Is continuous improvement or “life hacks” (per Wikipedia, life hacks are “any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life”) something that you pursue in life? If not, maybe you should reconsider. Besides the inherent value of improvement, you never know what unforeseen benefit you may stumble on and what impact it can make in your life. I made a recent endeavor at continuous improvement to start 2023 and it delivered three key learnings and reminders for life:
- Our mentality matters
- Adapt and adjust as needed
- Pursuing consistent improvement delivers collateral benefits
Let me share a story. Cold plunging and taking a sauna have become very popular over the last couple of years. Well-known people such as Joe Rogan, Laird Hamilton, Chris Hemsworth, professional athletes, and others espouse the benefits. Ask yourself this, are the benefits of improved health, longevity, mindfulness, and others important to you? I was introduced to cold plunging and the sauna in 2019 by a very good friend of mine. While the ice is definitely more challenging mentally and physically than the sauna, I quickly saw the benefits of both and fell in love with the practice. Fast forward to 2020 and I decided to make the investment to have both in my house. (Please Note – this blog post is not medical advice, should not be constituted as such and prior to making any modifications to your physical activity, you should consult a physician).
It took longer than normal to take delivery of both items and reap the immediate benefits due to supply challenges around the globe but I started the practice of cold plunges and sauna at home in 2021. Typically, I would fit it into the day, which usually meant that I would get in both in the evenings. Great way to get ready for bed, especially the sauna. My routine would typically be 10-15 minutes in the sauna, 5-10 minutes in the ice, and 25-30 minutes back in the sauna. Combine the final 25-30 minute sauna with great meditation music, and you have a fantastic recipe for a good night’s sleep.
However, this approach created a challenge. Many times, after dinner and/or working out, I didn’t want to invest that hour into the evening, especially if I had other things to do or if I was just worn out. So, as a result, I didn’t practice the routine as often as I should have. Fast forward to December 2022 and I decided I was going to figure out a way to try the routine in the mornings.
Now, at least for me, the ice is always a mental hurdle (despite knowing the benefits and how it makes you feel)! Getting into 30-40 degree water requires commitment, at least for most of us. Now, imagine staring at that water at 6:15 am. Talk about taking a mental hurdle and elevating it to a mental wall! However, I forced myself to ignore that voice, push past the mental resistance and I got in the water. A quick realization after 30 seconds was that it wasn’t that bad, which illustrated an essential truth to life. Many times the challenges, obstacles, or difficulties that we perceive are much worse in our minds than in reality. Our mentality, many times, is our greatest obstacle.
That, however, was not the biggest takeaway. I modified the timing to 10 minutes sauna, 5 minutes ice plunge, and 20 minutes sauna (adapt and adjust). I noticed something significant on the first day but I paused at a conclusion since it was only one day. I followed the same routine on day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5, etc. After multiple days, the impact was consistent. I had a very noticeable improvement in my energy level (even if I was tired overall from lack of sleep) and my overall mood, which has made a significant impact on my work and personal life! What started as simply an attempt to follow the routine more often (continuous improvement) delivered more benefits and to some extent, strikingly enhanced benefits. So, back to the opening argument. If you are implementing continuous improvement in your life, keep doing it and if not, start! Break or change a life pattern or habit and you will likely improve your life, personally and professionally.
Here at Braintrust, we are focused on helping people break communication patterns so they can communicate with more purpose and impact to ultimately drive performance. Contact us via our website, www.braintrustgrowth.com, to see how we can help you and your organization achieve your goals.