Last week my 11yo daughter attended a 5-day school camp with gruelling hikes, caving, tough-mudder-style assault course and night-time team challenges.
She is an extrovert and always enjoys both school and scouting camps.
However, she usually comes back from these events exhausted and in need of several days’ recovery.
Not this time. Her energy was high, her mood great, and she was ready to hit the ground running with a series of school commitments this week.
What was different?
I helped her introduce the Bookend Technique, one of the executive toolkit strategies I teach my high performance clients.
The Vulnerability Of Change
However organised and consistent you are at running your daily routine, when it comes to out-of-routine events such as attending or hosting conferences, training workshops or even adventure holidays, we are all exposed to the vulnerability of change.
If you have already embedded a consistent high performance practice, you will have done so by creating a series of habits (content) to suit your daily routine (context).
These habits, and the internal motivation we have to maintain their consistency, are deeply woven into our environment (context).
- going to the local gym in the morning
- refilling the water bottle at the filter pod at work
- picking up a fresh salad for lunch at the local Sumo salad bar while taking a walk around the block.
With intent, everyone can embed high-performance habits within their baseline context.
What fascinates me, is the ability to sustain consistency over time and in different contexts.
The Folly Of Maintaining The Same Habits In Different Contexts
When we change the context – for example flying interstate, staying at a hotel, spending the day in an unfamiliar training facility – something interesting happens.
Our normal cues for initiating a healthy habit suddenly disappear and we end up losing control of both external and internal factors.
This seems obvious when stated. Yet, most of us insist on the folly of trying to maintain the same home-based daily practice when the venue, the routine, the suppliers and our diary look completely different.
We wouldn’t presume to speak the same language in a different country so why do we assume that our embedded routines should work in a different environment?
When it comes to sustaining wellbeing habits over time, the problem is not lack of consistency, with its subsequent guilt trip for missing the morning run or eating the muffin at break time. The problem is lack of new content (new habits) to match the new context (new environment).
No wonder we come home sleep deprived, tired, sluggish and a couple of Kgs heavier.
Bookend Your Disruptions
By far, the most efficient way to sustain consistency in the face of disruption is to work out a new strategy for every different context.
In my work with high performing clients and teams I am privileged to have access to genetic testing and biochemical data which allows a truly personalised approach.
When this is not possible, utilising the Bookend Technique helps you increase your capacity for energy and resilience before you attend an organised event as well as buffer any deficits in self-care afterwards, thus preventing the dip in energy that may continue to affect you over the following weeks.