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Swimming in the English channel again

We all know it: what we should eat, how we should exercise, how to increase our focus, how to be more productive. Why is it so hard to move from knowledge to good habits?

Bonjour. In this video, I want to share one simple advice to help you build good habits. I am currently in England near Brighton. We decided to come and spend Christmas and New Year with our son who lives here.

I’ve just been for a swim in the English Channel. I did it a year ago and decided to go back in again.

My goodness, it was very cold, 7.8 degree Celsius to be precise. Why on earth did I do this?

About a year and a half ago I decided to take a cold shower every day, something which is great for your long-term health. Today instead of a cold shower I had a quick swim in the English Channel with my daughter Mirabelle and a few friends.

Knowing that taking a cold shower daily is good for you is easy. However, doing it every single day is much harder. The same challenge is true for many other areas in your life. I work with many leaders challenging their work habits. Sharing best practices is the easy part, helping them to change these new productive practices into habits is the real challenge.

B.J. Fogg is the Director of the behavior lab at Sandford University. He wrote a great book, ‘Tiny Habits’.

His suggests there are three things to consider when you want to change a habit: MAP. M for motivation, A for action and P for prompt:

·        Motivation – this is the least reliable factor to change a habit. You might be motivated at the start, but motivation can easily wind down. So do not rely on it.

·        Action – make it small and easy. If you make it hard you are unlikely to sustain it.

·        Prompt – anchor this new habit to an existing one.

Regarding my cold shower, I was advised to take a shower daily with 20 seconds cold then 10 seconds hot and repeat this process each time. My motivation is long term health. The tiny action: commit to at least 2 rounds (20 cold 10 hot, 20 cold 10 hot). The prompt: after my daily gym.

Most of the time I do the 20/10, ten times, but I only commit myself to two times. No issue if after two repetitions I don’t feel like doing it.

The same applies to many things. For example, one of the habits I want to create for all my clients is getting them to commit to the weekly plan. How do you make this easy? Just commit 10 minutes every week at looking at your top three priorities and asking yourself how you can focus on these during the following week. If you feel like going deeper into your weekly plan after, then great. But commit to always plan your key priorities / big rocks. How do you make this into your regular routine? Anchor it to something else you are already doing. For example if you have a weekly meeting on Thursday or Friday, commit to doing the weekly plan just before it.

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. I am off to get a hot chocolate and a hot shower back home. Can’t wait.

A bientôt,

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