, this could be in relationships. You know, you might constantly see yourself sabotaging your relationship because of these small habits that have become default patterns over time. And you find that you're doing the same thing again and again and again with different partners. This can also be the same with finances. This can be the same with all of your other relationships. This can be the same with your health and fitness. But then on the flip side, you'll see people that are fairly successful in a number of areas in their life. And when you start talking to them, you'll find that they have these daily practices, these daily rituals that are essentially their habits that determine and shape how their day goes and the direction that they're moving in. Now, the reason that we're discussing habits is because they are so powerful, they can either be moving us in the right direction or they can be sabotaging our efforts, why our habits important. Now when we're learning something and we're doing something for the first time, our brain allocates a lot of energy to learn and create these motor patterns and these default patterns in the brain that essentially starts teaching the body what it should be doing, what muscles to fire when what order create movement, create these neural connections etcetera.

So think about the first time you started driving a car, okay? You sit in the driver's seat, you make adjustments to the seat, you check all the mirrors, you make sure that you're in neutral, you make sure the hand brakes on etcetera, etcetera. All right. Now when you initially start the car, then you're probably a little bit nervous and everything is new to you. Starting to make all these connections, these associations, you know, and you're super vigilant, your super alert. Now, the more and more and more you drive, the more that becomes a default pattern and the less attention you need to pay to this. So think about, I'm sure there's been times I know I've done this before. I love, I love a good road trip. So whenever I go home to Australia, I've got my car at my mom's place and I love to do a road trip and sometimes I'll jump in my car and drive 5.5, 6 hours down the road to go and visit one of my best mates and just listen to podcasts and music and things like that. And you know, the I get to my mate's place and I'm like, oh I don't even really remember the drive much. I remember the podcast because I was paying much more attention to the podcast than it was for driving.

It's the same thing with everything that we do okay. These are the more we do something, the more that pattern becomes our default pattern. There was actually the experiment uh in the seventies, I believe it was using rats. Researchers surgically emplaced 150 sensors within the rat skull so that they could measure brain activity. They drop these rats into this T shaped maze and at the start of the maze where they dropped them in, they had a petition there. So the rat literally just sat there until the petition opened. Once the petition opened, there was a big click. The rats started venturing through this maze. On the end, there was a left and there was a right at an intersection and now on the left side was a block of chocolate. They conducted this experiment 150 times. So the 1st 50 times or so they went through the maze, there was much more brain activity as the rat kind of bounce around and checked out its environment and scratch the walls and just kind of wandered around and explored. Once it started getting used to the maze, it switched its brain off and the brain activity decreased and the rat pretty much beeline straight for the chocolate.

Now there was two spikes on the brain activity. One was when they heard the click, which was the petition opening. Then the brains, the brain activity decrease, The rat went on to its default patterns and it pretty much beeline straight for the chocolate. Once it got to the chocolate, that brain activity spiked again. So what neuroscientists and researchers have actually shown is there's a queue response and reward. The queue was the click which was the petition opening. Then the response was the default pattern that had been ingrained making its way through the maze. And then the reward was the spike in the brain activity. When the rat reached the chocolate at the end. This is now commonly referred to as the habit loop and we can use these habits to create positive responses. This is a great way of hacking our habits and optimizing our daily life is by implementing these small rituals and these routines, these positive routines is positive habits that are going to allow us to allocate energy and resources to other things that are more important in our life.

So we can't rely on motivation. We need to rely on these daily positive habits that are going to add up over time. Let's discuss willpower. It's been shown in numerous studies that willpower is finite. We only have a limited amount of uh conscious decisions that we can make throughout the day. An example that you'll see throughout your own day is you'll typically have a lot more willpower and motivation in the morning. But as the day goes on, as you start tapping into those resources, making decision after decision after decision. Then towards the end of the day, that's when you typically start giving into your cravings and and that's where you might make less ideal decisions. Because you're tapping, you've tapped into your finite resources of your willpower. So a habit is using your willpower to make a decision ahead of time. If this happens, which is the Q. Then there's going to be a response, a default pattern that you fall into an ingrained pattern. Then you have your award. I've spoken about this in a previous podcast, but an example of this, a habit loop is instead of getting home from work and sitting on the couch as soon as you get home, take off your work clothes, put on your training gear and tell yourself you're walking out the door by a certain time.

That simple little habit, that one thing that you're doing of putting on your training gear kicks off that habit loop. Then you go into your response so you give yourself that Q. Or that trigger. Then you go through that default response, which is I'm walking out the door and I'm going to go for a run, I'm going to go and lift at the gym or whatever and then you get the reward of the endorphin rush et cetera. After training, there's also a neurological component that needs to be spoken about about giving yourself that win. Once you walk out the door and you go and train, you feel good about yourself, okay, so setting yourself up for success, success breeds success, you know, so something kicks off in the brain that gives you a little bit of a dopamine hit where you feel good about yourself, you're happy with what you've achieved. And this is why I make my bed first thing in the morning because I've literally gotten out of bed and within two minutes I've already achieved something for the day. This is called a cornerstone habit or a keystone habit and this is essentially one of those habits that then creates a snowball effect.

So you do one thing that sets up a win and then that leads to the next win of the day. So cornerstone habits for me is putting my phone down at nine o'clock at night. So this allows me to then go through my evening routine that allows me to get a good night's sleep removed blue light from my eyes, which affects sleep, which I'll talk about in another podcast and it basically sets me up for a good night's sleep. Now when I wake up first thing in the morning, most people have their phone as their alarm clock now as soon as their alarm clock goes off, they reach over, they grab their phone and the first thing they do is start scrolling through notifications and social media and shit like that, and that is literally starting your day on someone else's terms, that's being reactive rather than proactive. So a little tip that I like to give here is the first hour of the day and the last hour of the day of the most important to me because my sleep is a priority. If I don't get a good night's sleep, then that's going to affect my productivity, my energy levels, my willpower, my motivation the next day.

So I implement these little habits throughout my day, these little routines that allow me to kind of switch off and have this flow on effect down the chain to get a good understanding of what your cornerstone habits are, you really need to pay attention to your activities throughout the day. Some of your daily rituals are going to kick off a negative habit loop where the domino effect occurs and you start moving in a negative direction. Other habits on the other hand, are going to kick off a positive habit loop, which is going to set you up for win after win. So paying attention to what these habits are these cues or these triggers that then have a flow on effect with your response, which then leads you to some form of reward your environment, also plays a massive part on your habits. An example of this is think about the last time you caught up with an old friend that you haven't seen for many, many years and the association that you had with that friend was you would party, they were fun to hang out with you go out and get on the piece.

You'd have big nights et cetera. Now every time you see that friend you've got this association you've got this pattern that's been ingrained ah And it's very, very easy to fall back into those habits. On the flip side you're going to have some friends that really bring out the best in you and they want to study, they want to move, they want to do positive activities that allow them to be their best. Which then also allows you to be your best. So you are a product of your environment. I'm sure everyone's heard this before that you are the some of the five people you hang out with the most. So you become the average of those five people. So choose who you hang out with for the most part now don't get me wrong, I've got friends that whenever we catch up, we get on the piece, we have a good time and that's awesome. But that's the exception rather than the rule you shape your environment and your environment shapes you behavioral change leads to psychological change and psychological change leads to behavioral change any time I've worked with a client, we always need to start with the psychological and behavioral components because that is the only way to make long term sustainable real changes.

Now, that brings me to my next point when we want to make changes, we need to start small, we need to start with small steps that we can implement consistently because long term consistency always trumps short term intensity. Many small habits lead to big change over time. So ask yourself this question. What's one thing that you can do on a daily basis consistently? That is going to have the biggest impact on your daily habits, Your daily routines, your mindset, your behaviors. I see this happen all the time where people want to make changes, especially in their health and fitness and they decide to do everything. They decided to completely change their diet. They change their training protocols. They hire a personal trainer and they try and make all these massive changes in their life and that's all well and good when motivation is high. That's awesome When you've got inspiration and willpower. But what happened when those start to wane? Because at the end of the day they are emotions, they come and go. So you can't rely on them, motivation doesn't last.

But structured does I quite often get people commenting on how disciplined I am in certain areas of my life and yes, that's true. I am disciplined. But that's because I've created habits and routines. When I was in the army, we operated on standard operating procedures, which means that if this happens, we do that and if that happens we do this, that becomes default patterns. So when the shit hit the fan, when we were in Afghanistan for example, you know, we ended up in a firefight, the training took over because we drilled it again and again and again and that was that default pattern that we had ingrained. We had a saying in the army which was train hard, fight easy. This allowed our training to take over and I've implemented these standard operating procedures into other areas of my life. A lot of people have this all or nothing mindset, whether either on the wagon or they're off the wagon. Well I'm here to tell you there is no fucking wagon, right? You're not on it or off it. It's like you can make positive decisions, you can make negative decisions. An analogy that I like to use here is using o'clock, let's say I get out of bed in the morning, my alarm clock goes off, I get out of bed, I make my bed alright.

Already ticked off a positive habit. Now my clock is moving in a clockwise direction. Then I do some meditation, do some breathwork, I've ticked off another positive habit. Then I might go and swim in my pool, I'll jump in my sauna, I'll have a stretch. I'm already doing things that are important to me that I'm ticking off the list and each one of these positive routines has a snowball effect, a flow on effect that keeps me moving in the right direction. That's a great way to start your day Now. Think on the flip side, if my alarm clock goes off and I reach over and I grabbed my phone and the first thing I do is start scrolling through social media and going through notifications. Then I end up laying in bed for 30 minutes, then I'm not going to get out of bed. I'm not going to be doing these things like having a good healthy breakfast and one poor decision flows onto another. Poor decision. Every poor decision moves your clock in an anti clockwise direction. So what we need to do is understand that the next decision we make is the most important decision. If we make a bad decision, then we need to realize we need to be aware of it and then go, all right, well, I probably slept in a little bit longer than I needed to.

That's not going to allow me to have a good breakfast. That's not going to allow me to write my schedule in and structure in these important events that I have for the day. How can I turn this around? I need to make sure that the next decision I make is important and gets me moving back in a clockwise direction. So again, we can create that snowball effect. Now, if you make one bad decision and then another bad decision and then another bad decision, it's just like the snowball effect. Okay, as you make decision after decision, you start picking up speed, you start picking up pace and it makes it harder and harder and harder to then make a good decision and turn everything around. However, one good decision leads to another good decision, which leads to another good decision. All right, So we want to, if we take a step back and we kind of fall off the wagon, so to speak, then understand where you're at, be aware of it and then just make sure that the next decision you make is the right one that gets you moving in a positive direction. Again, I'd like to use the Peredo principle here, which says that 80% of your results comes from 20% of your efforts.

So we need to make sure that our 20% of our efforts are being driven in the right direction, that are pushing us in a positive manner towards our goals towards what we want to achieve. not only for the day, but for the week, for the month, for the year, uh, in different parts of our life, our relationships, our finances, our health, our fitness, everything comes into play here. Every decision we make affects every other decision we make throughout the day, a great way to implement new habits is by anchoring them to already established patterns and routines that you have. An example for me is I get up and I go for a swim as part of my morning routine, then I'll go and jump in my sauna. I'm lucky enough to have a sauna at my place, but I'll jump in the sauna after I've had a swim. This is where I'm doing some meditation and breath work. I'll also throw in some stretches here. I'm already going into the sauna so I may as well add something else that's going to benefit me. So now I've gone for a swim, I've got some movement in. I've also added some meditation and breath work in which gets my head in the right space.

Then I'm also doing a stretch which allows me to loosen up and I'm taking advantage of the fact that my muscles are warm. I'm breaking a sweat that's going to make my muscles a lot more pliable. And the meditation actually down regulates my nervous system, which allows or dampens the signal to my muscles and releases some tone intention to them. So now I can get a much better stretch and much more pronounced effect from that. If you'd like to get a little bit more movement in throughout the day, then you might anchor that to something else that you're already doing. One option might be when you're watching netflix throughout the day, then you might just grab a foam roller and do some soft tissue work or you're a massage gun or you might go through some static stretches or something like that. You're already watching T. V. S. You may as well do something else beneficial. That's going to aid you. Another way to implement this is if you like listening to podcasts, I love listening to podcasts and something that I used to do a lot. I haven't really done as much anymore because my morning routine has changed but I'll go for a walk in the morning, I'll listen to say a 45 minute podcast.

guess what I'm doing for 45 minutes. I'm simply walking so now I'm getting that mental stimulation as well as that physical stimulation. So anchoring habits that you want to create positive habits to other positive routines that you've already got going on is an excellent way to start implementing some of these tools into your day to day routine. Something else to think about as well is it's not just about adding things in. Sometimes it's about taking things out and understanding being aware of some of these negative habits that start taking you down that negative path that where that clock is moving in an anti clockwise direction. Look these habits are a massive part of our life there so ingrained that we don't even think about it. What happens when you go to the movies, you go the movies with your partner, your friends or whatever and the first thing you do is grab the biggest fucking bag of popcorn you can, along with that is a super sized cup of coke. You're going to grab an ice cream. One of the choc tops. Maybe some maltese is some lollies, et cetera.

So simply changing that Q. And that response, yes, you're going to the movies. But instead of choosing all of those things again, all or nothing, choose one of those things. All right. I'm going to indulge in popcorn today. I'm not going to have the coke and all the other condiments that go along with it or you might want the coke and not have the other things. So simply removing one of those things at a time can lead you in the right direction. Okay, You don't have to go all or nothing. Just start making small changes day after day after day. Sometimes it's adding one thing in. Sometimes it's taking one thing out. There's an excellent book called The one thing by Gary Color. And in this book he asked this question, what one thing can I do such that by doing it makes everything else easier or unnecessary. Sometimes it's not about doing more and it's about doing less. So what's the one thing that's going to be the biggest game changer for me right now that I can do consistently. That makes everything else unnecessary and easier. Plant small seeds into your day to day that grow into big trees over time.

The final thing I want to bring up in this episode is an experiment that's now referred to as the marshmallow test. And if you haven't seen this, go and look it up on youtube, it's hilarious. Basically. What they did was they had these small Children placed in a room. Now the researcher went in, was having a conversation with the kids. They had a marshmallow sitting in front of them on a plate. Now the researcher said, hey look, I need to leave the room for 10 minutes. But if you don't eat that marshmallow when I get back, I'll give you another one and watching the kids faces their reactions and how they dealt with not eating this marshmallow or eating the marshmallow is absolutely hilarious, but Only 10-15% of the Children didn't eat the marshmallows. Now they followed these Children throughout their lifetime. I think they've fallen for like 15, 20 years or something like that. And what they found was that the Children that restricted themselves from eating the marshmallow and were rewarded with a second marshmallow. Once a researcher returned, actually, were a lot more successful in their life, they were better friends.

They had better jobs, They had better education. They've done better at school. They were better with finances and relationships, et cetera, which is pretty interesting concept in putting off short term reward for long term gain to recap this episode. Our habits play a big part in driving our daily action either in a positive or a negative manner. So we need to assess our daily habits, our daily routines and rituals and figure out what serving us and what's not serving us, choose one thing on each side, a positive habit that you can start implementing into your life and anchor that to other routines that you've already got going on. Then think about removing one negative habit that is having a flow on effect, that takes you down the negative path, Then start doing this consistently once you can do something consistently for a month, then have a look at everything else that's going on and maybe implement one more positive habit and remove one more negative habit. It's only when you can do something consistently for a long period of time.

Do you then earn the right to add something else in or take something else away? Do one thing at a time, focus on the biggest thing that's going to make the biggest change, be the biggest game changer and then add upon that once you've built that into your daily habits in the next episode, we're going to be discussing that exact topic, consistency and doing the things that you enjoy to build that consistency in. All right, see you guys there. If you enjoy the content that I'm bringing to you guys, please help me spread the message and like save share and subscribe and pass this off to your friends, your family, anyone that's relevant in your life, that it could potentially help. And please make sure you leave a five star rating and review Much Love Guys, please.

Episode 6: The Power of Habit
Episode 6: The Power of Habit
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