Weekend Links

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Real life Santa (Washington Post)

How the Simpsons Changed TV (Vulture)

Origin of the Santa Tracker (Washington Post)

Coaches and Coaching

Life-long learner (Timbers)

Leadership on the Court (TCC, with links to SI)

Strict and Warm (Hearts and Minds Teaching)

The Journey

Success at any age (Ted.com)


Be Like Neil Young (Humble Dollar)

Rational vs Reasonable (Collaborative Fund)

Long hours (The Economist)

What I’m Reading

My Kindle


What I’m Listening to

Bagman (itunes)

Changing My Habits

Getting Better Every Day

I buy the idea that changing habits happens in small incremental steps every day.

James Clear who appears to be one of the experts on this uses this image to make the point.

changing habits in small incremental steps

Or as Aristotle put it, “We are what we repeatedly do.”

But, damn if it isn’t hard to change a habit even if you look at it in these small bite sized increments. Or, at least that’s what I’ve found.

I find most of my bad habits can be broken into two categories–completely thoughtless and stubbornly hard to break. That’s how it goes for me.

In the completely thoughtless category I put things like reading twitter when I should be working. I am working and then something pops up and I pop over and then it leads to another things and then I’m like–“right, I was working, but now I’m knee deep into an article on …..”

Gretchen Ruben in Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives says that fully 40% of my day is governed by habit. I’m betting most of my habits fall in this category of thoughtless.

That’s why actually tracking what you eat is so powerful. Dark chocolate almonds add up when they are grabbed as you walk past the pantry. Each time you walk past the pantry. Surely a thoughtless habit.

But if you write down everything you eat that awareness may help you to forego the handful of nuts. Just by bringing awareness.

These are the habits I’m going to tackle first. The thoughtless ones.

I’m going to start with one habit.

I’m going to read more novels. Specifically I’m going to read a novel for 30 minutes of my day.

I used to read novels all the time. When did I ever stop? Slowly they’ve been replaced by non-fiction books and too much time on the internet.

A novel brings something entirely different into my life.  The best novel allows us both to lose ourselves and expands our perspective. It explains the world and capture it’s complexity. Think, To Kill a Mockingbird or The End of the Affair.

Now I know in many ways this is a ridiculous place to start. I should be doing something harder. After all I enjoy reading novels.

But, why did I ever stop?

Because I allowed myself to drift thoughtlessly along. And, because I started to read only to get information. For utility.

The irony is that I think we learn more from a novel at times. The book  The Art of Fielding contained a character who was as effective a coach as most coaches I’ve studied. Only he wasn’t a coach. He was a teammate. The novel anticipated a book like The Captain Class, which makes the case that the leader on the field is the most important leader.

In other words, I bet I can be a better coach or a better professional by reading novels. Charlie Munger would agree.

But that takes me back to the place where it’s only about utility, where I justify my decision by making a straight line to productivity.

Maybe that’s the habit I’m really working on.

Breaking this notion that I need to read to be more productive as opposed to reading a novel simply to  be more fully human.  More compassionate, kinder, thoughtful, open and aware.

Simply because I will be a better person.

Why did I ever stop reading novels in the first place?

(The Coaching Conversation is an Amazon Affiliate. If you purchase books or other items through here we receive a small percentage)

Practice Kaizen

Make a plan–One habit at a time

Breaking Habits

I’m Not Dieting. Not This Year.

I’m not dieting. Not this year. Not ever again.

I sat by the diet section at Barnes and Noble the other day and surveyed all the titles. I opened some and read a bit. In some ways they complemented each other. In other ways they contradicted each other. Every author so certain. Every book an exact prescription for getting to your ideal weight.

I’m not doing it ever again.

I’m tired of being told my Fitbit won’t help me, maybe even hurt my efforts, and then told well, hey maybe it will work.

I can’t believe I have to read over and over again that exercising won’t help you lose weight.  And then read how much and how often I need to get moving.

The problem with all of it for me, is that it is all out of context.

The context is the individual.

Each of us has a different reaction to all of these factors. A different reaction to what we eat, to exercise, to sleep and stress.

If we would pause and pay attention to ourselves, if we would wake up to what our priorities are, I bet we could each get significantly healthier in 2018.

I never want to work out until I am actually working out.  Then I love it. I can only run hard so many days a week without pain. I like to lift but only for a short period of time so I have to accommodate this.

If I think my workout will be an hour, I skip it.  Ten minutes? I’m in.

I love to play a game of well anything. How often do I play?

Rarely. This has to change.

I have time right now. I am using part of that time to get fit. Not skinny but fit. See if my insides can stay super healthy into the second half of my living.  If I can keep my joints and keep them relatively pain free.

I am playing with the balance between hard workouts and lighter workouts.

I am redefining what stress is to me and challenging myself with workouts right on the edge of my ability to succeed.

I am redefining rest to include long slow walks in the woods and not just a total day off with a book.

I’m a vegetarian because the meat industry seems so damn cruel.  Combine that with the damage to the planet and I am motivated. I like vegetables and I like a variety of them. Raw is good, cooked is good. I don’t love fruits, but again if I can get it down to a limited amount I’m in.

An apple a day? That’s fine. Hand me the apple.

I am enjoying the creativity of cooking, the simplicity of water, and the discipline of occasional fasting. (The benefits of the latter are beyond physical fitness.)

I am starting to journal again and note where I actually am in the process. Did that work? Did I enjoy that? I recognize that some of this may change. I expect it will.

I am paying attention.

I am writing more and quoting others less.

I am also extending the bounds of my reading. I have always read quite a bit, but I am returning to books more. Fewer and fewer of those are about elite performance, or what the evidence says.

More and more the books I read are about the lived experiences of others, their insights, their journeys and lessons.  Their context.

So, I’m not dieting. Not this year. Instead I’m looking forward to a purposeful and healthy 2018.

I hope you are too.