Thanks for checking out the Monthly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, monthly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across last month.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming month. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

An incredible book on how to create and sustain personal and organizational change. I learned a lot from this book and exposed my blindspots about how real behaviour change happens. My biggest takeaway was that change of any sort involves three elements: The Rider, The Elephant, and The Path.

The Rider is our rational side – we analyze and commit to things that we can logically understand.

The Elephant is our emotional side – sustained behaviour change can’t happen unless we’re motivated at a deeper level.

The Path is our environment – where the change happens, who we’re around, and how we approach the change matters a lot. Building the right habits & surrounding ourselves with a “tribe” of similar thinkers helps make change stick.

I feel pretty strong on the Rider & Path side as I’ve read a lot of books about planning and habit building but I’d always underestimated the power of The Elephant. This book has opened my eyes to the importance of integrating The Elephant into all of my behavioural goals.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes that I enjoyed last month —

The Redeemed and the Dominant on Netflix

A documentary of the 2017 CrossFit games. These are some of the most physically fit people I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s motivating and inspiring to see them push the limits through an array of physical challenges. Even if you’re not into CrossFit, this will be a riveting watch.

Quotes that are inspiring me —

When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.

— Epictetus

Behaviour change of the month —

Be Spartan Ready

I’ve been reading up a lot lately about the Spartan Race and I’m currently in the process of training for a race in June, 2019. In preparation (and in the spirit of the aforementioned focus on engaging The Elephant in goal setting) I’ve made it a goal to “Be Spartan Ready” in seven-months time. Instead of focusing on losing weight or body fat percentage, my goal now is to train my body for a Spartan Race and be ready for any obstacle they throw my way. It’s a far more motivating goal and also has a specific outcome attached.

It’s a behaviour change for me because everything I do from here until June needs to be juxtaposed with the thought: will this help me Be Spartan Ready? The popcorn or candy because just a bit harder to stomach when I have a bigger, emotional connection to a goal I’m going after.

“ah-ha!” thought of the month —

Mental Health > Physical Health

I’ve been reading Stoic philosophy over the past few years and one thing that becomes clear as I learn more about this way of living is that the Stoics believed that mental strength and resilience were far more important that physical health or anything material for that matter. They believed that everything physical that we possess is on loan. You’re going to have to return it one day. Whether that be our health in old age or our relationships when our spouses or friends move on or pass away. The only thing you have is your mind and how you control your emotions to these losses.

I feel like I’m buying into this more and more. The one key strength that we can cultivate more of in all of our lives is mental strength and resilience. Even in everyday situations like a rude client or a critical colleague, if we can find a way to be more “antifragile” in our everyday, we can live a life of greater peace and contentment. So maybe it’s time to shift more of my focus to building my mental resilience than thinking and doing too much about my physical health.

Product or service I’m loving —

YouAte

I was introduced to YouAte by my nutritionist. It’s basically a food-tracking app that uses photos instead of typing in cumbersome details about calories, macros, etc. It feels more human when it’s just a quick shot you need to take of your food. The quick snapshots allow you to visualize your eating patterns and identify foods that are “on path” or “off path”. If you go “off path” for a couple of meals in a row, there’s that visual stimulus that compels you to get back on track for the next meal.

The free version allows you to take unlimited photos with one caveat – you can’t access their social network of other users. You can, however, add someone who does have the premium version – in my case it was my nutritionist – so they can see your eating path. Super helpful when you’re working with someone directly to improve your nutrition habits.

Featured image by eberhard grossgasteiger

As always, thanks for checking out this Monthly Learnings Roundup!

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